Paraklisis

The Paraklisis, or "Office of Consolation", is a devotional service to the Mother of God which is contained in the liturgical books of the Byzantine Rite. It is particularly associated with the Dormition Fast (August 1-14), but it can used throughout the year, either in church or in private.

Melkite Archbishop Joseph Raya explains the service as follows:

The word paraclisis has two different meanings: the first is "consolation", from which the Holy Spirit is called the "Paraclete" or "Consoler"; the second is "supplication" or "petition". The Office of Paraclisis consists in hymns of supplication to obtain consolation and courage. It should be recited in times of temptation, discouragement and sickness.

In the Slavic tradition, the Paraklisis is an example of a moleben - a prayer service for the living, which is appointed by the Church for use whenever desired. This distinguishes it from both the liturgical hours of prayer and the Divine Liturgy on the one hand, and from personally-composed prayers on the other.

Text and music for the Paraklisis

The Slavonic text of the Paraklisis can be found in the "Canons and Molebens" section of the Ruthenian Časoslóv. The Byzantine Book of Prayer contains a (slightly abbreviated) English translation.

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute has prepared a complete booklet with text and music for the Paraklisis service. When this is used in private, follow the guidelines for Reader Services.

The structure of the Paraklisis

The parts of the Paraklisis service greatly resemble those of daily Matins, with the Gospel and additional hymns of supplication inserted into the Canon:

Paraklisis
Daily Matins

Blessing and begining prayers

Blessing and beginning prayers
Psalm 142
Psalms 3, 37, 62, 87, 102, 142
 
Litany of Peace

"The Lord is God", with verses
Troparia

"The Lord is God", with verses
Troparia
Psalm 50
Psalm 50
 
Litany, "Save your people, O God"
Lord, have mercy (12 times)
Canon, Odes 1-3
Canon, Odes 1-3

Litany of Fervent Supplication, preceded and followed by troparia of supplication

Small Litany
Sedalen or Kontakion

Odes 4-6
Odes 4-6

Troparia, Small Litany and Kontakion, "Steadfast Protectress of Christians"
Akathist (if desired)
Prokeimenon
"Let everything that lives", with verses
Gospel Reading
Litany, "Save your people, O God"
Lord, have mercy (12 times)

Small Litany, Kontakion and Ikos
Odes 7-9
"It is truly proper"
Odes 7-9 (with Magnificat)
"It is truly proper"
Priest censes the altar and people, who sing stichera to the Mother of God
Hymn of Light, Psalms of Praise (148-150) and Lesser Doxology
Trisagion prayers and Our Father
Trisagion prayers and Our Father
Troparia from the "general moleben for the living"
Troparia of the day

Special Litany of supplication and protection
Prayer over bowed heads

Dismissal
Dismissal

The basic outline of the Paraklis service has been adapted for many of the various molebens in use. The short "General Moleben for the Living" in the People's Book of the Divine Liturgies book consists simply of the beginning and end of this service.