(we follow the Lenten order for the entire service; we sing the three-Canticle Canon: odes 5, 8, and 9)
Before the time of the saving cross,
Sin ruled over all the earth.
Impiety prevailed, and men reveled in the pleasures of the flesh!
But since the mystery of the cross was performed
And the demons' torture was smothered by the knowledge of God,
The virtuous life of heaven has reigned on the earth.
Therefore the fast is honored!
Abstinence glistens, and prayer is strengthened!
The witness of these is the present time
Granted to us by the crucified Christ, our God
For the salvation of our souls!
Before the time of the saving cross...
In the memory of your saints, Lord,
All creation feasts!
Heaven rejoices with angels and earth celebrates with men!
By their prayers, have mercy on us!
Glory to the Father... Now and ever...
When your pure mother beheld you crucified
She cried out in tears:
My Son and my God, my sweetest child!
How do you endure this shameful passion?
Troparion of the Prophecy
Help us in our sorrow, Lord, and save us,
Lover of mankind, born of the Virgin!
Let your mercy, Lord, be upon us * as we have set our hope on you!
Verse: rejoice in the Lord, you righteous! Praise befits the just!
Reading from the Prophecy of Zechariah 8:7-17
Sing praises to our God, sing praises! * sing praises to our king, sing praises!
Verse: clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
"Lord I call..."
Come, all faithful!
Let us praise the assemblies of holy Fathers:
Anthony the great, euthymius the great, and all of their company,
Passing through their lives as through a paradise of sweetness!
Let us cry out with joy:
These are truly the trees which our God has planted!
These are the ripened fruits of eternal life,
Offered to Christ, nourishing our souls.
Blessed, God-bearing Fathers, pray that we may be saved! (twice)
Rejoice, Egypt, land of faith!
Rejoice, holy libya, and the thebaid chosen by God!
Rejoice, every place and country
Which has brought forth citizens of the kingdom of heaven,
Raising them in abstinence and labor,
Offering them to God as men perfect in love.
They are stars guiding our souls,
And by the brightness of their wonders and the miracles they wrought,
They have shed their spiritual light over all the earth.
All-blessed Fathers, pray for our souls! (twice)
Who among men can speak of the perfection of your lives, holy Fathers?
What tongue can utter the sanctity of your efforts?
The sufferings in virtue, the control of the flesh?
The struggles with passions, in vigils, in prayers and in tears!
Truly you were angels while in the world.
You laid low the highest powers of evil.
You performed miraculous and wonderful signs.
Therefore pray with us, most blessed Fathers,
To gain for our souls eternal joy! (twice)
You preserved the image of God undefiled.
By fasting, your minds ruled the passions.
You attained to the greatest possible likeness of God,
Submitting the lower to the higher, making the flesh serve the spirit!
Therefore you were shown forth as leaders of monks,
Dwellers of the desert, the refuge of those who sought God,
Renowned keepers of the precepts of Christ!
Now being free of the veil,
In heaven you freely behold the holy Trinity,
Earnestly interceding for those who honor you with faith and love!
Now and ever...
(Friday octoechos Tone of the week)
You, O God, are my helper, * and your mercy shall go before me!
Verse: deliver me from my enemies, O God! Save me from those that rise up against me!
Reading from the Prophecy of Zechariah 8:19-23
Let Israel hope in the Lord * henceforth and forevermore!
Verse: Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high!
Brethren, let us purify ourselves
From all stain of flesh and spirit.
Let us illumine the lights of our souls through love of poverty!
Let us not slander one another with curses!
For the time has come
When the bridegroom renders to each according to his works.
Let us greet Christ with the wise Virgins,
Crying to him with the voice of the thief:
Remember us, Lord, when you come in your kingdom!
Brethren, let us purify ourselves...
By the holy martyrs praying for us
And singing The Praises of Christ,
All error has come to an end,
And mankind is being saved by faith!
We honor you, our Fathers,
Instructors of a multitude of monks!
We have indeed learned to walk rightly in your footsteps!
You are blest, for having labored for Christ,
You denounced the power of the enemy!
Conversors with the angels,
Companions of the venerable and righteous ones!
Together with them, entreat the Lord
That he may grant mercy to our souls!
Now and ever...
Rejoice, treasure of purity!
Rejoice, pure abode of the immaterial light!
Rejoice, praise of the martyrs!
Rejoice, preview of our salvation!
Rejoice, preaching of the apostles!
Rejoice, fulfillment of the prophets!
Rejoice, beauty of monks and ascetics!
Blameless Virgin, the salvation of the faithful!
Saturday before Lent
Commemoration of All who Shone Forth in the Ascetic Life
God of our Fathers,
Do not take away your mercy from us,
But ever act towards us according to your kindness,
And by the prayers of your saints,
Guide our lives in peace!
You have glorified the company of God-bearing Fathers who enlighten the world
As preachers of Godliness and silencers of impiety.
At their prayers, keep all who praise and magnify you, in perfect
That they may sing to you: Alleluia!
The mystery hidden from eternity
And unknown to the angels
Is manifested to those on earth through you, Theotokos!
God being incarnate of you by union without confusion,
And of his own will freely enduring the cross for us
And raising the first-formed man,
Has saved our souls from death!