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The Protheoria :: The Ninth Hour and Vespers :: The Mesonyktikon and Orthros :: The Divine Liturgy :: The Daily Diataxis :: The Sunday Diataxis

The Ninth Hour :: The Hesperinos :: Blessed is our God :: Prooimiakos :: First Kathisma :: First Stasis :: Lord, I have cried :: First Set of Stichera :: First Doxastikon :: Prokeimenon :: Readings :: Artoklasia :: Aposticha :: Doxastikon of the Aposticha :: Lord, now lettest thou thy servand depart :: The Apolytikia :: Apolysis

The Ninth Hour

1. Preceding the Hesperinos each day, the Ninth Hour is read as the seal of the service on the already ending liturgical day. If it happens to be a feast of the Master [despotikê], the Mother of God [theomêtorikê], an after-feast [metheortê] or the commemoration of a celebrated Saint [heortazomenos/nê], the apolytikion and kontakion is that of the feast or Saint. If it is a day with none of the above commemorations, then the apolytikion is of the Saint of the day and the kontakion is the Seeing the ruler of life, the Thief…, Glory… In between two thieves… Both now… The Lamb and Shepherd…. On Saturday evening the apolytikion Apostles, martyrs… and the kontakion As the planter of all nature… [see Sunday of All Saints]. On Sunday evenings the resurrectional apolytikion is read and instead of the kontakion the hypakoe of the mode is read. During the week of New Creation and the Saturday evening before the Hesperinos for the Sunday of Thomas and, likewise, the Wednesday evening of the leave-taking [apodosis] of the feast of Pascha before the Hesperinos of the Ascension, the Ninth Hour of Pascha is read; that is the Having beheld the Resurrection…, Before dawn the women…, etc., as printed in the Horologion. On Tuesday evening in the week of the Blind man, before the Hesperinos of the leave-taking of Pascha, the three psalms of the Ninth Hour are read, the apolytikion, The beginningless Word… and the kontakion Blinded in the eyes of the soul…. • During the great Fast the Ninth Hour is read as printed in the Horologion, with the Beatitudes and all that goes with them. The small apolysis is always used for the Ninth Hour (see §16 below) with the characteristic apolysis of the feast whose apolytikion and kontakion has been read. | back to top

The Hesperinos

On The Blessed Is our God…

2. The beginning of the Hesperinos, Orthros and every other divine Service is the ekphonesis by the priest, Blessed is our God…. [1] The exceptions to this are the Divine Liturgies, the Mystery of holy Baptism and the Mystery of holy Matrimony, before which he uses the ekphonesis, Blessed is the Kingdom…. Furthermore, at the Hesperinos [2] and Orthros in the Week of New Creation and the leave-taking of the Feast of the Great Pascha, just as we do every day before the reading of the Hexapslamos, the priest makes the ekphonesis, Glory to the Holy and Consubstatial and Life-giving Trinity…. | back to top

On the Prooimiakos [Introductory Psalm]

3. The Prooimiakos [Introductory Psalm], the most majestic doxology to God, [3] is read at all Hesperinoi throughout the entire year; only, it is not said from the Hesperinos of the Sunday of Pascha, throughout all the Week of New Creation and on the leave-taking of Pascha. It is read again from the Sunday of Thomas to the leave-taking of Pascha, but without the Come, let us worship…, because we sing instead the Christ is risen…—once from the Doors and twice by the choirs. From the Hesperinos of the Ascension and on we again add the Come, let us worship…, three times, as is shown in the Horologion. | back to top

On the First kathisma of the Psalter

4. On Saturday evenings at the Hesperinos the first kathisma of the Psalter is used, even when it is a feast of the Mother of God or the commemoration of a celebrated Saint. It is not used on the following feasts of the Master where none of the resurrectional elements are used when they fall on a Sunday: the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the Epiphany and the Transfiguration; neither is it used on the Sunday of Pentecost, as well as the after-feasts of the Nativity and Epiphany when they fall on a Sunday, even though the resurrectional stichera precede the stichera of the after-feast. On the following feasts of the Master, the Sunday of Palms, the Sunday of Thomas and the feast of the Elevation of the Cross (when it lands on a Sunday) the Psalter is used, but the resurrectional hymns are not. | back to top

