Τρίτη, 16 Αυγούστου 2011

Lamentations of the Dormition of the Theotokos

Also called the Burial Service of the Mother of God

(Shortened form, for parish use)

The lamentations (or Praises) are sung interspersed with the verses of Psalm 118 (Psalm 119 in the Hebrew Psalter), precisely as at the lamentations before Christ’s tomb on Great and Holy Saturday. Beginning with the first verse of the psalm, the psalm verse is followed by the refrains of the lamentations, below. In common practice, the psalm verses are sung by the choir, and the lamentation refrains read by the priest—though there is wide variation in this.

The rite of the Burial of the Mother of God, of which these lamentations form a part, can be performed as an independent service; however, it is most often performed as part of the Vigil for the Feast. In this case, the winding sheet (plashchinitsa, epitaphios) of the Theotokos is brought out from the Altar to the centre of the Church after ‘The Lord is God…’, with the Royal Doors opened but the lights not illumined. Placed in the centred of the Church in the tomb, it is censed three times round about, together with the iconostasis and the people, while the people light and hold candles. The present service of the lamentations then takes the place of the Polyeleos. A small litany follows the first and second stases, with a censing of the shroud, the iconostasis and the people. At the end of the third stases, the priest censes the shroud, the iconostasis and the whole temple, while the choir sings the Evloghitaria of Matins.

In this, the burial and lamentations precisely mimic the service for Christ held on Great and Holy Saturday—a mimicking and connection that is reflected upon in the hymns themselves.

FIRST STASIS

1. In a grave they laid Thee; yet, O Christ, Thou art life. And they now have laid the Mother of Life as well: both to angels and to men a sight most strange!

2. We exalt thee greatly, Mother of God most pure, and now we glorify thy holy Dormition, as we bow before thine honoured and precious tomb.

3. In thy womb thou heldest Him who cannot be contained; thou art life to all the faithful: how canst thou die, and thy body be contained within a tomb?

4. Thou didst bring forth, Pure Maiden, God the heavenly King, and today in manner royal art carried forth to the Kingdom of the Heavens as a Queen.

5. Holy Mother of God, thou hast passed from this world, yet in departing thou hast not forsaken those left on earth, but dost deliver this world from every ill.

6. All the earth sings in glory at Thy grave side, O Christ, with due reverence; and, O Master, we also praise the entombment of thy Mother, ever Pure.

7. Overcome with wonder are the Angels, in awe in beholding thee, Pure Maiden, laid out as one dead; for from thee hast Light shone forth into all the world.

8. O Maiden Pure and Spotless, our Heavenly Queen, once more hath God sent Gabriel down to earth with the joyful news, now that thou shouldst leave this life.

9. Now the Bridegroom calls thee to rejoice in a manner both divine and most beautiful, O Bride of God, in the Bridal Chamber, holy and divine.

10. Thou, O Virgin, comest today to the throne and seat of God, where the awesome and unapproachable Light shineth forth from the Trinity, illumining the place where thou dost repose.

11. Departing from the earth, thou hast appeared before God. Thou wert not, O Mother of God, removed from Him, nor hath God been parted from His mother’s heart.

12. Thy most honoured Body, O Mother of God, remained uncorrupted by decay as thou layest entombed; but it passed with thee from earth to heaven.

13. Thine all-holy face shineth, Purest Maiden, in death; and thy countenance appeareth now as Paradise, breathing forth to all believers grace and life.

14. We thy children offer lamentations and love unto thee who art our Mother: accept our gift which we offer from the depths of our souls.

15. Look upon thy children who are gathered together today: may thine honoured eyes be open, that thou beholdest those who glorify with honour thy sacred repose.

16 Grant us thy blessing in the opening of thy lips, O Most Holy Mother of God, departing now at the end of thy time upon the earth.

17. Abandon us not as orphans when thou leavest us on earth; for, O Mother, thou art taken now to heaven, to abide there with thy Son and thy God.

18. Gathered at your bedside, we cry out to thee, our all-holy Virgin Mother, with fervent voice: “Save the faithful and have mercy upon us!”

