The Advent Journey With the Saints: the Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos

Wednesday December 9/22: the Commemoration of the Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos by Saint Anna

Saint Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married Saint Joachim (September 9), who was a native of Galilee.

For a long time Saint Anna was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents of a daughter, Who would bring blessings to the whole human race.

The Orthodox Church does not accept the teaching that the Mother of God was exempted from the consequences of ancestral sin (death, corruption, sin, etc.) at the moment of her conception by virtue of the future merits of Her Son. Only Christ was born perfectly holy and sinless, as Saint Ambrose of Milan teaches in Chapter Two of his Commentary on Luke. The Holy Virgin was like everyone else in Her mortality, and in being subject to temptation, although She committed no personal sins. She was not a deified creature removed from the rest of humanity. If this were the case, She would not have been truly human, and the nature that Christ took from Her would not have been truly human either. If Christ does not truly share our human nature, then the possibility of our salvation is in doubt.

The Conception of the Virgin Mary by Saint Anna took place at Jerusalem. The many icons depicting the Conception by Saint Anna show the Most Holy Theotokos trampling the serpent underfoot.

“In the icon Saints Joachim and Anna are usually depicted with hands folded in prayer; their eyes are also directed upward and they contemplate the Mother of God, Who stands in the air with outstretched hands; under Her feet is an orb encircled by a serpent (symbolizing the devil), which strives to conquer all the universe by its power.”

There are also icons in which Saint Anna holds the Most Holy Virgin on her left arm as an infant. On Saint Anna’s face is a look of reverence. A large ancient icon, painted on canvas, is located in the village of Minkovetsa in the Dubensk district of Volhynia diocese. From ancient times this Feast was especially venerated by pregnant women in Russia.

Source: https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2010/12/09/103506-the-conception-by-righteous-anna-of-the-most-holy-mother-of-god

Two canons of the holy and righteous Anna.

Canon I, composition of Andrew, in Tone I.

Ode I, Irmos: Let us all chant a triumphant hymn unto God * Who wrought wondrous miracles * with His upraised arm, * and saved Israel, * for He hath been glorified.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

O divinely wise Anna, we celebrate thy conception today, for, loosed of the bonds of barrenness, thou didst conceive her who contained Him Who is in nowise contained.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Thou didst hearken to the supplication of the righteous ones, didst fulfil the vow of Thy holy forebears, O Lord, and didst give them a fruit: the pure one who gave Thee birth.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

The glorious Anna now conceiveth the pure one who conceived the supremely good, incorporeal Lord, and who will give birth in the flesh unto Christ.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

From a corruptible womb didst thou shine forth, O Virgin, for in thine incorrupt womb thou didst bear the Sun of glory Who became as we are, save for change and confusion.

Canon II, the acrostic whereof is the alphabet, in the same tone.

Irmos: Christ is born, render ye glory. * Christ cometh from heaven, meet ye Him. * Christ is on earth, be ye exalted. * O all the earth, sing unto the Lord, * and sing praises in gladness, O ye people, * for He hath been glorified.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Anna, receiving in her womb the pure Virgin and divine Maiden who will become the Mother of the Creator, cried out with joy: “All ye tribes of Israel, rejoice with me! For, behold! I have conceived!”

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

Anna, holding in her womb the book which the prophet foretold, which was sealed by the divine Spirit, cried out to all: “All the scriptures proclaim her! I am magnified, putting her forth this day!”

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

The temple of the divine Saviour is contained and formed in her mother’s womb.  The ladder is set up which leadeth all men on high, whose conception we celebrate with faith.

Ode III, Canon I, Irmos: Let my heart be established in Thy will O Christ God, * Who hath established a second heaven over the waters, * and founded the earth upon the waters, * O all-powerful One.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Anna cried to the Lord: “If Thou wilt grant fruit to my womb, I shall be magnified, and will offer it to Thee.” Therefore, she conceived the pure Mother of God.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Having observed the provisions of the law and served God blamelessly, O most honourable Anna, thou truly bearest in thy womb her who wilt give birth unto the Giver of the law. Wherefore, we, the faithful, call thee blessed.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

When thou didst pray in the garden, thou didst hear the voice of the Most High, O divinely wise Anna; and He gaveth fruit to thy womb: the portal which by grace shall open paradise.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Dispel all the barrenness of my fruitless mind, and show forth my soul to be fruitful in the virtues, O all-holy Theotokos, thou help of the faithful.

Canon II, Irmos: To the Son who was begotten of the Father * without change before all ages, * and in the last times, without seed, was made flesh of the Virgin, * to Christ our God let us cry aloud: * Thou hast raised up our horn, holy art Thou, O Lord.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Entreating the Lord, Joachim receiveth from on high the message he desired when an angel appeared before him and said: “Depart, O righteous man, for the God of all hath fulfilled thy petitions.”

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

Calling upon the God of all, Anna once, standing in the garden, beheld an angel, who appeared before her, saying: “Be thou not downcast, for thou shalt become the mother of the Mother of God!”

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

When thou, O Anna, full of zeal, didst offer up supplications to God, thou didst
conceive in thy womb the pure one who without seed hast received the infinite Word, and thou hast imparted grace to us all in thy fertility.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “O Thou Who wast lifted up upon the Cross …”: The sacred Joachim and Anna offered a gift to the priests of old, but it was not accepted, for they were barren; but they made entreaty to the Giver of all things, and, hearkening to their prayer, He granteth them the Tree of Life, whose holy conception we honour.

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

Spec. Mel. “Joseph marvelled …”: The divinely adorned Mary, the unblemished ewe-lamb and most pure bridal-chamber, now most gloriously beginneth to issue forth from the righteous ones, O ye faithful. Be glad henceforth, O heaven and earth; and all ye born on earth, exult! For this day hath God wrought most glorious things, showing forth in the womb the one Virgin, the fruit of a barren woman. Her do we hymn with faith.

Ode IV, Canon I, Irmos: Foreseeing in the Spirit O Prophet Habbakuk, * the incarnation of the Word, * thou didst proclaim, crying aloud: * When the years draw nigh, Thou shalt be known; * when the season cometh, Thou shalt be shown forth! * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

“O the divine proclamation! O the strange report, if I shall conceive!” Anna cried out, amazed, to the angel who was sent to her. “Glory be to my God, Who hath wrought marvellous things!”

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

“Rejoice with me, all ye tribes of Israel! I have conceived in my womb a new heaven, from which Jesus, the Bestower of life, shall in time shine forth!” Anna cried, rejoicing.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

God hearkened to the sighs of Anna; the Lord attended to her supplication and, dispelling the cloud of her childlessness, He most gloriously illumineth her with the light of fertility. Wherefore, she conceiveth her who alone is pure.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Virgin Theotokos, undefiled tabernacle, with the most pure sprinkling of the compassions cleanse me now who have been defiled by transgressions, and grant me a helping hand, that I may cry: glory to thee, O pure and divinely glorious one!

Canon II, Irmos: Rod of the root of Jesse, * and flower that blossomed from his stem, * O Christ, Thou hast sprung from the Virgin. * From the Mountain overshadowed by the forest * Thou hast come, made flesh from her that knew not wedlock, * O God who art not formed from matter. * Glory to Thy power, O Lord.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Thy womb, which before bore no children, hath been opened, O Anna, and receiveth the heavenly cloud, from whence the radiant Sun, shining forth upon us, hath illumined all with the light of truth and driven away the profound darkness of ungodliness.

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

The fiery throne of God hath been set up in thy womb, O blessed Anna, acceptable to God, and, seated thereon, He hath rested and taken away the labours of all the pious; and He hath planted the pure knowledge of God on earth.

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

Behold, thou hast received in thy womb the bower which Solomon described beforehand, most truly preserved for the true King, for the divine restoration and conversion of the human race. Wherefore, O Anna, we bless thee with joy.

Ode V, Canon, Irmos: Grant us Thy peace, O Son of God, * for we know no other God than Thee, * and we call upon Thy Name, * for Thou art the God of the living and the dead.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Springing forth from the root of Jesse and David, Anna now beginneth to put forth the divine shoot which shall give rise to Christ, the mystic Flower, the Creator of all.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

“The people look upon me who am become a mother, and marvel;” Anna cried, “for, lo! I shall give birth, as is the good pleasure of Him Who loosed the bonds of my barrenness!”

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

“The voices of the prophets proclaimed from afar the Maiden whom I have conceived, to be the mountain and the impassable gate!” Anna cried out most joyfully to those who came to her.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O pure Virgin Mother, we know thee to be the cloud, paradise and portal of light, the fleece, the jar bearing Manna within, the sweetness of the world.

Canon II, Irmos: As Thou art the God of peace and Father of compassions, * Thou hast sent unto us Thine Angel of great counsel, * granting us peace. * Wherefore guided towards the light of the knowledge of God, * and watching by night we glorify Thee, * O Lover of mankind.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Joachim descended from the mountain, not receiving tablets of the law, but her whom the law prefigured and whom all the sayings of the prophets revealed the Mother of God. And, dancing, he cried aloud: “My heart hath been magnified!”

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

When Anna felt in her womb the divinely fruitful branch which had been planted there, from whom the ripe Cluster would blossom forth which abundantly poureth forth upon us the wine of immortality, she exclaimed: “What shall I render unto Thee, O compassionate Lord?”

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

Joachim, unable to endure the sight of creation bereft of piety, prayed that the barrenness of Anna might pass, and that she would conceive that Maiden to whom a Son would be given; the Most Exalted One Who bringeth about the adoption of all to His Father.

Ode VI, Canon I, Irmos: Emulating the Prophet Jonah, I cry aloud: * Free Thou my life from corruption, O Good One; * and save me who crieth out: * O Saviour of the world, Glory be to Thee!

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

How can she who contained God in her womb be contained? How can she who gave birth unto Christ in the flesh be born? How can she who nourished the Creator with milk take nourishment at a woman’s breast?

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Hearkening unto your entreaty, O all-praised Joachim and Anna, God this day doth now grant you fertile fruit.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Having conceived the pure dove in her womb, Anna was truly filled with spiritual joy, offering hymns of thanksgiving unto God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The threefold waves of wicked thoughts, the assaults of the passions and the abyss of sins bestorm my wretched soul. Help me, O holy Lady!

Canon II, Irmos: The sea monster spat forth Jonah as it had received him, * like a babe from the womb: * while the Word, having dwelt in the Virgin and taken flesh, * came forth from her yet kept her incorrupt. * For being Himself not subject to decay. * He preserved His Mother free from all harm.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

“The shadows of the law are manifestly transcended; for, lo! the ray of divine grace is shown forth: the cloud who is the Virgin, from whence the radiant Sun of the Godhead shall truly shine forth!” Anna cried out, rejoicing and magnifying the God of Israel.

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

“A strange sight will it be if I, who before was barren and childless, conceive,” Anna said when she heard the angel announce that she would give birth to a child; and she cried aloud: “Better than any good report will be the fulfilment of thy words!”

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

Let the mountains and hills, the fields and the sea, the multitude of the angels and all human nature be glad; for Anna received the divine temple of the Master, the beginning of our reconciliation. And when she sensed that she had conceived, she cried aloud.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast appeared today …”: Today the whole world doth celebrate Anna’s conceiving, * which was brought about by God; ** for she gave birth unto her who ineffably gave birth unto the Word.

Ikos: The wondrous Joachim and the divinely wise Anna, living together in all piety according to the law of Moses, were childless; and they prayed to God with all their heart, saying: “O supremely good Lord of hosts, Thou help of all: Thou knowest the pain, reproach and grief of childlessness. Wherefore, grant us fruit of the womb, and Ye will bring to Thy temple as a; sacred gift and perfect offering her who ineffably giveth birth unto the Word!”

Ode VII, Canon I, Irmos: Thy children who were in the furnace O Saviour, * were neither touched nor troubled by the fire. * Whereupon the three sang, as with a single mouth * Thy praises and blessed Thee, saying: * ‘O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou.’

