What is a Vespers Service ?

Vespers in the Orthodox Church the liturgical day begins in the evening with the setting of the sun, following the Biblical account of creation: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Gen 1.5). Vespers is the first service of the Daily Cycle, and it takes place after sunset in the early evening. It is a preparation service for the Divine Liturgy.

At Nativity of Our Lord Orthodox Church, we celebrate Vespers at 5pm on Saturday evenings (see calendar) and on the Eves of Feast Days.

Vespers begin with the chanting of the evening psalm: “. . . the sun knows its time for setting, Thou makest darkness and it is night . . .” (Ps 104.19–20). Glorifying God’s creation of the world, this psalm is man’s first act of worship, for man first of all meets God as Creator.

The service of Vespers takes us through creation, sin, and salvation in Christ. It leads us to the meditation of God’s word and the glorification of his love for men. It instructs us and allows us to praise God for the particular events or persons whose memory is celebrated and made present to us in the Church. It prepares us for the sleep of the night and the dawn of the new day to come. It begins our movement into the most perfect communion with God in the sacramental mysteries.




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