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Nativity Matins


When Matins is served immediately following Great Compline, it begins as below, with the People singing “Glory to God in the highest…”, and “O Lord, open my lips…”. If Matins is to be served separately, however, it begins with the blessing by the Priest, the usual beginning with the Trisagion prayers, and the blessing, “Glory to the holy, consubstantial, life-giving and undivided Trinity…”

1People: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of His will. (3x)

The Royal Doors are closed.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. (2x)

The Six Psalms

Psalm 3

Reader: O Lord, why have those who trouble me increased?

Many are rising up against me.

Many are saying to my soul, “There is no salvation for him in his God.”

But You, O Lord, are my Protector,
my glory and the One lifting up my head.

I cried out to the Lord with my voice,
and He answered me from His holy mountain.

I lay down to rest and slept.
I awoke and rose, because the Lord will always protect me.

I will not be afraid of myriads of people
arranged on every side against me.

1 - According to the Slavic custom, this and the following verse, but NOT the Six Psalms, are sung on the feast of the Nativity of Christ

Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God,
for You have struck all who without cause are my enemies.
You have broken the teeth of sinners.

Salvation is the gift of the Lord,
and Your blessing is upon Your people.

I lay down to rest and slept.
I awoke and rose, because the Lord will always protect me.

Psalm 37 (38)

O Lord, rebuke me, but not in Your anger;
and correct me, but not in Your wrath.

For Your arrows are stuck in me
and You are pressing Your hand upon me.

There is no healing in my flesh from the face of Your wrath;
there is no peace in my bones from the presence of my sins.

For my sins have gone over my head;
they weigh upon me like a heavy burden.

My wounds stink and fester
because of my foolishness.

I became miserable and utterly dejected,
I went mourning all day long.

For my soul is filled with mockings
and there is no healing in my flesh.

I was afflicted and humbled exceedingly,
I roared from the groaning of my heart.

Lord, all my desire is before You,
and my groaning is not hidden from You.

My heart is troubled, my strength fails me;
and the light of my eyes, even this is not with me.

My friends and neighbors drew near
and stood opposite me,
and my nearest ones stood far away

Those seeking my life took to violence,
and those seeking evils for me spoke idle words
and planned treachery all day long.

But I, like a deaf man, do not hear,
and I am like a dumb man who does not open his mouth.

I became like a man who does not hear
and in his mouth has no rebukes.

For on You, Lord, I have set my hope;
You will answer me, O Lord my God.

For I said, “Let my enemies never rejoice over me
or boast over me when my feet are shaken.”

For I am ready for scourges
and my pain is before me continually.

For I will confess my lawlessness
and I will be concerned about my sin.

But my enemies live and are stronger than me,
and those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied.

Those who repay me evil for good, oppose me,
because I follow goodness.

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, do not stay far away from me!

Attend to my help,
O Lord of my salvation.

Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, do not stay far away from me!

Attend to my help,
O Lord of my salvation.

Psalm 62 (63)

O God, my God, at dawn I rise to You!
My soul thirsts for You.

And how often my flesh longs for You,
in a desolate land, trackless and waterless!

So I appeared before You in the holy place,
to see Your power and Your glory.

For Your love is better than life;
my lips shall praise You.

So I will bless You as long as I live
and lift up my hands in Your name.

Let my soul be filled with delight,
and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the morning watches.

For You have become my helper,
and in the shelter of Your wings I rejoice.

My soul is glued behind You
and Your right hand holds me tightly.

But those trying in vain to take my life
will go into earth’s infernal regions.

They will be delivered to the hands of the sword,
they will be the portion of jackals.

But the king will rejoice in God,
all who swear by Him will be praised,
for the mouth of those who tell lies will be stopped.

I meditate on You in the morning watches.
For You have become my helper,
and in the shelter of Your wings I rejoice.

My soul is glued behind You
and Your right hand holds me tightly.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Glory to You, O God. (3x)

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

According to custom, during the next three Psalms the Priest comes out through the North door to stand before the closed Royal Doors, without head covering, and quietly reads the twelve Matins prayers, found in Appendix A.

Psalm 87 (88)

O Lord God of my salvation,
I have cried day and night before You.

Let my prayer come in before You;
incline Your ear to my petition.

For my soul is filled with evils
and my life has come near to hell.

I am counted with those who go down into the pit,
I became like a helpless man, free among the dead,

like those who have been killed and sleep in the grave,
whom You remember no more
and who are cut off from Your hand.

They put me in the lowest pit,
in dark places and in the shadow of death.

Your anger leans hard upon me,
and You have brought upon me all Your waves.

You have put my acquaintances far from me;
they have made me an abomination to them;
I was betrayed and did not escape.

My eyes grew weak from poverty;
I cry all day to You, Lord,

I spread out my hands to You.
Will You work miracles for the dead
or will physicians raise them up so they will praise You?

Will anyone in the grave tell of Your mercy,
or will they tell of Your truth in the place of destruction?

Will Your wonders be known in the darkness
and Your justice in the land where all is forgotten?

But to You, O Lord, I have cried
and early in the morning my prayer will come before You.

Why, O Lord, do You reject my soul
and turn away Your face from me?

I am poor and in troubles from my youth;
but after being exalted, I am humbled and perplexed.

Your anger has passed over me,
Your terrors have troubled me.

They surrounded me like water all day long;
together they closed in upon me.

You have put far from me friend and neighbor
and my acquaintances because of my misery.

O Lord God of my salvation,
I have cried day and night before You.

Let my prayer come in before You;
incline Your ear to my petition.

Psalm 102 (103)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me bless His holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all His rewards:

who forgives all your sins,
who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from destruction,
who crowns you with mercy and compassion,

who satisfies your desire with good things,
your youth will be renewed like an eagle’s.

The Lord gives mercy and justice
to all who are being wronged.

He made known His ways to Moses,
His will to the people of Israel.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
most patient and most merciful.

He will not always be angry,
nor will He threaten forever.

He has not dealt with us according to our lawlessness,
nor rewarded us according to our sins.

