A Survival Guide to Great Vespers
It begins the cycle of Sunday Services (Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy).
Following good Jewish Tradition, the Eastern Churches see the day as beginning on the evening before, cf. Genesis 1:5b, "Evening and Morning, the first day".
The core of the Service is the praying of the Evening Psalms and the Lighting of the Lamps.
In the Bible, people prayed in the Evening (as well as at morning and midday). Pious Jews still pray at Morning, Midday and Evening.
Lamp lighting originally served the practical purpose of having light when the sun set. Everyone in Bible times did it.
Jesus the Messiah
- the Light of the World.
According to Fr. Alexander Schmemann, there are 4 themes to Great Vespers:
2. the Fall
A Brief outline of Great Vespers
2. The Fall
3. Salvation (Liturgy of the Word)
Much of our Divine Services involves the praying of Litanies.
The Deacon will lead the Faithful in a series of Petitions: (e.g.: "...in peace let us pray unto the Lord.")
The Faithful respond by singing:
"Lord have mercy." about 83% of all Responses in our Church
"Grant this, O Lord." Used in the Litany of Supplication
"To You, O Lord." The 2d last Response to each Litany
"Amen." The conclusion to all prayer.
(N.B: in Ukrainian, ALL vowels are short vowels, e.g. ö = got, ï = fit, etc.)
Lord, have mercy = " Hós-pö-dï Pö-mí-lou-wee "
To You, O Lord = " Tö -Bée, Hós-pö-dï "
Amen = " Ah -méen "
Grant this, O Lord = " Pö -dýe, Hós-pö-dï "
– All are very welcome & encouraged to pray and sing with us.
-- There is nothing you have to do. Just stand and pray with us.
-- we pray STANDing (Sit for the Sermon & Bible Readings)
– Please sit if you are infirm, or elderly, etc.
- a. don't worry, soon, your legs/back will get used to standing
- b. making Reverences and venerating Icons really helps the ol' legs
- c. wear comfortable shoes
"Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me your statutes!"
Fr. Roman Galadza