Liturgical Texts of the Orthodox Church


Compline; bedtime or after supper prayer; is basically a private office. There are two versions of compline great and small compline. Great compline is a church service commemorating such occasions as the Eve of the Nativity of Christ or providing a structure to pray the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete during Lent. Small compline is the private, bedtime prayer office. The compline in this book incorporates certain features of both services.

The opening prayers of Compline are like those of vespers.

Nine Psalms are appointed for great compline and small compline. At small compline, officially, one would pray 51, 70 and 143; at great compline, officially, one would pray Psalms 4, 6, 13, 25, 31 and 91. (The Psalms, are marked as "Great Compline" or "Small Compline" for your information.) Strictly speaking, our household prayers are small compline, but the Psalms of great compline offer profound material for prayer. So use your judgment. The schedule I've suggested here ; to pray Psalm 4 on Sunday night, 6 on Monday night, 13 on Tuesday night and so on and to pray Psalms 51 and 91 every night ; is one method; another method would be to pray one Psalm each night with no fixed day for any of them. Still another would be to pray only the small compline Psalms or only the great compline Psalms. (I failed the math class that would enable me to figure out how many variations there are.) One of the givens of this book is that ordinary lay people can't do the entire prayer services, so we have to figure out how to do what we can do, so that we neither give up in despair nor cheat ourselves of the opportunity to develop a prayer life. You can answer that for yourself better than I can.

The Compline Song of Isaiah,is also from great compline. Leave it out if you want to stay with the small compline service. You might also want to replace it at other times of the year with other songs of the Church; in Lent, for example, you might want to chant portions of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete instead (found in The Lenten Triodion).

The Symbol of Faith, also known as the Nicene or Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, is proper to both small and great compline.

The Evening Prayers are likewise proper to both the great and small compline offices.

During Lent, between the evening prayer to Christ and the prayer to the Theotokos, pray the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian.

Compline ends with a brief set of intercessions, prayers for those on your prayer list and a small dismissal.

Daily Compline

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to You, our God. Glory to You.

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth: You are everywhere filling all things; Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impu­rity, and save our souls, O Good One!

Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.
Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us! O Lord, cleanse us from our sins! O Master, pardon our transgressions! O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Come, let us worship God, our King!

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God!

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God!


Sunday Night Great Compline

Psalm 4

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me when I was in distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, "Who will show us any good?" Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Monday Night Great Compline

Psalm 6

O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me,for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies sake!For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity; for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

Tuesday Night Great Compline

Psalm 13

How long, O Lord?Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed against him"; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Wednesday Night Great Compline

Psalm 25

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause. Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving-kindness, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness, sake, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; oh, bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Oh, keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!

Thursday Night Great Compline

Psalm 31

In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness. Bow down Your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me. Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. I have hated those who regard vain idols; but I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies sake. Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You; let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.Blessed be the Lord, for He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city! For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes"; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You. Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Friday Night Small Compline

Psalm 70

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O Lord! Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life; let them be turned back and confused who desire my hurt. Let them be turned back because of their shame, who say, "Aha, aha!" Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, "Let God be magnified!"But I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.

Saturday Night Small Compline

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness. Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous. For the enemy has persecuted my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Answer me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails! Do not hide Your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; in You I take shelter.Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake! For Your righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble. In Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant.

Every Night Small Compline

Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight : that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart: these, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Every Night Great Compline

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God,in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, Who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample under foot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.

After The Psalm

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Glory to You, O God!Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Glory to You, O God!Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Glory to You, O God!

The Compline Song Of Isaiah

Great Compline

God is with us! Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves! For God is with us.Hear this, even to the farthest bounds of the earth. Submit yourselves, O mighty ones! If you rise up again in your might, you will be overthrown. The Lord shall destroy all who take counsel together, and the word which you speak shall not abide with you. For we do not fear your terror, and we are not troubled. But we will ascribe holiness to the Lord our God, and Him will we hold in awesome fear.And if I put my trust in Him, He shall be my sanctification. I will set my hope on Him, and through Him I shall be saved ,lo, I and the children whom God has given me.The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness , on them a light has shined.For unto us a Child is born; to us a Son is given. And the government shall be upon His shoulder, and of His peace there will be no end. And His name shall be called the Messenger of Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the World to Come.God is with us! Understand this, O nations, and submit yourselves! For God is with us.

