Compline at Prinknash Abbey

The Order for Compline at Prinknash Abbey

Note that this is both pre-Vatican II and Benedictine. It does not contain the Nunc Dimittis and antiphons that one expects in the Roman Breviary and post-Vatican II.

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Evening Prayers – Bahá’í Contexts

In several recent years on the third Sunday of January, my home congregation has worshiped together with a Bahá’í group in observance of World Religion Day. This special day was founded by American Bahá’ís in 1950, and its purpose is to call attention to the harmony of basic principles of World Religions and to emphasize that religion is a force leading toward world unity.

When we were first considering what we could do in interfaith worship together that would avoid the complications of differing beliefs while providing a real and honest experience of worship to those present from both communities, the Bahá’í group leader, a dear gentle man with whom I was putting together the service, quickly said, “I’ve usually found prayer to be a common ground in worship with other religious groups! All religions pray.”

Granted, this view glosses over differences in prayer. Some people pray simply to God. Some to God the Father. Some pray to Jesus. Some to the Holy Spirit. Some to gods of different names or even unspeakable names. Some pray only in Jesus name. Some pray from a book. Others only extemporaneously and spontaneously. And some religious people think of their approach to the Ultimate as a kind of mediation and do not use the word “prayer” for what they do in worship.

Still, despite this seeming naiveté, my new friend had, indeed, spoken wisely. In interfaith worship, people are usually attuned to the fact that, even though others do not do all the same things, the stretch toward the Divine in worship is something that can be appreciated across boundaries. This is wisdom my friend had gained from the traditions of the Bahá’í Houses of Worship, commonly called Bahá’í Temples. In a Bahá’í House of Worship, people of all religions are welcome, preaching is not allowed, and all words that are uttered are either prayer or scripture, these including prayers and scriptures from other World Religions. Worship is separated from teaching.

The Bahá’í faith has rich repositories of prayers composed especially by the founder and early leaders of the faith which are gathered in prayer books and scattered through other writings of these leaders. There is no monastic tradition, and no formal liturgical hours. Yet Bahá’ís do make the choice of one among three daily prayers of obligation – one of which is said daily at noon; one of which is said in the morning, at noon, and in the evening; and one of which may be said at any time within each 24-hour period. These prayers of obligation have elements that resemble the prayer traditions of Islam – washing, bowing, prostration, statement of faith…

This prayer, complete with rubrics, is the medium length obligatory prayer that is prayed morning, noon, and evening:

Medium Obligatory Prayer

To be recited daily, in the morning, at noon, and in the evening.

{Whoso wisheth to pray, let him wash his hands, and while he washeth, let him say:}

Strengthen my hand, O my God, that it may take hold of Thy Book with such steadfastness that the hosts of the world shall have no power over it. Guard it, then, from meddling with whatsoever doth not belong unto it. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

{And while washing his face, let him say:}

I have turned my face unto Thee, O my Lord! Illumine it with the light of Thy countenance. Protect it, then, from turning to anyone but Thee.

{Then let him stand up, and facing the Qiblih (Point of Adoration, i.e., Bahjí, ‘Akká), let him say:}

God testifieth that there is none other God but Him. His are the kingdoms of Revelation and of creation. He, in truth, hath manifested Him Who is the Dayspring of Revelation, Who conversed on Sinai, through Whom the Supreme Horizon hath been made to shine, and the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing hath spoken, and through Whom the call hath been proclaimed unto all who are in heaven and on earth: “Lo, the All-Possessing is come. Earth and heaven, glory and dominion are God’s, the Lord of all men, and the Possesser of the Throne on high and of earth below!”

{Let him, then, bend down, with hands resting on the knees, and say:}

Exalted art Thou above my praise and the praise of anyone beside me, above my description and the description of all who are in heaven and all who are on earth!

{Then, standing with open hands, palms upward toward the face, let him say:}

Disappoint not, O my God, him that hath, with beseeching fingers, clung to the hem of Thy mercy and Thy grace, O Thou Who of those who show mercy art the Most Merciful!

{Let him, then, be seated and say:}

I bear witness to Thy unity and Thy oneness, and that Thou art God, and that there is none other God beside Thee. Thou hast, verily, revealed Thy Cause, fulfilled Thy Covenant, and opened wide the door of Thy grace to all that dwell in heaven and on earth. Blessing and peace, salutation and glory, rest upon Thy loved ones, whom the changes and chances of the world have not deterred from turning unto Thee, and who have given their all, in the hope of obtaining that which is with Thee. Thou art, in truth, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.

(If anyone choose to recite instead of the long verse these words: “God testifieth that there is none other God but Him, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting,” it would be sufficient. And likewise, it would suffice were he, while seated, to choose to recite these words: “I bear witness to Thy unity and Thy oneness, and that Thou art God, and that there is none other God beside Thee.”)

In addition to the obligatory prayers, though, the Bahá’í faith has a rich array of prayers for most of the situations one might imagine seeking divine presence. And there are Morning, Evening and Midnight prayers.  The following two evening prayers were written by Bahá’u’lláh:

Evening Prayer (I)

O my God, my Master, the Goal of my desire! This, Thy servant, seeketh to sleep in the shelter of Thy mercy, and to repose beneath the canopy of Thy grace, imploring Thy care and Thy protection.

I beg of Thee, O my Lord, by Thine eye that sleepeth not, to guard mine eyes from beholding aught beside Thee. Strengthen, then, their vision that they may discern Thy signs, and behold the Horizon of Thy Revelation. Thou art He before the revelations of Whose omnipotence the quintessence of power hath trembled.

No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the All-Subduing, the Unconditioned.


Evening Prayer (II)

How can I choose to sleep, O God, my God, when the eyes of them that long for Thee are wakeful because of their separation from Thee; and how can I lie down to rest whilst the souls of Thy lovers are sore vexed in their remoteness from Thy presence?

I have committed, O my Lord, my spirit and my entire being into the right hand of Thy might and Thy protection, and I lay my head on my pillow through Thy power, and lift it up according to Thy will and Thy good pleasure. Thou art, in truth, the Preserver, the Keeper, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

By Thy might! I ask not, whether sleeping or waking, but that which Thou dost desire. I am Thy servant and in Thy hands. Do Thou graciously aid me to do what will shed forth the fragrance of Thy good pleasure. This, truly, is my hope and the hope of them that enjoy near access to Thee. Praised be Thou, O Lord of the worlds!

The following evening prayer and the final prayer which is a midnight prayer were composed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

Evening Prayer (III)

O my Lord! I have drawn nigh unto Thee, in the depths of this darksome night, confiding in Thee with the tongue of my heart, trembling with joy at the sweet scents that blow from Thy realm, the All-Glorious, calling unto Thee, saying:

O my Lord, no words do I find to glorify Thee; no way do I see for the bird of my mind to soar upward to Thy Kingdom of Holiness; for Thou, in Thy very essence, art sanctified above those tributes, and in Thy very being art beyond the reach of those praises which are offered Thee by the people that Thou hast created. In the sanctity of Thine own being hast Thou ever been exalted above the understanding of the learned among the Company on high, and forever wilt Thou remain enwrapped within the holiness of Thine own reality, unreached by the knowledge of those dwellers in Thine exalted Kingdom who glorify Thy Name.

