The Canon to St Moses the Ethiopian

Ode I, Irmos: Let us chant unto the Lord, Who led His people through the Red Sea, for He alone hath gloriously been glorified.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications and showers of repentance, O father, wash clean my heart which hath been darkened by the sting of sin.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Having nailed thy flesh to the fear of the Master, O all-blessed God-bearer, thou didst dry up every passionate thought from thy heart.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Having hidden the seeds of the Word in the furrows of thy thoughts, O father, thou didst produce grain which is laid up in inexhaustible granaries.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Desiring to become incarnate through thy womb, O pure Virgin Mother, the all-divine Word saveth all of me in His goodness.

Ode III, Irmos: Thou art the confirmation of those who have recourse to Thee, O Lord; Thou art the light of the benighted; and my spirit doth hymn Thee.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Moved by the Spirit, O wise one, by endurance thou didst nullify the evil acts of the demons with spiritual acts.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Strengthened with godly power, O venerable Moses, like one of the incorporeal ones thou didst bring low the mighty serpent.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

With the showers of thy tears thou didst extinguish the fiery conflagration of the passions, and wast shown to be a river of spiritual gifts, full to overflowing with the Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Possessed of thine aid, O pure one, I fear not the assaults of the enemy; for, having thee as mine intercessor, I vanquish their hosts.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Sessional hymn, Tone III: Spec. Mel. “Of the divine Faith…”: Made rich with divine radiance, thou didst destroy the darkness of the passions, O most blessed one; and by thy vigilant prayers thou didst cause the vaunted reasonings of the flesh to wither away, and hast passed over to the ultimate city on high. O venerable father, entreat Christ God, that He grant us great mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: While becoming man in thy womb, the one Lord remained God, unseparated from the divine nature, preserving thee, the Virgin Mother, most immaculate after giving birth, as thou wast before thy birth-giving. Him do thou earnestly beseech, that He grant us great mercy.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): The undefiled ewe-lamb of the Word, the incorrupt Virgin Mother, beholding suspended upon the Cross Him Who sprang forth from her without pain, lamenting maternally cried out: “Woe is me, O my Child! How is it that Thou dost suffer willingly, desiring to deliver man from the disgrace of the passions?”

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard, O Lord, the mystery of Thy dispensation; I have understood Thy works, and have glorified Thy divinity.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

By unceasing entreaties and the endurance of pain, O father, thou didst drive from thy soul the demon which loveth carnality.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Directing thy thoughts to things which transcend the mind and speech, O venerable one, thou didst endure the burning heat of asceticism as though it were a divine dew.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Unfurling the sail of non-acquisition, thou didst sail easily across the sea of life, O father, guided to the calm haven.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Bride of God, thou dwelling-place of virginity and habitation of the infinite Nature, illumine my darkened soul.

Ode V, Irmos: Waking at dawn, we cry to Thee: Save us, O Lord! For Thou art our God, and we know none other than Thee.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Set afire by the burning coal of dispassion, O blessed one, thou didst utterly consume the dry tinder of the passions.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been shown to be a star of abstinence, shining in the heights and illumining our souls, O all-glorious one.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst ascend to the summit of the virtues and didst attain unto the heavenly isle, O right wondrous father Moses.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

We hymn thee who art still Virgin after giving birth, O Theotokos; for thou gavest birth in the flesh unto God the Word, for the world.

Ode VI, Irmos: Cleanse me, O Saviour, for many are my transgressions; and lead me up from the abyss of evils, I pray, for to Thee have I cried, and Thou hast hearkened to me, O God of my salvation.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

With the spiritual radiance which is within thee, enlighten me who am surrounded by the night of sin and the darkness of pleasures, O father, and guide me wholly to the haven of salvation.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Storing up the sweetness of the flowers of the virtues in the honeycomb of thy mind, like an industrious bee, O father, thou didst pour forth the sweetness of immortality which dispelleth the bitterness of the demons.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Exercising thyself in endurance in the desert, thou didst inherit the city on high; and enslaving thy flesh through fasting, O wondrous one, thou didst depart to the food which is never exhausted and the mansions of paradise.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Virgin, we, the faithful, call thee the noetic sanctuary and untouchable mercy-seat, the golden lamp-stand, and the animate table which beareth the Bread of life.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion, Tone IV: Having beaten the Moors and spat in the faces of the demons, thou didst shine forth noetically like the radiant sun, directing our lives by the light of thy life and thy teaching.

Ode VII, Irmos: In the furnace the Hebrew children boldly trod the flame underfoot and transformed the fire into dew, crying out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, forever!

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Cleansed of the mire of the passions, and shining with spiritual radiance, thou hast truly passed over to the immaterial Light, O blessed one, where the choirs of fasters dwell forever.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Thou didst flee all evil, and, embracing goodly change, thou didst immaterially espouse good desires, O blessed one, crying out: Blessed art Thou, O God!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

By immeasurable pangs of abstinence thou didst cause the pain of sin to cease, O God-bearer. Wherefore, thou hast found delight in good things devoid of pain, blessing thy Master.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Behold the Virgin of whom the great Isaiah said that she would conceive God in her womb and give birth unto Him! To Him do we chant: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Ode VIII, Irmos: Madly did the Chaldæan tyrant heat the furnace sevenfold for the pious ones; but, beholding them saved by a higher Power, he cried out to the Creator and Deliverer: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Enlivened by prayers, elevated by humility, illumining thy soul with righteousness, adorned with love, O father, thou didst make haste to the perfection of the virtues, to the manifest heights, crying to the Master: Ye priests, bless; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Though black of body, thou didst acquire a soul brighter than the rays of the sun, and didst blacken the dark countenances of the demons; and with thy divine likeness thou dost illumine the hearts of the faithful who fervently chant: Ye people, exalt God supremely forever!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Wholly protected by humility, O father, thou didst escape the darts of the noetic Moors, and in word and deed wast a model for monks in doing battle with the enemy, crying out with them: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Christ supremely for all ages!

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

In manner transcending nature thou didst conceive; in manner past recounting thou didst give birth to the Fashioner of human nature Who is inseparable from the Father, yet Who became a man, O pure Mistress. To Him doth all creation sing: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Christ supremely for all ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: Every ear trembleth to hear of the ineffable condescension of God, for the Most High willingly came down even to the flesh, becoming man through the Virgin’s womb. Wherefore we, the faithful, magnify the all-pure Theotokos.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Having truly ended thy life in good deeds, thou didst reach the wellspring of good things and didst receive thine ultimate desire. Where the voice of those who keep festival is heard with laudation thou hast made thine abode, rejoicing, O right wondrous and venerable father Moses.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

The drops of the sweat of thy pangs let fall drops of the sweetness of spiritual benefit and dispel the bitterness of our passions. Thy relics pour forth healings upon us and cleanse our souls of the mire and defilement of evils.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Christ hath crowned thy head with unfading wreaths, O wondrous one, who steadfastly vanquished the hordes of the prince of this world; and as befitteth one of thy holy thou hast been enrolled in the choirs of the venerable. With them pray thou, that those who honour thee be delivered from temptations.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Having given birth in the flesh to the Infinite One, Who thus became circumscribed, O Bride of God, thou, alone among women, didst abolish the curse of the first-created. Thou hast renewed the laws of nature, O undefiled one, which of old were violated, and hast unified them with thine all-glorious mediation.

Troparion, Tone I: A desert-dweller, an angel in the flesh and a wonderworker wast thou shown to be, O our God-bearing father Moses. For, having acquired heavenly gifts through fasting, vigilance and prayer, thou dost heal the infirm and the souls of those who have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him Who gave thee strength! Glory to Him Who crowned thee! Glory to Him Who worketh healings for all through thee!

Zacchaeus Sunday – Parish News

Greetings to you all as we continue to celebrate the after-feast of the Meeting of the Lord. S prazdnikom!

As the feast fell on a Thursday, when St John’s is unavailable, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in Llanelli, and I was pleased to be able to assist Father Luke by singing on the kliros. Unfortunately, the afternoon journey to Cardiff was severely disrupted by problems with the railway line beyond Llanelli, so a number of confessions had to be cancelled, though I still managed to see a few people in the early evening before joining our young people to congratulate Kalina on her birthday. Many years!

Despite half-term, road closures, car-troubles and parishioners’ commitments, we were heartened by attendance at today’s Liturgy, and despite the dent in numbers we were still comfortably in excess of forty souls once the children were factored in.

It was good to welcome brothers from Swansea, and it was lovely to be joined by our former parishioner, Monika, visiting from Leicester with her children. In my homily on the saving curiosity of Zacchaeus, I referenced her film “Finding Faith”, and anyone who would like the link and sign-in details should contact me or Father Deacon Mark.

Many thanks to the kliros, operating on holiday numbers, and to Sasha for lone-serving, and thanks to those who brought flowers and refreshments for our celebration.

We greeted Yuriy at the end of our service, congratulating him on his sixth birthday and chanting many years before singing happy birthday after grace at trapeza, during which it was lovely to see so much conversation, warmth and fellowship.

I must admit to being rather slow today after a lovely but busy week and lots of travelling, last Sunday having seen me head over the Severn, taking the opportunity to not only have a prayerful quiet-day in Glastonbury, but also to perform several house-blessings and be in Chippenham for a singing practice with our Wessex gentleman before returning to Llanelli for the feast. Masha has also spent time working on vocal technique and chants with our local ladies, and we are very grateful for this preparation for the liturgical life of our Wessex mission.

We are extremely encouraged by the support being given by the feoffees  of the Chapel of St Laurence in Warminster, who, as trustees, govern the extra-parochial chapel, which is classed as a non-royal peculiar, having being acquired by the townspeople of Warminster at the reformation.

We greatly look forward to our Liturgies on the second Saturday of each month, commencing on 9th March with the Hours and Liturgy at 10:30, confessions being heard from 10:00. The generosity of spirit that we have already received is heartening, with help offered in notifying the local Orthodox that we will be serving in the town.

We already hold a Wessex prayer meeting on the last Monday of the month, currently meeting ‘afloat’ on Porphyrios’s narrowboat – now christened the “porphyrion”. Last month’s initial gathering saw the blessing of the boat and a mission-supper, following several house-blessings, a pilgrimage to Whitchurch Canonicorum and the blessing of the River Wylye. We shall be certainly trying to maximise what we fit into clergy visits.

