Holy and Great Tuesday. The Matins Service


After the Six Psalms and the Great Litany we sing Alleluia in TONE EIGHT, slowly and solemnly, with the appointed verses, and then the troparion:

Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching, but unworthy is he whom He shall find in slothfulness. Beware, then, O my soul, and be not overcome by sleep, lest thou be given over to death and shut out from the Kingdom. But return to soberness and cry aloud: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God: Through the Theotokos have mercy upon us (three times).

After the first reading from the Psalter, the sessional hymn:


Brethren, let us love the Bridegroom and prepare our lamps with care, shining with the virtues and right faith; that, like the wise virgins of the Lord, we may be ready to enter with Him into the wedding feast. For God the Bridegroom grants to all the crowns incorruptible.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


After the second reading from the Psalter, the sessional hymn:


The priests and scribes with wicked envy gathered a lawless council against Thee, and persuaded Judas to betray Thee. Shamelessly he went and spoke against Thee to the transgressing people: “What will ye give me, and I will betray Him into your hands?” Deliver our souls, O Lord, from the condemnation that was his.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


After the third reading from the Psalter, the sessional hymn:


Impious Judas with avaricious thoughts plots against the Master, and ponders how he will betray Him. He falls away from the light and accepts the darkness; he agrees upon the payment and sells Him that is above all price; and as the reward for his actions, in his misery he receives a hangman’s noose and death in agony. O Christ our God, deliver us from such a fate as his, and grant remission of sins to those who celebrate with love Thy most pure Passion.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


The reading from the Gospel is according to St. Matthew (Mt. 22:15–23; 39):

Glory to Thee O Lord, glory to Thee.

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way. The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Glory to Thee O Lord, glory to Thee.

Psalm 50.

The small Litany, and then the kontakion:


Think, wretched soul, upon the hour of the end; recall with fear how the fig tree was cut down. Work diligently with the talent that is given to thee; be vigilant and cry aloud: May we not be left outside the bridal chamber of Christ.


Why art thou slothful, O my wretched soul? Why dost thou waste thy days in thinking of unprofitable cares? Why art thou busy with the things that pass away? The last hour is at hand and we shall soon be parted from all that is here. While there is still time, return to soberness and cry: I have sinned against Thee, O my Saviour, do not cut me down like the unfruitful fig tree; but, O Christ, in Thy compassion take pity on me as I call on Thee in feat: May we not be left outside the bridal chamber of Christ!

The two-canticled Canon. Before each troparion we say, Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.



The three holy Children were not obedient to the decree of the tyrant; but when cast into the furnace they confessed God, singing: O all ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord.

Let us cast aside slothfulness and go to meet Christ, the immortal Bridegroom, with brightly shining lamps and with hymns, crying: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.

May there be sufficient oil of fellowship in the vessels of our soul, and then we shall not lose our reward because we have gone to buy oil; and let us sing: O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord.

We praise, we bless, we worship the Lord, praising and supremely exalting Him throughout all ages.


Thou hast enclosed within thy womb the God whom nothing can enclose, and thou hast brought joy into the world. We sing thy praises, O most holy Virgin.

“Watch”, Thou hast said to Thy disciples, O loving Saviour. “For ye know not in what hour the Lord shall come to reward every man.”

At Thy fearful second coming, O Master, number me with the sheep at Thy right hand, overlooking the multitude of my sins.



I see Thy bridal chamber adorned, O my Saviour, and I have no wedding garment that I may enter there. Make the robe of my soul to shine, O Giver of Light, and save me (three times).

Lauds. We sing four stichera:


Into the splendour of Thy saints how shall I enter? For I am unworthy, and if I dare to come into the bridal chamber, my clothing will accuse me, since it is not a wedding garment; and I shall be cast out by the angels, bound hand and foot. Cleanse, O Lord, the filth from my soul and save me in Thy love for mankind (twice).


I slumber in slothfulness of soul, O Christ the Bridegroom; I have no lamp that burns with virtue, and like the foolish virgins I go wandering when it is time to act. Close not Thy compassionate heart against me, Master, but dispel dark sleep from me and rouse me up; and lead me with the wise virgins into Thy bridal chamber, where those who feast sing with pure voice unceasingly: O Lord, glory to Thee (twice).

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


O my soul, thou hast heard the condemnation of him who hid his talent: hide not the word of God. Proclaim His wonders, increase the gifts of grace entrusted to thee, and thou shall enter into the joy of thy Lord.



Come, ye faithful, and let us serve the Master eagerly, for He gives riches to His servants. Each of us according to the measure that we have received, let us increase the talent of grace. Let one gain wisdom through good deeds; let another celebrate the Liturgy with beauty; let another share his faith by preaching to the uninstructed; let another give his wealth to the poor. So shall we increase what is entrusted to us, and as faithful stewards of His grace we shall be counted worthy of the Master’s joy. Bestow this joy upon us, Christ our God, in Thy love for mankind.

We were filled in the morning with Thy mercy, O Lord, and we rejoiced and were glad. In all our days, let us be glad for the days wherein Thou didst humble us, for the years wherein we saw evils. And look upon Thy servants, and upon Thy works, // and do Thou guide their sons.

When Thou shalt come, O Jesus, in glory with the angelic hosts and shalt sit upon the throne of judgement, do not send me from Thy presence, O good Shepherd. Thou dost accept those who stand upon the right, but those upon the left have turned away from Thee. Destroy me not with the goats, though I am hardened in sin, but number me with the sheep on Thy right hand, and save me in Thy love for mankind.

And let the brightness of the Lord our God be upon us, and the works of our hands do Thou guide aright upon us, yea, the work of our hands // do Thou guide aright.

O Bridegroom, surpassing all in beauty, Thou hast called us to the spiritual feast of Thy bridal chamber. Strip from me the disfigurement of sin, through participation in Thy sufferings; clothe me in the glorious robe of Thy beauty, and in Thy compassion make me feast with joy at Thy Kingdom.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Behold, my soul, the Master entrusts thee with a talent. Receive His gift with fear; make it gain interest for Him; distribute to the needy, and make the Lord thy friend. So shalt thou stand on His right hand when He comes in glory, and thou shalt hear His blessed words: “Enter, servant, into the joy of thy Lord.” I have gone astray,

O Saviour, but in Thy great mercy count me worthy of this joy.

And the rest of Matins according to the Triodion.

These liturgical texts are used with permission from The Lenten Triodion, translated from the original Greek by Mother Mary and Archimandrite (now Metropolitan) Kallistos Ware, St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1999. The Lenten Triodion can be purchased from STS Press.


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