Lent Evening Service - Syrian Orthodox Church
Excerpts from the Lent Evening Service - Syrian Orthodox
1. The worshiper recites Psalm 4.
Psalm 4 (New International Version, Note 4)
1 Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods
3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD will hear when I call to him.
4 In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.
6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?"
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.
2. Madrosho (Doctrinal Hymn)
Open, O Lord, unto me Thy door which is full of mercies,
As Thou didst open it unto the adulteress woman.
Accept from me the tears which I am offering,
And grant me the forgiveness of sins.
I have taken Thee,
O Water of Life, on my journey,
So that I do not ask for water from Abraham;
For I have heard of story of the rich man,
Who asked for water on the tip of his [i.e., Lazarus] finger. (see note
3. Hymn of Repentance
Towards the sea of Thy mercies I gaze,
O only begotten God;
My offenses are numerous, and my faults have become strong.
Sprinkle me with Thy cleansing hyssop,
And wash me with the tears of my own eyes.
I beseech Thee, O Lord, by the love of Him who begot Thee:
Let not the spiteful mock me, but the angles rejoice
Over one sinner who repents of his wickedness.
And let them say: blessed is the Lord,
Whose gate is open to those who repent -
Halleluia - during night and day.
Lovely was the voice of the sinful woman,
When she said to the seller of perfumes:
"Give me oil and take gold in payment;
Give me the best oil, that I may mix it with the tears of my eyes,
And go to anoint the first-born of the Most High.
I trust in God that by this oil, which I have purchased from you,
My sins and offenses will be forgiven."
When she took the oil and went, our Lord saw her faith -
Halleluia - and forgave her all her sins. (see note 2)
4. Bocootho (Petition) of St. Jacob
Refrain: We call upon Thee, O Lord - our Lord; come to
Hear our petition and have mercy upon our souls.
O Lord - our Lord, Lord of the watchers [i.e., guardian angels] and the
Hear our petition and have mercy upon our souls.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind.
I have knocked upon your door with faith; answer me with your
compassion. (see note 3)
5. Bocootho (Petition) of St. Ephrem
Refrain: Our Lord have mercy upon us;
our Lord accept our service.
Send us compassion, mercy and forgiveness from your treasure house.
Grant me, O Lord, that I stand in front of you watchfully when I keep
And if I slumber, let not my sleep become a sin.
If I commit wrong when I am awake, I shall be forgiven by your grace.
If I commit sin by mere slumber, let your compassion be the forgiver of
6. Psalm 91
The worshiper is then to recite Psalm 91.
The deacon chants half a verse from the Psalm.
The Choir completes the verse starting with a Halleluia and following
the verse with a reply.
Deacon: You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
Choir: Halleluia - who abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91.1)
Reply: I sat in your shadow,
O Tree of Life and I have eaten life from your fruits for ever.
Deacon: will say to the Lord, My refuge
Choir: Halleluia - and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust." (Psalm
Reply: Our fortress is high and our strength is powerful:
You are our God, our Hope and our Trust.
Deacon: For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
Choir: Halleluia - and from the deadly pestilence. (Psalm 91:3)
Reply: Deliver us, our Lord, from all the snares of the Evil One, the
crafty, who thirsts to break us.
Source: Ma`de`dono: The Book of the
Church Festivals (1984)
1 The second line is a reference to the
adulteress woman in John 8:1-11, a theme throughout Lent (see next hymn
as well). The last three lines are a reference to the parable of the
rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).
2 The second stanza above is based on the story of the adulteress woman
(Luke 7: 36-50). The figure of the seller of perfumes is absent in the
biblical story, but is popular in the Syriac tradition, appearing in
liturgical and poetic works.
3 There is a play on words in the last stanza which is hard to capture
in the English translation. "Mind" in the first line is tarceetho in
Syriac, while "door" in the second line is tarco. Such plays on words
are popular in Syriac literature.
4 Psalm 4, Source: New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973,
1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
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