O God, my God! How can I glorify or describe Thee inaccessible as Thou art; immeasurably high and sanctified art Thou above every description and praise.

O God, my God! Have mercy then upon my helpless state, my poverty, my misery, my abasement! Give me to drink from the generous cup of Thy grace and forgiveness, stir me with the sweet scents of Thy love, gladden my bosom with the light of Thy knowledge, purify my soul with the mysteries of Thy oneness, raise me to life with the gentle breeze that cometh from the gardens of Thy mercy—till I sever myself from all else but Thee, and lay hold of the hem of Thy garment of grandeur, and consign to oblivion all that is not Thee, and be companioned by the sweet breathings that waft during these Thy days, and attain unto faithfulness at Thy Threshold of Holiness, and arise to serve Thy Cause, and to be humble before Thy loved ones, and, in the presence of Thy favoured ones, to be nothingness itself.

Verily art Thou the Helper, the Sustainer, the Exalted, the Most Generous.

O God, my God! I beg of Thee by the dawning of the light of Thy Beauty that hath illumined all the earth, and by the glance of Thy divine compassion’s eye that considereth all things, and by the surging sea of Thy bestowals in which all things are immersed, and by Thy streaming clouds of bounty raining down gifts upon the essences of all created things, and by the splendors of Thy mercy that existed before ever the world was—to help Thy chosen ones to be faithful, and assist Thy loved ones to serve at Thine exalted Threshold, and cause them to gain the victory through the battalions of Thy might that overpowereth all things, and reinforce them with a great fighting host from out of the Concourse on high.

O my Lord! They are weak souls standing at Thy door; they are paupers in Thy courtyard, desperate for Thy grace, in dire need of Thy succor, turning their faces toward the kingdom of Thy oneness, yearning for the bounties of Thy bestowals. O my Lord! Flood Thou their minds with Thy holy light; cleanse Thou their hearts with the grace of Thine assistance; gladden their bosoms with the fragrance of the joys that waft from Thy Company above; make bright their eyes by beholding the signs and tokens of Thy might; cause them to be the ensigns of purity, the banners of sanctity waving high above all creatures on the summits of the earth; make Thou their words to move hearts which are even as solid rock. May they arise to serve Thee and dedicate themselves to the Kingdom of Thy divinity, and set their faces toward the realm of Thy Self-Subsistence, and spread far and wide Thy signs, and be illumined by Thy streaming lights, and unfold Thy hidden mysteries. May they guide Thy servants unto gentle waters and to the fountain of Thy mercy that welleth and leapeth in the midmost heart of the Heaven of Thy oneness. May they hoist the sail of detachment upon the Ark of Salvation, and move over the seas of Thy knowledge; may they spread wide the pinions of unity and by their aid soar upward to the Kingdom of Thy singleness to become servants whom the Supreme Concourse will applaud, whose praises the dwellers in Thine all-glorious realm will utter; may they hear the heralds of the invisible world as they raise their cry of the Most Great Glad-Tidings; may they, in their longing to meet Thee, invoke and pray unto Thee, intoning wondrous orisons at the dawn of light—O my Lord Who disposest all things—shedding their tears at morningtide and even, yearning to pass into the shadow of Thy mercy that endeth never.

Help them, O my Lord, under all conditions, support them at all times with Thine angels of holiness, they who are Thine invisible hosts, Thy heavenly battalions who bring down to defeat the massed armies of this nether world.

Verily art Thou the Mighty, the Powerful, the Strong, the All-Encompassing, the One Who hath dominion over all that is.


Midnight Prayer

O Lord, I have turned my face unto Thy kingdom of oneness and am immersed in the sea of Thy mercy. O Lord, enlighten my sight by beholding Thy lights in this dark night, and make me happy by the wine of Thy love in this wonderful age. O Lord, make me hear Thy call, and open before my face the doors of Thy heaven, so that I may see the light of Thy glory and become attracted to Thy beauty.

Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Generous, the Merciful, the Forgiving.

This is a different tradition of evening and night prayer than the Liturgy of the Hours presents, with their reliance on Psalms and other Scripture and liturgical forms. And it is closer to the openness of prayer structure that known in Protestant Christianity. These are, in fact, discrete prayers rather than liturgical amalgams of  multiple prayers and scriptures known in the Divine Office as well as in Islam’s required daily prayers. These prayers at the end of day are certainly a part of pious devotions but have little of the ritual about them that is included in the Divine Office.

Though it is impossible to know without further research, I wonder if the discrete prayers and the less ritualized presentation of the evening and night prayers is primarily a function of the comparative youth of the Bahá’í faith in relation to Judaism, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, and Islam. Religions build liturgies through accretion over time. But the emergence of the Bahá’í faith in the mid-1800s means, not only that there has been little time for this accretion, but also that the religion has developed under the eyes of Modernity, which looks differently on matters of authenticity and compilation and originality than did previous eras.

[SOURCE for PRAYERS:  Bahá’í Prayers, 2002 edition, Copyright 1954, © 1982, 1985, 1991, 2002 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States.]

Posted in At Home, Bahá’í, Compline, Contexts, Vespers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Compline – Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

I was in Chicago for the month of January. On the last Sunday of the month, I determined I would attend Compline at St. John Cantius Church, where the canons regular have a special mission for excellence in liturgy, both in ordinary and extraordinary forms.

Mid-afternoon, I walked to the church because I wanted to get a picture of the Polish-cathedral-style building while it was still light. After taking my pictures, I walked up the steps and entered. In the narthex, I was greeted by a young priest in a black cassock who informed me that they were locking up right then.

I thought I was going to be asked to leave, but instead, the priest showed me where I could exit when I was ready and continued with locking doors and shutting off lights. The air was filled with the scent of incense as I sat in this lovingly restored building once expected to close. The huge Baroque reredos dominated, as I sat in the dim winter light, filtered through muted stained glass. I had the entire church to myself, plenty of time to pray, unextinguished votives the only added light.

Later I walked the three miles back for 6:00PM Compline, arriving and being seated with five minutes to spare. The priests and brothers entered and sat in the front two rows of the nave, from where they chanted the liturgy of this final office of the day. I was absolutely stunned. The nine priests and brothers chanted Gregorian Chant in Latin in voices that resonated through the large structure, as strong as if a much larger group were chanting. Perfectly in tune. Perfectly timed. I was transported – especially at one of my favorite spots, the antiphon to the Nunc dimittis: Salva nos, Dómine, vigilántes, custódi nos dormiéntes; ut vigilémus cum Christo, et requiescámus in pace (Save us, O Lord, waking, guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace). Only the Psalm (90/91) and a lesson from Revelation were in English.

At the end of Compline, the priests and brothers processed down the center aisle and up the northern side aisle, led by candles on standards, to an elaborate icon of the Virgin where there was a ceremony with profession of vows to admit one of the nine to the order of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.

Excellence in liturgy and restoring the sacred in the liturgy is the heart of the mission of the Canons Regular. St. John Cantius Church celebrates all the accepted forms of the mass, low mass and high, Tridentine (Latin) and Novus Ordo (in English or in Latin), but the intent is to keep each of these liturgical forms at its highest possible level of execution and faithfulness to the rubrics. Included in its mission , this order prays the Divine Office partly on behalf of the apparently many priests today who, despite their obligation to do so, do not pray the Divine Office regularly.

