All-night vigil
The All-night vigil is a service of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 (and Eastern Catholic Church) consisting of an aggregation of the three canonical hours
Canonical hours
Canonical hours are divisions of time which serve as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. A Book of Hours contains such a set of prayers....

 of Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

, Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

, and the First Hour. The vigil is celebrated on the eves of Sundays and of major liturgical feasts.

The vigil has been set to music most famously by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

, whose setting of selections from the service is one of his most admired works. Other musical settings include those by Chesnokov
Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov
Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov , also transliterated Tschesnokoff, Tchesnokov, Tchesnokoff, and Chesnokoff, was a Russian composer, choral conductor and teacher. He composed over five hundred choral works, over four hundred of which are sacred...

, Grechaninov
Alexander Gretchaninov
Alexander Tikhonovich Gretchaninov was a Russian Romantic composer.-His life:Gretchaninov started his musical studies rather late because his father, a businessman, had expected the boy to take over the family firm...

, Ippolitov-Ivanov
Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov
Mikhail Mikhailovich Ippolitov-Ivanov was a Russian composer, conductor and teacher.- Biography :...

, Alexander Kastalsky, Hilarion Alfeyev
Hilarion Alfeyev
Hilarion Alfeyev is a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. At present he is the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow...

 and Einojuhani Rautavaara
Einojuhani Rautavaara
Einojuhani Rautavaara is a Finnish composer of contemporary classical music, and is one of the most notable Finnish composers after Jean Sibelius.-Life:...

. It is most often celebrated using a variety of traditional or simplified chant
Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures Chant (from French chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing...

 melodies based on the Octoechos
Oktōēchos is the name of the eight mode system used for the composition of religious chant in Syrian, Coptic, Byzantine, Armenian, Latin and Slavic churches since the middle ages...

 or other sources.


When celebrated at the All-night vigil, the orders of Great Vespers and Matins vary somewhat from when they are celebrated by themselves. In parish usage, many portions of the service such as the readings from the Synaxarion during the Canon at Matins are abbreviated or omitted, and it therefore takes approximately two or two and a half hours to perform.

The Psalms cited below are numbered according to the Septuagint, which differs from that found in the Masoretic.

Great Vespers

  • Great Censing
    Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

     of the entire church, done in silence
  • Opening exclamation by the priest: "Glory to the holy, consubstantial, life-creating, and undivided Trinity
    The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

    , always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages"
  • "Come let us worship God our king"
  • "Psalm of creation", Psalm 103
    Psalm 104
    Psalm 104 is a poem from the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible, describing the ongoing act of God continuously bringing the world into existence. German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder remarked, "It is worth studying the Hebrew language for ten years in order to read Psalm 104 in the original"...

    , selected verses
  • Great Litany
  • First Kathisma
    A Kathisma , literally, "seat", is a division of the Psalter, used by Eastern Orthodox Christians and Eastern Catholics who follow the Byzantine Rite...

    , "Blessed is the man," usually a selection of verses from the first stasis (Psalms 1, 2, and 3) rather than the entire kathisma
  • Little Litany
    Little Litany
    The Little Litany or Little Ektenia or Little Synapte is a brief ektenia which is recited at various times during the liturgical worship of the Byzantine Rite, as observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Greek Catholic Churches....

  • "Lord I have cried", a composite of Psalms beginning with Psalm 140, with appointed stichera
    A sticheron is a particular kind of hymn used in the Divine Liturgy, acolouthia or other services of the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite....

    , ending with the Dogmatic Theotokion
    A Theotokion is a hymn to Mary, the Theotokos , which is read or chanted during the Divine Services of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches....

    , a hymn addressed to the Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

  • Entrance
    Entrance (Liturgical)
    In Eastern Orthodoxy, an entrance is a procession during which the clergy enter into the sanctuary through the Holy Doors. The origin of these entrances goes back to the early church, when the liturgical books and sacred vessels were kept in special storage rooms for safe keeping and the procession...

  • Phos Hilaron
    Phos Hilaron
    Phos Hilaron is an ancient Christian hymn originally written in New Testament Greek. Often referred to by its Latin title Lumen Hilare it has been translated into English as Hail Gladdening Light or O Gladsome/Joyous Light. It is the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible...

    ("O gladsome light")
  • Prokeimenon
    In the liturgical practice of the Orthodox Church, a Prokeimenon is a psalm or canticle refrain sung responsorially at certain specified points of the Divine Liturgy or the Divine Office, usually to introduce a scripture reading...

     for the day
  • Old Testament
    Old Testament
    The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

     readings (on feast days only)
  • Augmented Litany
  • The prayer, "Vouchsafe, O Lord"
  • Litany of Askings
  • Litia (on feast days, though some churches serve the Litia every Sunday as well)
  • Aposticha
  • Nunc dimittis
    Nunc dimittis
    The Nunc dimittis is a canticle from a text in the second chapter of Luke named after its first words in Latin, meaning 'Now dismiss...'....