The Symbol Of Faith

I believe in One God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only­-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day, He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end.And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and Son together is worshiped and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets.In one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.Amen.

Evening Prayers

To Christ

O Christ our God, You are worshiped at all times and in all places and are glorified both in heaven and on earth. You are patient, generous in mercy, rich in compassion, loving to the just and merciful to the sinner. You call all of us to repentance through the promise of blessings to come.O Lord, receive our supplications at this very hour. Direct our lives in the way of Your commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, set our minds aright, cleanse our thoughts, deliver us from all affliction, wrath, danger and need. Surround us with Your holy angels, so that, guided and guarded by their ranks, we may reach unity of the faith and the knowledge of Your unutterable glory. You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

To The Theotokos

O all-pure and incorruptible Virgin Bride of God, and our Sovereign Lady, who made the Word of God one with mankind by gloriously giving birth to your Son and joining our fallen nature to His divine nature; who are the hope of the despairing and the support of those in distress, the swift defender of those who turn to you and the refuge of all Christians:

Do not turn from me, an unclean sinner, who have destroyed myself with unworthy thoughts, words and deeds, and have been enslaved by forgetfulness to the carnal passions of life; but have compassion on me, O Theotokos, and accept the prayer of a sinner and prodigal, offered from unclean lips.

Exercise your boldness as a mother, and pray to your Son, our Lord and Master, that He will make known to me also His compassionate goodness, and overlooking my countless sins, will turn me to repentance and make me fervent in doing His commandments.

Be with me always in your grace and loving mercy, for you are the fervent helper who turn away the assaults of enemies and guide men toward salvation, caring for my unworthy soul at the hour of death and driving from it the darkness of evil spirits. In the Day of judgment, free me from eternal torment and show me to be an heir of the divine glory of your Son, and our God.

Grant this, O Lady Theotokos, by your prayers and intercessions, through the mercy and lovingkindness of your only-begotten Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom are due all glory, honor and worship, with the Father Who is eternal, and His all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

To The Lord

And grant rest, O Master, to our souls and bodies as we sleep; preserve us from the gloomy slumber of sin and from the dark passions of the night. Calm the impulses of carnal desires, quench the fiery darts of the evil one which are craftily directed against us. Still the rebellions of the flesh, and put far from us all anxiety and worldly cares.Grant us, O God, a watchful mind, pure thoughts, a sober heart and a quiet rest free from every vision of the devil. Raise us up again at the hour of prayer, strengthened in Your precepts and holding within us steadfastly the thought of Your commandments.Grant that we may sing praises to You through the night and that we may hymn, bless and glorify Your all-honorable and majestic Name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

To The Theotokos

O exceedingly glorious and ever-virgin Theotokos, bring our petitions before your Son, and our God, and implore Him that through you He will save our souls. Amen.

To The Holy Trinity

O Father, my hope!O Son, my refuge! O Holy Spirit, my protection! O Most Holy Trinity: Glory to You!


For the holy synod of bishops, for Metropolitan (Name), for Bishop (Name), for the venerable priesthood, the diaconate in Christ, for all the clergy and the laity;
For our country and for every authority and power within it; For those who serve our country throughout the world;
For our spiritual fathers and mothers; For our brothers and sisters and children in Christ;
For those who love us and for those who hate us; For those who have asked us to pray for them despite our unworthiness;
For those who are held captive for the faith and for those who hold them captive;
For those who travel by land, sea and air;
For those who lie on their bed of sickness; For all who are in need of guidance and strength from the Lord; For those who are weary in well-doing; For those who are in need of refreshment;
For seasonable weather and for an abundance of the fruits of the earth.
For all our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children who have fallen asleep in the Lord;

And let us pray for ourselves: Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

Intercessions may be added at this point.

Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

This text is available in print in a book named "Daily Prayer for Orthodox Christians" published by St. Ignatius of Antioch Press

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