Our Cheltenham Liturgies will be moving to the third Saturday of the month, and our pilgrimages will be on the fourth Saturday.

Returning to the principality – this week’s confessions in Nazareth House will follow the Thursday pattern, for which emails would be appreciated by 18:00 on Wednesday. I shall also be able to hear some shorter confessions before and after our moleben in St Alban’s., and have already mentioned this to a few people.

We look forward to our protomartyrs pilgrimage on Saturday, and pilgrims should assemble at the Oratory Church of St Alban-on-the-Moors for our 10:30 moleben to St Alban and the reading of his life, before the veneration of a portion of his sacred relics and icon. We are very grateful to Father Sebastian and his confrères for their characteristically warm hospitality, which includes use of the church-hall for a bring and share lunch, for which all food-offerings will be very gratefully accepted.

Weather permitting, we shall head to Caerleon after lunch, visiting the Roman remains of the ‘city of legions’, where the protomartyrs of Wales, Julius and Aaron were garrisoned as soldiers of the Imperial army, before their arrest and martyrdom.

Thanks to those who have already offered lifts to our non-drivers. This is much appreciated.

Echoing Deacon Mark’s announcement, would parishioner please refrain from parking vehicles on the grass on the right hand far end of the drive, next to the church vestries, this has been planted with bulbs and seeded with wild flowers and is not a parking area.

Our prayers are with our very dear sister, Despina, as she makes her way across Europe to Greece, before the last leg to life in Cyprus, and we wish her a safe journey, happy that Catalin is accompanying her on a long and challenging drive for the land bound portion across the continent. She occupies a very special place in our hearts and is greatly loved in our ROCOR and Romanian Orthodox communities in which she has been a faithful presence and a help to many. Kalo taxidhi! May God bless your journey and protect your every mile!

Whilst we were celebrating in Cardiff, our diocese was blessed by the ordination of Deacon Alban Illingworth to the sacred priesthood in our London Cathedral, and he will serve in our Durham mission. We are greatly blessed that despite mischievous schismatic ‘defrocked’ whispering about the state of our God-preserved diocese, we go from strength to strength, with the establishment of new missions, the ordination of new clergy, and growth within our parishes. We congratulate Father Alban, as well as newly-ordained Deacon Antonio in Geneva, and the priest Georgi who has transferred from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to serve in Zurich. Many, blessed years to you all, dear fathers. Axios! Axios! Axios!

Please remember the clergy in your prayers.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Greetings For the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord

“At that time, the parents brought the child Jesus to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”  (Luke 2:22-40)

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you all on the after-feast of the Meeting of the Lord, and the Synaxis of St Symeon and Anna.

In the ancient west, the present feast marked the end of the festive season that began at the Nativity, sealed at the Presentation of the Christ-Child in the Temple with St Symeon’s words confirming the Infant as the “Light to enlighten the gentiles, and the glory of Thy people, Israel…”

Both Israel and the Gentiles, had already paid homage to the Saviour – Israel in the shepherds and the Gentiles in the magi – but this feast marks the recognition of the long awaited Saviour of both Jewry and ‘the nations’ in the heart and centre of Israel and the Jewish faith, in the courts of the Temple in whose sanctuary the Mother of God had been prepared for her role in the Incarnation by prayer and divine-communion, and where she was now purified on the fortieth day after the birth of the Saviour.

The festal hymns remind us that the seemingly mundane outward appearance of the presentation of just another first-born son in the Temple, was in fact the entrance of the Only-Begotten Son and Word of God, the Ancient of Days, God of God and Light of Light: the Creator, the Giver of the law, and the promised Messiah, spoken of by the prophets. 

“Tell us, O Symeon: Whom bearest thou into the temple in thine arms, rejoicing? To Whom dost thou cry aloud: “Now have I been freed, for I have beheld my Saviour! ” “He is the One Who is born of the Virgin! He is God the Word, Who from God became incarnate for our sake and saveth man! Let us worship Him!

Receive, O Symeon, Him Whom Moses beheld in the gloom on Sinai giving the law, and Who hath become a babe, submitting to the law. He is the One Who speaketh through the law; He is the One spoken of by the prophets, Who for our sake hath become incarnate and saveth man. Let us worship Him!”

Let us come and greet Christ with divine hymns, and let us receive Him Whom Symeon perceived as our salvation. He is the One Whom David proclaimed beforehand; He is the One spoken of in the prophets, Who for our sake hath become incarnate and speaketh through the law. Let us worship Him.”

(Vesperal stikhira on “Lord, I have cried…”)

In solidarity with the children whom He had created, Jesus the Great High Priest and New Passover Lamb, was brought into the Temple so that the Levitical priests could “redeem” Him, as the one Who had first opened His mother’s womb. 

In spiritual terms this could be seen as going beyond the ironic to the ridiculous – the Redeemer needing redeeming, as though He was just any other child and not the Lamb of God by Whom all would be saved, and through Whom all sacrifices would become obsolete, needless and abolished. 

Yet, this must be appreciated as a further sign of the condescending love of God, Who thought it not robbery to hide His Divinity to be clothed in human flesh and dwell among His sons and daughters, to save them as flesh of their flesh and bone of their bone: God-Incarnate for Whom no self-effacing, humble action was too much or too demeaning in seeking out His lost children.

As if the incarnation was not in itself a sufficient sign of the salvific and self-giving love of God, the Saviour allowed Himself to be circumcised in the flesh in obedience to the covenant and law, even though He was the giver of the covenant to the Patriarch Abraham and the Torah to Moses the God-seer. 

Even as a child only eight days old, in circumcision, He deigned to suffer the shedding of blood in a prophetic foretaste of His suffering and bloody-passion on Golgotha, showing the reality of His Incarnation, and the Church Fathers remind us that all of things which the Saviour deigns to endure for our salvation are to show us that He is trulyGod-Incarnate in the physical-reality and not just the appearance of flesh: a point borne out by the sessional hymn on the polyeleos of matins –

“Thou didst become a babe for my sake, O Ancient of Days, and didst partake of purification, O most pure God, that Thou mightest assure me of the flesh Thou didst receive from the Virgin. And Symeon, taught thereby, recognised Thee as God appearing in the flesh, and the elder kissed Thee, our Life, and, rejoicing, cried out: “Release me, for I have seen Thee, the Life of all!”

After His Nativity and circumcision, the God-Man further assured humanity of the reality of His flesh in His encounter with Symeon, who not only saw and held Christ – God-Incarnate – but kissed the Word made Flesh.

The ancient tradition of the Church is that Symeon was not simply a righteous elder, but one who had lived what seems to us an impossibly long life, like the forefathers of the Old Testament, living for centuries in anticipation of the Divine promise that he would see the Messiah before leaving this world.

However, having joyfully exclaimed “…mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people…”, he was not one who simply saw God Incarnate, but held the Messiah and Saviour in his own arms, as the culmination and fulfilment of the long life He was now content to leave behind as his life now had meaning and resolution, and his vigil had been fulfilled.

Having seen and held the Saviour, there was no more need for his old heart to beat, his bones to ache, or his weary flesh to struggle in life day by day. The crowning zenith of His life was to hold the Lord, and that moment task was done.

It is strange for us to imagine what it must have been like for him to hold the Christ-Child, knowing through the Holy Spirit, that this was the Saviour of the world. Yet, without ever denying the unimaginable magnitude of this wonderful moment, we need to recognise that whilst Symeon held the Saviour, he was of the Old Covenant and not called to the Divine encounter that we are granted through the sacramental life of the Church.

We refer to St Symeon as the God-Receiver, but in the waters of baptism each of us is called to be initiated into the death and resurrection of the Incarnate God, whom he held in his arms, and to put on Christ; by the operation of the Holy Spirit through Holy Chrism, each of is called to become His living temple, Whose seal and gift we are granted as the completion of the baptismal rite; in the wonder of the Holy Liturgy, each of us is also called to become a God-Receiver, receiving the Lord’s Body and Blood. Through the grace of the Holy Mysteries in the Church, we are called to become God-Receivers in ways that even Symeon, so holy, venerable and righteous, was not afforded.

St Symeon had waited year after year, decade by decade and perhaps even century after century for the moment in which he would behold the Messiah. Seeing child after child, generations born and generations dying, those long years would have been filled not only with expectation, but with prayer, fasting, and communion with God, in a long life of preparation for the brief moment in which he beheld and held Salvation as a person in his aged arms.

How do we struggle to become God-Receivers, called to receive and bear the same Christ that Symeon held at the Table of the Lamb, at which the Saviour continues to invite us to partake through His words, “Take eat; this is my body… Drink this, all of you; this is my blood… which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins…”?

It is no accident that the only place we liturgically read the Song of Symeon apart from vespers or great compline is in the prayers of thanksgiving after Holy Communion. Having received the Saviour in the Mysteries of His Body and Blood, we pray that, we may depart in peace, recognising that in Holy Communion we have received the same Lord Who was born in the Cave and laid in the manger; Who bled in His circumcision on the eighth day; Who was “redeemed” according to the sacrifices of the law on His fortieth day, as the “Light to enlighten the gentiles and the glory of His people, Israel.”

But, without prayer, fasting and repentance, how can any of us ever expect that it is possible to truly become a God-Receiver? Without continually striving to consecrate ourselves as holy temples to receive the Christ Whom Symeon met and received in the Temple, how can He be received and dwell in us.

Whilst the “Light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people, Israel” is the Light Who desires to enlighten all of humanity, dispelling the darkness of the fallen world, we must be desirous of everything He promises and brings in order to welcome Him, to spiritually embrace and hold Him as we receive Him as we confess, “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

One of the stikhira of the litia at vespers says that,

“Symeon bore the preëternal Word of the Father incarnate, and revealed to the nations the Light, the Cross and the Resurrection…” 

but this revelation can only be meaningful in us if we desire to embrace the Light, the Cross and the Resurrection, expressing this desire by the spiritual direction and impetus of our lives: only then will it be possible for us to even come close to being God-Receivers, as was the righteous Symeon.

