Below is an excerpt from the "Life" that speaks to this practice. Take the time to go to the link above and read the entire story and God will use it to strengthen you during this unusual time.
After this, the gates of the monastery were thrown open, and singing, "The Lord is my light and my Savior; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defender of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 26:1) and the rest of that psalm, all went out into the desert and crossed the River Jordan. Only one or two brothers were left in the monastery, not to guard the property (for there was nothing to rob), but so as not to leave the church without Divine Service. Each took with him as much as he could or wanted in the way of food, according to the needs of his body: one would take a little bread, another some figs, another dates or wheat soaked in water. And some took nothing but their own body covered with rags and fed when nature forced them to it on the plants that grew in the desert. After crossing the Jordan, they all scattered far and wide in different directions. And this was the rule of life they had, and which they all observed -- neither to talk to one another, nor to know how each one lived and fasted. If they did happen to catch sight of one another, they went to another part of the country, living alone and always singing to God, and at a definite time eating a very small quantity of food.
In this way they spent the whole of the fast and used to return to the monastery a week before the Resurrection of Christ, on Palm Sunday. Each one returned having his own conscience as the witness of his labour, and no one asked another how he had spent his time in the desert. Such were rules of the monastery. Everyone of them whilst in the desert struggled with himself before the Judge of the struggle -- God -- not seeking to please men and fast before the eyes of all. For what is done for the sake of men, to win praise and honour, is not only useless to the one who does it but sometimes the cause of great punishment.
Zosima did the same as all. And he went far, far into the desert with a secret hope of finding some father who might be living there and who might be able to satisfy his thirst and longing. And he wandered on tireless, as if hurrying on to some definite place. He had already waled for 20 days and when the 6th hour came he stopped and, turning to the East, he began to sing the sixth Hour and recite the customary prayers. He used to break his journey thus at fixed hours of the day to rest a little, to chant psalms standing and to pray on bent knees. And as he sang thus without turning his eyes from the heavens, he suddenly saw to the right of the hillock on which he stood the semblance of a human body. At first he was confused thinking he beheld a vision of the devil, and even started with fear. But, having guarded himself with he sign of the Cross and banished all fear, he turned his gaze in that direction and in truth saw some form gliding southwards. It was naked, the skin dark as if burned up by the heat of the sun; the hair on its head was white as a fleece, and not long, falling just below its neck. Zosima was so overjoyed at beholding a human form that he ran after it in pursuit, but the form fled from him. He followed. At length, when he was near enough to be heard, he shouted: "Why do you run from an old man and a sinner? Slave of the True God, wait for me, whoever you are, in God's name I tell you, for the love of God for Whose sake you are living in the desert."
Online Texts for Daily Services via Auto Generated Ecclesiatical Services (AGES) Desktop
- Note that this is also available as a smartphone APP
- Note also that I have personally used this in the Greek tradition and found it to track exactly to the local Church Service.
Readers services to be used at home by the faithful without a priest are now available (as of Vespers for March 21, 2020).
- Click HERE to access the services available for March 21 and from that page you can find the date of your choice (e.g., if you go to March 22nd you will find Readers Matins / Orthros as well as Typica which would be used at home versus Liturgy).
- Click HERE for instructions and the service texts for Great Compline to be read at home.
- There are also a growing number of churches and monasteries that are streaming online services on Youtube and Facebook.
- Click HERE for a list of Churches and Monasteries that are streaming their services
Ancient Prayer to the Mother of God for help (good to memorize): Under your tender compassion we run O Mother of God. Despise us not in the time of affliction but deliver us from danger only pure, only blessed one!
The Paraklesis to the Mother of God is traditionally done in times of difficulty and struggle. Below are some links for it as well as an ancient prayer to the Mother of God for help