Project Canterbury

Voices from the East
Documents on the Present State and Working of the Oriental Church

By the Rev. J. M. Neale, M.A.

London: Joseph Masters, 1859.

Chapter VII. Acathiston; or, Prayers in honour of the Divine Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

THE following hymns and prayers were written by Innocent, Archbishop of Odessa, who has been mentioned before, and who was considered the most eloquent preacher that had ever appeared in Russia. A volume of his sermons has been translated into French. He died May 26th, 1857.

Some of the longer and more celebrated hymns of the Eastern Church are called Acathista, as said through at a stretch, and without sitting down.

Priest. Blessed be GOD, now and ever, and to ages of ages.

The Reader. Amen. Glory to Thee, our GOD, glory to Thee.

King of Heaven, Comforter, SPIRIT of Truth, Thou Who art present everywhere, and fillest all things, Treasurer of all good, Dispenser of life, come and take up Thy dwelling in us, purify us from all stain, and save our souls, Thou Who art all goodness.

Holy GOD, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us. (Three times.)

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON and to the HOLY GHOST, now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

O Holy TRINITY, have mercy upon us; ALMIGHTY GOD, purify us from our sins; LORD, forgive us our iniquities; Holy GOD, visit us in our infirmities, heal us by the virtue of Thy Name.

LORD, have mercy. (Three times.)

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST, now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.


The Priest: For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory; to Thee, FATHER, SON and HOLY SPIRIT, now and ever, and for ages of ages.

The Reader. Amen.

And the following Troparia.

Have mercy upon us, LORD, have mercy upon us because, as sinners, we have nothing to present to Thee, we offer to Thee, as to our Sovereign Master, this prayer; Have mercy upon us.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

LORD, have mercy upon us, for in Thee do we put our trust; be not angry with us, nor remember Thou our iniquities, but rather look upon us in mercy, and deliver us from our enemies; for Thou art our GOD, we are Thy people, the work of Thy Hands, and we call upon Thy Name.

Now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Blessed Mother of GOD, open to us the gates of mercy, that we perish not, who put our trust in Thee; but grant that by thy intercession we may be delivered from all calamity, for thou art the salvation of all Christian people.



O JESUS, only true Love, Who didst vouchsafe to live in the world, through love, Thou didst exhaust all the riches of Thy mercy, when Thou offeredst Thine own Body to Thy Disciples at the Last Supper; going to Thy sufferings with a firm will, though free, Thou didst keep the good wine till the end, Thy life-giving Blood; and before Thy death, Thou wast buried under the form of the Holy Sacrament in the hearts of Thy friends bury, O LORD, my passions, that I may glorify the love with which Thou didst sacrifice Thy soul for sin. (Twice.)

The impious Judas has robbed us of all our treasure, having sold JESUS to the murderous Jews. O insane Traitor! Called to the Apostleship, thou shouldst seek for the salvation of others, and thou hast lost thine own; having robbed the alms of the poor, thou hast put away from thee the grace of GOD, which we adore with love, and in which we live and move and have our being.

Thou hast fulfilled all the commandments which lead to eternal life: girded with a towel, Thou washest the feet of Thy disciples: how beautiful are the feet of the Preachers of the Gospel! That Thy Apostles may place all things at Thy feet, Thou humblest Thyself; shaking the dust from their feet, Thou wiliest that Thy Priests should think of heavenly things. My JESUS, purify me also from all defilement, that I may always serve Thee with purity Who art ever pure.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

Having fortified Thy soul, sorrowful unto death, with the living bread of prayer, Thou goest without fear to death. O invocation full of love! FATHER, let this cup pass from Me, that I drink it not from the hands of Israel, whose thirst I have appeased in the desert: but if it is Thy will that I drink it, I will give them My Body and My Blood unto life eternal.

Now and ever and for ages of ages. Amen.

My SON, wherefore dost Thou set forth with so much haste to a voluntary death? said the Virgin. And Thou answeredst her: I must accomplish My FATHER's will. I have power to lay down My life, and to take it again; but I go to a voluntary death, to deliver man from the bonds of death.

Ode with verses.

O Thou true Sun, Thou didst reach Thy setting when Thou didst touch the feet of Judas. O depth of humility! Thou didst wash the feet of the impure, returning honour for dishonour. Wash me also with my tears, O JESUS, that being purified, I may do Thy will.

V. They gnashed upon me with their teeth.

Truly this people know not the law, since in their impiety they desired to kill the Lawgiver himself. Purify us from our iniquities, O LORD, Who art without sin, that we may not be condemned with those who rise up against Thee.

