Matins Service for Holy and Great Wednesday


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 the 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:


The harlot drew near Thee, O Thou who lovest mankind, and poured out on Thy feet the oil of myrrh with her tears; and at Thy command she was delivered from the foul smell of her evil deeds. But the ungrateful disciple, though he breathed Thy grace, rejected it and defiled himself in filth, selling Thee from love of money.Glory be to Thy compassion, O Christ.

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:


Deceitful Judas, in his love for money, pondered cunningly how he might betray Thee, O Lord, the Treasure of Life. Therefore in drunken folly he hastened to the Jews and said to the transgressors: What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you to be crucified?”

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:


To Thee the harlot cried lamenting, O merciful Lord; ardently she wiped Thy pure feet with the hair of her head, and from the depth of her heart she groaned: “Cast me not from Thee, neither abhor me, O my God, but receive me in repentance and save me, for Thou alone lovest mankind.”

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 is from the Gospel according to St. John (12:17–50)

The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, he hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Jesus cried and said, he that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

Psalm 5O.

The priest: O Lord, save Thy people.

The three-canticled Canon. Before the troparia we say Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.



(lrmos) On the rock of faith Thou hast established me, and Thou hast opened wide my mouth against mine enemies. For my spirit has rejoiced to sing: None is holy as our God and none is righteous save Thee, O Lord.

In vain the Sanhedrin of the transgressors gathers together with an evil purpose, to pronounce sentence of condemnation upon Thee, O Christ our Deliverer, to whom we sing: Thou art our God and none is holy save Thee, O Lord.

The wicked assembly of the transgressors, with souls full of hatred for God, considers how to kill as a malefactor the righteous Christ, to whom we sing: Thou art our God and there is none holy save Thee, O Lord.

The Small Litany.



I have transgressed more than the harlot, O loving Lord, yet never have I offered Thee my flowing tears. But in silence I fall down before Thee and with love I kiss Thy most pure feet, beseeching Thee as Master to grant me remission of sins; and I cry to Thee, O Saviour: Deliver me from the filth of my works.


The woman who was once a prodigal suddenly became chaste, and hating the works of shameful sin and the pleasures of the body, she thought upon her deep disgrace and the torment to which harlots and prodigals shall be condemned. Of them I am the first and I am afraid, yet senselessly I continue in my evil ways. But the woman who was a harlot, filled with fear, made haste and came crying to the Deliverer: “O merciful Lord who lovest mankind, deliver me from the filth of my works.”


(Irmos) The command of the tyrant prevailed, and the furnace was heated sevenfold. Yet the flames did not burn the Children, who had trampled underfoot the decree of the king, but they cried aloud: “O all ye works of the Lord, praise ye the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.”

The woman poured precious oil of myrrh upon Thine awesome and royal head, O Christ our God, and she laid hold of Thy pure feet with her polluted hands and cried aloud: “O all ye works of the Lord, praise ye the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.”

Guilty of sin, she washed with tears the feet of her Creator and wiped them with her hair; and so she received forgiveness for all that she had done in life, and she cried aloud: “O all ye works of the Lord, praise ye the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.”

Through the saving love of God and the fountain of her tears, the grateful woman was ransomed from her sins; washed clean by her confession, she was not ashamed but cried aloud: “O all ye works of the Lord, praise ye the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.”

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


We do not sing the Magnificat.

(Irmos) With pure souls and unpolluted lips, come and let us magnify the undefiled and most holy Mother of Emmanuel, and through her let us bring our prayer to the Child she bore: Spare our souls, O Christ our God, and save us.

Ungrateful and envious in his wickedness, wretched Judas calculates the value of the gift worthy of God, whereby the woman gained release from the debt of her sins, and he trafficks in the grace of divine love. Spare our souls, O Christ our God, and save us.

Judas goes to the lawless rulers and says: “What will ye give me, if I deliver to you Christ whom ye seek?” And so in exchange for money he rejects fellowship with Christ. Spare our souls, O Christ our God, and save us.

Unrelenting in blind avarice, how hast thou forgotten what Christ taught thee, that thy soul is more in value than the whole world! For in despair, O traitor, thou hast hanged thyself. Spare our souls, O Christ our God , and save us.



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:


O Son of the Virgin, the harlot knew Thee to be God and she prayed to Thee lamenting, for she had committed sins worthy of tears. “Loose me from my debt”, she cried, “as I unloose my hair. Show love to her who loves Thee, though rightly she deserves Thy hatred, and with the publicans I shall proclaim Thee, O Benefactor who lovest mankind.”

The harlot mingled precious oil of myrrh with her tears and poured it on Thy most pure feet, as she kissed them; and straightway Thou hast proclaimed her justified. To us also grant forgiveness, O Lord who hast suffered for our sake, and save us.

While the sinful woman brought oil of myrrh, the disciple came to an agreement with the transgressors. She rejoiced to pour out what was very precious, he made haste to sell the One who is above all price. She acknowledged Christ as Lord, he severed himself from the Master. She was set free, but Judas became the slave of the enemy. Grievous was his lack of love! Great was her repentance! Grant such repentance also unto me, O Saviour who hast suffered for our sake, and save us.

O misery of Judas! He saw the harlot kiss Thy feet, and deceitfully he plotted to betray Thee with a kiss. She loosed her hair and he was bound a prisoner by fury, bearing in place of myrrh the stink of evil: for envy knows not how to choose its own advantage.

O misery of Judas! From this deliver our souls, O God.

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


The sinful woman hastened to buy precious oil of myrrh, with which to anoint the Benefactor, and she cried aloud to the merchant: “Give me oil of myrrh that I may anoint Him who has cleansed me from all my sins.

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


Drowning in sin, she found in Thee a haven of salvation, and pouring out the oil of myrrh with her tears, she cried to Thee: “Lo, Thou art He who accepts the repentance of the sinful. O Master, save me from the waves of sin in Thy great mercy.



Today Christ comes to the house of the Pharisee, and the sinful woman draws near and falls down at His feet, crying: “Behold me sunk in sin, filled with despair by reason of my deeds, yet not rejected by Thy love. Grant me, Lord, remission of my sins and save me.


The harlot spread out her hair before Thee, O Master, while Judas stretched out his hands to the transgressors: she, to receive forgiveness; and he, to receive money. Therefore we cry aloud to Thee who wast sold and hast set us free: O Lord, glory to Thee.

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.

Evil-smelling and defiled, the woman drew near to Thee, shedding tears upon Thy feet,O Saviour, and proclaiming Thy Passion. “How can I took upon Thee, O Master? Yet Thou hast come to save the harlot. I am dead : raise me from the depths, as Thou hast raised Lazarus on the fourth day from the tomb. Accept me in my

wretchedness, O Lord, and save me.” 8

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.

Full of despair on account of her life, her evil ways well known, she came to Thee, bearing oil of myrrh, and cried aloud: “Harlot though I am, cast me not out, O Son of the Virgin; despise not my tears, O Joy of the angels; but receive me in repentance, O Lord, and in Thy great mercy reject me not, a sinner.”

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


(by Kassiani the Nun)

The woman who had fallen into many sins, perceivng Thy divinity, O Lord, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. “Woe is me”, she said, “for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline to the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine ineffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my head, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise, and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgements, O savior of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.

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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