Christ is born!

Glorify Him!

Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord

 

24 December

 

 

 

 

Prepared by

Reader Michael J. Bishop

St Nicholas Cathedral

Washington DC

1990

 

 

Revised: December 20, 1998

Index

The Royal Hours

First Hour

The Third Hour

Sixth Hour

Ninth Hour

The Typical Psalms

 

The Royal Hours

If Christmas Eve falls on Saturday or Sunday (and therefore Christmas falls on Sunday or Monday), the Royal Hours are read on the preceeding Friday. In such a case, the Liturgy is not celebrated on Friday.)

First Hour

A stand is set up in the middle of the church for the Gospel book. The priest vested in epitrachelion and phelonion, opens the curtain and begins:

P: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R: Amen. Glory to Thee, O God, glory to Thee!

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth; who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life; come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us! (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

O most-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

P: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R: Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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!

As the Psalms are chanted, the priest opens the royal doors, takes the Gospel and places it in the center of the Church, after which he makes a full censing of the Church beginning by censing around the Gospel, and concluding by censing before it.

Psalm 5

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD;

give heed to my groaning.

2 Hearken to the sound of my cry,

my King and my God,

for to thee do I pray.

3 O LORD, in the morning thou dost hear my voice;

in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for thee, and watch.

4 For thou art not a God who delights in wickedness;

evil may not sojourn with thee.

5 The boastful may not stand before thy eyes;

thou hatest all evildoers.

6 Thou destroyest those who speak lies;

the LORD abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men.

7 But I through the abundance of thy steadfast love

will enter thy house,

I will worship toward thy holy temple

in the fear of thee.

8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness

because of my enemies;

make thy way straight before me.

9 For there is no truth in their mouth;

their heart is destruction,

their throat is an open sepulchre,

they flatter with their tongue.

10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;

let them fall by their own counsels;

because of their many transgressions cast them out,

for they have rebelled against thee.

11 But let all who take refuge in thee rejoice,

let them ever sing for joy;

and do thou defend them,

that those who love thy name may exult in thee.

12 For thou dost bless the righteous, O LORD;

thou dost cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 45

1 My heart overflows with a goodly theme;

I address my verses to the king;

my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

2 You are the fairest of the sons of men;

grace is poured upon your lips;

therefore God has blessed you for ever.

3 Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one,

in your glory and majesty!

4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously

for the cause of truth and to defend the right;

let your right hand teach you dread deeds!

5 Your arrows are sharp

in the heart of the king's enemies;

the peoples fall under you.

6 Your divine throne endures for ever and ever.

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;

7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness above your fellows;

8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.

From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;

9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;

at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10 Hear, O daughter, consider, and incline your ear;

forget your people and your father's house;

11 and the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow to him;

12 the people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts,

the richest of the people

13 with all kinds of wealth.

The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;

14 in many-colored robes she is led to the king,

with her virgin companions, her escort, in her train.

15 With joy and gladness they are led along

as they enter the palace of the king.

16 Instead of your fathers shall be your sons;

you will make them princes in all the earth.

17 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;

therefore the peoples will praise you for ever and ever.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change,

though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

3 though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble with its tumult. [Selah]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;

God will help her right early.

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Selah]

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,

how he has wrought desolations in the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,

he burns the chariots with fire!

10 "Be still, and know that I am God.

I am exalted among the nations,

I am exalted in the earth!"

11 The LORD of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Selah]

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 Thee, O God. (3x)

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Troparion

Tone 4

Mary was of David's seed,

So she went with Joseph to register in Bethlehem.

She bore in her womb the fruit not sown by man.

The time for the birth was at hand.

Since there was no room at the inn,

The cave became a beautiful palace for the queen.

Christ is born, raising up the image that fell of old!

When Christmas Day falls on Sunday or Monday, so that the Royal Hours are served on December 22 or 23, the Troparion at all the hours is as follows:

Troparion

Tone 4

Prepare, O Bethlehem,

For Eden has been opened to all.

Adorn yourself, O Ephratha,

For the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the virgin in a cave.

Her womb is a spiritual paradise planted with the Fruit Divine;

If we eat of it, we shall live forever and not die like Adam.

Christ is coming to restore the imagse which He made in the beginning.

R: Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

What shall we call you, O full of grace? Heaven, for from you shone forth the Sun of Righteousness; Paradise, for you have budded forth the flower of immortality; Virgin, for you have remained undefiled; pure Mother, for you have remained undefiled. Beseech Him to save our souls.

Tone 8

Make ready, O Bethlehem.

Let the manager be prepared.

Let the cave show its welcome.