The prophecy of Isaiah, the second reading of vespers, contains a warning, heard from the pre-incarnate Saviour –  dramatically contrasted to the Child held in the arms of Symeon in His appearance as…

 “the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and the house was full of His glory. And seraphim stood round about Him: each one had six wings: and with two they covered their face, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one cried to the other, and they said: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is full of His glory!”

Isaiah is charged to –

“Go, and say to this people: ‘Ye shall hear indeed, but ye shall not understand; and ye shall see indeed, but ye shall not perceive.’ For the heart of this people hath become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

We can so easily become like the Israelites in the time of Isaiah, through our carelessness, lack of attentiveness, laziness, and the continued postponement of spiritual labour and repentance. Despite the calling of our baptism, we do not embrace the Light, the Cross and the Resurrection… or somehow, mistakenly think that we can put things on hold. The reality is that there is no spiritual dormancy, only action or inaction. There is no neutral spiritual state of suspended animation.

Soon, the season of the Great Fast will be the yearly call to rise from our stupor and laziness, to awake and recognise that it is later than we think, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

The words of the kontakion of the Great Canon of Repentance will challenge us,

“My soul, my soul arise! Why art thou sleeping? The end is drawing near and thou wilt be confounded. Awake then and be watchful, that thou mayest be spared by Christ God, Who is everywhere and fillest all things.”

…but this call to action is not to be put off until then.

As well as being the after-feast of the Meeting of the Lord, this coming Sunday is the Sunday of Zacchaeus, on which we will hear how the tax-collector’s repentance made it possible for him to become the friend of Christ, and to receive the Saviour, Who entered his home and more importantly transformed his life.

May our repentance become the means through which we welcome the Saviour and become God-Receivers, like the righteous Symeon, with Christ the Light of the World shining through our every thought, word and action, touching those around us and shedding the Light of Christ upon His world.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

 

Weekly News – Monday 12 February

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you all after another busy weekend, with Liturgies in Cheltenham and Cardiff, the joy of sharing the celebration of Faith with so many people, and the unexpected arrival of geographically distant parishioners and friends not seen for a while. It’s also wonderful that recent visitors are now clearly new parishioners, looking very much at home in the parish. Praise God!

Before the busy week ahead, I’m happy to be soaking up the sun on a bus wending its way over the Mendips for a quiet, prayerful day in Glastonbury – having just glimpsed the Tor rising above the Somerset Levels – before a house blessing and time with our Wessex parishioners, the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in Llanelli, then confessions and pastoral time in Cardiff before another weekend.

Our third week back in St John’s was blessed with another well-attended Liturgy (which constantly sustains forty adults or more, plus the children every week), with parishioners from across Wessex joining us for our celebration, which ended with the admission of young Maximilian to the catechumenate after around six months of dedicated participation. We are very grateful to his dad for driving him the considerable distance from Monmouth week by week.

Thanks to our choir, who sang a linguistically well balanced Liturgy, with English alongside the Slavonic, reflecting the developing dynamic of the parish, and thanks to all who contributed to trapeza by bringing food and so warmly and generously looking after everyone.

Parishioners are clearly enjoying being in St John’s, though we are still getting used to things, with a rather minimal set up. However, without the rather stark interior of Nazareth House, even the minimal Orthodox setting feels much warmer. We are very pleased that the large shrines for our iconostasis now flank the high altar when not in situ for Liturgy, and look forward to the frontals that Georgina will be making for them (as well as new analoy covers) after her current Walsingham visit.

The return of weekly trapeza has made a great difference to parish life, and it was heartening to hear my nephew say what a welcome change it was to be surrounded by so many kind and generous people. This is a prime way in which we can touch those who come through our doors with God’s love working in us and through us.

As clarified on messenger, our LOCAL pilgrimage will involve venerating St Alban’s relics in SPLOTT, not Hertfordshire. I have emailed Fr Sebastian to check the availability of the hall for a bring-and-share lunch, as this could make things more straightforward. ‎

We shall celebrate the moleben to St Alban in the Oratory Church in Swinton St, at 10:30, venerating a portion of the protomartyr’s sacred relics, and then have lunch if the hall is free. We shall then head to Caerleon, weather permitting, to visit the amphitheatre and remains of the garrison where Saints Julius and Aaron would have lived. Notification of your intention to attend would be appreciated, so that we can endeavour to match places in cars with non-drivers for the journey to Caerleon. Lifts will be greatly appreciated for those of you with spare places in your vehicle.

The lack of availability of St John’s on Thursdays means our Liturgy for the Meeting of the Lord will be in the little chapel of St David and St Nicholas, at 11 New Rd, Dafen, Llanelli SA14 8LS.

The Hours and Liturgy will commence at 10:00. I will travel to Cardiff after the Liturgy so that confessions may be heard in Nazareth House in the late afternoon and early evening. Please contact me by 18:00 on Wednesday, though I have already received some verbal requests at Liturgy. Notification of those intending to confess on Sunday is also greatly appreciated, so that we know how many people are expected within our limited time-frame.

Thanks to all who have started contributing to St John’s food bank, and also to all who contributed to the extra collection for leprosy Sunday, a few weeks ago, raising over two hundred pounds, before any offerings from further west.

I look forward to the celebration of the after-feast of the Meeting of the Lord and feast of St Agatha, on Sunday, for which the variables may be found at “orthodoxaustin”:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NkfW1Mouqk4Z6UidAr1yfia6Ij2BC3WZ/view

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

 

 

Parish News: 5th February

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Our week begins after a characteristically busy Sunday, with a well attended Liturgy in St John’s, and a larger than usual number of the faithful confessing and communing, though the number of communicants has been significantly growing over the last five or six weeks. I am grateful for the patience of our parishioners as confessions were concluded during the preparation of the chalice with the Holy Gifts.

It was wonderful to look out of the altar at the beginning of the Liturgy and see all of our children assembled to join in the chanting of the litanies before the Gospel. It was equally wonderful to see so many flowers in vases and adorning the icons.

I was very happy to see so many people enjoying trapeza after Sunday Liturgy, and particularly to see so many young people enjoying one another’s company, with students from Cardiff, Bristol and Bath joining other young people from our South Wales parishes.

A thank you to all who have been helping in the setting up and rearrangement of the church before and after Liturgy, and remind all that everyone’s aid makes these movements considerably quicker and easier.

With the growing numbers of worshippers, with more people staying for this bring-and-share lunch, I hope that we may ensure that there is enough food to at least offer some simple refreshment to all who join us.

Again I would like to thank parishioners for their greetings and gifts for the feast of St Mark of Ephesus. Having a Torte Napoleon to share with our students was very much appreciated and made for a festive student gathering.

Intercessions 

As we begin our week, the news is dominated by the cancer-diagnosis of His Majesty the King, and we offer our prayers for his health and treatment during his illness, and for a swift and speedy recovery, turning to the Mother of God ‘the Queen of All’ before whose icon we pray for all of those – including our own loved ones and parishioners – affected by cancer.

Among those who are sick, we also pray for Ludmilla, Brigid, and for Steven, Martin, Nigel and Jacky among the friends a family members of our parishioners.

Having chanted a post-Liturgy memorial service for the newly-departed Alexey, we continue to pray for the repose of his soul, also remembering His Grace Archbishop Anatoly, Yulia and Barnabas. Memory Eternal!

Confessions in Nazareth House this week

Given the limited time we have before Liturgy, if you know that a confession lasting more than five minutes is required, we will need to hear such longer confessions and commune the faithful after Liturgy. We must be firm in starting the Hours and proskomedia at 11:00, but will find appropriate ways to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of the faithful.

Of course, we very much hope that those living in Cardiff will avail themselves of the opportunity to make their confession on Thursdays, when they may do so in the afternoon or evening, according to circumstance and need. Please email by 18:00 on Wednesday to arrange a Thursday confession, and by Saturday midday to notify us of Sunday confessions, purely to give me an idea of number.

Thursday confessions continue to be heard in Nazareth House!

Cheltenham Liturgy: 10 February

Next Saturday will be our February Liturgy in Cheltenham, when we will celebrate the feast of Saints Ephrem and Isaac the Syrian in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep St, Cheltenham GL52 3AN.

Due to the pastoral needs for confession, as well as setting up the church for Liturgy, from Saturday, the Hours and Liturgy will now start at 10:30: half an hour later than previously. However, confession will still begin around 9:20, and will end at 10:20. We will have our customary bring-and-share lunch after the Liturgy, and look forward to spending time with both parishioners and visitors.

Llanelli Liturgy for the Meeting of the Lord: 15 February

As the coming feast of the Meeting of the Lord on 2/15 February falls on a Thursday, we are unable to celebrate in St John’s, due to weekly use in the morning. Therefore, the Divine Liturgy of the feast will be celebrated in the chapel at Father Luke’s home in Llanelli, with the Hours and Liturgy commencing at 10:00.

Pilgrimage to the Oratory Church and Caerleon: 24 February

Looking forward to the coming months, we will recommence our pilgrimages on the fourth Sunday of each month, and will begin with a local pilgrimage in honour of the protomartyr of Britain, St Alban, and the protomartyrs of Wales, Julius and Aaron. Through the good offices of Father Sebastian and the Cardiff Oratory, we will head to the Oratory Church in Swinton Street, Splott, where we will offer a moleben before the sacred relics of St Alban at 10:30, before heading to Caerleon for lunch and a visit to the amphitheatre and Roman excavations, offering prayers to Saints Julius and Aaron,

Pilgrimage to Margam Abbey: 23 March

Our pilgrimage on Saturday 23 March, in honour of the Mother of God, will be to Margam Abbey, near Port Talbot, where we hope to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, share a picnic lunch and explore the church and neighbouring abbey ruins, returning to church for devotions to the Theotokos, whose shrine in the abbey was destroyed during the reformation. We will announce details after further discussions with the Margam clergy.

Food Bank

Thank you to all who contributed to St John’s Food Bank on Sunday. I hope that those parishioners who are able might make Sunday contributions of non-perishable foodstuffs part of their weekend routine.