For as high as heaven is from the earth,
so great is the Lord’s mercy to those who fear Him.

As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He put our sins from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

For He knows what we are made of,
He remembers that we are dust.

Man--his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field.

When the spirit in him has passed, he will not exist,
and he will know his place no more.

But the Lord’s mercy is from age to age
for those who fear Him,
and His justice is for their children’s children.

for those who keep His covenant
and remember to carry out His commandments.

The Lord has prepared His throne in heaven
and His kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, all you angels of His,
who are mighty in strength, who do His word
and listen for the sound of His words.

Bless the Lord, all His hosts,
His ministers who do His will.

Bless the Lord, all His works,
in every place of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

In every place of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Psalm 142 (143)

Lord, listen to my prayer,
give ear to my need in Your truth.
Answer me in Your righteousness.

And do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
for in Your sight no one living is righteous.

For the enemy has persecuted my soul,
he has humbled my life to the ground.
He has made me sit in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

And my spirit desponded over me,
my heart within me was troubled.

I remember the days of old,
I meditate on all Your works,
I meditate on the works of Your hands.

I stretch out my hands to You,
my soul like parched earth thirsts for You.

Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit grows faint.
Do not turn away Your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the pit.

Let me hear Your mercy in the morning,
for on You I have set my hope.

Make known to me the way I should go, O Lord,
For I lift up my soul to You.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord,
for I come running to You.

Teach me to do Your will,
for You are my God;
Your good Spirit will guide me in the straight land.

Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake.
In Your justice You will bring my soul out of trouble,

and in Your mercy You will put an end to my enemies
and destroy all who afflict my soul,
for I am Your servant.

The Deacon, standing at the Southwest corner of the Altar Table, passing the High Place, exits the Sanctuary through the North door and stands before the icon of the Theotokos until the conclusion of the Psalm.

Answer me in Your righteousness,
And do not enter into judgment with Your servant.

Answer me in Your righteousness,
And do not enter into judgment with Your servant.

Your good Spirit will guide me in the straight land.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Glory to You, O God. (3x)

At the conclusion of Psalm 142, the Deacon and the Priest bow to each other. The Priest returns to the Sanctuary through the South door and stands at his place before the Altar Table.

The Deacon moves to stand before the Royal Doors, lifts his Orarion and says:

The Great Litany

Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this holy house and for those who enter it with faith, reverence, and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

2Deacon: For [his Beatitude] Metropolitan ______; for [his Grace] our Bishop ______; for the honorable priesthood, the diaconate in Christ, for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

2 - We pray for the bishop of the temple in which we are praying. When not in a temple, we pray for the bishop of the diocese in which we are located. If outside the territory of any Orthodox Church or mission, only then do we pray for the bishop of the celebrating priest.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the President3 and all civil authorities of this country, and for those serving in its Armed Forces, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this city, [if a monastery: For this holy habitation,] for every city and countryside, and for the faithful dwelling in them, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For favorable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For travelers by land, by sea, and by air; the sick; the suffering; the captives; and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and distress, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

3 - We pray for the Chief of State and the civil authorities of the place in which we are praying.

The Deacon moves to stand before the icon of Christ:

People: To You, O Lord.

Priest:4 For to You belong all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

4 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 1 in Appendix A be read here.

God is the Lord

Deacon: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endures forever!

People: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Deacon: All nations surrounded me; but in the name of the Lord I destroyed them.

People: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Deacon: I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

People: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Deacon: The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

People: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Troparion

Tone 4

Your nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone to the world the Light of Wisdom!
For by it, those who worshipped the stars,
were taught by a star to adore You,
the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know You, the Orient from on high.
O Lord, glory to You! (3x)

The Deacon enters the Sanctuary through the South door, goes to the High Place, bows, turns, bows to the Priest, and goes to his place at the Altar Table.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Kathismata

These two Sessional Hymns are usually sung:

Come, O faithful!
Let us go to see where Christ is born.
We shall follow the wise men, kings from the East,
And be led by the guiding star
To the place where angels sing unceasing praise.
Shepherds in the fields offer fitting hymns:
“Glory in the highest to Him Who today was born
Of the Virgin Theotokos
In a cave in Bethlehem of Judah!”
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Come, O faithful… (repeat above)

Tone 4

Why do you marvel, O Mary?
Why are you amazed at what has come to pass?
“I have given birth in time to a timeless son;
I cannot explain how He was conceived in me.
I have known no man; how then shall I bear a child?
Who has ever seen a birth without seed?”
When God so wills, as it is written,
The order of nature is overcome.
Christ is born of the virgin in Bethlehem of Judah.

The Polyeleon

As the Polyeleon is sung, the Priest, with the censer, and the Deacon, carrying a lighted candle, proceed to the center of the temple, where they stand before the festal icon.

Refrain: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Psalm 134 (135)

Praise the name of the Lord,
praise the Lord, you servants of His

who stand in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.

Praise the Lord, because God is good,
sing psalms to His name, for it is beautiful.

For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself,
Israel for His own possession.

For I know that the Lord is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.

The Lord does whatever He chooses
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and in all the depths.

He brings up clouds from the end of the earth,
He makes lightnings for the rain,
He brings winds out of His treasuries.

He struck the firstborn of Egypt,
of man and beast alike.

He sent signs and wonders
in the midst of you, O Egypt,
on Pharaoh and all his slaves.

He struck many nations
and killed powerful kings:

Sihon, king of the Amorites,
and Og, the king of Bashan,
and all the kingdoms of Canaan.

And He gave their land as an inheritance,
a possession for His people Israel.

O Lord, Your name is eternal
and Your memorial from generation to generation.

For the Lord will judge His people
and He will be comforted by His servants.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the works of men’s hands.

They have mouths but will not talk,
they have eyes but will not see,

they have ears but will not hear,
for there is not a breath in their mouth.

Let those who make them become like them
and all who trust in them.

O house of Israel, bless the Lord!
O house of Aaron, bless the Lord!

O house of Levi, bless the Lord!
You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord!

Blessed is the Lord from Zion,
Who lives in Jerusalem.

