The Paraklesis Service

Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery

Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery

The Paraklesis service is a service of supplication for the living. This service is in contrast to the Panikhída service, which is the service of supplication for the living. The Paraklesis is usually addressed to the Theotokos, but may be addressed to any saint. The Paraklesis service is similar to the Molobien, which is primarily a Slavic service.

The Paraklesis service is appointed to be served every evening of the Dormition fast (1-14 August), with the exception of Saturday evening, the eve of the feasts of Transfiguration (5 August) and of Dormition (15 August). During the Dormition fast, use, on alternate days, the Small Supplicatory Canon to the Most Holy Theotokos (composed by Theosterictus the Monk in the 9th Century) and the Great Supplicatory Canon to the Most Holy Theotokos (composed by Emperor Theodore I Ducas Lascaris in the 13th century).

The cycle of the Dormition parakleses is determined by two rules of thumb: (a) the cycle begins with the Small Supplicatory Canon whenever August 1 falls on a Monday through Friday; and (b) on Sunday evenings, the Great Supplicatory Canon is always appointed.

Outside the Dormition Fast, a paraklesis directed to the Theotokos is always chanted with the Small Supplicatory Canon.

The Odes of the Great Supplicatory Canon are as follows. (Note that there is no Ode 2. Historically this was a penitential canon, which was omitted during feasts. Eventually composers just stopped writing Ode 2, but kept to the traditional numbering.)

ODE ONE

The charioteer of Pharaoh was sunk in olden times by Moses’ rod, which worked a mighty wonder when, in the Cross’s form, it struck the sea, dividing it in two; and it led into safety sojourning Israel that fled by foot, chanting to the Lord God a song of praise.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

My humble soul is troubled by the rising storms of afflictions and woes; and clouds of misfortunes overcome me, bringing darkness to my heart, O Bride of God. But since you are the Mother of the Divine and Eternal Light, shine your gladsome light and illumine me.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

From countless trials and afflictions, grievous woes, and from misfortunes of life have I been delivered by your mighty strength, O spotless and pure Maid. I extol and I magnify your immeasurable sympathy, and the loving care that you have for me.

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

Having my hope now in your mighty help, O Maid, I flee for refuge to you. Unto your shelter have I run wholeheartedly, O Lady, and I bow my knee; and I mourn and cry weeping: Do not disdain me, the wretched one, for you are the refuge of Christian folk.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

I shall not cease from making known most manifestly your great deeds, Maid of God; for if you were not present to intercede in my behalf and importune your Son and God, who would free and deliver me from such storms and turbulence, and surmount the perils that trouble me?

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us for refuge flee unto you; a firm rampart you are and you are our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

ODE THREE

The vault of the heavens is You, O Lord, Fashioner; and the Holy Church’s great founder; likewise establish me in unfeigned love for You, for You are the height of things sought for, the staff of the faithful and the only Friend of all.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

At a loss and despairing, I cry with pain to you: Hasten, O fervent protection; grant your help to me, your lowly slave and wretched servant, O Maiden; for with heartfelt fervour I come seeking for your aid.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

You, O Lady, have truly been shown to be wondrous now in your benefactions and mercies granted to me, O Maid; hence do I glorify and acclaim you, whilst praising your great loving care and your boundless solicitude.

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

Mighty storms of misfortunes, O Lady, pass over me; and the swelling waves of afflictions plunge me into the depths. But be quick to come; lend me your helping hand, Maiden, for you are my fervent protectress and sure support.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

I profess you, O Lady, as the true Mother of God: you, who has both banished and triumphed over the might of death; for as the source of Life, you have freed me from Hades’ bonds, raising me to life, though to earth was I fallen down.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us for refuge flee unto you; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

 ODE FOUR

You are my strength; You are my power and might, O Lord; You are my God; You Who is not absent from Thy Father’s arms, You, Lord, are my joy. You have deigned to visit our lowliness and our poverty. To You, therefore, I cry out with Habbakoum the Prophet: Glory be to Your power, O Friend of man.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

Where else shall I find me another to be my help? To what refuge shall I hasten to be saved? Whose fervent aid shall I have in need? Alas, life’s affliction and turbulence shake me. In you alone, O Maiden, do I hope, trust, and glory; and I run to your shelter; save me.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

I magnify and I proclaim, you all-pure one, the sweet river of your tender mercy and loving care; for with many gifts has it greatly refreshed my tormented and truly lowly soul, afire in a furnace of misfortunes and sorrows; and I run to you shelter; save me.

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

You, O pure Maid, all-holy Virgin and spotless one, are my only steadfast shelter and retreat, and mighty wall that cannot be breached, my weapon of salvation. Do not disdain me, the prodigal, O hope of the despairing and ally of the ailing, you are the gladness and help of afflicted ones.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

How shall I praise you, how shall I worthily sing the praise of your boundless mercies and compassions which have ever cooled and refreshed my soul, aflame and tormented, O Lady, and wounded grievously? Indeed your benefactions and providence, Maiden, are bestowed upon me most abundantly.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us for refuge flee to you; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

 ODE FIVE

You have deprived me, and cast me, the unfortunate one, far from Your countenance; and the outer darkness has enshrouded and casts its gloom over me. Yet, now I beseech You: convert and direct me to the light of Your precepts, O Lord my God.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

As one grateful I cry out: Rejoice, O Virgin Mother; rejoice, O Bride of God; rejoice, O holy shelter; rejoice, O weapon and rampart invincible; rejoice, you are the protection and the assistance and salvation of all them that run to you, O Maid of God.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

They that hate me without cause have made ready a dart and a sword and pit for me. My unfortunate body do they seek to destroy and to tear apart; and they seek to bring me into the depths of earth, O pure one; but be quick and come save me from them, O Maid.

