The Various Divine Services Conducted During Holy and Great Lent

St Asclepius of Syria

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


Lord and Master of my life, cast away from me the spirit of laziness, idle curiosity, love of power and vain talk. (Prostration)

But grant me, Your servant, the spirit of  moderation, humility, patience and love. (Prostration)

Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters. (Prostration)

For Your are Blessed forever. Amen.


By Saint John of Climacus

"God is the life of all free beings. He is the salvation of all, of believers or unbelievers, of the just or unjust, of the pious or the impious, of those freed from the passions or caught up in them, of monks or those living in the world, of the educate or the illiterate, of the healthy, or the sick, of the young or the very old. He is like the outpouring of light, the glimpse of the sun, or the changes of the weather, which are the same for everyone without exception. 'For God is no respecter of persons' (Romans 2:11). An impious man is a rational being, one that must die, who willingly runs away from life, and refuses to believe in the existence of his own everlasting Creator. A transgressor is someone who observes the Divine Law only in his own depraved fashion and holds on to heretical belief in opposition to God. A Christian is an imitator of Christ in thought, word, and deed, as far as this is humanly possible, and he believes rightly and blamelessly in the Holy Trinity. A friend of God is the one who lives in communion with all that is natural and free from sin and who does not neglect to do what good he can. The self-controlled man strives with all his might amidst the trials, the snares, and the noise of the world, to be like someone who rises above them."



Saints Commemorated: St. Procopius the Confessor of Decapolis; St. Julian, Chroniun and Besas at Alexandria; St. Asclepius and St. James of Syria; St. Gelasius the actor of Heliopolis; St. Stefanos of Constantinople; St. Thelaleos of Syria; St. Timotheos of Caesarea; St. Pitirim of Tambov; Holy Martyr Nesius; St. Titus of the Kiev Caves, the former soldier; St. Titus of the Kiev Caves, Presbyteros.

From Saint Paisios:

"Each person should develop his gift for the good, because God--in giving it in the first place--has some expectations. The mind, for example, is such a gift of power; but depending on how one uses his mind properly, he may be able to invent things which will help people. But if he doesn't use his mind properly, he might invent, let's say, a way to rob his neighbor."



The Akathistos (Akathist) Hymn


The Akathist Hymn is a profound, devotional poem or chant, which sings the praises of the Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary (Theotokos). It is chanted in all Orthodox churches throughout the world during the Five Fridays in the Holy and Great Fast, and constitutes a very concrete spiritual preparation for the Holy and Great Week and Pascha divine services.

Devotional Hymns to the Theotokos (Mother of God) are as ancient as the first Christian Church. The Byzantine Empire from its very inception at Constantinople during the 4th century, closely allied itself to the Ever-Virgin Mary and always sought Her protection and intercessions. This we see from the Prayer Services to the Theotokos between the 5th and 8th centuries, and the reference to Constantinople as the 'Queen City.'

The Akathist Hymn, which in its present form was added to by many Ecclesiastical Hymnographers, existed for most part even before it was formally accepted by the Church in 626 AD. The Kontakion "To the Invincible Champion...we ascribe the victory" was added then, and came to be recognized as the Akathist Hymn, because of the following described miracle attributed to the intercession of the Theotokos.

While the Emperor of Byzantium Heracleos was on an expedition to fight the aggression of the Persians on their own grounds, there appeared outside the walls of Constantinople barbaric hordes, mostly Avars. The siege lasted a few months, and it was apparent that the outnumbered troops of the Queen City were reaching desperation. However as history records, the faith of the Orthodox Christians worked the impossible. The Venerable Patriarch Sergius with the Clergy and the Official of Byzantium Vonos, endlessly marched along the great walls of Constantinople with a holy Icon of the Theotokos in hand, and bolstered the faith of the defenders of freedom. The miracle came soon after. Unexpectedly, as the chronicler narrates, a great storm with huge tidal waves destroyed most the fleet of the enemy, and full retreat ensued.

The faithful of Constantinople spontaneously filled the Church of the Theotokos at Vlahernae on the Golden Horn, and with the Patriarch Sergius officiating, they prayed all night singing to the Every-Virgin Mary without sitting. Hence the title of the Hymn "Akathistos" in Greek meaning "not seated."

The Akathist Hymn is a very important and indeed an integral part of our spiritual and ecclesiastical life. When we are present during the first Friday Service, we firmly realize that we commence to ascend the spiritual steps of the lengthy Lenten journey, to finally reach the peak with our Lord's Glorious Resurrection.

In any of our Service Books we can readily see that our glorious and Ever-Virgin Mary the Theotokos is the center of many of our divine Orthodox Services in which prayers abound for Her interceding to Her Lord and Son, and our God, for our salvation. The Ever-Virgin Mary is the Most Exalted and Most Honored Person by God. She is the Most Revered and Most loved by Orthodox Christians. She is a binding force for all Christians. She is the Unique Personality of the world and humanity, because of the unique fact of the Lord's Incarnation. She is the daughter of Grace and the Crystal Vessel of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. (see St. Luke 1:26-56).