Refrain: for His mercy is eternal. Alleluia!

Psalm 135 (136)

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,

Give thanks to the God of gods,

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

To Him Who alone does great wonders,

To Him Who made the heavens with understanding,

To Him Who poised the earth on the waters,

to Him Who alone made great lights,

The sun for governing the day,

The moon and the stars for governing the night,

To Him Who struck Egypt with their firstborn,

And led out Israel from among them,

With a strong hand and a high arm,

To Him Who divided the Red Sea into parts,

And led Israel through the midst of it,

But shook off Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea,

To Him Who led His people in the wilderness,

To Him Who struck great kings,

And killed strong kings,

Sihon, king of the Amorites,

And Og, king of Bashan,

And gave their land as an inheritance,

An inheritance for His servant Israel,

For in our humiliation, the Lord remembered us

And He delivered us from our enemies,

Who gives food to all flesh,

O give thanks to the God of heaven.

The Magnification

Clergy: We magnify You, O Christ the Giver of Life, Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, unwedded and most pure.

The Priest preceded by the Deacon with a candle incense around the Analogion while the People sing:

People: We magnify You, O Christ the Giver of Life, Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, unwedded and most pure.

Reader: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; proclaim His glorious praise.

People: We magnify You, O Christ the Giver of Life, Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, unwedded and most pure.

Reader: Our God is in heaven and on earth; He does whatever He pleases.

People: We magnify You, O Christ the Giver of Life, Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, unwedded and most pure.

Reader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

People: We magnify You, O Christ the Giver of Life, Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, unwedded and most pure.

Reader: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Glory to You, O God (3x)

People: We magnify You, O Christ the Giver of Life, Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, unwedded and most pure.

Kathisma Hymn

Tone 8

How can a womb contain Him Whom nothing can contain?
How can He remain in His father’s bosom, yet rest in His mother’s arms?
It is His good pleasure to accomplish this.
Having no flesh, He purposely assumes it for our sake.
He Who is becomes what He never was.
He shares our substance without forsaking His own nature.
Desiring to make us citizens of the world on high,
Christ, the Only-begotten of the Father, is born on earth as a man.

Near the conclusion, the Deacon bows to the Priest, goes to stand before the icon of Christ, lifts his Orarion says:

The Little Litany

Deacon: Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

People: To You, O Lord.

Priest: 5For blessed is Your name, and glorified is Your kingdom, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

5 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 8 in Appendix A be read here.

The Deacon returns to his place.

People: Amen.

The Hymn of Degrees

During this Hymn, the Priest goes to the Altar Table to bring the Gospel book to the center of the temple.

Tone 4

People: From my youth, many passions have fought against me. But do You help me and save me, O my Savior!

You who hate Zion shall be put to shame by the Lord. You shall be withered up like grass by the fire!

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Every soul is enlivened by the Holy Spirit and is exalted in purity, illumined by the Holy Trinity in a sacred mystery!

The Deacon lifts his Orarion and says:

The Prokeimenon

Deacon: Wisdom! Let us attend.

The Prokeimenon in the fourth tone.

Out of the womb before the morning star have I begotten You; the Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind. [Ps. 109(110)]

People: Out of the womb before the morning star have I begotten You; the Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind.

Deacon: The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.

People: Out of the womb before the morning star have I begotten You; the Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind.

Deacon: Out of the womb before the morning star have I begotten You;

People: …the Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind.

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest:6 For You are holy, O our God, Who rest in the sanctuary, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

6 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 9 in Appendix A be read here.

Another Prokeimenon

Tone 4

Deacon: Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.

People: Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.

Deacon: Praise God in His sanctuary, praise Him in His mighty firmament.

People: Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.

Deacon: Let everything that breathes...

People: ...praise the Lord.

The Gospel

Deacon: And that we may be accounted worthy of hearing the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

People: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Wisdom! Let us attend! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

Priest: + Peace be unto all.

People: And to your spirit.

Priest: The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.

People: Glory to You, O Lord, Glory to You.

Deacon: Let us attend.

Priest: (Mt. 1:18-25) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

People: Glory to You, O Lord, Glory to You.

After it is read, the Gospel is carried in procession back to the Altar Table:

Psalm 50 (51)

Reader: Have mercy on me, O God,
in Your great mercy,

and in Your abundant compassion
blot out my transgression.

Wash me thoroughly from my lawlessness
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my sinfulness
and my sin is before me continually.

Against You only have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight,
that You may be justified in Your words
and win when You are judged.

For I was conceived in iniquities
and in sins my mother gave me birth.

But You love truth;
the hidden and secret things of Your wisdom
You have made known to me.

You will sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be clean.
You will wash me
and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear joy and gladness.
The bones that have been humbled will rejoice.

Turn Your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
and strengthen me with Your ruling Spirit.

I will teach Your ways to the lawless,
and sinners will return to You.

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation.
My tongue will rejoice in Your righteousness.

O Lord, You will open my lips
and my mouth will declare Your praise.

For if You desired sacrifice,
I would have given it.
You take no delight in whole burnt offerings.

A sacrifice for God is a broken spirit;
a broken and humbled heart God will not despise.

Gladden Zion, O Lord, with Your goodwill,
and let the walls of Jerusalem be built.

Then You will delight in the sacrifice of righteousness,
in offering and whole burnt offerings.
Then they will offer young bulls on Your altar.

Troparia

People: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

Today all things are filled with joy,
for Christ is born of the Virgin!

...now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Today all things are filled with joy,
for Christ is born of the Virgin!

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to
Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Tone 6

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace!
Today Bethlehem receives Him Who reigns forever with the Father.
Today angels glorify the newborn babe in hymns worthy of God:
Glory to God in the highest!
And on earth, peace to men of His will!

