(Short Form, Ukrainian Tradition) With head uncovered, approach the priest.
Facing the icon of Christ or, if one is not available, the Gospel book and the cross:
Cross yourself twice.
Kiss the Gospel book and the cross.
Cross yourself a third time.
Penitent: I, a sinner, confess to Almighty God, the Lord, One in the Holy Trinity; to the Immaculate Virgin, the Mother of God, to Saint N. my patron saint, to all the Saints, and to you, my spiritual father, all my sins:
Here list all your sins.
Penitent: For these sins, and for all my sins which I cannot remember, I am truly sorry because I have offended God who is good.
I sincerely repent and I promise, with the help of God, to better my way of life.
And so, I ask you, my spiritual father, for saving penance and absolution.
(If you are not already doing so, kneel.)
Prayer of Absolution
The priest may place his epitrachelion (stole) over your head and will make the sign of the cross on your head.
Priest: May our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, by the grace and mercies of His love for us, pardon you, my child, N., all your faults, and I, an unworthy priest, by His authority given me, pardon and absolve you of all your sins, in the name of the ✚Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
After the priest has spoken to you and given absolution,
get up and cross yourself twice;
kiss the Gospel book and cross;
cross yourself a third time and bow.
Then turn toward the priest, bow to him, saying, “Thank you, Father,”
kiss the end of the epitrachelion (stole) which he is wearing,
and go to your place.
There, kneel down, say your penance, and thank God in your own words for His great mercy.
Then, go in peace.
Another Short Form of Confession in the Byzantine Churches
(For those who are familiar with the Roman Catholic rite)
Penitent: Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It has been [how long] since my last confession.
Here confess your sins.
Receive any counsel or penance offered.
Crossing yourself after each declaration, say:
Penitent: God, be merciful to me, a sinner. ✚
Penitent: God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me. ✚
Penitent: I have sinned without number, forgive me, O Lord. ✚
The priest then says the prayer of absolution.
Text adapted with appreciation from The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology for Worship by the Met. Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies (Ottawa, 2004). The purpose of this material is to be descriptive in respective to the issues it addresses. While the material is accurate, it is not definitive. Neither is it legalistic in its intent not does it pretend to be normative. It is shared in response to the queries posed in regards to the church’s ancient traditions. All people should seek out and defer in humility to the guidance of their priest, bishop, and Church.