The truth comes and the shadow flees.

God is born of a virgin and revealed to men.

He is clothedin our flesh, and makes it divine.

Therefore Adam is renewed, and cries out with Eve,

Thy favor has appeared on earth, O Lord,

For the salvation of the human race.

Vs: God shall come from Teman, and the Holy One from the dark and shady mountain.

Now the prophecy approaches its fulfillment.

For it has mystically proclaimed:

"You, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

Are by no means the least among Judah's rulers!"

Prepare your cave!

From you the Ruler of the Nations comes to me in the Flesh:

Christ our God, born of a young virgin!

He will feed His flock, the new Israel.

Let us all give Him glory!

Vs: O Lord, I have heard what Thou have done, and am filled with awe.

Now the prophecy approaches its fulfillment.

For it has mystically proclaimed:

"You, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

Are by no means the least among Judah's rulers!"

Prepare your cave!

From you the Ruler of the Nations comes to me in the Flesh:

Christ our God, born of a young virgin!

He willfeed His flock, the new Israel.

Let us all give Him glory!

Vs: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Joseph said to the virgin:

What has happened to you, O Mary?

I am troubled; what can I say to you?

Doubt clouds my mind; depart from me!

What has happened to you, O Mary?

Instead of honor, you bring me shame.

Instead of joy, you fill me with grief.

Men who praised me will blame me.

I cannot bear condemnation from every side.

I received you, a pure virgin in the sight of the Lord.

What is this that I now see?

Vs: Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Joseph said to the virgin:

What has happened to you, O Mary?

I am troubled; what can I say to you?

Doubt clouds my mind; depart from me!

What has happened to you, O Mary?

Instead of honor, you bring me shame.

Instead of joy, you fill me with grief.

Men who praised me will blame me.

I cannot bear condemnation from every side.

I received you, a pure virgin in the sight of the Lord.

What is this that I now see?

And immediately the Prokeimenon of the Prophecy follows:

R: The Prokeimenon of the Prophecy in the Fourth Tone.

The Lord said to me: Thou are my Son,

this day have I begotten Thee. (Psalm 2)

Vs: Ask of me, and I shall give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Thy possession.

D: Wisdom!

R: The reading from the Prophet Micah. (Micah 5:2-4)

D: Let us attend.

R: Thus says the Lord: But you, Bethlehem, house of Ephratha, are little among the thousands of Judah, yet from you shall come forth to me Him Who is to be ruler in Israel, and His going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity. So the Lord will abandon His people to their enemies until the time when she who is in travail has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren will be converted to the children of Israel. And He shall stand, and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, and they shall abide in the glory of the Name of the Lord their God, and they shall magnify Him even to the ends of the earth.

The Epistle and Gospel follow immediately. The priest proclaims the Gospel from the center of the church. The Gospel is not preceded by censing.

D: Wisdom!

R: The reading from the Epistles to the Hebrews Heb 1:1-12

P: Let us attend!

R: In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. For to what angel did God ever say, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"? Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." Of the angels he says, "Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire." But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness beyond thy comrades." And, "Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end."

D: And that we may be made worthy to listen to the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

Pp: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

D: Wisdom! Let us attend! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

P: Peace be to all!

Pp: And to your spirit.

P: The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (Matthew 1:18-25)

Pp: Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee!

D: Let us attend!

P: 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19 and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.

After the Gospel, the reader continues:

R: Order my steps in Thy word, and so shall no wickedness have dominion over me. Deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men, and so shall I keep Thy commandments. Show the light of Thy countenance upon Thy Servant, and teach me Thy statutes. Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, O Lord, that I may sing of Thy glory and honor all the day long.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us! (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

O most-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

P: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Pp: Amen.

Kontakion

Tone 3

Today the virgin comes to the cave

Where she will give birth to the Eternal Word.

Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe!

With the angels and shepherds glorify Him Who reveals Himself:

The eternal God, a little child.

R: Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Thou who at every season and every hour, in heaven and on earth, art worshipped and glorified, O Christ our God, long-suffering, merciful, and compassionate; who lovest the just and showest mercy upon the sinner; who callest all men to salvation through the promise of blessings to come; O Lord, in this hour receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Thy commandments. Sanctify our souls, hallow our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds; deliver us from all tribulations, evil and distress. Surround us with Thy holy angels, that guided and guarded by their host, we may attain to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of Thy unapproachable glory, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of Ages. Amen.

More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim; without defilement you gave birth to God the Word; true Theotokos, we magnify you.

In the name of the Lord, Father, bless.

P: God be bountiful unto us, and bless us and show us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us.

R: Amen.