Compline at St. John Cantius must be the best kept open secret in Chicago. I was the only person other than the nine priests and brothers present for Compline. It may be that the church’s out-of-the-way location deters attendance other than at mass, which is well attended even by people from far away. And Compline has the disadvantage of being short in this regard: if people have to commute half an hour to the church and half an hour home, they may well want something more than a half-hour-long office. But it is a major shame that this office is unattended except by the canons regular.

I was reminded that, in addition to all the good things that can and must flow from a congregation that has a strong foundation in worship, liturgy well done also has stand-alone value that cannot be measured.

If you are in Chicago, seriously consider attending the Liturgy of the Hours here.

St. John Cantius Church
825 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago

Schedule of the Liturgy of the Hours
at St. John Cantius

06:30 a.m. — Matins & Lauds
02:00 p.m. — [Rosary,] Solemn Vespers[, Exposition and Benediction]
06:00 p.m. — Compline
10:00 p.m. — Grand Silence

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
06:00 a.m. — Matins & Lauds
11:45 a.m. — Sext
04:45 p.m. — [Rosary and] Vespers
07:15 p.m. — Compline
10:00 p.m. — Grand Silence

06:45 a.m. — Matins & Lauds
11:45 a.m. — Sext
04:45 p.m. — [Rosary and] Vespers
08:15 p.m. — Compline
10:00 p.m. — Grand Silence

07:55 a.m. — Matins & Lauds
06:00 p.m. — [Rosary,] Vespers & Compline
10:00 p.m. — Grand Silence

Posted in Canons Regular, Compline, Parish, Roman Catholic, St John Cantius | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Coptic Compline

The word, Agpeya, is a Coptic (ancient Egyptian) word meaning “Book of Hours.” The Agpeya is primarily used by the Coptic Orthodox Church. It contains prayers for seven different offices to be said throughout the day. The hours are chronologically laid out, each containing a theme corresponding to events in the life of Jesus. Each hour is composed of an introduction which includes the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of Thanksgiving, and Psalm 50. It is followed by various Psalms, an excerpt from the Holy Gospel, and Litanies. Kyrie Eleyson is then chanted 41 times, followed by several other prayers and a conclusion.

The Agpeya is read throughout the day and in many situations. The hours of the day start at sunrise and end at sunset. The morning prayer (Prime), which corresponds to 6 a.m., is said upon waking up in the morning or after the Midnight praise the previous night. The Terce (9 a.m.) and Sext (noon) hours are prayed before each liturgy during the Offering of Incense. The None (3 p.m.) hour is also read during fasting days. Vespers (sunset) and Compline (9 p.m.) are read in the early evening and before bedtime, respectively. and are both read before the Liturgy during the Lent and the fast of Nineveh. The Midnight hour is read just before the Midnight Praise. The Veil hour is reserved for priests, monks and bishops.

The following Order of Compline is from the Coptic Orthodox tradition.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~



In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

Kyrie eleison. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord bless us. Amen.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.


Make us worthy to pray thankfully:

Our Father Who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, in Christ Jesus our Lord. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.


Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life.

O Master, Lord, God the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour.

Therefore, we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind, to grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of our life, in all peace with Your fear. All envy, all temptation, all the work of Satan, the counsel of wicked men, and the rising up of enemies, hidden and manifest, take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours.

But those things which are good and profitable do provide for us; for it is You Who have given us the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, by the grace, compassion and love of mankind, of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, through Whom the glory, the honor, the dominion, and the adoration are due unto You, with Him, and the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver, Who is of one essence with You, now and at all times, and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.


Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your great mercy; and according to the multitude of Your compassions blot out my iniquity. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my iniquity; and my sin is at all times before me.

Against You only I have sinned, and done evil before You: that You might be just in Your sayings, and might overcome when You are judged. For, behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins my mother conceived me.

For, behold, You have loved the truth: You have manifested to me the hidden and unrevealed things of Your wisdom. You shall sprinkle me with Your hyssop, and I shall be purified: You shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. You shall make me to hear gladness and joy: the humbled bones shall rejoice.

Turn away Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts. Do not cast me away from Your face; and do not remove Your Holy Spirit from me. Give me the joy of Your salvation: and uphold me with a directing spirit. Then I shall teach the transgressors Your ways; and the ungodly men shall turn to You.

Deliver me from blood, O God, the God of my salvation: and my tongue shall rejoice in Your righteousness. O Lord, You shall open my lips; and my mouth shall declare Your praise. For if You desired sacrifice, I would have given it: You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God shall not despise.

Do good, O Lord, in Your good pleasure to Zion; and let the walls of Jerusalem be built. Then You shall be pleased with sacrifices of righteousness, offering, and burnt sacrifices: then they shall offer calves upon Your altar. ALLELUIA.

The blessed prayer of retiring, we offer to Christ our King and our God, beseeching Him to forgive us our sins.

From the Psalms of our father David the prophet and the king, may his blessings be upon us all. Amen.


Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. O Lord, hear my voice: let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For through You is forgiveness. For Your name’s sake I have waited for You, O Lord. My soul has waited for Your law. My soul has hoped in the Lord, from the morning watch till night. From the morning watch, let Israel hope in the Lord. For with the Lord is mercy, and great is His redemption; and He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. ALLELUIA.


O Lord, my heart was not exalted, neither have my eyes been haughtily raised: neither have I walked in great matters, nor in wonders greater than me. If I have not humbled myself, but raised my soul, as a weaned child with his mother, so is the recompense upon my soul. Let Israel hope in the Lord, from now and forever. ALLELUIA.


Lord, remember David and all his meekness: how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the God of Jacob, saying, “I will not go into the dwelling of my house, or go up to the bed of my couch; I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids, nor rest to my temples, until I find a place for the Lord, and a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. Behold, we heard of it in Ephratha; we found it in the fields of the wood. Let us enter into His dwelling, and worship at the place where His feet stood.

Arise, O Lord, into Your rest; You, and the ark of Your holy place. Your priests shall clothe themselves with righteousness; and Your righteous shall exult. For the sake of Your servant David, do not turn away Your face from Your anointed.

The Lord has sworn in truth to David, and He will not turn from it, “Of the fruit of your loins I will set upon your throne. If your children keep My covenant and My testimonies which I will teach them, their children also will sit upon your throne forever.”

For the Lord has selected Zion, He has chosen her a dwelling for Himself: “This is My resting place forever. Here I will dwell; for I have desired it. In blessing I shall bless her hunting. Her poor I shall satisfy with bread. Her priests I shall clothe with salvation; and her saints with rejoicing shall rejoice. There I shall raise a horn to David. I have prepared a lamp for My anointed. His enemies I shall clothe with shame, and My holiness shall flourish upon Him.” ALLELUIA.


Behold! What is so good, or what so pleasant, as for brothers dwelling together? It is as ointment upon the head, that came down upon beard, the beard of Aaron that came down to the fringe of his clothing; as the dew of Aermon, that comes down upon the mountain of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing and the life forever. ALLELUIA.