19. Mother Anna, join us: come and stand in our midst! Come and lead the celebration of this glad feast of thy holy daughter, the Mother of our God!

20. Come, let us lift up praise and glory to God who hath summoned to the Holy of Holies today one who is yet greater than the holiest of Saints.

21. Filled with gladness, Heaven receiveth her Queen; for the Mother of creation cometh in glory and appeareth in glory, reigning with her God.

22. Now the God of Glory takes His mother to Him and the Son who hath received thee, O Purest One, hath prepared for thee a seat at His right Hand.

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

23. Unto the Father and the Holy Spirit we with gladness sound forth hymns today, O Word and God of all, and we glorify Thy divine countenance.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

24. Every generation calls thee blessed, and thy holy, pure Dormition we glorify, O Mother of God, ever-Virgin, Sovereign Queen!

We repeat the first verse: In a grave they laid Thee; yet, O Christ, Thou art life. And they now have laid the Mother of Life as well: both to angels and to men a sight most strange!

SECOND STASIS

1. It is truly right that we magnify Thee who bestowest life, just as Thy pure Mother Thou dost magnify, in her life-creating falling into sleep.

2. It is truly right that we magnify thee, O Mother of God, who took thy divine and all-blameless soul and entrusted it into the Hands of God.

3. O strange and new wonder! The Door now passes through the Doorway! Heaven enters Heaven! We stand in awe as the Throne of God ascends the Throne of God!

4. All the Angelic Hosts stood and marvelled when they beheld Christ God, the Unapproachable, approaching as a Son to give honour to His Mother.

5. Angels shook with fear to behold their God again descending; with His Mother’s soul carried in His hands, He arose again in glory most divine.

6. Heaven shall be awed and the earth shall hearken unto these words: God above all, who didst once come down, for His Mother’s sake a second time descends!

7. Wisdom now hath moved from her dwelling place on earth to heaven, and hath filled her heavenly mansion there with the glory that has come from God above.

8. The Virgin Bride of God, who didst not descend to us from Heaven, by her giving birth unto Heaven’s King from this world, now ascends to Heaven.

9. Mankind now may pass into heaven, for the Way is open. Come therefore, all Christians who bear His name: Let us rise up with the Mother of our God.

10. Down into the earth thou, the Lord’s unplanted land, doth today descend. Out of thee hath sprung forth the Grain of Life, and unto the Land of Heaven thou dost now arise.

11. O Mother of the Light! Today the natural sun, which once beheld the setting of the Sun of Righteousness, beholds Thee, O Virgin, as the setting of the moon.

12. The darkness of the grave now conceals the Lord’s light-bearing Mountain, which once covered Heaven with Virtue’s light, but now lies beneath the shadows of its shroud.

13. Taken from the earth, thou didst arise to be with God in heaven. All the earth rejoiceth along with thee, and it glorifies, O Virgin, thy sacred repose.

14. Pure and incorrupt, now thy body lies enclosed in Heaven while thy grace, O Virgin, poureth forth and illumines the face of all the earth.

15. Filling up thy days singing hymns to God with prayer and fasting, Thou, O Virgin Maiden, didst await the time when thou wouldst come before the Lord in thy repose.

16. Faithful souls rejoice, and their faces are alight and shining, O our all-holy Lady, because of thee, who, departing now from us, will join the Lord.

17. See how the true believers stand piously before thy tomb; hear the lamentations our voices raise unto thee, who art the Author of our Life.

18. Early in the dawn we the faithful rise to sing thy glory, praising thy holy Dormition with all our love, Sovereign Virgin Maiden, free from any sin.

19. O Virgin Bride of God! When thou enterest into the Kingdom of Heaven, remember the faithful here who today honour thy Dormition with our hymns.

20. As thou didst once foretell, thou art magnified today, O most pure Virgin, by the very Power which did create both the heavens and the earth and all therein.

21. Standing face-to-face in the place where the Seraphim cover their faces, thou beholdest the Trinity that is God one in essence, which nothing can divide.

22. All the earth is glad and the heavens sing in celebration; Angels raise their voices to join with men, and they rejoice as thou ascendest to Heaven!