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Anna entreated the Master of all, that she might escape the reproach of childlessness; and, hearkening unto her pitiful cry, He granted her as fruit her who gave birth to Him, as was His good pleasure.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

O Anna, the weaving of a robe of royal purple beginneth in thy womb, wherewith God, the King of all, having clothed Himself, appeareth unto men and layeth low the enemies which war against us.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

In thy womb, O Anna, didst thou conceive the fragrant myrrh who, in a manner transcending nature, received the Master, the Myrrh of life, Who perfumeth our thoughts with the wafted scents of grace.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

We glorify Thee as One of the Trinity, O Christ; for, incarnate of the Virgin without change, Thou didst assume full humanity, without separation from the Father’s nature, though Thou didst unite Thyself to us.

Canon II,  Irmos: Scorning the impious decree of the godless one, * the Children brought up together in godliness * feared not the threat of fire, * but standing in the midst of the flames, they sang: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

The fire-bearing bush of old, which Moses beheld upon Sinai, hath Anna conceived in her childless womb, and it consumeth the fire as impiety, for those who chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

A drop, O Anna, hath now been most gloriously poured into thy womb, which hath contained all the Water of life within it, bedewing those who cry out with faith thereto: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

As thou didst behold the bird’s nest, thou wast furnished with wings by the Spirit and prayer; and thou didst receive the unblemished turtle-dove who beareth Christ, the olive branch Who freeth us from the noetic deluge, O Anna.

Ode VIII, Canon I, Irmos: Him of whom the angels and all the hosts of heaven are in awe * as their Lord and Creator, * ye priests hymn, ye children praise, * ye peoples bless and supremely exalt * throughout all ages.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

“Behold! I receive in my womb the Queen whom David foretold,” cried Anna, “and I shall give birth unto the intercessor for all the faithful, who will give birth unto Christ the King!”

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

The land in which the Creator of earth made His abode, the holy sceptre, the new ark, the jar of Manna who gave birth to Him, beginneth to bud forth in her mother’s womb.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

The unburnt bush, the golden candle-stand, the animate bridal-chamber of the Lord God, the precious staff who gave birth to Him, beginneth to bud forth in her mother’s womb.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Raise me up who lie in the abyss of evils, and vanquish the enemies that now engage me in battle. Disdain me not who am wounded by countless pleasures, O good and pure one, but take pity and save me.

Canon II, Irmos: The furnace moist with dew showed forth an image * of a wonder past nature, * for it burned not the youths whom it had received; * neither did the fire of the Godhead consume the Virgin * when it descended into her womb. * Wherefore, chanting, we sing: * Let all creation bless the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

As Thou didst foretell through the prophets, O Master, Anna once cried out: “What hast Thou done for my childless womb and my withered breasts? Loose Thou the disgrace of my childlessness and grant me a fruit with whom I may cry aloud: Let all creation bless the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!”

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

O Anna, the lamp-stand hath entered thy womb, she who mystically contained the divine Lamp Who illumineth every creature with the effulgence of the knowledge of God. Wherefore, rejoicing, thou didst cry aloud: “Let all creation bless the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!”

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

Joachim and Anna, as a most comely husband and wife, bring forth the divine heifer, from whom the beautiful Bullock will shine forth, Who was slaughtered for all, and they chant: “Let all creation bless the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!”

Ode IX, Canon I, Irmos: The ever-flowing wellspring of life, * light-bearing candlestick of grace, * the animate temple, and most pure cloud, * wider than the heavens and the earth, * the Theotokos do we the faithful magnify.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Conceiving the Life-receiving well-spring, O divinely wise Anna, receive joy now, taking the holy temple into thy womb, magnifying her who is radiant with the light of the Creator’s righteousness.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Let Joachim and Anna be honoured: the honourable and most glorious twain, the forebears of the pre-eternal Son, the renowned observers of the law, who gave birth to the first-fruits of joy.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Let us hymn the Virgin Theotokos, whom Daniel beheld as a great mountain, whom Joel saw as a holy land, whom Isaiah perceived as an impassable gate, and another prophet foretold as a sealed fountain and divine fleece.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let the Virgin Theotokos be glorified: the purple which dyed the fleece of the ineffable incarnation of the Word, the golden lamp-stand, the table on which Christ, the Bread of life, was set forth.

Canon II, Irmos: A strange and most wondrous mystery do I see: * the cave is heaven; * the Virgin the throne of the cherubim; * the manger a room, in which Christ God, * whom nothing can contain, is laid. * Whom we praise and magnify.

Holy and righteous ancestor of God, Anna, pray to God for us.

Dance ye all and leap up! Now hath the earth been prepared which, without being ploughed, will produce the life-bearing Grain, eating of which those who magnify His goodness will hunger no more.

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

O David, take up thy psaltery and harp and chant! Behold, the ark of God hath appeared which thou didst foretell would be for our edification. Thereby have we arisen from our fall into sin.

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

Like two magnificent stars ye bore forth the most radiant beam who shineth forth the great Sun upon the world. Wherefore, we praise and glorify you, O Joachim and Anna, as divinely wise.

Troparion, in Tone IV: Today, the bonds of barrenness are loosed, * for God, hearkening unto Joachim and Anna, * doth manifestly promise unto them who, beyond all expectation, * will give birth to the divine Maiden, * from whom the Infinite One Himself, becoming a man, shall be born. * And He commandeth the angels to cry unto her: ** Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

The Coming Weekend

Sunday 13/26 December:

Confessions: 10:15

Divine Liturgy & Moleben to St Spyridon the Wonderworker: 11:00

Dear brothers and sisters,

Western holiday celebrations and family obligations complicate the confessional front this coming weekend, and we know that family duties also overshadow fasting for those with loved ones with new-calendar celebrations. As a result, I anticipate that the number of communicants will be lower, with the expectation that those who relax the fast for family celebrations on Saturday, will not commune on Sunday.

We remind those respecting western seasonal celebrations with their families to be circumspect and moderate!

There will be limited time for confession in Cardiff this weekend – between entering St John’s at 10:15 and the Hours at 11:00. Thus, anyone confessing will be bound by time and the needs of others.

I would still like anyone confessing to email in advance, so that the clergy are aware of numbers, and confessions may be heard by arrangement on any day in the chapel in Llanelli. Email: otetzmark@hotmail.com

Finally, I would like to give advance warning that from 27 December, refreshments will not be permitted to be served in places of worship of the Anglican Diocese of Llandaff, so those coming from afar will need to be prepared, with packed lunches.

This week’s Advent Moleben will be held on Wednesday at 19:00 in the parish room, Church of St Mary the Virgin. Bute Street / North Church Street, Cardiff, CF10 5HB. Due to changing covid regulations, we may zoom the Moleben the following week.

The variables for Sunday Liturgy may be found here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cPB7oucNEohnYb6eI0MHae516Ch96FLp/view

May God bless and protect you and give you good strength in these days of the Nativity Fast.

In Christ – Fr Mark

Акафист святителю Амвросию, епископу Медиоланскому

Конда́к 1: Избра́ннаго чудотво́рца и свети́льника це́ркве Медиола́нския свята́го Амвро́сия, прииди́те, ве́рнии, почти́м по достоя́нию усе́рдною хвало́ю. Ты́ же, уго́дниче Бо́жий ми́лостивый, приими́ с любо́вию сие́ приноше́ние на́ше, да зове́м ти́: Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

И́кос 1: А́нгельских си́л и всея́ тва́ри Соде́тель, еще́ от младе́нческих пеле́н твои́х предуказа́вый добро́ту души́ твоея́, свя́те Амвро́сие, подаде́ тя́, в во́зраст прише́дша, а́нгела це́ркви Медиола́нстей, па́стыря и учи́теля слове́сному ста́ду Своему́, и си́м научи́ на́с зва́ти тебе́ си́це:

Ра́дуйся, от колыбе́ли младе́нческия на служе́ние Це́ркви ро́ем пче́л предуказа́нный; ра́дуйся, ко святи́тельству чрез немо́тствующаго младе́нца Бо́гом при́званный.

Ра́дуйся, бога́тство, сла́ву и по́чести ми́ра презре́вый; ра́дуйся, еди́ному Го́споду служи́ти восхоте́вый.

Ра́дуйся, апо́столов Христо́вых досто́йных прее́мниче; ра́дуйся, архиере́ев святы́х преподо́бный сопресто́льниче.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 2: Ви́дя небе́сное промышле́ние, соверши́вшееся в чу́днем призва́нии твое́м ко служе́нию Це́ркви, прему́дре, посвяти́л еси́ про́чее вре́мя жития́ твоего́ на угожде́ние во́ли Боже́ственней, и прине́сл еси́ всего́ себе́ и вся́ своя́ в же́ртву призва́вшему тя́ Го́споду, поя́ ему́: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 2: Ра́зумом богопросвеще́нным, напое́нным же от сло́ва Бо́жия, уразуме́в я́ко основа́ние все́х доброде́телей и сою́з соверше́нства духо́внаго любы́ к Бо́гу и бли́жнему е́сть, благоче́стне, потща́лся яви́ти ю́ в себе́ не сло́вом то́кмо, но де́лом и и́стиною. Те́мже бе́дствующим ру́ку ско́рыя по́мощи простира́л еси́, име́ния своя́ вся́ убо́гим расточи́л еси́, и та́ко наста́вил еси́ на́с зва́ти тебе́ си́це:

Ра́дуйся, я́ко путе́м нестяжа́ния апо́стольскаго ше́ствовати возлюби́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко все́ свое́ попече́ние на Про́мысл Бо́жий возложи́л еси́.

Ра́дуйся, милосе́рдия я́же во Христе́ подража́телю; ра́дуйся, нищеты́ его́ до́льния доброво́льный после́дователю.

Ра́дуйся, ме́ньших бра́тий Христо́вых дру́же и благоде́телю; ра́дуйся, скорбя́щих и озло́бленных ско́рый уте́шителю.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 3: Си́лою Вы́шняго укрепля́емь, преподо́бне, труды́ и ско́рби вели́каго служе́ния святи́тельскаго на по́льзу це́ркве Медиола́нския, во сла́ву же Го́спода Иису́са, благоду́шно поне́сл еси́, о все́х же благословля́л еси́ Бо́га, поя́ Ему́: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 3: Име́я же́зл си́лы, кре́пость ева́нгельскую, по́сланную ти́ от Сио́на Небе́снаго, святи́телю, госпо́дствовал еси́ посреде́ враго́в твои́х и не да́л еси́ волко́м ходя́щим во о́вчих ко́жах, в се́рдце же нося́щим я́д па́губы, расхи́тити ста́до твое́. Те́мже похва́льная воспису́ем ти́ сия́:

Ра́дуйся, слуго́ Спа́са ве́рнейший; ра́дуйся, стра́же до́му Бо́жия бди́тельнейший.

Ра́дуйся, па́стырю Христо́в честне́йший;  ра́дуйся, побо́рниче ве́ры, во пре́ниих с ересеучи́тельми мудре́йший.

Ра́дуйся, злоче́стия ариа́нскаго потреби́телю; ра́дуйся, пра́вых догма́тов насади́телю.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 4: Бу́рю крамолы́, воздви́гшуюся на це́рковь Медиола́нскую, зря́, Амвро́сие, сладкоглаго́ливою бесе́дою твое́ю, соде́йствием же Бо́жиим утиши́л еси́ мяте́ж людски́й, и та́ко научи́л еси́ ча́д ми́ра пе́ти Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 4: Слы́ша Феодо́сий ца́рь преще́ние твое́, и́мже возбраня́шеся ему́ я́ко уби́йце вни́ти в це́рковь Бо́жию, во е́же приобщи́тися Та́йн святы́х, повинова́ся ти́, я́ко гре́шник смире́нно ка́ющийся и примире́ния с Го́сподом жа́ждущий. Того́ ра́ди по достоя́нию возглаша́ем ти́:

Ра́дуйся, Та́ин Бо́жиих му́дрый строи́телю; ра́дуйся, постановле́ний оте́ческих ве́рный храни́телю.

Ра́дуйся, Нафа́ну и Предте́чи соревни́телю; ра́дуйся, законопресту́пных нелицеме́рный обличи́телю.