V. I looked round about me, and saw that there was no man who would know me.

Thou sayest, Peter, that thou knowest not the Man 1'jhom thou hast confessed to be GOD. It is nevertheless this GOD, made man, at Whose feet thou didst cast thyself, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O LORD; it is this GOD, made man, Who stretched out His Hand to thee when thou wast perishing on the water; it is this Man Who healed thy wife's mother, sick of a fever; it is this Man with Whom, according to thine own words, thou wert happy to abide. Cast one look upon me, O JESUS, as Thou didst upon Peter, and say not unto me at the day of judgment: I know thee not.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.

The Virgin said with tears: The powers of darkness came against Thee furiously, inaccessible Light, casting upon Thee dishonour, wounds, and insults. Behold how the impious people have requited Thee, O CHRIST, for that with a strong arm and mighty hand Thou hast delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh. Behold how these ungrateful people have requited Thee, O most bountiful JESUS, after Thou hast fed them with manna in the desert, and given them water to drink out of the rock. Manifest then the might of Thy Divinity, that Thine enemies may be confounded, for Thou art my SON and my GOD.

LORD, have mercy. (Three times.)

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST, now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

O come let us worship and fall down before CHRIST, our King and GOD. (Three times.)

(Psalm cxliii.)

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST, now and ever, and to ages of ages.

Amen. Alleluia, Allelnia,. Alleluia. Glory to Thee, O LORD. (Three times.)

The Choir sing.

GOD is the LORD, He has manifested Himself unto us; blessed be He That cometh in the Name of the LORD.


At the time of Supper, Thy blessed disciples were enlightened with Thy Light, by the ablution of their feet. Judas the traitor, led by avarice, plunged alone into darkness, and delivered Thee, O righteous Judge, to wicked judges. Behold, all ye who love riches, how this passion led the disciple to an infamous death. Flee from the insatiable desire of Judas, who betrayed his Master. Glory be to Thee, O LORD, GOD of goodness.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

O CHRIST, one GOD, Thou hast accomplished upon earth the work of salvation. From the Cross Thine arms were opened to all men that they may one day say unto Thee, LORD, Glory be to Thee.

Now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Honourable Joseph, after having taken down Thy pure Body from the Cross, wrapped it carefully in white linen, with spices, and laid it in a new sepulchre, and shut the door.

They read the Psalm li.


[The word Canon in the Eastern Church is applied to the nine Odes written in a certain measure, and chanted in a particular manner, according to the nine (eight) Tones. The first verse of each of these nine Odes has the name of Irmos, because it serves as a bond to all the verses of the same Ode. The second Ode is generally not sung, except in Lent. Thus all the Canons in reality are composed only of eight Odes. In the Canon all the first verses (irmos) of each Ode belong to the Church, and only the verses which follow them to the author. See my "Introduction to the History of the Eastern Church," ii. 828.]


One in former times buried in the waters of the Red Sea, Pharaoh, the tyrant persecutor; the children of those whom He saved now to-day lay Him in the bosom of the earth and bury him. But we, following the example of the daughters of Israel, sing unto the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD; Thou didst bend Thy knees in prayer, Thou before Whom all the tribes of heaven, earth, and hell, bow. Incline Thine ears to my prayer, and hear me, as Thy FATHER heard Thee when Thou prayedst.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD.

To show that Thou art the true SON of GOD Thou didst say in Thy prayer: My FATHER, I am ready to suffer though I have done no evil. I have done evil, my JESUS, spare me the torments.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

Thou didst say to fallen man: In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread: thus, O Thou second Adam, while Thou didst pray, a bloody sweat came forth from Thy all-pure Body: for Thy bread is to do the will of Thy FATHER. I have fulfilled none of Thy commandments, my JESUS, wash me in the sweat of Thy Blood. Amen.

Now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Earth is no longer cursed, for it is hallowed by the blood of Thy SON, the all-pure Virgin: O blessed earth, raise me, dust and ashes, to the praise of CHRIST, our GOD.


When, upon Calvary, they beheld Thee, nailed to the instrument of torture, Who didst sustain the earth above the waters, the whole world trembled with fear, and all things cried out Nothing is holy, save Thou, O our Master.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD.

The Apostles were overcome by sleep when Thou wentest from them to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane: raise us, careless and cast down, and make us worthy and capable to adore Thee.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD.

Beholding Judas approaching as a wolf, like a true shepherd Thou saidst to this perverse disciple: Friend, wherefore art thou come? thus seeking to draw the Apostle to repentance. Me, who sin always and now repent, lead me, O LORD, in the right way, and by Thy might, save me from the mouth of the invisible wolf.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the Soy, and to the HOLY GHOST.

