Instructions for Singing "LORD, I HAVE CRIED"
according to the Old Rite

by Nikita Simmons

Note: When Great Vespers is appointed, or if it be a feast where “Lord, I have cried” is sung, the Psalm Reader reads the psalms entirely to the end, and the choirs antiphonally chant the ends of the verses (beginning at the asterisks) with the refrains. Then, the stichera of the present day are sung (using the same verses as in the New Rite for refrains); Glory..., Both now... according to the Typicon.

However, if it is not a feast day, the Psalm Reader reads the psalms only to where the stichera are sung. Then, the stichera of the present day; Glory..., Both now... according to the Typicon.


PSALM 103. (Refrain: Hearken unto us, O Lord.)

The choir leader (golovshchik) goes out into the front part of the church (a short distance from the iconostasis) holding the Octoechos and announces in a loud tone: "Tone _." And the Psalm Reader, reading from an analogion in the front-middle of the church (under the chandelier or rotunda), announces in a loud voice: "Lord, I have cried unto Thee." The choir leader responds by singing "Lord, I have cried unto Thee" with the refrain: "HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD." (He then bows to the priest and to the Psalm Reader and returns to the choir.)

(The Psalm Reader now begins to read:)
R. Hearken unto me. Attend unto the voice of my supplication, (and lifting up his voice a bit) * when I cry unto Thee. (And the right choir sings: "when I cry unto Thee. HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD." (The rest of the verses are performed in the same manner.)

L. Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands * as an evening sacrifice. HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD.

R. Set, O Lord, a watch before my mouth, and a door of enclosure round about my lips. Incline not my heart unto words of evil, * to make excuse with excuses in sins. HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD.

L. With men that work iniquity; and I will not join with their chosen. The righteous man will chasten me with mercy and reprove me; as for the oil of the sinner, * let it not anoint my head. HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD.

R. For yet more is my prayer in the presence of their pleasures; swallowed up near by the rock have their judges been. They shall hear my words, for they be sweetened; as a clod of earth is broken upon the earth, so have their bones been scattered nigh unto hades. For unto Thee, O Lord, O Lord, are mine eyes, in Thee have I hoped; * take not my soul away. HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD.

L. Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and from the stumbling-blocks of them that work iniquity. The sinners shall fall into their own net; I am alone * until I pass by. HEARKEN UNTO US, O LORD.

PSALM 141. (Refrain: I have cried unto Thee: Save me.)

R. With my voice unto the Lord have I cried, * with my voice unto the Lord have I made supplication. I HAVE CRIED UNTO THEE: SAVE ME.

L. I will pour out before Him my supplication, * mine affliction before Him will I declare. I HAVE CRIED UNTO THEE: SAVE ME.

R. When my spirit was fainting within me, then Thou knewest my paths. In this way wherein I have walked they hid for me a snare. I looked upon my right hand, and beheld, and there was none that did know me. Flight hath failed me, * and there is none that watcheth out for my soul. I HAVE CRIED UNTO THEE: SAVE ME.

L. I have cried unto Thee, O Lord; I said: Thou art my hope, * my portion art Thou in the land of the living. I HAVE CRIED UNTO THEE: SAVE ME.

R. Attend unto my supplication, for I am brought very low. Deliver me from them that persecute me, for they are stronger than I. * Bring my soul out of prison: that I may confess Thy name. I HAVE CRIED UNTO THEE: SAVE ME.

L. The righteous shall wait patiently for me * until Thou shalt reward me. I HAVE CRIED UNTO THEE: SAVE ME.

PSALM 129. (Refrain: O Christ Saviour, have mercy on us.)

R. Out of the depths have I cried to Thee, O Lord; * O Lord, hear my voice. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

L. Let Thine ears be attentive * to the voice of my supplication. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

R. If Thou shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, O Lord, who shall stand? * For with Thee there is forgiveness. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

L. For Thy name's sake have I patiently waited for Thee, O Lord; my soul hath waited patiently for Thy word, * my soul hath hoped in the Lord. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

R. From the morning watch until night, from the morning watch * let Israel hope in the Lord. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

L. For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption; and He shall redeem Israel * out of all his iniquities. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

PSALM 116. (the same refrain)

R. O praise the Lord, all ye nations; * praise Him, all ye peoples. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

L. For He has made His mercy to prevail over us, * and the truth of the Lord abideth forever. O CHRIST SAVIOUR, HAVE MERCY ON US.

Then, the stichera of the present day (using the same verses as in the New Rite for refrains); Glory..., Both now... according to the Typicon.

NOTE: We chant the Evening Psalms entirely to the end, then we return to the point where the stichera are inserted (on 10, 8 or 6 verses) and sing the refrains again, with the stichera interspersed. There are three genres of melodies involved in this entire sequence: for the stichologia (antiphonal psalmody with refrains), for the stichera refrains, and for the stichera (Great Chant, Small Chant and Podobny melodies). [One cannot use the Synodal square-note chant books for this sequence or for its melodies. These books follow the Greek contemporary liturgical tradition and do not contain the authentic Znamenny melodies for "Lord, I have cried."]