Ра́дуйся, наста́вниче покая́ния и исправле́ния; ра́дуйся, Це́ркве Медиола́нския неумира́ющая сла́во и украше́ние.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 5: Боготе́чная звезда́ на тве́рди церко́вней бы́л еси́, о́тче Амвро́сие, све́тлостию уче́ния и жития́ твоего́ мглу́ ересе́й разгоня́ющая и мра́к безбо́жия потребля́ющая, неве́рных от тьмы́ неве́рия к све́ту невече́рнему привлача́ющая и все́х ко спасе́нию путеводя́щая, пою́щим Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 5: Ви́девше тя́ медиола́нстии лю́дие му́драго пе́стуна и любвеоби́льнаго отца́ па́стве свое́й, святи́телю, притека́ху к милосе́рдию твоему́ во все́х ско́рбех и ну́ждах свои́х. Ты́ же, ми́лостиве, никого́же отри́нул еси́, но все́м вся́к помо́щник бы́л еси́, досто́йный сицевы́х похва́л:

Ра́дуйся, си́рых покрови́телю; ра́дуйся, оби́димых защи́тителю.

Ра́дуйся, плене́нных от ва́рвар искупи́телю; ра́дуйся, от ко́зней сатани́нских свободи́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко досто́йно сла́достное и́мя носи́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко вои́стину сла́достен наста́вник и пособи́тель все́м бы́л еси́.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 6: Пропове́дник веща́емых ти́ от А́нгел к у́ху глаго́лов Бо́жиих бы́л еси́, святи́телю Амвро́сие, те́мже словеса́ у́ст твои́х па́че ме́да и со́та услажда́ху все́х послу́шающих тебе́ и Бо́гу вопию́щих: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 6: Возсия́ а́ки со́лнце све́т доброде́тельнаго жития́ твоего́ на земли́, богому́дре о́тче, в тебе́ бо зри́м вся́ ели́ка честна́, ели́ка пра́ведна, ели́ка пречи́ста. Си́х ра́ди сла́вяще Свята́го Ду́ха, вино́вника благи́х, от си́лы в си́лу священнота́йне ве́дшаго тя́, зове́м:

Ра́дуйся, доброде́телей ева́нгельских пребога́тое сокро́вище; ра́дуйся, всегда́шних воздыха́ний и моли́тв я́же к Бо́гу пречестно́е святи́лище.

Ра́дуйся, кро́тости и смире́ния боголе́пное жили́ще; ра́дуйся, терпе́ния тве́рдое храни́лище.

Ра́дуйся, церкве́й Бо́жиих украси́телю и пречу́дный побо́рниче; ра́дуйся, чистоты́ де́вственный учи́телю и неоску́дный сле́з исто́чниче.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 7: Хотя́ улучи́ти спасе́ние во мно́зе сове́те, смиренному́дре, име́л еси́ дру́га души́ твоея́ пресви́тера состаре́вшася и му́дра, почита́я его́ я́ко отца́ и с ни́м совеща́лся о де́лех свои́х; вразуми́ и на́с твори́ти вся́ с сове́том богому́дрых отце́в, да окормле́нием и́х спаса́еми, пое́м Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 7: Зна́мение ева́нгельския любве́ к бли́жнему яви́л еси́, о́тче Амвро́сие, егда́ враго́м свои́м благотвори́л еси́ и со гре́шники ка́ющимися го́рько пла́кал еси́. Те́мже ти́ я́ко непамятозло́бному па́стырю и отцу́, боле́зновавшу о спасе́нии духо́вных ча́д твои́х, вопие́м:

Ра́дуйся, незло́бия Христо́ва подража́телю; ра́дуйся, ка́ющимся гре́шником те́плый сострада́телю.

Ра́дуйся, Иусти́не, враждова́вшей ти́, благотвори́вый; ра́дуйся, злоде́ю твоему́ ру́ку усо́хшую исцели́вый.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко ве́сь кро́тость и любо́вь бы́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко высоты́ соверше́нства дости́гл еси́.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 8: Стра́нныя и ди́вныя си́лы пе́рст Бо́жий сотвори́ в житии́ твое́м, святи́телю, егда́ уме́рша о́трока воскреси́ тобо́ю, разсла́бленную исцели́, ариа́нина, почита́ния ра́ди святы́х моще́й хули́вшаго тя́, бе́су преда́, безсту́дную жену́ сирми́йску уничижи́вшую тя́, ка́рою порази́. И кто́ от слы́шащих вся́ сия́ не просла́вит ди́внаго в житии́ твое́м Бо́га пе́снию: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 8: Ве́сь испо́лнен бы́в ре́вности по Бо́зе, о́тче Амвро́сие, такову́ю вла́сть над де́моны стяжа́л еси́, я́ко ниже́ к две́рем до́му твоего́ прибли́зитися можа́ху: о́гнь бо исходя́й отту́ду гна́ше и́х, я́ко пра́х, его́же возмета́ет ве́тр от лица́ земли́. Толи́ко стра́шный де́моном уго́дниче Бо́жий, огради́ и на́шу не́мощь предста́тельством твои́м от губи́тельных стре́л и́х, да вопие́м ти́ сицева́я:

Ра́дуйся, от ко́зней лю́таго мироде́ржца кре́пкий ве́рных храни́телю; ра́дуйся, от зло́бных слу́г его́, зия́ющих пожре́ти ны́, ве́рный на́ш обличи́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко пла́мень лица́ бесо́в попаля́ющий; ра́дуйся, я́ко гро́м киче́ние па́дшаго денни́цы поража́ющий.

Ра́дуйся, всю́ си́лу его́ си́лою кре́стною попра́вый; ра́дуйся, нечи́стых духо́в от притека́ющих к тебе́ отгна́вый.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 9: Все́ житие́ на́ше во юдо́ли земна́го стра́нствования сего́ испо́лнено безчи́сленных искуше́ний и бе́д, грехо́в и страсте́й, вою́ющих на ны́: ка́ко у́бо избы́ти возмо́жем ве́чных му́к, окая́ннии, егда́ пости́гнет на́с сме́рть неумоли́мая, а́ще не ты́, о́тче, с наде́ждою на́шею Богома́терию, предста́тельствовати за ны́ бу́деши, поя́ Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 9: Вети́я многовеща́нныя ви́дим тобо́ю посра́мленныя, святи́телю: А́рия бо ху́льных после́дователей препре́л еси́, Симма́ха высокоу́мнаго низложи́л еси́, мудрецы́, и́же от восто́ка, глубино́ю богосло́вия своего́ удиви́л еси́, и вся́ ве́рныя уче́нием и́стинным просвети́л еси́. Те́мже мо́лим тя́: осия́й и на́с све́том богоразу́мия твоего́, да отбе́гше скве́рн тлетво́рнаго ду́ха вре́мене и собла́знов бори́теля, вопие́м ти́:

Ра́дуйся, ду́ш на́ших просвети́телю; ра́дуйся, ве́ры правосла́вныя побо́рниче.

Ра́дуйся, веле́ний Бо́жиих учи́телю; ра́дуйся, пле́вел вра́жиих, всева́емых в ду́ши спя́щих челове́к, искорени́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко мно́гих коле́блемых неве́рием в пра́вой ве́ре укрепи́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко догма́т о единосу́щном и равноче́стном Отцу́ и Ду́хови Божестве́ Сы́на уясни́л еси́.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 10: Спасе́ние соверше́нное улучи́в от привре́менных бу́рь и бе́д, уго́дниче Бо́жий Амвро́сие, не забу́ди на́с, потопля́емых напа́стей бу́рею. Но в ни́хже са́м искуше́н бы́л еси́, и на́м искуша́емым помози́, да пое́м Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 10: Сте́ну тя́ тве́рдую и изве́стно утвержде́ние гра́ду твоему́ и все́м чту́щим па́мять твою́ испове́дающе, святи́телю, дерза́ем по достоя́нию воспе́ти тебе́ хвале́ние сие́:

Ра́дуйся, царе́й бранелюби́вых умиротвори́телю; ра́дуйся, благоде́нствия оте́чественнаго храни́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю царю́ Гратиа́ну побе́да на го́ты дарова́ся; ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю мно́гим ми́р от Феодо́сия исхода́тайствовася.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю проще́ние грехо́в улуча́ем; ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю от бе́д спаса́еми, ми́р с Бо́гом обрета́ем.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 11: Пе́снь «Тебе́ Бо́га хва́лим, Тебе́ Го́спода испове́дуем…» па́че вся́каго возду́шнаго орга́на услажда́ющую ве́рных, воспе́л еси́ в че́сть Боже́ственней Тро́ице, святи́телю. Ны́не же в Це́ркви Небе́сней пое́ши со А́нгелы и́ну пе́снь то́йжде Тро́ице: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 11: Светопода́тельна свети́льника, еще́ на земли́ просия́вша невеще́ственным све́том, ве́дуще тя́, о́тче святы́й, ку́ю досто́йную похвалу́ принесе́м ти́ гре́шнии, ко́ею пе́снию ублажи́м тя́ недосто́йнии, о святи́телю Христо́в. Еди́н то́кмо све́дый глубины́ серде́чныя и реки́й: «А́з прославля́ющия Мя́ просла́влю», — еди́н О́н ве́сть, ка́ко по достоя́нию просла́вити тя́. Оба́че ве́дый, я́ко челове́к, на́шу не́мощь, не отри́ни, я́ко оте́ц ми́лостивый, и на́ша убо́гия, но от и́скренних серде́ц приноси́мыя ти́ хвалы́ сия́:

Ра́дуйся, а́нгеле земны́й, еще́ на земли́ све́том невеще́ственным озаре́нный; ра́дуйся, челове́че небе́сный, еще́ во пло́ти лицезре́нием сладча́йшаго Иису́са почте́нный.

Ра́дуйся, свети́льниче Боже́ственнаго све́та, уче́нием свои́м ми́ра концы́ озари́вый; ра́дуйся, луче́ мы́сленнаго Со́лнца, теплото́ю любве́ своея́ вертогра́д Его́ оживи́вый.

Ра́дуйся, звездо́, тве́рдь церко́вную све́тло украша́ющая; ра́дуйся, похвало́ и доны́не Медиола́н осиява́ющая.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 12: Благода́тию небе́снаго покро́ва твоего́ не лиши́ на́с никогда́, о ми́лостиве о́тче, но при́сно моли́ся о на́с к ще́дрому Го́споду, Ему́же с ли́ки святы́х немо́лчно пое́ши: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 12: Пою́ще чудеса́ и по́двиги преподо́бнаго жития́ твоего́, святи́телю, сла́вим кончи́ну твою́, е́юже ми́рно отше́л еси́ на не́бо, и ублажа́ем соца́рствование твое́ та́мо с Бо́гом ве́чным. Ты́ же, уго́дниче святы́й, при́зри с высоты́ о́наго блаже́ннаго приста́нища твоего́ на на́с, пла́вающих в молве́ жите́йских попече́ний и к тебе́, неви́димому окорми́телю на́шему, из глубины́ души́ вопию́щих:

Ра́дуйся, пла́вание свое́ в жите́йском мо́ри до́бре сверши́вый и безце́нное сокро́вище ве́ры в бе́зднах его́ не потопи́вый; ра́дуйся, ко приста́нищу ра́йскому безбе́дно приплы́вый и вене́ц нетле́нный от Христа́ улучи́вый.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко та́мо ликовству́я, и на́с, до́лу су́щих, любо́вию твое́ю досяза́еши; ра́дуйся, я́ко ду́хом твои́м на́м вы́ну спребыва́еши.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю гне́ва Бо́жия избавля́емся; ра́дуйся, я́ко мольба́ми твои́ми к приста́нищу го́рнему направля́емся.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 13: О, святы́й и ми́лостивый уго́дниче Бо́жий Амвро́сие! Приими́ с любо́вию приноси́мое сие́ ма́лое, но от усе́рдия приноси́мое тебе́ хвале́ние на́ше, и потщи́ся изба́вити на́с от боле́зней душе́вных и теле́сных, от все́х бе́д и зо́л, да тобо́ю улучи́вше Ца́рство Небе́сное, во ве́ки пое́м Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

Этот конда́к читается трижды, затем и́кос 1-й и конда́к 1-й.

