Prayers at the beginning of the Holy Forty Day Fast

The priest, vested in epitrachilion, readeth these prayers in church over his parishioners with all compunction, on the first Monday of the Great Fast, or on another day of the first week of the Fast, after Matins or after the Hours .


Let us pray to the Lord!


Lord, have mercy!

And the priest readeth the following prayer:

0 God, Thou hope of all the ends of the earth and of them that be far out upon the sea, Who hast prescribed these days of fasting through the Law, the prophets and the evangelists: vouchsafe all [of us] to pass the course of the Fast in purity, to preserve the Faith inviolate, and to keep Thy commandments all the days of our lives. Command Thou an angel of peace to guard our goings out and our comings in unto every good work, that, being obedient and pleasing [unto Thee] with him, we may receive the perfect communion of Thine all pure Mysteries. Accept, 0 Master, the prostrations and fasting of Thy servants, granting to them and all of us blessing of soul, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom Thou art blessed, with Thine all holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and

ever, and unto the ages of ages.




Let us pray to the Lord!

People: Lord

, have mercy!

And the priest readeth the following prayer:

Blessed art Thou, 0 Lord Almighty, God of our fathers, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who hast created heaven and earth, the sea and all that is therein,

Who hast appointed unto man repentance for salvation, and Who regardest not their iniquities, Who accepted the tears of Thy servant, the Prophet David, and accorded him remission of sins when he repented;

and Who didst accept the prayer of Manasseh who was bound with iron bonds and confessed to Thee in repentance, and didst remit his sins;

Who didst save the harlot who perceived Thy mercy, received the spies [of the children of Israel], and sent them on their way in peace:

hearken now unto the entreaty of me, Thine unworthy servant, and regard not all the offenses of these Thy servants who flee to Thee in repentance, and grant them contrition of heart and remorse for the sins whereby they have angered Thee, their Creator, which are able to cleanse them of their sins.

Grant them Thy grace, that, awakened and sustained thereby, they may bring to mind their evil deeds and truly confess them all, in the fear of Thee, to their spiritual father, the judge appointed by Thee.

And in accordance with Thy promise, vouchsafe them in contrite and humble heart to accuse themselves as guilty, to repent, and to desire for themselves complete forgiveness thereof and the remission thereof by Thy loving kindness through their spiritual father, Thy judge.

For Thou didst say: Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in the heavens.

Yea, 0 Master, Lord Jesus Christ our God, accept Thy servants who are repenting of their sins, known and unknown, voluntary and involuntary, and who have determined to confess them, in accordance with Thy command;

and having mercifully received them through Thy power and grace, strengthen them, that they may none of them return to their sin and to the wicked and unseemly acts whereunto they have fallen,

but raise them up and help them out of the snares and all the evil wiles of the devil, that, unhindered, they may serve Thee in sanctity and righteousness all the days of their life.

For Thou art our God Who hast come into the world, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, and Who commanded us to forgive seventy times seven the offenses of them that fall into sin.

Therefore, as Thou didst not condemn the woman caught in adultery whom the Pharisees brought before Thee to test Thee, but mercifully said: Go, and sin no more; so condemn not these, but have mercy on them in Thy love for mankind.

And as in Thy mercy Thou didst take pity on that other harlot who wept, and laved Thy feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head, grant these Thy servants freely to weep tears fervent in true repentance.

Make steadfast their mind and heart, that they may know Thee, the one true Son of God Who takest away the sins of the world.

Accept them as Thou didst accept Peter who had denied Thee but returned in repentance and with bitter tears;

stretch forth Thy right hand and receive them as Thou didst receive him when he was drowning in the sea, and strengthen them against the devil who warreth against them.

Cleanse their souls and bodies of evil defilement.

For Thou Thyself didst say, 0 good Lord, that they that are well need not a physician, but they that are sick; and

Thou didst come not to save them that are already saved, but them that are perishing.

Grant, therefore, 0 Lord Jesus Christ our God, that these Thy servants may complete this holy fast now beginning, untainted, may therein fulfill Thy commandments, may be earnest in prayers and be well-pleasing unto Thee by all the virtues all the days of their life,

that they may be vouchsafed a pure conscience to partake uncondemned of Thy divine Body and of Thy life-creating Blood shed for the whole world unto the remission of sins, and that they may vanquish and put to shame the devil that warreth against them.

For Thou, 0 God, art the God of the penitent, Who desirest not the death of the sinner, but that he repent and live.

For Thou dost not desire, 0 Master, that the work of Thy hands perish, neither art Thou pleased at the destruction of man; but Thou wilt have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Wherefore, do Thou not now turn Thy countenance away from these Thy servants, but grant them truly to turn away from their sins unto Thee and to be delivered from all evil deeds.

And vouchsafe us all to reach the end [of the fast] in peace, full of good works, and to worship Thy saving passion and Thy holy resurrection, and at the end of our lives to receive with all that have been well-pleasing unto Thee eternal joys in Thee, our God and Savior.

For Thou art the God of mercies and compassions and love for mankind, and to Thee do we ascribe glory, with Thine unoriginate Father, and Thine all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People: Amen


Thereafter, he blesseth them with his right hand, saying:

The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and compassions and love for mankind, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People: Amen


Vol 1 pp 227a-231a, published by the St. Job of Pochaev Press, Jordanville, NY

Translation by Reader Isacc Lambertson