They came to seize as a thief, with swords and staves, Him Whom they should have sought in the temple as a pure victim: refuse not, O LORD, the unbloody sacrifice offered for my sins.

Now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Thy SON, Physician of the soul and body, having touched the wounded ear, healed the servant of the High Priest O Virgin, who didst hring forth the supreme Physician, heal all the sicknesses of my soul and body.

SIEDALLEM [Cathisma.]

[Christians of the Eastern church scarcely ever sit during divine service. Nevertheless, regarding human infirmity, the Church some times allows it, and especially while the Cathismata are being said or sing the word consequently signifies those Odes during which it is allowed to sit.]


Thou Who regardest not the proud, hast answered nothing to him who thought to have power over Thee; but weary with the ceaseless lying of the wicked, Thou art silent that Thou mayest preserve me from vain words, and teach me to hear all things.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST; now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Turn my sorrow into joy, O Virgin, Mother of GOD, who didst bear so many sorrows, when thou sawest thy Son in dreadful sufferings, which He underwent to expiate my condemnation.


The prophet Habakkuk foresaw Thy divine humiliation, and struck with terror, he cried out: O GOD of goodness, Thou hast, by descending unto the captives of hell, destroyed the empire of Satan by Thine Almighty power.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

Thou answeredst not Herod, the son of perdition, who had already beheaded John, Thy forerunner and Thy voice give me, O my JESUS, a good answer after my death.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

Herod asked for a miraculous sign, understanding not the great miracle that GOD should stand before His creatures: shed upon me the light of Thy countenance, O my JESUS, ad give joy to my heart filled with heaviness.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

In striking Thee they covered Thy face, O JESUS, which the cherubim themselves cannot look upon: cover me by Thy mediation.

Now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Thou didst shed bitter tears, O Virgin Mary, when thon sawest the Jews leading thy SON as a malefactor: Verily, great is Thy long-suffering, O my SON, and my GOD, thou didst say with sighs.


Isaiah seeing in the future the mild brightness of Thy coming on the earth, and the breaking of the day without end, realised it from the depth of night and said in his joy The dead shall live again, and they shall rise, those which are in the graves, and all the sons of the earth shall rejoice.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

The earth, Thy footstool, hath brought forth thorns to cover Thy head, O my JESUS. Go forth, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, and behold the King of Glory with the Crown of Thorns, wherewith He was crowned by the ungrateful Jews.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

Men are false in their dealings: Thee, the supreme treasure of all men, they have valued Thee at thirty pieces of silver, they have purchased the field of blood by the shedding of Thy blood. Wash with it, I pray Thee, my garments which I have stained after my baptism and my promise of repentance.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

Perverse Judges, ye should obey GOD rather than the Jews, and not condemn to death the supreme Master and Judge of all I My LORD, lead me to repentance, who have followed the bent of my evil passions, that I may not be condemned to eternal death.

Now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Thou adjurest the Living GOD, the Living GOD, said the Virgin, overwhelmed with maternal sorrows: but heaven and earth reply to you that He Who suffers such things is GOD Himself.


Jonas was swallowed up, without being lost, in the belly of the whale, for he carried the mark of Thy image and prefigured Thy passion and burial. The prophet also came forth from the monster, as from a nuptial palace, and forewarned the guardians of the sepulchre of JESUS: In Vain do ye guard it, in vain do ye flee from His grace.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

Thou didst go forth, O JESUS, from the praetorium, carrying Thy Cross, that Thou mightest, as Abel for Cain, suffer for the Jews; go forth now and save my wandering soul.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

Thou goest like Isaac, carrying Thy Cross on Thy shoulder, to offer to Thy FATHER the expiation of my sins, as an oblation of a sweet smell.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

The patriarch Jacob saw the ladder which reached up to heaven: it is Thy Cross, LORD; send by it my soul from hence to the heavenly dwellings.

Now, and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen. Weep not for Me, daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, Mary, My mother, for I am innocent: soon ye will rejoice, for I shall rise again, and enter into My glory.


O adorable JESUS!

I prostrate myself before the holy, pure, and life-giving Wound of Thy right hand, and I pray Thee, my LORD, by its efficacy, vouchsafe to place me at Thy right hand.

I prostrate myself before the holy, pure, and life-giving Wound of Thy left hand, and I pray Thee, my LORD, by its efficacy to preserve me from the place at Thy left hand reserved for the condemned.

I prostrate myself before the holy, pure, and lifegiving Wound of Thy right foot, and I pray Thee, my LORD, by its efficacy, put me in the straight way of repentance.