Моли́тва: О, пресла́вный чудотво́рче, в ско́рбех ско́рый помо́щниче и усе́рдный о ми́ре к Бо́гу моли́твенниче, о́тче святы́й Амвро́сие! Ве́мы, я́ко ве́лие ко Спа́су и́маши дерзнове́ние, предстоя́ го́рнему Престо́лу Его́, и сего́ ра́ди смире́нно припа́даем ти́: моли́ся Ему́, уго́дниче Бо́жий, да пода́ст наро́ду Росси́йскому благоде́нственное и ми́рное житие́, да изба́вит от вра́г ви́димых и неви́димых, от наше́ствия иноплеме́нных, от неду́га и гла́да, от вся́кия ско́рби и смертоно́сныя я́звы и от вся́каго зла́; на́м же все́м, ве́рою пра́зднующим святу́ю па́мять твою́ и усе́рдно хода́тайства твоего́ ча́ющим, да ниспо́слет вся́ благопотре́бная ко вре́менному и ве́чному житию́ на́шему, па́че же оставле́ние грехо́в, ми́р по́мыслов, тишину́ серде́чную, здра́вие душа́м и телесе́м на́шим. Е́й, святи́телю Бо́жий, па́стырю Христо́в ми́лостивейший, покрови́телю на́ш гото́вейший! услы́ши на́с, еще́ еди́наго от тебе́ прося́щих: бу́ди те́плый моли́твенник и предста́тель ко Го́споду о духо́вных па́стырех и отце́х на́ших (имена́), и́же не́мощи на́ша но́сят и о на́с боле́знуют, до́ндеже вообрази́тся в на́с Христо́с, да сохрани́т О́н, всеблаги́й и вся́ могу́щий Влады́ка, дража́йшия дни́ жития́ и́х в неруши́мом ми́ре и кре́пости си́л духо́вных и теле́сных, да приведе́т на́с, недосто́йных рабо́в Свои́х, и́х окормле́нием и моли́твами, твои́м же хода́йтайством и заступле́нием ко приста́нищу жи́зни несконча́емыя, иде́же херуви́ми и серафи́ми, святи́и вси́ с Богоро́дицею и с тобо́ю, покрови́телем на́шим, непреста́нными гла́сы сла́вят Отца́, и Сы́на, и Свята́го Ду́ха, ны́не и при́сно и во ве́ки веко́в. Ами́нь.

Моли́тва ина́я

О, всесвяты́й Амвро́сие, уго́дниче Бо́жий изря́днейший, покрови́телю мо́й ми́лостивейший! При́зри с высоты́ го́рняго жили́ща твоего́ на мя́ недосто́йнаго, неради́ваго, уны́лаго в настоя́щем житии́ се́м. Ви́ждь мене́ гре́шнаго, в толи́цем обстоя́нии су́щаго, умо́м помраче́ннаго, во́лею ко злу́ преклоне́ннаго, и се́рдцем па́че к земли́, не́же к небеси́, прилепле́ннаго. Ви́ждь стра́стное обурева́ние души́ моея́ и не́мощь и небреже́ние мое́. Ви́ждь при се́м и кова́рство злонача́льника и губи́теля моего́, ви́ждь, о святи́телю Христо́в, и умилосе́рдися о мне́, такова́го ра́ди положе́ния моего́. Помози́ ми́, о засту́пниче мо́й, ско́рым предста́тельством твои́м. Исхода́тайствуй ми́ от Отца́ щедро́т бо́дрость и си́лу, во е́же твори́ти во́лю Его́, благу́ю, уго́дную и соверше́нную, стра́сти моя́ умертви́ти, де́мона низложи́ти, ми́р себе́ распя́ти и себе́ ми́ру, и та́ко дости́гнути христиа́нския кончи́ны живота́ своего́, безболе́зненны, непосты́дны, ми́рны. По исхо́де же притре́петныя души́ моея́ от окая́ннаго и бре́ннаго телесе́ сего́, бу́ди е́й а́нгел покрови́тель, до́бр спу́тник, ве́рен храни́тель и защи́тник от лю́тых нападе́ний нача́льника возду́шных мыта́рств, да безбе́дно преше́д о́ныя, си́лою предста́тельства твоего́, сподо́блюся про́чее и а́з, после́дний из все́х, и́же в ца́рстве благода́ти, узре́ти сладча́йшее лице́ Го́спода на́шего и сла́вити Его́ со Отце́м и Святы́м Ду́хом, и твое́ ми́лостивное о мне́ предста́тельство, во ве́ки веко́в. Ами́нь.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Patapios of Thebes

Tuesday December 8/21: St Patapios of Thebes

Today the Church celebrates and honours the memory of the blessed Patapios the Desert-Dweller. This is the title accorded to the saint who lived in isolation in the desert, leaving behind the turmoil and joys of the secular life. He was born in Thebes, in Egypt, of devout Christian parents, by whom he was brought up with great care and concern and from whom he learned the Scriptures. What Saint Paul wrote to Timothy applies very well to Saint Patapios: “from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. Faith in Christ and in the Scriptures really do make people wise and save them.

When Saint Patapios came of age, he renounced his homeland, his wealth, his kin and every kind of worldly pleasure and vanity and went out into the desert. This was at the time when the eremitic and monastic way of life was at its peak in this part of Egypt. Saint Patapios quickly excelled and began to be well known for his asceticism and virtue, to so great an extent that people flocked to him to benefit spiritually from his acquaintance and influence. The same was true, as we see in the Gospels, of the Forerunner and Baptist John, to whom: “Jerusalem and the whole of Judea, as well as the area around the Jordan came out”.

We should take note of this and evaluate it properly. That is the importance and spiritual benefit conferred upon a particular place by the presence there of a saintly figure. It is not and should not be in the turmoil of the world, but in the desert, alone with God. People went to find him and listen to him, like those who are thirsty and cannot wait for water to be brought to them, but rather go themselves to the spring. It is not necessary or needful for the holy ascetics to come down and find people, but rather people should know by themselves to go to monasteries, in the way that many people now go to the Holy Mountain.

The blessed Patapios loved the peace of the desert so much that he began to be concerned when he saw crowds of people coming to him and admiring him for his ascetic way of life and his sanctity. Saints in those days did not allow themselves to think what other people thought of them: if they did, they would have lost everything. This is the great power and virtue of the saints, which is why people admire those who abandon the secular life and conceal themselves. This is what Saint Patapios did. After living so many years in the desert of Thebaïda, he left and went to Constantinople, so that people would lose all trace of him. 

In Constantinople, Saint Patapios, directed by God, went and stayed at the shrine of the Mother of God of Vlakhernai (Blachernae). He remained there, poor and unknown, in harsh struggle and spiritual contemplation, as he had done in the desert. But a light cannot be concealed, and the more sanctity is hidden away in God’s people, the more it is revealed to the world. Saint Patapios, the humble and poor monk of Vlakhernai managed to become celestial and an angel on earth. This is why God granted him the grace of performing miracles. As well as the healing waters of the Life-Receiving Spring in Vlakhernai, there was also Saint Patapios, curing people’s illnesses.

Of the many miracles and healings of Saint Patapios, we would mention only one: he healed a woman who was suffering from breast cancer. This illness, which to this day is not properly treatable by medical science, was cured by Saint Patapios with prayer and the grace of Christ. This is why he is the protector and healer of those faithful women who are suffering from this wretched ailment. Even now, faithful people go to the convent of Saint Patapios, on the hill above Loutraki in Attica, to seek the grace of Christ, and also healing, through the prayers of Saint Patapios. Jesus Christ, the physician of our souls and bodies, said of His saints, and it is true, that: “those whose believe in Me will also do the works which I perform”. Amen.

Source: Metropolitan Dionysios of Servia and Kozani

Pemptousia

12/21/2016

Canon for the Venerable One, with four Troparia, in Tone II.

Ode I, Irmos: In the deep of old the infinite Power overwhelmed Pharaoh’s whole army. * But the Incarnate Word annihilated pernicious sin. * Exceedingly glorious is the Lord, * for gloriously hath He been glorified.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

I pray thee, O venerable Patapios: Beseech the Lord Who driveth away the clouds of ignorance, that He grant a ray of grace from heaven unto me who desirest to praise the splendid achievements of thy radiant life.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

He Who of old covered the Egyptians with the deep by divine command, having drawn thee forth as from the abyss of the world’s turmoil, illumined thee with divine splendours and showed thee forth as a most radiant star, O venerable father.

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

Burning with the fervour of the Spirit like a noetic ember, O venerable one, thou didst drive away the gloom of the demons and didst quench the fiery darts of sin; and being most pure thou wast led to the summit of dispassion.

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

Granting the world deliverance from the ancient curse, the Redeemer was born from thee, O Virgin, He Who hath shown the venerable Patapios to be a wellspring of healing for all who have recourse to him in faith.

Ode III, Irmos: The desert of the barren Church of the nations * blossomed like a lily * at Thy coming, O Lord, * therein hath my heart been established.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Having thoroughly watered the field of thy soul with streams of tears, thou didst bring forth the divine grain of good works which is stored in the granaries on high.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Armed with love as with a sword, and protected thereby as with a shield, O venerable one, thou didst destroy legions of demons by thy divine humility.

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

Like a lily didst thou sprout the blossom of abstinence, O venerable one, perfuming the hearts of those who hymn thee and celebrate thy memory with love.

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

Borne upon the arms of her who gave birth to Thee, O Lord, by Thy might Thou didst destroy the idols of Egypt, from whence a multitude of the venerable sprang forth.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: The flame of the passions didst thou quench with streams of fasting and abstinence, pouring forth an abyss of wonders upon all, and like another Moses, thou didst thereby subdue the deceitful assaults of legions of demons. Wherefore, assembling, we honour thy most worthy and prayerful commemoration, O venerable and God-bearing Patapios. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who honour thy holy memory with love.

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

Theotokion, in Tone VIII: As thou hast given birth unto the merciful and loving Word, O Lady of all, have mercy upon all who have recourse to thee and free us from temptations and illness, from all afflictions and from the everlasting flame, that in thanksgiving we may glorify the wealth of thy many compassions and thine infinite mercy, and that we may ever cry out to thee: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who worship thy birthgiving with faith.

Ode IV, Irmos: From a Virgin didst Thou come forth, not as an ambassador, * nor as an Angel, * but the very Lord himself incarnate, * and didst save me, the whole man; * wherefore I cry unto Thee: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

The sea of thy fervent fears drowned the armies of the demons and the uprisings of sin; and thou didst show thyself to be a sea of miracles unto those who are in the midst of the seas of the passions.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Having acquired humility, vigilance and intense prayer, unfeigned love, faith and hope, O venerable father, thou didst become a converser with the angels of heaven.

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

With divine ascents and unceasing purification, thou didst lay to rest the tumult of divers passions. Wherefore, after thy repose thou didst depart unto the unwaning light.

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

Like the sun through a cloud didst Thou shine forth from the Virgin, O Compassionate One, showing Thy venerable ones to shine like stars, having crucified themselves to the world and the passions.

Ode V, Irmos: O Christ my Saviour, the enlightenment of those lying in the darkness of sin. * I rise early to hymn Thee O King of Peace, * enlighten me with Thy radiance, * for I know no other God than Thee.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

O Enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, shine Thy radiance upon me through the divine prayers of Thy venerable one, drive away the clouds of despair which hang over my soul, and rain down upon me the dew of forgiveness, for I know none other God than Thee.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Having purged thy noetic eye of the defilement of the passions by abstinence, O God-bearing father, thou didst open the eyes of the blind with divine prayer and dispelled the gloom of evil with the effulgence of healing.

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

Come ye, let us all draw forth health of body and soul, and abundant grace from the divine shrine of the wise Patapios, as from a wellspring, for it poureth forth miracles like water upon those who have recourse to it with pure faith.

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

In thine ineffable birthgiving, O Maiden, thou didst give birth to the Giver of life Who created all things, to Him Who is glorious in the saints and resteth in the venerable. Him do thou entreat, O Bride of God!

Ode VI, Irmos: Whirled about in the abyss of sin, * I appeal to the unfathomable abyss of Thy compassion: * Raise me up from corruption, O God.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Illumining thy mind with most radiant ascents, O father, thou didst live in the flesh as one of the bodiless ones, unsullied by sins.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Emulating Elijah the Tishbite and following John the Forerunner, of old thou didst make thine abode in the desert, having cleansed thy mind with stillness.