Telephones

May we remind everyone to turn off their telephones before the beginning of Sunday worship, and stress that it is not appropriate for children to be using smart phones for entertainment/occupation during the Liturgy. We have some very young children who need occupying during the service, and recognise this, but ask that they play in the children’s corner, so that there is are no distractions for the clergy and faithful at the front of church during our worship.

I look forward to being with our Cheltenham parishioners on Saturday, and Cardiff parishioner on Sunday, which is the feast of the Translation of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer.

The variable of the day may be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HDV9a4R90dQWfAgp8DXETQnOP39NLCq0/view

May God bless you.

Hieromonk Mark

Canon to the Venerable Maximos the Greek

The Canon to the Venerable Maximos the Greek, in Tone I

Ode I, Irmos: O ye people, let us all chant a hymn of victory unto Him Who delivered Israel from the bitter bondage of Pharaoh, and led them dry-shod in the depths of the sea, for He hath been glorified. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

What tongue, O all-wondrous father, is able fittingly to hymn thy great corrections, sublime teaching, thy martyric suffering and long-suffering in prison and bonds? 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

What tongue, O all-wondrous father, is able fittingly to hymn thy great corrections, sublime teaching, thy martyric suffering and long-suffering in prison and bonds? 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

How shall we hymn and what shall we call thee, O all-valiant father? Prophet, in that thou didst easily foretell what we have come to know and recognise? Apostle, for by the teachings of divine Scriptures thou didst make steadfast the Christian Faith, which was shaken by contrary winds? Or teacher, for truly thou art an instructor no less than or inferior to the great œcumenical teachers. 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

O ye people, let us all hymn the holiness and glory of the all-pure and most hymned Mother of God, who is higher than the heavens and all the noetic hosts, and who bore Emmanuel in her all-pure womb, for she is holy and all-glorious! 

Ode III, Irmos: Establish me, O Christ, upon the immovable rock of Thy commandments, and illumine me with the light of Thy countenance, for there is none as holy as Thee, Who lovest mankind. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

In thy heart, O venerable Maximos, thou didst establish divine fear, having hated all carnal lusts; wherefore, as a simple child thou wast made wise, and thou didst hasten after the Lord. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Having the Lord Jesus Christ as thy confirmation, O venerable Maximos, to thy kinsmen, friends and acquaintance thou didst become like an unknown stranger, homeless, bereft of homeland and possessions, and misunderstood. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

Anchoring thyself to the commandments of the Lord, through the bitterness of imprisonment thou didst become as one dead for a long time; yet thou didst make supplication in behalf of those of evil ways, saying: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, hold not to account for this sin those who slander me with lies!” 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

Render us steadfast for thy laudation, O Virgin, and preserve us from harm and every wile of the evil one; and vouchsafe that we may stand at the right hand of thine only-begotten Son, to Whom is due all glory, honour and worship, unto the ages of ages. 

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

Sessional hymn, Tone IV: Having adorned thy mind with the divinely inspired Scriptures, with watchful prayer and God-pleasing vigils thou didst confirm thy heart in the Lord by keeping His salvific commandments; wherefore, Athos and the people of Russia continually glorify thee, and the Monastery of Vatopedi crieth out with us: O all-wise Maximos, forsake us not who pray to thee! 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

Theotokion: I beseech thee, O all-pure Mother of God Most High, only consolation of my soul, my hope, delight, divine protection, light, help and salvation: By thy supplications vouchsafe that I may hear the voice which calleth the blessed to enter the bridal-chamber of the Master. 

Ode IV, Irmos: Great is the mystery of Thy dispensation, O Christ! For, foreseeing it with divine vision from above, Habbakuk cried out to Thee: Thou hast come for the salvation of Thy people, O Thou Who lovest mankind! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

No secret false heretical teaching could stay concealed from thee, O venerable Maximos; but through the grace of the worshipful Holy Spirit they were all unmasked by thee. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou not only showed thyself to be a true and faithful champion of the mystical dogmas of the Orthodox Faith, but thou wast shown to be a finely honed scythe for the mowing down of all heresies under the sun. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

Thou wast truly shown to be an initiate of the mysteries of the Holy Spirit, a lover of the life of heaven and a teacher of the law of the Lord, O all-wise Maximos. 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

Moses, who beheld God, was taught a great mystery when he saw the unburnt bush: the bush is the weakness of human nature, and the fire is the divinity of the only-begotten Son of God; for our God is a Fire which devoureth our sins, as the divine apostle saith. 

Ode V, Irmos: Waking at dawn out of the night, we chant to Thee, O Christ, Who art consubstantial with the Father and art the Saviour of our souls: Grant peace to the world, O Thou Who lovest mankind! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

The moon at night and the sun during the day enlighten and gladden all visible creation; and the manner of life and the wisdom of the saints enlighten and gladden the souls of all men who desire to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. Thus also do the writings of the venerable Maximos the Greek sound forth like divinely blown trumpets. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

When thou didst pray at night in thy prison-cell, by the providence of the divine and all-good Trinity the angel of the Lord heard thee, and said: “O elder, thanks to these torments thou shalt avoid eternal torments.” 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

At night, O all-wise Maximos, thou didst sing like a sweet-voiced and melodious nightingale: “Be not grieved, neither sorrowful nor downcast, O my beloved soul! Thou sufferest unjustly, yet thy reward will be great in the heavens!” 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

Rising at dawn, we hymn thee, O Virgin, the daughter of the King, arrayed in golden vesture inwrought with many colours, the ladder which Jacob beheld, the mountain whereon God was well-pleased to dwell, for the Lord made His abode there to the end. 

Ode VI, Irmos: Thou didst save the prophet from the sea monster, O Thou Who lovest mankind. Lead me up from the abyss of transgressions, I pray. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Like a prophet thou didst rebuke the people, O venerable Maximos, leading them to repentance, saying: “We have strayed, we strayed from the straight and unerring way of life which holy monks lead, and we mindlessly run after the honours of high positions.” 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou wast shown to be a prophet of repentance, O venerable Maximos, acquiring watchfulness of soul through divine discourse, and leading up from the pit of the passions those benighted by sins. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

The writings of the prophets, which were uttered in secret, didst thou make plain, O all-wise Maximos; wherefore, all men ever pay great heed to thee. 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

The prophets proclaimed thee beforehand, O pure Virgin, the apostles preached thee, all the saints called thee blessed, and we cry out with the archangel: Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! The Lord is with thee!” 

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

Kontakion, Tone VIII: With divinely inspired writings and the preaching of theology didst thou denounce the vanity of the heretics, O thou who art most rich; and establishing them firmly in Orthodoxy, thou didst guide them to the path of true understanding. And like a divinely melodious harp thou didst delight and unceasingly gladden the minds of those who hearkened unto thee, O right wondrous Maximos. Wherefore, we beseech thee: Entreat Christ God, that He send down remission of sins upon those who with faith hymn thy most holy dormition, O Maximos our father. 

Ikos: How can we hymn the all-valiant Maximos, the namesake of greatness, the beauteous crown of the venerable, the firm rule of athletes, the true humiliation of heretics, the unshakable pillar of the Church, the renowned instructor of the virginal and champion of honourable marriage, the all-wise sage of philosophers, the ever-flowing fountain of Truth, the boast of monks and true adornment of all men? Wherefore, we beseech thee, O right wondrous Maximos: Entreat Christ God, that He send down remission of sins upon those who with faith hymn thy most holy dormition, O Maximos our father. 

Ode VII, Irmos: When the people were summoned with the sound of music to worship the image, the children of David, chanting the songs of Sion like their fathers, rejected the wicked edict of the tyrant and transformed the flame into dew, singing the hymn: O supremely exalted God of our fathers, blessed art Thou! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Giving utterance to a hymn of thanksgiving to the image of the providence of the all-holy Trinity, O venerable Maximos, thou didst summon us all to bless in purity the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one God in three Hypostases. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

O holy Maximos, thou wast shown to be a model of the endurance of evils, and of patience and prayer, and even more of hope, for God the Judge is just, mighty and long-suffering, and He will render unto each according to his deeds. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

Thou didst acquire the image of sublime theology, O all-wise Maximos, that is the dogmas of the divine apostles and fathers, poured forth by the Holy Paraclete, whereby thou teachest us with thy divine wise writings. 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

The image of thine all-pure birth-giving is ineffable and incomprehensible, O Virgin Mother; for thou didst become the dwelling-place of the preëternal and only-begotten Son of the Father, without being consumed by Him. 

Ode VIII, Irmos: Hymn the Lord, Who preserved the children in the burning fiery furnace and descended unto them in the guise of an angel, and exalt Him supremely forever! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou didst desire the radiance of the flame of the divine Paraclete, O venerable Maximos; wherefore, with the most sweet light of doctrine and the fire of miracles thou didst drive away all the darkness of the demons. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou didst teach men to flee the flame of Gehenna, O venerable Maximos, calling upon them to embody the commandments of Christ in deed, and to shun malice, fornication, lying, pride, falsehood and the unjust theft of things which belong to others. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

As with flame thou didst burn up the ungodliness of heretics, O all-wise Maximos, making brilliant the divine confession of the unblemished Christian Faith. 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

Moses the God-seer beheld thee in the fiery flame of the burning bush, O all-pure Virgin, and proclaimed thy seedless birth-giving; wherefore, free us from the carnal passions. 

Ode IX, Irmos: Thee, the Mother of God, the radiant lamp, the all-wondrous glory more exalted than all creatures, do we magnify with hymns. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

We know thee to be a radiant lamp, an excellent mind and an unshakable pillar; and we proclaim thee an instructor of monks and a denouncer of heresies. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou didst shine forth brilliantly from the noonday lands, O venerable Maximos, exhibiting a splendid manner of life, dispelling the darkness of evil, and shining forth in right pleasing supplication. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  

As a torch of divine understanding, thou didst attain unto the knowledge of the Son of God, becoming a perfect man according to the measure of the stature of Christ; wherefore, we cry out to thee: Truly blessed art thou in all things, through the struggles, glory and grace which thou didst receive from on high! 

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen. 

In hymns we magnify aloud thee who art a radiant beacon amid the night of the passions, a shelter of goodness, and an unassailable defence against the assaults of the enemy. 

