Thursday 16 April 2020

Great Saturday Matins

The Service of Lamentations is part of the Matins of Great Saturday. In this service we celebrate ‘the most blessed Sabbath whereon Christ having slept, shall arise on the third day’. Don’t forget that the Orthodox Christian Sabbath is Saturday and not Sunday. Saturday is special for us because the Jews in the Old Testament kept the Sabbath as a day of rest.  Christ's rest in the tomb on this day fulfilled the Sabbath.

To read Great Saturday Matins at home, we need the following books:
  • Blue HTM Boston Prayer Book
  • Lenten Triodion
  • HTM Lamentations Book 
If you don't have a copy of the Lamentations book don't worry. The words and music are available here: First Stasis; Second Stasis; Third Stasis.

Reading services at home is an act of prayer. You are praying with the other members of the Orthodox Church – both those at home, and the monastics praying in monasteries and convents all over the world. Don’t worry about getting everything ‘right’ – it’s not possible to learn Matins overnight. Our book The Grace of the Spirit might help you understand things better. Thanks to John from Canada for pointing out that epub download link was broken. It's fixed now!

We have simplified things in this guide. However, when reading the services it's important to remember the following:
  • We start and end a reader service with: ‘Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us’.
  • We read the Gospel in a normal voice. We leave out the entire introduction too.
  • We leave out all the litanies.

Great Saturday Matins 

Matins starts on p.47 of the Boston Prayer book. Read from page 47 to page 63. This includes the Six Psalms and finishes with ‘God is the Lord’.

At end of ‘God is the Lord…’ we sing the Dismissal Hymns of Great Saturday. These are on page 158 and 159 in the Blue Prayer book.

We sing them in the following order:

The Noble Joseph….
Glory…. ‘When Thou didst descend….’
Both now… ‘Unto the myrrh-bearing women…’

Now we sing the Lamentations which begin ‘In a grave they laid thee….’

At the end of the Third Stasis of the Lamentations (p.31) we immediately sing the Evlogitaria of the Resurrection. This is the hymn we sing on Sunday, but on Great Saturday it's sung to a longer melody. The text is in the Blue Boston Prayer Book on p. 65-66. It ends with Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory to Thee O God (thrice). 

This is followed by the sessional hymns on p.646 in the Lenten Triodion and then Psalm 50 (p.4 of the Boston Prayer Book).

Now we read the Canon in the Lenten Triodion (p.646) Just read this through (without repeating) until the end (p. 651).

We now sing Holy is the Lord our God (thrice) followed by the Praises (page 78 in the Boston Prayer book). If you don’t know how the Praises work, just read the verses for ‘Lauds’ on page 652 of the Lenten Triodion.

After ‘both now…’ we sing ‘Most Blessed art Thou O Virgin Theotokos…’ This hymn is in the Blue Boston Prayer Book (p.81)

Now we sing the Great Doxology as we do every Sunday. This is in the Boston Prayer Book (p.82).

At the end we don’t sing ‘Today is salvation….’ but the Dismissal Hymns of Great Saturday. These are on page 158 and 159 in the Blue Prayer book.

We sing them in the following order:

The Noble Joseph….
Glory…. ‘When Thou didst descend….’
Both now… ‘Unto the myrrh-bearing women…’

After these Dismissal Hymns we sing the Troparion of the Prophecy in the Second Tone (Lenten Triodion p. 653). We sing this twice with a ‘Glory.. Both now…’ in between.

Now we sing the first Prokeimenon in the Lenten Triodion followed by the following reading:

Ezekiel 37: 1-14

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.

We now read the second Prokeimenon in the Lenten Triodion followed by this reading from the New Testament:

Brethren, know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

We now read the following Gospel reading:

On the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Glory…. Both now… Lord have mercy (thrice) Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen.

At the end we sing the hymn from the Lamentations Book (p.53)

No comments:

Post a Comment