I prostrate myself before the holy, pure, and life-giving Wound of Thy left foot, and I pray Thee, my LORD, to keep my feet from every evil way.

I prostrate myself before the holy, pure, and life-giving Wound of Thy side, and I pray Thee, my LORD, by its efficacy, to soften the hardness of my heart, to strike it with Thy holy fear, and fill it with Thy love, that I may love Thee, my LORD, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind. Grant that, to the end of my life, I may always remember Thy salutary passion, and ever adore Thee and sing to Thy glory this victorious song.


[This Canticle, which is generally short, contains either the subject of the feast or the praise of the Saints.]

Victorious Chief and Sovereign Master of Heaven and earth, in seeing Thee, immortal King, hanging on the Cross, all creation trembles with fear, heaven is shaken, and the foundations of the earth are moved; and we, unworthy sinners, presenting to Thee the adoration of our gratitude for sufferings which Thou hast endured for us, say to Thee with the thief: O JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


[This Canticle is similar in its contents to the preceding, only longer; therefore it always follows the Kontakion, and is never said alone. Oicos is literally House: and answers exactly to the Italian Stanza.]

Fulness and King of the Angelic power, Thou didst take nothing from the Angels, but, Gou Eternal, Thou didst become man for me, and with Thy life-giving Body and Thy Blood Thou hast restored man to life, dead in sin. Therefore full of gratitude for such great love, we say to Thee: O JESUS, our GOD, and Eternal Love, Who hast shown unto us children of earth so much mercy; JESUS, leaving the Angels on high, and descended to man, fallen so low! JESU, clothed with our flesh, by Thy death destroying the sting of death! JESUS, making us gods by Thy Divine mysteries! JESUS, saving all the world by Thy sufferings and Thy Cross! JESUS, SON of GOD! remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


The Angel of heaven, seeing Thee in the garden of Gethsemane, praying unto blood, came to console when our sins weighed down upon Thee as a heavy burden; for in kneeling down to pray Thou presentedst to Thy FATHER the fallen Adam whom Thou hast taken on Thy shoulder; therefore for all this which fills us with faith and love, I sing unto Thee: Alleluia.


The Jews understood not the reason of Thy voluntary passion; therefore, in the night when Thou saidst to them who sought Thee with torches, It is I, though they fell to the earth, yet nevertheless they bound Thee when they rose up and led Thee before the judgment-seat; in following them on this way, and in prostrating ourselves before Thee, we say to Thee with love JESUS, Light of the world, hated by this wicked world; JESUS, Who livest in the light which no man can approach unto, seized by powers of darkness; JESUS, SON of the Immortal GOD, betrayed to death by the son of condemnation; JESUS, without guile, deceitfully kissed by the traitor; JESUS giving Thyself freely to all, sold for a few pieces of money; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


By virtue of Thy Divinity Thou didst predict to Thy disciple his triple denial; but, though he had denied Thee thrice with an oath, nevertheless seeing Thee in the Court of the High Priest, his LORD and Master, he went out and wept bitterly; have mercy upon me also, and soften my hard heart, that I may wash out my sins by my tears, in singing to Thee: Alleluia.


Having true power, according to the order of Melchizedec, as eternal High Priest, Supreme LORD and Master of all things, Thou didst nevertheless present Thyself before Caiaphas, the impious High Priest; having undergone the sufferings inflicted upon Thee by his servants, receive from us these humble praises: JESUS, beyond all price, bought at the price of thirty pieces of silver, receive me in Thy eternal possession; JESUS, desired by all, but denied by Peter through fear, reject me not, sinner that I am: JESUS, inoffensive Lamb, torn by fierce wolves, deliver me from mine enemies; JESUS, Great High Priest, Who didst enter by Thy Blood into the Holy of Holies, purify me from the defilement of the flesh; JESUS bound, Who hast the power of binding and loosing, forgive me all my sins; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


Animated by the desire of murder against CHRIST, the Jews, listening only to the voice of the devil, who from the beginning is the father of deceit and murder, denied Thee, the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and we, O CHRIST, in acknowledging Thee as the Divine Goodness in Whom are contained all the treasures of wisdom and understanding, Sing to Thee: Alleluia.


