The “Unexpected Joy” – a miracle of the Mother of God

Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

As we celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Cheltenham today, our thoughts were very much with Mother Melangell, as she celebrated the altar-feast of her skete, named for the icon of the Mother of God, “Unexpected Joy”.

The story of this icon appears in The Fleece Bedewed, by St Dimitri of Rostov: a work which describes various miracles of the Mother of God.

The icon “Unexpected Joy” actually consists of an icon within an icon, with words of dialogue and narration often woven into its design.

We see a young man, who despite a life of crime never lost his devotion to the Mother of God, and prayed before the icon of Our Lady and the Infant Saviour every day, repeating the Archangel’s greeting: “Rejoice, O Virgin full of grace!”.

However, his prayer never stopped him then going out and stealing until the Mother of God interceded in this situation, for when he turned to the icon, he saw the Mother of God and Christchild in the flesh, and the Infant Saviour had bleeding wounds on His hands and feet, and blood flowed from a wound in His side. The horrified man fell to his knees and instinctively questioned the Mother of God: “O Mistress! Who did this?”

The life-changing answer for the man was in the challenge of the Virgin’s quiet words: “You and other sinners. Over and over again you crucify My Son by your sins.”

The horrified man cried out, “Have mercy upon me,” but the Mother of God rebuked him saying, “You call Me the Mother of mercy, yet you offend Me and bring Me sorrow by your deeds.”

In this, is a challenge for us all. We call the Saviour our Lord, yet we disobey and offend Him; we call our Lady Mother, yet we bring hurt and insult that we would not even think of throwing at our mother according to the flesh.

The man, who had tried to mix devotion to the Mother of God with a life of disobedience and crime appealed to her, as a source of help, hope and rescue:

“No, Mistress. May my malice not overcome your indescribable kindness and mercy! You alone are the hope and safe haven of all sinners! Have mercy upon me, O benevolent Mother! Entreat your Son and my Creator on my behalf.”

The horror of the words he had heard had already awakened his soul and brought him to profound repentance, and seeing this purification and change the Mother of God entreated her Son, our Saviour:

“My benevolent Son! For the sake of My love have mercy upon this sinner.” But the Son replied to Her: “Do not be angry, My Mother, if I do not obey You. I, too, entreated My Father to have this cup of suffering pass Me by.”

Though the Mother of God continued to pray for this man, who brought her Son grief and great sorrow, the Saviour seemed immovable until Our Lady placed the Infant on His own feet and prepared to fall at His feet to beg for the repentant thief.

It was then that the Saviour spoke and stopped her:

“What do you wish to do, Mother?!”

And the Mother of God, our perpetual-intercessor replied, “I shall remain, lying at Your feet together with this sinner until You forgive him his sins.”

The Saviour replied, “The law requires a son to venerate his mother, while justice demands that the giver of the law be himself obedient to the law. I am your Son; you are My Mother; I am obliged to do you homage by fulfilling your request. Let it be as you wish! His sins are now forgiven for your sake! And as a token of forgiveness, let him press his lips to My wounds.”

The man rose up, trembling, still wrapped in the vision and approached the Infant Saviour, and kissed His wounds, and begged that he should always be able to see his own sins and repent of them, and in the gift of this knowledge, his life was transformed, and he lived the rest of his life in knowledge and repentance.

This knowledge is one so greatly needed, as we become conscience-numbed, very often not even understanding that our behaviours are even sins. The world – and even the Christians in the world – loses all sense of sin and error. People come to confession, saying that they can’t really think of anything that has gone wrong since their last confession, and that all seems to be well.

We need to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us, that we might receive the knowledge of the repentant criminal remembered through this miracle recorded by St Dimitri, and we need to remind ourselves how like this once deluded man we are, asking how we can be spiritually wakened and enlivened, as he was – being mindful of our errors, the need to change and repent.

Let us begin by praying the Canon to the Mother of God by the Monk Euthymios, the Chancellor, that we might be brought to realisation and repentance, and to amendment, and newness of life, in which we understand our culpability and our responsibility for the Saviour’s sacred wounds.

A CANON OF SUPPLICATION TO THE MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD AT THE CONFESSION OF A SINNER

Ode 1, Irmos:: When Israel walked on foot in the sea as on dry land, * on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, * they cried: * Let us sing to God * a song of victory.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In every way I lament my vile life and the multitude of mine abominable sins. How shall I confess to thee, О pure one? I am at a loss and filled with fear. Yet help me, О Lady.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

How shall I begin to speak of my wicked and grievous falls, plagued as I am by the passions? Woe is me! What shall I do? Yet before the end take pity on me, О Lady.

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

I ever contemplate the hour of death and the dread tribunal, О most pure one, yet am I grievously led astray by my most wicked habits. But do thou help me.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The corrupter of the good, seeing me now stripped naked of godly virtues, fallen far away from God and become a stranger to Him, striveth to devour me. But do thou prevent him, О Lady.

Ode 3, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thee, * O Lord my God, * who hast exalted the horn of The faithful O good One, * and strengthened us upon the rock * of Thy confession.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

I have vilely besmirched my soul with mine evil and abominable deeds, plagued as I am by the passions, О Lady Theotokos. Where then shall I go, who am wholly stuck fast in despondency?

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Though created in the image of God, I have sullied my prodigal self by mine haughty will, О pure one, and through my likeness, in works, in word and thought, I have committed unseemly deeds.

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

There is no other man who hath committed such unseemly acts, nor any other born into the world as darkened in mind as I, О good one; for I have defiled my divine baptism.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 I have reached the end of mine evils, О most holy Virgin. Quickly help me, for heaven and earth cry out bitterly because of my vile and wicked deeds.

Ode 4, Irmos: Christ is my power, * my God and my Lord, * the holy Church divinely singeth, * crying with a pure mind, * keeping festival in the Lord.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

The ranks of angels and the armies of the hosts of heaven are in awe of the might of thy Son, О pure one. But I am in despair, stuck fast in my lack of fear.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

All the earth hath been amazed and astonished, beholding me committing evil, wicked and vile acts, and it marvelleth at the great loving-kindness of thy Son.

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

I have wickedly defiled the temple of my body, and the temple of the Lord which we enter with trembling; for although I am a prodigal, I enter it without shame. Woe is me!

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

О Lady, show me not, О show me not to have wandered away from the tabernacle of thy Son, though I am in every way unworthy, but wash me. clean of the defilement of my transgressions.

Ode 5, Irmos: Illumine with Thy divine light, I pray, O Good One, * the souls of those who with love rise early to pray to Thee, * that they may know Thee, O Word of God, * as the true God, * Who recalleth us from the darkness of sin.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

With thy divine effulgence, О good one, cure my soul of the passions which the corrupter hath sown therein, and deliver me from his bitter captivity, for he laughs me to scorn, beholding my helpless state.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Adam broke the only commandment of thy Son, О Virgin, and was driven into exile. How shall I lament the abyss of my transgressions, for I am a criminal and have fallen away from Him?

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

Shown of old to be a murderer of his brother, Cain was cursed by God. What shall I do, who am most arrogant? I have now brought death upon my soul, and am not ashamed.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 I have wholly emulated the cruel Esau in gluttony and eating to satiety, and have defiled my soul by drunkenness and my life with intemperance. Who will not weep for me, who am plagued by the passions? Woe is me!

Ode 6, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the flood of temptations, * I run to Thy calm haven, and cry to Thee: * Raise up my life from corruption, * O Most Merciful One.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

My life is prodigal, my soul defiled, my way of living wholly accursed. I have grievously dishonoured my whole body with evils. Wherefore, hasten thou to help me, О Virgin.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Mine end lieth before me, and I cannot bear it, О good one. My conscience denounces me, for all my wicked deeds and my prodigal life confront me, and I fear the judgment of thy Son, О pure one.

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

The burning of my flesh, the dreadful river of fire which cannot be quenched, and the insatiable worm await me; but dispel them By thy prayers, О most pure one.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

I am held fast now by trembling, О good one, and I fear the pursuit of the evil one; for before the end the corrupter desires to slay me, holding me wholly captive, stripped naked of the virtues.

Lord, have mercy! (Thrice).

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

Sedalion, in Tone 6: Thou art the hope, bulwark and refuge of thy people, О Virgin, from whom the Saviour of all was born without pain, and thou hast saved those who set their hope on thee; for thou didst weep for thy Son at the foot of the Cross. Him do thou now beseech, that He deliver from corruption all who hymn thee.

Ode 7, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace sprinkle dew on the holy Children. * But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans * and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Seven times seven hath the evil one fanned a flame for me with the passions, ever striving to slay my heart with thoughts of fornication; wherefore, with the streams of my tears extinguish it, О Mother of God, and save me.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Despise me not who am dishonoured with the mire of my transgressions, О good Lady, for, seeing me in despair, the most evil enemy mocketh me; but do thou thyself raise me up with thy mighty hand.

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

Awesome is the tribunal, О my numb soul which is art rife with passions, and endless and terrible are the torments; yet fall down now before the Mother of thy Judge and God, and be not downcast.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

A slave of the passions, I have been mired in a multitude of boundless evils and have defiled my soul, body and mind; wherefore, О most pure one, with the light of thy radiance quickly lead me to the sweetness of dispassion.

Ode 8, Irmos: Thou didst make flame sprinkle the Saints with dew, * and didst burn the sacrifice of a righteous man with water. * For Thou alone, O Christ, dost do all as Thou willest, * and Thee do we supremely exalt throughout all ages.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Virgin Mother, who hast given birth to God Who is One of the Trinity and didst bear Him in thine arms, quench thou the fiery furnace of the passions, and bathe my soul in streams of tears.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

I fear the arrival of death, О most pure one, and am now wholly afraid of the judgment thereof, for I have committed evils and am in nowise ashamed. In thy prayers take pity on me before the end, О Virgin.

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

О Lady, grant me unceasing groans and give me showers of tears to wash away my many transgressions and cleanse mine incurable sores, that I may inherit everlasting life.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

I confess to thee the multitude of mine evils, О Lady, for no one else in the world hath so angered thy God, Son and Lord; wherefore, quickly move Him to mercy toward me, О Virgin,

Ode 9, Irmos: It is impossible for mankind to see God * upon Whom the orders of Angels dare not gaze; * but through thee, O all-pure one, * did the Word Incarnate become a man * and with the Heavenly Hosts * Him we magnify and thee we call blessed.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Knowing the might of thy great supplication, О most pure one, lo! I approach thee with great fear and love; for thy maternal pleas to thy Son are truly able to accomplish much, for through His loving-kindness is He inclined to mercy.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Take the choirs of the archangels and the multitude of the heavenly armies of my Creator, the assemblies of apostles and prophets, the martyrs, the venerable and the hieromartyrs, О pure one, and pray for us to God.

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

Let me obtain thine aid now and at that hour when my spirit shall depart, О pure one, and, rescuing me quickly, deliver me from the tyranny of the demons, and leave me not in their clutches, О good and most immaculate one.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

I await the compassionate Judge, thy Son Who is the Lover of mankind, О pure one. Disdain me not, but render Him well-disposed towards me, that at His most pure tribunal He may set me on His right hand, О all-immaculate one, for I have set my hope on thee.

Prayers to the Holy Great-Martyr George

Having celebrated the feast of St George on Friday, we served a moleben to the Great-Martyr after Sunday’s Liturgy.

I thought I would share a photograph from my cell icon-corner, where prayers are offered to St George for our parishioners, benefactors and friends.

Holy & Glorious Great-Martyr, Wonder-Worker & Trophy-Bearer George, Troparion, Tone IV: With faith thou didst fight the good fight, O athlete of Christ, didst denounce the ungodli­ness of the tyrants and didst offer thyself to God as a right acceptable sacrifice. Wherefore, thou hast received a crown of victory, O holy one, and by thy supplications dost bestow the forgive­ness of transgressions upon all.

Troparion in Tone IV: As a liberator of captives, a helper of the poor, and a physician of the infirm, O champion of kings, victorious great martyr George, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Holy, glorious and praiseworthy St. George!  We who venerate thy holy icon, beseech thee, as a known intercessor for our longings: pray with us to God, Whose loving kindness we implore, mercifully to hear us entreating His goodness, and not to abandon our requests which are needful unto salvation and life; that He might grant victories over adversaries; and furthermore we pray thee abjectly, thou holy Trophy-Bearer, to strengthen the Orthodox Christians in their battles, by the grace given thee; crush the power of insurgent foes, that they may be disgraced and brought to shame, and their presumption shattered; may they know that we have Divine help, and thy mighty defence made known unto all in sorrow and trouble. Entreat the Lord God and Maker of all creation to deliver us from eternal torment, that we may always glorify the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Week Ahead in Cardiff and Cheltenham

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

It was a great blessing for us to welcome those newly arrived from Ukraine at Sunday’s Liturgy, and we are grateful to those who provided transport and made everyone welcome.

It was something of a novelty to serve Liturgy in Cardiff without a deacon, for once, but it was good to be reminded of how much our deacons do – particularly in St John’s, with all of the setting up and putting away. I am extremely grateful to our oltarniky and others who made this work so smoothly.

After our moleben to the Holy Great Martyrs and Trophy Bearer George, we were able to greet our parishioner George and sing Mnogaya Leta for him and Alexandra, who celebrated their name days on Friday, and we look forward to doing the same for Deacon Mark and Yuriy who were away at the weekend.

This work sees the resumption of our catechesis at St Mary’s Church, North Church Street, Butetown, where we will meet in the parish room at the usual time of 19:00.

I will hear confessions before this, from 17:00 – hoping to start with those who are not staying for the study group. I hope that we will be able to limit confessions to Friday, as Deacon Mark and I will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Cheltenham on Saturday.

Will those wishing to confess on Friday email me by Wednesday night, please: otetzmark@hotmail.com

On Saturday, the Fest of the Unexpected-Joy Icon of the Mother of God and of St Paphnuty of Borovsk, our Cheltenham Liturgy will be celebrated in Prestbury United Reformed Church, with confessions from 09:15, the Hours at 10:00 and Liturgy at 10:30. There will be a bring-and-share -lunch after the service, and all contributions to the table will be welcome.

I will be available after the service to hear confessions for any Cardiff parishioners attending and wishing to commune on Sunday.

In Cardiff we will celebrate as usual on Sunday, with the Hours at and Liturgy at 11:00, followed by refreshments and a bring-and-share -lunch.

Please ensure that visitors and new parishioners are cared for and looked after at this time. The clergy are usually not free for a while after Liturgy, so it’s important that everyone welcomes those whom we may have not met before. Being new and unknown can be rather daunting, and a friendly word and encouragement to stay for a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a chat can make a massive difference. Let’s also make sure that people can get to the food, when it’s on the table.

Keep celebrating Pascha, and keep hold of the joy of the season.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Belated Name Day Greetings

Dear brothers and sisters, 

I thought I would have plenty of time to catch up with communications on my return from church yesterday, but it was one of those Welsh rail journeys that was a total catalogue of disasters, cancellations and brake downs, and I only reached home at a rather late hour. 

So… belated name day greetings and best wishes for our Deacon Mark in Cardiff, named for the Holy Apostle and Evangelist, and for our Deacon Mark, in Mettingham. 

We wish you both, ‘Many Years’ and thank you for all that you do for our communities and diocese. 

Многая и Благая лѣта!

Akathist Hymn to Saint George

Kontakion 1: Unto thee, O champion leader and victorious Saint George, we offer a hymn of praise as unto our intercessor and speedy helper. Do thou, holy Great Martyr, as one who hath boldness before the Lord, deliver us from dangers of all kinds that we may cry unto thee: Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Ikos 1: The Creator of angels and Maker of all creation hath revealed thee unto His Church as a guardian and passion-bearer for the faith. Thou art an inspiration for us, and we lift up praises unto thee for the ascetic labours of thy sufferings, Saint George, in this manner:

Rejoice, thou who didst love unto the end Jesus, the Son of God.

Rejoice, thou who didst lay down thy life with love for His Name.

Rejoice, confessor called forth by God.

Rejoice, spiritual athlete glorified by the grace of God.

Rejoice, thou who dwellest with the angels.

Rejoice, thou who art the equal of the prophets.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 2: Beholding how the wicked idolaters were persecuting the Christians, thou didst not fear their wiles and tortures, divinely wise George. As a good soldier of Christ, thou didst distribute all thy possessions among the poor, and then didst voluntarily run to that ungodly gathering, singing unto Christ, thy commander and God: Alleluia.

Ikos 2: Mentally comprehending the One God divinely worshipped in Three Persons, with a firm mind thou didst confess Him before the assembly of the ungodly. Thus, thou didst expose the unwise king’s foolish worship of creation. In admiration of thy lofty love of wisdom, Saint George, accept from us these fervent praises:

Rejoice, wise preacher of the One True God.

Rejoice, faithful advocate of the All-Holy Trinity.

Rejoice, thou who didst manifest the great mystery of the True Faith unto the unbelievers.

Rejoice, thou who didst expose the deception of idol worship.

Rejoice, revelation of holy wisdom.

Rejoice, image of divine inspiration.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 3: The power of God, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, did visit thee also, whilst thou wast suffering in prison, O George wise in humility. Thou didst despise all the corruptible things of this life as chaff. Thou didst faithfully cling unto Christ alone, that after fighting the good fight for His Name, thou mightest be granted eternally to chant with the angels: Alleluia.

Ikos 3: Possessing a mind and heart enlightened by the Holy Ghost, by His inspiration thou wast fervent to struggle for the Name of Christ, even unto blood. Standing courageously in the faith, thou didst expose the puffed-up pride of the ungodly congregation. Let us, then, come to thee, most wonderful George, singing praises unto thee:

Rejoice, shield lifted for preservation of piety.

Rejoice, sword raised for the beheading of evil.

Rejoice, confirmation of the Christian Church.

Rejoice, comfort of those gathered in prayer.

Rejoice, encouragement of the faithful.

Rejoice, fear and disgrace of the unbelievers.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 4: The mad persecutor, breathing murder against thee, O passion-bearer George, longed for thy blood like a thirsty dog, ordering thy body stretched out on a wheel and giving thee over unto the most evil torments. Wherefore thou, taking strength in the Lord, with hope and trust in God didst cry aloud: Alleluia.

Ikos 4: When Diocletian and the priest of the idols heard words of wisdom from thee, they were enraged with hatred for thee, and even more so when thou didst say: O tormentor king, why dost thou torture me in vain? For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. The faithful therefore humbly cry unto thee, O George of great fame, in this way:

Rejoice, thou who didst shed thy blood upon the wheel for thy courageous confession of the Faith.

Rejoice, thou who didst magnify the triumph of the Faith by thy blood.

Rejoice, zealot together with the apostles.

Rejoice, imitator of the voluntary Passion of Christ.

Rejoice, unshakable champion of the Faith.

Rejoice, passion-bearer harder than adamant.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 5: Thou wast as a star sent by God, O Saint George, for with thy miraculous healing and release from the wheel by an angel before the eyes of all, thou didst enlighten the unbelievers to believe in the Trinity in One Essence, and to sing unto Him together with thee: Alleluia.

Ikos 5: The people beheld the miracles of the power of God so clearly taking place in thee, and meekly accepted the teaching of Christ from thee. They cried aloud, saying: Truly great is the God of the Christians. It is fitting that we also sing praises unto thee, George worthy of glory, and so we cry out thus:

Rejoice, thou who didst disperse the darkness of unbelief by the radiant word of salvation.

Rejoice, thou who didst convert unbelievers unto Christ by thy martyr’s confession of faith.

Rejoice, thou who didst lead legions of earthly soldiers unto the heavenly army.

Rejoice, thou who dwellest with the heavenly hosts as a soldier of Christ.

Rejoice, glory of courageous soldiers.

Rejoice, beauty of the all-radiant choirs of martyrs.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 6: Zealous in faith, like unto those Spirit-bearing preachers, the apostles, thou wast crucified unto the world, O Martyr George. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the sea monster, thou wast hurled headlong into the furnace of the lime pit – that through thy life might be manifested the glory of the Lord Who is wondrous in His saints. Henceforth in the lime pit as in a temple of glory, thou didst noetically cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos 6: Having shone forth in His Resurrection from the tomb on the third day, Jesus, the Almighty Conqueror of hades and death, did save thee from corruption, O victorious George. After three days thou wast found alive in the lime pit, with thy hands lifted and singing unto God. The ungodly were sore afraid and stricken with terror, but we rejoice and compose a hymn of victory unto thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst cast down the puffed-up pride of the devil by thy being cast down in disgrace into the lime pit.

Rejoice, thou who didst overcome the persecutor’s bestiality by thy miraculous salvation from God.

Rejoice, for as one without guile, thou didst pray as for benefactors for those who worked evil against thee.

Rejoice, for thou wast zealous for their conversion as Paul was for the Jews.

Rejoice, man of spiritual desires.

Rejoice, victor through the power of Christ.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 7: Desiring by any means to ensnare thy heart for service to the idols, the wicked persecutor contrived to mislead thee by magical spells. Therein thou, chosen of God, didst cry out with David: In God is my salvation and my glory, and didst faithfully chant unto Him: Alleluia.

Ikos 7: That evil servant of Satan, Diocletian , revealed a new villainy. In his insane zeal for the idols, he ordered thee to be given poison, Saint George, but thou wast filled with faith and hope. Even though thou didst drink the deadly poison, yet thou didst remain unharmed, O praised-one of God. We marvel at thy holiness and sing unto thee:

Rejoice, for thou wast not disgraced by thy hope in the living God.

Rejoice, for thou didst count thy torment as nothing.

Rejoice, expeller of soul-destroying demons.

Rejoice, destroyer of the wiles of magicians.

Rejoice, through thee God is shewn to be wondrous in His saints.

Rejoice, through thee the Name of Christ is piously glorified.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 8: There came to the wicked king a strange and terrible counsel from a certain wizard: that he command thee, as proof of the truth of the Christian Faith, by thy word to resurrect a dead man. Thou, Saint George, having no doubt whatsoever, didst sing unto Him Who is not the God of the dead but the God of the living: Alleluia.

Ikos 8: The all-desirable and Sweetest Jesus, Whom thou lovest with all thy soul and heart, most blessed George, attended to the fervent prayer of thy faith and speedily commanded the resurrection of the dead man at thy word. This was to the glorification of His Name and the confirmation of the faithful, so that the unbelievers and the blind might be astounded and thereby gain knowledge of God. For this reason, we dutifully cry unto thee:

Rejoice, through thee the Lord of hosts manifested wonders.

Rejoice, through thee He resurrected a dead man from the tomb.

Rejoice, thou who didst grant the mental vision of faith unto the blinded wizard.

Rejoice, thou who didst shew the way to the Holy of Holies unto many who suffered for Christ.

Rejoice, astonishment of Rome.

Rejoice, exaltation of the Christian race.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 9: All the angels rendered praise unto God, Who granted thee such courage, victorious George, that even when locked up in prison thou didst not cease to keep vigil in prayer. As a great communicant of the mystery of divine grace, thou wast vouchsafed to behold the Lord in a vision. He crowned thy head with the crown of incorruption, so that we might cry out with thee: Alleluia.

Ikos 9: The learned orators are unable with their rhetorical tongues to render worthy praises unto thee, Martyr George, for thy labours and sufferings which thou didst assume voluntarily for Christ and the Church. We also, not knowing how to properly praise thee, chant this hymn with faith:

Rejoice, by thy voluntary suffering for Christ and the Church thou didst crucify the old Adam in thyself.

Rejoice, by thy courageous suffering thou didst receive a crown of righteousness from the Lord.

Rejoice, rule of pious zeal.

Rejoice, model of self-sacrifice.

Rejoice, for thou didst please not thyself, but Christ alone.

Rejoice, for thou wast prepared for any form of death for the sake of thy Saviour, Christ.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 10: Desiring to save the souls perishing in idolatry, O Saint George, lover of God, thou wast zealous for God like Elijah. Entering into the temple of the idols, by the power of God thou didst drive out the demons, shattering the idols and putting the priests to shame. Thereafter as conqueror, not with men but with angels, thou didst chant unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 10: More unfeeling than a wall, thy hard-hearted tormentor, O Great Martyr, did not see God, Who so clearly worked miracles through thee, but to the end remained as an asp, stopping his ears. He commanded thee to be executed as a criminal by beheading. Though grieving over the loss of his soul, thou didst joyfully accept thine end, for which we praise thee with love in this manner:

Rejoice, thou who didst keep faith, hope and love unto the end.

Rejoice, thou who didst work many great miracles at thy beheading.

Rejoice, thou who wast crowned to the glory of God’s goodwill toward those on earth.

Rejoice, thou who wast adorned with majesty in Heaven.

Rejoice, man of God.

Rejoice, good soldier of Christ.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 11: Thou didst render a hymn unto the Most Holy Trinity exceeding others, holy Saint George, not in word and mind only, but by the living sacrifice of thy whole self. Imitating Him Who was crucified for us, Christ the Lamb without blemish, thou didst voluntarily lay down thy life for thy friends. Even though we are incapable of praising such courage as thine, for no man hath greater love than this, yet being grateful we sing unto Him Who is wondrous in the saints: Alleluia.

Ikos 11: A light-receiving lamp of the True Light art thou to those on earth, Saint George, chosen of God, for thou dost enlighten the hearts of the faithful and dost guide them all unto divine understanding, instructing us also to joyfully cry aloud:

Rejoice, for thou dost dwell in the all-radiant angelic mansions.

Rejoice, for thou dost commune of the never-waning light of the Trinity not in a mirror, but face to face.

Rejoice, provider for the needy and defender of the wronged.

Rejoice, healer of the infirm and support of kings.

Rejoice, champion of Orthodox soldiers in battle.

Rejoice, fervent intercessor for the salvation of sinners.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 12: Knowing the grace granted by God, we celebrate thy memory, Great Martyr George. Running with fervent prayer to thy miraculous icon, we are protected by thine all-powerful help in the Lord as by an invincible wall. In praise of thine aid to others, we fervently cry unto God: Alleluia.

Ikos 12: Hymning thy glorious end, by which thou wast magnified as a good soldier of Christ, we pray thee, O passion-bearer and helper in all good for us: Protect us as we earnestly cry unto thee:

Rejoice, by thee the Church of the faithful is enlightened.

Rejoice, for thy name is praised even among the infidels.

Rejoice, wondrous glory of the confessors.

Rejoice, lofty praise of the martyrs.

Rejoice, protector of those who honour thy memory.

Rejoice, deliverer of those who confess Christ God.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 13: Most blessed and holy Great Martyr George, accept our hymn of praise and deliver us from every evil by thy fervent intercession unto God, so that we may sing with thee: Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. (Thrice)

Ikos 1: The Creator of angels and Maker of all creation hath revealed thee unto His Church as a guardian and passion-bearer for the faith. Thou art an inspiration for us, and we lift up praises unto thee for the ascetic labours of thy sufferings, Saint George, in this manner:

Rejoice, thou who didst love unto the end Jesus, the Son of God.

Rejoice, thou who didst lay down thy life with love for His Name.

Rejoice, confessor called forth by God.

Rejoice, spiritual athlete glorified by the grace of God.

Rejoice, thou who dwellest with the angels.

Rejoice, thou who art the equal of the prophets.

Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

Kontakion 1: Unto thee, O champion leader and victorious Saint George, we offer a hymn of praise as unto our intercessor and speedy helper. Do thou, holy Great Martyr, as one who hath boldness before the Lord, deliver us from dangers of all kinds that we may cry unto thee: Rejoice, Saint George, Great Martyr and Trophy-bearer.

A Prayer

Great Martyr George, we hasten to thee for triumph over every torment and distress and over all pride and passion, that we may glorify Jesus Christ as zealous conquerors of this world and heirs of the Heavenly Kingdom. We acknowledge our unworthiness of such holy victory but, in praise of the courage, hope and trust which thou hast demonstrated throughout thy life and into thy martyrdom, we lovingly beseech thine aid in battle against sin. Pray for us, Saint George, that we may be granted the grace to confess the Faith before others and to fulfil the Commandments under all circumstances and among all people. Let us witness of Christ the Lord that everyone might see His radiant light and believe in His holy teachings. Amen

The Holy Great Martyrs George and Alexandra

Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Great Martyrs George and Alexandra, we greet quite a number of Georges, including 

  • Our newly-enlightened Cardiff parishioner, George. 
  • The newly enlightened Georgije (Joshua), baptised in London on Holy Saturday, whom we look forward to seeing soon. 
  • The ever-energetic little Yuriy. 
  • Yuriy’s dedushka, Yuriy Senior in Crimea. 
  • Our Cheltenham parishioner, George. 
  • Our dear friend and brother, Reader George. 
  • George Tattum-Smith, no doubt grown so much that we wouldn’t recognise him. 
  • Yuriy, our former parishioner, now living in London. 
  • George the iconographer, though he’s already had a celebration on the new-calendar. 

… and our singular and very dear Alexandra, who will be moving to London, on Saturday. 

May God bless you and grant you all many years! Многая лѢта! La mulți ani!

A Paschal Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

I have been very fortunate to make a pilgrimage to Walsingham for a few days, celebrating the altar-feast of the Orthodox chapel of the Life-Giving Spring.

The Mother of God appeared to Richeldis (Rychold), Lady of the Manor of Walsingham in the 11th century, commanding her to build a replica of the original Holy House of Nazareth, later dismantled and rebuilt in Loreto, in Italy, after the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land.

The great shrine and priory, which developed around the chapel of the Holy House was endowed through royal patronage and was renowned throughout Europe, but despite its sanctity and fame it fell victim to the ravages of the reformation and the destruction of the holy places by King Henry VIII and his henchmen.

The 19th century saw the restoration of Roman Catholic pilgrimage to Walsingham, based in the Slipper Chapel, and the 20th century saw the restoration of Anglican religious life around a newly built Holy House and shrine complex.

The founder of the restored Anglican shrine, Father Alfred Hope Paten, was encouraged to engage with the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile by Father Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, vicar of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, who had travelled in Russia before the revolution, visiting holy places and holding theological discussions with some of the leading churchmen of the time. Despite his advanced Papalist Anglo-Catholicism, he was a great admirer of Orthodoxy and a friend and supporter of the exiled faithful, including the first hierarch of the Church in Exile, Metropolitan Antoniy of Kiev and Galych.

The Orthodox presence in the shrine has been developed over the years by a series of remarkable Orthodox figures, including Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes (former tutor to the Tsarevich Alexei), Archbishop Nestor of Kamchatka, Archbishop Sava of Grodno, St Nikolai Velimirovich, Archbishop Nikodem, and the pioneer of iconography of British saints, Archimandrite David.

Our diocese and its clergy have been involved in spiritual life here since the earliest years of the Anglican shrine, when emigré Russians made pilgrimages to this corner of Norfolk to honour the Mother of God.

The intended free-standing Russian Orthodox chapel was never built, but the little chapel in use since 1941 and consecrated by Archbishop Sava on the Sunday of Pentecost in 1944, remains a place of Orthodox prayer and worship, occupying a landing on above the south aisle of the Anglican shrine church.

Now that Father Philip Steer is unable to serve in the chapel of the Life-Giving Spring, the Orthodox presence is maintained by Mother Melangell, who has a house-skete in the village. There is a Russian-tradition parish of the Patriarchate of Constantinople a short distance away, based in the Church of the Transfiguration in Great Walsingham, and the former monastic-brotherhood church of St Seraphim survives, though sadly bereft of services for most of the year.

We are greatly blessed that Orthodox prayer is offered in Walsingham EVERY day, even if the Liturgy is not celebrated in the shrine very often.

It is a joy to celebrate and pray in the shrine, especially in the evenings, when the church is quiet. The Holy House, dedicated to the Annunciation and built to replace that destroyed by the reformers of the 16th century is a special place to pray the akathist hymn to the Mother of God.

There were many intentions for which to pray during the short pilgrimage, and the culmination of this prayer was our Liturgy for the feast of the Mother of God, the Life-Giving Spring, a short distance from her holy well within the shrine-church.

It was a privilege to be with our local friends, including parishioners from Walsingham, Cambridge and Norwich, to meet local supporters of the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow, and to share a Paschal lunch in the orangery after the Liturgy – welcoming two Ukrainian pilgrims who visited that day, not knowing that there would be an Orthodox presence.

We very much look forward to returning in the summer and autumn, knowing that the Mother of God continues to pour out her grace on this shrine and the many pilgrims who honour her in England’s Nazareth.

RADONITSA: READER’S PASCHAL PANIKHIDA

THE PASCHAL PANIKHIDA FOR USE AT THE GRAVE-SIDE, OR IN THE HOME OR MONASTIC CELL.

As we resume memorials for the departed, we commemorate them in this Thomas Week with the Paschal Order of the Panikhida, praying for our departed in the joy of the Resurrection, resounding with the Paschal greeting: Christ is Risen.

The order here is for use by the laity, whether that is at home or at the grave-side.

Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy upon us. Amen.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life (Thrice).

Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before His face.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish, as wax melteth before the fire.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

So let sinners perish at the presence of God, and let the righteous be glad.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad therein.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

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

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

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

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

Lord, have mercy. (Twelve times)

Prayer: Remember, O Lord our God, Thy servants, N., who have reposed in the Faith and hope of life eternal, and in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind, Who remittest sins and blottest out iniquities, do Thou loose, remit and pardon all their sins, voluntary and involuntary. Deliver them from eternal torment and the fire of Gehenna, and grant unto them the communion and delight of Thine eternal good things prepared for them that love Thee. For though they have sinned, yet have they not forsaken Thee, and they undoubtedly believed in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and even until their last breath did they confess Thee in Orthodox fashion: God glorified in Trinity, Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Wherefore, be Thou merciful unto them and reckon their faith in Thee, rather than their deeds, and in that Thou art compassionate, grant them rest with Thy saints; for there is no man that liveth and doth not sin. But Thou alone art wholly without sin, and Thy truth is forever; and Thou alone art the God of mercies, and compassion, and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Paschal Canon – Ode 1, Eirmos: It is the Day of Resurrection! Let us be radiant, O ye people! Pascha! The Lord’s Pascha! For Christ our God hath brought us from death to life, and from earth unto heaven, as we sing triumphal hymn!

Christ is risen from the dead.

Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with inaccessible light of the Resurrection, and shall hear Him saying clearly, “Rejoice!” As we sing the triumphal hymn!

Christ is risen from the dead.

Let the heavens rejoice in a worthy manner, the earth be glad, and the whole world, visible and the invisible, keep the Feast. For Christ our eternal joy hath arisen!

Katavasia: It is the Day of Resurrection!…

Ode 3, Eirmos: Come, let us drink a new drink, not miraculously drawn from a barren rock, but the fountain of Incorruption springing from the tomb of Christ in Whom we are established.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth, and the nethermost regions. So let all creation celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, whereby it is established.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Yesterday, O Christ, I was buried with Thee, and today I arise with thy arising. Yesterday I was crucified with Thee. Glorify me, O Saviour, with Thee in Thy Kingdom.

Katavasia: Come, let us drink…

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life (Thrice).

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

Prayer: Remember, O Lord our God, Thy servants, N., who have reposed in the Faith and hope of life eternal, and in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind, Who remittest sins and blottest out iniquities, do Thou loose, remit and pardon all their sins, voluntary and involuntary. Deliver them from eternal torment and the fire of Gehenna, and grant unto them the communion and delight of Thine eternal good things prepared for them that love Thee. For though they have sinned, yet have they not forsaken Thee, and they undoubtedly believed in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and even until their last breath did they confess Thee in Orthodox fashion: God glorified in Trinity, Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Wherefore, be Thou merciful unto them and reckon their faith in Thee, rather than their deeds, and in that Thou art compassionate, grant them rest with Thy saints; for there is no man that liveth and doth not sin. But Thou alone art wholly without sin, and Thy truth is forever; and Thou alone art the God of mercies, and compassion, and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Hypakoe, tone 4: When at dawn, the women with Mary came and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, they heard from the angel: Why seek ye among the dead (as if He were a mortal man) Him Who lives in everlasting light? Behold the grave-clothes. Run and tell the world that the Lord is risen, and has slain death. For He is the Son of God Who saves mankind.

Ode 4, Eirmos: May the divinely speaking Abbacum now stand watch with us, and show forth a shining Angel saying resoundingly: Today salvation hath come to the world; for Christ is risen as Almighty.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ revealed Himself as of the male sex when He opened the Virgin’s womb, and as a mortal is He called the Lamb. Thus, without blemish also, is our Pascha, for He tasted no corruption, and, since He is truly God, He was proclaimed perfect.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ, our blessed Crown, like a yearling Lamb, of His own good will sacrificed Himself for all, a Pascha of purification, and as the glorious Sun of Righteousness, He has shone upon us again from the grave.

Christ is risen from the dead.

David, the forefather of our divine Lord, leapt and danced before the symbolic Ark of the Covenant. Let us also, the holy people of God, beholding the fulfilment of the symbols, be divinely glad; for Christ hath risen as Almighty.

Katavasia: May divinely speaking Habakkuk …

Ode 5, Eirmos: Let us arise in the deep dawn and, instead of myrrh, offer a hymn to the Lord, and we shall behold Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, Who causest life to dawn for all.

Christ is risen from the dead.

When they who were held by the chains of hell beheld Thy boundless compassion, O Christ, they hastened to the light with joyful feet, exalting the eternal Pascha.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Bearing lights, let us meet Christ, Who cometh forth from the tomb like a bridegroom. And with the ranks of joyfully celebrating Angels, let us celebrate the redeeming Pascha of God.

Katavasia: Let us arise…

Ode 6, Eirmos: Thou didst descend into the nethermost regions of earth, O Christ, and didst shatter the eternal bars which held the prisoners captive; and like Jonah from the sea-monster, after three days Thou didst rise from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead.

Having kept the seals intact, Thou didst rise from the grave, O Christ, Who didst not violate the Virgin’s womb by Thy birth, and Thou hast opened to us the gates of Paradise.

Christ is risen from the dead.

O my Saviour, while as God Thou didst voluntarily offer Thyself to the Father as an unslain and living sacrifice, Thou didst raise up with Thyself the whole race of Adam, when Thou didst rise from the grave.

Katavasia: Thou didst descend…

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life (Thrice).

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

Prayer: Remember, O Lord our God, Thy servants, N., who have reposed in the Faith and hope of life eternal, and in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind, Who remittest sins and blottest out iniquities, do Thou loose, remit and pardon all their sins, voluntary and involuntary. Deliver them from eternal torment and the fire of Gehenna, and grant unto them the communion and delight of Thine eternal good things prepared for them that love Thee. For though they have sinned, yet have they not forsaken Thee, and they undoubtedly believed in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and even until their last breath did they confess Thee in Orthodox fashion: God glorified in Trinity, Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Wherefore, be Thou merciful unto them and reckon their faith in Thee, rather than their deeds, and in that Thou art compassionate, grant them rest with Thy saints; for there is no man that liveth and doth not sin. But Thou alone art wholly without sin, and Thy truth is forever; and Thou alone art the God of mercies, and compassion, and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion for the departed, tone 8: With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is neither pain, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting.

Kontakion of the resurrection, tone 8: Though Thou did descend into the grave, O Immortal One, yet didst Thou destroy the power of hell, and did rise again as a conqueror, O Christ our Lord, saying to the myrrh-bearing women, rejoice! And giving peace to Thine Apostles, and offering Resurrection to the fallen.

Eikos: The myrrh-bearing maidens anticipated the dawn and sought, as those who seek the day, their Sun, Who was before the sun and Who had once sat in the grave. And they cried to each other: Friends, come, let us anoint with spices His life-giving and buried body – the Flesh Who raised up fallen Adam, and Who now lies in the tomb. Let us go, let us hasten, and like the Magi, let us worship; and let us bring myrrh as a gift to Him, Who is wrapped, not now in swaddling clothes, but in a shroud. And let us weep and cry: Arise, O Lord, Who dost offer Resurrection to the fallen.

Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless One. We worship Thy Cross, O Christ, and Thy Holy Resurrection we praise and glorify; for Thou art our God, and we know no other than Thee; we call upon Thy name. O come all ye faithful, let us worship Christ’s holy Resurrection. For behold, through the Cross joy hath come to all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, let us praise His Resurrection. For by enduring the Cross for us He destroyed death by death.

Jesus, having risen from the grave as He foretold, hath given us eternal life and great mercy.

Ode 7, Eirmos: He Who delivered the children from the furnace, and became man and suffered as a mortal, through His suffering, He clothes mortality with the grace of incorruption. He is the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers.

Christ is risen from the dead.

The godly wise women came to Thee with myrrh. But Him Whom they sought with tears as dead, they joyfully adored as the living God. And they told to Thy disciples, O Christ, the glad tidings of the mystical Pascha.

Christ is risen from the dead.

We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of hell, the beginning of eternal life. And leaping for joy, we celebrate the Cause, the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers.

Christ is risen from the dead.

For a truly holy and a supreme feast is this saving night radiant with Light, the harbinger of the bright day of Resurrection, on which the Eternal Light shone bodily from the grave upon all.

Katavasia: He Who delivered…

Ode 8, Eirmos: This is the chosen and Holy Day, the first of Sabbaths, the Sovereign and Queen, the Feast of Feasts, and Triumph of Triumphs, on which let us bless Christ forever.

Christ is risen from the dead.

O come, let us partake of the fruit of the new vine of divine joy on the auspicious Day of the Resurrection and Kingdom of Christ, praising Him as God forever.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Cast thine eyes about thee, O Zion, and behold! For lo! Thy children have assembled unto thee from the West and from the North and from the South and from the East, as divinely radiant luminaries, Blessing Christ unto the ages.

O Most Holy Trinity, our God, glory to Thee.

Father, Almighty, the Word, and the Spirit, one Nature in three Persons united, transcending essence supremely Divine! In Thee we have been baptized, and Thou wilt bless us throughout all ages.

Katavasia: This is the chosen…

Ode 9, Eirmos: Shine, shine, O New Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord hath risen upon thee. Dance now for joy and be glad, O Sion! And thou, pure Mother of God, rejoice in the rising of Him Whom thou didst bear.

Christ is risen from the dead.

O divine, O dear, O sweetest Voice! For Thou, O Christ, hast faithfully promised to be with us to the end of the world. And holding fast this promise as an anchor of hope, we the faithful rejoice.

Christ is risen from the dead.

O great and holiest Pascha, Christ! O Wisdom, Word and Power of God! Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the unending Day of Thy Kingdom.

Katavasia: Shine, shine…

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the graves bestowing life (Thrice).

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

Prayer: Remember, O Lord our God, Thy servants, N., who have reposed in the Faith and hope of life eternal, and in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind, Who remittest sins and blottest out iniquities, do Thou loose, remit and pardon all their sins, voluntary and involuntary. Deliver them from eternal torment and the fire of Gehenna, and grant unto them the communion and delight of Thine eternal good things prepared for them that love Thee. For though they have sinned, yet have they not forsaken Thee, and they undoubtedly believed in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and even until their last breath did they confess Thee in Orthodox fashion: God glorified in Trinity, Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Wherefore, be Thou merciful unto them and reckon their faith in Thee, rather than their deeds, and in that Thou art compassionate, grant them rest with Thy saints; for there is no man that liveth and doth not sin. But Thou alone art wholly without sin, and Thy truth is forever; and Thou alone art the God of mercies, and compassion, and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Troparia, tone 4: With the spirits of the righteous give rest, O Savior, to the souls of Thy departed servants and keep them in the blessed life with Thee, O Lover of man.

In the place of Thy rest, O Lord, where all Thy Saints repose give rest also to the souls of Thy servants, for Thou alone art the Lover of men.

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

Thou art the God Who descended to hell and loosed the chains of the captives. Give rest, O Lord, to the souls of Thy servants.

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

O only pure and immaculate Virgin, who without seed didst bear God, pray to Him that their souls may be saved.

Lord, have mercy. (Forty times)

Prayer: Remember, O Lord our God, Thy servants, N., who have reposed in the Faith and hope of life eternal, and in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind, Who remittest sins and blottest out iniquities, do Thou loose, remit and pardon all their sins, voluntary and involuntary. Deliver them from eternal torment and the fire of Gehenna, and grant unto them the communion and delight of Thine eternal good things prepared for them that love Thee. For though they have sinned, yet have they not forsaken Thee, and they undoubtedly believed in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and even until their last breath did they confess Thee in Orthodox fashion: God glorified in Trinity, Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Wherefore, be Thou merciful unto them and reckon their faith in Thee, rather than their deeds, and in that Thou art compassionate, grant them rest with Thy saints; for there is no man that liveth and doth not sin. But Thou alone art wholly without sin, and Thy truth is forever; and Thou alone art the God of mercies, and compassion, and love for mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

More honourable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, who without defilement gavest birth to God the Word, the true Theotokos, thee do we magnify.

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

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

Lord, bless.

Christ our True God, Who art risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the graves bestowing life, through the prayers of Thy most pure Mother and all Thy saints, grant the souls of Thy departed servants, N., to dwell in the abode of all Thy saints, and number them among the righteous, and have mercy on us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Amen

Give rest eternal, O Lord, in blessed repose, to the souls of Thy departed servants, our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters N., and make their memory eternal.

MEMORY ETERNAL. (Thrice)

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the graves bestowing life (Thrice).

And has bestowed on us life eternal, we worship His resurrection on the third day.

Bright Week – Christ is Risen!

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

On this Feast of the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, I am travelling to Walsingham to celebrate the altar-feast of the Orthodox shrine chapel of the Life-Giving Spring, on Friday.

The last week has been one that has left us exhausted, but full of the joy of the resurrection after the mourning of Holy Friday and the stillness of Holy Saturday, as we contemplated the Saviour’s Body in Gethsemane, in the tomb.

I now look forward to a few days in Walsingham and praying in the Holy House and sepulchre, and serving in the shrine chapel, continuing the link that our diocese has had with the shrine and village since the 1930’s, when the pioneering Father Alfred Hope Paten championed the restored devotion to the Mother of God in this little Norfolk village, once the greatest centre of pilgrimage in pre-reformation Britain: England’s Nazareth.

After the week’s pilgrimage, I shall celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Thomas Sunday in Cheltenham on Saturday morning – hearing confessions from 09:15, before the Paschal Hours and Liturgy at 10:30.

We will begin the Hours later than usual, as the Paschal format is very short in comparison to the normal Hours.

We will celebrate in the United Reformed Church, Deep St, Prestbury, GL52 3AW.

To accommodate confessions, I would appreciate emails by Thursday please) and will stop in Cardiff on the way home from Cheltenham. I know that we have a few Cardiff parishioners that work on Saturdays, and we will make it possible for them to confess on Sunday, in addition to our parishioners from the other side of the Severn. Please email: otetzmark@hotmail.com

I would like to thank everyone who worked so incredibly hard for the success of Holy Week and Pascha, and express our profound gratitude to Father Dean and Georgina for the warmth with which we were welcomed to St Mary’s, which proved to be a wonderful place to celebrate, with its beautiful sanctuary and resonant acoustic.

I encourage everyone to pray the Paschal Canon everyday this week, preserving the joy of the Resurrection, and making the Paschal hymns part of each day’s prayer and devotion.

With love in the Risen Lord.

Hieromonk Mark

The Murom Icon of the Mother of God

This year, Bright Monday coincides with the feast of the Murom Icon of the Mother of God.

This icon was brought from Kiev to Murom by the Holy Prince Constantine of Murom (May 21) early in the XII century. For a long time, but quite unsuccessfully, Saint Constantine tried to attract the pagan inhabitants of the Murom principality to Christianity. His counsels met with no sympathy; moreover, they filled the people with hatred and contempt.

The more fanatical pagans plotted and swore to kill the Prince, or drive him out of Murom. When Constantine discovered the plot he prayed fervently to God. Then taking with him the Icon of the Mother of God, which he brought from Kiev, he went to confront the conspirators, trusting in the intercession and the help of the Queen of Heaven. When the pagans saw the Icon, they were so overcome with astonishment that they begged the Prince to forgive them. Then they agreed to be baptized into the Christian Faith.

The Murom icon is renowned for many other miracles, the most remarkable of which is the following. At the end of the XII century, Saint Basil was the Bishop of Murom. The people, mistakenly suspecting him of living in a way which was not appropriate for his high episcopal rank, intended to kill him. When Saint Basil learned of this decision, he asked his enemies to postpone his death until morning. All night long he prayed in the Church of Saints Boris and Gleb.

After serving the Divine Liturgy, he went to the temple of the Annunciation and there he served a Moleben before the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, which he brought from Kiev. Placing all his hope in the Queen of Heaven, Saint Basil took the miraculous Icon and went to the Oke River. Removing his mantya, he spread it upon the water and stood upon it holding the Icon of the Mother of God. Suddenly there was a strong wind and Saint Basil was carried upstream against the current. Six hours later, the Bishop sailed to a place called Old Ryazan. There the people and the Prince received the Saint with honor. However, since Old Ryazan was poorly protected from the invasion of the Tatars, under whose yoke Russia was at that time, Saint Basil decided to look for another, safer place.

In 1291 he moved to New Ryazan, taking with him the Icon of the Mother of God. Since then, all his successors have lived in New Ryazan. Thus, with the abolition of the Murom cathedra, a new episcopal cathedra was established – that of New Ryazan.

Originally, the commemoration of the Murom-Ryazan Icon of the Mother of God took place on the second Sunday of the Apostle’s Fast, then in 1810 (1814?) the Holy Synod, at the request of the residents of Ryazan, changed the Feast Day to April 12, when Saint Basil is commemorated.

The Murom Icon bears a certain resemblance to the Yakhrom Icon (October 14), in which the Divine Child is cradled on His Mother’s left arm; His right hand touches her chin, while His left hand hangs down holding a scroll representing the Scriptures. In the Murom Icon, however, the head of the Divine Child leans back against His Mother’s shoulder, and the scroll is open to reveal the words, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4:18).

The original Icon has not been preserved (all traces of it were lost when it was transferred from Murom to Ryazan). Frequently, copies of the Murom Icon were made, many of which are now found in various churches and museum collections. One of the copies was kept in the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Murom until its destruction in the XX century.

Source: https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2020/04/12/101070-murom-icon-of-the-mother-of-god