The Great Intercession

The Deacon goes to stand before the icon of Christ, lifts his Orarion and prays:

Deacon: O God, save Your people and bless Your inheritance. Visit Your world in mercy and compassion. Exalt the horn of Orthodox Christians, and send down on us Your rich mercies; through the prayers of our most-pure Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary; through the power of the precious and life-giving Cross; through the protection of the honorable Bodiless Powers of heaven; through the supplications of the honorable and glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John; of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles; of the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles, Mary Magdalen;

of our fathers among the saints, hierarchs and ecumenical teachers: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom; of our fathers among the saints Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Irenaeus of Lyons, Cyprian of Carthage, Ambrose of Milan, Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory of Rome, Augustine of Canterbury, and Theodore of Tarsus;

of Gregory the Enlightener of Armenia; Nina, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of Georgia; Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland; Robert, Bishop of Salzburg and Enlightener of the Bavarians; the holy Methodius and Cyril, Evangelizers of the Slavs; the blessed Princess Olga and the holy Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles; Nahum, Enlightener of the Bulgarians; Nicholas, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Enlightener of Japan;

of our fathers among the saints: Innocent, the Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to America; Jacob, Enlightener of the Upic and Athabascan peoples; Nicholas of Zhicha and South Canaan; Tikhon, Enlightener of North America and Patriarch of Moscow; and John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco;

of the holy, glorious, and right-victorious Martyrs: the Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen; the Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon; the Great-Martyrs Demetrius of Thessalonika, George the Victorious, and Theodore the Recruit; Alban, Protomartyr of Britain; the martyrs Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia; the New Martyr Gorazd of Prague; the new Hieromartyr Nicetas the Albanian of Mount Athos; the New Hieromartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles Cosmos of Aitolia;

of Juvenaly, Protomartyr of America and the martyred Aleut Peter; of the New-martyrs and Passion-bearers of Russia, especially the martyrs John of Chicago and Alexander of New York;

of the Protomartyr among women and Equal-to-the-Apostles Thekla; of the Great Martyrs Barbara, Katherine, Irene of Thessalonika, and Marina of Antioch; of Lucy of Syracuse; the martyrs Faith, Hope, and Love and their mother Sophia; the Virgin-Martyrs of Rome: Anastasia, Tatiana, Paraskeva, Xenia, Agnes, Lucy, Susanna, and Eugenia; of Hripsime and Gayane of Armenia and Susanna of Georgia;

of our venerable and God-bearing fathers: Anthony the Great; Pachomias the Great; Sabbas; Euthymius; Benedict of Nursia; Colomban of Iona; Theodore of Studion; Anthony and Theodosius and the other wonderworkers of the Caves in Kiev; Sergius of Radonezh; Paisius of Modavia; Seraphim of Sarov; Macarius of Corinth; Nectarios of Aigina; Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain; Sergius and Herman of Valaam; Ambrose, Elder of Optina; Silouan of Mount Athos;

and our venerable father Herman, Elder and Wonderworker of Alaska and all America;

of our venerable and God-bearing mothers: Pelagia; Theodosia; Anastasia; Eupraxia; Fevronia; Theodulia; Euphrosyne; Mary of Egypt; and Hilda of Whitby; and Xenia of Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ; of the Holy and God-crowned Emperor Constantine and his mother Helen; of the Righteous Sarah, wife of Abraham; the Righteous Hanna, mother of the Prophet Samuel; Emilia, mother of Saints Basil the Great, Macrina ,and Gregory of Nyssa; Silvia, mother of Gregory the Dialogist; and Genevieve of Paris;

of St. John of Kronstadt; and our father-among-the-saints, Alexis of Minneapolis and Wilkes-barre, defender of the Orthodox Church in America;

of Saint (of the day) ; of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna, and of all the saints, hear us sinners who pray to You, and have mercy on us.

People: Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Priest:7 Through the mercy and compassion and love for mankind of Your only-begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed, together with Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

7 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 10 in Appendix A be read here.

The Clergy enter the Sanctuary and go to their places at the Altar Table.

THE CANON

Ode I

Irmos: Christ is born, glorify Him;
Christ is from heaven, receive Him!
Christ is on earth, be lifted up.
Sing to the Lord all the earth
and praise Him with joy all people,
for He has been glorified!

Refrain: Glory to You, our God, glory to You!
Mankind fell from the divine and better life:
though made in the image of God,
he became wholly subject to corruption and decay through transgression.
But now the wise Creator fashions him anew,
for He has been glorified.

The Creator, when He saw mankind perishing
whom He had made with His own hands,
bowed the heavens and came down;
and from the divine and pure Virgin,
He took all of mankind's substance, being made truly flesh:
for He has been glorified.

Wisdom and Word and Power,
Christ our God is the Son and Brightness of the Father;
and unknown to the powers both above and upon the earth,
He was made man, and so has won us back again:
for He has been glorified.

Katavasia: Christ is born, glorify Him…

Ode III

Irmos: To the Son, begotten of the Father, before all ages and incarnate of the virgin without seed in these latter days -- let us cry out to Christ our God: You have raised our horn; holy are You, O Lord!

Refrain: Glory to You, our God, glory to You! Adam, though formed from dust, shared in the higher breath of life; yet through woman’s beguilement he slipped and fell into corruption. But now, beholding Christ born of a woman, he cries aloud: For my sake You have become as I am: holy are You, O Lord! Christ, made Yourself in the form of a creature of lowly clay, by Your sharing in our more corrupt flesh, You have made us partakers of the divine nature; For You became mortal, while remaining God. You have raised us from death to life. Holy are You, O Lord! Be glad, Bethlehem, for you are Queen among the princes of Judah; for in the sight of all, the Shepherd who tends Israel comes forth from you: He is Christ, who is seated upon the cherubim! He has raised our horn, and rules over all. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: To the Son, begotten of the Father, before all ages…

The Deacon bows to the Priest, passing the High Place, exits the Sanctuary through the North door, and stands at his place on the solea, lifts his Orarion and says:

The Little Litany

Deacon: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

The Deacon moves to stand before the icon of Christ.

People: To You, O Lord.

Priest:8 For You are our God, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

People: Amen.

8 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 5 in Appendix A be read here.

While the People sing the Sessional Hymn, the Deacon enters the Sanctuary through the South door, goes to the High Place, bows, turns, bows to the Priest, and goes to his place at the Altar Table.

