The following is the text of the Midnight Office for weekdays as it is found in the current editions of the Mega Horologion. The few notes in square brackets have been added by the translator and represent Athonite use.
THE LARGE BOOK OF HOURS
On rising from sleep and getting out of bed, stand with devotion and fear of God and say:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Holy God, Holy Strong, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (x3)
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, forgive our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for your name’s sake. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and for ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Our Father in heaven, may your name be hallowed, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Then the following Hymns to the Trinity. Tone 1.
On rising from sleep, we fall down before you, O Good One, and we cry to you with the Angels’ hymn, O Mighty One: Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O God: through the Mother of God have mercy on us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.Tone 2.
You have roused me, Lord, from my bed and from sleep, enlighten my mind and open my heart and my lips, to sing your praise, O Holy Trinity: Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O God: through the Mother of God have mercy on us.
Both now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.Tone 3.
The Judge will come suddenly, and the deeds of each will be laid bare; but with fear let us cry to you in the middle of the night: Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O God: through the Mother of God have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy (x12), and these prayers.
Prayer of Thanksgiving with Intercession
Having risen from sleep I thank you, O Holy Trinity; because through your great goodness and patience you have not been angry with me, an idler and a sinner, nor have you destroyed me in my iniquities, but you have shown your customary love for mankind and roused me, as I lay in despair, to rise before dawn and to glorify your might. And now, enlighten the eyes of my mind and open my mouth to meditate on your words, to understand your commandments and to do your will, and to sing to you with confession of heart and to hymn your all-holy name, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to you, O King, almighty God, because in your divine providence and love for mankind, you have permitted me, sinner and unworthy, to rise from sleep and to gain entrance to your holy house. Accept, too, Lord, the voice of my supplication, as you do that of your holy and spiritual Powers; and be well pleased for praise to be offered you with a pure heart and a spirit of humility from my sordid lips, that I too may become a companion of the wise virgins with the shining lamp of my soul and may glorify you, God the Word, glorified with the Father and the Spirit. Amen.
[Note: In present monastic use these opening hymns and prayers are said after Heavenly King at the beginning of the Midnight Office. In Greek monastic practice the opening Glory to you, our God and Heavenly King are said by the Superior; in his absence by the senior monk present or, in some monasteries, by the officiating Priest, the Reader beginning at the Trisagion.]
DAILY MIDNIGHT OFFICE
If there is a Priest, he says:Blessed is our God, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.
If there is no Priest say:
Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us.
Glory to you, our God, glory to you.
Heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere, filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come and dwell in us, cleanse us from every stain, and, O Good One, save our souls.
Trisagion. Three Metanias.Glory. Both now. All-holy Trinity. Our Father. For yours is the kingdom. Lord, have mercy (x12). Glory. Both now.
Come, let us worship and fall down before the King, our God.
Three Metanias, and at once
Then we say Psalm 118 [Kathisma 17].
Glory. Both now.
I believe in one God, Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages. Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made; for our sake and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man; he was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; he rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; he is coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead; and his kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with Father and Son is worshipped and together glorified; who spoke through the Prophets. In one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen.
Trisagion,All-holy Trinity and Our Father as above.
Then these Troparia in Tone 8.
Behold the bridegroom is coming in the middle of the night; and blessed is the servant whom he finds watching; but unworthy is the one whom he finds idle. Take care then, my soul, not to be overcome with sleep, lest you be given up to death and shut outside the kingdom; but stay wakeful and cry, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O God. Through the Mother of God have mercy on us’.
Consider that dread day my soul and keep watch, lighting your lamp, and bright with oil; for you do not know when the voice will come to you which says, ‘Behold the Bridegroom’. Take care then, my soul, lest you doze and stay outside knocking like the five virgins; but persevere unsleeping, that you may meet Christ God with rich oil and that he may give you the divine bridal chamber of his glory.
Both now. Theotokion.
We beg you, Virgin Mother of God, unassailable wall and fortress of salvation; scatter the counsels of the foe; turn your people’s grief to joy; restore your world; strengthen the devout; intercede for the peace of the world; for you, Mother of God, are our hope.
On the forefeasts, afterfeasts and Leave-taking of the feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God, instead of the above Troparia, their Apolytikion is read.
ThenLord, have mercy (x40), and this Prayer:
At every time and at every hour, in heaven and on earth worshipped and glorified, Christ God, long-suffering, great in mercy, great in compassion, loving the just and merciful to sinners, calling all to salvation by the promise of the good things to come; do you, Lord, yourself accept our entreaties at this hour, and direct our lives to your commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our ideas and deliver us from every distress, evil, and pain. Wall us about with your holy Angels, that protected and guided by their host we may reach the unity of the faith and the knowledge of your unapproachable glory; for you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.
Lord, have mercy (x3), Glory. Both now. Greater in honour than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word, truly the Mother of God we magnify you. In the name of the Lord, bless, Father.
