The “Augmented Litany” also referred to as the “Litany of Fervent Supplication” (Slavonic: Сугубая ектения /Suhabaja Ektenija) is chanted after the reading of the Holy Gospel during the Divine Liturgies of Saint John Chrysostom, Basil the Great and the Presanctified Liturgy, after the Great Prokimenon of Saturday evening Great Vespers (old Testament lessons if appointed) and at the conclusion of Matins. During daily Vespers, its position is placed immediately after the Troparia beginning with the third petition. It is also intoned during special services such as a Moleben beginning with “Have mercy on us, O God according to Your great mercy…”
The purpose of this Litany during the Divine Liturgy is to intensify our supplications and add petitions for people and situations not previously mentioned during the Great Litany. The first petition invites those gathered to unite their whole minds and souls; the second reminds us of God’s sovereignty and our spiritual connection with all who have gone before us in the Faith. A single “Lord have mercy” is the response to the first two petitions, and a triple response for the remaining.
In “The Orthodox Faith, Volume 2 – Worship” the “Litany of Fervent Supplication” is explained by the late Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko who writes: “This litany is the one through which the people pray for their own particular needs, as well as those of the entire Church, their neighbors, their country and the entire world. At this time the intercessions are not made generally, as in the Great Litany, but very specifically on behalf of all persons in need of God’s blessings, strength and guidance. Thus prayers are made for the sick, the suffering, the needy, the afflicted and the departed by name; as well as for such specific things as national guidance, deliverance from some particular threat, etc. Also at this time special prayers of thanksgiving and praise may be offered in response to some particular blessing of God. Because the offertory will follow, prayers are also made at the end of the litany “for those who bring offerings and do good work” in the particular community.”
While all Churches place this Litany within the Divine Liturgy after the proclamation of the Gospel, the current Greek practice omits it altogether by proceeding directly to the Cherubic Hymn.
The number of petitions differs in various liturgical recensions. For those who follow a northern Slavic practice, after mid-point in the litany, the celebrant may also offer unique petitions for special intentions.
The text I chose for the “Litany of Fervent Supplication” is taken from ACROD. The deacon or priest begins:
Let us all say with our whole soul and with our whole mind, let us say.
People: Lord, have mercy.
O Lord Almighty, God of our Fathers, we pray to You, hear us and have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.
Have mercy on us, O God, according to Your great mercy, we pray to You, hear us and have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy. (three times) (and after each petition)
Furthermore we pray for our holy Ecumenical Patriarch (Name), the Archbishop of Constantinople, for our Most Reverend Metropolitan (Name), for our God-loving Bishop (Name), for our spiritual fathers and all other clergy and for all our brethren in Christ; for their welfare, peace, health, salvation and for the remission of their sins, and that the Lord, our God, may prompt and help them in all things.
(The following petition is included in Ruthenian books:)
Furthermore we pray for the honorable government of our country and all civil authorities and for our armed forces.
Petitions of Special Intention may be offered at this point. The usual ending for each petition is “We pray to You, O Lord, hear us and have mercy.”
Furthermore we pray for those who give their offerings and do good works in this holy and venerable church, for those who labor in its service, for those who sing, and for all the people here present who await Your great and abundant mercy, for those who have shown us kindness and for all Orthodox Christians.
The priest prays inaudibly: O Lord our God, accept this fervent prayer from Your servants and have mercy on us according to the multitude of Your mercy, and bestow Your compassion upon us and upon all Your people who await the abundant mercies that come from You.
Exclamation: For You are a merciful God who loves mankind, and we give glory to You, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.
Page 46 of Andrew Sokol’s “Plain Chant” contains eight sets of triple “Lord have mercy” entitled “Occasional.” Three out of the eight are used regularly by ACROD and two by the Ruthenian-Byzantine Catholics. There are other melodies not shown on that page such as for the first and last of the Fervent Supplication petitions, Ordination, Requiem, Exaltation of the Cross, and before a reading from the holy Gospel. Only the eight that Sokol transcribed are included here.
For those interested in choir arrangements, here is a 4-part SATB version of the “Litany of Fervent Supplication” fervent as adapted by the late Professor Michael P. Hilko. It should be noted that in common practice, #3 in that set is reserved for a special intention petition. The late Very Reverend Joseph A. Havriliak in his “Liturgy – Mass of St. John Chrysostom of the Uhro-Carpatho-Russian Common Church Hymnology” on page 54 also gives eight melodies used for this litany arranged in 4-part harmony.
Today, various parish communities often sing “Lord, have mercy” in a variety of languages due to the diverse ethnic backgrounds of the faithful.
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“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
– Matthew 18: 19-20
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“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all.”
– 1 Timothy 2:1