O Christ, the True Light Who enlightenest and sanctifiest every man who comes into the world, let the light of Thy countenance shine upon us, that in it we may behold the unapproachable light, and guide our footsteps aright to the keeping of Thy commandments, through the prayers of Thy most pure Mother, and of all Thy saints. Amen.

The Third Hour

R: 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!

As the Psalms are chanted, the priest censes around the Gospel, after which he censes the altar, the sanctuary, the iconostas, and the people, concluding by censing before the Gospel.

Psalm 67

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face to shine upon us, [Selah]

2 that thy way may be known upon earth,

thy saving power among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God;

let all the peoples praise thee!

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for thou dost judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations upon earth. [Selah]

5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God;

let all the peoples praise thee!

6 The earth has yielded its increase;

God, our God, has blessed us.

7 God has blessed us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Psalm 87

1 On the holy mount stands the city he founded;

2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion

more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.

3 Glorious things are spoken of you,

O city of God. [Selah]

4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;

behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia -

"This one was born there," they say.

5 And of Zion it shall be said,

"This one and that one were born in her";

for the Most High himself will establish her.

6 The LORD records as he registers the peoples,

"This one was born there." [Selah]

7 Singers and dancers alike say,

"All my springs are in you."

Psalm 51

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

according to thy steadfast love;

according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin!

3 For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,

and done that which is evil in thy sight,

so that thou art justified in thy sentence

and blameless in thy judgment.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Fill me with joy and gladness;

let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence,

and take not thy holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways,

and sinners will return to thee.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

thou God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips,

and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.

16 For thou hast no delight in sacrifice;

were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.

17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure;

rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,

19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices,

in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;

then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

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 Thee, O God! (3x)

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Troparion

Tone 4

Mary was of David's seed,

So she went with Joseph to register in Bethlehem.

She bore in her womb the fruit not sown by man.

The time for the birth was at hand.

Since there was no room at the inn,

The cave became a beautiful palace for the queen.

Christ is born, raising up the image that fell of old!

When December 25 falls on Sunday or Monday, the Troparion may be found on page 7.

R: Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, you are the true vine laden with the fruit of life. We pray to you, O Lady, intercede together with the Apostles and all the saints, that mercy may be granted to our souls.

Tone 8

He is our God:

There is no other to compare with Him.

Born of a virgin, He comes to live with men.

The only-begotten Son appears as a mortal man.

He rests in a lowly manger.

The Lord of Glory is wrapped in swaddling clothes.

A star leads the wise men to worship Him,

And with them we sing:

O Holy Trinity, save our souls!

Vs: God shall come from Teman and the Holy One from the dark and shady mountain.

Tone 8

Before Thy birth, O Lord,

The hosts of angels already perceived the mystery.

They were struck with wonder and trembled,

For Thou Who did adorn the heavens with star

Are now well-pleased to be born as a babe.

Thou hold the ends of the earth in Thy hands,

But now Thou are laid in a manger of dumb beasts.

Yet all these things fulfilled Thy saving plan,

By which Thy compassion was revealed to us.

O Christ of great mercy, glory to Thee!

Vs: O Lord, I have heard what Thou have done, and am filled with awe.

Before Thy birth...

Vs: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Tone 3

Tell us, O Joseph:

Why do you bring a maiden great with child to Bethlehem?

"I have searched the prophets," he said.

"I have been instructed by an angel.

I am convinced that Mary will give birth to God,

In a manner beyond understanding.

Wise men from the East will come to worship Him,

Offering precious gifts in adoration."

O Lord, incarnate for us, glory to Thee!

Vs: Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Tell us, O Joseph:

Why do you bring a maiden great with child to Bethlehem?

"I have searched the prophets," he said.

"I have been instructed by an angel.

I am convinced that Mary will give birth to God,

In a manner beyond understanding.

Wise men from the East will come to worship Him,

Offering precious gifts in adoration."

O Lord, incarnate for us, glory to Thee!

And immediately the Prokeimenon of the Prophecy follows:

R: The Prokeimenon of the Prophecy in the Fourth Tone.

For unto us a child is born.

Unto us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6)

Vs: And the government shall be upon His shoulder.

D: Wisdom!

R: The reading from the Prophet Baruch. (Baruch 3:35-4:4)

P: Let us attend.

R: He is our God; there is no other to compare with Him. He discovered the entire path leading to understanding, and gave wisdom to Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterwards, Wisdom was seen on earth and He lived with men. Wisdom is the book of the commandments of God, the law that will endure forever. All who hold fast to it will live, but those who forsake it will die. Return, O Jacob, and take hold of it; walk in the presence of its brightness, that you may be illuminated. Do not surrender your honor to another people, or your dignity to a strange nation. How happy we are, O people of Israel; we have the advantage of knowing what is pleasing to God.