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

A beacon of most godly splendour from Egypt, O most radiant father Patapios, thou didst shine forth in the city of Constantinople with the effulgence of healings.

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

Christ Who sitteth upon a light cloud came of old into Egypt, and, having cast down the idols, He hath brought together choirs of the venerable.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Today the Virgin …”: Those who find thy temple to be a place of spiritual healing, O holy one, * and have recourse thereto with zeal, * ask to receive the healing of their infirmities * and forgiveness of the transgressions committed by them in their lives; ** for thou art seen to be an intercessor for all that are in need, O venerable Patapios.

Ode VII, Irmos: When the golden image was worshipped on the plain of Dura, * Thy three children spurned the impious command, * and, cast into the midst of the flame, * they were bedewed, and sang: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

With noetic fire thou didst inflame the senses of thy soul; reducing the fire of sin to ashes by the activity of the Spirit, and wast thereby revealed to be radiant, O Patapios, chanting: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

O divinely blessed one, who opened the eyes of the blind with divine assistance, O divinely blessed one, thou didst heal divers passions and by the invocation of God drove away the wicked legions of the demons, chanting: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

O father, thy tomb hath been shown to be an abyss of wonders, a river of healing, and an ever-flowing wellspring, a stream which is never exhausted, for those who approach it with faith and cry out fervently: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

The supremely divine God Who was born from thee, O Virgin, hath deified me, having Himself taken on the guise of a servant; and He hath restored the paths of knowledge within the bounds of His nature, leading aloft a multitude of monks and the venerable one, who chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Irmos: God Who descended into the fiery furnace * unto the Hebrew children, * and transformed the flame into dew, * Him do ye hymn O ye works, * and supremely exalt as Lord throughout all ages.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Having cleansed thyself of the filth of the passions with care, O father, thou wast revealed to be a most splendid tabernacle of God, crying aloud: Hymn the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Having ordered thy life in a godly manner, O venerable father, thou wast shown to be a good steward serving the needs of the saints, O venerable one; and with them thou hast been deemed worthy of a heavenly inheritance.

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

By thy prayers to the Lord cleanse us of every impurity, and by thy fervent supplication, O Patapios, do thou deliver from the threefold waves of passions, infirmities and tribulations us who honour thee as is meet.

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

O pure one who rendered our earthly and corruptible nature celestial, glory of the angels and joy of the venerable, thou that alone art the Sovereign Lady of creation, forever hymned as she who gave birth unto God!

Ode IX, Irmos: The Son of the Unoriginate Father, God and Lord, * hath appeared to us incarnate of a Virgin, * to enlighten those in darkness, * and to gather the dispersed; * therefore the all-hymned Theotokos do we magnify.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Thy commemoration hath dawned as a day of salvation enlightening those who are in the murky darkness, dispelleth the gloom of the passions and showeth forth as children of the light those who now honour thee as a chosen one of the Lord, O father.

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

Patapios, who was shown to be an angel on earth, the offspring of Thebes, the boast of the desert, the glory and splendour of monastics, the beacon of Byzantium, let us now bless him as is meet.

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

Being a converser with the angels, the peer and fellow heir of the prophets and apostles, the martyrs and hierarchs, thou didst serve the honoured Trinity with purity of mind, O venerable one. Pray thou on behalf of us all.

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

The great mystery of thy birthgiving, which surpasseth understanding, doth astound the angels, O divinely joyous one, delighting the assemblies of the venerable, and gladdening the sacred fathers who hymn thee in a godly manner, O pure Theotokos who knewest not wedlock.

Troparion, in Tone VIII: In thee, O father, the image of God was preserved, * for taking up thy cross, thou didst follow after Christ; * by activity thou didst learn to disdain the flesh, as something transient, * but to care for thy soul as something immortal. ** Wherefore, with the angels thy spirit doth rejoice, O venerable Patapios.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Ambrose of Milan

Monday December 7/20: St Ambrose of Milan

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was born in the year 340 into the family of the Roman prefect of Gaul (now France). Even in the saint’s childhood there appeared presentiments of his great future. Once, bees covered the face of the sleeping infant. They flew in and out of his mouth, leaving honey on his tongue. Soon they flew away so high that they could no longer be seen. Ambrose’s father said that the child would become something great when he reached manhood.

After the death of the father of the family, Ambrose journeyed to Rome, where the future saint and his brother Satyrius received an excellent education. About the year 370, upon completion of his course of study, Ambrose was appointed to the position of governor (consular prefect) of the districts of Liguria and Aemilia, though he continued to live at Mediolanum (now Milan).

In the year 374 Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Mediolanum, died. This led to complications between the Orthodox and the Arians, since each side wanted to have its own bishop. Ambrose, as the chief city official, went to the church to resolve the dispute.

While he was speaking to the crowd, suddenly a child cried out, “Ambrose for bishop!” The people took up this chant. Ambrose, who at this time was still a catechumen, considered himself unworthy, and tried to refuse. He disparaged himself, and even tried to flee from Mediolanum. The matter went ultimately before the emperor Valentinian the Elder (364-375), whose orders Ambrose dared not disobey. He accepted holy Baptism from an Orthodox priest and, passing through all the ranks of the Church clergy in just seven days, on December 7, 374 he was consecrated Bishop of Mediolanum. He dispersed all his possessions, money and property for the adornment of churches, the upkeep of orphans and the poor, and he devoted himself to a strict ascetic life.

Ambrose combined strict temperance, intense vigilance and work within the fulfilling of his duties as archpastor. Saint Ambrose, defending the unity of the Church, energetically opposed the spread of heresy. Thus, in the year 379 he travelled off to establish an Orthodox bishop at Sirmium, and in 385-386 he refused to hand over the basilica of Mediolanum to the Arians.

The preaching of Saint Ambrose in defence of Orthodoxy was deeply influential. Another noted Father of the Western Church, Saint Augustine (June 15), bore witness to this, having accepted holy Baptism in the year 387 by the grace of the preaching of the bishop of Mediolanum.

Saint Ambrose also actively participated in civil matters. Thus, the emperor Gracian (375-383), having received from him the “Exposition of the Orthodox Faith” (De Fide), removed, by decree of the saint, the altar of Victory from the halls of the Senate at Rome, on which oaths were wont to be taken. Displaying a pastoral boldness, Saint Ambrose placed a severe penance on the emperor Theodosius I (379-395) for the massacre of innocent inhabitants of Thessalonica. For him there was no difference between emperor and commoner. Though he released Theodosius from the penance, the saint would not permit the emperor to commune at the altar, but compelled him to do public penance.

The fame of Bishop Ambrose and his actions attracted to him many followers from other lands. From far away Persia learned men came to him to ask him questions and absorb his wisdom. Fritigelda (Frigitil), queen of the military Germanic tribe of the Markomanni, which often had attacked Mediolanum, asked the saint to instruct her in the Christian Faith. The saint in his letter to her persuasively stated the dogmas of the Church. And having become a believer, the queen converted her own husband to Christianity and persuaded him to conclude a treaty of peace with the Roman Empire.

The saint combined strictness with an uncommon kindliness. Granted a gift of wonderworking, he healed many from sickness. One time at Florence, while staying at the house of Decentus, he resurrected a dead boy.

The repose of Saint Ambrose, who departed to the Lord on the night of Holy Pascha, was accompanied by many miracles. He even appeared in a vision to the children being baptized that night. The saint was buried in the Ambrosian Basilica in Mediolanum, beneath the altar, between the Martyrs Protasius and Gervasius (October 14).

A zealous preacher and valiant defender of the Christian Faith, Saint Ambrose received particular renown as a Church writer. In dogmatic compositions he set forth the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Trinity, the Sacraments, and Repentance: “Five Books on the Faith” (De Fide); “Explication of the Symbol of the Faith” (Explanatio Symboli); “On the Incarnation” (De Incarnationis); “Three Books on the Holy Spirit” (De Spiritu Sancto); “On the Sacraments” (De Sacramento); “Two Books on Repentance” (De Paenitentia). In writings about Christian morality, he explained the excellence of Christian moral teaching compared to pagan moral teaching.

A well-known work of Saint Ambrose, “On the Duties of the Clergy” (De Officiis Ministrorum) evidences his deep awareness of pastoral duty. He stresses that those who serve in the Church should have not only the proper knowledge of Church services, but also the proper knowledge of moral precepts.

Saint Ambrose was also a reformer of Church singing. He introduced antiphonal singing (along the Eastern or Syrian form) into the Western Church, which became known as “Ambrosian Chant.” He also composed twelve hymns which were used during his lifetime. The hymn, “Thee, O God, we praise” (Te Deum), attributed to Saint Ambrose, entered into the divine services of the Orthodox Church (Molieben).

The canon to the saint, with four Troparia, the acrostic whereof is: “I praise Ambrose most great,“ in Tone IV.

Ode I, Irmos: Through the deep of the Red Sea, * marched dry-shod Israel of old, * and by Moses’ outstretched hands, * raised in the form of a cross, * the power of Amalek was routed in the wilderness.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

O venerable one, radiant with divine splendours, by thy prayers illumine those who piously honour thy radiant, light-bearing and holy repose.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

The Word of God gave thee the discourse of wisdom adorned with true knowledge, O hierarch Ambrose, dispelling the irrational and malicious thought of the heretics.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Having cleansed the vision of thy mind of the darkness of the passions, O thou
that art most noetically rich, thou didst render it receptive to the pure effulgence of the most holy Spirit, O all-blessed one.

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

Having by thine all-wise and sacred dogmas, as a pastor fended off the destruction of those who were of like mind with Arias, O all-wise one, with faith thou didst shepherd thy rational sheep in the meadows of Orthodoxy.

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

By the Father’s will and through the divine Spirit of God, thou didst, seedlessly conceive and give birth in the flesh unto the Son Who, for our sake, was begotten of the Father without mother and was born of thee without father.

Ode III, Irmos: Not in wisdom, nor in power do we glory, * but we glory in Thee O Christ, * the Hypostatic Wisdom of the Father, * for there is none more holy than Thee, O Lover of mankind.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Having received of God an abundance of grace and power, O father Ambrose, by thy tangible touch thou didst heal the divers passions of those who had recourse to thee.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

O venerable one, having learned all the knowledge of the Scriptures, in that thou wast a godly hierarch, thou didst manifestly make plain to the ignorant things difficult to understand, O father Ambrose.

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

With the sentence of God thou didst instantly strike dead the vile woman who
audaciously and senselessly strove to draw nigh unto thee, who shone forth with spiritual wisdom.

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

Thou alone hast renewed the human race, having given birth unto the Creator and Lord of our nature. Wherefore, we glorify thee, O divinely joyous one.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Zealously emulating Elijah the Prophet, and likewise John the Baptist, thou didst manfully denounce the iniquitous emperor, O hierarch; in a godly manner adorning thy see, and enriching the world with a multitude of miracles. Wherefore, learned in the divine Scriptures, thou didst establish the faithful therein, and convert the unbelieving. O hierarch Ambrose, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of transgressions unto those who, with love, celebrate thy holy memory.

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

Theotokion, in Tone VIII: Having fallen with wicked thoughts, * I have sunk into the abyss of sin, * and, groaning, I cry to thee with all my heart, O all-pure one: * Show forth upon me the wonder of thy rich mercy, * the unfathomable depth of thy tender compassion * and the immeasurable wealth of thy compassions, * and grant me repentance and forgiveness of transgressions, * that I may cry unto thee with love: * Entreat Christ
God, that He grant remission of sins unto me, ** for thee do I, thy servant, have as my hope.

Ode IV, Irmos: For the sake of love for Thine image, * O compassionate One, * Thou didst ascend the cross * and the nations melted away. * For Thou, O Lover of mankind, * art my strength and my praise.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Having been anointed with the chrism of the priesthood, thou wast shown forth as a hierarch, ordaining priests and granting the cleansing of salvation unto all.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Thou didst protect thy flock from all the harm of the adversaries, O blessed one, and didst blind the delusion of Arius with the radiance of thy words.

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

Invested with the power of the Spirit, thou didst dispel the evil spirits of malice, who could not endure thy rebuke, O all-blessed one.

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

He that wrought all things by His will is Himself wrought of thy pure blood, saving those who acknowledge thee to be the pure Mother of God.