Pilate, hearing Thy mild answers, has condemned Thee to the death of the Cross, as worthy of death, though he himself testified that he found no fault in Thee; he has washed his hands, but stained his heart; and we, O JESUS, worshipping the mystery of Thy voluntary passion, say to Thee with compassion: JESUS, SON of GOD and the Virgin, tormented by the sons of iniquity; JESUS, outraged, and despoiled, Who givest to the flowers of the field their beauty, and coverest the heavens with clouds; JESUS, covered with wounds, Who didst satisfy five thousand persons with five loaves; JESUS, King of all, experiencing fearful sufferings in the place of love and gratitude, the only tribute that Thou meritest; JESUS receiving wounds for us for the whole of a day, heal the wounds of our souls; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


Thou Who deckest Thyself with light as with a vestment, art covered all over with Thy Divine Blood; I know, I know well with the prophet why Thy garments are red; it is I, O LORD, who have wounded Thee with my sins; but full of gratitude for the Wounds which Thou hast received for me, I sing to Thee: Alleluia.


Isaiah, long before Thy coming, seeing Thee in spirit covered with wounds and overwhelmed with insults, cried out in fear: We have seen Him, and He had no form nor comeliness. And we beholding Thee on the Cross, say to Thee with faith and admiration; JESUS, overwhelmed with injuries, crowning man with glory and honour; JESUS, before Whom the Angels veil their faces, receiving the blows of the soldiers; JESUS, smitten on the face, bow down my head with humility; JESUS, having had Thine eyes blinded with Thy blood, turn away mine eyes lest they behold vanity; JESUS, covered with wounds from the crown of Thy head unto the soles of Thy feet, make me entirely whole; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom


Pilate himself was witness of Thine innocence, for he said to the people, that he found nothing in Thee worthy of death: but the Jews, like ferocious wild beasts at the sight of blood, gnashed their teeth against Thee, and cried out: Crucify Him! crucify Him and we, embracing Thine all-pure wounds, say unto Thee: Alleluia!


Angels and men are astonished at Thee when they see Thee presented by Pilate with these words: Behold the Man! Come, then, and let us fall down before JESUS, outraged for us, saying unto Him: JESUS, the Creator and Judge of all, judged and tortured by Thine own creatures; JESUS, Dispenser of wisdom, answering not the fools; JESUS, celestial healing of all those who are wounded by sin, heal me by repentance; JESUS, smitten Shepherd, deliver us, and smite the spirits who tempt me to evil; JESUS, with all Thy flesh bruised, strike the heart with salutary fear; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom!


O JESUS, desiring to deliver man from the slavery of the infernal enemy, Thou didst humble Thyself before Thine enemies, and so as a dumb sheep Thou wert led to the slaughter, everywhere receiving wounds and insults; Thou didst bear all this, to save him who sings to Thee: Alleluia.


When the soldiers insulted Thee, and fulfilling the orders of the unrighteous judge, wounded Thy all-holy body with terrible wounds, and from Thy head even unto Thy feet covered Thee with Thy precious blood, Thou didst show a long-suffering truly Divine: wherefore bathed with tears we say to Thee, JESUS, Lover of men, and by them crowned with thorns; JESUS, immortal GOD, suffering Thy passion to deliver us from our evil inclinations; JESUS, my SAVIOUR, make mc worthy of all Thy sufferings; JESUS, forsaken by all, and my strength, strengthen me; JESUS, insulted by all, my sole joy, fill me with joy; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


Marvellous and strange was Thine appearance with Moses and Elias on Mount Tabor, when they spake of the things that should come upon Thee, and which now Thou accomplishest in Jerusalem: wherefore having there seen Thy glory, and here our salvation, they sing to Thee: Alleluia.


Everywhere and always persecuted by the Jews, Thou hast endured many insults and divers sufferings, because of my innumerable sins: for some say Thou art no friend to C├Žsar, others condemn Thee as a malefactor, others again cry out: Crucify Him, crucify Him. And we, O LORD, seeing Thee condemned by all, and led to death upon the Cross, say to Thee from the bottom of our souls: JESUS, our Judge, unjustly condemned, judge us not according to our deeds: JESUS, my strength, falling beneath the weight of Thy Cross when going forth to Thy death, forsake me not in the hour of my grief and my calamity; JESUS, calling for the help of Thy FATHER, strengthen me in my weakness; JESUS, my glory, covered with dishonour, deprive me not of Thy glory; JESUS, Image of the FATHER, transform and sanctify my impure and dark life; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


The whole universe is troubled when it sees Thee hanging on the Cross; the sun hides its light, the earth quakes, the Veil of the temple is torn, the rocks rend, and the graves give up their dead: and we falling down upon the place of Thy feet, sing to Thee: Alleluia.