On the First Stasis of the Psalter

5. On the feasts of the Mother of God (except for the Annunciation and the Meeting of the Lord) [4] and commemorations of the celebrated Saints during one of the four weekdays, the first Stasis of the Psalter is used in the Hesperinos—that is, the first three Psalms. It is not used, however, when they fall on a Saturday* or Monday, because on the Hesperinos for these two days we do not read from the Psalter. | back to top

On the 140th Psalm “Lord, I have cried”

6. Every day in the Hesperinos we chant the Psalms Lord, I have cried… (140), [5] I cry with my voice… (141), Out of the depths I cry to Thee… (130), and the Praise the Lord, all nations… (116), with all their verses in the appointed modes. In the Hesperinos of the Great Feasts it is the practice, in order to save time, to skip the verses from the Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord… on and for the first choir to begin with the verse, leaving enough verses needed to sing the stichera that follow. | back to top

On the First Set of stichera

7. At every Saturday evening Hesperinos for Sunday and Orthros every Sunday throughout the entire year, the Resurrection hymns of the Oktoechos are always chanted, that is, the stichera, doxastika, apolytikia, triadika, kathismata, hypakoai, antiphons, kanons, kontakia, oikoi, exaposteilaria, heothina, makarismoi, etc. They are used even on the feasts of the Mother of God and their leave-taking, on the leave-taking of the feasts of the Master, on the Sundays of an after-feast and celebrated Saints, even when they land on Sundays. | back to top

They are chanted in this way: • in the first two instances—on the feasts of the Mother of God and their leave-taking, as well as on the leave-taking of the feasts of the Master—the first four resurrectional stichera are used and then the six of the Mother of God; on the Sundays of after-feasts and celebrated Saints six resurrectional and after-feast stichera or stichera of the Saint, four; • if the commemoration of a celebrated Saint happens to fall on a Sunday with an after-feast or a Sunday also containing the leave-taking of a feast of the Master or Mother of God, then we chant four resurrectional stichera, three from the feast and three from the Saint. • In the celebrations of the following Saints, the Archangels, the birth of the Forerunner, the chief Apostles Peter and Paul, John the Evangelist (Sept. 26), the Three Hierarchs (when it doesn’t fall during Triodion), the Holy Fathers of the 4th and 7th Synods, and the Saints Demetrios and Nicholas, we chant four resurrectional stichera and six of the Saints. • When a Saint without a doxastikon lands on a Sunday we chant 7 resurrectional stichera and 3 for the Saint. • We leave out all the resurrectional hymns only on the Great Feasts of the Master, namely, Christ’s Nativity, the Epiphany, the Sunday of Palms, the Sunday of the Apostle Thomas, Pentecost, the Transfiguration, the Elevation of the Cross and the Sunday before the Nativity of Christ when it lands on the 24th of December, but in this last case, at the God is Lord and at the Entrance of the Liturgy we also chant the apolytikion of the mode, as well as its exaposteilarion and 4 of the resurrectional ainoi. | back to top

On the First doxastikon

8. If a feast of the Mother of God lands on a Sunday, we chant Glory… Both now… and only the doxastikon of her feast. In the leave-taking of her feasts (except for the feast of her Dormition, when we sing only the doxastikon of the feast), the feasts of the Master, the Sundays of an after-feast and every Sunday containing the memory of a celebrated Saint, the Glory… is of the feast or celebrated Saint and the Both now… is the first theotokion from the Oktoechos of the mode of the week. • When the feast of the Meeting of the Lord (Feb. 10) lands on one of the first four Sundays of the Triodion, the Glory… is chanted from the Triodion and the Both now… is of the feast. • When the feast of the Annunciation lands on the 3rd Sunday of the Fast, the Saturday of Lazarus or the Sunday of Pascha, we chant first the doxastikon of the Triodion or Pentekostarion, Both now… and the doxastikon of the feast. However, if it falls on the Sunday of Palms or Monday of the Week of New Creation we chant Glory… Both now… and only the doxastikon of the feast. • When the feasts of Saint George, Saint John the Theologian (May 8) and Saints Constantine and Helen land on any Sunday of the Pentekostarion or feast of the Master (except for the Sunday of Pentecost), the Glory… is chanted with the doxastikon of the Saint and the Both now… is used with the doxastikon of the Sunday or feast. • If a Saint without a doxastikon lands on a Sunday, Glory… Both now… and only the theotokion of the mode. If, however, it is a great martyr and lands on any Sunday of an after-feast for any feast of the Master or Mother of God, Glory… that of the Saint, Both now… and the first theotokion of the mode. | back to top

On the prokeimenon in the Hesperinos

9. At the Saturday Hesperinos, even if it is a feast of the Master or Mother of God (except for the two feasts of the Nativity of Christ and Epiphany), the prokeimenon The Lord reigns… is chanted. The Saturdays with after-feasts for feasts of the Master always use the prokeimena What God is as great… and Thy God in heaven and on earth… with their verses. Also, in the Hesperinos for Great Saturday, after the Epistle of the Apostle we chant the prokeimenon Arise, O God… with its verses. ‡The great prokeimena are chanted also in the Hesperinos during the week of New Creation, as shown in the Pentekostarion. | back to top

On the Readings in the Hesperinos

10. In the Saturday Hesperinos prophecies are read when they happen to be feasts of the Master, Mother of God or celebrated Saints; before they are read the Deacon says, Wisdom! Let us be attentive. However, when the texts of the Epistles of the Apostles are read, in the feasts of the Apostles Peter and Paul, John the Theologian, James the brother of God and Andrew the First-called, the Deacon will say, as in the Divine Liturgy, Let us be attentive. Wisdom! Let us be attentive. | back to top

On the Artoklasia [Blessing of the Loaves]

11. If there is to be an Artoklasia, after the ekphonesis, May the might of Thy kingdom be blessed…, the second choir chants one of the stichera from the lite, and while they are doing so the Deacons and Priests come out of the North Door holding candles and stand in the middle of the church where the loaves, wine and oil have already been placed. Then the Deacon says the Have mercy on us, O God… Again we pray for this holy church… and the choirs chant, piously and with humble voices the Lord, have mercy, as the order prescribes. The Priest reads the Hear, our God…. ¬ Peace be to all, and the choir chants, And with thy spirit. The Deacon, Let us bow our heads… and the choir, To Thee, O Lord. Then the Priest (or the Bishop), All-merciful Master… then the Priest censes the loaves in the form of a cross, facing them and chanting the Theotokos Virgin…. However, during the week of New Creation, instead of the Theotokos Virgin…, the Christ is risen… is chanted. After this the Deacon says the Let us pray to the Lord, and the choir the Lord, have mercy. The Priest then blesses the loaves saying the prayer, Master, Lord Jesus Christ our God… and chants the The rich were made poor… three times, then the aposticha follow. | back to top

On the aposticha of the Hesperinos

12. The resurrectional aposticha of the Saturday evening Hesperinos are not left out, even if it happens to be a feast of the Mother of God, the Sunday of a fore-feast or after-feast, the leave-taking for feasts of the Master or Mother of God and memories of celebrated Saints. In the Hesperinos of the four Sundays after the Sunday of Thomas the aposticha of the mode are chanted first (started by the first choir) and then the four stichera of Pascha follow, Sacred Pascha…, with their verses. | back to top

On the doxastikon of the aposticha

13. At feasts of the Mother of God and their after-feasts, the feasts of the Master and their after-feasts, along with the leave-takings on Sundays, the 3rd Sunday of the Fast, the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers, the feast of the Parents of God Joachim and Anna,* and the feast of the Archangels (when it lands on a Sunday), the doxastikon of the aposticha is only that of the feast, without a theotokion. • When the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple and its leave-taking lands on one of the first four Sundays of Triodion, the Glory… is from the Triodion and the Both now… is of the feast. • When the feast of the Annunciation lands on the 3rd Sunday of the Fast or Sunday of Palms, the Glory… is from the Triodion and the Both now… is of the feast; if it falls on Pascha, the Glory… is for the Annunciation and the Both now… is of Pascha, It is the day of Resurrection…. • When celebrated Saints fall on a Sunday, the Glory… is of the Saint and the theotokion is from the Oktoechos in the same mode as the doxastikon. When celebrated Saints fall on a Sunday which is also an after-feast or the leave-taking of a feast of the Master or Mother of God, the Glory… is of the Saint and the Both now… is of the feast. If a celebrated Saint without a doxastikon in the aposticha falls on a Sunday, Glory… Both now… is chanted with the theotokion of the mode of the week from the Oktoechos. | back to top

It is also worth noting that if the memory of the Saints George, John the Theologian, Athanasios the Great or Constantine and Helen fall on one of the six days of the week (any day except Sunday) during the period after Pascha until the feast of the Ascension, the Glory… of the aposticha is from the Saint and the Both now… is taken from the preceding Sunday in the Pentekostarion and not the It is the day of Resurrection, which is only chanted in the Hesperinos on Saturday night and at Orthros on Sunday morning. | back to top

On the “Lord, Now Lettest thou Thy Servant Depart…” and the Trisagion [“Holy God…”]

14. Each day in the Hesperinos, just before the apolysis, the Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace… is said followed by the Holy God…. During the week of New Creation and in the Hesperinos of the leave-taking of the feast of Pascha, after the It is the day of Resurrection…, instead of the Holy God… we chant the Christ is risen…, three times, and straightaway we add the apolysis. | back to top

On the apolytikia

15. On Saturday evening the resurrectional apolytikia of the Oktoechos are chanted even if a feast of the Mother of God, the after-feasts and leave-taking of both feasts of the Master and the Mother of God land on a Sunday. In these situations the resurrectional apolytikion is chanted once and the apolytikion of the feast twice. If the Sunday is that of an after-feast, then the resurrectional apolytikion and apolytikion of the feast are both chanted only once, but in the Orthros the resurrectional apolytikion is chanted twice and that of the feast once. • If the feast of the Annunciation falls on the third Sunday of the Fast, the resurrectional apolytikion is chanted first, then the apolytikion of the Cross is chanted, followed by the apolytikion of the feast. On the Saturday of Lazarus the apolytikion for the feast of the Annunciation is chanted twice and the apolytikion of Lazarus once. On the Sunday of Palms the apolytikion of the Palms is first chanted, that of the feast of Lazarus and then the feast again. • On Sundays with fore-feasts of the Master or Mother of God, first the resurrectional apolytikion and then the fore-feast—each once; in the morning, however, at the God is the Lord…, the first apolytikion is doubled. • When the commemoration of a celebrated Saint lands on a Sunday of an after-feast or leave-taking for a feast of the Master or the Mother of God, the resurrectional apolytikion is chanted first, then the Saint’s and, lastly, the feast; if the Saint does not have a doxastikon in the Hesperinos, then his apolytikion is not chanted in either the Hesperinos, Orthros or Liturgy, but only the resurrectional apolytikion with its theotokion. | back to top

Regarding the apolysis [Apolysis] in General

16. The apolysis of the Hesperinos on Saturday evening is said in the following way: the Deacon, Wisdom!, the Priest, Blessed is our God, the one who Is, now and ever and unto the ages of ages, the Choir,  Amen; then the Proïstamenos,* Make firm, O Lord God, the holy faith of the pious and Orthodox Christians, together with this holy Church and city (or country), unto the ages of ages, and the Choir, Amen. (But if there has been the blessing of the loaves, instead of the Deacon’s Wisdom!, he says, Let us pray to the Lord, the Choir, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, and then the Bishop or Priest says, May the blessing of our Lord come upon us by His divine grace and philanthropy, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, the Choir, Amen, and then the Priest says the apolysis: Glory to Thee, O God, our hope, glory to Thee. He that arose from the dead, Christ our true God, through the intercessions of his most-pure Mother, the power of the precious and life-giving Cross, the supplications of the honorable, heavenly Bodiless Powers, the honorable, glorious, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, the holy, glorious and all-praiseworthy Apostles, the glorious and victorious Martyrs, our righteous and god-bearing Fathers, the holy and righteous ancestors of God Joachim and Anna [then the Saint of the church and the Saint of the day], and all the saints, have mercy on us and save us as the good God who loves humankind. [6] Then the Through the prayers of our holy fathers…. [7] This is said on Sunday at the Orthros and the Liturgy (but in the Liturgy we insert the name of the Saint of the Liturgy before the Saint of the day); the apolysis is the same also on Pascha. • Every feast of the Master has its own characteristic apolysis, as is known to the Priests, but on the Sundays of their after-feasts and leave-takings, if they also land on a Sunday, when the resurrectional elements take priority, in the Hesperinos on Saturday night, the Orthros and Liturgy on Sunday the apolysis has both the characteristic of the feast and the usual phrase from the Sunday apolysis— Glory to You, O God, our hope, glory to You. He who was born in a cave and laid in a manger for our salvation (or He who accepted to be baptized in the Jordan by John for our salvation), and arose from the dead, Christ our true God…. • At the feast of the Elevation of the Cross the resurrectional apolysis is said no matter what day it falls on, because the Having beheld the Resurrection… is said in the Orthros. • It must also be noted that only two feasts of the Mother of God, namely, the Annunciation and Meeting of our Lord in the Temple, have their own characteristic dismissals, which, as has been said above, are combined with the resurrectional apolysis when they fall on Sundays. | back to top

There is also the so-called small apolysis that is said in the evenings after the Ninth Hour, at the end of the Small Hesperinos when there will be a vigil, in the Apodeipnon and in the morning at the Mesonyktikon. This is the small apolysis: Glory to Thee, O God our hope, glory to Thee. Christ our true God (On Sunday—who arose from the dead), through the intercessions of his most-pure Mother, the holy and glorious Apostles (the Saint of the day) and all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us as a good God who loves humankind, and then the Through the prayers…. If, however, the, We pray for the peace of the world… (as at the end of the Apodeipnon and Mesonyktikon services) are said, then the Through the prayers of our holy fathers… is said at the end of the We pray for the peace of the world. | back to top