Sessional Hymn

Tone 8

Calling the magi by a star, Heaven brought the first fruits of the Gentiles to You, A babe lying in the manger: They were amazed to see neither scepter nor throne, but only utter poverty. For what is meaner than a cave, what is more humble than swaddling clothes? Yet there shone forth the wealth of Your divinity: glory to You, O Lord!

Kathisma Hymn

Tone 8

Greatly rejoice, O heaven; be glad, O earth.
For the Lamb of God has been born on earth, granting the world forgiveness.
The Word who is in the bosom of the Father,
Has come forth without seed from the virgin.
The magi were struck with wonder, seeing Him born in Bethlehem as a child;
And all things give Him glory!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Greatly rejoice, O heaven...

Ode IV

Irmos: Rod of the stem of Jesse
and flower that budded from a virgin,
O most lauded Christ!
From the mountain covered with darkness You have come,
made flesh from her that knew no wedlock.
O God not formed from matter,
glory to Your might, O Lord!

Refrain:

Glory to You, our God, glory to You!

O Christ, whom Jacob foretold in days of old,
calling You the Expectation of the nations,
You have shone forth from the tribe of Judah,
and have come to plunder the strength of Damascus and spoils of Samaria,
turning their error into faith beautiful to God.
Glory to Your might, O Lord!

Master, You have risen as a Star out of Jacob;
You have filled with joy the watchers of the stars
who interpreted wisely the words of Balaam the ancient seer.
As the first fruits of the gentiles they were led to You,
and You received them openly as they brought You acceptable gifts.
Glory to Your might, O Lord!

You descended into the womb of the Virgin, O Christ,
as dew upon the fleece and drops of rain upon the earth.
Ethiopia, Tarshish and the isles of Arabia,
the kings of Saba, the Medes and all the earth,
fall down before You, O Savior.
Glory to Your might, O Lord!

Katavasia: Rod of the stem of Jesse…

Ode V

Irmos: God of peace and Father of mercies,
You have sent us the angel of great council who grants us peace.
So we are guided to the light of the knowledge of God.
Waking early from the night,
we praise You, O Lover of mankind!

Refrain: Glory to You, our God, glory to You!

Obedient to the decree of Caesar,
You were enrolled among his servants, O Christ,
setting us free who were servants of the enemy and sin.
Sharing wholly in our poverty,
You have made our clay divine through Your union and participation in it.

Behold, the Virgin, as was said in days of old,
has conceived in her womb and brought forth God made man;
and she remains still a Virgin.
Reconciled to God through her,
let us sinners sing her praises
for she is truly the Theotokos.

Katavasia: God of peace and Father of mercies…

Ode VI

Irmos: The sea-monster cast out Jonah unharmed
as it had received him, like a babe from the womb.
And when the Word came to dwell in the virgin and was made flesh,
He came forth preserving her incorrupt,
for He Himself was not subject to decay
and He kept His mother free from harm!

Refrain: Glory to You, our God, glory to You!

Christ our God has come, made flesh,
Whom the Father begot from the womb before the morning star;
and He who holds the reins of the undefiled powers,
is laid in a manger of dumb beasts.
He who looses the tangled cords of sin,
is wrapped in swaddling clothes.

From the substance of Adam, a young child, a Son, is born
and given to the faithful,
He is the Father and Prince of the Age to Come,
and His name is called the Angel of Great Counsel.
He is the mighty God
and holds creation in His dominion.

Katavasia: The sea-monster cast out Jonah unharmed…

The Deacon bows to the Priest, passing the High Place, exits the Sanctuary through the North door, and stands at his place on the solea, lifts his Orarion and says:

The Little Litany

Deacon: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

The Deacon moves to stand before the icon of Christ.

People: To You, O Lord.

Priest:9For You are the king of peace and Savior of our souls, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

People: Amen.

9 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 6 in Appendix A be read here.

While the People sing the Kontakion, the Deacon enters the Sanctuary through the South door, goes to the High Place, bows, turns, bows to the Priest, and goes to his place at the Altar Table.

Kontakion

Today the Virgin gives birth to the transcendent One,
and the earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One!
Angels, with shepherds, glorify Him!
The wise men journey with the star!
Since for our sake the eternal God was born as a little child!

Ikos

Bethlehem has opened Eden: come, let us see! We have found joy hidden! Come, let us take possession of the paradise within the cave. There the unwatered stem has appeared, from which forgiveness blossoms forth! There the undug well is found from which David longed to drink of old! There the Virgin has borne a child and at once the thirst of Adam and David is made to cease. Therefore let us hasten to this place where for our sake the Eternal God was born as a little child!

Ode VII

Irmos:The children brought up together in godliness,
despising the unrighteous command,
were not afraid of the threat of fire,
but standing in the midst of the flames they sang:
blessed are You, O God of our fathers!

Refrain:Glory to You, our God, glory to You!

The shepherds abiding in the fields
received a vision of light that filled them with terror.
For the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and an angel cried out:
Sing praises, for Christ is born!
Blessed are You, O God of our fathers!

At the word of the angel,
the hosts of heaven at once cried out:
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men of His will!
Christ has shone forth:
Blessed are You, O God of our fathers!

What are these tidings? said the shepherds.
Let us go and see this thing which has come to pass, even Christ our God!
And coming to Bethlehem, they worshipped with her who had given Him birth,
as they cried out: Blessed are You, O God of our fathers!

Katavasia: The children brought up together in godliness…

At the 8th Ode, the Deacon receives the blessing from the Priest for the Great Censing. He begins in the Sanctuary and, emerging to the Solea by the North door, censes the right side of the Iconostasis. He then stands before the icon of the Theotokos awaiting the conclusion of the Katabasia of the 8th Ode.

Ode VIII

Irmos:The furnace moist with dew was the image of a
wonder beyond nature,
for it did not burn the children whom it had received!
Just as the Fire of divinity
did not consume the virgin’s womb when It entered there.
So, let us raise the song:
let the whole creation bless the Lord
and exalt Him above all forever!

