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It is also referred to in the Anglican tradition as evening prayer or evensong.
The term is also used in some Protestant denominations (such as the Presbyterian Church and Seventh-day Adventists) to describe evening services.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, there are three forms of Vespers: Great Vespers, Daily Vespers and Small Vespers.
Great Vespers is the form served on Sundays and major feast days (those of Polyeleos rank or above) when it may be celebrated alone or as part of an All-Night Vigil, or as the commencement of the Divine Liturgy, or on a few special occasions, e.g., Good Friday or Pascha afternoon.
Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, the Canons of St. Vespers is, therefore, together with Vigils, the most ancient Office known in the Church. Benedict used the name vespera which has prevailed, whence the French word vêpres and the English vespers.The name, however, by which it was most widely known during that period was Lucernalis or Lucernaria hora.It was so called because at this hour candles were lit, not only to give light, but also for symbolical purposes.In some Oriental Orthodox churches, Vespers is called the Raising of Incense.Vespers is an introduction and preparation for the Liturgy, consisting of a collection of prayers, praises and Thanksgiving prayers which request the Lord's blessings upon the sacramental service.
Vespers undergoes a wide range of changes depending on the liturgical season.