Protheoria of the Mesonyktikon and Orthros →

Endnotes

  1. It is good to know that before this the priest bows three times and kisses the Holy Table, wearing the epitrachilion, which is taken off only after the apolysis of the Hesperinos, otherwise he is disorderly. ^
  2. The ancient typika note that the Blessed is our God… is used on Monday of new Creation, showing that the present use of the Glory to the Holy and Consubstantial… is a new addition; nevertheless, it is now the rule almost everywhere during the whole of the Week of New Creation, only that instead of the Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee after the blessing, the ancient typika note that the Christ is Risen… is said during the week of New Creation. ^
  3. All that John Chrysostom said regarding the Psalms in general and, specifically, on the Psalms of David, we deign worthy to be mentioned here so that it may be frequently read and studied by every Christian and especially the clergy, to whom the sacred Psalter is a worthy handbook. “For what reason was the psalm introduced by our Church for daily use and why is the prophecy said with melody?… Listen. When God saw that many men were rather indolent, that they came unwillingly to Scriptural readings and did not endure the labor this involves, wishing to make the labor more grateful and to take away the sensation of it, He blended melody with prophecy in order that, delighted by the modulation of the chant, all might with great eagerness give forth sacred hymns to Him. For nothing so uplifts the mind, giving it wings and freeing it from the earth, releasing it from the chains of the body, affecting it with love of wisdom, and causing it to scorn all things pertaining to this life, as modulated melody and the divine chant composed of number. To such an extent, indeed, is our nature delighted by chants and songs that even infants at the breast, if they be weeping or afflicted, are by reason of it lulled to sleep.… This they do, the women, travelers, peasants, and sailors, striving to lighten with a chant the labor endured in working, for the mind suffers hardships and difficulties more easily when it hears songs and chants.… From the spiritual psalms, however, proceeds much of value, much utility, much sanctity, and every inducement to philosophy, for the words purify the mind and the Holy Spirit descends swiftly upon the mind of the singer. For those who sing with understanding invoke the grace of the Spirit.… Demons congregate where there are licentious chants, but where there are spiritual ones there the grace of the Spirit descends, sanctifying mouth and mind.… And just as not a few wealthy persons wipe off their tables with a sponge filled with balsam, so that if any stain remain from the food, they may remove it and show a clean table; so should we also, filling our mouths with spiritual melody instead of balsam, so that if any stain remain in our mind from the abundance, we may thereby wipe it away. And all standing, let us say together: ‘For thou, O Lord, hast made me glad through thy work….’ So those who invoke David with his lyre call inwardly on Christ. Where Christ is, let no demon enter; let him not even dare to look in passing. Peace, delight, and all good things flow here as from fountains.… For where there are psalms, and prayers, and the dance of the prophets, and singers with pious intentions, no one will err if he call the assembly a Church. Even though the meaning of the words be unknown to you, teach your mouth to utter them meanwhile. For the tongue is made holy by the words when they are uttered with a ready and eager mind. Once we have acquired this habit, neither through free will nor through carelessness shall we neglect our beautiful office; custom compelling us, even against our will, to carry out daily worship” (St John Chrysostom, Interpretation on Psalm 41).
    St Basil the Great says: “He blended the delight of melody with doctrines in order that through the pleasantness and softness of the sound we might unawares receive what was useful in the words, according to the practice of the wise physicians, who, when they give the more bitter draughts to the sick, often smear the rim of the cup with honey.… A psalm is the tranquility of souls, the arbitrator of peace, restraining the disorder and turbulence of thoughts…. A psalm forms friendships, unites the divided, mediates between enemies; to children it is safety, to men in their prime an adornment, to the old a solace, to women their most fitting ornament, respite from daily toil, the voice of the Church” (St Basil the Great, Homily on Psalm 1).
    Theodoret of Cyrus: “Divine grace, having mingled benefit with the sweetness of the melody it made divine teaching thrice-desirable and most beloved.”
    Gregory of Nyssa: “Since that which is natural is agreeable to our nature and it has been proven that music is inherent to our nature, for this reason, David the great mixed music with philosophy regarding the virtues, as if having poured sweet honey on divine doctrine.”
    Behold the reasons that our holy Church holds the Psalms of David as the foundation of certain individual and public prayers and by which in ancient times all the Psalms were chanted as today we chant Psalms 140, 141 and others. ^
  4. It is noted that these two feasts are exceptions, because they partake in the characteristics of the feasts of the Master; this is due to the fact that through their unique liturgical elements they are shown to be more important than the other feasts of the Mother of God. ^
  5. When the second choir begins singing the Let my prayer be counted as incense…, the priest blesses the incense and censes the holy Table, the holy Icons and people according to the order, and if he is to make an Entrance, from the  Lord, I have cried… he wears the Phelonion, if no Entrance is to be made then he censes wearing only the Epitrachilion. ^
  6. This same apolysis is used on the rest of the days of the week without the phrase He that arose from the dead, in the beginning. ^
  7. The ancient typika call this the final apolysis. ^

ISSN: 1941-7616   Copyright © 2008, Konstantinos Terzopoulos.

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