Behold, bless the Lord, O you the servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. In the nights lift up your hands unto the Holies, and bless the Lord. The Lord shall bless you out of Zion, He who made heaven and earth. ALLELUIA.


By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps on the willows in the midst of it. For there those who had taken us captive asked of us the words of a song; and those who had carried us away asked a hymn, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

How will we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, I shall forget my right hand. My tongue shall cling to my throat, if I did not remember you; if I did not prefer Jerusalem as the head of my joy.

Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, “Tear it down, tear it down, even to its foundations.” Wretched daughter of Babylon! Blessed is he who will reward you with the reward you have given us. Blessed is he who will seize and bury your infants by the rock. ALLELUIA.


I will confess You, O Lord, with my whole heart, for You have heard all the words of my mouth. Before the angels I will chant to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and confess Your name, on account of Your mercy and Your truth; for You have magnified Your holy name above all. The day in which I call upon You, hear me speedily; You shall exceedingly look upon my soul with power. Let all the kings of the earth, O Lord, confess You; for they have heard all the words of Your mouth. And let them sing in the ways of the Lord; for great is the glory of the Lord.

The Lord is high, and He regards the lowly; and He knows the existing things from afar off. If I walk in the midst of affliction, You shall revive me; You have stretched forth Your hands against the wrath of enemies, and Your right hand has saved me. O Lord, You shall reward on my behalf: Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever: do not overlook the works of Your hands. ALLELUIA.


O Lord, I have cried to You, hear me. Attend to the voice of my supplication when I cry to You. Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. O Lord, set a watch on my mouth and a strong door for my lips. Do not incline my heart to words of evil, to employ excuses for sins with men who work iniquity; and I shall not agree with their choices. The righteous shall chasten me with mercy, and reprove me: but do not let the oil of the sinner anoint my head: for yet my prayer also is in their pleasures.

Their mighty ones have been swallowed up near the rock: they shall hear my words, for they are delightful. As a lump of earth, they are broken upon the ground, their bones have been scattered at Hades. For my eyes are to You, O Lord: O Lord, I have hoped in You; do not take away my soul. Keep me from the snare which they have set for me, and from the stumbling blocks of those who work iniquity. Sinners shall fall by their own net: I am alone until iniquity passes by. ALLELUIA.


With my voice to the Lord I cried; with my voice to the Lord I made supplication. I will pour out before Him my supplication. My affliction I will pour out before Him, when my spirit was fainting within me, and You knew my paths. In the way in which I was walking, they hid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, for there was no one who noticed me. Refuge failed me, and there was no one who cared for my soul. I cried unto You, O Lord, and said, “You are my hope, my portion in the land of the living. Attend to my supplication, for I am brought very low; deliver me from those who persecute me, for they are stronger than me. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may confess Your name, O Lord. The righteous wait for me until You reward me.” ALLELUIA.


Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord in my life. I will sing praises to my God as long as I exist. Do not trust in the princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. Their spirit shall go forth, and they shall return to their earth. In that day all their thoughts shall perish.

Blessed is he whose helper is the God of Jacob,  whose hope is in the Lord his God: who made heaven and earth, the sea and all things in them; who keeps truth forever: who executes judgement for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord looses the bound; the Lord sets up the broken down. The Lord gives wisdom to the blind; the Lord loves the righteous. the Lord preserves the strangers; He accepts the orphan and widow: but He will destroy the way of sinners. The Lord shall reign forever, and your God, O Zion, from generation to generation. ALLELUIA.


Praise the Lord, for a psalm is good; let praise be sweet unto our God. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; and He will gather together the dispersed of Israel. He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up all their fractures. He numbers the multitudes of stars, and calls them all by names. Great is the Lord, and great is His strength; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the meek, but brings sinners down to the ground.

Begin the song to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises to our God on the harp: He who covers the heaven with clouds; who prepares rain for the earth; who causes grass to spring up on the mountains, and green herb for the service of men; who gives food to the cattle, and to the young ravens that call upon Him. He will not take pleasure in the strength of a horse, nor will He be well‑pleased with the legs of man. The Lord will take pleasure in those who fear Him, and in those who hope in His mercy. ALLELUIA.


Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion: for He has strengthened the bars of your gates. He has blessed your children within you. He makes your borders peaceful, and fills you with the fatness of wheat. He sends His word to the earth: His word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool: He scatters the mist like ashes. He casts out His ice like morsels:  who will be able to stand before His frost? He will send out His word, and melt them. His wind will blow, and the waters shall flow. He declares His word to Jacob, His ordinances and judgements to Israel. He has not done so with every nation; and He has not revealed to them His judgements. ALLELUIA.


And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen Christ the Lord. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God, and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for the revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Glory to God forever. Amen.


Tenoo oasht emmok o piekhristos nem pekyot en aghathos nem pi epnevma ethowab je akee ak soati emmon nai nan
(We worship You O Christ with Your Good Father and the Holy Spirit, for You have come and saved us.)


1.  Behold, I am about to stand before the Just Judge terrified and trembling because of my many sins. For a life spent in pleasures deserves condemnation. But repent, O my soul, so long as you dwell on this earth, for inside the grave, dust does not praise. And among the dead, no one remembers, neither in hades, does anyone give thanks. Therefore arise from the slumber of laziness, and entreat the Savior, repenting and saying, “God, have mercy on me and save me.”

Doxa Patri ke Eioa ke Agio Pnevmati
Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.)

2.  If life were everlasting, and this world ever-existing, you would have an excuse, O my soul. But if your wicked deeds and ugly evils were exposed before the Just Judge, what answer would you give while you are lying on the bed of sins, negligent in disciplining the flesh!? O Christ our God, before Your awesome seat of judgement I am terrified, and before Your council of judgement I submit, and from the Light of Your divine radiance I tremble, I, the wretched and defiled, who lies on my bed, negligent in my life. But I take example of the Publican, beating my chest and saying, “O God, forgive me and have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Ke nin ke a ee ke ees toos e onas toan e oa noan ameen.
Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.)

3.  O pure Virgin, overshadow your servant with your instant help, and keep the waves of evil thoughts away from me, and raise up my ailing soul for prayer and vigil, for it has gone into a deep sleep. For you are a capable, compassionate and helpful mother, the bearer of the Fountain of Life, my King and my God, Jesus Christ, my hope.


Graciously accord, O Lord, to keep us this night without sin. Blessed are You, O Lord, God of our fathers, and exceedingly blessed, and glorified be Your name forever. Amen.

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according to our hope in You; for the eyes of everyone wait upon You, for You give them their food in due season.  Hear us, O God, our Savior, the hope of all the regions of the earth. And You, O Lord, keep us safe from this generation and forever. Amen.

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.  Blessed are You, O Lord; make me to understand Your commandments. Blessed are You, O Lord; enlighten me with Your righteousness. Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever.  Despise not, O Lord, the works of Your hands. You have been my  refuge from generation to generation.

I said, O Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul; for I have sinned  against You. Lord, I have fled unto You, save me, and teach me to do Your will, for You are my God, and with You is the fountain of life. In Your light shall we see light.

Let Your mercy come unto those who know You, and Your righteousness unto the upright in heart. To You belongs blessing. To You belongs praise. To You belongs glory, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, existing from the beginning, now, and forever and ever. Amen.