Ode V, Irmos: Thou, O Lord, who camest into the world, * art my light, * a holy light turning from the darkness of ignorance * those who sing Thy praises in faith.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Having attained a mind resplendent with immaterial light, O blessed Ambrose, thou hast emitted rays of healing and miracles.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Thou didst raise thyself up as a sacred dwelling place of the Spirit, O divinely inspired Ambrose, destroying the temples of idolatry.

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

Emperors were put to shame by thee, shining with the effulgence of the greatest of virtues, and their restrictions did not cause thy tongue to falter.

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

He that wrought all things in wisdom through His will, desiring to renew mankind, O Virgin, made His abode within thy womb.

Ode VI, Irmos: The church crieth out unto Thee O Lord, * ‘I will sacrifice unto Thee with a voice of praise * having been cleansed of the blood of the demons’ * by the blood that for mercy’s sake flowed from Thy side.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Amazed, Rome faithfully praiseth thine honoured deeds; for, like a radiant star, O hierarch, thou dost shed the rays of thy wonders everywhere.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Having risen at dawn for Christ, thou hast been richly illumined with splendours and filled with divine light; enlightening those who ever faithfully honour thee.

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

Having sanctified body and soul, O father, thou didst render thy heart, which ever attendeth unto sweet desire, receptive to the gifts of grace.

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

Heal thou the wounds of my soul, O Virgin, by thy divine overshadowing, and enlighten my mind, which hath been darkened by slothfulness and by the malice of the adverse foe.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Of the divine faith …”: Shining with divine dogmas, thou didst darken the deception of Arius, * O Ambrose, pastor and teacher of the mysteries. * And working wonders through th power of the Spirit, * thou didst manifestly heal divers passions, O venerable father. ** Entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Ode VII, Irmos: In the Persian furnace the youths and descendants of Abraham, * burning with a love of piety * rather than by a flame of fire, * cried aloud saying: * Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Like lightning, the divine proclamations of thy dogmas have flashed throughout all the earth, O all-wise father; shining forth as light with the revelations of miracles, and enlightening hearts that were in darkness.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Following the command of the Saviour, O father, thou didst, like a blessed servant, diligently increase manifold the talent given thee, and hast been deemed worthy of the Master’s joy.

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

Having deepened thy theological mind, like a river thou didst put forth streams of sacred dogmas, giving drink unto the fullness of the faithful, O father Ambrose, teacher of the mysteries.

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

Behold, O Virgin, thou didst conceive within thy womb the Word Who is co-beginningless with the Father, and hast given birth in the flesh unto Him Who granteth restoration unto all who from Adam have fallen, O all-immaculate one.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Having spread his hands, Daniel closed the lions jaws * in their den; * while the zealously pious youths, * girded with virtue, * quenched the power of the fire and cried aloud: * Bless ye the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Having mortified thy members and slain the wisdom of the flesh, thou didst impart life unto thy soul and poured forth a fountain of miracles upon those who had been slain by the passions, O venerable one, granting life unto those who cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Thou wast informed of thine approaching repose in the body by the Spirit of God, O wise one; for thou didst say so prophetically unto those who were with thee, and didst pass over to the heavens crying out with joy: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

Having rid thy body, mind and heart of the turbulence of the passions, O Ambrose, thou didst receive a fiery ray of light from on high, crying out like the divine disciples: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

Thou hast been revealed to be more exalted than the heavens, O most pure one, having given birth unto the God of heaven, Who hath united those of earth with those of the heavens, and Who granteth knowledge of Himself unto all who cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Ode IX, Irmos: A cornerstone not cut by hand O Virgin, * was cut from thee the unhewn mountain: * even Christ, Who hath joined together the disparate natures; * therefore rejoicing we magnify thee, * O Theotokos.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

In ecstasy thou didst behold the everlasting honours which are being laid up for the saints, O father; and having passed over to them, rejoicing, thou hast received the reward of thy labours, O glorious one.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

Like a ripe cluster of grapes wast thou gathered into the vats of heaven, pouring forth the wine of immortality and gifts of healing upon those who piously have recourse to thee, as is meet, O divinely wise Ambrose.

Hierarch of Christ, Ambrose, pray to God for us!

With a mighty voice we bless thee, O father, the golden candlestick of the divine Spirit, which putteth forth the light of pious teachings and the radiance of healings, enlightening the faithful.

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

The Church, O all-blessed one, having acquired thee as a daystar, doth escape all the deception of darkness, and, illumined with the splendours of thy sacred dogmas, she doth bless thee.

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

With joy we utter unto thee the salutation of the archangel, O Virgin: Rejoice, thou abolition of the curse! Rejoice, deliverance from all evils, O thou who, in a manner beyond understanding, hath deified mortals by thy birthgiving!

Troparion, in Tone IV: The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, * icon of meekness, and teacher of temperance; * wherefore, thou hast attained the heights through humility and riches through poverty; * O hierarch Ambrose our father, ** entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

The Feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Although we are now into the new Church day, I nevertheless send you all belated greetings for the feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker. 

We had the pleasure of congratulating the three youngsters at Liturgy named for St Nicholas, with the added pleasure of congratulating Nicholas from Hereford – usually one of Fr Spyridon’s flock – on his tenth birthday. Many years was sung for the local Nicholases, as well as for Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Subdeacon Nicholas (in Chiswick) and Reader Nicholas (in Jordanville). We pray that God may grant them all many, blessed years. 

It was an especially busy day for us with a tight schedule, following confessions for our worshippers from England, after confessions on Friday and Saturday, and a wonderful number of communicants at Liturgy. 

Our joyful celebration was made even more special by the afternoon baptism of baby Adam-Daniel, supported by his godparents, Mircea-Cristian and Elzbieta. 

We thank everyone for their patience, including Adam-Daniel’s family, as the order for the making of a catechumen happened in one part of the church whilst trapeza happened in another, before some of our parishioners and the baptismal party came together in the nave. 

We congratulate Adam’s parents, Mateusz and Katarzyna, and their family on the baptism of their son, and I would like to thank parishioners who remained to be part of the baptism, singing, and congratulating Adam-Daniel’s family and godparents on this wonderful occasion. We look forward to his first communion, next Sunday, when he will celebrate his first name-day, being the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers of Christ. 

I was sorry not to be able to chat with parishioners after Liturgy, as I remained occupied until after the baptism when I finally managed to sit down for a few minutes with our deacon and starosta – buoyed by the joy of the feast.  

We know that with our students away, parishioners heading to Russia and Ukraine, and many parishioners busy with celebrations with British spouses and families, next Sunday’s Liturgy will be considerably quieter, but I look forward to spending time with parishioners, and also celebrating a moleben to St Spyridon the Wonderworker, whose feast falls on Saturday. 

May God bless you all. 

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark 

 

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Nicholas the Wonderworker

Sunday December 6/19: St Nicholas the WonderworkerThe truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.’

So reads the troparion of St Nicholas, hierarch of the Church of Myra in Lycia (now Demra in Turkey), known as ‘wonderworker’ and ‘father’ throughout the Christian world. He is beloved in the Orthodox Church, and indeed far beyond, for his kindness, almsgiving and aid, meted out both during his earthly life and after. As one of the multitude of English lives of the saint joyously proclaims, ‘he is one of the best known and best loved saints of all time.’ And in another: ‘The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to his honour.’Childhood and early life

St Nicholas was born (c. 270) in the the region of Lycia (southern Asia Minor), in the city of Patara. His parents, Theophanes and Nonna, were both pious Christians, and being childless until his arrival, consecrated Nicholas to God at his birth (the name Nicholas meaning ‘Conqueror of nations’). His birth considered by both an answer to their prayer, and especially the prayer issued during Nonna’s illness, his mother was said to have been healed immediately after giving birth. Nicholas would always remember his parents’ love and devotion to God, and in his later years promised to come to the aid of those who remembered them in their prayers.

Various traditions recount signs of Nicholas’ future glory as ‘wonderworker’ (Gr. thaumatourgos), apparent already in his earliest childhood. One recalls that as an infant in the baptismal font, Nicholas stood on his feet for three hours in honour of the Trinity. Another proclaims him a childhood faster, not accepting milk from his mother until after the conclusion of evening prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays.

His later life revealed that Nicholas had from a young age been absorbed in the study of the Church’s sacred scriptures. He thrived on reading divine texts, and earned a reputation as a devoted youth who often would not leave the church, reading the sacred texts late into the night.

Such activity soon came to the attention of the local bishop, Nicholas’ uncle (his father’s brother), also called Nicholas. Seeing his nephew’s fervour for the Christian life, this elder Bishop Nicholas of Patara tonsured him reader, and later ordained him priest. At Fr Nicholas’ ordination, the elder Bishop Nicholas remarked:

‘I see, brethren, a new sun rising above the earth and manifesting in himself a gracious consolation for the afflicted. Blessed is the flock that will be worthy to have him as its pastor, because this one will shepherd well the souls of those who have gone astray, will nourish them on the pasturage of piety, and will be a merciful helper in misfortune and tribulation.’

The newly-ordained Fr Nicholas’ special charge as assistant to the bishop of Patara was the instruction of the faithful—a unique and uncommon role, given his young age.

The ministry of Fr Nicholas

Nicholas approached his duties as priest and teacher of the faith with the same fervour his uncle had witnessed in him during his childhood. Despite his youthfulness, many of the faithful considered him an elder, and his ability to respond to questions of the faith in love and wisdom earned him the deep respect of those in the city. He was noted in particular for the fervency of his prayer and kind-hearted nature, and the attention to charitable work that characterised his priestly ministry. Following the injunction of Christ, Fr Nicholas sold his possessions and, following his parents deaths a few years after his ordination, distributed his inheritance to the poor and afflicted, who would often seek him out for assistance.

In one of his most well-known acts of selflessness as a young priest, Fr Nicholas reacted to the intention of a wealthy businessman of Patara who had fallen on hard times and lost his fortune. Desparate, the man had determined to sell the bodies of his three daughters in order to raise funds for the family. Hearing of the plan (in some accounts, through a divine revelation), Fr Nicholas called by his home in secret during the night and threw an offering of gold—three hundred coins wrapped in a handkercheif[1]—through the man’s window. Convinced of the goodness of the gesture, though unaware of the identity of his benefactor, the man used the funds to arrange for his eldest daughter to be married honourably to a nobleman. Later the man arose to find the act had been repeated; and eventually, a third time. In each instance, the priest made his offering secretly, attempting to conceal his works of charity.[2]

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Following the example of his bishop, who had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few months before, Fr Nicholas requested to travel to Jerusalem himself, to visit the holy places of the city. Icons today continue to recount the miraculous nature of his voyage there by ship, during which a great storm arose (Nicholas having earlier predicted that it would). Seeing in a vision the devil climbing aboard the ship, Nicholas warned the crew and prayed for the salvation of the craft and its occupants, and the sea shortly calmed.

Arriving in the Holy Land, Nicholas made his pilgrimage of the holy places in Jerusalem, especially Golgotha where Christ was crucified.[3] Overcome by the reality of these places where the incarnate Son of the Father had walked and acted, Nicholas determined to retreat into the desert to live a life of solitude. But he was stopped by a divine voice, which forbad this course and urged him to return home. This he did, though still longing for quiet and the solitary life. Having been moved by his experiences on Mount Sion in Jerusalem, he entered the monastic community of Holy Sion in Lycia (which had earlier been founded by his uncle); but again, the Lord made known to him that this was not to be his path. The voice of the Lord is said to have come to him: ‘Nicholas, if you desire to be vouchsafed a crown from me, go and struggle for the good of the world. This [monastery] is not the vineyard in which you shall bring forth the fruit I expect of you; but turn back, go into the world, and let my Name be glorified in you.'[4]

Desirous above all to follow the command of God, Nicholas departed the brotherhood of Holy Sion and moved to Myra.

Consecration to the episcopate

Shortly after his arrival in Myra, the elder Archbishop of that city, a certain John, died. There was some discussion as to who should succeed him as the chief bishop of the region, the local synod of bishops desirous that the new archbishop should not be an individual chosen by men for the office, but one revealed by God. One of their eldest number beheld a vision of the illumined Christ, who indicated that the old bishop should go into the church, for the one who was first to enter it that night—who would be called Nicholas—was he who should become the new archbishop.