The Epistle and Gospel follow immediately. The priest proclaims the Gospel from the center of the church. The Gospel is not preceded by censing.

D: Wisdom!

R: The Reading from the Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Galatians. (Galatians 3:23-29)

D: Let us attend!

R: Brethren, 23 Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. 24 So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

D: And that we may be made worthy to listen to the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

Pp: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

D: Wisdom, let us attend. Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

P: Peace be to all!

Pp: And to your spirit.

P: The reading of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (Luke 2:1-20)

Pp: Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

P: Let us attend.

Pp: Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

P: 1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. 2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

After the Gospel, the reader continues:

R: Blessed be the Lord God, blessed be the Lord from day to day, and may the God of our salvation prosper us, for He is our God, the God of salvation.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us! (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

O most-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

P: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Pp: Amen.

Kontakion

Tone 3

Today the virgin comes to the cave

Where she will give birth to the Eternal Word

Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe!

With the angels and shepherds glorify Him Who reveals Himself:

The eternal God, a little child!

R: Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Thou, who at every season and every hour, in heaven and on earth, art worshiped and glorified, O Christ our God, long-suffering, merciful, and compassionate; who lovest the just and showest mercy upon the sinner; who callest all men to salvation through the promise of blessings to come; O Lord, in this hour receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Thy commandments. Sanctify our souls, hallow our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds; deliver us from all tribulations, evil, and distress. Surround us with Thy holy angels, that guided and guarded by their host we may attain to the unity of the faith, and to the knowledge of Thine unapproachable glory, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim; without defilement you gave birth to God the Word; true Theotokos, we magnify you.

In the name of the Lord, Father, bless.

P: God be bountiful unto us, and bless us and show us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us.

R: Amen.

O God the Master, Father Almighty, O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, and Thou, O Holy Spirit, one Godhead, one Power, have mercy upon me, a sinner, and according to Thy divine judgments save us, Thine unworthy servant, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Sixth Hour

R: 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!

As the Psalms are chanted, the priest censes around the Gospel, after which he censes the altar, the sanctuary, the iconostas, and the people, concluding by censing before the Gospel.

Psalm 72

1 Give the king thy justice, O God,

and thy righteousness to the royal son!

2 May he judge thy people with righteousness,

and thy poor with justice!

3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,

and the hills, in righteousness!

4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,

give deliverance to the needy,

and crush the oppressor!

5 May he live while the sun endures,

and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!

6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,

like showers that water the earth!

7 In his days may righteousness flourish,

and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth!

9 May his foes bow down before him,

and his enemies lick the dust!

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles

render him tribute,

may the kings of Sheba and Seba

bring gifts!

11 May all kings fall down before him,

all nations serve him!

12 For he delivers the needy when he calls,

the poor and him who has no helper.

13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,

and saves the lives of the needy.

14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;

and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live,

may gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually,

and blessings invoked for him all the day!

16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;

on the tops of the mountains may it wave;

may its fruit be like Lebanon;

and may men blossom forth from the cities

like the grass of the field!

17 May his name endure for ever,

his fame continue as long as the sun!

May men bless themselves by him,

all nations call him blessed!

18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,

who alone does wondrous things.

19 Blessed be his glorious name for ever;

may his glory fill the whole earth!

Amen and Amen!

20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Psalm 132

1 Remember, O LORD, in David's favor,

all the hardships he endured;

2 how he swore to the LORD

and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,

3 "I will not enter my house

or get into my bed;

4 I will not give sleep to my eyes

or slumber to my eyelids,

5 until I find a place for the LORD,

a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."

6 Lo, we heard of it in Eph'rathah,

we found it in the fields of Ja'ar.

7 "Let us go to his dwelling place;

let us worship at his footstool!"

8 Arise, O LORD, and go to thy resting place,

thou and the ark of thy might.

9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness,

and let thy saints shout for joy.

10 For thy servant David's sake

do not turn away the face of thy anointed one.

11 The LORD swore to David a sure oath

from which he will not turn back:

"One of the sons of your body

I will set on your throne.

12 If your sons keep my covenant

and my testimonies which I shall teach them,

their sons also for ever

shall sit upon your throne."

13 For the LORD has chosen Zion;

he has desired it for his habitation:

14 "This is my resting place for ever;

here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

15 I will abundantly bless her provisions;

I will satisfy her poor with bread.

16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,

and her saints will shout for joy.

17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David;

I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.

18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,

but upon himself his crown will shed its luster."