Troparion, Tone VIII: Made brilliant by the radiance of the Spirit, through divine wisdom thou wast vouchsafed the intelligence of the rhetors, enlightening with the light of piety the hearts of men, which were darkened by ignorance; and thou wast shown to be a most splendid lamp of Orthodoxy, O venerable Maximus. Wherefore, having become a stranger and wanderer in thy zeal for Him Who seeth all things, thou wast a sojourner in the land of Russia, suffering imprisonment and incarceration at the command of the sovereign; yet thou art crowned by the right hand of the Most High, and workest all-glorious miracles. Be thou also a true mediator for us who honour thy holy memory with love. 

Canons in Honour of St Mark of Ephesus

Canon I, the Composition of John, the acrostic whereof is: “May my brother be the tongue of the Only-begotten, as was his wont, chanteth John”, in Tone IV

Ode I, Irmos: I shall open my mouth, * and be filled with the Spirit, * and utter discourse to the Queen and Mother; * and be seen radiantly keeping festival, * joyfully praising her wonders.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Rescue my mind from attachments to that which is earthly and material, O hypostatic Wisdom of God the Father, Who sustainest heaven and earth, and grant discourse unto me who crown thy servant.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The grace of words sweeter than honey, embracing thy sacred soul through the inspiration of God, wrought a strange delight, the common delight of the faithful, the food of salvation.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou didst shine forth like a great beacon of the life beloved of the world, and like a giant of great might thou didst hasten from the East, and didst illumine the ends of the world with the rays of thy words, O divine Mark.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thy divinely eloquent lips and honeyed tongue became the mouthpiece of grace; thy sacred tongue was shown to be as a scribe’s pen: it set down wisdom and poured forth grace.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With the Mother of God the choir of angelic intelligences received Mark, the heavenly mind, the pure and exalted soul, the revelation of thoughts and mystic writings, the boundary of wisdom.

Canon II, the composition of Manuel the Great Rhetor of the Great Church, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn Mark, the most renowned hierarch of Asia”, in Tone VIII

Irmos: The wonderworking staff of Moses, * striking and dividing the sea in the figure of a cross, * once drowned Pharaoh the pursuing charioteer, * while it saved the fleeing people of Israel * as they fled on foot, * chanting a hymn unto God.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Having become a vessel of the radiance of the Most High because of the beauty of thy virtues, O Mark, thou didst illumine the flock of Christ. Wherefore, having passed on to the unwaning Light, breathe thou illuminating grace of the Word upon those who hymn thy divine memory, O glorious one.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

As I strive to achieve thy praises as is meet, O blessed one, the well-spring of the words of thy divine corrections is seen to be most profound: yet, O father, by thy supplications grant me grace and power equal to thy love.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Let the most honoured Mark, the most holy temple of the grace of God, from whence mystic fragrances are disclosed to all who live piously, unto the glory and praise of the uncreated Trinity our God, Who is one by nature, be praised.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Of old, the sacred eyes of the prophets foresaw thee, O pure one, to be the noetic mountain, the unburnt bush, the impassable gate, the jar and vessel of manna; and with faith we proclaim thee to be in truth the Theotokos, O Bride of God.

Ode III, Irmos: O Theotokos, thou living and plentiful fount, * establish in spiritual fellowship those who sing hymns to thee, * and in thy divine glory * grant them crowns of glory.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Opening the divine floodgates of thy wisdom and knowledge, thou didst water the whole earth, theologising in most Orthodox fashion that the Holy Spirit originates solely from the Father.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Embracing zeal for the house of the Lord, zeal for the dogmas of the Fathers, thou didst set afire thy sacred heart and didst sharpen thine honoured tongue against innovation.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Having courageously dealt with the greatest of struggles and needs, and chosen the virtue and piety of the Fathers, O most blessed one, thou hast now inherited the greatest glory in the heavens.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Let the wondrous Mark, the great beacon for those who are at sea, the great star who liveth in the world, the sweet and most delightful light, the mighty salt of the earth, the tree of divine knowledge, be crowned.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Theotokos, having given birth unto the Creator of all, Who, in accordance with His immaterial nature, didst supernaturally become a man for all, thou hast renewed human nature which had grown old.

Irmos: O Lord, Creator of the vault of Heaven * and Builder of the Church, * do Thou strengthen me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, * O Support of the faithful, * O only Lover of mankind.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been shown to be a reflection of the radiance of the most creative Spirit, O blessed one, illumining the fullness of the faithful with thine unerring teachings, and prevailing upon us to hymn the uncreated Trinity.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Holding forth amid the ranks of the council, thou didst establish the origin of the Holy Spirit by procession from the Hypostasis of the Father, O Mark, gladdening the assemblies of the faithful.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Let the most honourable Mark, the most melodious trumpet, the instrument of music, the sweet-sounding tongue which is moved by the Spirit, the well-spring of true wisdom, full of grace, be praised today.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Inexplicable was the mystery wrought in thee, O most pure one; for thou didst ineffably give birth unto the God of all, and even after having given birth wast shown to be a Virgin. Wherefore, we honour thee as the true Theotokos.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Kontakion of the holy hierarch, the composition of Manuel, Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Thou hast appeared …”: With the most wise plaiting of thy words, * O most blessed one, * thou didst stop every blaspheming mouth, * and with thy divine utterance hast enlightened the faithful ** to honour the Trinity in one and the same nature.

Sessional Hymn, the composition of John, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “The Wisdom and Word…”: Flying as though thou wert a bee about the sacred meadow and garden of paradise, which truly flourisheth well, thou didst draw forth a pleasing and fragrant dew from the writings of the Spirit and the holy Fathers of old, O venerable one, from whence thou didst fashion the honeycomb of faith and the honey of knowledge, which, receiving unto their health, rulers and simple folk alike all dedicate hymns of thanksgiving unto thee, O most wise one. Entreat Christ God, that He grant forgiveness of transgressions unto those who with love celebrate thy holy memory.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion, Tone VIII: As thou art the all-immaculate Bride of the Creator, the Mother of the Redeemer who knewest not a man, the dwelling-place of the Comforter, O all-hymned one, make haste to deliver me from the evil workings of the demons, for in mind I have become their plaything, and am a vile habitation of iniquity; and make of me a radiant abode of the virtues, O splendid and incorrupt one, and drive from me the cloud of the passions by thy supplications, and vouchsafe me to share in the never-waning light of the Most High.

Ode IV, Irmos: Perceiving the profound counsel of God, * that the incarnation of Thee the Most High, * will be from a Virgin, * the Prophet Habbakuk cried aloud: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

From childhood thou wast shown to be a manly, most excellent and thrice-victorious victor over the wicked prince of this world, and later thou didst do battle against the deception of innovation.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Bearing against deception the mighty weapon and standard of the Cross which is efficacious in battle, like Moses thou didst cleave the sea of the passions and didst likewise drown those who opposed thee.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Yearning with all thy desire from childhood, O ever-laudable one, for Christ, the rare delight, spiritual sweetness, ineffable beauty, thou didst come to hate the pleasures of the world.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The godliness of thy countenance also portrayed the signs of the divine and angelic interior character and the beauties of thy most splendid and holy soul.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou hast opened the portal of paradise which disobedience shut, O most pure one, having prepared thyself for fervent obedience to the commandments of the Creator; and thou hast been shown to be a path to life, O Sovereign Lady.

Irmos: O Lord, I have heard the mystery of Thy dispensation; * I have considered Thy works, * and I have glorified Thy Divinity.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Grace poured forth from thy lips, O most blessed one, and thou hast enlightened the firmament of the Church with the sweetness of divine deliberations.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou wast a most sacred temple of the Holy Spirit, putting forth the divine fragrance of theology for all, O most sacred one.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thy radiant memory hath shone forth and enlightened with love the thoughts of those who praise the perfection of thy theology.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou didst surpass the army of immaterial intelligences, O pure one, having given birth unto Him Who hath brought all things into existence and delivered us from deception.

Ode V, Irmos: All creation stands in awe of thy divine glory; * for thou, O Virgin who hast not known wedlock, * didst contain within thy womb the God of all, * and gave birth to the timeless Son, * bestowing peace, upon all who hymn thee.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

As an acceptable sacrifice thou didst offer thyself wholly unto God Who was buried for our sake, adorning thy body as a temple of God, thy pure heart as a holy altar, and thy soul as a splendid immolation.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Valiantly thou didst escape the waves of life, overturning them all right intelligently, O blessed one, that thou mightest acquire that which alone is most precious: Christ, the only Pearl; and mightest lay up as treasure divine enlightenment and the knowledge of God.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

With Paul thou didst mightily and valiantly endure all temptations, O blessed one, considering the little and unworthy sufferings of the present age to lead to splendid and never-ending glory.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The Master Who alone is mighty imparted to thee invincible power, both wholly against the serpent and ultimately against the wicked adulteration of the faith and the violation of its dogmas.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The failing sanctity of the Church of Christ, the holy bride of the Son of God, is radiantly restored and set aright by thy Mark, O holy and most pure Virgin, through thy grace.

Irmos: O Light never-waning, * why hast Thou turned Thy face from me * and why has the alien darkness surrounded me, * wretched though I be? * But do Thou guide my steps I implore Thee * and turn me back towards the light of Thy commandments.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

In the midst of the Church thou didst chant a divinely inspired hymn, teaching that the Father alone is the Source of the Godhead, the Begetter of the Son and the Issuer of the Spirit, O most glorious one.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Following the words and divine deliberations of the Fathers, O blessed one, thou didst proclaim the Son and the Spirit to be equal in honour to the Father, in that they both originated with the Father as Their Cause, from Whom they both proceeded together.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Rejoice, ladder of Jacob whereby God descended and drew mortal nature up to heavenly glory, O Bride of God! Rejoice, thou joy of the angels, hope and sure refuge of all the faithful!