Famous Orators, notwithstanding their science, cannot express the gratitude due to Thy Divine passion, O SAVIOUR of men; and we touched in our soul and body, in our heart and being, say to Thee: JESUS, bound and nailed to the Cross, take away the handwriting of my iniquities; JESUS, stretching out Thine arms from the Cross towards all, draw me, lying in error and sin; JESUS, door of the sheep, Whose side was pierced, make me, by Thy wounds, to enter into its palace; JESUS, Whose flesh was crucified, crucify my flesh with its affections and lusts; JESUS, dying in torments, grant that my heart may know nothing else, save Thee crucified; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


Desirous of saving the world, Thou didst heal the blind, the lame, the leper, the deaf and dumb, and Thou didst cast out the evil spirits: but the blind Jews, breathing only wickedness and tormented with envy, nailed Thee to the Cross, knowing not how to sing, Alleluia.


JESUS, King Eternal, Thou hast suffered all these torments for my intemperance, that Thou mightest make me pure in all my being; JESUS, giving us an example in everything, that we may follow Thy steps, saying unto Thee: JESUS, unspeakable love, imputing not Thy crucifixion to sin; JESUS, praying in the garden with tears and groans, teach us to pray; JESUS, fulfilling all the prophecies which concerned Thee, fulfil all the good desires of our hearts; JESUS, committing Thy spirit into the hands of Thy FATHER, receive my spirit at the hour of my death; JESUS, forbidding not the division of Thy vestments, separate gently my soul from my body; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


In offering Thee her hearty praises, Thy all-pious Mother said unto Thee: Thou sufferest, it is true, upon the Cross, but I know that Thou wart begotten of Thy FATHER before the Angels, for I see that the whole universe suffers with Thee; Thou givest up Thy spirit to Thy FATHER, receive my spirit, and forsake me not, who sing to Thee: Alleluia!


As a brilliant taper, the Virgin was on fire with love for Thee upon the Cross, and was tortured with a maternal sorrow in seeing Thee, the true Sun, hidden in the tomb; and we, O LORD, pray Thee to grant these prayers of our hearts; JESUS, hanging on the Tree of the Cross, that Thou mayest raise us up with Thee to Thy Heavenly FATHER; JESUS, leaving the Virgin as a Mother to John, the Virgin Apostle, to teach us to observe virginity and purity; JESUS, entrusting Thy beloved disciple to Thy Mother, do Thou, Word of GOD, confide us all to her maternal protection; JESUS, Conqueror of the world and hell, destroy the impiety, the pride of life and the lust of the eyes that dwell in us; JESUS, Who hast destroyed the power of death, save me from eternal death; JESUS, SON of GOD, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


JESUS, give me Thy grace, receive us as Thou didst receive Joseph and Nicodemus, that I may bring to Thee my soul, as they offered to Thee a pure linen, and that with the odour of my virtues I may anoint Thy all-holy Body, and may place Thee in my heart as in a tomb, singing unto Thee: Alleluia.


In singing Thy voluntary crucifixion, we prostrate ourselves before Thy passion, O our JESUS, believing with the Centurion that Thou art in truth the SON of GOD, Who art to come in the clouds with power and great glory; put us not then to shame, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy blood, and Who say to Thee: JESUS, Who hast endured unspeakable sufferings, save us from eternal tears, because of the tears of the Virgin, Thy Mother; JESUS, forsaken by all, forsake me not at the hour of my death; JESUS, receive me, Who east myself at Thy feet with Magdalene; JESUS, condemn me not, as Thou didst condemn the traitor, and those who crucified Thee. JESUS, make me to enter into Paradise with the penitent thief; JESUS, SON of Gou, remember us when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.


O JESUS CHRIST, LAMB of GOD, That takest away the sins of the world, accept this poor expression of gratitude which we offer to Thee from our innermost souls, and by the virtue of Thy salutary passion, deliver us from all sickness both of soul and body, by Thy Cross; protect us from all our enemies, visible and invisible, forsake us not at the end of our life, that, being delivered by Thy death from eternal death, we may ever sing to Thee: Alleluia. (Three times.)

After this repeat the first Oikos and the first Kontakion.


O ineffable marvel! He Who preserved from the fire the three children cast into the furnace, seest thou how He is laid lifeless in the sepulchre which is the sanctuary of our salvation? Therefore let us sing and celebrate GOD OUF Redeemer, and let His Name be blessed.

V. Glory to Thy passion, O LORD!

Thou art the true David, for after having taken Thy Cross as an harmonious harp, Thou didst ascend to Golgotha, that Thou mightest deliver us from the anger of Thy Heavenly FATHER, who sing to Thee: LAMB of GOD, Who purchasest the eternal salvation of the world, blessed art Thou to ages of ages.