Living in these trying times, when we are besieged by many forces of evil, it is hoped that the Akathist Hymn as well as our other divine Services may become the bulwark to withstand, and indeed to overcome these forces. (Source: The Akathist Hymn preceeded by The Brief Compline byFather George Papadeas)




Compline (Apodeipnos) in Greek meaning 'after supper,' is basically a private office. There are two versions of Compline, Great and Small Compline. Great Compline is a church service commemorating such occasions as the Eve of the Nativity of Christ or providing a structure to pray the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete during Holy and Great Lent. Small Compline is the private, bedtime prayer office. The Compline in this book incorporated certain features of both services.

The opening prayers of Compline are like those of Vespers:

Nine Psalms are appointed for Great Compline and Small Compline. At Small Compline, officially, one would pray 51, 70 and 143; at Great Compline, officially, one would pray Psalms 4, 6, 13, 25, 31 and 91. (The Psalms are marked as "Great Compline" or "Small Compline" for your information.) Strictly speaking, our household prayers are Small Compline, but the Psalms of Great Compline offer profound material for prayer. So use your judgment.

It is suggested that if you desire to establish a daily prayer discipline to follow the following procedure:

Daily Compline:

In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to You, our God, Glory to You.

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth...

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal Have mercy on us.

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal Have mercy on us.

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal Have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father...

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father...

Our Father, Who...

Lord, have mercy (12 times)

Glory to the Father...

Come, let us worship God, our King!

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God!

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, Our King and Our God!


Sunday Night Great Compline: Psalm 4

Monday Night Great Compline: Psalm 6

Tuesday Night Great Compline: Psalm 13

Wednesday Night Great Compline: Psalm 25

Thursday Night Great Compline: Psalm 31

Friday Night Small Compline: Psalm 70

Saturday Night Small Compline: Psalm 143

Every Night Small Compline: Psalm 51

Every Night Great Compline: Psalm 91

After the Psalm

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! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Glory to You, O God!

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Glory to You, O God!

The Compline Song of Isaiah

Great Compline:

God is with us! Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves! For God is with us. Hear this, even to the farthest bounds of the earth. Submit yourselves, O mighty ones! If you rise up again in your might, you will be overthrown. The Lord shall destroy all who take. You together, and the word which you speak shall not abide with you. For we do not fear your terror, and we are not troubled. But we will ascribe holiness to the Lord our God, and Him will we hold in awesome fear. And if I put my trust in Him, He shall be my sanctification. I will set my hope on Him, and through Him I shall be saved, lo, I and the children whom God has given me. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them a light has shined. For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given. And the government shall be upon His shoulder, and of His peace there will be no end. And His name shall be called the Messenger of Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counselor, Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the World to Come. God is with us! Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves! For God is with us.

The Symbol of Faith (Creed):

I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and...


To Christ

O Christ our God, You are worshipped at all times and in all places and are glorified both in heaven and on earth. You are patient, generous in mercy, rich in compassion, loving to the just and merciful to the sinner. You call all of us to repentance through the promise of blessing to come. O Lord, receive our supplications at this very hour. Direct our lives in the way of Your Commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, set our minds aright, cleanse our thoughts, deliver us from all affliction, wrath, danger and need. Surround us with Your holy Angels, so that, guided and guarded by their ranks, we may reach unity of the faith and the knowledge of Your unalterable glory. You are Blessed unto ages of ages.  Amen.

To the Theotokos (Mother of God)

O All-Pure and incorruptible Virgin Bride of God, and our Sovereign Lady, who made the Word of God one with mankind by gloriously giving birth to your Son and joining our fallen nature to His divine nature, who are the hope of the despairing and the support of those in distress, the swift defender of those who turn to you and the refuge of all Christians.

Do not turn from me, and unclean sinner, who have destroyed myself with unworthy thoughts, words and deeds, and have been enslaved by forgetfulness to the carnal passions of life, but have compassion on me, O Theotokos, and accept the prayer of a sinner and prodigal offered from unclean lips.

Exercise your boldness as a mother, and pray to your Son, our Lord and Master, that He will make known to me also His compassionate goodness, and overlooking my countless sins, will turn me to repentance and make me fervent in doing His Commandments.

Be with me always in your grace and loving mercy, for you are the fervent helper who turn away the assaults of enemies and guide men toward salvation, caring for my unworthy soul at the hour of death and driving from it the darkness of evil spirits. In the Day of Judgment, free me from eternal torment and show me to be an heir of the divine glory of your Son, and our God.

Grant this, O Lady Theotokos, by your prayers and intercessions through the mercy and lovingkindness of your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom are due all glory, honor and worship, with the Father Who is Eternal, and His All-Holy, Good and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

(There are other prayers to the Lord, the Theotokos and to the Holy Trinity. Also, intercessions and petitions.)

Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.



The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George