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,

who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,

2 will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress;

my God, in whom I trust."

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence;

4 he will cover you with his pinions,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

5 You will not fear the terror of the night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand;

but it will not come near you.

8 You will only look with your eyes

and see the recompense of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge,

the Most High your habitation,

10 no evil shall befall you,

no scourge come near your tent.

11 For he will give his angels charge of you

to guard you in all your ways.

12 On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you dash your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,

the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

14 Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;

I will protect him, because he knows my name.

15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will rescue him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him,

and show him my salvation.

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 Thee, O God! (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Troparion

Tone 4

Mary was of David's seed,

So she went with Joseph to register in Bethlehem.

She bore in her womb the fruit not sown by man.

The time for the birth was at hand.

Since there was no room at the inn,

The cave became a beautiful palace for the queen.

Christ is born, raising up the image that fell of old!

When December 25 falls on Sunday or Monday, the Troparion may be found on page 7.

R: Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We have no boldness because of the multitude of our sins, but entreat Him Who was born of you, O Virgin Theotokos, for the prayer of a mother has great power to win the favor of the Master. Do not despise the supplications of sinners, O all-pure one, for merciful and strong to save is He Who willed to suffer for us.

Tone 4

Come, O God-inspired faithful,

Arise and behold the descent of God from on high!

He manifests Himself to us in Bethlehem!

Let us cleanse our minds, and offer Him a life of virtue instead of myrrh.

Let us prepare with faith to celebrate His nativity,

Storing up spiritual treasure and crying:

Glory in the highest to God in trinity!

His good pleasure is now revealed to men:

As the lover of man He sets Adam free from the ancestral curse.

Vs: God shall come from Teman and the Holy One form the dark and shady mountain.

Tone 4

Listen, O heaven! Give ear, O earth!

Let the foundations of the earth be shaken!

Let trembling seize the regions beneath the earth,

For our God and Creator has clothed Himself in created flesh;

He fashioned all creation, yet reveals Himself in the womb of her that He formed.

O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How incomprehensible are His judgments;

And how unsearchable His ways!

Vs: O Lord, I have heard what Thou have done, and am filled with awe.

Listen, O heaven...

Vs: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Tone 5

Come, O Christ-bearing people!

Let us behold wonders that will amaze every mind.

As we worship in faith, let us sing praises.

Today a maiden great with child goes up to Bethlehem.

There she will give birth to the Lord.

Choirs of angels go before her.

Joseph, her husband, cried out when he saw these things,

"What is this strange mystery in you, O virgin?

How will you bear a child,

O calif who never bore the yoke of man?"

Vs: Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Come, O Christ-bearing people!...

 

And immediately the Prokeimenon of the Prophecy follows:

R: The Prokeimenon of the Prophecy in the Fourth Tone:

Out of the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee.

The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind. (Psalm 110)

Vs: The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.

D: Wisdom!

R: The reading from the Prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:1-4, 8-10)

D: Let us attend.

R: In those days, the Lord spoke again unto Ahaz, king of Judah, saying: Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the heavens. But Ahaz answered: "I will not ask; I will not tempt the Lord." And Isaiah said: "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel, which means God is with us. He shall eat milk and honey, even before He knows to refuse evil, and to choose good. For behold the child knows how to refuse evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted." And the Lord said to me: "Take a large tablet, and write on it in letters for everyone to see: 'The spoil speeds; the plunder hastens.'" And I got reliable witnesses: Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the Son of Jeberechiah, to testify for me. And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, "Call his name 'the spoil speeds; the plunder hastens,' for before the child knows how to cry 'My father' or 'My mother,' the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria. God is with us. Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves. Hear this you very ends of the earth; submit yourselves, you mighty ones. Even if your strength returns, you shall be overthrown once more. Take counsel together, if you wish, but it will come to nothing. Make your plans, if you wish, but they will never stand, even among yourselves, for God is with us.

The Epistle and Gospel follow immediately. The priest proclaims the Gospel from the center of the church. The Gospel is not preceded by censing.

D: Wisdom!

R: The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews. Hebrews 1:10-2:3

D: Let us attend!

R: 10 Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; 11 they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, 12 like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end. 13 But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?

1 Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him.

D: And that we may be made worthy to listen to the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

Pp: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

D: Wisdom! Let us attend. Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

P: Peace be with all!

Pp: And with your spirit.

P: The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. Matthew 2:1-12

Pp: Glory to Thee, O Lord, Glory to Thee.

P: Let us attend!