V. Glory to Thy passion, O LORD!

As a good Architect of the House of Thy FATHER Thou hast taken, O JESUS, our GOD, Thy Cross, as a torch from which Thou didst appear to the world as a true light, and we sing to Thee: LAMB of GOD, purchasing the salvation of the world, blessed art Thou to ages of ages.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

As incense of a sweet savour, Thou didst offer to Thy FATHER the Blood which poured from the Wounds of Thy Flesh, that Thou mightest bring me home to Him, while I sing: LAMB of GOD, Thou That workest out the salvation of the world, blessed art Thou for ever and ever!

Now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion.--Most pure Virgin, thou who didst virginally conceive and bring forth the SON of GOD, thou didst admire the ineffable long-suffering of thy SON, when thou didst behold Him on the Cross; receive our praise and the tribute of our thanks.


Tremble, ye Heavens! Be ye shaken, O ye foundations of the earth! for He that dwelleth in the height of glory is counted among the dead, and descends into a poor sepulchre! Bless Him, Children of Israel Praise Him, Powers of the Most High! and ye, Priests of the earth, exalt Him for ever and ever! [This is a reference to the VIIIth Ode of the Eastern Church,--the former part of that of the Three Children--each of the nine Odes of a Canon having generally some allusions to that Ode among the nine which has the same number with itself.]

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

O GOD our FATHER, This is Thy Well-beloved SON, to Whom Thou didst command us to give ear when He was baptized by John, and when He was transfigured on Tabor: Do Thou Thyself now give ear to Him, and quench His thirst for our salvation! And I, while I see Him dead for my sins,--thus sing: O ye, all peoples and tribes of the earth, redeemed by His Blood, praise your LORD, and magnify Him for ever and ever!

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

O GOD, our FATHER! This is Thy SON and Thy celestial messenger. They have humbled Him, and have not believed on His Words: they have set Him at nought, and compelled Him to undergo all manner of torments. But as for me, I cry out: O all ye generations, redeemed by His Blood, praise your LORD, and exalt Him for ever and ever!

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

O GOD, our FATHER! This is Thy SON, for Whom, when He was born, there was no room in the inn: while He lived on the earth He was called the friend of publicans and sinners, and was accused of blasphemy: finally, He hath been condemned to a shameful death, to the end that I, bowed down beneath the heavy load of my sins, may, through His merits, enter into the celestial habitation. Wherefore I cry: All that is within me, bless the LORD, and exalt Him for evermore!

Both now, and ever, and to ages of ages.

Theotokion. This is Solomon, seated on His Throne: Pontiff in His Chair, Head of all things, possessing and giving the invincible arm. He is thy SON, O Virgin, and the SON of GOD, Whom the FATHER hath not spared, but hath caused to die for me, to the end that falling down before Him, I may sing: O all that dwell in the world, righteous and sinners, redeemed by His Blood, praise your LORD, and exalt Him for evermore!


Mother, weep not when thou beholdest in the tomb the SON Whom thou didst virginally conceive. For I will rise again and I will be glorified; and I will make them partakers of My glory who venerate thee with faith and love.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

I know the cause of Thy Passion on Golgotha: it is I, O my LORD, it is I that have crucified Thee by my lusts: but I repent: forgive me this sin.

V. Glory to Thy Passion, O LORD!

The Cherubin no longer bars the gates of Eden: for Thou, O my JESUS, art hanging on the Tree of the Cross. O the depth of Thine ineffable love! Teach me, I beseech Thee, to worship Thee as I ought.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SONS and to the HOLY GHOST!

Thou hearest, O my CHRIST, the Title: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. It is Thy testimony to the FATHER that Thou hast well fulfilled His Will. I pray Thee, O LORD, write my name in the Book of Life!

Now and ever and to ages of ages.

Theotokion.--"Leave me not alone, leave me not full of woe, but haste, O my Comfort, to console me"--thus said the Virgin to Thee. And I, what can I give Thee, O my JESUS? Enter into the heart, that it may be no more mine, but Thine Who dwellest in me and I in Thee!


[The Lucernarium of the Gallican and Mozarabic rites, stanzas which have always some reference to light, as theoretically said at the time of dawn.]

Thy nuptial palace, O my SAVIOUR, opens before me in all its splendour; but I have not the marriage-garment by which I can enter. Come, then, and restore to its brightness the soiled vest of the soul, O FATHER of Light, and give me salvation

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST.

My LORD, in one hour Thou didst purify and make meet for Heaven the good thief: purify me by the virtue of Thy Cross and save me!

Now and ever and to ages of ages.