It is good to confess unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Your name, O Most High; to show forth Your mercy every morning, and Your righteousness every night.


Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Who was born of the Virgin, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Who was crucified for us, have mercy on us.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Who rose from the dead and ascended into the heavens, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.

O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us.

O Lord, forgive us our sins. O Lord, forgive us our iniquities. O Lord, forgive us our trespasses.

O Lord, visit the sick of Your people, heal them for the sake of Your holy name. Our fathers and brothers who have slept, O Lord, repose their souls.

O You Who are without sin, Lord have mercy on us. O You Who are without sin, Lord help us and receive our supplications. For Yours is the glory, the dominion, and triple holiness. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord bless. Amen.

Make us worthy to pray thankfully:

Our Father Who art in heaven …


We exalt you, the Mother of the true Light. We glorify you, O Saint, the Theotokos, for you brought forth unto us the Savior of the whole world; He came and saved our souls.

Glory to You, our Master, our King, Christ, the pride of the apostles, the crown of the martyrs, the joy of the righteous, the firmness of the churches, the forgiveness of sins.

We proclaim the Holy Trinity in One Godhead. We worship Him. We glorify Him.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord bless. Amen.


We believe in one God, God the Father, the Almighty, Who created heaven and earth, and all things, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not created, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us, men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnated of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And on the third day He rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens; and sat at the right hand of His Father, and also He is coming again in His glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom has no end.

Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-Giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who, with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke in the prophets. And in one holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins.


We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the coming age. Amen.

Then the worshipper prays:


Lord, hear us and have mercy on us and forgive us our sins. Amen.

Kyrie Eleison! (41 times)


Holy Holy Holy. Lord of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory and honor. Have mercy on us, O God the Father, the Almighty O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, God of hosts, be with us. For we have no helper in our hardships and tribulations but You. Absolve, forgive, and remit, O God, our transgressions; those which we have committed willingly and those we have committed unwillingly, those which we have committed knowingly and those which we have committed unknowingly, the hidden and manifest, O Lord forgive us, for the sake of Your Holy name which is called upon us.

Let it be according to Your mercy, O Lord, and not according to our sins.

Make us worthy to pray thankfully:

Our Father Who art in heaven…


Lord, all our sins which we committed against You in this day, whether in deeds or in words or in thoughts or through all senses, please remit and forgive us, for the sake of Your holy name, as You are Good and Lover of mankind. God, grant us a peaceful night and a sleep free from all anxiety. And send us an angel of peace to protect us from every evil, and every affliction, and every temptation of the enemy; through the Grace, compassion and love of mankind of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom is due, with You and with the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver Who is of one essence with You, all glory, honor and dominion, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.


Have mercy on us, O God, and have mercy on us, who, at all times and in every hour, in heaven and on earth, is worshipped and glorified, Christ our God, the good, the long suffering, the abundant in mercy, and the great in compassion, who loves the righteous and has mercy on the sinners of whom I am chief; who does not wish the death of the sinner but rather that he returns and lives, who calls all to salvation for the promise of the blessings to come.

Lord receive from us our prayers in this hour and in every hour. Ease our life and guide us to fulfill Your commandments. Sanctify our spirits. Cleanse our bodies. Conduct our thoughts. Purify our intentions. Heal our diseases. Forgive our sins. Deliver us from every evil grief and distress of heart. Surround us by Your holy angels, that, by their camp, we may be guarded and guided, and attain the unity of faith, and the knowledge of Your imperceptible and infinite glory. For You are blessed forever. Amen.

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NOTE: This post owes its existence to, where I found the above text of the compline liturgy.

Posted in At Home, Compline, Coptic Orthodox, Monastery, Parish | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Vespers at King’s Chapel – 19th-Century Unitarian

King’s Chapel, Boston, is an interesting case among member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association.


King's Chapel, Boston 2009 - Photo by chensiyuan

While a large portion of the historical Unitarian churches of New England were congregations descended, along with the Congregationalists, from the Puritans, King’s Chapel, the first American church to clearly identify as Unitarian, was an Episcopal church, founded in 1686 as the first Anglican Church in New England. It became Unitarian under the ministry of James Freeman, who revised the Book of Common Prayer along Unitarian lines in 1785. To this day, they worship using their own version of the Book of Common Prayer. They self-identify as “unitarian Christian in theology, Anglican in worship, and congregational in governance.” (An Episcopalian’s interesting take on King’s Chapel and its BCP can be linked here.)


Interior, King's Chapel, Boston - Photo by Wlmsears

This version of the Book of Common Prayer contains a liturgy for Morning Prayer and two liturgies for Evening Prayer. As was common before the current edition of the BCP of the Episcopal Church, it contains no liturgy for Night Prayer (Compline). The 1900 edition of this version of the BCP includes the addition of a few Collects from ancient liturgies and and additional “Confirmation Service.” But the liturgies for Evening Prayer are identical between the 1850 and 1900 editions. (I have not yet examined earlier editions.)

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The Minister shall begin the Service with the following Sentences of Scripture, addressed to the People.

FROM the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same, the Lord’s name is to be praised.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together; for with him is the fountain of life, and in his light shall we see light.

Let our prayers be set forth in his sight as incense; and the lifting up of our hands be an evening sacrifice.

We will go into his tabernacle; we will worship at his footstool; we will worship, and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is kind to all, even unto the evil and unthankful. He has nourished and brought us up as children, though we have rebelled against him.

Let us then go unto our Father, and say unto him, Father, we have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and are no more worthy to be called thy children.

Then shall follow the Confession and Prayer, to be said by the Minister and People.

O ALMIGHTY God, and most merciful Father, Unto whom all hearts are open, and from whom no secrets are hid; With simplicity and godly sincerity would we seek thee, Confessing our unthankfulness, and our manifold offences. We deplore the sins which we have at any time committed, In thought, or affection, in word, or deed, Against each other and against thee. And we humbly beseech thee, Through thy mercy declared unto us by thy Son Jesus Christ, To look graciously upon us, and forgive us, And assist us to lay aside every weight, And the sins which so easily beset us; To mortify our evil and corrupt affections, And to subdue our thoughts and desires to the obedience of the gospel. May we be convinced, O God, That till we know thee, we know nothing aright; That without thee, we have nothing of any worth; And in wandering from thee, we leave all that is truly good. Let us cast ourselves into the arms of thy mercy, And offer thee our whole being, our bodies and our souls, That they may be thy temple for ever. And wilt thou take us, O Lord, entirely into thy hands, with all that we have, And let nothing henceforward either in life or death, ever separate us from thee any more. Amen.


OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then shall the Minister say,

O LORD, open thou our lips;

Answ. And our mouths shall show forth thy praise.
Min. O God make speed to save us.
Answ. O Lord make haste to help us.
Min. O Lord let thy mercy be shown upon us;
Answ. As we do put our trust in thee.
Min. Praise ye the Lord.
Answ. The Lord’s name be praised.

Then shall be said, by the Minister and People, alternately, the Psalms for the Day, or a Selection from the Psalms, at the discretion of the Minister; and at the close of the Psalms shall be repeated the following Doxology.

NOW unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God; Be honour and glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever and ever. Amen.

