(Shortened form, for parish use)
The lamentations (or Praises) are sung interspersed with the verses of Psalm 118 (Psalm
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.
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.
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.
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.