D: 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 6 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'" 7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; 8 and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." 9 When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; 11 and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

After the Gospel, the reader continues:

R: Let Thy tender mercies, O Lord, speedily go before us, for we have become exceedingly poor. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy Name: O Lord, deliver us and purge away our sins, for Thy Name's sake.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us! (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

O most-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

P: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Pp: Amen.

Kontakion

Tone 3

Today the virgin comes to the cave

Where she will give birth to the Eternal Word

Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe!

With the angels and shepherds glorify Him Who reveals Himself:

The eternal God, a little child!

R: Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Thou, Who at every season and every hour, in heaven and on earth, art worshiped and glorified, O Christ our God, long-suffering, merciful, and compassionate, Who lovest the just and showest mercy upon the sinner; Who callest all men to salvation through the promise of blessings to come: O Lord, in this hour receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Thy commandments. Sanctify our souls, hallow our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds; deliver us from all tribulations, evil and distress. Surround us with Thy holy angels that guided and guarded by their host, we may attain to the unity of the faith, and to the knowledge of Thine unapproachable glory, for unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim: without defilement you gave birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify you.

In the name of the Lord, Father, bless.

P: God be bountiful unto us, and bless us and show us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us.

R: Amen.

R: O God, the Lord of hosts, and Author of all creation, Who in Thy boundless tender mercy hast sent down Thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the human race, and through His holy cross hast torn up the handwriting of our sins and thereby triumphed over the princes and dominions of darkness: Do Thou, O Master, Who lovest mankind, accept these prayers of thanksgiving and supplication even from us sinners, and deliver us from every deadly and dark transgression and from all the visible and invisible enemies that seek to do us harm. Nail our flesh with the fear of Thee, and let not our hearts incline to evil words or thoughts, but wound our souls with Thy love, that ever gazing upon Thee, guided by Thy light and beholding Thee, the eternal light that no man can approach, we may send up unceasing praises and thanks unto Thee, the Father without beginning, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and Thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Ninth Hour

R: 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!

As the Psalms are chanted, the priest makes a full censing of the church, beginning by censing around the Gospel, and concluding by censing before it.

Psalm 110

1 The LORD says to my lord:

"Sit at my right hand,

till I make your enemies your footstool."

2 The LORD sends forth from Zion

your mighty scepter.

Rule in the midst of your foes!

3 Your people will offer themselves freely

on the day you lead your host

upon the holy mountains.

From the womb of the morning

like dew your youth will come to you.

4 The LORD has sworn

and will not change his mind,

"You are a priest for ever

after the order of Melchiz'edek."

5 The Lord is at your right hand;

he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.

6 He will execute judgment among the nations,

filling them with corpses;

he will shatter chiefs

over the wide earth.

7 He will drink from the brook by the way;

therefore he will lift up his head.

Psalm 111

1 ...I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,

in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

2 Great are the works of the LORD,

studied by all who have pleasure in them.

3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,

and his righteousness endures for ever.

4 He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered;

the LORD is gracious and merciful.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;

he is ever mindful of his covenant.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,

in giving them the heritage of the nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;

all his precepts are trustworthy,

8 they are established for ever and ever,

to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

9 He sent redemption to his people;

he has commanded his covenant for ever.

Holy and terrible is his name!

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;

a good understanding have all those who practice it.

His praise endures for ever!

Psalm 86

1 Incline thy ear, O LORD, and answer me,

for I am poor and needy.

2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;

save thy servant who trusts in thee.

Thou art my God; 3 be gracious to me, O Lord,

for to thee do I cry all the day.

4 Gladden the soul of thy servant,

for to thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5 For thou, O Lord, art good and forgiving,

abounding in steadfast love to all who call on thee.

6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;

hearken to my cry of supplication.

7 In the day of my trouble I call on thee,

for thou dost answer me.

8 There is none like thee among the gods, O Lord,

nor are there any works like thine.

9 All the nations thou hast made shall come

and bow down before thee, O Lord,

and shall glorify thy name.

10 For thou art great and doest wondrous things,

thou alone art God.

11 Teach me thy way, O LORD,

that I may walk in thy truth;

unite my heart to fear thy name.

12 I give thanks to thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify thy name for ever.

13 For great is thy steadfast love toward me;

thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;

a band of ruthless men seek my life,

and they do not set thee before them.

15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

16 Turn to me and take pity on me;

give thy strength to thy servant,

and save the son of thy handmaid.

17 Show me a sign of thy favor,

that those who hate me may see and be put to shame

because thou, LORD, hast helped me and comforted me.

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 Thee, O God! (3x)

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Troparion

Tone 4

Mary was of David's seed,

So she went with Joseph to register in Bethlehem.