The elder bishop went to the church to await Nicholas’ arrival, in obedience to the vision. When Fr Nicholas arrived, the bishop stopped him.

God’s chosen one replied, ‘My name is Nicholas, Master, and I am your servant.’

The bishop took St Nicholas immediately to the other bishops and exclaimed, ‘Brethren, receive your shepherd whom the Holy Spirit himself anointed and to whom he entrusted the care of your souls. He was not appointed by an assembly of men but by God himself. Now we have the one that we desired, and have found and accepted the one we sought. Under his rule and instruction we will not lack the hope that we will stand before God in the day of his appearing and revelation.'[5]

Nicholas was consecrated to the episcopacy during a tumultuous time in the life of the Church in Lycia. The persecutions under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) effected that region deeply, and for a time, Bishop Nicholas was imprisoned with other Christians for refusing to bow down and worship the idols of the imperial cult. He was remembered later for the exhortations he delivered to his fellow prisoners, urging them to endure with joy all that the Lord lay before them, whether chains, bonds, torture or even death.

Bishop Nicholas’ imprisonment came to an end with the ascension of Constantine to the throne in the early fourth century. He returned to his flock in Myra, which received him with joy, and resumed his episcopal work. He was known as a great ascetic, as he had been since his childhood, and for his gentleness and love. But his kind-hearted spirit was also one of zeal, and with the new freedoms offered under the peace of Constantine (following the ‘Edict of Milan’ in 312), he was known to travel through his city, visiting pagan temples and overthrowing their shrines and idols.

The First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea 325

In the year 325, a great council of bishops—the largest in the history of the Church—was held in the city of Nicaea under the patronage of Emperor Constantine, who had, since his miraculous vision of the cross at Milvian bridge, himself converted to Christianity. This synod, which in later years would come to be known as the First Ecumenical Council (commemorated on the seventh Sunday after Pascha), was attended by over three hundred bishops from throughout the Christian world, to establish various canons of order for the growing Church, affirm the faith, and combat heresy. In particular, the teachings of Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, were addressed and condemned by the council, which formulated a statement of faith that, with later refinements at Constantinople in 381, became the Creed of the Church.

St Nicholas was a participant at this council, and is particularly remembered for his zeal against Arius. Having openly combatted him with words, Bishop Nicholas, in a fit of fervour (some accounts indicate he was displeased with Arius’ monopolisation of the meeting with his ‘constant arguing’), went so far as to strike Arius on the face. Shocked by this behaviour, especially given that the canons forbid clergy from striking any one at all, yet uncertain of how to react to such actions by a hierarch they knew and respected, the fathers of the council determined to deprive Nicholas of his episcopal emblems (traditionally his omophorion and the Gospel book), and placed him under guard. However, a short time later, several of the assembled fathers reported having a common vision: the Lord and His Mother returning to Nicholas his episcopal items, instructing that he was not to be punished, for he had acted ‘not out of passion, but extreme love and piety’.[6] This was taken as a sign that the extreme behaviour of Nicholas was nonetheless pleasing to God, who was thus restored to the fulness of his episcopal office. [7]

Nicholas the Wonderworker

St Nicholas’ title ‘wonderworker’ comes from the multitude of reports of miracles that issued forth at his intercession, both during his life and after. The renown of his miraculous acts was widespread in his own lifetime. As he had secretly delivered gold, many years before, to the father of three destitute daughters, so he secretly delivered gold to an Italian merchent (by some accounts, this gold was left miraculously by an apparition of the saint appearing to the merchant in Italy), convincing him to sail to Myra with a shipment of grain. And so by his prayers and deeds, his city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine.

One miracle, particularly widely known, was Bishop Nicholas’ conversion of the local governor, who had been bribed into unjustly condeming three men to death. The saint approached the executioner, who had already raised his sword to issue the death-blow, and swiftly removed it from his hands. He then approached the governor and denounced his unjust action. This latter, convicted by St Nicholas’ words, repented and asked the saint’s forgiveness. This episode is remembered as connected directly to another: for three officers of the imperial military were present to see St Nicholas stay this execution, who were later slanderously accused before the emperor, who condemned them to death. St Nicholas appeared to Emperor Constantine in a dream and urged him to reverse this sentence, which the emperor did.

Many times, the saint’s prayers were said to have saved those drowning in the sea (just a his prayers had calmed the sea on his own journey, as a young priest, to Jerusalem). Prisoners unjustly condemned prayed to him and were delivered. The poor prayed to him and were provided for. And so Nicholas’ reputation as thaumatourgos was established during his life. It continues to this day.

The saint’s departure

Living his life in ascetic labour and zealous ministry, St Nicholas fell asleep in the Lord at an old age (d. 6th December 343), by some accounts quite ill. A church was built in his honour by the residents of Myra, in which his relics were kept for many centuries.

Alexei Cominos ascended the throne of the Byzantine Empire in 1081, in which year Asia Minor suffered various attacks and threats of barbarian invasion. St Nicholas’ relics at this time remained in his city of Myra. However, a priest in the Italian city of Bari soon beheld a vision in which Nicholas appeared and informed him that he did not wish to remain in a city as barren as the defeated Myra. He instructed the priest to remove his body from the city. After informing the residents of Bari of his vision, three ships were sent to Myra to retrieve the saint’s relics.

On their arrival in the city in 1087, the travellers from Bari found the Church of St Nicholas in Myra abandoned, save for the presence of four devoted monks. These led the men to the coffin of the saint, which they had hid to keep it safe from invaders. On opening the coffin, the men found St Nicholas’ relics flowing with myrrh which they collected in vials, before securing the coffin and placing it on one of the ships for the return voyage to Bari, accompanied by two of the Myran monks.

Some time later, the ships arrived in Bari, and were met at the port by throngs of the local faithful. A great festal Liturgy was held in in the Church of St John the Forerunner and Baptist, to which the saint’s relics were taken in procession. Craftsmen had fashioned an ornate silver box, into which St Nicholas’ head and hands were placed, while the remainder of his relics remained in their original coffin from Myra.

A short time later, a large church was built and dedicated to St Nicholas, and the two boxes containing his relics were transferred to it from the Church of St John, where they remain to this day (this event is commemorated on 20th May / 2nd June).[8] Chrism continues to flow from the saint’s relics, as it has for centuries.

Source: Parish of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker,
Oxford, England  5/21/2012

AKATHIST

Kontakion 1: O champion wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, thou who pourest out for all the world the most precious myrrh of mercy and an inexhaustible sea of miracles, I praise thee with love, O Saint Nicholas; and as thou art one having boldness toward the Lord, from all dangers do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Ekos 1: An angel in manner though earthly by nature did the Creator reveal thee to be; for, foreseeing the fruitful beauty of thy soul, O most blessed Nicholas, He taught all to cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who wast purified from thy mother’s womb!
Rejoice, thou who wast sanctified even unto the end!
Rejoice, thou who didst amaze thy parents by thy birth!
Rejoice, thou who didst manifest power of soul straightway after birth!
Rejoice, plant of the land of promise!
Rejoice, flower of divine planting!
Rejoice, virtuous vine of Christ’s vineyard!
Rejoice, wonderworking tree of the paradise of Jesus!
Rejoice, lily of paradisaical growth!
Rejoice, myrrh of the fragrance of Christ!
Rejoice, for through thee lamentation is banished!
Rejoice, for through thee rejoicing is brought to pass!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 2: Seeing the effusion of thy myrrh, O divinely wise one, our souls and bodies are enlightened, understanding thee to be a wonderful, living source of unction, O Nicholas; for with miracles like waters poured out through the grace of God thou fillest them that faithfully cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 2: Teaching incomprehensible knowledge about the Holy Trinity, thou wast with the holy fathers in Nicea a champion of the confession of the Orthodox Faith; for thou didst confess the Son equal to the Father, co-everlasting and co-enthroned, and thou didst convict the foolish Arius. Therefore the faithful have learned to sing to thee:

Rejoice, great pillar of piety!
Rejoice, city of refuge for the faithful!
Rejoice, firm stronghold of Orthodoxy!
Rejoice, venerable vessel and praise of the Holy Trinity!
Rejoice, thou who didst preach the Son of equal honour with the Father!
Rejoice, thou who didst expel the demonized Arius from the council of the saints!
Rejoice, father, glorious beauty of the fathers!
Rejoice, wise goodness of all the divinely wise!
Rejoice, thou who utterest fiery words!
Rejoice, thou who guidest so well thy flock!
Rejoice, for through thee faith is strengthened!
Rejoice, for through thee heresy is overthrown!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 3: Through power given thee from on high, thou didst wipe away every tear from the face of those in cruel suffering, O God-bearing Father Nicholas; for thou wast shown to be a feeder of the hungry, a superb pilot of those on the high seas, a healer of the ailing, and thou hast proved to be a helper to all that cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 3: Truly, Father Nicholas, a song should be sung to thee from heaven, and not from earth; for how can a mere man proclaim the greatness of thy holiness? But we, conquered by thy love, cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, model of lambs and shepherds!
Rejoice, holy purification of morals!
Rejoice, container of great virtues!
Rejoice, pure and honorable abode of holiness!
Rejoice, all-luminous lamp, beloved by all!
Rejoice, light golden-rayed and blameless!
Rejoice, worthy converser with angels!
Rejoice, good guide of men!
Rejoice, pious rule of faith!
Rejoice, model of spiritual meekness!
Rejoice, for through thee we are delivered from bodily passions!
Rejoice, for through thee we are filled with spiritual delights!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 4: A storm of bewilderment confuseth our minds: How can we worthily hymn thy wonders, O blessed Nicholas? For no one could count them, even though he had many tongues and willed to tell them; but we make bold to sing to God Who is wonderfully glorified in thee: Alleluia!

Ekos 4: People near and far heard of the greatness of thy miracles, O divinely-wise Nicholas, for in the air with the delicate wings of grace thou art accustomed to forestall those in misfortune, quickly delivering all who cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, deliverance from sorrow!
Rejoice, channel of grace!
Rejoice, dispeller of unexpected evils!
Rejoice, planter of good desires!
Rejoice, quick comforter of those in misfortune!
Rejoice, dread punisher of wrongdoers!
Rejoice, abyss of miracles poured out by God!
Rejoice, tablets of the law of Christ written by God!
Rejoice, strong uplifting of the fallen!
Rejoice, support of them that stand aright!
Rejoice, for through thee all deception is exposed!
Rejoice, for through thee all truth is realized!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 5: Thou didst appear as a divinely-moving star, guiding those who sailed upon the cruel sea who were once threatened with imminent death, if thou hadst not come to the help of those who called upon thee, O wonderworking Saint Nicholas; for, having forbidden the flying demons who shamelessly wanted to sink the ship, thou didst drive them away, and didst teach the faithful whom God saveth through thee to cry: Alleluia!

Ekos 5: The maidens, prepared for a dishonourable marriage because of their poverty, saw thy great compassion to the poor, O most-blessed Father Nicholas, when by night thou secretly gavest their aged father three bundles of gold, hereby saving him and his daughters from falling into sin. Wherefore, thou hearest from all thus:
Rejoice, treasury of greatest mercy!