Refrain:Glory to You, our God, glory to You! The daughter of Babylon once led captive from Zion the children of David
whom she had taken with the sword:
but now she sends her own children,
the Magi bearing gifts,
to entreat the Daughter of David in whom God came to dwell.
Therefore let us raise the song:
Let the whole creation bless the Lord
and exalt Him above all forever.

Sorrow silenced the harps of the children of Zion,
for they could not sing in the land of strangers;
while Christ, shining forth in Bethlehem,
destroys all the error of Babylon
and all the music of her instruments.
Therefore let us raise the song:
Let the whole creation bless the Lord
and exalt Him above all forever.

Babylon despoiled Zion the Queen and took her wealth captive.
But Christ by a guiding star drew to Zion
the treasures of Babylon, with her star-gazing kings.
Therefore let us raise the song:
Let the whole creation bless the Lord and exalt Him above all forever.

Katavasia:The furnace moist with dew…

The Deacon then censes the icon, the left side of the Iconostasis, the people and the icons in the remainder of the temple, and gives up the censer. He then returns to his place in front of the icon of the Theotokos.

Ode IX

Refrain1:Magnify, O my soul,
the most pure virgin Theotokos,
more honorable and more glorious than the heavenly hosts!

Irmos:I behold a strange, most glorious mystery!
Heaven - the cave!
The cherubic throne - the virgin!
The manger - the place where Christ lay,
the uncontainable God Whom we magnify in song!

(Repeat Megalynarion and Irmos)

Refrain2:Magnify, O my soul, God born in the flesh from the Virgin.
The Magi, beholding the strange course of an unknown and newly shining star
that exceeded the brightness of all heavenly light,
learned that Christ the King was born on earth
in Bethlehem for our salvation.

Refrain3:Magnify, O my soul, the King born in the cave.

The Magi, beholding the strange course...

Refrain4:Magnify, O my soul, God worshipped by the Magi.

Where is the new-born Child and King, whose star we have seen?
Said the Magi: For we are come to worship Him.
Herod, the enemy of God, was troubled,
and in his wild madness he plotted how to kill Christ.

Refrain5:Magnify, O my soul, Him Who was revealed to the Magi by a star.

Where is the new-born Child...

Refrain6:Magnify, O my soul, the pure Virgin who gave birth to Christ the King.

Herod inquired what time the guiding star appeared,
which brought the Magi to Bethlehem to worship Christ with gifts.
Led back to their own land by that same star,
they did not return to Herod,
but mocked the wicked slayer of children.

Refrain7:Magi and shepherds came to worship Christ, born in the city of Bethlehem.

Herod inquired what time...

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Refrain1:Magnify, O my soul,
the most pure virgin Theotokos,
more honorable and more glorious than the heavenly hosts!

Katavasia:I behold a strange, most glorious mystery…

The Deacon moves to stand before the Royal Doors, lifts his Orarion and says:

The Little Litany

Deacon: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

The Deacon moves to stand before the icon of Christ.

People: To You, O Lord.

Priest:10 For all the powers of heaven praise You, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

10 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 11 in Appendix A be read here.

The Deacon enters the Sanctuary through the South door, goes to the High Place, bows, turns, bows to the Priest, and goes to his place at the Altar Table.

The Exapostilarion

People:Our Savior, the dayspring from the East,
has visited us from on high,
and we, who were in darkness and shadow,
have found the truth,
for the Lord is born of the Virgin! (3x)

The Praises

People:Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
Praise Him in the heights,
To You, O God, is due a song.

Praise Him, all you angels of His,
Praise Him, all His hosts.
To You, O God, is due a song.

Psalm 148:1-2

Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise Him in the heights,

Praise Him, all you angels of His,
praise Him, all His hosts.

Psalm 148:3-14

Praise Him, sun and moon,
praise Him, all you stars and light.

Praise Him, you heavens of heavens
and you water that is above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for He spoke and they were born,
He commanded and they were created.

He has fixed them forever and ever.
He has made a law and it will not be bypassed.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all depths,

fire, hail, snow, ice,
the storm wind, all obeying His word,

all you mountains and hills,
all you fruit trees and cedars,

you wild beasts and all cattle,
reptiles and winged birds,

you kings of the earth and all peoples,
all you rulers and judges of the earth;

young men and virgins,
old men and children,

let them praise the name of the Lord,
for His name only is exalted;
His praise is above heaven and earth.

And He will exalt the power of His people.
This is a song for all His saints,
for the children of Israel,
for people drawing near to Him.

Psalm 149

Sing to the Lord a new song!
Let His praise be sung in the church of the saints.

Let Israel rejoice in Him Who made him,
and let the children of Zion exult in their King.

Let them praise His name with dancing,
let them sing to Him with drum and harp.

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people
and will exalt the meek with His salvation.

The saints will exult in glory,
and they will rejoice on their beds.

The high praises of God will be in their throat
and two-edged swords in their hands,

to pass judgment on the nations
and give rebukes among the peoples,

to bind their kings with chains
and their nobles with fetters of iron,

to pass judgment on them as God has written.
This glory will be for all His saints.

Psalm 150

Praise God in His saints,
praise Him in the expanse of His power.

Praise Him for His mighty acts,
praise Him for His infinite greatness.

Tone 4 (By Andrew of Jerusalem)

Celebrate, O righteous; rejoice greatly, O heavens;
dance for joy, mountains, for Christ is born;
and like a cherubim the Virgin makes a throne,
carrying at her bosom God the Word made flesh.
Shepherds glorify the new-born Child,
Magi offer the Master gifts.
Angels sing praises saying: Lord past understanding, glory to You!

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet,
praise Him with psaltery and harp.

It was the good pleasure of the Father:
the Word became flesh, and the Virgin bore God made man.

A star spreads abroad the tidings:
The Magi worship, the shepherds stand amazed
and the creation is filled with the mighty joy!

Praise Him with drum and dancing,
praise Him with strings and bells.

Virgin Theotokos, you have borne the Savior
and have overthrown the curse of Eve.
For you have become the mother of Him in Whom the Father was well pleased,
and have carried at your bosom God the incarnate Word.
We cannot fathom the mystery:
but we all glorify it by faith alone,
and crying out with you we say:
Lord past all understanding, glory to You!

Praise Him with well-tuned cymbals,
praise Him with cymbals of victory!

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!

Come, let us sing the praises of the mother of the Savior,
who after bearing child still remained virgin.
Rejoice, living City of the King in which Christ has dwelt,
bringing to pass our salvation.
With Gabriel we sing your praises;
with the shepherds we glorify you, crying:
Theotokos, intercede for our salvation with Him Who took flesh from you!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

Tone 6 (By Germanus)

When it was time for Your coming on earth,
the first taxation of the world was held;
and then You made ready to enroll the names of all who believed in Your birth.
For this cause Caesar published such a decree,
since Your timeless and eternal Kingdom was newly made manifest.
Therefore as we pay our earthly tribute money,
we offer You also the wealth of our Orthodox faith
O God and Savior of our souls!

…now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Tone 2

Today Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem!
Today He Who knows no beginning begins to be;
today is the Word made flesh!
The powers of heaven greatly rejoice,
and the earth with mankind makes glad.
The Magi offer gifts,
the shepherds proclaim the marvel,
and we cry aloud without ceasing:
glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men of His will!

The Great Doxology

Priest:Glory to You Who have shown us the light!

People: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of His will.

We praise You, we bless You, we worship You, we glorify You, we give thanks to You for Your great glory: O Lord, Heavenly King, God the Father Almighty: O Lord, the Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ: and O Holy Spirit.

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Who take away the sins of the world, accept our prayer. Who sit at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For You alone are holy, You alone are Lord, Jesus Christ, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever, even unto ages of ages.

Grant, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin. Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our fathers, and praised and glorified is Your name unto ages of ages. Amen.

Let Your mercy be upon us, O Lord, even as we have set our hope on You.

Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes. Blessed are You, O Master, make me to understand Your commandments. Blessed are You, O Holy One, enlighten me with Your precepts.

Lord, You have been our refuge from generation to generation. I said, “Lord, have mercy on me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You!” Lord, I have fled to You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. For with You is the fountain of life, and in Your light shall we see light. Continue Your mercy unto those who know You.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Holy Immortal have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us.

The Deacon bows to the Priest, passing the High Place, exits the Sanctuary through the North door and stands at his place on the solea.

Troparion

Tone 4

Your nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone to the world the Light of Wisdom!
For by it, those who worshipped the stars,
were taught by a star to adore You,
the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know You, the Orient from on high.
O Lord, glory to You!

The Deacon lifts his Orarion and prays:

The Litany of Fervent Supplication

Deacon:Have mercy upon us, O God, according to Your great goodness, we implore You, hear us and have mercy.

People:Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon:Again we pray for [His Beatitude] Metropolitan ______, for [His Grace] our Bishop ______, for priests, deacons, and all other clergy, and for all our brethren in Christ.

People:Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon:Again we pray for the (President) and all civil authorities of this country and for those serving in its Armed Forces.

People:Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon:Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable holy Orthodox Patriarchs; for the blessed and ever memorable founders of this holy house; for all our fathers and brethren, the Orthodox departed this life before us, [especially __________ and all those] who here and in all the world lie asleep in the Lord.

People:Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon:Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God [especially ______], and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

People:Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon:Again we pray for those who bring offerings and do good works in this holy and all-venerable house; for those who labor and those who sing; and for all the people here present, who await Your great and rich mercy.

People:Lord, have mercy. (3x)

The Deacon moves to stand before the icon of Christ.

Priest:For You are a merciful God, and You love mankind, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People:Amen.

The Deacon moves to stand before the Royal Doors, lifts his Orarion and says:

The Morning Litany

Deacon:Let us complete our morning prayer to the Lord.

People:Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Your grace.

People:Lord, have mercy.

Deacon:That the whole day may be perfect, holy, peaceful, and sinless, let us ask of the Lord.

People:Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon:For an angel of peace, a faithful guide, a guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord.

People:Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon:For pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions, let us ask of the Lord.

People:Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon:For all things that are good and profitable for our souls, and peace for the world, let us ask of the Lord.

People:Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon:That we may complete the remaining time of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

People:Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon:For a Christian ending to our life: painless, blameless, and peaceful; and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord.

People:Grant it, O Lord.

Deacon:Commemorating our most holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.

The Deacon moves to stand before the icon of Christ.

People:To You, O Lord.

Priest: 11For You are a good God, and You love mankind, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

11 - Some ancient sources suggest Prayer 12 in Appendix A be read here.

The Priest turns toward the people and blesses:

Priest: + Peace be unto all.

People:And to your spirit.

Deacon:Let us bow our heads to the Lord.

People:To You, O Lord.

The Prayer with Heads Bowed

Priest: O Holy Lord, Who dwell on high and look upon the humble, and Who with Your all-seeing eye do behold all creation: to You have we bowed the neck of our soul and body, and we implore You, O Holy of Holies, stretch forth Your invisible hand from Your holy dwelling place and bless us all. And if in any way we have sinned, either willingly or unwillingly, pardon us, inasmuch as You are good, and You love mankind, granting us Your good things in this age and in the age to come. For Yours it is to have mercy on us and to save us, O our God, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

People:Amen.

The Great Dismissal

Deacon: Wisdom!

People: Father, bless.

Standing in front of the Altar Table, the Priest says:

Priest: + Christ our God, The Existing One, is blessed, always, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Confirm, O God, the holy Orthodox faith and Orthodox Christians unto ages of ages.

Priest: Most holy Theotokos, save us. People: More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God, the Word. True Theotokos, we magnify you.

Priest: Glory to You, O Christ, our God and our hope, glory to You.

The Deacon turns and goes to stand to the right of the Analoy.

People: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Father, bless.

Standing in the Royal Doors, facing the people, the Priest says the Great Dismissal:

Priest: May He Who was born in a cavern and lay in a manger for our salvation, Christ our true God, through the prayers of His most pure Mother; of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles; of St. (of the temple.....; of (of the day) , whom we commemorate today; of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna; and of all the saints: have mercy on us and save us for He is good and loves mankind.