     ("Now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace") and Trisagion
    The Trisagion , sometimes called by its opening line Agios O Theos or by the Latin Tersanctus, is a standard hymn of the Divine Liturgy in most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Catholic Churches.In those Churches which use the Byzantine Rite, the Trisagion is chanted...

  • Apolytikion
    A troparion in Byzantine music and in the religious music of Eastern Orthodox Christianity is a short hymn of one stanza, or one of a series of stanzas. The word probably derives from a diminutive of the Greek tropos...

    —on Sundays: "Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos..."; otherwise, the one appointed for the feast
  • Artoklasia
    The Artoklasia is a service held near the end of Vespers in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches. Five round loaves of leavened bread are blessed, together with wheat, wine and oil. In East Slavic usage, wheat is not used. The items are arranged on a special artoklasia tray, which is...

    , if there was a Litia
  • "Blessed be the name of the Lord", Psalm 33, and a blessing
    A blessing, is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, divine will, or one's hope or approval.- Etymology and Germanic paganism :...


  • "Glory to God in the highest", "O Lord, open Thou my lips"
  • Six Psalms (Psalms 3, 37, 61, 87, 102, and 142)
  • Great Litany
  • "God is the Lord", with verses from Psalm 117
  • Apolytikion
    The Apolytikion or Dismissal Hymn is a troparion said or sung at Orthodox Christian worship services. The apolytikion summarizes the feast being celebrated that day. It is chanted at Vespers, Matins and the Divine Liturgy; and it is read at each of the Little Hours...

    —on Sundays: from the Octoechos
    Octoechos (liturgy)
    The Octoechos —literally, the book "of the Eight Tones"—contains an eight-week cycle, providing texts to be chanted for every day at Vespers, Matins, the Divine Liturgy, Compline and the Midnight Office...

    ; otherwise, for the feast—and its appropriate Theotokion
  • 17th Kathisma (Psalm 118
    Psalm 119
    Psalm 119 is the longest psalm as well as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is referred to in Hebrew by its opening words, "Ashrei temimei derech" . It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law...

    ) or Polyeleon (Psalms 134 and 135) as appointed for the season
  • Megalynarion
    The term Megalynarion is used to describe several hymns in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite...

     (feast days)
  • Resurrectional Troparia, "The Angelic Council..." (Sundays only)
  • Little Litany
  • Anabathmoi
  • Hypakoe
  • Matins Prokeimenon
  • Matins Gospel
    Matins Gospel
    The Matins Gospel is the solemn chanting of a lection from one of the Four Gospels during Matins in the Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic churches which follow the Byzantine Rite....

  • "Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ" (on Sundays), or the appointed stichera (on feast days)
  • Psalm 50
    Psalm 51
    Psalm 51 , traditionally referred to as the Miserere, its Latin incipit, is one of the Penitential Psalms. It begins: Have mercy on me, O God....

     ("Have mercy on me, O God", Miserere)
  • Prayer, "O God save thy people and bless thine inheritance..."
  • Canon
    Canon (hymnography)
    A canon is a structured hymn used in a number of Eastern Orthodox services. It consists of nine odes, sometimes called canticles or songs depending on the translation, based on the Biblical canticles. Most of these are found in the Old Testament, but the final ode is taken from the Magnificat and...

    . The people venerate the Gospel Book
    Gospel Book
    The Gospel Book, Evangelion, or Book of the Gospels is a codex or bound volume containing one or more of the four Gospels of the Christian New Testament...

     if it is Sunday, or the icon
    An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

     of the feast if it is a weekday
  • "It is truly meet
    Axion Estin
    Axion estin , or It is Truly Meet, is a theotokion, i.e. a Hymn to Mary , which is chanted in the Divine Services of the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches...

    " on Sundays, though it is replaced on certain feast days
  • "Holy is the Lord our God" (Sundays only)
  • Exapostilarion
    The Exapostilarion is a hymn or group of hymns chanted in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches at the conclusion of the Canon near the end of Matins...

  • Praises
    Lauds is a divine office that takes place in the early morning hours and is one of the two major hours in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, it forms part of the Office of Matins...

     (Psalms 148 to 150, with stichera)
  • Great Doxology
    Gloria in Excelsis Deo
    "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is the title and beginning of a hymn known also as the Greater Doxology and the Angelic Hymn. The name is often abbreviated to Gloria in Excelsis or simply Gloria.It is an example of the psalmi idiotici "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Latin for "Glory to God in the highest")...

     ("Glory to God in the highest")
  • Appointed troparia
  • Augmented Litany
  • Litany of Askings
  • Dismissal
    Dismissal (liturgy)
    The Dismissal is the final blessing said by a Christian priest or minister at the end of a religious service. In liturgical churches the dismissal will often take the form of ritualized words and gestures, such as raising the minister's hands over the congregation, or blessing with the sign of the...

  • Polychronion
    The Polychronion is a solemn encomium chanted in the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite....

  • First Hour

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.