Priest:May God take pity on us and bless us and shed us the light of his countenance upon us, and have mercy on us. Alleluia, that is, in the holy and great Lent we make the three great metanias, saying to ourselves at each a line of the Prayer of St Ephrem:
Lord and Master of my life, do not give me a spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, love of power and useless chatter. (Prostration)
Rather accord to me, your servant, a spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love. (Prostration)
Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to condemn my brother; for you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)
Then the 12 small metanias and again a great metania and the last line of the Prayer. Then the Trisagion etc. and after it Lord, have mercy (x12)
Prayer of Saint Mardarios:
God and Master, Father almighty, Lord, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, one godhead, one power, have mercy on me a sinner; and by the judgements which you know, save me your unworthy servant; for you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.
Note that the following prayer is said from September 22nd until Palm Sunday.
Prayer of Saint Basil the Great
Lord almighty, God of Powers and of all flesh, who dwell on high and look on lowly things, who test hearts and minds and know the all the secrets of mortals, light without beginning and without end, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration; receive, immortal King, the supplications which we, confident of the multitude of your mercies, offer to you from filthy lips at the present hour of the night, and forgive us the offences by which we have offended in deed and word and thought, in knowledge or in ignorance, and cleanse us from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making us temples of your Holy Spirit. And grant that we may pass through the whole night of this present life with an unsleeping heart and a watchful mind, as we wait for the coming of the bright and manifest day of your only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, when he will come to earth with glory to render to each according to their deeds. So that we may not be found lifeless and slumbering, but watchful and awake in the doing of your commandments, and that, prepared, we may enter together the joy and the divine bridal chamber of his glory, where the sound of those who feast is unceasing and the delight of those who see the ineffable beauty of your face is inexpressible. For you are the true light, which enlightens and sanctifies all things, and all creation hymns you to the ages of ages.
Then the priest raises his hands, saying the following
Prayer of Saint Basil
We bless you, God most high and Lord of mercy, who ever do with us great and unfathomable things, things glorious and extraordinary without number, who grant us sleep for the refreshment of our weakness and the relaxation of the toils of our much wearied flesh. We thank you because you have not destroyed us in our lawlessness, but have shown us your customary love for mankind and roused us as we lay in despair, to glorify your might. And so we implore your incomparable loving-kindness, enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise our minds from the heavy sleep of idleness. Open our mouths and fill them with your praise, that we may be able to sing and chant give thanks to you continually, God glorified in all and by all, the Father without beginning, with your only begotten Son and your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Come, let us worship and fall down before the King, our God.
3 Metanias and the Psalms:
I have lifted up my eyes to the mountains, from where my help will come. My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Do not let your foot waver; nor will he who guards you slumber. See, the One who guards Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. May the Lord guard you, may the Lord cover you with his right hand. The sun will not scorch you by day, nor the moon by night. May the Lord guard you from every evil; may the Lord guard your soul. May the Lord guard your coming in and your going out, from now and for ever more.
Come now bless the Lord all you the Lord’s servants, who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Lift up your hands every night to the Holy Place, and bless the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Sion, He who made heaven and earth.
Glory. Both now.
Trisagion,All-holy Trinity and Our Father as above.
And the following Troparia.Tone 8.
As you are good, Lord, remember your servants and pardon them whatever sins they committed in life; for no one is sinless but you, who are able to give rest also to those who have passed over.
You who with wisdom dispose all things with love for mankind and impart to all, only Creator, that which is profitable, give rest, Lord, to the souls of your servants, for they placed their hope in you, our maker and fashioner and God.
With the Saints, O Christ, give rest to the souls of your servants, where there is neither toil, nor grief, nor sighing, but life without end.
All generations call you blessed, Virgin Mother of God, for in you the uncontainable, Christ our God, was well pleased to be contained. Blessed are we also with you as protection, for day and night you intercede for us and the sceptres of the kingdom are strengthened by your entreaties; therefore with hymns we cry to you: Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you.
Here during feasts of the Lord and the Mother of God their Kontakion is read.
Lord, have mercy(x12), and the following prayer.
Remember, Lord, our fathers and brethren who have fallen asleep in hope of resurrection to eternal life and all those who have died in piety and faith; and pardon them every offence, willing and unwilling, in word, or deed, or thought, by which they have offended. Settle them in places of light, places of green pasture, places of rest, from which all sorrow, grief and sighing have fled; where the presence of your face gives joy to all your saints from every age. Grant them and us your Kingdom and participation in your ineffable and eternal good things, and the enjoyment of your infinite and blessed life. For you are the life, the resurrection and the repose of your servants who have fallen asleep, Christ our God, and to you we give glory, together with your Father who has no beginning, and your all-holy, good and life giving Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Most glorious, ever-virgin, blessed Mother of God, offer our prayer to your Son and our God, and ask that through you he may save our souls.