Ode VI, Irmos: Celebrating the divine and solemn feast * of the Mother of God * O ye divinely wise, * let us come, clapping our hands, * and glorify God who was born of her.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

By the grace of Him Who alone giveth strength unto those who trust in Him didst thou crush the heads of the iniquitous oppressors, the haters of mankind, and with the sword of the Spirit thou hast cut out the tongues of those who introduce novelties.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The sea is amazed, all the earth chanteth hymns of thy victory, and the Church proclaimeth thy wonders and rejoiceth, turning all its opponents to flight, O most wise one.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Like a river ever flowing in torrents, the fullness of the Church doth gladden the countenance of the city of God with right dogmas, O divinely eloquent Mark.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The nourishing torrents of thy divinely eloquent language, pouring forth the dogmas of Orthodoxy upon all, have been revealed to be like the golden and flowing streams of the Nile, sweeter than honey.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou hast given birth unto a new Child, the Son of the ageless Father, O most pure one, and thou art more honourable than creation, in that thou hast revealed the Creator of all creation.

Irmos: Cleanse me, O Saviour, * for many are mine iniquities; * lead me up from the abyss of evils I pray Thee, * for unto Thee have I cried, * and Thou hast hearkened unto me, * O God of my salvation.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Having inherited the undiminished faith of the preachers of Christ, thou didst maintain it intact in the face of the rulers, O glorious one, being in no wise affrighted by the snares of the Italians.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Withdrawing from vile confusion, O most blessed one, thou didst depart to a spiritual and joyous state, where thou dost now behold the light of the threefold Sun, asking grace for us.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst make clear for us the sense of the doctrines of piety, and didst courageously confute those who imagine that essence and energy are one and the same; for, O blessed one, an attribute is by nature indeed different from being.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Mighty One hath done great things for thee, O most pure one, and hath found thee as a lily amid thorns, and through thee hath filled all creation with the fragrance of divinity.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion of the holy hierarch, the composition of John, Tone VIII: Taking the divinely wise writings of the theologians into thy heart * as one of truly divine eloquence, thou didst proclaim the procession * of the Holy Spirit as was needful, O ever-laudable one, * and didst seal the most holy Symbol of the Faith; ** wherefore, we chant: Rejoice, O divinely eloquent Mark!

Ikos: One of the chiefs among the angels once announced with fear to the Theotokos: Rejoice! And I, one of those who see thee to be manifest as an angel transcending nature, do marvel as a man and with love chant unto thee such things as these: Rejoice, receptacle of holy purity; Rejoice, treasury of the wisdom of God! Rejoice, seal of the holy theologians; Rejoice, boundary of teachers and the Fathers! Rejoice, unfathomable abyss of spiritual thoughts; Rejoice, wise sea of mystical writings! Rejoice, for thou hast been shown to be a great light of the Church; Rejoice, for even to this day those who think contrary to thee are put to shame! Rejoice, well-spring of the dogmas of the Faith; Rejoice, slayer of the intentions of the innovators! Rejoice, thou by whom we are all made steadfast; Rejoice, thou through whom the truth shineth forth! Rejoice, O divinely eloquent Mark!

Ode VII, Irmos: Refusing to worship created things * in place of the Creator, * the divinely wise youths bravely trampled down the threatening fire * and rejoicing they sang aloud: * O supremely hymned Lord and God of our Fathers, Blessed art Thou.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Beholding the pure robe of Christ defiled, which Christ beautified with His Blood, and which must needs be preserved inviolate, thou didst groan and with noble spirit, champion the Church.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Having acquired steadfast thought when thou wast tempted concerning God and the holy dogmas of the Faith, like a lion didst thou put to flight and rout the hordes of innovators with royal roaring.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

As the magnetism of the lodestone attracteth iron, O divinely wise one, thou didst manifestly draw every man to thyself by the gladness and beauty of thy temperament, the splendour of thy words and the sanctity of thy life, and thou has moved all to the glory of God

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

To the human race, made corrupt through the serpent’s poison, hast thou imparted life, O thou who hast given birth unto the Grain of life Who granteth breath unto all; and thou hast established it firmly and made it to partake of paradise, O Theotokos.

Irmos: Once in Babylon the fire stood in awe * of God’s condescension; * for which sake the youths in the furnace, * dancing with joyous steps as in a meadow, chanted: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Rejoicing, thou didst mount to the light of the threefold Sun, and thou delightest to partake thereof; for, teaching on earth in an Orthodox manner thou didst declare to all: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The Son and the Spirit shone forth timelessly from the Hypostasis of the Father alone, the One by being begotten, the Other by procession; this didst thou declare to be dogma, and thus confirm the faithful to chant: Blessed is the God of our fathers.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst proclaim to all the divine procession of the Comforter which taketh place solely from the Father as its cause, O wise one, and thou hast put to shame the putrid opinions of those who traffic in sacred things, who know not how to chant: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

By the Fruit of thy womb, O Theotokos, mortal nature hath been freed from the ancient curse and deemed worthy of holy blessing; wherefore it glorifieth and chanteth aloud, crying: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Ode VIII, Irmos: The Offspring of the Theotokos * saved the holy children in the furnace. * He who was then prefigured hath since been born on earth, * and He gathereth all creation to hymn thee: * all ye works praise ye the Lord * and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The great Steward of all, Who upholdeth and conceiveth all things, He Who provided for a general and most pious confession, O blessed one, setteth thee up as a teacher, father, pastor and mighty champion of all.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The sophistry of the machinations of those who reason contrary to the dogmas have been shown to be like the darts of babes, the sport of children, a spider’s web; and the power of their tongues hath grown weak when confronted with thy divinely inspired and theological tongue, O thou of godly eloquence.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Having lifted up the eyes of thy thought and stretched thy whole self out before the Lord, that thou mightest cast down the mighty and save the pious, thou didst find Him to be an invincible champion Who granteth discourse to thee as to one worthy to proclaim glad tidings with great might.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Repeatedly bestowing love for God and benefaction upon thy neighbour, as He promised thou hast acquired reward in the present and in the age to come: celestial riches, glory, delight which cannot be taken from thee, life everlasting and the kingdom of heaven.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The hatred of the ancient deceiver and apostate hath driven the Creator’s most excellent creation, the human race, into thousands of deceptions, now as before; yet by thine alliance with the divine herald Mark, O Lady, we are now saved therefrom.

Irmos: In his wrath the Chaldean Tyrant made the furnace blaze, * with heat fanned sevenfold for the servants of God; * but when he perceived that they had been saved by a greater power * he cried aloud to the Creator and Redeemer; * ‘ye children bless, ye priests praise, * ye people, supremely exalt Him throughout all ages’.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Illumined from head to toe, O blessed God-bearer, in a pure manner thou didst minister the honoured and holy Gospel of the hierarchy; and, teaching the faithful, thou didst prevail upon them to chant: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou didst shine forth like the sun from the East, O venerable one, radiating beams of theology, and enlightening the whole world; wherefore thou hast taught the people to chant unto the Trinity with fear: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

To all didst thou proclaim, O glorious one, that the Hypostases of the Trinity do not take their existence one from another, but proceed from a single Cause; for the Son and the Spirit are both manifestly from the Father, and in no wise one from the other, for they are sprung as from a single unfading Root. Wherefore, we honour thy memory throughout all ages.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O most splendid palace of the Master of all, guide my soul, which hath been darkened by the passions, to the paths of the virtues, that saved by thy mercy, I may chant: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: Let every mortal born on earth, * radiant with light, in spirit leap for joy; * and let the host of the angelic powers * celebrate and honour the holy feast of the Mother of God, * and let them cry aloud: * Rejoice! O all-blessed Theotokos, * thou pure Ever-Virgin.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Let the Christian people now assemble rejoicing, and let the holy and unblemished Churches of the Orthodox be glad today and chant hymns of thanksgiving unto Christ, Who hath put an end to the shame of innovation through a single wise man.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou hast inherited true renown and heavenly glory, O blessed one, for, having cut pernicious glory and every other pleasure of life from thy soul as though they did not exist, thou rejoicest with the ranks of the teachers of theology as one who shareth in their life.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The turtle dove, which hath announced freedom from tribulations unto us who are endangered by a most grievous wave of new deception, taking wing on pinions of gold through the grace of the virtues of the Comforter, hath passed over to the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou was set as a mediator between God and the ranks of the faithful, offering up amid grievous trials of the Faith the precious Blood of thy Creator, the Deliverance of the world, by thy right acceptable prayers moving to mercy Him Who by nature is the Lover of mankind.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The ravening and deceitful infernal serpent of primeval malice, who wounded mankind like a babe, grew strong, O most holy Lady; but having given birth unto God, the infinite Word, as a new-born Babe, O uncultivated land, thou hast delivered the human race, O most laudable one.

Irmos: Saved by thee, O pure Virgin, * we confess thee to be truly the Theotokos, * and together with the choirs of the bodiless hosts * thee do we magnify.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

The grace of thy words and theology hath gladdened the Church of Christ, which do thou unceasingly pray to be preserved in peace.

Hierarch of Christ, Mark, pray to God for us.

Now thou dost delight well in the supreme and divine enlightenment for which thou didst long, O most blessed one, whereof do thou make us partakers through thy prayers.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Zeal for Orthodoxy, enkindled in thy pure soul, hath reduced to ashes the blasphemy of the heretics, O blessed Mark.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

As one more exalted than the intelligences of heaven and close to God, O pure Virgin, illumine my mind, rescuing me from the depths of all manner of necessities.

Troparion of the holy hierarch, Tone VIII: Instructor of Orthodoxy, and opposer of innovations: * Stairway of the faith, beacon of the Church, and divinely inspired seal of teachers: * O most wise Mark, thou hast enlightened all by thy writings. ** O thou harp of the Spirit, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

The Canons to Saints Athanasius the Great and Cyril of Alexandria

Just a day after celebrating St Anthony the Great, the father of monastics, we celebrate the great Alexandrian hierarchs Athanasius and Cyril.

Their lives are freely available on-line, so I have simply published the canons to these two great Church Fathers.

Canon of Saint Athanasius, the acrostic whereof is: “Athanasius was the boast of Orthodoxy”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VIII

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Parish News: 29 January

Dear brothers and sisters,

The obvious first comment in this week’s news is obviously our return to St John’s, Canton, with the setting bringing an instant change to the feel and dynamics of Liturgy.

