What Are Vesper Services?

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Vespers, also known as the Vesper Services and εσπερινός (esperivos) in the Greek language, are a special type of service that could take place in the Orthodox Church. Typically, these services take place in the evening, usually around sunset but that fact depends on a variety of factors. Most churches in the United States, for example, may adjust their schedules slightly to accommodate the majority of the parishioners. The one thing that is always consistent about these services is that they take place in the evening.

Different Types of Vesper Services

There are a few types of vesper services that people could attend, and it all depends on the nature of the service and even the time of year. Here’s a look at the types of services:

  • Great Vespers. These services have specific elements that follow a certain order. For example, these vespers always start with the priest saying, “Blessed is our God.” The Great Vespers usually take place on Saturdays and on the eve of certain feast days.
  • Daily Vespers. These are similar to the Great Vespers, but they are considered to be an abbreviated version. These services end with something that is referred to as the, “Little Dismissal”, which is a briefer version of the dismissal that takes place during the Great Vespers.
  • Small Vespers. These are usually used when the All-Night Vigils are going to be done. The Small Vespers also follow a certain structure and they differ from the Great Vespers and the Daily Vespers.

In the above, these vespers are called the “basic forms”. There are also vespers that take place during certain occasions, such as Lenten Daily Vespers, Lenten Sunday Vespers, Forgiveness Vespers, Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Vespers of Holy Friday, Agape Vespers, and the Kneeling Vespers.

In general, the vesper services are designed to remind us of the days of the Old Testament, where God created the world and then when original sin came to be. These services are solemn and follow a specific program according to the type of service that it is.


Vespers – Orthodox Wiki

The Religion section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand some of the traditions of the Orthodox Christian religion, which is a religion practiced by people in countries such as Greece, Russia, United States, and other nations throughout the world. This article is not a substitute for information found in the Holy Bible or by our church fathers, priests, and other clergy members.

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