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

23. God beyond all time, with the Word and Spirit everlasting, in that Thou are God, merciful and good, let the clarion of Christians be extolled!

Both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

24. Life was born of thee who art holy and most pure, O Virgin. As thou now departest from this world to Life, grant true life to us who faithfully believe.

We repeat the first verse: It is truly right that we magnify Thee who bestowest life, just as Thy pure Mother Thou dost magnify, in her life-creating falling into sleep.

THIRD STASIS

1. Every generation offers hymns, O Virgin, to honour thine entombment.

2. Come with all creation to sing the hymns of parting, as thou art raised, O Virgin.

3. Disciples of my Lord Christ, arrive to tend the body of my God’s purest Mother!

4. Invisibly attending, the Archangels and Angels by rank sing hymns to praise thee.

5. The women high in honour, along with the Apostles, are crying out and weeping.

6. O Virgin never-wedded, Mother of the Most High, how shall we bear this passion?

7. The time of thy departure holds joy for all creation, but leaves us weeping and mournful.

8. O Mother, leave us not behind thee now as orphans, bereft of thy love and tender care.

9. Our Light art thou, O Virgin! How then shall we bear this: no more to see thy sweet eyes?

10. Alas! Thy lips which loved God and ever spoke of Him have now been bound by silence.

11. “We shall not abandon the Mother of our Teacher!” the Lord’s Apostles didst cry out.

12. On heaven-borne clouds, O Virgin, again we go before thee unto the gates of Heaven.

13. The holy staff is laid down inside the tomb and hidden; and from it Life hath blossomed.

14. In giving birth she hath raised up the dead from their entombment; and yet today she lies entombed.

15 “Whither, Virgin, goest thou?” her loved one and defender calls out as Son to Mother.

16. Thou, who are God’s Mother, enter today with a joyful heart into thy Son’s glad presence.

17. Called with the Apostles, art thou again attending the wedding feast at Cana?

18, Take me, thy child, O Virgin today as thou art raised up to be with thy divine Son.

19. To Heaven art thou taken, and with thy Son dost live: Let me be also taken!

20. Together in the Heavens, may we now stand in glory, who at Thy cross in pain stood.

21. Gethsemane, be joyful! Great hosts endowed with reason descend now with the Master.

22. Be jubilant! Be joyful, O chorus of Disciples, beholding the Lord in glory!

23. Once more doth God descend! Today let all creation, beholding Him, make merry.

24. Let us go forth, O people, in haste to greet the Lord, who is once again descending.

25. This day we may we all listen to God as He speaketh with His all-spotless Mother.

26. Come now, sweetest Mother, and enter with rejoicing into thy sweetest Son’s glad presence.

27. Let thine eyes now behold thy Son who comes to take thee unto His own, O Mother.

28. “I come to see the glory of my Mother shining before my Father’s glory.”

29. “My God,” avows Thy Mother, “I glorify Thy mercy and utter loving kindness.”

30. “I glorify Thee, kneeling and wholly bowed down, my Son, in worship of Thy majestic glory.”

31. Since Thou, who are nearest and dear to me, hast risen up from the earth unto my Father, draw near!

32. Enclosed art thou, O Garden, in which we will discover the Tree of Life unending.

33. Sealed art thou, O Fountain, from which the streams of life pour most wondrously with sweetness.

34. “My lips shall sing the praises of Thy divine dominion, O My son and Sovereign Godhead.”

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

35. My God, who art three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, on all the world have mercy!

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

36. Deem thy servants worthy to enter the Kingdom that is thy Son’s, O Virgin.

We repeat the first verse: Every generation offers hymns, O Virgin, to honour thine entombment.

Matins then continues with a full censing and the Evloghitaria. At the Great Doxology, the priest censes the shroud three times. On the final ‘Holy God…’, the choir changes to the solemn funeral melody, and the shroud is taken up in process by the clergy and all the faithful around the temple. It is brought back into the nave and placed again in the tomb. The service then continues with the two litanies, through to the dismissal. After the conclusion of the service, all the faithful come to venerate the shroud.

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