I have to admit to missing the sanctuary/altar of Nazareth House, but the layout of St John’s brought an intimacy and warmth to Liturgy, in terms of the faithful being in proximity to one another rather than being scattered across a vast building, the gentler light, and – of course – the very welcome opportunity to share a relaxed and sociable trapeza, with a designated eating area and the kitchen.

Though our set-up (pre-unpacking!) was rather minimal, we shall make ourselves more at home next week, and I will ask some of our young people to help distribute icons and candles around the building.

It was good to have Father Luke and some of the Llanelli mission-parish with us, and a pleasure to welcome new parishioners, and especially for time to talk and get to know one another over our bring and share lunch.

We are very grateful to all at St John’s, especially given the surprise of our arrival with everything from Nazareth House, rather than the limited possessions we had us when we previously used St John’s.

I very much hope that after discussions with the church-warden, we may be able to celebrate more services when the building is quiet, and not in use. However, having just arrived we need to be patient on that front.

We are fortunate that the Sisters in Nazareth House are happy for us to continue hearing confessions in the chapel, and this week, I will hear confessions on Thursday, so requests by noon on Wednesday, please.

Sunday’s confessions were held up by numerous preliminary conversations regarding storage and sacristy use, but this Sunday, confessions should commence around 10:15. I was pleased to able to start proskomedia at the designated time of 11:00, when the blessing was given for the Hours, and this will be our pattern.

Please be aware that confessions will ordinarily end with the dismissal of the Hours in future, even with a second priest, as there should be no confessions during Liturgy.

Our first Liturgy back in St John’s came after an extremely busy week following the previous Sunday’s Liturgy, and our Wessex parishioners were happy to have house-blessings, a narrow-boat blessing, the blessing of the River Wylye at Hanging Langford, and a pilgrimage for a carload of us, with Whitchurch Canonicorum and the shrine of St Wite as our sacred destination.

We look forward to our Wessex prayer meeting on the last Monday of the month, and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the second Saturday of the month. Through the good offices of the feoffees who hold the trust of the Chapel of St Laurence in Warminster, and the parish of St Laurence in Bradford on Avon, we hope to have liturgies in Wiltshire, with Warminster offering a little more warmth in the colder months of the year! St Laurence of Rome seems to be in charge here, which is wonderful, given what an inspiring martyr-saint he is.

Thanks you to all in Wessex for such a wonderful few days, and the foundation of what is to come.

My return to Cardiff was necessitated by our Wednesday move to Canton, and am grateful to Norman for organising things.

Sunday evening saw a student gathering for supper, and it really is good to know that our band of students enjoy one another’s company outside services, some of them shared a Burns Supper last week, as well as meeting socially and having musical events to look forward to attending, whether in the Royal College or venues in the city. 

Turning to even younger parishioners, we look forward to having the parish children contribute to Liturgy by singing the responses to some of our litanies, and working with members of our kliros and me to learn some chants. Also, as we look forward to festal processions, I hope to find ways in which the children may participate in liturgical life.

Thank you all who contributed to the collection for Leprosy Sunday. Together with previous donations we have £200 to pass on to the Commandery of the Knights of St Lazarus, for international leprosy projects. If anybody would like to contribute, we will be happy to receive donations next week.

As Deacon Mark requested, please endeavour to find parking in the area around St John’s, rather than on church grounds, leaving the very limited parking space for clergy, for those with limited mobility and small children. The Anglican parish breakfast will mean that parking around the church will not be available until considerably later than before.

When you are in St John’s, please not that there are collection baskets for the food-bank behind the main-door, and considering contributing something each week, even if it’s only a tin or packet. Now that parish-life has returned to St John’s, we really should be part of the mission area’s support of those in need.

On a final note, just a reminder that the service ends with the last amen of the thanksgiving prayers, and that thanking the Lord for His self-giving in the Holy Gifts, is an important part of our worship. So let’s listen to the prayers attentively, as they are offered on behalf of all who have partaken of the Holy Mysteries.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Akathist Hymn to St Anthony the Great

Kontakion 1: Chosen wonderworker and most marvellous servant of Christ, venerable Father Anthony! Lovingly praising thy God-pleasing life, we offer God a song of thanksgiving for thee. And as thou hast great boldness toward the Lord, free from all dangers us who joyfully call on thee: Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life! 

Ikos 1: Having loved the angelic life from thy youth, thou didst desire to walk in God’s commandments, venerable Father, and, with thy heart flaming toward to the Lord of Hosts, thou didst raise thy mind unto the divine, counting all things temporary and earthly as loss. Therefore, marvelling at God’s providence for thee, with faith we call upon thee:  

Rejoice, worthy son of devout parents. 
Rejoice, for thou wast raised in piety. 
Rejoice, for thou didst follow Christ from youth. 
Rejoice, for thou didst reckon earthly vanity as nought. 
Rejoice, fervent worker of Christ’s vineyard. 
Rejoice, great teacher of the desert dwellers. 
Rejoice, for thou didst desire salvation for all. 
Rejoice, for thou hast shown the true monastic path. 
Rejoice, luminous lamp ignited with divine fire. 
Rejoice, unshakable rock of faith in Christ. 
Rejoice, radiant with the grace of the Holy Spirit. 
Rejoice, thou who wast graced with the gift of working wonders.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 2: Seeing that the enemy of mankind wished to destroy thee for ascending to spiritual heights, O God-bearing Father, but was shamed by thy struggle and humility in constant fasting and prayer, thou hast crushed the head of the invisible serpent, singing to God with compunction: Alleluia.  

Ikos 2: Knowing with thy heart and mind all worldly goods to be swiftly passing and fleeting, thou didst shut thyself in a dark cave, mortifying thy passions and working only for the Lord. Wherefore, praising thine angelic living, we exclaim to thee:  

Rejoice, for thou hast placed thy hope in God. 
Rejoice, for thou hast shamed the folly of the enemy. 
Rejoice, fearless destroyer of the devil’s schemes. 
Rejoice, for thou resemblest an angel in thy purity and holiness. 
Rejoice, for thou didst sanctify the wilderness by thy struggles. 
Rejoice, for thou hast guided many to the Heavenly Kingdom. 
Rejoice, for thou didst overthrow despicable pride. 
Rejoice, for thou hast taught lowliness of mind. 
Rejoice, light that enlightens all with the divine wisdom. 
Rejoice, radiant star illuminating all with the brightness of thy struggles. 
Rejoice, for thou didst live to the glory of God. 
Rejoice, good and long-suffering shepherd. 
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 3: Strengthened by the divine power, most blessed Anthony, thou didst remain in fasting, prayer, unceasing labours, and vigils, overcoming all temptations of the enemy and singing to God, Who covered thee with grace, Alleluia.  

Ikos 3: Having a pure mind and a spotless soul, blessed Father, thou didst comprehend the vanity and inconstancy of this world, and, desiring the eternal blessings, thou didst renounce temporary goods. Wherefore, honouring thee, we sing: 

Rejoice, lover of blessed humility. 
Rejoice, searcher of spiritual wisdom. 
Rejoice, for thou didst ascend the heights of dispassion. 
Rejoice, for hast offered thyself wholly to God. 
Rejoice, for thou resemblest thy Lord in thy guilelessness. 
Rejoice, for thou wast wealthy in poverty. 
Rejoice, grace-filled adornment of the desert. 
Rejoice, all-radiant lamp of the world. 
Rejoice, banisher of terrifying demons. 
Rejoice, destroyer of their delusions. 
Rejoice, for thou art wiser than the wise of this world. 
Rejoice, zealous ascetic. 
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 4: Stilling the storm of evil temptations, thou didst settle in the wilderness, most blessed Anthony, traversing the sorrowful path of the monastic life, trampling all the snares of the enemy and casting off his deception, and didst sing to Christ, Who strengthened thee: Alleluia.

Ikos 4: Hearing of thy God-pleasing life, O venerable one, seekers of God’s truth came to thee from near and far and thou hast received them with love and guided them to salvation. With compunction of soul, we praise and cry out to thee: 

Rejoice, rule and foundation of desert dwellers. 
Rejoice, good teacher of Christ’s flock. 
Rejoice, adornment of Christ’s Church. 
Rejoice, glory of monastics. 
Rejoice, for thou didst offer thyself as a sacrifice to the Lord. 
Rejoice, for thou didst mortify thy sinful passions. 
Rejoice, joy of the angels. 
Rejoice, full vanquisher of the demons. 
Rejoice, dweller of the wilderness. 
Rejoice, zealous struggler for stillness. 
Rejoice, for thou showest the right path. 
Rejoice, announcer of the Kingdom of Heaven.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 5: Like a divinely moving star thou didst appear to the monastic world, venerable Father Anthony, thou wast an image of faithfulness in word, life, love, faith, and purity, singing to the Lord: Alleluia. 

Ikos 5: Seeing thy pure and holy living, Father Anthony, the enemy of the human race frequently attacked thee, but defeating him with thy humility, thou didst not depart from the way of salvation. Wherefore, we cry out to thee: 

Rejoice, partaker of eternal life. 
Rejoice, great teacher of salvation. 
Rejoice, for thou hast served God alone with thy life. 
Rejoice, for thou didst take up the yoke of Christ. 
Rejoice, for thou hast exposed the wiles of the demons. 
Rejoice, for thou hast directed to the way of salvation. 
Rejoice, keeper of purity. 
Rejoice, beholder of the Light of the Trinity. 
Rejoice, raising of the fallen. 
Rejoice, banishment of demonic power.  
Rejoice, solid pillar of faith. 
Rejoice, perfected teacher.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 6: Having heard the Gospel preaching: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me,” O Father Anthony, thou hast renounced worldly treasures, and, undertaking a life of fasting and struggles in the wilderness, thou didst acquire the treasures of heaven. Give us wisdom, O kindly-hearted Father, to not incline our hearts to the quickly perishing things of this earth, but to ponder the things above, exclaiming to the Lord of Hosts: Alleluia. 

Ikos 6: Thou didst shine forth as a divinely radiant light in the Egyptian wilderness, O Father Anthony, shining with the rays of thy virtues and miracles. Remembering thy struggles, we bless thee and say:  

Rejoice, for venerable saints are crowned by thee. 
Rejoice, for men are saved through thee. 
Rejoice, grace-filled visitation of the sick. 
Rejoice, helper of strangers. 
Rejoice, destroyer of enmity. 
Rejoice, annihilator of the enemy. 
Rejoice, peace and steadfastness of the faithful. 

