Hymns for Lent
sung at Psalm 50(51)
In Tone VIII:
Open the gates of repentance for me, O giver of life, * for at early morning my spirit seeks your holy temple * though the temple of my body remains defiled. * In your compassion, cleanse it with your loving kindness and your mercy.
Direct me back to the path of repentance, O Theotokos, * for I have defiled my soul with sin, and wasted my life in laziness. * By your prayers, preserve me from every impurity of soul and body.
Then, Tone VI:
Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness, * in your great tenderness wipe out my sin.
When I ponder the number of my sins, * the day of judgment looms before me. * But in your compassion do I trust, O Lord, * and, like David, I implore you: * Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness.
These hymns are sung after the reading of the resurrection gospels on Saturday evenings. They are sung from the beginning of pre-lent until the end of the great fast (Lent). Pre-lent begins on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, yesterday. Lent ends with the Saturday of Lazarus, marking the transition to holy week. This year, Lazarus Saturday is March 27. This year we see one of the earliest dates for Easter (Pascha) in the East. Easter falls on the same date in both Eastern and Western calendars this year. (This serendipity is a coincidence of the two formulas for determining the date of Easter and not, unfortunately, a sign of sympathy for union among the Orthodox.)