Prayer of Saint Ioannikios
The Father is my hope, the Son my refuge, the Holy Spirit my protection. Holy Trinity, glory to you.
All my hope I place in you, Mother of God, guard me under your protection.
And the following Troparia. Tone 6
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us; for we sinners, lacking all defence, offer you, as our Master, this supplication: have mercy on us.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Lord, have mercy on us, for in you we have put our trust. Do not be very angry with us, nor remember our iniquities. But look on us now, as you are compassionate, and rescue us from our enemies. For you are our God, and we are your people; we are all the work of your hands, and we have called on your name.
Both now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Open the gate of compassion to us, blessed Mother of God; hoping in you, may we not fail. Through you may we be delivered from adversities, for you are the salvation of the Christian race.
Glory. Both now. Lord, have mercy(x3). Give the blessing.
Priest:Have mercy on us, O God, in accordance with your great mercy, we pray you, hear and have mercy.
Reader:Lord, have mercy (x3).
Priest:Also we pray for our Archbishop N. and for all our brotherhood in Christ.
[Also we pray for our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth and all the Royal Family.]
Also we pray for the protection of this holy monastery and every monastery, city and village from plague, famine, earthquake, flood, fire, sword, invasion by enemies, civil war and sudden death; and that our good God, who loves mankind, will be merciful, kindly and easily entreated, turn away and dispel all wrath and disease stirred up against us, and deliver us from his just threat that hangs over us, and have mercy on us.
Reader:Lord, have mercy (x40). [In groups of 10 while the Priest is praying]
Priest:Also we pray that the Lord, our God, will hear to the voice of supplication of us sinners and have mercy on us.
Reader:Lord, have mercy (x3).
Priest:Hear us, O God our Saviour, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those far off on the sea; and have pity, have pity, Master, on our sins, and have mercy on us. For you, O God, are merciful and love mankind, and to you we give glory, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.
Priest:Glory to you, Christ, God, our hope, glory to you.
Reader:Glory. Both now. Lord, have mercy (x3). Holy Father, bless.
Priest:May (he who...,) Christ our true God, through the prayers of his all pure and holy Mother, the intercessions of the holy glorious, all-praised Apostles, (of the Saint of the Monastery and of the day) and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for he is good and loves mankind.
Let us pray for the peace of the world.
Reader:Lord, have mercy. After each petition.
For our ArchbishopN., our Superior N., and all our brotherhood in Christ.
For our SovereignN.
For our absent fathers and brethren.
For those who hate us and for those who love us.
For those who are merciful to us and serve us.
For those who have asked us in our unworthiness to pray for them.
For the release of prisoners.
For those that sail upon the sea.
For those that lie in sickness.
Let us pray for an abundance of the fruits of the earth.
And for every soul of Orthodox Christians.
Let us bless devout Sovereigns.
Orthodox High Priests.
The Founders of this holy Monastery.
Our parents and teachers, and all our departed fathers and brethren, Orthodox believers, who here or in all the world lie asleep in the Lord.
Reader[during the last petition]: May God pardon and have mercy on them, where all the just repose; and have mercy and save us as he is good and loves mankind.
Superior:Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us.
The following Note is found in the Horologion before the Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian
The word ‘Alleluia’ is Hebrew and in translation means ‘Praise the Lord’. People use it as a sign of joy and an expression of gladness as they praise God and thank him for his wonders, as is clear from the tile of many Psalms, to the which the word is attached and also from what Tobit says about Jerusalem being rebuilt again after its fall, that all its streets will say ‘Alleluia’ (13,18). It is also clear from the Apocalypse of John, who, after the fall and disappearance of the spiritual Babylon, heard a loud voice from heaven saying continuously, ‘Alleluia’ (13,2.20s; 19,1). Nevertheless Christ’s Church among us uses the word not only for radiant and joyful days, as, for example, in the Antiphons of the feasts of the Lord, ‘Save us who sing to you: Alleluia!’, but also in many places in the daily day and night office. The word is especially frequent in the rites for funerals and the mournful days of the fasts, when ‘Alleluia’ is sung at Vespers in place of the normal Prokeimenon and at Matins instead of ‘The Lord is God’. Of this ‘Alleluia’ here and subsequently, the instruction of the Typikon says, ‘But if it is Alleluia’, that is if there is a fast, if we do not sing, ‘The Lord is God’, we make the full prostrations. Otherwise etc.
Note that the Latin Church has the opposite custom to us and expressly forbids the use of Alleluia on fast days and at mournful rites, and limits it to joyful days only, especially the day of Pascha, when they sing it very often, as do the ‘Christ has risen’. But also, many Westerners when visiting one another during the days of Pascha, or meeting in the road, give the greeting, ‘Happy Alleluia’, just as we use ‘Christ has risen’.
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This page was last updated on 03 November 2008