The Syriac Orthodox Church observes the Great Lent during the 48 days prior to Easter. The date of Easter is set according to the Julian calendar in the Middle East and Diaspora; the Church in Malankara, however, has followed the Gregorian Calendar since 1953. For those who are unable to fast for the 48 days, the Church permits observing the Great Lent during the first week and week of this period and all Wednesdays and Fridays in between. During Lent, the faithful are to refrain from all animal products (meat and dairy products).
Excerpts from the Lent Evening Service
The worshiper recites Psalm 4.
Madrosho (Doctrinal Hymn)
Open, O Lord, unto me Thy door which is full of mercies,
Note: 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).
Hymn of Repentance
Towards the sea of Thy mercies I gaze, O only begotten God;
Lovely was the voice of the sinful woman,
Note: The second stanza above is based on the story of theadulteress 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.
of St. Jacob
Refrain: We call upon Thee, O Lord - our Lord; come to our help.
O Lord - our Lord, Lord of the watchers [i.e., guardian angels] and the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind.
Note: 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 lineis tarco. Such
plays on words are popular in Syriac literature.
of St. Ephrem
Refrain: Our Lord have mercy upon us; our Lord accept our service.
Grant me, O Lord, that I stand in front of you watchfully when I keep
If I commit wrong when I am awake, I shall be forgiven by your grace.
The worshiper is then to recite Psalm 91.
The audio clip gives a traditional chant. 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,
Deacon: will say to the Lord, "My refuge
Deacon: For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
Ma`de`dono: The Book of the Church Festivals (1984).
|Copyright © Syriac Orthodox Resources. All Rights Reserved.
|Last Update: February 19, 1998