Then may follow an Anthem, or a Voluntary on the Organ. After which the Minister shall read the FIRST LESSON, from the Old Testament; and at the end of it he shall say, Here endeth the First Lesson. Then shall be sung, or else said by the Minister and People, alternately, the 98th Psalm as followeth.

Cantate Domino.

O SING unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things.
With his own right hand, and with his holy arm, hath he gotten himself the victory.
The Lord declared his salvation; his righteousness hath he openly shown in the sight of the heathen.
He hath remembered his mercy and truth toward the house of Israel; and all the ends of the world have seen the salvation of our God.
Show yourselves joyful unto the Lord, all ye lands; sing, rejoice, and give thanks.
Praise the Lord upon the harp; sing to the harp with a psalm of thanksgiving;
With trumpets also and shawms, O show yourselves joyful before the Lord the king.
Let the sea make a noise, and all that therein is; the round world and they that dwell therein.
Let the floods clap their hands; and let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth.
With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

Or this.

Quam dilecta!

O HOW amiable are thy dwellings, thou Lord of hosts!
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
As the sparrow findeth a house, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young, so let me dwell at thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.
Blessed are they who dwell in thy house; they will be always praising thee.
Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are thy ways.
They will go from strength to strength, till every one of them appeareth before God in Sion.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord, God of hosts, blessed is the man who trusteth in thee.

Then shall the Minister read the Second Lesson from the Epistles, and at the end of it he shall say, Here endeth the Second Lesson. Then shall be sung, or else repeated by the Minister and People, alternately, the 61th Psalm, as followeth.

Deus misereatur.
Psalm LXVII.

GOD be merciful unto us, and bless us; and show us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us;
That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; yea, let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad; for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God; yea, let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase; and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
God shall bless us, and all the ends of the world shall fear him.

Or this.

Levavi oculos meos.
Psalm CXXI.

I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he who keepeth thee will not sleep.
Behold, he who keepeth his people shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord himself is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; it is even he who shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth for evermore.

Min. The Lord be with you.
Answ. And with thy spirit.
Min. Let us pray.
O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;
Answ. And grant us thy salvation.
Min. O God make clean our hearts within us;
Answ. And take not thy holy Spirit from us.

Then shall the Minister offer the following Prayers.


O THOU great Author of our being, who knowest all our wants, and who alone art able to supply them; who perceivest all the dangers and evils to which we are exposed, and who alone canst defend us; whither shall we go but unto thee! We pray thee to compassionate our weakness, to guard us in peril, to direct us in doubt, and to save us from falling into sin. In every exposure may thy shield be over us. From the evil that is around and within us, graciously deliver us. Make the path of duty plain before us, and keep us in it even unto the end.

Heavenly Father, we beseech thee to watch over us this night, and preserve us from all harm. In the night of affliction and trouble may we look up unto thee, and be comforted with the assurance that thou wilt hereafter wipe away all tears from our eyes. And when we come to the dark valley of the shadow of death, be thou our guide and comforter, and bring us to the regions of endless day.

O God, we commit ourselves entirely to thy disposal; and whether we enjoy, or suffer, or live, or die, may we be mercifully accepted as thy children, and disciples of thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.


O THOU who art our Creator, Preserver, Governor and Judge, we beseech thee to regard with thy favour all thy creatures, and to show thy mercy on all orders and conditions of men. Bless, we pray thee, all our rulers; all those whose duty it is to administer justice; and all who are in places of authority and trust. May our land be ever favoured of the Most High God; the abode of freedom, religion, virtue, truth, and peace. Let thy mercy descend upon thy whole church; purify it by thy spirit, and preserve it against all temptations and enemies; that offering to thee the never ceasing sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, it may advance thy honour, and be filled with thy grace, and partake of thy glory. Bless all its ministers, and clothe them with righteousness. Bless the means of education, and the instructed of youth. Enlighten the ignorant; convert the unbelieving; relieve and comfort all the persecuted and afflicted; speak peace to troubled consciences; strengthen the weak; confirm the strong; deliver the oppressed from him who spoileth him, and succour the needy who hath no helper. Redeem man, O God, from slavery, superstition, and crime; send light, liberty, and peace, over the whole earth; and let the sun of righteousness arise upon all nations, with healing in his beams.

Hear our supplications, which we humbly address to thee in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who ever liveth to make intercession for us, and through whom we render unto thee all honour and glory for ever. Amen.

.If any desire the Prayers of the Congregation, the Notes are to be read here by the Minister, and followed by the appropriate Prayers or Thanksgivings; and then the Minister is to continue the Service as followeth.


O LORD, merciful and gracious, we, thy dependent offspring, would now humbly and sincerely thank thee, because thou hast given us life, and by thy bountiful providence hast always nourished, directed, and governed us. For our reason, education, and religion; for all the gifts of nature, and of grace; for our Saviour, Christ; for our redemption, and instruction in the truth; for thy repeated calls to us; for all the patience which has waited for us, and all the mercy which has spared us; for all the enjoyments of this present life, and for all thy promises, and all our hopes of a better life to come, we bless and magnify thy holy name. And grant, O Lord, that thy mercies may be followed by our obedience; and that we may so walk in the light of thy favour, and in the paths of thy commandments, that living here to thy praise, we may at last be received to thyself, to rejoice for ever in thy presence; which we ask in the name, and as disciples of him who died that we might live, through whom to thee be ascribed all thanksgiving and praise, both now and for ever. Amen.


ETERNAL and all seeing God, we thy creatures sink into nothing before thy supreme majesty; we feel our weakness; we acknowledge our folly; we repeatedly bewail our sins; thee only we adore with awful veneration; thee we would thank with fervent zeal; to thy power we humbly submit; of thy goodness we devoutly implore protection; on thy wisdom we firmly and cheerfully rely. Whenever we address thee, O Father, if our prayers are unwise, wilt thou pity us; if they are presumptuous, wilt thou pardon us; if acceptable to thee, grant them, all powerful God; and as we now express our submission to thy decrees, adore thy providence, and bless thy dispensations, so, in that future state, to which we reverently hope thy goodness will raise us, may we continue praising, venerating, worshiping thee, more and more, through worlds without number and ages without end. Amen.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

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Vespers 19th-Century Universalist

The “Vesper Service” below is the last “Sabbath Worship” service before a section of “Special Services” in Gloria Patri: Prayers, Chants, and Responses for Public Worship (Boston: RA Ballou, 1866), a Universalist service book. The “Sabbath Worship” section of the book contains 13 Morning Services, one that is for use on the first Sunday of each month, which replaces the usual prayers with a Litany and which replaces the usual Psalms and Responses with The Commandments. Following this there is a Morning Service for the remaining Sundays of each month and an Afternoon or Evening Service for each month.

The section of “Sabbath Worship” ends with this “Vesper Service,” with no explanation given for when it should be used, unlike all the Morning and Afternoon or Evening Services whose appropriate dates are given. It is certain that this service is not intended as vespers service of the equivalent of the Catholic Divine Office. It is part of an Anglo-Protestant tradition that, according to the brief preface, had already gone through a radical stripping away of elements wedded to Catholic forms. The preface indicates that this service book was seeking to find forms that were somewhere between the harsh bareness of Puritan forms and an emptiness of form perceived by the Universalist editors of this volume in Anglican worship using the Book of Common Prayer. The prayers clearly echo and quote wording from Psalms and other scriptures. But they are not noted, and there here is no rotation of Psalms to complete a circuit of the Psalter.