Theotokion.--Virgin Mother of GOD! Living Palace! I know that through my sin I am not worthy to enter the celestial Palace. But I earnestly beseech Thee, for the sake of Thine own beloved SON, hanging on the Cross, my LORD full of mercy, free my face from the shame which covers it, and intercede for me that I may obtain salvation!


Then are said Psalms 148, 149, 150.

My people, My Israel hath done two evil things: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of Living Waters, and have hewed themselves out cisterns, broken cisterns, which can hold no water: they have demanded and obtained Barabbas, and have delivered Me to be crucified. The Heaven trembled, the Sun was darkened: and thou, O Israel, wast not ashamed, but thou didst cause Me to die. Holy "FATHER, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" [Twice.]

Every member of Thy most spotless Body was covered with dishonour. Thy Head endured the Crown of Thorns; Thy whole Body, the filthy spitting: Thy Cheeks, the buffets: Thy Mouth, the vinegar mingled with gall; Thine Ears, the words of blasphemy: Thy Back, the scourging: Thy nerves, the tension on the Cross: Thy Hands and Feet, the Nails; Thy Side, the Spear. Have mercy upon us, O Almighty SAVIOUR; Thou That didst suffer for us and hast delivered us from our own passions: Thou That didst descend even to earth through Thy love to our souls, and hast raised us to Thee: have mercy upon us.

When Thou didst hang on the Cross, all creation trembled as it beheld Thee: the foundations of the earth were moved, when they beheld the greatness of Thy Majesty: the veil of the Temple was rent in twain, and the dead came forth from their tombs: the Centurion, when he beheld the miracle, was astonished; and Thy Mother, standing by Thee in Thy sufferings, cried out, How should I not weep, when I see Thee naked, condemned, hanging on the Tree of the Cross?" O JESUS our LORD, Thou Who wast crucified, buried, and Who didst rise again from the dead: glory to Thee!

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST. Now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

Joseph, assisted by Nicodemus, having taken down Thy Body from the Cross, and beholding Thee naked, dead, deprived of sepulture, Thou, Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment, Joseph, whose heart was pierced with grief, said with tears and groans: Woe is me, O my JESUS! Because they only beheld Thee hanging on the Cross, the Sun was covered with darkness, the earth trembled with fear, the vail of the Temple was rent in twain; and I not only behold Thee dead, but dead of Thine own free will for me How shall I bury Thee, O my GOD? With what grave-clothes shall I cover Thee? With what hands shall I touch Thine incorruptible Body? What hymn shall I sing at Thy burial, O Divine Love? I glorify Thy Passion, I praise Thy burial and Thy Resurrection, while I sing: Glory to Thee, O LORD!


By Thy Blood, Innocent LAMB, Thou hast blotted out the handwriting of our sins, and hast destroyed the seed of Corruption; therefore is it that, when they beheld Thee going down into Hades, the dead came forth to Thee, as to Him that had set them free.

V. I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

To-day the judgment of the world is accomplished, to-day the Prince of the World is cast out: he that hath lost his original holiness stands in tenor and dismay before the LORD of Heaven and Earth and Thou manifestest Thyself, My SAVIOUR, Victor of Sin, Death, and Hell!

V. The ploughers ploughed upon Thy Back, and made long furrows.

Although my sins be continual, by which without ceasing I renew Thy Crucifixion, yet Thou tearest not Thyself from me, O dying SAVIOUR, but, bowing Thy Head, Thou forgivest me, and callest me to Thyself.

Glory be to the FATHER, and to the SON, and to the HOLY GHOST. Now and ever and to ages of ages. Amen.

Come, and let us praise Joseph of eternal memory, who went in the night to Pilate, and begged Him Who is the Life of us all. "Give me that wonderful Man, Whom the wicked disciple betrayed and delivered to death: that wonderful Man of Whom the Virgin, while she saw Him hanging on the Cross, agonised with maternal grief, said with groans: Woe is me, O my SON! woe is me, O my Light, and the fruit of My body! Now is that accomplished which Simeon foretold: the sword hath pierced through my soul: but change my tears into the joy of Thy Resurrection!" We bow down, O our JESUS, before Thy Passion; we bow down, we bow down, O our JESUS, before Thy Passion: we bow down, O our JESUS, before Thy Passion, and before Thy Resurrection!

Then the Choir sings:

It is meet and right to celebrate Thee, O Mother of GOD, for ever blessed and most pure, more excellent than the Cherubim, and infinitely more glorious than the Seraphim, we celebrate Thee, Who didst bring into the world GOD the Word, remaining a Virgin. O true Mother of GOD! we glorify thee.

And the Reader saith:

Holy GOD.



In the evening of the Supper.


Honourable Joseph.

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