She bore in her womb the fruit not sown by man.

The time for the birth was at hand.

Since there was no room at the inn,

The cave became a beautiful palace for the queen.

Christ is born, raising up the image that fell of old!

When December 25 falls on Sunday or Monday, the Troparion may be found on page 7.

R: Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Loving Lord, Who for our sakes wast born of a virgin and hast endured crucifixion, trampling down death by death and as God revealing the resurrection: despise not the works of Thy hands, but show Thy love for mankind, O Merciful One. Accept the prayers made on our behalf by her who gave Thee birth, and save Thy despairing people, O our Savior.

Tone 7

Herod was filled with alarm

When he saw the righteous wisemen.

Overcome by fury,

He determined precisely when the child was born.

Mothers were robbed of their infants:

Their tender lives were reaped as a bitter harvest.

Milk stopped flowing and breasts dried up.

Great was the suffering!

Therefore assemble in holy fear, O faithful,

to worship the birth of Christ!

Vs: God shall come form Teman and the Holy One form the dark and shady mountain.

Tone 2

When Joseph went up to Bethlehem,

His heart was filled with sadness.

But you cried out to Him, O Virgin:

Why are you so troubled?

Why are you in misery seeing me with child?

Do you not understand at all?

I bear a fearful mystery!

Cast your fears away, and learn a strange wonder:

God in His mercy descends from heaven to earth.

Within my womb He has taken flesh!

When He is pleased to be born, you will see Him.

You will rejoice, and worship Him, your Creator.

The angels ceaselessly praise Him in song,

Glorifying Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Vs: O Lord, I have heard what Thou have done, and am filled with awe.

When Joseph went up to Bethlehem...

V: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Tone 6

Today He Who holds the whole creation in His hand is born of a virgin.

He Whose essence none can touch is bound in swaddling-clothes as a mortal man.

God, Who in the beginning fashioned the heavens, lies in a manger.

He Who rained manna on His people in the wilderness is fed on milk from His mother's breast.

The Bridegroom of the Church summons the wise men;

The Son of the virgin accepts their gifts.

We worship Thy birth, O Christ.

We worship Thy birth, O Christ.

We worship Thy birth, O Christ.

Show us also Thy Holy Theophany!

And immediately the Prokeimenon of the Prophecy follows:

R: The Prokeimenon of the Prophecy in the Fourth Tone:

"Zion is my mother," a man will say,

and such a man was born in her." Psalm 87

Vs: His foundations are on the holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

D: Wisdom!

R: The reading from the Prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 9:6-7

D: Let us attend.

R: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called the Angel of Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Ruler, Prince of Peace, the Father of the World to Come. I will bring peace to the princes and peace and health to Him. Great shall be His empire, and of His peace there shall be no end: He shall sit upon the throne of David and shall establish His Kingdom with righteousness, and shall strength it with justice, henceforth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.

The Epistle and Gospel follow immediately. The priest proclaims the Gospel from the center of the church. The Gospel is not preceded by censing.

D: Wisdom!

R: The reading of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (2:11-18)

D: Let us attend!

R: Brethren, 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee." 13 And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. 16 For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

D: And that we may be worthy to listen to the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

Pp: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

D: Wisdom! Let us attend! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

P: Peace be with all!

Pp: And with your spirit.

P: The reading of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (Matthew 2:13-23

Pp: Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

D: Let us attend!

P: 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more."

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

After the Gospel, the reader continues:

R: For Thy holy Name's sake, do not abandon us forever; do not annul Thy covenant; do not take away Thy mercy from us, for the sake of Abraham Thy beloved, and Isaac Thy servant, and Israel Thy holy one.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us! (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

O most-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

P: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Pp: Amen.

Kontakion

Tone 3

Today the virgin comes to the cave

Where she will give birth to the Eternal Word.

Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe!

With the angels and shepherds glorify Him Who reveals Himself:

The eternal God, a little child.

R: Lord, have mercy. (12x)

Thou Who at every season and every hour, in heaven and on earth, art worshiped and glorified, O Christ our God, long-suffering, merciful, and compassionate; Who lovest the just and showest mercy upon the sinner; Who callest all men to salvation through the promise of blessings to come: O Lord, in this hour receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Thy commandments. Sanctify our souls, hallow our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds; deliver us from all tribulations, evil, and distress. Surround us with Thy holy angels, that guided and guarded by their host, we may attain to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of Thy unapproachable glory, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy (3x)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim; without defilement you gave birth to God the Word; true Theotokos, we magnify you.

In the name of the Lord, Father, bless.

P: God be bountiful unto us, and bless us, and show us the light of His countenance, and be merciful unto us.