The final section of the book is titled “Special Services” and includes a service for:

  • First Sunday of the New Year
  • Easter Sunday
  • Fast Day
  • A Patriotic Service
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • A Funeral Service
  • Holy Communion (with The Beatitudes read responsively)
  • Offerings of Charity

Without any additional information from outside the Gloria Patri, it would seen that this “Vesper Service” is intended for alternate or special use on a Sunday evening.


After the Organ Voluntary the Minister shall read one or more of the following passages, always closing with the last, that the Choir may know when to sing. (Several are here given, that from time to time the Service may be varied.)

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. They have no speech nor language; their voice is not heard; yet their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into this courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name.

Let our prayers be set forth in his sight as incense; and the lifting up of our bands as an evening sacrifice.

God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.

Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest upon your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My Soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

O come, let us worship and bow down! let us kneel before the Lord our Maker! For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.


O, sing unto the Lord a | new — | song,
For, he hath | done —- | marvel—-ous | things.
With his own right hand, and with his | ho—-ly | arm,
He hath gotten him- | self — the | vic–to- | ry.

The Lord hath declared | his —- sal- | vation;
His righteousness hath he openly | showed — in the | sight — of the | heathen.
He hath remembered his mercy and truth toward the | house — of | Israel;
And all the ends of the world have seen the sal- | vation | of – our | God.

Show yourselves joyful unto the | Lord —- all ye | lands,
Sing, re- | joice, — | and — give | thanks.
Praise the Lord up- | on — the | harp;
Sing to the harp with a | psalm — | of — thanks- | giving.

With trumpets | also — and | shawms;
O show yourselves joyful be- | fore — the | Lord — the | King!
Let the sea make a noise, and all that | there- | in is;
The round world, and | they that | dwell there- | in.

Let the floods clap their hands,
And let the hills be joyful together be- | fore — the | Lord;
For he | cometh — to | judge — the | earth.
With righteousness shall he | judge — the | world,
And the | people | with — | equity.

Glory be to the Father and | to the | Son;
And | to the | Holy | Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and | ever | shall be;
World without | end. A- | men. A- | men.

Then the Minister shall say,

LET us pray.


O GOD, our Heavenly Father! we come before thee again with our Vesper Hymns, and our evening sacrifice of prayer, entreating thee to help us of thy good spirit that our offerings may be acceptable in thy sight. Into the stillness of this hour, breathe though such divine influences as shall consecrate our souls to thee. Inspire us with thoughts and feelings suited to thy most holy presence. As disciples of Jesus Christ, thy Son, and with fervent gratitude to him as our Savior, we would draw nigh to thee, remembering how far away from thee we should have been without him, and how near to thee he will lead us, if we humbly and steadfastly follow his guidance. To this end, O Father, we invoke thy blessing, beseeching thee for that divine assistance which shall enable us to worship thee in the beauty of holiness, through Jesus Christ.

Here the Choir shall take up the following Chant,
or some suitable selection, and sing at once.
(The Congregation rising.)

From the recesses of a lowly spirit,
Our humble prayer ascends; O | Father | hear it,
Borne on the trembling wings of | fear and | meakness,
For- | give its | weakness.

Lord, in thy sight, who every bosom viewest,
Cold is our warmest vow, and | vain our | truest,
Thoughts of a hurrying hour, – our | lips re- | peat them,
Our | hearts for- | get them.

We see thy hand, it leads us, it supports us,
We hear thy voice, it | counsels — and it | courts us,
And then we turn away, yet | still thy | kindness
For- | gives our | blindness.

Who can resist the gentle call, appealing
To every generous thought and | grateful | feeling?
O, who can hear the accents | of thy | mercy,
And | never | love thee?

Kind Benefactor! plant within our bosom,
The | seeds of | holiness; and let them blossom
In fragrance and beauty | bright and | vernal,
And | spring e- | ternal.

Then plant them in those everlasting gardens,
Where angels walk, and | seraphs — are the | wardens;
Where every flower, brought safe through | death’s dark | portal,
Be- | comes — im- | mortal.

Here shall follow the


Minister. O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and my up-rising; thou understandest my thought afar off.
People. There is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Minister. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
People. Wither shall I go from thy spirit? and whither shall I flee from thy presence?
Minister. If I ascent up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there.
People. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Minister. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
People. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me.
Minister. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day.
People. The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Minister. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
People. Marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.
Minister. Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory.
People. Glory be to God on high, and on earth, peace, good-will towards men.
Minister. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive honor and glory, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
People. To thee all angels cry aloud; the heavens and all the powers therein, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Minister. Blessing, and glory, and honor and thanksgiving, be unto our God forever and ever.
People. Amen. Let all the people say, Amen.

The Congregation resuming their seats,
the Choir will sing this or any appropriate Selection.


It is a good thing to give thanks | unto — the | Lord;
And to sing praises unto thy | name – | O Most – Highest.

To tell of thy loving kindness | early — in the | morning;
And of thy | truth – in the | night – | season.

Upon an instrument of ten strings, and up- | on the | lute;
Upon a loud instrument, | and up- | on the | harp.

For thou, Lord, hast made me glad | through thy works;
And I will rejoice in giving praise for the ope- | ration | of thy | hands.

Then the Minister shall say,

SEEK ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him; and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
People. O come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

Minister. Let us pray.

The Congregation will bow their heads, or kneel, as they choose.

O MOST glorious and merciful Father, who hast compassion on all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, who desirest not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live; we confess our maniforl offenses, and would come before thee with true penitence of heart.
People. We have sinned against thee, O Lord, and are not worthy to be called thy children.
Minister. Receive and comfort us who are grieved and wearied with the burden of our transgressions.
People. Mercifully forgive and help us, O Lord our God.
Minister. O Lord, our heavenly Father! Giver of every good and perfect gift! increase and strengthen our faith, that we may believe all thy promises, and in all the changes of life repose with child-like trust in thee.
People. Lord we believe, help thou our unbelief.

Then the Minister shall offer the following Prayers,
the People responding with Amen;
or he may offer prayer in his own words.

O GOD our Father! we receive with all thankfulness the manifold testimonies thou hast given us of thy love and favor towards us, through thy dearly beloved Son; and most humbly we bow unto thee the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, beseeching thee that thou would’st grant us, according to the riches of thy glory, to be strengthened with might by thy Spirit, in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith, and that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with the fulness of God.

General Thanksgiving.

O LORD our God! the bountiful Source of all good, we bless thee for our lives, and for all thy spiritual and temporal gifts; for instruction in divine truth; for the voice of thy calling repeaded so often; for thy patience, thy long-suffering forbearance towards us who have sinned against thee; for all the benefits we have received; for whatever food we may have done; for the enjoyment of present blessings; and for thy promises and our hope of good to come; for brethren of one mind with us; for kind friends; for all who, by word or example, have helped us in our heavenly way. For these, and for all other known or unknown, remembered or forgotten mercies, we thank thee now, and will praise thee forever.

For Guidance amid the Cares and Temptations of Business.