People: Amen.

Appendix A

THE TWELVE MATINS PRAYERS

I

We thank You, O Lord our God, Who have raised us from our beds and put into our mouths a word of praise, that we may adore and call on Your holy name. We entreat Your bounties, which You have always used in our life. Send down Your help even now on those who stand before the face of Your holy glory and await rich mercy from You. Enable those who serve You always with fear and love, to praise Your inexpressible goodness. For to You belong all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

II

From the night our spirit wakes, O our God, for Your commandments are a light on the earth. Enlighten us now to perfect righteousness and holiness in fear of You, for we glorify You, our truly existing God. Incline Your ear and hear us. Remember by name, O Lord, all those who are with us and pray with us; save them by Your power. Bless Your people, and sanctify Your inheritance. Give peace to Your world, to the churches, to Your priests, to all those in civil authority, and to all Your people. For blessed and glorified is Your all-honorable and majestic name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

III

From the night our spirit wakes, O God, for Your commandments are a light. Teach us Your righteousness, O God, Your commandments and Your statutes. Enlighten the eyes of our understanding, lest at any time we should fall asleep to death in sin. Drive all gloom from our hearts. Grant us the Sun of Righteousness, and, by the seal of Your Holy Spirit, preserve our life unassailed. Guide our steps to the way of peace. Enable us to behold the dawn and the day with joy, that we may raise our morning prayers to You. For Yours is the majesty, and Yours are the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

IV

O Master, God, holy and unsearchable, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness; Who refreshed us by the sleep of the night; and Who raised us for the glorification and supplication of Your goodness. Implored by Your own lovingkindness, accept now also us who bow before You and give thanks according to our ability. Grant us all our petitions which are for salvation. Show us to be sons of the light and of the day, heirs of Your eternal good things. Remember, O Lord, in the multitude of Your bounties, all Your people here present and praying with us; and all our brothers on land, on sea, in the air, and in every place of Your dominion who are in need of Your mercy and love for mankind; grant Your mercy to all of them. That being always preserved in safety of soul and body, we may with boldness glorify Your wondrous and blessed name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

V

Treasury of Blessings, ever-glowing Fountain, Holy Father Who work wonders, almighty and all-powerful! We all worship You and pray to You, entreating Your mercies and Your compassion, to help and preserve our humility. Remember Your servants, O Lord, and accept our morning prayers as incense in Your sight. Let none of us be found guilty, but surround us all with Your bounties. Remember, O Lord, those who keep vigil and sing to Your glory, and to the glory of Your only-begotten Son and our God and of the Holy Spirit. Be their helper and protector, and receive their supplications on Your heavenly and ideal altar. For You are our God, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

VI

We thank You, O Lord, God of our salvation, for You do all things which are good for life, that we may always look up to You, the Savior and Benefactor of our souls. You have refreshed us in the past night, and raised us from our beds, and set us in worship of Your honorable name. Therefore we entreat You, O Lord, grant us grace and power that we may sing to You with understanding, and pray without ceasing, working out our own salvation in fear and trembling through the help of Your Christ. Remember, O Lord, those who call out to You in the night; hear them and have mercy on them, destroying under their feet invisible and warring enemies. For You are the King of Peace, the Savior of our souls, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

VII

O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who have raised us from our beds, and gathered us at the hour of prayer. Grant us grace in the opening of our lips, and accept our thanks according to our ability. Teach us Your statutes. We do not know how to pray as we entreat You, pardon and forgive whatever sins we may have committed up to this present hour, by word or thought, voluntarily or involuntarily. If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You. You only are holy, a mighty helper, the defender of our life; and our song shall always be of You. Blessed and most glorified be the majesty of Your kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

VIII

O Lord our God, Who have driven the despair of sleep from us and assemble us by a holy call, that even in the night we might lift up our hands and give thanks to You for the judgments of Your righteousness, accept our prayers and petitions, the thanks of our nightly worship. Grant us, O Lord, a faith unashamed, a sure hope, a love unfeigned. Bless our comings and goings, our works and deeds, our words and thoughts, and grant that we may begin this day, praising, singing, and blessing the goodness of Your ineffable beneficence. For blessed is Your name, and glorified is Your kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

IX

Illumine our hearts, O Master Who love mankind, with the pure light of Your divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Your gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing to You. For You are the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and to You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father Who is without beginning, and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

X

O Lord our God, Who have granted men pardon through repentance, and set repentance unto forgiveness, for the prophet David as an example for us of acknowledgment of sin and confession. O Master, have mercy on us according to Your great goodness on account of the many and great iniquities into which we have fallen; and according to Your abundant mercy, blot out our transgression. For we have sinned against You, O Lord, Who know the secret and hidden things in the heart of man and Who alone have authority to pardon sins. Since You have created in us a clean heart; and put a new and right spirit within us; and made known to us the joy of Your salvation; cast us not away from Your presence. But since You are good, and You love mankind, graciously enable us, even to our last breath, to offer to You the sacrifice of righteousness, and an oblation on Your holy altar. Through the mercy and compassion and love for mankind of Your only-begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed, together with Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

XI

O God, our God, Who by Your will have made all the powers endowed with reason and understanding, we implore and supplicate You: Accept the praise which we offer with all Your creatures according to our ability; reward us with the rich gifts of Your goodness. For every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth bends to You; and everything that breathes and every creature sings of Your ineffable glory; only You are the true and most merciful God. For all the powers of heaven praise You, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

XII

We praise, bless, sing, and thank You, O God of our Fathers, for You have led us through the shade of night and showed us again the light of day. We entreat Your goodness, cleanse us from our sins and accept our prayer in Your great tenderness of heart; for we run to You, the merciful and all powerful God! Make the true Sun of Your Righteousness dawn in our hearts. Enlighten our mind and guard all our senses; that walking uprightly as in the day in the way of Your commandments, we may attain to eternal life - for with You is the fountain of life, and we will be made worthy of enjoying Your unapproachable light. For You are our God, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.


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