R: Amen.

O Master and Lord, Jesus Christ our God, Who art long-suffering towards our sins and hast brought us even unto this present hour, in which, hanging upon the life-giving cross, Thou hast opened unto the good thief the way into paradise, and destroyed death by death; be merciful to us, Thy humble and sinful and unworthy servants. For we have sinned and transgressed, and we are not worthy to lift up our eyes and look at the height of heaven, since we have forsaken the path of Thy righteousness and have walked according to the desires of our own hearts. But we pray Thee of Thy boundless goodness, spare us, O Lord, according to the abundance of Thy mercy, and save us for Thy holy Name's sake, for our days are consumed in vanity. Deliver us from the hand of the adversary, forgive us our sins, and kill the passion of the flesh, that putting off the old man, we may be clothed with the new, and may live for Thee, our Master and Protector; and that so, following Thine ordinances, we may attain to eternal rest, in the place where the joyful dwell.

For Thou, O Christ our God, art indeed the true joy and gladness of those that love Thee, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, Who is without beginning, and Thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

P: Glory to Thee, O Christ, our God and our Hope, glory to Thee.

Pp: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Father, bless.

P: May He Who was born in a cavern for our salvation, Christ, our true God, thru the prayers of His Most Pure Mother ( the patron of the church and any other saints as customary ) and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, in that He is gracious and loves mankind.

Pp: Amen.

The Typical Psalms

PSALM 103

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;

and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

3 who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the Pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The LORD works vindication

and justice for all who are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,

his acts to the people of Israel.

8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor requite us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

13 As a father pities his children,

so the LORD pities those who fear him.

14 For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting

upon those who fear him,

and his righteousness to children's children,

18 to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his word,

hearkening to the voice of his word!

21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,

his ministers that do his will!

22 Bless the LORD, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

PSALM 146

1 Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD, O my soul!

2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,

in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

4 When his breath departs he returns to his earth;

on that very day his plans perish.

5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the LORD his God,

6 who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith for ever;

7 who executes justice for the oppressed;

who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;

8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;

the LORD loves the righteous.

9 The LORD watches over the sojourners,

he upholds the widow and the fatherless;

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The LORD will reign for ever,

thy God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the LORD!

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

Only begotten Son and immortal Word of God,

Who for our salvation didst will to be incarnate of the holy Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary,

Who without change didst become man and wast crucified,

Who art one of the holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit:

O Christ our God, trampling down death by death, save us!

R: In Thy kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou come in Thy kingdom.

Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Remember us, O Lord, when Thou come in Thy kingdom. (Reverence)

Remember us, O Master, when Thou come in Thy kingdom. (Reverence)

Remember us, O Holy One, when Thou come in Thy kingdom. (Reverence)

The heavenly choir hymn Thee and cry, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.

Come unto Him and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed.

The heavenly choir hymn Thee and cry, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

The choir of holy angels and archangels, with all the powers of heaven sing Thy praises and cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Host; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.

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

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. Whose Kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets. In one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Loose, remit, and pardon, O God, our sins both voluntary and involuntary, in thought, word, or deed, in knowledge or in ignorance, committed by day or by night, of the mind or of the intention: forgive them all, for Thou are good and love mankind.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

P: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Pp: Amen.

Troparion

Check with local custom.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

To the souls of Thy servants, O Lord, give rest with Thy saints, where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, or sighing, but life everlasting.

And immediately, on every day except Saturday:

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

O Protection of Christians who make not ashamed, O Mediatrix never-failing with the Creator, despise not the sinners' voice of supplication, but in that you are good, come speedily to the aid of us who faithfully call upon you; make haste to our petition and further our prayer, O Theotokos, who ever protect them who honor you.

Lord, have mercy. (12 times)

O all-holy Trinity, Mighty one in essence, kingdom undivided, Origin of all good things, be graciously inclined also to me, a sinner. Establish me; give understanding unto my heart, and purge away all my vileness. Enlighten my mind, that I may glorify, sing praises, and adore Thee, and say: Thou only are holy, Thou only are the Lord, Jesus Christ, in the glory of the Father. Amen.

D: Wisdom!

P: It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed, and most pure, and the mother of our God!

The Royal Doors are now opened.

P: Most holy Theotokos, save us.

Pp: More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim! Without defilement you gave birth to God the Word! True Theotokos, we magnify you!

P: Glory to Thee, O Christ, our God and our Hope, glory to Thee!

Pp: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Father, bless.

P: May He Who was born in a manger for our sake, Christ our true God, through the prayers of His most pure mother; of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles, of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna; and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.

Pp: Amen.