FATHER of mercies, who art always more ready to hear than we are to pray, when, beset with the temptations, and oppressed with the cares of business, we look to thee for the help and guidance of thy Holy Spirit, give us, we beseech thee, that assistance which we need, and grant that by a life of justice, mercy, and true holiness, we may honor the religion of thy dear Son, and glorify thy name forever.

For the Civil Authorities.

O THOU the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who from thy throne in heaven, beholdest all the inhabitants of the earth, we beseech thee for thy blessing upon our country, upon thy servant, the President of the United States, and upon all that are in authority, that they may so rule in thy fear and in the love of righteousness, that we, thy people, may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty.

For all Conditions of Men.

INFINITELY wise and gracious God! who lovest all and forgettest none, we offer up our humble supplication for all sorts and conditions of men; for the pastors of Christ’s flock, that they may constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke and oppose sin, and be living examples of those graces and virtues which they recommend to others. Remember, we beseech thee, our kindred according to the flesh; and, that we may walk in our homes with a perfect heart, unite us to one another by mutual love, and to thyself by works of piety and holiness. Be thou a shield to the young, and a staff to the aged. May parents bring up their children in the nurture of thy truth, and may children love, honor, and obey their parents. And, O God, in thy great love and mercy wilt thou comfort and bless all those who are in want, in sickness, or in sorrow. Enlighten those who are in darkness, sustain the weak, guide the erring, inspire with hope the dejected, and lead thy people universal, in the way of life everlasting. Especially do we pray for the prosperity of thy church on earth. In unity of spirit, and in the bonds of peace, may the professed followers of thy dear Son show forth the excellencies of his holy religion, to thy praise and glory forever.

Remembrance of the Departed.

ETERNAL God, in whom the spirits of just men do rest in peace from their labors, we bless and praise thy holy name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; and especially those most dear to us who have fallen asleep; and we beseech thee to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that here we may be united to them in fellowship of spirit, and finally be gathered together with them into the bosom of thine infinite love.

Collect for the Evening.

O BLESSED God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest, take us into thy gracious keeping for this night; and make us mindful of that night when the noise of this busy world shall be heard by us no more. O Lord in whom we trust, help us by thy grace so to live that we may never be afraid to die; and grant that at the last, as now, our vesper song may be: I will lay me down in peace and sleep, for thou, Lord, makest me to dwell in safety.

Here all will unite in the Lord’s Prayer.

OUR Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Then the following Hymn or an appropriate Selection.
(Congregation rising.)

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee:
E’en tho’ it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer,
Daylight all gone,
Darkness be over me,
My couch a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

Then shall my way appear
Leading to heaven;
All that thou sendest me,
Kindly is given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

Then, with my waking thoughts
Bright with thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel I’ll raise;
Thus, through my woes I’ll be
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

Or, if on joyful wing,
Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
Upward I fly;
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!

(The Congregation will resume their seats.)

Here shall follow the Scripture Lesson, Anthem, and Address.

Then the Minister will read a select Hymn, or, if so understood,
the Choir may sing a Vesper Song, or other suitable Selection.


The Choir chanting the Amen.

Posted in Parish, Universalist, Vespers | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Compline at the Abbey of New Clairvaux

The Abbey of New Clairvaux is a Roman Catholic monastery of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, or Trappists, founded in 1955 and located roughly 100 miles north of Sacramento, California.

(View Video on YouTube)

The architectural setting of the monks’ choir is clearly indicative of the era soon after the abbey’s founding, with engineered wood framing rather than stone. The style of chant, as well, is simpler here than at New Melleray Abbey (Trappist) or Ampleforth Abbey (Benedictine) and is sung a cappella unlike New Melleray’s guitar and Ampleforth’s organ accompaniment. But in other ways compline here appears to be situated somewhere between them in form. This order of compline includes Psalm 133 and places the hymn after the psalmody, as at Ampleforth. But it dispenses with the penitential rite and the Our Father, as at New Melleray. And different from both, it does not include the Canticle of Simeon and its Antiphon. Also note the variation on the wording of the doxology.

The Order of Compline here is as follows:

……Hebdomadary and Response……
O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Both now and forever,
The God who is, who was, and who will be
For ages unending. Amen.

……Psalm 4……
When I call, answer me O God of justice.
From anguish you released me,

Have mercy and hear me.
You [inaudible], how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favors to those who are faithful;
the Lord hears me whenever I call.
Tremble, do not sin;
ponder on your bed and be still.

Make justice your sacrifice,
and trust in the Lord.
“What can bring us happiness?”, many say.
Lift up the light of your face on us O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy,
than they have from abundance of corn and new wine.
I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once,
for you alone Lord make me dwell in safety.

Glory to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Both now and forever,
The God who is, who was, and who will be
For ages unending. Amen.

……Psalm 90……
Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
and abide in the shade of the Almighty,
Say to the Lord, “My refuge;
my stronghold, my God in whom I trust”.

It is God who will free you from the snare
of the fowler who seeks to destroy you;
God will conceal you with his pinions,
and under His wings you will find refuge.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day;
nor the plague that prowls in the darkness,
nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand fall at your right;
You it will never approach;
God’s faithfulness is buckler and shield.

Your eyes have only to look,
to see how the wicked are repaid;
You who have said, “Lord, my refuge”
and have made the Most High your dwelling.

Upon you no evil shall fall;
no plague approach where you dwell;
For you God has commanded the angels,
to keep you in all your ways.

They shall bear you up on their hands,
lest you strike your foot against a stone;
On the lion and the viper you will tread,
and trample the young lion and the dragon.

You set your love on me so I will save you;
protect you for you know my name.
When you call I shall answer, I am with you.
I will save you in distress and give you glory.

With length of days I will content you;
I shall let you see my saving power.

Glory to God, the Son, and Holy Spirit
Both now and forever,
The God who is, who was, and who will be
For ages unending. Amen.

……Psalm 133……
O come bless the Lord,
all you who serve the Lord;
Who stand in the House of the Lord,
in the courts of the House of our God.

Lift up your hands in the Holy Place,
and bless the Lord through the night.
May the Lord bless you from Zion,
God who made both Heaven and Earth.

Glory to God, the Son, and Holy Spirit
Both now and forever,
The God who is, who was, and who will be
For ages unending. Amen.

Now in the fading light of day
Creator of the world, we pray
That with your ever watchful love
You guard and keep us from above.

Defend your people through the night
That we may put all fear to flight;
May evil never have it’s way;
Preserve us for another day.

Almighty Father hear our cry,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord most high.
And with the Spirit Paraclete,
Whose reign the endless ages greet. Amen.

……Scripture Reading……
Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. Therefore, you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. (Deut. 6:4-7)

……Kyrie Eleison……
Lord have mercy!
Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy!

Let us pray.
O Lord, we beseech you to visit this community and drive far away from us all snares of the enemy. May your holy angels dwell here us to keep us in peace. And may your blessing be always with us. This we ask through Christ our Lord.


May your light be merciful, Lord, on this calm and holy spirit. Bless us and keep us.

……Marian Antiphon: Salve Regina……
Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus exsules filii Evae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

……Blessing by Aspersion……

Posted in Compline, Monastery, Roman Catholic, Trappist | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment