Drawing Near to the Theotokos: the Rule of the Mother of God

Further to my previous post concerning ways in which we may build our relationship with the Mother of God, I am returning to prayers which have been discussed here before, and which are far less known, particular among those who have converted to Orthodoxy or are outside the traditional homelands of Slavic Orthodoxy: the Rule of the Mother of God.

Contrary to what anyone may tell you, this is NOT simply a borrowing or imitation of Latin devotion, but one which has been cherished in the east from early times.

We would do better to understand it as an ancient devotion that united the Christians in the east and west, in local variant forms. The Anglo-Saxons called it the Goldern Psalter of the Virgin Mary, given its 150 salutations.

The form of prayer that we in the Orthodox Church call the Rule of the Mother of God finds its origins in the monastic life of the Egyptian desert, where some of the fathers prayed the angelic salutation to the Mother of God one hundred and fifty times, reflecting the one hundred and fifty psalms of the Psalter. This, of course, mirrors the western rosary in its original and complete form.

Though Western Christians often cosider the rosary with 15 mysteries and 150 salutations as a product of the thirteenth century, two of our great spiritual fathers, St Seraphim of Sarov and the new martyr St Seraphim of Dmitrov remind that it finds its origin much earlier spiritual praxis.

St Seraphim of Sarov encouraged his disciples to pray to the Mother of God following a simple version of the rule, having his spiritual children copy it, with each mystery followed by the prayer. When he died, his disciple, Zosima, found a book recording the miracles that the Mother of God granted those who prayed to her with this devotion.

Seraphim instructed his spiritual daughters, the nuns of Diveyevo to keep this prayer rule, reciting it as they walked three times around the ‘canal’ that the Mother of God instructed to be dug around the monastery. For praying the rule they made, and continue to make, a special lestovka with 150 steps, and they continue this devotion in obedience to St Seraphim, and to do so they make a modified version of the traditional Russian leather lestovka (ladder), that is an alternative to prayer ropes and chotki, was used by St Seraphim to recite the Jesus prayer, as we see his icons.

The second St Seraphim connected with this prayer rule, the Bishop of Dmitrov and new-martyr (http://orthochristian.com/7426.html) came from a family of Orthodox Old Believers and his father wrote the liturgical service for the canonisation of St Seraphim of Sarov in 1903.

He prayed the Rule of the Mother of God every day adding prayers of intercession at the end of each decade: see http://www.angelfire.com/pa3/OldWorldBasic/RuleofMotherofGod.htm

Whilst St Seraphim of Sarov also prayed in a similar way, he did not reveal his prayers.

As children of the Mother of God, we would all do well to use this prayer rule as often as possible, commending ourselves, our loved ones and the world to her merciful care.

There are common variations in the internal order of each decade, and I have ordered the following prayers for ease of use in a parish group-setting, so that the event in the life of the Mother  of God being commemorated is described before the salutations, and not at the end, which seems illogical, though common.

I very much hope that this can become the focus of group prayer in our communities, as it can be prayed by any number of people in an informal setting, without the need for clergy. We simply need an icon-corner, reverence and love for the Mother of God.

Богородице Дево, радуйся, благодатная Марие, Господь с Тобою, Благословенна Ты в женахъ и благословенъ Плодъ чрева Твоего, яко Спаса родила еси душъ нашихъ.

Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.

 Милосердия двери отверзи намъ, Благословенная Богородице, надеющиися на Тя, да не погибнемъ, но да избавимся Тобою от бедъ, Ты бо еси спасение рода христианскаго.

Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness, O most blessed Mother of God. As we set our hope in thee, let us not be confounded, but through thee may we be delivered from all adversities. For thou art the salvation of the Christian race.

First decade: Let us remember the birth of the Mother of God. Let us pray for mothers, fathers and children.

Our Father…

  • Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast born the Saviour of our souls. (Богородице Дево, радуйся… x 10)
  • Troparion, Tone IV: Thy nativity, O Virgin Theotokos,/ hath proclaimed joy to all the world;/ for from thee hath shone forth Christ our God,/ the Sun of righteousness,/ Who hav­ing annulled the curse,/ hath given His blessing,// and having abolished death, hath granted us life everlasting.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness, O most blessed Mother of God. As we set our hope in thee, let us not be confounded, but through thee may we be delivered from all adversities, for thou art the salvation of the Christian race. (Милосердия двери отверзи намъ…) 
  • O Most Holy Lady Theotokos, save and protect thy servants (names of parents and relatives), and to the departed grant rest with the saints in thine eternal glory.

Second decade: Let us remember the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God. Let us pray for those who have lost their way and fallen away from the church.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone IV: Today is the prelude of God’s good will/ and the proclamation of the salvationof men./ The Virgin hath manifestly appeared in the temple of God/ and proclaimeth Christ unto all./ To her let us cry aloud:/ Rejoice, O thou fulfilment// of the Creator’s dispensation!
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, save and protect and reunite (or join) to the Holy Orthodox Church thy servants (names) who are lost and have fallen away.

Third decade: Let us remember the Annunciation of the Blessed Mother of God – let us pray for the soothing of sorrows and the consolation of those who grieve.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10
  • Troparion, Tone IV: Today is the crown of our salvation,/ and the revelation of the mystery which is from before the ages!/ The Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin,/ and Gabriel announceth the glad tidings of grace./ Wherefore, with him let us cry out to the Theotokos:/ Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace!// The Lord is with thee!
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, soothe our sorrows and send consolation to thy servants (names) who are grieving or sick.

Fourth decade: Let us remember the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin with the righteous Elizabeth. Let us pray for the reunion of the separated, for those whose dear ones or children are living away from them or missing.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most immaculate, and the Mother of God. More honourable than the cherubim, and truly more glorious than the seraphim; who without corruption gavest birth to God the Word; the true Theotokos, thee do we magnify.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, unite Thy servants (names) who have been separated.

Fifth decade: Let us remember the Birth of Christ. Let us pray for the rebirth of souls, for new life in Christ.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone IV: Thy nativity, O Christ our God,/ hath shone forth the light of knowledge upon the world;/ for therein those who worship the stars/ have been taught by a star to worship Thee,/ the Sun of righteousness,/ and to know Thee the Orient from on high.// O Lord, glory be to Thee!
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, grant me, who was baptized into Christ, to put on Christ.

Sixth decade: Let us remember the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and the words uttered by St. Simeon: Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also (Luke 2:35). Let us pray that the Mother of God will meet our souls at the hour of our death, and will contrive that we receive the Holy Sacrament with our last breath, and will lead our souls through the terrible torments.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone I: Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos full of grace,/ for from thee hath shone forth the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God,/ enlightening them that are in dark­ness./ Be glad thou also, O righteous elder,/ who receivest in thine arms the Deliverer of our souls,// Who granteth us Resurrection.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, grant me with my last breath to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ and do thou thyself lead my soul through the terrible ordeals [of the toll-houses].

Seventh decade: Let us remember the flight of the Mother of God with the God-Child into Egypt. Let us pray that the Mother of God will help us avoid temptation in this life and deliver us from misfortunes.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Kontakion, Tone VIII: To thee, the Champion Leader, we, thy servants, dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving,/ as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos;/ but as thou art one with might which is invincible,/ from all dangers that can be do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee:// Rejoice, thou Bride unwedded!
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, let me not be led into temptation in this life and deliver me from all misfortunes.

Eighth decade: Let us remember the disappearance of the twelve-year old boy Jesus in Jerusalem and the sorrow of the Mother of God on this account. Let us pray, begging the Mother of God on this account.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone 7: Receive me who sighest, O Lord, since Thou art merciful, and have mercy on me as the publican, through the intercession of Thy Mother.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, Most-Pure Virgin Mary, grant me to pray unceasingly the Jesus Prayer.

Ninth decade: Let us remember the miracle performed in Cana of Galilee, when the Lord turned water into wine at the words of the Mother of God: They have no wine (John 2:3). Let us ask the Mother of God for help in our affairs and deliverance from need.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone 3: Overwhelmed in the abyss of life, we have a haven of salvation in thee, O Mother of God. Do thou save from all trouble those who flee to thy goodness.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, help me in every enterprise and deliver me from all needs and sorrows.

Tenth decade: Let us remember the Mother of God standing at the Cross of the Lord, when grief pierced through her heart like a sword. Let us pray to the Mother of God for the strengthening of our souls and the banishment of despondency

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone 6: Weep not for me, O Mother, seeing in the tomb the Son conceived in the womb without seed, for I shall arise and be glorified: as God I shall exalt with glory-unceasing those who with faith and love magnify thee.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, Blessed Virgin Mary, strengthen my spiritual fortitude and drive despondency far from me.

Eleventh decade: Let us remember the Resurrection of Christ and ask the Mother of God in prayer to resurrect our souls and give us a new courage for spiritual feats.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Tone V: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling on death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life.
  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness.
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, resurrect my soul and grant me constant readiness for spiritual contest [podvig].

Twelfth decade: Let us remember the Ascension of Christ, at which the Mother of God was present. Let us pray and ask the Queen of Heaven to raise up our souls from earthly and worldly amusements and direct them to striving for higher things.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone IV: Thou didst ascend into glory, O Christ our God, having gladdened Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. And this blessing convinced them that Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness.
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, deliver me from vain thoughts and grant me a mind and a heart that strives for the salvation of the soul.

Thirteenth decade: Let us remember the Upper Room and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the Mother of God. Let us pray: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me (Psalm 50).

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone VIII: Blessed art Thou, Christ our God, Who didst make the fishermen wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them didst draw the world into Thy net. Lover of men, glory to Thee.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, send down into my heart and strengthen within it the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Fourteenth decade: Let us remember the Dormition of the Blessed Mother of God, and ask for a peaceful and serene end.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone I: In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity,/ and in thy falling asleep thou hast not forsaken the world, O Theotokos./ Thou hast been, translated to life, as thou art the Mother of Life.// And by thy supplications thou dost deliver our souls from death.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, grant me a peaceful and serene ending to my life.

Fifteenth decade: Let us remember the glory of the Mother of God, with which the Lord crowned her after her removal from earth to heaven. Let us pray to the Queen of Heaven not to abandon the faithful who are on earth but to defend them from every evil, covering them with her honourable Protecting Veil.

  • The Lord’s Prayer; ‘Rejoice O Mother of God’ (Богородице Дево, радуйся) x 10.
  • Troparion, Tone IV: Overshadowed by thy coming, O Mother of God,/ we the right faithful people, cel­ebrate today with splendor,/ and gazing at thine all-precious image,/ we say with compunction:/ Cover us with thy precious omophorion,/ and deliver us from all evil,// entreating thy Son, Christ our God, that He save our souls.
  • Open unto us the doors of thy loving-kindness…
  • O Most-Holy Lady Theotokos, save me from all evil and cover me with Thy Most-Honourable Omophorion.

Drawing Closer to the Mother of God Through Prayer and Devotion

During last night’s talk, I spoke of prayers and devotions as the primary way in which we draw closer to the Mother of God, and how the kannonik and akafistnik had been so instrumental in shaping the relationship that our forebears had with her, forging an especialy valuable connection when the Faith was persecuted, churches and monastery closed and the clergy and monastics incarcerated or martyred.

Even though he lived centuries before the appearance of the Mother of God in the chuch of the Blachernae in Constantinople, St Romanos the Melodist appears on the amvon in our festal icon – the feast of Pokrov also being HIS feast. This superimposed cameo-appearance of the great hymnographer is not out of place, as his supreme work the Akathist Hymn, is the greatest hymnographic celebration of the Mother of God and the finest address to her that we have as Orthodox Christians.

However, just as we have so many canons to the Mother of God, we also have many other akathists: some very fine, some frankly mediocre… some very late ones, well-meant but not written with a blessing, unfortunately being the liturgical equivalent of  kitsch.

Though the great work of St Romanos is the only akathist appointed to be chanted in services by the Church’s typikon, and the only one accepted by Old Rite Orthodox and some purists in other Orthodox countries, we do however have a wealth of good akathist hymns with which to address the Mother of God; to draw close to her; to share our trials, sorrows and needs; to celebrate her feasts and venerate her icons.

With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, thousands of Orthodox Christians united in the daily praying of the akathist to the Mother of God, in honour of her icon ‘The Softener of Evil Hearts’, as this has akathist loved and valued with the icon for centurie become a shared offering of prayer to the Theotokos across countries, continents and battle-lines, uniting people with one another as well as to the blessed Mother.

In our own Cardiff community, we have new Orthodox Christians for whom the wealth of canons and akathists is a brand-new-discovery, and one that can bring immeasurable spiritual wealth and strength. So, over the next few weeks, between the feast of the Protecting Veil and the Kazan Icon, I will endeavour to highlight our wealth of prayers and hymns to the Mother of God, so that through their words, whether chanted, or prayed quietly and contemplatively, we may draw near to the Mother whom the Saviour gave us as He battled hell and death on the battle-field of Golgotha from the vantage point from His Life-Giving Cross.

As pastoral circumstances have highlighted the need to turn to the Mother of God as the ‘Giver of Reason – Прибавление ума’ and her wonder-working icon of that name (also now as Loretskaya/of Loreto), I will start by re-posting the akathist which so many people turn to for themselves and for others: to pray for wisdom, clarity of mind, for right decisions, for the mentally troubled and ill, for those slow of learning, for those with learning disabilities…  crying “Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.”

Romanian text: https://rugainimii.wordpress.com/acatistul-maicii-domnului-icoana-sporirea-mintii/

Slavonic text: https://akafistnik.ru/akafisty-ko-presvyatoj-bogoroditse/akafist-presvyatoj-bogoroditse-pred-ikonoj-pribavlenie-uma/

English below…

Kontakion 1: To the Mother of God, chosen from all generations, the Queen of Heaven and earth, who grantest a spiritual remedy to the whole world, we offer a hymn of thanksgiving for receiving the divine treasure, her wonder-working icon ‘The Giver of Reason’. Guarded by it we feel radiant joy and lovingly call: Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady who dost grant wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Oikos 1: The angelic messenger was sent to the town of Nazareth to the pure Virgin Mary to say to her, ‘Rejoice’, when the divine Word was made flesh in her womb. Having heard the annunciation, the Most Pure Virgin spoke from the humility of her heart, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.’ Wherefore, we sinful ones reverently honour the Mother of Christ our God, and taught by the Archangel we cry out with compunction: 

Rejoice, thou who art blessed among women. 

Rejoice, thou who art favoured by God. 

Rejoice, thou who art shielded by God’s strength. 

Rejoice, thou who art sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 

Rejoice, thou who art God’s faithful handmaiden. 

Rejoice, thou who art chosen by God. 

Rejoice, thou who hast given birth to the Saviour of the world. 

Rejoice, thou Mother of the Light, which illuminest all. 

Rejoice, thou who surpassest the wisdom of the wise. 

Rejoice, thou who grantest wisdom to thy faithful. 

Rejoice, Queen of heaven and earth. 

Rejoice, for all generations shall call thee blessed. 

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 2: Knowing the desire of the newly-enlightened, O Most Pure, thou hast blessed the herald of the Gospel’s mysteries, the Apostle Luke, to paint an image of thy Most Pure countenance. Looking upon this image, thou hast said regally: ‘My grace and strength will be with this image.’ Wherefore, reverently honouring thy holy icons, with which thou hast adorned the entire Christian commonwealth, we cry to God in thanksgiving for thee: alleluia. 

Oikos 2: Opening heavenly reason for us, O Most Pure Virgin, thou dost grant all of thy faithful to learn of God’s will, which is good, pleasing and perfect; excelling all reason. O All-Praised Theotokos, grant us thy care; vouchsafe us the light of truth; comfort us as a mother and teach us the path of truth, that we may cry to thee, in prayer: 

Rejoice, thou who hast given birth to Christ, God’s Power and Wisdom. 

Rejoice, thou who hast united God and Man. 

Rejoice, thou who hast enlightened our souls with the light of reason. 

Rejoice, thou who hast held the ineffable glory of God. 

Rejoice, thou who dost sanctify the honour given to the holy icons. 

Rejoice, giver of spiritual treasures. 

Rejoice, thou who hast granted grace to thy glorious icons. 

Rejoice, for looking upon thy icons, we venerate thee. 

Rejoice, thou who through thy holy icons grantest healing throughout the world. 

Rejoice, thou who liftest our minds and hearts to heaven. 

Rejoice, thou who hast enlightened the entire universe by thy rays of grace. 

Rejoice, thou who reignest eternally with thy Son and God. 

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 3: Shielded by the power of God’s grace, the pious came to the town of Nazareth, finding there the house of the Mother of God, wherein the Most Pure Virgin was born and received the glad tidings: translated thence to the Italian lands, to the town of Loreto, where, on high, is an icon of the Mother of God, painted upon wood and surrounded by the invisible angelic powers, praising it magnificently and joyfully singing to God: alleluia. 

Oikos 3: Having maternal mercy for Christians, O Most Pure, thou callest all lands on earth to salvation. Therefore, people of diverse nations visit thy house and confess their sins before thine icon, and its glory shineth in the East and in the West and people delivered from sicknesses, sorrow and misfortune give thee thanks, crying:  

Rejoice, House, created by God’s Wisdom for Himself.  

Rejoice, City of God, from the small town of Nazareth.  

Rejoice, thou who hast sanctified the house of God by thy presentation.  

Rejoice, thou who art greater than the Holy of the Holies.  

Rejoice, thou who hast come to Nazareth with the pre-eternal Infant.  

Rejoice, thou who hast served the mystery of salvation of mankind.  

Rejoice, thou ladder by which we ascend from earth to heaven.  

Rejoice, wondrous protecting veil for the whole world. 

Rejoice, for we faithfully honour the image of thy Most Pure countenance.  

Rejoice, for we receive from thee the blessed gifts for our salvation.  

Rejoice, thou who dost manifest miraculous signs through thine icons.  

Rejoice, powerful Protector of Christians.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 4: An iconographer seized by a storm of sorrow, whose reason was darkened, could find no help from earthly physicians. Then the Most Pure Mother of God appeared to him and commanded him to paint her icon, which sanctifies her house in Loreto. Having done this, the painter was healed and from thence he called the newly painted icon ‘The Giver of Reason’, singing before it God’s praise: alleluia. 

Oikos 4: When the people of Russia came to know that the most holy Theotokos gave them, for their joy and consolation, her icon, called ‘The Giver of Reason’ they adorned their temples and houses with many copies. A multitude of wondrous signs and miracles happen for those who faithfully come before them and sing to the most blessed one:  

Rejoice, thou who hast granted us thy glorious image to sanctify and comfort us.  

Rejoice, thou who quickly curest bodily and spiritual illnesses.  

Rejoice, thou who hast shielded the Russian land with the veil of thy favour. 

Rejoice, thou who hast delivered those who love and honour thine image, from all misfortunes. 

Rejoice, thou who dost enter invisibly our houses through thine intercession.  

Rejoice, thou who bringest us blessing and joy.  

Rejoice, thou who takest in thine all-mighty hands those abandoned by physicians.  

Rejoice, thou who healest those who lost their mind through illness. 

Rejoice, hope of the hopeless.  

Rejoice, enlightener of our minds.  

Rejoice, pure mirror which reflects the truth.  

Rejoice, thou whose name is praised in East and West.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 5: Thine icon, O Theotokos, hath appeared as a divine star, for it sanctifies our land and its cities; it enlightens those darkened by ignorance with the light of theology; illumining our reason, darkened by sin, it sets the lost on the path following the commandments of thy Son and God, and we cry to Him thankfully: alleluia. 

Oikos 5: Having seen the divine treasure, the wondrous icon of the Mother of God, we pray to her diligently, finding therein the cure of our ailments, relief from our sorrows and salvation from our misfortunes; wherefore we sing to our Lady and protector:  

Rejoice, thou who hast enlightened the faithful by the appearance of thine icon.  

Rejoice, thou through whom the Sun of Truth, Christ, our God, began to shine in the darkness.  

Rejoice, Mother of the Light of Reason, that enlightened by its grace the whole universe.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest us by thy blessing. 

Rejoice, thou who dispellest the gloom of our ignorance by thy light.  

Rejoice, O Virgin, for through thee the light of theology began to shine for all.  

Rejoice, inextinguishable candle, which kindlest the light of faith.  

Rejoice, thou who illuminest the path of virtue.  

Rejoice, thou who art the source of all that is holy.  

Rejoice, thou who powerfully guardest us from adversities and misfortune.  

Rejoice, inextinguishable light of divine love.  

Rejoice, thou who proclaimest to us the spring of salvation by the light of thy miracles.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 6: Thy favours are known in the entire world, O Mother of our Lord; for in many cities and villages of the Russian land, thy icon ‘The Giver of Reason’ shines with the rays of miracles; enlightening our souls by the light of God’s Grace and prompting us to sing to God, Who honoured thee: alleluia. 

Oikos 6: There appeared the light of salvation in thy glorious icon, O Theotokos, for all who stray in the darkness of sins and passions, and swift help is rendered to all who pray before it with reverence and faith. Remove the darkness from our minds, O all-praised, by thy light and show the True Light to all who lovingly cry to thee:  

Rejoice, inextinguishable star, that hast given to the world, the Sun of Truth.  

Rejoice, thou Mother of True Light, which enlightenest the souls of the faithful. 

Rejoice, mentor of blessed instruction.  

Rejoice, thou who dost shield our darkened mind with a light veil.  

Rejoice, thou who art the dawn which dispellest the fog of our sins.  

Rejoice, thou who dost deliver us from darkness and eternal torment.  

Rejoice, thou who dost free us from the snares of the enemy. 

Rejoice, thou who gainest a victory over the madness of the world.  

Rejoice, thou who expellest teachings harmful for the soul. 

Rejoice, giver of knowledge beneficial for the soul.  

Rejoice, thou who comfortest us with thine icon.  

Rejoice, thou who encouragest souls with the light of joy.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 7: Wishing all men to be saved and to realise the truth, our most merciful Lord and Creator hath granted us the image of His Most Pure Mother, called ‘The Giver of Reason’, that those praying before it, having received strength in word, reason and wisdom, freed from wandering thoughts, may sing to our King and God: alleluia. 

Oikos 7: O Mother of God, who dost manifest new and even more glorious wonders through thy holy icon; by the power of Christ’s grace thou enlightenest those with darkened minds, deterring men from madness, strengthening the weak, and swiftly helping all who turn to thy healing image, inspiring them to sing to thee:  

Rejoice, thou who pullest us from the depth of ignorance.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest many minds.  

Rejoice, thou who grantest wise words to those who ask.  

Rejoice, thou who makest fools to reason clearly.  

Rejoice, thou who drivest away sinful designs.  

Rejoice, thou who softenest embittered hearts.  

Rejoice, thou who raisest the mind to God.  

Rejoice, thou who makest the unwise to be wise.  

Rejoice, thou who encouragest us to strive for piety.  

Rejoice, thou who clothest us with eternal joy.  

Rejoice, thou who bringest the prayers of the faithful to thy Son and God.  

Rejoice, thou who prayest ceaselessly for all before the throne of the Almighty.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 8: It is wondrous to see, O Most Pure Theotokos, thine icon painted upon wood, drive away the spirits of darkness by thy divine power, giving reason to those seized by feebleness of mind and by trouble in learning. Therefore, we, perishing because of our sins, plead with thee tearfully: deliver us from our visible and invisible enemies, from the darkness of ignorance, so that we may always sing to our Saviour and God: alleluia. 

Oikos 8: The whole Russian land hath an abundance of thy wonder-working icons, O Virgin Theotokos, shining like God’s bright stars. Amongst them also the grace of thine icon ‘The Giver of Reason’ shines and warms our frozen hearts by the signs of thy favour to us sinful ones. Therefore, kneeling before thy holy countenance, we praise thee, our Most Pure Mother:  

Rejoice, thou who transformest our sorrows into joy.  

Rejoice, thou who defendest us from the burning arrows of the Evil One.  

Rejoice, thou who dost bring up children and shield them with thy grace.  

Rejoice, thou who art the wise protector and mentor of the young.  

Rejoice, thou who grantest reason to children poor of learning.  

Rejoice, thou who destroyest the traps of the enemy.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest the minds of the faithful.  

Rejoice, thou who dost disgrace those without faith.  

Rejoice, thou who healest those seized by madness.  

Rejoice, thou whose blessed icon drives away demons. 

Rejoice, Mother of mercy and benevolence. 

Rejoice, hope of our salvation.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 9: All the angels serve thee reverently, O Queen of heaven and earth, whilst mankind praises thee and honours thy holy icon that thou hast granted to comfort us and give us joy. Teach us, O most good Lady, to praise thee worthily and to sing to the Saviour of the world, who was born from thee: alleluia. 

Oikos 9: The eloquent orators of mankind can neither grasp the mystery of thy service to Christians nor explain the miraculous power of thine icons, which benefit in every way the soul and body of man. We, Orthodox, standing with tears of joy before thy holy icons praise thee, O grace-giving one, and say:  

Rejoice, thou who art the joy of the angels. 

Rejoice, thou who art adored by the archangels.  

Rejoice, thou whom the cherubim receive in the air.  

Rejoice, thou who art praised by the seraphim.  

Rejoice, bright adornment of both the Churches of heaven and earth.  

Rejoice, thou who art above all the powers of the heaven.  

Rejoice, thou who art honoured by the heavenly host.  

Rejoice, thou who art the glory of all who live on earth.  

Rejoice, thou who dost elevate our minds to the Highest by thine example.  

Rejoice, guide to our homeland in the heavens.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest the whole earth by the radiance of thy soul. 

Rejoice, thou who hast adopted us all at the cross of thy Son.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 10: Having wished to save the world from insanity and the delusions of the enemy, the Lord, the lover of mankind, has granted us thy wondrous icon, O Mother of God. Praying before it the insane are cured, the possessed are freed from demons, the sorrowful find joy and comfort. Praising God, Who is so merciful to us, with thanksgiving we cry to Him: alleluia. 

Oikos 10: Be for us an impregnable wall and protecting veil, all-pure Mother of God, from the armies of enemies, visible and invisible and guard us from misfortune and disease. Wherefore, kneeling before thine icon ‘The Giver of Reason’ and firmly believing in thy blessed help and cure from all spiritual and bodily illness, we joyfully cry to thee:  

Rejoice, thou who dost deter us from the ways of perdition.  

Rejoice, thou who guidest the faithful on the path of truth.  

Rejoice, thou who drivest away the spirit of sickness and despair. 

Rejoice, thou who helpest us to obtain the spirit of reason and strength.  

Rejoice, thou who dost disgrace the enemies by God’s might.  

Rejoice, thou who bringest to ruin the assemblies of the impious.  

Rejoice, thou cure of the possessed.  

Rejoice, thou who healest all aggressive diseases.  

Rejoice, thou who deliverest us from spiritual death.  

Rejoice, thou who washest away our sins with thy tears.  

Rejoice, thou who dost satisfy us miraculously with spiritual joy.  

Rejoice, thou who grantest us eternal joy, also in the age to come.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.  

Kontakion 11: We sing in thanksgiving before thy Most Pure image, O Most Pure, beseeching thine ineffable mercy, and we pray to thee who art full of divine grace: guard our minds and hearts against pernicious teaching, disbelief and superstitions; keep our land free from all manner of disorders, stirred up by the enemies of faith, and let us praise our Creator with a pure heart, singing: alleluia. 

Oikos 11: We see thine icon, O Theotokos, like a burning candle, which enlightenest our land with the light of thy miracles, sets us on the path of salvation and kindles our hearts with love for thee, Most Pure Mother of our God. Therefore, knowing the power of thy grace, we glorify thee with hymns of joy:  

Rejoice, thou whose wisdom is immeasurably higher than the wisdom of Solomon.  

Rejoice, thou who revealest God’s most secret mysteries to thy faithful.  

Rejoice, thou who transformest the dull-witted into lovers of wisdom.  

Rejoice, thou light which enlightenest our souls.  

Rejoice, thou who dost disgrace the vain wisdom of this age.  

Rejoice, thou who settest on the right path those blinded by vain wisdom.  

Rejoice, thou who renewest the minds of those who pray with conviction.  

Rejoice, thou who placest a joyful thought in the heart in times of confusion.  

Rejoice, thou who art the revelation of God’s Wisdom and Goodness. 

Rejoice, thou who art the beauty of the heavens.  

Rejoice, thou who hast given us a heavenly gift, thy wonder-working icon.  

Rejoice, source of incessant joy.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.  

Kontakion 12: Obtain for us divine grace from thy Son and God, O all-good one; extend to us thy helping hand, that we may not perish without repentance; shield us with thy love; cleanse our minds of sinful designs; clear the eyes of our heart that we may see the path of salvation and grant us to sing to our Creator and God in this life and in the Heavenly Kingdom: alleluia. 

Oikos 12: Singing the miracles, which have been manifested through thine icon, O Lady, we praise, glorify and honour thee, who art more honourable than the cherubim, and more glorious, beyond compare, than the seraphim. Look upon us, standing before thy holy icon, O Theotokos, who art now in the heavens, and send us thy blessing; deliver us from all misfortune and the enemy’s temptations, for we honour thee with songs as our protector and keeper:  

Rejoice, thou who dost save the entire universe by thy prayers.  

Rejoice, thou who art the comfort of this sorrowful age.  

Rejoice, Mother of Light, who enlightenest all with the light of thy purity.  

Rejoice, thou who revealest to us the mysteries of God’s will.  

Rejoice, thou who hast chosen Russia as thy portion and thy domain.  

Rejoice, thou who by thy wonder-working icons hast blessed this land.  

Rejoice, thou who raisest us to the Light of Truth through thine image.  

Rejoice, thou who shieldest us invisibly with its divine grace.  

Rejoice, thou who pourest blessed joy into God-loving hearts.  

Rejoice, thou who by thine entreaties openest the doors of God’s mercy.  

Rejoice, thou who helpest us to court the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Rejoice, thou who art the only pure and blessed one amongst women.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.  

Kontakion 13: O all-praised Mother of the pre-eternal Light and Wisdom of the Father, who art the light of the darkened, the increase of intelligence and the joy of our hearts; hear and accept the pleading of us sinful ones; make us, who are unwise, wiser and teach us to sing and pray before thine icon, called ‘The Giver of Reason’. Cease not to pray for us, thine unworthy servants, who glorify thee and sing to thy Son and God: alleluia. (Thrice) 

Oikos 1: The angelic messenger was sent to the town of Nazareth to the pure Virgin Mary to say to her, ‘Rejoice’, when the divine Word was made flesh in her womb. Having heard the annunciation, the Most Pure Virgin spoke from the humility of her heart, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.’ Wherefore, we sinful ones reverently honour the Mother of Christ our God, and taught by the Archangel we cry out with compunction: 

Rejoice, thou who art blessed among women. 

Rejoice, thou who art favoured by God. 

Rejoice, thou who art shielded by God’s strength. 

Rejoice, thou who art sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 

Rejoice, thou who art God’s faithful handmaiden. 

Rejoice, thou who art chosen by God. 

Rejoice, thou who hast given birth to the Saviour of the world. 

Rejoice, thou Mother of the Light, which illuminest all. 

Rejoice, thou who surpassest the wisdom of the wise. 

Rejoice, thou who grantest wisdom to thy faithful. 

Rejoice, Queen of heaven and earth. 

Rejoice, for all generations shall call thee blessed. 

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 1: To the Mother of God, chosen from all generations, the Queen of Heaven and earth, who grantest a spiritual remedy to the whole world, we offer a hymn of thanksgiving for receiving the divine treasure, her wonder-working icon ‘The Giver of Reason’. Guarded by it we feel radiant joy and lovingly call: Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady who dost grant wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos before her icon, called ‘The Giver of Reason’ 

O most holy Virgin, thou art the Bride of God the Father and the Mother of His Divine Son Jesus Christ! Thou art the Queen of Angels and the salvation of mankind, thou who dost unmask sinners and punish apostates. Have mercy upon us, who have sinned greatly and not fulfilled God’s commandments; who have broken the vows of baptism and of the monastic life and many other vows that we had promised to keep.  When the Holy Spirit abandoned King Saul, fear and despondency seized him and the darkness of despair and a joyless soul tortured him. And now we also, because of our sins, are deprived of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Our mind is corrupted by idle thoughts, our soul is darkened since we have forgotten God, and now our hearts are crowded with all manner of sorrows, grievances, illnesses, hatred, malice, hostility, vindictiveness, pleasure at another’s misfortune, and other sins. And, having no joy or consolation, we call to thee, the Mother of our God Jesus Christ, to move thy Son by thine entreaties to forgive us our transgressions and to send us the Spirit the Comforter, as He sent Him to the apostles so that we, being comforted and enlightened by Him, would sing to thee a song of thanksgiving: rejoice, most holy Theotokos who hast increased our intelligence so that we may find our salvation. Amen. 

My good Queen, my holy hope, shelter of the lost and the protector of strangers, the helper of the poor and the protecting veil of those in temptations, see my misfortune, see my sorrow: I am surrounded by temptations and there is no one to guard me against them. Wherefore help me, thyself, as I am feeble, guide me as I am a stranger; instruct me as I have strayed; heal me and save me for I am hopeless. I have no other help, no other hope, besides thee, my Lady: help us, as we have placed our hope in thee and we glorify thee ceaselessly, as we are thy servants, let us not be disgraced. I kneel before thy mercy, O Virgin Theotokos, reject not mine entreaties as I am full of sorrows, but deliver me from my misfortunes, as thou only art pure and blessed. Amen.  

O Most Pure Theotokos, the House that God’s Wisdom has created for Himself, Giver of spiritual gifts, who dost elevate our minds from the world to the spiritual spheres and teach us reason! Accept the prayerful singing of thine unworthy servants, who venerate thee with faith and compunction before thy Most Pure image. Entreat thy Son and our God that He may grant our authorities wisdom and power; our judges truth and justice; our pastors spiritual wisdom, zeal and vigilant guarding of our souls; our mentors humble wisdom; our children obedience, and to all of us the spirit of reason and piety, the spirit of humility and meekness, the spirit of purity and truth. And now, our all-praised and all-loved Mother, increase our intelligence, pacify and unite those in hostility and separation, and give them an unbreakable bond of love; direct all those who have strayed through lack of reason, to the light of Christ’s truth and edify them in fear of God, abstention and love of work; give words of wisdom and knowledge, useful for the souls of those pleading with thee, who art more radiant than the cherubim and more honourable than the seraphim; that we, seeing God’s glorious works and His unfathomable wisdom, in the world and in our lives, shall abandon all earthly vanity and needless earthly concerns, raising our minds and our hearts to the heavens, and with thy protection and help shall glorify, thank and praise God, One in three and Creator of all, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen  

Troparion, tone 4:  O most glorious Mother of Christ, our God, who art the Giver of all good, preserve the universe by thy mercy; give us, thy servants, wisdom and reason; enlighten our souls with the light of thy Son, thou only all-praised, who art glorified by the cherubim and the seraphim.  

Kontakion, tone 2:  As thou enlightenest us by the reason of the one God, we praise thee, the Most Pure Mother of Reason which upholds the entire Universe. Thou art the beauty of the visible and the invisible world who enlightenest us by the rays of Life.  

Akathist to the Protecting-Veil of the Mother of God

Kontakion 1: O Chosen by the Pre-Eternal God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, higher than all creation, who hast in days past entered praying into the Church of the Blachernae we, offering Thee with thanksgiving due veneration, flee with faith and compunction under Thy shining vestment for we lie in darkness. And as Thou who hast invincible power dost set us free from every affliction that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious veil.

Ikos 1: Archangels and angels with John the Forerunner, John the Divine and the choir of all the saints, were present with Thee, their Queen, in the Church of the Blachernae and hearing Thy moving supplication for all the world, they cried out with wonder as follows:

Rejoice, O pre-eternal good will of God the Father Who has no beginning of days.

Rejoice, timeless and most pure one who contained God the Son.

Rejoice, Thou chosen dwelling-place of God the all-Holy Spirit.

Rejoice, Thou never ceasing wonder of the angelic hosts on high.

Rejoice, Thou all-threatening terror of the dark forces of hell.

Rejoice, Thou whom the many-eyed cherubim meet in the air.

Rejoice, Thou to whom the six-winged seraphim ascribe praises.

Rejoice, Thou whose most precious veil we born on earth thankfully venerate.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 2: Saint Andrew with Epiphanios having seen Thee inside the Church praying to God in the air all Christians, acknowledged Thee to be the Mother of Christ our God Who ascended into heaven and falling to the ground they joyfully venerated Thine all-precious veil, crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 2: Thou O Theotokos Virgin art knowledge unknowable in defense of Orthodox people. Therefore our enemies know not how strong is the prayer of the Mother of God: while we well aware of Thine all-mighty protection cry to Thee with tender feeling:

Rejoice, Most merciful Comforter of all the afflicted and heavy laden.

Rejoice, never sleeping Guide of all those who have strayed and gone blind.

Rejoice, Thou who by Thy supplication dost swiftly appease the wrath of God rightly poured out on us.

Rejoice, Thou who by an all-powerful behest dost tame out evil passions.

Rejoice, strong waker of sleeping consciences.

Rejoice, easy overcomer of sinful practices.

Rejoice, Thou for whose sake hell groans and the spirits of evil tremble.

Rejoice, Thou for whose sake the gates of paradise are opened to all.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 3: Power from on high overshadows those who run for refuge with faith and reverence to Thy precious protection: for to Thee alone, O all holy and all pure only Mother of God is it given that every petition of Thine be fulfilled. Therefore the faithful of all ages glorify Thee and Thy Son, crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 3: O Lady, having a never-failing wealth of mercy, Thou dost stretch the hand of help to all the ends of the earth: and dost  give healing to the sick, relief to the suffering, sight to the blind, and to all everything that is expedient for them as they cry aloud in thanksgiving:

Rejoice, indestructible fortress and bulwark of Orthodox rulers.

Rejoice, principle adornment of holy churches and altars.

Rejoice, truest guard of holy monasteries.

Rejoice, vigilant Helper of stouthearted civil authorities.

Rejoice, unconquerable Leader of Christian captains and armies.

Rejoice, holy mirror of justice for judges who take no bribes.

Rejoice, perfect knowledge for teachers and those who bring up children.

Rejoice, Blessing of pious homes and families.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 4: O Lady, Thou dost help us held fast by a storm of many afflictions: for Thou dost stand before the altar of the Lord, lifting Thine hands and praying that the Lord of glory look down on our unworthy prayer and hearken to the petitions of those who call upon Thy holy Name crying to Thy Son: Alleluia!

Ikos 4: The Lord God heard Joshua, son of Nun, praying and He commanded the sun to stand still until he defeated the enemy. The Lord Jesus now hears Thy supplication, O chosen dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore we sinners, putting our trust in Thy protection, make bold to say to Thee, Mother of God:

Rejoice, Thou who are lit by the Sun of the mind and who dost enlighten us with the light that never sets.

Rejoice, Thou who hast illumined the whole earth by the brightness of Thy most pure soul.

Rejoice, Thou who hast made glad the whole heavens by the purity of Thy body.

Rejoice, Protector and Provider of the holy monasteries of Christ.

Rejoice, Thou who art the strength and understanding of the pastors of the Church.

Rejoice, Guide of God-fearing monks and nuns.

Rejoice, untroubled rest of the pious aged.

Rejoice, secret gladness of pure virgins and widows.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 5: When Moses who saw God lifted his arms while the battle with Amalek raged, Israel overcame and when he let his hands fall, Amalek was victorious and strengthened by those who hold up his arms, Israel defeated the enemy; and Thou, O Mother of God, having raised Thine hands in supplication, even though no man hold them up, dost always conquer the enemies of Christ and art an invincible shield for us who cry: Alleluia!

Ikos 5: The assemblies of saints when they had seen Thee in the air inside the church of the Blachernae stretching Thy hands in prayer to Thy Son and God, sang Thee a song in Thanksgiving with the archangels and angels: while we, our hands fortified by Thee made stronger than the arms of Moses, cry aloud with compunction:

Rejoice, Thou whose love and mercy towards us alone hold out Thine hands for us.

Rejoice, Thou before Whom our enemies, visible and invisible, cannot stand.

Rejoice, Thou who drivest away the dark hordes of our passions and lusts.

Rejoice, Thou who holdest in Thine hand without being consumed, the divine fire of Christ, and who with it dost set us in our coldness aflame.

Rejoice, Thou who crownest with a fair crown of chastity those who fight against the flesh.

Rejoice, Thou perpetual Converser with those who strive in fasting and silent prayer.

Rejoice, Thou speedy Comforter of those who fall from despair and sadness.

Rejoice, Thou who dost by grace provide us with humility and patience.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 6: Saint Roman the Melodist, appeared as an unfailing proclaimer of Thy grace and mercy when he had received from Thee in a dream a paper roll to swallow: for thereby made wise, he began to sing with skill in Thine honor and to write praises for the saints, calling out with faith: Alleluia!

Ikos 6: O Virgin, Maid of God, who hast shone forth the Dawn from the true Sun of righteousness, enlightening all with the wisdom of Thy God and Son and who leadest all to knowledge of the truth those who cry to Thee:

Rejoice, Thou who hast given birth to Christ in the flesh, the power of God and wisdom of God.

Rejoice, Thou who hast confounded the foolish wisdom of this world and who hast guided those blinded by it on the way of truth.

Rejoice, Preserver of our holy faith and teacher of Orthodox dogma.

Rejoice, Uprooter of impious heresies and corrupting divisions.

Rejoice, Thou who well knowest secret and unforeseen difficulties and dost tell those whom it is proper about them.

Rejoice, thou who puttest to shame false seers and vain divining.

Rejoice, Thou who in the hour of perplexity dost put a good thought in our hearts.

Rejoice, Thou who dost turn us from perilous purposes and senseless desires.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 7: The all-seeing, long suffering Lord, wishing to manifest the unsearchable deep of His mercies and love for mankind, chose Thee alone to be His Mother, and made Thee into an invincible defense for His people: that even though one of them appear worthy of condemnation by the righteous judgment of God, yet all the more shall he be preserved for repentance by Thy mighty protection, crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 7: O Lord, Thou hast shown in Thine all-pure Mother, how wonderful are Thy works when Her most marvelous veil was revealed in Her hand shining brighter than the rays of the sun and with it She protected the people in the Church of Blachernae: for hearing of such a sign of Her defense, held by fear and joy, all say:

Rejoice, thou veil not made by hand of man that is spread over the whole world like a cloud.

Rejoice, Thou who dost hold in Thine hands the banner of Thy Son, the Pre-Eternal High-Priest.

Rejoice, Thou who hast thereby made manifest a new mercy and new grace in the Orthodox Church.

Rejoice, pillar of cloud who protectest all of us in the world from temptations and scandals.

Rejoice, pillar of fire amidst the darkness, showing us all the path of salvation.

Rejoice, visible strength of manifest strivers for godliness.

Rejoice, secret Giver of understanding to the secret servants of God in this world.

Rejoice, Thou who also leavest not without Thy grace and protection me who am stripped of all good works.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 8: Angels sang Thy praises when Thou didst appear in wondrous wise from heaven in the Church of the Blachernae and apostles gave Thee glory. The choir of holy bishops and monks and the band of holy women extolled Thee, the Forerunner with John the Theologian venerated Thee, and the people present in the Church cried aloud with joy: Alleluia!

Ikos 8: The Lord Who reignest over all things above and below, when He had seen Thee, His Mother, standing in the Church and praying with tender feeling to Him, said: Ask, O my Mother, because I shall never turn from Thee but will fulfil all Thy petitions and teach all to sing to Thee in thanksgiving:

Rejoice, Ark of the law in which is kept the sanctification of all mankind.

Rejoice, all-holy Jar in which the bread of eternal life is preserved for those who hunger for righteousness.

Rejoice, all-golden Vessel in which the flesh and blood of the divine Lamb are prepared for us.

Rejoice, Thou who dost receive in Thine all-powerful arms those foresaken by the physicians.

Rejoice, Thou who dost raise from their bed of sickness those crippled in body, but not in spirit and faith.

Rejoice, Thou who givest a new and better understanding to those who are perishing from infirmity of mind.

Rejoice, Thou who dost wisely trip us up on the stubborn path of sin and passion.

Rejoice, Thou who dost turn to mercy the cruelty of our unrepentant hearts.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 9: The whole assembly of angels offers Thee praises, Thou true Mother of God and Defender of all who run to Thee, knowing how with Thine unfailing protection Thou dost rejoice the righteous, protect and deliver the poor, and pray for all the faithful crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 9: The wordy orators, become as dumb fish, are at a loss as to how to praise as is due, the great feast of Thine all-precious protection: for all the things said by them about Thee suffice not to number Thy mercies alone. And we, seeing Thy good works without number, cry with gladness:

Rejoice, Thou who dost guard us from the deadly plague in which all perish.

Rejoice, Thou who dost preserve cities and villages from sudden earthquakes.

Rejoice, Thou who dost lead us out with Thy strong arm from flood and drowning.

Rejoice, Thou who by the dew of Thy prayers dost deliver us from the kindling of fire.

Rejoice, Thou who dost provide against hunger of soul and body by the Bread of Life.

Rejoice, Thou who dost lead away from our heads the blows of lightening and thunder.

Rejoice, Thou who dost save us from the attacks of strangers and secret murderers.

Rejoice, Thou who dost guard us with peace and love against family quarrels and enmities of those of our own blood.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 10: Wishing to save mankind from the error of the enemy, the Lord Who lovest mankind gave us on earth Thee His Mother to be our help, protection and defense, for Thee to be the Comforter of those that sorrow, the Joy of the afflicted, the Defender of the injured, and to raise all from the depth of sin, singing: Alleluia!

Ikos 10: “O King of Heaven”, spoke the all-pure Queen in prayer as She stood with the angels, “do Thou accept every man praying to Thee and calling upon my name for help, that he go not away from my face empty and unheard.” Hearing this most good supplication, the assemblies of the saints cried in thanksgiving:

Rejoice, Thou who crownest with blessed fruits the husbandman pure in hand and heart.

Rejoice, Succour and righteous Rewarder for all those who honestly trade.

Rejoice, Reprover before all nations of those who keep not their oaths and whose gains are unjust.

Rejoice, unexpected Helper of those in distress in travels by land and water.

Rejoice, Thou who makest childless couples glad with the fruits of faith and spirit.

Rejoice, unseen Tutor of motherless orphans.

Rejoice, strong Defender of those in captivity and exile.

Rejoice, ever-watchful Guardian of those sitting in bonds and prison.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 11: Hearing a most moving song and attending to Thy prayer for us, we beg Thee, O Virgin Theotokos, look not away from the voices of Thy servants for we run to Thee in assaults and affliction and in our distress we pour out our tears before Thee, crying: Alleluia!

Ikos 11: Seeing Thee in the air inside the Blachernae Church burning in prayer as a candle aflame with light, I gave voice together with a multitude of people there present: “how can this be that the Mother of my Lord has come to me?” And Saint Andrew with Epiphanios prayed warmly to Thee, crying:

Rejoice, abundant Giver of all spiritual and bodily gifts.

Rejoice, true Advocate of sinners who have started to repent.

Rejoice, perpetual Champion of those fighting with enemy passions and intents.

Rejoice, invisible Tamer of cruel and bestial masters.

Rejoice, secret Rest and Consolation of humble and suffering servants.

Rejoice, most longed-for Fulfiller of blessed marriages.

Rejoice, swift and painless relief of mothers in childbirth.

Rejoice, our only Help in the hour of death.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 12: Ask Thy Son to give us divine grace; stretch towards us a helping hand; ward off from us every enemy and adversary and give our lives peace that we perish not grievously, without repentance, but accept us, O our Protector, in the eternal mansions, that, rejoicing we may cry to Thee: Alleluia!

Ikos 12: Singing the praises of Thy mighty protection, we praise Thee for Thou art to us all our firm Advocate and we venerate Thee who dost pray for us: for we believe and we trust that Thou wilt beg of Thy Son and God eternal and temporal good things for all who cry thus to Thee with love:

Rejoice, strong Defense of the whole inhabited earth.

Rejoice, sanctification of all the earthly and heavenly elements.

Rejoice, Thou Blessing of all the seasons of the year.

Rejoice, Thou Conqueror of all assaults and temptations that come from the world, the flesh and the devil.

Rejoice, unhoped for Reconciliation of those who are at daggers drawn.

Rejoice, Amendment without their knowledge of unrepentant sinners.

Rejoice, Thou who dost not turn away those despised and forsaken by all.

Rejoice, Thou who dost pluck from the pit of destruction those that indeed despair.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 13 (3x): O all-praised Mother, Most pure Lady, Virgin, Theotokos, to Thee do I lift up the eyes of my soul and body, to Thee do I stretch forth my hands grown feeble and I cry from the depth of my heart: look down on the faith and humility of my soul; shelter me with Thy almighty protection, that I be saved from all assault and distress, and in the hour of my death, be by me, O Thou all-blessed, and deliver me from the torment prepared for me because of my sins, that venerating Thee, I may ever cry: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Ikos 1 Repeated: Archangels and angels with John the Forerunner, John the Theologian and the choir of all the saints, were present with Thee, their Queen, in the Church of the Blachernae and hearing Thy moving supplication for all the world, they cried out with wonder as follows:

Rejoice, O pre-eternal good will of God the Father Who has no beginning of days.

Rejoice, timeless and most pure one who contained God the Son.

Rejoice, Thou chosen dwelling-place of God the all-Holy Spirit.

Rejoice, Thou never ceasing wonder of the angelic hosts on high.

Rejoice, Thou all-threatening terror of the dark forces of hell.

Rejoice, Thou whom the many-eyed cherubim meet in the air.

Rejoice, Thou to whom the six-winged seraphim ascribe praises.

Rejoice, Thou whose most precious veil we born on earth thankfully venerate.

Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.

Kontakion 1 Repeated: O Chosen by the Pre-Eternal God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, higher than all creation, who hast in days past entered praying into the Church of the Blachernae we, offering Thee with thanksgiving due veneration, flee with faith and compunction under Thy shining vestment for we lie in darkness. And as Thou who hast invincible power dost set us free from every affliction that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious veil.

First Prayer: O all-holy Virgin, Mother of the Lord of the hosts on high, Thou Queen of heaven and earth and almighty Defender of our country, accept from us Thine unworthy servants this song of praise and thanksgiving and bring our prayer up to the throne of Thy God and Son, that He be merciful towards our unrighteousness, and extend His grace to those who honor Thy name and venerate with faith and love Thy wonder-working ikon. For we are not worthy to be forgiven by Him hadst Thou, O Lady, not made Him merciful towards us, for all things from Him are possible to Thee. Therefore we run to Thee as Thou art our swift and undoubted Protector. Hear us who pray to Thee: overshadow us with Thine almighty veil and ask from Thy God and Son zeal and vigilance for our shepherds, wisdom and strength for the souls of those who govern our cities, righteousness and impartiality for our judges, understanding and humility for our leaders, love and concord for the married, obedience for our children, patience for those who have been offended, the fear of God for those that offend, stoutheartedness for the afflicted, restraint for those that rejoice, and for all of us the spirit of understanding and godliness, the spirit of mercy and meekness, the spirit of chastity and truth. Yea, O all-holy Lady, be merciful towards Thy feeble people: gather together the dispersed, guide on the right way those that have gone astray, uphold old age, make the young pure, bring up the children and look down upon all of us with the care of Thy merciful protection. Raise us from the depth of sin and enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see salvation. Be merciful to us both here and yonder, during our wandering in the land of this earth and at the Last Judgement of Thy Son: and make our fathers and brothers who have departed this life live the eternal life with the angels and all the saints. For Thou, O Lady, art the glory of those in heaven and the trust of those on earth. After God, Thou art the hope and Defender of all who flee to Thee with faith. We then pray to Thee and to Thee as our almighty Helper, do we commend ourselves and one another, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Second Prayer: O my most blessed Queen, my all-holy hope, Receiver of orphans and Defender of the strangers, Helper of those in poverty, Protector of the sick, behold my distress, behold my affliction. On all sides am I held by temptation, and there is none to defend me. Help me then as I am weak, feed me as I am a pilgrim, guide me as I have strayed, heal and save me as I lie without hope. For I have no other help, nor advocate nor comforter, save Thee, O Mother of all the afflicted and heavy laden. Look down then on me, a sinner lying in sickness, and protect me with Thine all-holy Veil, that I be delivered from all the ills surrounding me and may ever praise Thy Name that all men sing. Amen.

The Protecting Veil of the Mother of God

We magnify thee, O all-immaculate Mother of Christ our God, and we honour thy labours and thy precious omophorion, for the holy Andrew beheld thee in the air, entreating Christ for us.

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Warmest greetings to you all, as we celebrate the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Most-Holy Mother of God.

Slightly belatedly, tomorrow evening, in the church of St Mary, Butetown, we will pray before the icon of the Pokrov – Our Lady’s Protection and Intercession – as the contemplative focus of our service. 

As we look at the icon, we see the Mother of God at the centre of the heavenly Church, flanked by St John the Forerunner and St John the Theologian, surrounded by the throngs of the heavenly powers and saints, interceding for us with the Mother of God, as Queen of Heaven. 

Her omophorion, spread over the church below, is the physical sign of her spiritual protection, and her arms raised in prayer show that her intercession is the constant protection of the Church.

In ancient Israel, the queen -the geburah – was not the king’s wife, but his mother, who, enthroned at his right hand, interceded for those who sought the favour and mercy of the king.

On this feast, as the Queen of Heaven, we celebrate the Mother of God as our protection and intercessor with Christ, our King and our God.

The 10th century vision of the Blessed Andrew of Constantinople in the royal church of Blachernae, was a glimpse of the constant reality of the Mother of God and the heavenly Church interceding with the for the earthly Church and its faithful here below.

Such is the Christ-like love of the Mother of God and the saints, that those who have been translated into glory and have been vouchsafed to enter the courts of the Kingdom of God ever intercede for us before the Lord of Glory. 

The heavenly throng continually grows with the repose of the new generations of saints whom God rewards in His Heavenly Kingdom, year by year, century by century. And, year after year we celebrate this feast as a reaffirmation of the protection and intercession of the Theotokos and the saints, caring for us and raising us to the Lord by their prayers.

Turning to our children and to those young and new in Faith, we should echo the words of the Blessed Andrew, who said to his disciple, the Blessed Epiphanios, “Do you see, brother, the Holy Theotokos, praying for all the world?” 

Amidst the trials and difficulties of our lives, with our pressures and sorrows, when things may me seem hopeless and we may feel lost, we also need to repeat this constant spiritual reality to ourselves: the Holy Theotokos, is always praying for all the world!

In this reality, we need to discover hope, consolation and encouragement, and our Faithneeds to be bolstered and strengthened by the knowledge that Christ has given us His mother as our mother, whose icons day-by-day and feast by feast proclaim everything that she is to us; our Directress; our Unexpected Joy; our Unshakeable Wall; the Joy of all Who Sorrow; the Nurturer of Children; the Consolation of the Afflicted; the Seeker of the Lost; the Surety of Sinners; the Deliverance of Those Who Suffer from Misfortunes; the Giver of Reason.

May every feast of the Mother of God (whether of the events of her life or her wonderworking icons), every hymn and prayer addressed to her, each canon or akathist hymn written and chanted in her honour, bring us closer to her and help us to trust and find comfort in her constant intercession and protection, reminding us that she is always watching over us, wishing to protect us, and intercede for us whether we are aware or not.

But, for this to be a reality, we need to seek her protection; to flee to her in times of need; to go to her as our shelter in danger; to know her as our refuge in affliction. We have to do this of our own volition, as she will not force herself upon us or coerce us. Thus, she ever awaits us with patience, compassion and love. Waiting to hear our cry, her embrace and love for the Church and the world always awaits us. 

Encouraged by this feast, let us strive to deepen our relationship with the Mother of God, proactively, with gratitude and loving devotion, and just as St John quite literally took her into his home, each of us must spiritually take the Theotokos into our homes; under the roof of our dwelling and within our hearts that she may always have a place there with us; and within our community of Faith – for the Mother of God is not only at the centre of the Heavenly Church, but also of the pilgrim Church, leading it by her intercession and protection to the Kingdom of her Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to Whom be honour, glory and worship, together with His Unoriginate Father, and His All-Holy, Good and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

“Remember us in thy prayers, O Holy Virgin Theotokos,” the Church sings on this day, “let us not perish in our multiplying sins; cover us from all evil and fierce misfortunes; We trust in thee and, celebrating the Feast of thine intercession, we magnify thee”.

With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Canon to St Michael, Metropolitan of Kiev

The Canon to St Michael, First Metropolitan of Kiev, in Tone VI.

Ode I, 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.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Standing with the choirs of the saints of heaven before the throne of the Most High, as a hierarch and servant of God, pray for us who serve with divinely inspired hymns, that we may stand with thee where the gladness of the righteous is.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

As one chosen by the Lord for the service of His glory in the work of the Gospel of Christ, O holy hierarch Michael, pray for us who have assembled for thy memorial, that we may labour in the commandments of the Gospel and may receive as our reward the gladness of the venerable.

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

Standing like a candle upon a candlestick, thou didst shine far and wide with the light of thy good works, O father, for by thine instruction the light of the vision of God illumined the unbelieving people, and the land enlightened by thee

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

In that thou art she who from thy womb hath revealed to the world the true Light, enlighten and direct upon the way us who walk in the darkness of the passions, O Mary Bride of God, who gavest birth to the Way for the human race.

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

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

The Faith was not planted nor piety rooted in Rus, O holy hierarch Michael, until thou, as a most wise husbandman, didst plough up the barren ground of polytheism, deepening the steadfast confession of the knowledge of God.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Illumined by light from on high, the great Vladimir, receiving thee like a radiant beam, O hierarch of God, brought thee to the land of Rus, which was darkened by idolatry, that there the people might be enlightened by thy coming and be brought to knowledge by thy confession of the steadfast Faith.

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

Christ God, the Sun of righteousness, revealed thee, O Michael, to the land of Rus as a ray of splendour, and, illumining it with the regeneration of the font of baptism, thou didst bring to the Master a new people, restored through the confession of the good Faith.

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

Our true God, the Sun of righteousness, borrowing flesh from thee, O Virgin Mary, shone forth upon the world and utterly destroyed the darkness of polytheism. Illumine me with light, O Virgin Mary, who am darkened by despondency, and guide me to the path of goodly works.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII: With the axe of the teaching of the Gospel thou didst fell the graven idols, and overthrowing their temples thou didst plant piety. And the city of Kiev, adorned therewith, crieth out to thee with love: Rejoice, O Michael, first enthroned of the hierarchs of Rus!

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, in Tone VIII: O thou who hast delivered from barbaric slavery those who chant unto thee “Rejoice!”, rescue us from slavery to the alien, root out idolatrous passions from our thoughts, and plant therein the right-mindedness of the fear of God; for thou art the cause, beginning and fulfilment of all that is good.

Ode IV, 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.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Sensing thee, the servant of Christ and steward of piety, O holy hierarch, the idols bitterly lamented their destruction; but the people, renewed through baptism, were filled with gladness, celebrating a splendid festival in the Lord.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

When thou, O father, didst arrive at the mountains of Kiev, Perun, the foremost idol, was cast down and dragged away by horses, and the rest of the graven images trembled with fear. But the people chanted, celebrating the day of their regeneration.

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

People of every age and gender, who before were darkened, came to the River Dnieper for enlightenment, a countless multitude with thee at its head. And having administered to them the laver of regeneration, thou didst guide them to the knowledge of God, O Michael, holy hierarch of God.

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

All generations call thee blessed O Mary our Queen, and we, blessing thee with hymns, bow down before thy countenance, depicted upon thine icon, and celebrate a splendid feast in memory of thy holy hierarch.

Ode V, 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.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

The newly-baptized people, illumined by the light of God, cried out with thee, O Michael: O Christ God, grant that we may behold Thee alone, the Word of God, Who dost rescue us from the darkness of the madness of idolatry!

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

When Joshua son of Nun bore the ark around the walls of Jericho, they tumbled down; and when thou camest forth with the Cross, O holy hierarch, the idols likewise fell. And the people glorified Thee, the Word of God, O Christ, who dost rescue mankind from the darkness of unbelief.

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

Clothed by thee through the font of baptism, the city of Kiev is adorned even to this day, O holy hierarch; and it beareth upon its shoulders the precious Gospel of Christ, as it were coins of gold. And we, kissing it, glorify the Word of God Who hath rescued us from the darkness of sin.

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

We are all adorned by thy beauty, O Mary Bride of God, for thou art truly beauteous. And desiring thy beauty, the Most High united Himself to thy flesh: God became a man, for thy sake deifying us who had fallen into corruption, O pure Virgin.

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

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Like Moses thou didst cut through the fetid sea of the madness of idolatry with the staff of the Cross, O hierarch Michael; and cleansing the people with the water of the vision of God, thou hast led into harbour those who chant: Glory to Thee, O greatly merciful Christ!

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

The land of Rus, which of old had gone astray and was not established in the Faith, hath now come to the vision of God, guided by thee, O hierarch Michael; and having received the ring of adoption, it rejoiceth, crying aloud: Glory to Thee, O my greatly merciful Christ!

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

Having subdued in the land of Rus the people who raged in their unbelief and imposed upon them the yoke of obedience to the Church, O Michael, thou didst bring many labourers to the vineyard of the heavenly Master. Make us also wise husbandmen, O holy one, for we offer thee praise this day.

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

Tame thou the passions which rage within me, and impose upon me the yoke of humility, O Theotokos, that I may labour the rest of my days therein and find mercy on the day of judgment.

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 II: Thou wast shown to be a second Moses for Rus, O father, * bearing the noetic grapes from the Egypt of idolatry * to the land foreseen by prophecy, which said: * The Faith will be established in this land, * and on the peaks of the mountains of Kiev will the Fruit which nourisheth the whole world * be exalted higher than Lebanon! ** And tasting thereof, we bless thee, O Michael, thou hierarch of God.

Ikos: Having brought the scattered people together into one understanding of the vision of God, and washed away by baptism the old blindness of the land of Rus, thou didst illumine it by the Cross. And having taught it to glorify the most holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the most Holy Spirit, thou didst make it a reason-endowed flock of Christ God, and standing with faith before Him to this day, it crieth out: Deliver from every evil circumstance the city and people who bless thee, O Michael, thou hierarch of God!

Ode VII, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace bedew 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.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

By thee, O holy hierarch, was Rus washed with the dew-giving water of grace, and the scales fell away from its noetic eyes in the holy font. It recognised the one Creator, and crieth out with faith: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

When thou wast filled with gladness after baptism, O city of Kiev, the abominable idols lamented. And the idol Perun, which was the first of them to be dragged away, cried out bitterly. Wherefore, the people, acknowledging their former error, cried out with thee, O Michael: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Placing the golden ring of the new grace upon the hand of Rus, O hierarch Michael, thou didst betroth her, the Church of the nations, as a pure bride unto Christ. And spiritually rejoicing to this day, she crieth aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

O pure Virgin, we call thee the golden ring, adorned as with a precious diamond by Christ’s union with the flesh. Wherefore, we cry out with love: Blessed art thou alone, whose Son is the God of our fathers!

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

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Snatching the land of Rus land from the flame of the deception of idolatry, O most wise one, thou didst bedew it with the dew of baptism, and it no longer yearneth to return to its old ways, but supremely exalteth Christ and thee, its pastor, throughout the ages.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Disposing all things well for the newly-elect people, thou didst ordain pastors and teachers for the cities; and having thereby made provision for the newly-chosen flock, thou thyself didst depart unto Christ God, the Chief Shepherd, to reign with Him throughout the ages.

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

Much weeping and lamentation didst thou cause the city of Kiev by thy departure, O father; but the Jerusalem on high, taking thee to its bosom, rejoiced. And living there, forget not thy flock, but pray that it may dwell with thee throughout the ages.

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

Much gladness and joy do I cause the demons by my evil deeds, and thus much grief also to my guardian. O pure Mary, Mother of Christ God, guide me to repentance, that they may weep and mine angel may find joy, and me with him throughout the ages.

Ode IX, 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.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Like a palm-tree didst thou flourish in the house of God, O father, and thou didst show forth the incorruption of thy relics like fruit unto all; wherefore, we the people, understanding from this that thou standest before Christ, magnify thee with hymns.

Holy Hierarch, Michael, pray to God for us.

Like a fragrant cedar dost thou spread thy perfume, O holy hierarch, and delightest those who bow down before thee. Fill us also with the sweet savour of thy prayers, for we magnify thy memory with hymns.

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

We magnify the choir of the holy hierarchs of Rus and the council of those who love the feasts of the Church. Haste ye together to the holy cave, ye pastors of the Chief Shepherd! Ye people, with us honour your father with hymns! For today we magnify his memory.

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

All creation hymneth thee, O Virgin, as her who passed through all the gates of heaven and standeth at the right hand of the fiery throne. Grant that we also may stand at the right hand of thy Son, for with hymns do we magnify thee and Him Who was born of thee.

Troparion, in Tone IV: Today hath the prophecy of the first-called apostle been fulfilled, * for, lo! on these mountains grace hath shone forth and the faith hath increased. * And those who had grown old through unbelief have found rebirth * through the divine font and became a renewed people, * a holy priesthood, a hallowed nation, the flock of Christ. * And thou wast shown to be His first pastor, * in that thou didst first serve Him by baptism. * Standing now before Christ God the Master, * pray thou that all the children of Rus may be saved; * for thou art possessed of boldness, ** as a hierarch and sacred minister of God.

The Week Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters,

I would like to thank all who contributed to Sunday’s Liturgy, in which we had the joy of welcoming sisters from Cheltenham and Bristol.

It was lovely to have George and Oswald back from Greece, where – together with Alexander – they bought the parish a beautiful icon of the holy wonderworkers of Evia: Saints David, Iakovos and John the Russian. We will sort a kiot in which to place the icon for veneration at next Sunday’s Liturgy.

It was a joy and a relief to be able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, after two weeks of simply communing from the reserved Holy Gifts, especially as it was the feast of the repose of St John the Theologian. Being able to honour St John in a sanctuary dedicated to his memory was a great blessing.

Having celebrated the dedication of St John’s, we look forward to our own altar feast less than a month away, when will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in St Mary Butetown on the day itself – 4thNovember, New Style – chanting the Hours at 10:30, with the Liturgy following at 11:00. We will also continue our celebration the feast the following Sunday, when we can all be together in St John’s, and I hope that we can coordinate food for a suitably festal parish lunch that day.

This coming Friday we are sadly unable to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Protecting Veil due to lack of somewhere to liturgize, but we will chant a moleben in honour of the feast in St Mary’s Church at 19:00 in the evening, followed by a spiritual talk, rather than catechesis.

I will also hear confessions on Friday and requests should reach me by Wednesday evening. May I ask anyone both confessing and coming to the service to indicate this, as I hope to have afternoon confessions for anyone not staying in the evening.

Sadly, I must raise one negative issue, after several complaints from parishioners regarding talking during services, with this being a matter ofrepeatoffenders.

Several people were talking during the moleben to St John, and it often transpires that some parishioners fail to understand that our Sunday worship is already under way with the commencing of the Hours. This is the payer of the Church, not a window for socialising until the ‘real’ service starts.

The matter is very simple… 

We chant, ‘Let us lay aside all earthly cares.’ If you are unwilling to do this whilst in Church, you are in the wrong place at this time on a Sunday.

I look forward to next Sunday’s Liturgy, after which there will be a baptism at 14:00 – our third child baptism in the last month, with several more baptisms of rather older people yet to come.

May God bless you, and the week ahead of you.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Canon to the Holy, Right-Believing Prince Wenceslaus

Ode I, 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.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

O ye faithful, with joy let us join chorus, hymning the Savior with radiant souls, on the most wondrous memorial of Wenceslaus, the servant of Christ!

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Slain unjustly like an innocent lamb, thou didst emulate the sufferings of the Master, O glorious one; wherefore, thou dost now rejoice with the choirs of the martyrs, O thou who art blessed of God.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Receiving a death which won thee life, thou standest now in glory before the Master of all. Pray thou that we who keep thy most wondrous memory may also obtain it, O holy one.

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

Who can tell of the countless wonders which thou workest in the world, O glorious one? For thou dost continually grant healing in abundance unto all the faithful.

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

O Sovereign Lady, raise me up who have fallen among thieves through my soul-destroying deeds and am drowning in death. I pray thee: Entreat thy Son and God for me.

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

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst ever burn with Christian love for the Holy Church, O most blessed one, where, like an innocent lamb, thou didst look forward to thine unjust slaughter.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Adorned with thy most splendid blood, thy Church emitteth the radiant beams of miracles, hymning thy memory, O right glorious one.

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

Enlightened from childhood by the rays of the Trinity, O venerable one, thou didst become an heir of Christ. Him do thou entreat, that He send peace unto our souls.

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

Thy divine birthgiving doth transcend every other miracle, O pure one; for, having conceived in thy womb and given birth unto the transcendent God, thou didst remain Ever-virgin.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

Sessional Hymn, Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: Seeking to prevent thee from ascending thy throne, the enemies of the Orthodox Faith murdered thy pious grandmother, the saintly Lyudmila, that she might no longer guide thee with Christian counsel; yet so well grounded wast thou by her in reverence for things divine and in love for Christ, that her martyrdom in nowise moved thee from thy sacred purpose, and the wiles of thine enemies served only to strengthen thee in thy resolve, and to gain for the Holy Church another martyr in heaven.

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: All we, the generations of mankind, * call thee blessed, * in that thou art the Virgin who alone among women * hast given birth without seed unto God in the flesh; * for the fire of the Godhead made its abode within thee, * and thou didst feed the Creator and Lord * with milk as an infant. * Wherefore, we, the race of mankind and of angels, * glorify thy birthgiving, * and together we cry out to thee: * Entreat Christ God to grant forgiveness of sins ** unto those who with faith worship thy most holy Offspring.

Ode IV, 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.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Lovingly raised in the pure Faith from childhood, by thy pure works thou didst lovingly follow the Master and put His false enemy to shame by thy hope.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Shining with radiance, O holy Wenceslaus, by thy supplications enlighten those who are darkened by sins, for with the choirs of the martyrs thou hast boldness to pray for us.

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

Cut down by the sword, O invincible saint, thou didst cut down the wicked foe with the sword of patience; wherefore, thou hast received a crown from the hand of the Almighty.

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

Truly the mysteries of thy divine birthgiving are ineffable and unattainable for those on earth and those in heaven, O Ever-virgin Theotokos.

Ode V, 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.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Having received through thy sufferings the life which is devoid of pain, O all- praised and holy Wenceslaus, thou hast been shown to be a help for all who suffer and with faith call upon thee for aid.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

With the most radiant beams of thy miracles thou hast enlightened the north, the south and the west more than the sun, O blessed one; wherefore, illumine us who celebrate thy memory, O saint.

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

Thou wast a helper of those amid misfortunes, the sustainer of the poor, and the comfort of the grieving; wherefore, even after thy death, O holy one, thou dost deliver all who with faith call upon thee for help.

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

O good Sovereign Lady of the world, save those who with all their soul confess thee to be the Theotokos; for we have thee, who art truly the Theotokos, as our help, O immaculate one.

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

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Having acquired a pure life through fasting, O most wondrous Wenceslaus, thou hast been revealed to be a fellow citizen with the angels. With them pray thou for the salvation of our souls.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Forsaking a transitory earthly princedom, and receiving a royal adornment from the right hand of the Master, thou didst acquire through corruptible things that which is eternal, in that thou art wise.

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

O holy one, accept praise from the accursed lips of one who is unable to fashion worthy praises for thee, and entreat the merciful God, that He grant us great mercy.

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

O most pure Lady who for mortals gave birth to the Helmsman and Lord, confound my wicked lusts, and grant serenity unto my heart.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice)

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 I, Spec. Mel.“The choir of the angels …”: Standing with the choirs of the angels, * O blessed Prince Wenceslaus, * thou delightest in divine and ineffable goodness; * and drawing thence the goodly gifts of miracles, * thou pourest forth abundant cures upon all ** who with faith flee to thy holiness.

Ikos: Great is the consternation of the enemy of our salvation! For, seeking to destroy the Christian Faith which was planted in Bohemia by the pious Borivoy and the holy Lyudmila, he instilled within the accursed Prince Boleslaus the treacherous intention to murder his godly brother, the holy Prince Wenceslaus, and thus unjustly to seize his throne. Yet the Savior bestowed upon His martyr so great an abundance of the grace of miracles that the people of Bohemia were amazed and hastened to be enlightened. Thus the machinations of the devil were utterly foiled, and the Holy Orthodox Church grew and thrived. And even to this day the precious relics of the martyr pour forth an abundance of cures upon all who with faith flee to his holiness.

Ode VII, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace bedew 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.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

The ancient malefactor envied thy sacred life and incited the mindless brigand to slay thee; but with a pure conscience thou didst unceasingly cry out to thy Creator: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Prague, thy most glorious city, danceth with gladness today, honoring thy memory, and, radiantly emitting thy miracles, it calleth the whole land to cry aloud: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Through the deception of the wicked one, of old the ground was stained by the hand of Cain, who slew his own brother; but sprinkled now with blood, it offereth sacrifices of sweet savor unto Christ, crying: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Through thee, O Virgin, Light hath shone forth upon those in darkness, for thou hast given birth to the Creator and God of all. Him do thou beseech, O most pure one, that He ever send down great mercy upon us, the faithful.

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

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Sanctified from on high by rays of grace, O most glorious one, thou didst shine forth more brightly than the sun in the land of Bohemia with the beauties of gladness, supremely exalting Christ throughout the ages.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Receiving thy holy body today, O blessed one, Prague, thine all-praised city, proclaimeth thy most wondrous miracles unto all the world, supremely exalting Christ throughout the ages.

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

Adorned with meekness and illumined with a proper understanding of Orthodoxy, O most wondrous one, thou wast truly shown to be a herald of the most holy Trinity, supremely exalting Christ throughout the ages.

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

Thou didst ineffably conceive and give birth unto the Transcendent One, the Word, the Bestower of light, Who is begotten of Light, O Virgin, for the Spirit of God made His abode within thee. Wherefore, we hymn thee, O pure one, throughout all ages.

Ode IX, 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.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Thou wast deemed worthy of great grace, O glorious one, and hast illumined the whole world, granting healings in abundance unto all.

Holy, right-believing prince,Wenceslaus, pray to God for us.

Accept the joy of the angels, O holy one, and, standing before thy Creator, pray for us who magnify thee.

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

Thou hast now received blessed repose, O most glorious one. Cease thou never to pray that those who magnify thee may continually share in holy blessedness.

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

O Virgin Theotokos, who after the word of the archangel hast given birth to thy Creator in a manner beyond all telling, entreat Him, that our souls be saved.

Troparion, in Tone IV: Today angels and men share a common joy. * Heaven and earth join together in splendid chorus for thy memorial, O holy one. * And we sinners earnestly cry aloud unto thee: * Pray thou to the Master on our behalf, * that from dangers and from visible and invisible foes, * He may deliver us ** who honor thine all-honored memory.

The Feast of St John the Theologian

O beloved apostle of Christ God, haste thou to deliver a defenceless people. He Who permitted thee to recline against His breast receiveth thee, prostrate in supplication. Him do thou beseech, O theologian, that He dispel the gloom of the nations which doth beset us, asking for us peace and great mercy.

Dear brother and sisters,

It was a special blessing to honour the Holy Glorious Apostle St John the Theologian today, and to celebrate the feast of his repose in St John’s Church – our spiritual-home dedicated to his glorious memory – with the joy of welcoming sisters from our Cheltenham mission and our sister-parish in Bristol.

Having already celebrated his memory during the Liturgy, at the dismissal a litia was offered before St John’s icon, with the blessing of bread and koliva in his honour.

The megalynaria to the saint summed up so much of what I tried to express in the homily: that a true theologian is one who like St John rests on the bosom of Christ, loving and remaining with Him not only in peace and tranquillity, but also through trials and tribulations, abandoning attachment to the things of the world to follow Him wholeheartedly, with constancy and total dedication.

It was in this bond of love and devotion that God’s Grace communicated spiritual truths and the purist and deepest theology to the fisherman-turned-disciple, who with the other apostles was made most-wise – not through religious studying and academic labours, but through the knowledge communicated by the Saviour who taught us, “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.

St John was called theologian, not because he knew about God, but because he knew God, saw Him and entered into the deepest of mysteries through the purity of a heart devoted and consecrated to Christ.

The Evangelist not only recorded the life and teachings of the Saviour, but also entered into the mystery of eternity before the creation the world, as God revealed the profoundest dogmas, so that St John could could speak of Christ the Ancient of Days and say with confidence, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

More than this, divine-revelation opened his spiritual-eyes to the last things, yet to come, as the Lord revealed the end of time in the Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos, where John saw Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, Who is and was, and is to come.

Even for us, despite our weakness and inconstancy, it is through the deepest relationships between the Christian and Christ that the simplest, most unlettered and uneducated people are filled with true theology and surpass the wisest of this world. This realisation and knowledge must spur us on to struggle for the true gnosis/knowledge which Christ communicates to those who follow Him.

Like St John, let us fervently abandon our ‘nets and boats’, and follow Christ, leaning on His breast, that we may receive the illumination of the Divine light, become recipients of true wisdom and heralds of true theology.

Holy apostle and evangelist John the Theologian, pray to God for us!

Святы́й апо́столе и евангели́сте Иоа́нне, моли́ Бо́га о на́с!

May God bless you and have mercy, through the prayers of the Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle and evangelist John the Theologian and all the saints.

In Christ – Fr Mark

 

S prazdnikom: Greetings for the Feast of St Sergei!

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings as we celebrate the memory of our Venerable Father, Sergei, the Wonderworker of Radonezh, the “Abbot of All Russia”, cherished among our monastic saints, with his shrine in the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra as the visible sign of his place in the piety, spirituality, faith and hearts of the Russian Orthodox faithful.

Egypt had St Athony the Great and the God-bearing fathers of the Thebaid; Palestine had St Savas; Athos had St Athanasius the Athonite; Kievan Rus had Saints Anthony and Feodosy; and as the father of Muscovite monasticism St Sergei embodies the ascetic life of the forested desert to which he and his brother monastics fled to escape the world and climb to heaven, becoming earthly-angels and heavenly men.

All of the venerable fathers and mothers call us to the struggle of Christian living, in as much the podvig they embraced should be reflected in the lives of ALL Christians: non-acquisitiveness, stability, prayer, fasting, continence and watchfulness of body, mind and soul.

Their lives were a prism that focussed the characteristics that should be manifest in our own lives, in which we too, like them, should struggle so that the likeness of Christ might not only be restored in us, but touch the world with the light and life that finds its origin in Him Who is our eternal Light and Life.

Across the centuries, across borders, languages and cultures, St Sergei calls us all to holiness, which is the calling of all who have been baptised into Christ. With him and all of the saints, let us put on Christ: alleluia.

Venerable and God-bearing Father, Sergei, pray to God for us!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

St Nikander of Pskov

Saint Nίkander of Pskov was born on July 24, 1507 into a peasant family in the village of Videlebo in the land of Pskov. His parents were called Philip and Anastasia, and in Holy Baptism, he was named Nikon.

From childhood he dreamed of continuing the ascetical contests of his fellow villager, Saint Euphrósynos of the Spaso-Eleazar Monastery (May 15), who lived in the Pskov wilderness. The first of Nikon’s family to enter the Monastery was his older brother Arsenios. After the death of his father, the seventeen-year-old Nikon was able to convince his mother to dispose of her property and enter a convent, where she lived until her repose.

After visiting Pskov’s monasteries and venerating the relics of Saint Euphrósynos and his disciple Saint Savva of Krypetsk (August 28), Nikon was firmly convinced of his calling to the monastic life.

In order to be able to read the Word of God, Nikon went to work for a resident of Pskov, whose name was Philip. He rewarded Nikon’s diligence by sending him to study with an experienced teacher. Seeing the young man’s zeal, the Lord Himself guided him to the place of his podvig.1 While praying in one of the Pskov churches, he heard a voice from the altar commanding him to go to a place in the wilderness, which the Lord would show him through His servant Theodore. The peasant Theodore led him off to the Demyanka River, between Pskov and Porkhov. Afterward, both Philip and Theodore, who helped him attain his goal, would become monks as well. They were tonsured at Krypetsk Monastery with the names Philaret and Theodosios.

After several years of silence and strict asceticism, emaciating his flesh, Nikon went to the Monastery founded by Saint Savva of Krypetsk. The Igoumen, seeing his weakened body, would not agree to accept him right away, fearing that the difficulties of monastic life would be too much for him. Nikon bowed down before the tomb of Saint Savva, and spoke to him as if he were alive, entreating him to accept him into his Monastery. The Igoumen relented and tonsured Nikon with the name Nίkander.

Saint Nίkander endured many temptations and sorrows on his path of asceticism. Blessed Nicholas (February 28) while still at Pskov predicted Father Nίkander’s trials in the wilderness. Through the prayers of all the Pskov Saints, as well as those of Saint Alexander of Svir (August 30 and April 17), who appeared to him twice, guiding and strengthening him, Father Nίkander was able to avoid all the manifold snares of the Evil One, by the grace of God.

He overcame the weakness of his flesh, as well as human failings, and diabolical apparitions by the power of prayer. On one occasion he was almost killed by robbers, who stole the only and most precious property for an anchorite – books and icons. By the Saint’s prayers, two of them, frightened by the sudden death of their comrade, repented of their wicked deeds and the Elder forgave them.

Saint Nίkander did not remain very long at Krypetsk Monastery, and obtained a blessing to return to his own wilderness. Later, he came to live at Krypetsk Monastery again, where he fulfilled the obediences of ecclesiarch and cellarer. Then he went into the wilderness once more and lived there in fasting and prayer, meditating on the Word of God.

Once a year, during Great Lent, Saint Nίkander visited the Damianov Monastery, where he made his confession and received the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Eight years before his death, he was tonsured into the Great Schema. Many people began coming to him in order to benefit from his counsels, because according to Saint John of the Ladder: “Angels are a light for monks, and the monastic life is a light for all mankind” (Step 26:31). Thus, the faithful turned to Saint Nikander for help, for the Lord had bestowed many gifts of grace upon him.

This dweller in the wilderness took care of all the needs of the visitors and even built a guest house for them, for which he provided heat. The Saint did not permit himself to reveal his spiritual gifts. People sometimes heard him praying in his cell with bitter tears. When he was aware of people nearby, he prayed silently, concealing from them the gift of tears which he had received.

Until the end of his life, Saint Nίkander remained an anchorite in the wilderness, but he left instructions that after his repose, the place of his podvig would not be forsaken, promising his protection to those who would live in a future monastery. The Saint gave his final instructions to Deacon Peter of the Porkhov convent, charging him to build a church at his grave, and to transfer the icon of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos there from the Tishanka church cemetery.

He knew the day of his own death, predicting that he would die when enemies invaded the land, and he foretold this imminent assault. On September 24, 1581, during an invasion by the army of the Polish king Stephen Bathory, a certain peasant found Saint Nίkander dead. He lay on his bed with his hands crossed on his chest. The clergy and those who revered him came from Pskov, among whom was Deacon Peter, and they performed the service of Christian burial.

In 1584, at the place which Saint Nίkander sanctified by almost half a century of prayer, a monastery was established by a monk named Isaiah, and was known as the Annunciation – Nikandrov Hermitage. Father Isaiah had been healed of a foot ailment after praying to the Saint.

The glorification of Saint Nίkander Nikander took place under Patriarch Joachim in 1696, and festal celebrations were appointed for September 24, the day of his repose; on June 29, the uncovering of his holy relics during the reconstruction of the Monastery’s cathedral church; and on the Monastery’s temple Feast (the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos). Saint Nίkander is also commemorated on the third Sunday after Pentecost, the Synaxis of the Saints of Novgorod and Pskov (movable Feast).

Troparion, Tone 6: Thou hast become a luminary of unwaning light for our land, blessed by God, / and didst valiantly endure tribulations from the Enemy. / Thy beatings and wounds became for thee a garment of incorruption, / for thou didst fight the beasts, and wast wounded by robbers. / Thou didst pray for them, saying, / “Impute not this sin to them,” / thereby becoming like the Master, Christ. / O Father Nίkander, worthy of glory, pray for our souls.

Kontakion, Tone 1: Christ hath shown thee as the dawning of the sun, O venerable one, / for thou shinest in the Russian land with the grace of miracles, / dispersing the darkness of suffering and sorrow for those who come to thee in faith. / Therefore, we honor thy memory, O Father Nίkander, and we cry out to thee: / “Rejoice, adornment of ascetics, the glory and strength of our land.”