Rejoice, swift deliverance from dangers. 
Rejoice, extinguisher of guile and craftiness. 
Rejoice, consolation of the despairing. 
Rejoice, defender of the Orthodox. 
Rejoice, helper of Christians.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 7: Desiring to undertake a worthy struggle, thou didst account all temporary things as nought, dwelling in poverty and humility in the wilderness, conversing with the One God and singing ceaselessly to Him: Alleluia. 

Ikos 7: The Lord revealed a truly new guide for monastics in thee, O Father Anthony. Many who learned of thy God-pleasing and righteous life and the heights of thy spiritual wisdom, heeded thy words as the words of a great servant of God. To thee we sing:  

Rejoice, for thou resemblest Abraham in faith. 
Rejoice, for thou resemblest David in meekness. 
Rejoice, for thou hast acquired the zeal of Elijah. 
Rejoice, for thou hast followed the way of the Forerunner. 
Rejoice, for thou didst pour forth water in the desert by thy prayers. 
Rejoice, for thou didst raise paralytics from their beds. 
Rejoice, for thou gavest sight to the blind. 
Rejoice, for thou hast healed many diseases. 
Rejoice, most marvellous and divinely wise guide of monks. 
Rejoice, fervent servant of Christ. 
Rejoice, most gentle consolation of the sorrowful. 

Rejoice, most beloved boast of monks.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 8: Having seen the strange and supernatural life of the venerable Paul, O blessed Anthony, thou didst marvel at the height of his struggles and virtues. Seeing his soul ascending to the heavens and surrounded by angels, thou didst cry out to God, Who is wondrous in His saints: Alleluia. 

Ikos 8: Thou didst rejoice with great joy, O Father Anthony, beholding with thy clairvoyant eyes the ascent of the soul of the venerable Ammon. Wherefore, we beseech thee with much wonder:  

Rejoice, for thou didst ever raise thine eyes to the heavens. 
Rejoice, for thou hast loved heavenly glory above all. 
Rejoice, for thou hast sanctified thy heart with ceaseless prayer. 
Rejoice, for thou hast established thy mind in God. 
Rejoice, for thou didst foresee the future as present. 
Rejoice, for thou hast acquired lofty gifts through humility. 
Rejoice, for thou hast freed those held captive by evil spirits. 
Rejoice, for thou grantest spiritual and bodily health. 
Rejoice, intercessor in hardships and calamities. 
Rejoice, defender in tribulations and afflictions. 
Rejoice, for thou forsakest not us here on earth. 
Rejoice, for thou dost offer thy prayers for us sinners.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 9: All angelic beings marvelled at the height of thine ascetic feats, for thou didst become like an angel in every way whilst still in the weakness of the flesh and, strengthened by the power of the Almighty, thou didst become abundant in virtues. Therefore, thou hast joined the ranks of angels, singing to the Almighty God: Alleluia. 

Ikos 9: Human eloquence is not sufficient to praise thy life, O Father Anthony: for who can recount all thy fastings, vigils, illnesses and labours? Who can count thy tears and sighings for God? But, moved with our love for thee, we dare to sing this to thee: 

Rejoice, great dweller of the wilderness. 
Rejoice, teacher of perfection. 
Rejoice, servant of the true God. 
Rejoice, for thou hast banished demons out of the desert. 
Rejoice, thunder that strikest the devil. 
Rejoice, for thou hast revealed his wiles. 
Rejoice, vessel of God’s grace. 
Rejoice, abode of the Holy Spirit. 
Rejoice, adornment of fasters. 
Rejoice, praise of saints. 
Rejoice, foundation of monks. 
Rejoice, glory of the Fathers.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 10: Thou wast a faithful guide to those who desired to be saved, and now leadest us to salvation through thy saintly intercessions, so that with thy help we may reach the Kingdom of Heaven, where the never-silent angels sing: Alleluia. 

Ikos 10: Thou wast a strong and unassailable rampart to thy followers, protecting them from demons’ arrows, remaining a wall and protection from the Devil’s snares to those who call on thee:  

Rejoice, earthly angel. 
Rejoice, heavenly man. 
Rejoice, pure and honourable abode of holiness. 
Rejoice, receptacle of great virtues. 
Rejoice, ardent lover of piety. 
Rejoice, denouncer of heresies. 
Rejoice, fulfilment of Christ’s love. 
Rejoice, instruction of monks. 
Rejoice, firm haven of the faithful. 
Rejoice, mighty uplifting of the fallen. 
Rejoice, strength of the infirm and the paralysed. 
Rejoice, consolation of the despairing and hopeless. 
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 11: Accept our tender singing, which we lift up to thee with love and diligent praise, O Father Anthony. Mercifully incline thine ear to us and vouchsafe to guide us to true repentance through thy prayers, so that we may sing to God: Alleluia.  

Ikos 11: Thou wast revealed on earth as a light-receiving lamp of the true Light, O venerable Anthony, enlightening the hearts of the faithful by thy struggles and miracles and instructing in the way of virtuous and God-pleasing living. Wherefore, thou hearest hear from all:  

Rejoice, all-wise instructor. 
Rejoice, trustworthy leader. 
Rejoice, for thou gavest thyself wholly to God’s will. 
Rejoice, for thou didst love the Lord Jesus above all. 
Rejoice, for thou hast shone forth patiently enduring various sorrows. 
Rejoice, for thou hast acquired eternal wealth through voluntary poverty. 
Rejoice, for thou didst spend thy life in patience and hardship. 
Rejoice, for thou hast bravely endured bitterness of the desert. 
Rejoice, for thou didst inspire the slothful to ascetic struggle. 
Rejoice, surety for the sinners’ correction. 
Rejoice, converser with angels and saints. 
Rejoice, zealous intercessor for the whole world.  
Rejoice, venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 12: Knowing the grace given thee by God, we reverently kiss thine image adorned with holiness, servant of God, and pray to thee: forsake us not in thine intercessions to Christ God, to Whom we gratefully sing: Alleluia. 

Ikos 12: Singing of thy life, we also praise thy peaceful end, O venerable Father Anthony, and beseech thee: be a quick helper in all good to us who call upon thee: 

Rejoice, dweller of heaven,

Rejoice, for thou standest before the Consubstantial Trinity. 
Rejoice, joy of angels. 
Rejoice, converser with saints. 
Rejoice, true pleaser of God. 
Rejoice, chosen servant of the Lord. 
Rejoice, fervent intercessor for all who call upon thy name. 
Rejoice, teacher and hope of all who honour thee. 
Rejoice, for thou wast imbued with the grace of God. 
Rejoice, for thou wast filled at the Divine spring. 
Rejoice, for thou wast bedewed with saving tears. 
Rejoice, for thou wast clothed in garments of incorruption. 
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 13: O venerable Father Anthony, eternally alive in the never-ending day of Christ’s Kingdom, beseech the Master of all to deliver us from calamities, misfortunes, and eternal torments, so that we may sing to Him in His Kingdom unto ages of ages: Alleluia. (Thrice)  

Ikos 1: Having loved the angelic life from thy youth, thou didst desire to walk in God’s commandments, O venerable Father, and, with thy heart flaming toward to the Lord of Hosts, thou didst raise thy mind unto the divine, counting all things temporary and earthly as loss. Therefore, marvelling at God’s providence for thee, with faith we call upon thee:  

Rejoice, worthy son of devout parents. 
Rejoice, for thou wast raised in piety. 
Rejoice, for thou didst follow Christ from youth. 
Rejoice, for thou didst reckon earthly vanity as nought. 
Rejoice, fervent worker of Christ’s vineyard. 
Rejoice, great teacher of the desert dwellers. 
Rejoice, for thou didst desire salvation for all. 
Rejoice, for thou hast shown the true monastic path. 
Rejoice, luminous lamp ignited with divine fire. 
Rejoice, unshakable rock of faith in Christ. 
Rejoice, radiant with the grace of the Holy Spirit. 
Rejoice, thou who wast graced with the gift of working wonders.  
Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life!

Kontakion 1: Chosen wonderworker and most marvellous servant of Christ, venerable Father Anthony! Lovingly praising thy God-pleasing life, we offer God a song of thanksgiving for thee. And as thou hast great boldness toward the Lord, free from all dangers us who joyfully call on thee: Rejoice, O venerable Father Anthony, founder of the desert life! 

Prayer: O our venerable and God-bearing Father Anthony! We believe that thou hast great boldness in prayer standing before the throne of the Holy Trinity, and the All-Merciful Lord always hears thee, His faithful servant. Wherefore, we humbly fall down before thee with compunction, O Saint of God: never cease to intercede for us to the Lord, Who is worshipped and glorified in the Trinity, that He may look mercifully on us and not let us perish in our sins, but wouldst raise the fallen and give correction to evil and wretched lives, averting our future transgressions, and forgive all faults committed in word or thought from our birth to the present hour. O ascetic of virtue, seeing the infirmity and sorrow of the present times, ceaselessly entreat Christ God to not withdraw His loving-kindness from us, but to preserve us from worldly temptations, the devil’s snares, and fleshly desires, so that we may receive all that is necessary for this temporary life, deliverance from affliction and tribulation, and unyielding patience to the end. Implore that we may lead the rest of our lives in peace and repentance and to pass from earth to heaven escaping tribulations, the aerial demons, and eternal torments, and be worthy of the Heavenly Kingdom with thee and all the saints that pleased our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, to Whom is due all glory, honour, and worship, together with His unoriginate Father and His All-Holy, Good and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Troparion, Tone IV: Emulating the demeanour of the zealous Elijah, and following the Baptist with forthright steps, O father Anthony, thou wast a dweller in the desert, and hast made the whole world steadfast by thy supplications. Wherefore, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Kontakion, Tone II, “Seeking the highest”: Having cast off the tumults of life, thou didst live a life of stillness to the end, emulating the Baptist in every way, O all-venerable one. Wherefore, we honour thee with him, O Anthony, first among the fathers.