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

You deliver me from all need, affliction and from all disease and harm; and by your power, you preserve me unwounded in your shelter, Maid; and from every peril and foes that hate and war against me hasten to save me, O all-hymned one.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

What gift of thanksgiving shall I offer in gratefulness to you, O Maid, for your boundless goodness and the favours and gifts that I have from you? Hence, indeed I praise you, and glorify and magnify your inexpressible sympathy shown to me.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us for refuge flee to you; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

 ODE SIX

My petition, I pour out to the Lord, and to Him do I proclaim all my sorrows, for many woes fill my heart to its limits, and unto Hades my whole life has now approached; like Jonas I pray to You: Raise me up from corruption, O Lord my God.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

The storm clouds of grievous sorrows and distress shroud my unfortunate heart and soul in affliction, and with their gloom have they filled me, O Virgin. Yet, since you brought forth the Light Unapproachable, be quick to drive them far from me with the breeze of your holy entreaties, Maid.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

A comfort you are to me in my distress, and I have you as a healer of all illness; you are the most perfect destruction of death; you are an unfailing fountain flowing with life, and speedy help and quick support of all them that are found in misfortunes, Maid.

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

I shall not conceal the ever-flowing spring of the sympathy that you have for me, O Lady, nor the abyss of your infinite mercy, nor yet the fountain of your boundless miracles; but ceaselessly do I cry out and confess and declare and proclaim them, Maid.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The turmoils of this life encircle me like unto bees about a honeycomb, O Virgin, and they have seized and now hold my heart captive, and I am pierced with the stings of afflictions, Maid; yet be, O all-holy one, my defender and helper and rescuer.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us for refuge flee to you; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

 ODE SEVEN

The three Hebrew Children in the furnace trampled on the flames with courage and great boldness; they turned fire to dew, and cried out with a great voice: Blessed are You, O Lord our God, unto ages of ages.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

Illumine my way, for I am darkened by the night of many sins, O Theotokos; for you brought forth the Light, and are in truth the blameless and undefiled vessel of light; hence with love do I praise you.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

Be my shelter and protection and my help and boast, O Virgin Theotokos; of all manner of help have I now been stripped naked, O strength of those bereft of help, and you are the hope of those without hope.

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

I praise you with my whole soul and understanding and with all my heart and with my lips, having truly enjoyed your many benefactions; yet boundless are your miracles, and your goodness is unending.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Look upon me with graciousness, and dispel the evil plight that besets me; and from grievous distress, harm, temptations, and perils do rescue me by your infinite mercy.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us flee to you for refuge; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

 ODE EIGHT

Let us ever applaud and praise the Lord God Who was seen of old on the holy mount in glory, Who by the fiery bush revealed the great mystery of the Ever-virgin and undefiled Maiden unto the Prophet Moses.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

Be moved to compassion, O Virgin, and disdain me not, for life’s storms overwhelm me. But be quick, O modest one, and lend me your helping hand, O Maiden, for I perish drowning engulfed by life’s misfortunes.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

Times of sorrows, necessity, and trouble, and misfortunes in life have found me, O pure Maiden; and from all sides temptations have encircled me; but be my ally, and protect me in your almighty shelter.

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

In distress I have you, Maid, as my haven, and in sorrows and grief you are my joy and gladness; and in all illness, you have been my quick help, and rescuer in perils, and in all temptations my guardian and protectress.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Rejoice, fiery throne of the Lord God; rejoice, the sacred vessel that is filled with manna; rejoice, the golden lampstand and unquenchable lamp; rejoice, O glory of virgins and the boast and adornment of mothers.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God do all of us flee to you for refuge; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

 ODE NINE

The heavens were astonished and stood in awe, and the ends of the earth, Maid, were sore amazed, for God appeared bodily to mankind as very man. And behold, your womb has proved to be vaster and more spacious than heaven’s heights. For this, O Theotokos, the choirs and assemblies of men and angels magnify your name.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

To whom else shall I flee, O Maid most pure, and to whom shall I run for help and be saved? Where shall I go, and where shall I find a safe retreat? Whose warm protection shall I have? Who shall be a helper in my distress? In you alone I hope, Maid; in you alone I glory; and trusting in you, I have fled to you.

Most Holy Theotokos save us.

To number your great deeds and your mighty acts is not possible for man, O Bride of God, nor yet can one tell of the unfathomable abyss of your unending miracles that surpass all knowledge, and which are granted to those that venerate and honour you, with longing, as the true Mother of our Lord and God.

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

With anthems of thanksgiving I glorify and chant praise to your infinite mercy, and your boundless might I confess unceasingly unto all. With my soul and heart and mind and my lips I magnify and proclaim the many benefactions that you have poured upon me in your compassion, O Bride of God.

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Accept my appeal and my poor prayer, and disdain not my weeping and sighs, O Maid, nor my lament, but be quick to help me since you are good. Fulfil my every plea; you can do since you brought forth our mighty God and Master, if you but look upon me and bow down to mine utter lowliness.

Preserve and save, O Theotokos, your servants from every danger; after God, we flee to you for refuge; you are a firm rampart and our protection.

With good will, look on me, O all-hymned Theotokos; behold my body’s grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul’s sorrow.

It is truly fitting to call you blessed, the Theotokos, the ever-blessed and all-pure Theotokos. More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, you who without corruption gave birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, you do we magnify.


This entry used information from Fr. John Cox, from orthodoxwiki.org, and from www.orthodoxchristian.info