Bottomless Depths

by abbamoses

Not long ago I was part of a conversation on how the verses of the Vespers and Matins services are in themselves an effective (maybe the best) Orthodox catechism. I recalled that these services, for all their richness, don’t begin to exhaust even the teaching available in the regular cycle of appointed services: the Oktoechos also provides a canon and other hymns in each of the eight tones for Small Compline and the Midnight Office.

During the conversation I opened the Oktoechos almost at random, and found this hymn from the Midnight Office, which I’d never encountered before.

O pure lady, look down;
Behold our painful wounds and show Thy tender mercy, O  undefiled Theotokos.
Heal the fever of our conscience, refreshing it with Thy compassion;
And cry aloud to Thy servants:
I am with you and there shall be none against you.

— Sessional Hymn, Tone 6, from the Midnight Office for Saturday night