The space after the first and last three major steps or babochki of the lestovka is NOT for the Lord have mercy, but for the doxology "Glory be to the Father . . "
Coming to the end of the Lestovka, the final 17 steps (on which may also be said the Prayer of St Ephrem), one says the Glory be to the Father with the Sign of the Cross on the space, then on the three larger steps at the end, one says at each "Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory be to Thee, O God (Nikonians should say three Alleluias . . .). Then you pull down one of the seven movable pieces attached in between the flaps of the Lestovka to indicate that a hundred have been recited before moving up to the next three larger steps on each of which is said: Lord have mercy three times. Then on the space following, one completes the doxology with another Glory be to the Father betore beginning the next hundred or Sotnitsa.
On the three larger divider steps in the Lestovka proper, instead of the "Remember me . . ." prayer, many Old Believers simply say a Hail Mary "Rejoice Theotookos Virgin" ending with the sign of the Cross and a bow or prostration. The Old Believer ending to that troparion is the same as obtains in the Ukrainian Catholic Church: "For Thou has given birth to Christ the Saviour, the Redeemer of our souls."
One makes the Sign of the Cross with the (two) fingers at the forehead for "Christ," then the stomach for "the Saviour" then to the right shoulder for "the Redeemer" ending at the left shoulder for "of our souls" followed by the bow.
The Old Believer "Epitemia" or standard penance is actually composed of 900 Jesus Prayers or nine Lestovkas with 100 Prayers or one lestovka with the prayer to the Theotokos: "My Sovereign, Most Holy Theotokos, save me a sinner."
Invariably, all these prayers will involved making the Sgn of the Cross with a bow or prostration . . . When going to Confession in the Old Rite, the priest will simply say "Do an epitemia" and everyone will know what that is. If he feels that one isn't just right for the penitent, he could say "Do five epitemias" or do one every day for two weeks...
I find that making the Sign of the Cross at every Jesus prayer on the Lestovka brings the body into the act of prayer and the body prays too. A much more meaningful prayer experience. And when you stop, you want to take it up again!
AND,the Old Rite Communion preparation is a week-long period of saying daily this rule:
Seven Lestovkas with the Jesus prayer.
One Lestovka with "Angel of Christ, my holy Guardian, save me your sinful servant."
One Lestovka with "O Holy, Great John, Prophet, Forerunner and Baptizer of Christ, pray unto God for me a sinner"
One Lestovka with "Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos, save me your sinful servant"
A good Lestovka will have the seven movable pieces in between the flaps to keep count of the seven Lestovkas with the Jesus Prayer.
One can also, of course, use the movable pieces to count the Lestovka rounds for the Divine Office and also for the Psalter where three Lestovka is for one Kathisma of the Psalter, up to 6,000 Prayers for the entire psalter.
The Byzantine Forum provides
message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though
discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are
those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the
Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the
www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial,
have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as
a source for official information for any Church. All posts become
property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2022 (Forum 1998-2022). All rights