Texts for Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy for December 17, 2017.
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 3
Lead my soul forth from prison* that I may give thanks to Your name.
By Your Cross, O Christ our Saviour,
the power of Death has been vanquished
and the deceit of the devil has been destroyed.
Therefore, mankind, saved by faith,
offers You hymns of praise forever.
The just shall gather around me* when You have been good to me.
O Lord, all creation has been enlightened by Your resurrection,
and Paradise has been reopened;
therefore, all creation extols You
and offers You hymns of praise forever.
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord;* O Lord, hear my voice!
I glorify the powers of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
and I praise the dominion of the undivided Divinity,
the consubstantial Trinity,
Who reigns forever and ever.
Let Yours ears be attentive* to the voice of my prayer.
We adore Your precious Cross, O Christ,
and with hymns of praise we glorify Your Resurrection;
for by Your wounds we have all been healed.
If You mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?* But with You forgiveness is that You may be revered.
Let us sing the praises of the Saviour,
Who was incarnate of the Virgin;
for He was crucified for our sake,
and on the third day He arose from the dead,
granting us His great mercy.
I have waited for You as You have commanded; my soul patiently relies on Your promise,* for it has trusted in the Lord.
Christ descended into Hades and announced to those confined there:
Take courage, for today I have conquered death.
I am the Resurrection, the One Who will set you free.
I shattered the gates of the realm of death.
In Tone 8
From the morning watch until night* let Israel trust in the Lord.
Today we commemorate the Forefathers of Christ.
Sing with fervour a hymn of praise to Christ the Saviour
who exalted them among the nations.
He is the Lord who does wondrous deeds
because He is powerful and almighty.
From them He brought forth a royal sceptre,
the Immaculate Maiden of God and Virgin Mary.
From her, Christ our God came forth
to give life and eternal salvation for all.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him there is plentiful redemption;* and He shall redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
O Lord and Master,
You rescued the three holy youths from the fire.
You saved Daniel from the mouths of the lions;
You blessed Abraham, Isaac Your servant, and Jacob his son.
You willed to be like one of us by choosing to be born from them
in order that You might save our Forefathers who had fallen.
By Your Cross and Resurrection You tore apart the bonds of death.
You raise up all those who for ages had been among the dead
and who bow to You, O Christ, the eternal King.
Praise the Lord, all the nations;* proclaim His glory, all you people.
The three holy youths were refreshed by the Holy Spirit
when they walked in the fire as though in a cool place.
In them the Trinity and the Incarnation of Christ
were prefigured in a mystical manner.
By their wisdom and faith
they overcame the power of fire.
As for the just Daniel, he stopped the mouths of lions.
Through their intercession, we beseech You:
O Saviour and Lover of Mankind,
protect us from eternal fire
and make us worthy of Your heavenly Kingdom.
Strong is the love of the Lord for us;* eternally will His truth endure.
When the three holy youths stood in the flaming furnace
as if covered with dew,
they mystically prefigured Your coming from the Virgin,
giving light to us without being consumed.
And Daniel, the just and wondrous prophet,
clearly saw in a vision Your second divine coming.
He said: “I saw thrones set up and the Judge seated
and the river of fire flowing in His presence.”
Through their intercession
deliver us from this fire, O Lord.
In Tone 6, Glory…
O believers, let us give praise today
to all the fathers who lived before the Law:
Abraham who was beloved by God,
Isaac who was born according to the promise,
Jacob and the Twelve Patriarchs,
the very meek David and the favoured prophet Daniel.
Let us also glorify with them the three youths
who changed the fiery furnace into a place of refreshing dew.
Let us beg forgiveness of our sins from Christ our God
who is glorified in His Saints.
In Tone 3, Glory… Now…
O Lady most honourable,
how can we but be rapt in wonder
at you giving birth to the Incarnate God
who, without a mother, was born of the Father before all ages?
You gave Him birth in the flesh without a father,
without a man instrumentality.
He is God and man whose two natures are intact,
neither one losing any of its properties.
Therefore, O Virgin Mother,
intercede with Him to save the souls
of those who believe and confess in true faith
that you are the Mother of God.
In Tone 3
O Christ, Who darkened the sun by Your passion
and enlightened all creation by Your resurrection,
accept our evening prayer; for You love mankind.
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
O Lord, Your life-giving Resurrection has enlightened the entire universe
and has revived Your creation which lay in corruption.
Therefore, we, who have been released from the curse of Adam, cry out to You:
Almighty Lord, glory to You!
For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.
O God, although in Your divine nature You are unchangeable,
yet in Your human nature You underwent change by suffering in the flesh.
All creation was prostrate with fear
when it saw You hanging on the Cross,
and it groaned in sorrow as it sang the praises of Your long-suffering.
But You descended into Hades and arose on the third day,
granting life and great mercy to the world.
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.
You suffered death, O Christ, to deliver mankind from death.
And when You arose from the dead on the third day,
You enlightened the world
and resurrected all who acknowledge You as God.
In Tone 3, Glory…
Come, O lovers of the feast,
let us sing a hymn of praise to the assembly of the Forefathers:
Adam, the father of mankind,
Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Let us also honour those who came after the Law:
Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, and David;
together with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel,
Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets;
likewise Elijah, Elisha, and all the others;
also Zechariah and the Baptist,
and all those who preached Christ, the Life and Resurrection of our race.
O Virgin Mother, you conceived the Son of God without seed
by the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
He was begotten of the Father, without a mother, from all eternity.
Yet for our sake, He was born of you in the flesh without a human father,
and you nursed Him as an infant with your milk.
Therefore, never cease to entreat Him to deliver our souls from affliction.
In Tone 3
Let the heavens be glad, let the earth rejoice,* for the Lord has done a mighty deed with His arm.* He trampled death by death. He became the first-born of the dead;* He saved us from the abyss of Hades* and granted great mercy to the world.
In Tone 2, Glory… Now…
By faith you justified Your ancestors* and through them in advance you betrothed the Church taken from the nations.* The saints exult in glory;* from their seed comes the blessed fruit, the one who bore You without seed.* By their prayers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us.
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 3: Let the heavens be glad, let the earth rejoice,* for the Lord has done a mighty deed with His arm.* He trampled death by death. He became the first-born of the dead;* He saved us from the abyss of Hades* and granted great mercy to the world.
Troparion, Tone 2: By faith You justified Your ancestors* and through them in advance You betrothed the Church taken from the nations.* The saints exult in glory;* from their seed comes the blessed fruit, the one who bore You without seed.* By their prayers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 6: Armed by the Being that defies description,* you defied the man-made idol, O thrice blessed youth.* In the midst of the unbearable flames you stood and cried out to God:* “In Your mercy, O gracious One, hasten and come to our aid,”* for You can do whatever You will.
Prokeimenon, Tone 4
Blessed are You, Lord God of our fathers,* and praised and glorified is Your Name forever.
verse: For You are righteous in everything that You have done to us. (Daniel 3:26,27)
Alleluia, Tone 4
verse: Moses and Aaron are among His priests and Samuel among those who call upon His name.
verse: They called on the Lord and He heard them. (Psalm 98:6)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest (Psalm 148:1).* Rejoice in the Lord, O you just;* praise befits the righteous (Psalm 32:1).* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia.