THE GREAT COMPLINE
The Great Compline is a worship service after supper and before bed time. Man always, before he retires without defense for the evening in the dark of the night, feels the need to ask protection from God. People in the early days, and also today, consider the time of sleep and generally the night, as the time when the evil powers are lurking in the dark ready to do evil. That’s why they intensely seek the protection of God.
Such a prayer is the prayer of the Great Compline before we go to bed. It is a series of psalms, hymns, troparia and prayers that help man’s soul to ask forgiveness from God for the sins of the day that passed and protection from evil for the night that comes, so that the night will pass peaceful, without danger, temptation and sin.
The Great Compline service is long, because it is a monastic prayer. For this reason from the 15th century on a shorter version was arranged of what we have today the Small Compline which is read every evening at the homes of many pious people. The Great Compline is read only every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon during Great Lent.
The Great Compline ends with the familiar and comprehensive prayer to the Virgin Mary which begins: “O spotless, unstained, incorruptible...”
Great Compline Structure - download pdf file.