Rejoice, depository of provision for people!
Rejoice, food and consolation of those that flee unto thee!
Rejoice, inexhaustible bread of the hungry!
Rejoice, God-given wealth of those living in poverty on earth!
Rejoice, speedy uplifting of paupers!
Rejoice, quick hearing of the needy!
Rejoice, acceptable care of the sorrowful!
Rejoice, blameless provider for the three maidens!
Rejoice, fervent guardian of purity!
Rejoice, hope of the hopeless!
Rejoice, delight of all the world!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 6: The whole world proclaimeth thee, O most blessed Nicholas, as a quick intercessor in adversities; for, oftentimes preceding those that travel by land and sail upon the sea, thou helpest them in a single hour, at the same time keeping from evils all that cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 6: Thou didst shine as a living light, bringing deliverance to the generals who received sentence to an unjust death, who called upon thee, O good shepherd Nicholas, when thou didst quickly appear in a dream to the emperor, and didst terrify him and didst order him to release them unharmed. Therefore, together with them we also gratefully cry unto thee:

Rejoice, thou who helpest them that fervently call upon thee!
Rejoice, thou who deliverest from unjust death!
Rejoice, thou who preservest from false accusation!
Rejoice, thou who destroyest the counsels of the unrighteous!
Rejoice, thou who tearest lies to shreds like cobwebs!
Rejoice, thou who gloriously exaltest truth!
Rejoice, release of the innocent from their fetters!
Rejoice, revival of the dead!
Rejoice, revealer of righteousness!
Rejoice, exposer of unrighteousness!
Rejoice, for through thee the innocent were saved from the sword!
Rejoice, for through thee they enjoyed the light!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 7: Desiring to dispel the blasphemous stench of heresy, thou didst appear as a truly fragrant, mystical myrrh, O Nicholas; by shepherding the people of Myra, thou hast filled the whole world with thy gracious myrrh. And so, dispel from us the stench of abominable sin, that we may acceptably cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 7: We understand thee to be a new Noah, a guide of the ark of salvation, O Holy Father Nicholas, who drivest away the storm of all evils by thy direction, and bringest divine calm to those that cry thus:

Rejoice, calm harbour of the storm-tossed!
Rejoice, sure preservation of those that are drowning!
Rejoice, good pilot of those that sail upon the deeps!
Rejoice, thou who rulest the raging of the sea!
Rejoice, guidance of those in whirlwinds!
Rejoice, warmth of those in frosts!
Rejoice, radiance that dispellest the gloom of sorrow!
Rejoice, light that illuminest all the ends of the earth!
Rejoice, thou who deliverest people from the abyss of sin!
Rejoice, thou who castest Satan into the abyss of Hades!
Rejoice, for through thee we boldly invoke the abyss of God’s compassion!
Rejoice, for as ones rescued through thee from the flood of wrath, we find peace with God!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 8: A strange wonder is thy sacred church shown to be to those that flock to thee, O blessed Nicholas; for, by offering in it even a small supplication, we receive healing from great illnesses, if only, after God, we place our hope in thee, faithfully crying aloud: Alleluia!

Ekos 8: Thou art truly a helper to all, O God-bearing Nicholas, and thou hast gathered together all that flee unto thee, for thou art a deliverer, a nourisher, and a quick healer to all on earth, moving all to cry out in praise to thee thus:

Rejoice, source of all kinds of healing!
Rejoice, helper of those that suffer cruelly!
Rejoice, dawn shining for prodigals in the night of sin!
Rejoice, heaven-sent dew for those in the heat of labours!
Rejoice, thou who givest prosperity to those that need it!
Rejoice, thou who preparest an abundance for those that ask!
Rejoice, thou who often forestallest requests!
Rejoice, thou who restorest strength to the aged and gray-headed!
Rejoice, convicter of many who have strayed from the true way!
Rejoice, faithful steward of the mysteries of God!
Rejoice, for through thee we conquer envy!
Rejoice, for through thee we lead a moral life!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 9: Assuage all our pains, O Nicholas, our great intercessor, dispensing gracious healings, delighting our souls, and gladdening the hearts of all that fervently hasten to thee for help and cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 9: The falsely theorizing orators of the ungodly, we see, were put to shame by thee, O divinely-wise Father Nicholas; for thou didst confute Arius the blasphemer who divided the Godhead, and Sabellius who mingled the persons of the Holy Trinity, but thou hast strengthened us in Orthodoxy. Therefore, we cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, shield that defendest piety!
Rejoice, sword that cuttest down impiety!
Rejoice, teacher of the divine commandments!
Rejoice, destroyer of impious doctrines!
Rejoice, ladder set up by God, by which we mount to heaven!
Rejoice, God-given protection, by which many are sheltered!
Rejoice, thou who makest wise the unwise by thy sayings!
Rejoice, thou who movest the slothful by thine example!
Rejoice, inextinguishable brightness of God’s commandments!
Rejoice, most luminous ray of the Lord’s statutes!
Rejoice, for through thy teaching the heads of heretics are broken!
Rejoice, for through thee the faithful are counted worthy of glory!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 10
: Desiring to save thy soul, thou didst truly subject thy body to the spirit, O our Father Nicholas; for by silence first and by wrestling with thoughts, thou didst add contemplation to activity, and by contemplation thou didst acquire perfect knowledge with which thou didst boldly converse with God and angels, always crying: Alleluia!

Ekos 10: Thou art a rampart, O most-blessed one, to those that praise thy miracles, and to all that have recourse to thine intercession; wherefore, free also us who are poor in virtue from poverty, temptations, illness, and needs of various kinds, as we cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who rescuest from eternal wretchedness!
Rejoice, thou who bestowest incorruptible riches!
Rejoice, imperishable food for those that hunger after righteousness!
Rejoice, inexhaustible drink for those that thirst for life!
Rejoice, thou who preservest from revolution and war!
Rejoice, thou who freest us from chains and imprisonment!
Rejoice, most-glorious intercessor in misfortunes!
Rejoice, great defender in temptations!
Rejoice, thou who hast snatched many from destruction!
Rejoice, thou who hast kept countless numbers unharmed!
Rejoice, for through thee sinners escape a frightful death!
Rejoice, for through thee those that repent obtain eternal life!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 11: A song to the Most Holy Trinity didst thou bring, surpassing others in thought, word, and deed, O most-blessed Nicholas; for with much searching thou didst explain the precepts of the true Faith, guiding us to sing with faith, hope, and love to the one God in Trinity: Alleluia!

Ekos 11: We see thee as a brilliant and inextinguishable ray for those in the darkness of this life, O God-chosen Father Nicholas; for with the immaterial angelic lights thou conversest concerning the uncreated Light of the Trinity, and thou enlightenest the souls of the faithful who cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, radiance of the Three-sunned Light!
Rejoice, daystar of the unsetting Sun!
Rejoice, lamp kindled by the Divine Flame!
Rejoice, for thou hast quenched the demonic flame of impiety!
Rejoice, bright preaching of the Orthodox Faith!
Rejoice, luminous radiance of the light of the Gospel!
Rejoice, lightning that consumest heresy!
Rejoice, thunder that terrifiest tempters!
Rejoice, teacher of true knowledge!
Rejoice, revealer of the secret mind!
Rejoice, for through thee the worship of creatures hath been abolished!
Rejoice, for through thee we have learned to worship the Creator in the Trinity!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 12: Knowing the grace that hath been given thee by God, dutifully and joyfully we celebrate thy memory, O most-glorious Father Nicholas, and with all fervency we hasten to thy wonderful intercession; unable to count thy glorious deeds which are like the sands of the seashore and the multitude of the stars, being at a loss to understand, we cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 12: While we sing of thy wonders, we praise thee, O all-praised Nicholas; for in thee God Who is glorified in the Trinity is wondrously glorified. But even if we were to offer thee a multitude of psalms and hymns composed from the soul, O holy wonderworker, we should do nothing to equal the gift of thy miracles, and amazed by them we cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords!
Rejoice, co-dweller with His heavenly servants!
Rejoice, support of faithful kings!
Rejoice, exaltation of the race of Christians!
Rejoice, namesake of victory!
Rejoice, eminent victor!
Rejoice, mirror of all the virtues!
Rejoice, strong buttress of all who flee unto thee!
Rejoice, after God and the Theotokos, all our hope!
Rejoice, health of our bodies and salvation of our souls!
Rejoice, for through thee we are delivered from eternal death!
Rejoice, for through thee we are deemed worthy of endless life!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 13: O most-holy and most-wonderful Father Nicholas, consolation of all that sorrow, accept our present offering, and entreat the Lord that we be delivered from Gehenna through thy God-pleasing intercession, that with thee we may sing: Alleluia!

Ekos 1: An angel in manner though earthly by nature did the Creator reveal thee to be; for, foreseeing the fruitful beauty of thy soul, O most blessed Nicholas, He taught all to cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who wast purified from thy mother’s womb!
Rejoice, thou who wast sanctified even unto the end!
Rejoice, thou who didst amaze thy parents by thy birth!
Rejoice, thou who didst manifest power of soul straightway after birth!
Rejoice, plant of the land of promise!
Rejoice, flower of divine planting!
Rejoice, virtuous vine of Christ’s vineyard!
Rejoice, wonderworking tree of the paradise of Jesus!
Rejoice, lily of paradisaical growth!
Rejoice, myrrh of the fragrance of Christ!
Rejoice, for through thee lamentation is banished!
Rejoice, for through thee rejoicing is brought to pass!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 1: O champion wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, thou who pourest out for all the world the most precious myrrh of mercy and an inexhaustible sea of miracles, I praise thee with love, O Saint Nicholas; and as thou art one having boldness toward the Lord, from all dangers do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Hierarch and father, O most holy Nicholas, thou extraordinary Saint of the Lord, our loving defender and ready helper in sorrows everywhere: help us sinners and hapless ones in the present life: entreat the Lord God to grant us remission of all of our sins, that we have committed from our youth and all our life, by deed, word, though and all our senses; and in the passing of our souls, help us wretched ones; entreat the Lord God and Maker of all creation, to deliver us from trials in the air and eternal torment: that we may always glorify the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and thy merciful intercession, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O most good father Nicholas, pastor and teacher of all who in faith call upon thy protection and warm prayer, make haste to deliver Christ’s flock from the wolves that attack it; and guard every Christian land, and keep it by thy holy prayers from worldly unrest, upheaval, the assault of enemies and civil strife; from famine, flood, fire, the axe and sudden mortality. And as thou didst take pity on the three men who were imprisoned, and didst deliver them from royal anger and death by the sword, so have mercy also on us, who are in the darkness of sins of mind, word and deed, and deliver us from the wrath of God and eternal punishment, so that, by thine intercession and help, and by His mercy and grace, Christ our God may grant us to lead a quiet life without sin in this age and deliver us in the next from standing at the left side,  but rather grant us to be at His right hand with all the Saints. Amen.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified

Saturday December 5/18: Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified

Saint Sabbas the Sanctified was born in the fifth century at Cappadocia of pious Christian parents, John and Sophia. His father was a military commander. Journeying to Alexandria on military matters, his wife went with him, but they left their five-year-old son in the care of an uncle. When the boy reached eight years of age, he entered the monastery of Saint Flavian located nearby. The gifted child quickly learned to read and became an expert on the Holy Scriptures. In vain did his parents urge Saint Sabbas to return to the world and enter into marriage.

When he was seventeen years old he received monastic tonsure, and attained such perfection in fasting and prayer that he was given the gift of wonder- working. After spending ten years at the monastery of Saint Flavian, he went to Jerusalem, and from there to the monastery of Saint Euthymius the Great (January 20). But Saint Euthymius sent Saint Sabbas to Abba Theoctistus, the head of a nearby monastery with a strict cenobitic rule. Saint Sabbas lived in obedience at this monastery until the age of thirty.

After the death of the Elder Theoctistus, his successor blessed Saint Sabbas to seclude himself in a cave. On Saturdays, however, he left his hermitage and came to the monastery, where he participated in divine services and ate with the brethren. After a certain time Saint Sabbas received permission not to leave his hermitage at all, and he struggled in the cave for five years.

Saint Euthymius attentively directed the life of the young monk, and seeing his spiritual maturity, he began to take him to the Rouba wilderness with him. They set out on January 14, and remained there until Palm Sunday. Saint Euthymius called Saint Sabbas a child-elder, and encouraged him to grow in the monastic virtues.

When Saint Euthymius fell asleep in the Lord (+ 473), Saint Sabbas withdrew from the Lavra and moved to a cave near the monastery of Saint Gerasimus of Jordan (March 4). After several years, disciples began to gather around Saint Sabbas, seeking the monastic life. As the number of monks increased, a lavra sprang up. When a pillar of fire appeared before Saint Sabbas as he was walking, he found a spacious cave in the form of a church.

Saint Sabbas founded several more monasteries. Many miracles took place through the prayers of Saint Sabbas: at the Lavra a spring of water welled up, during a time of drought there was abundant rain, and there were also healings of the sick and the demoniacs. Saint Sabbas composed the first monastic Rule of church services, the so-called “Jerusalem Typikon”, accepted by all the Palestine monasteries. The saint surrendered his soul to God in the year 532.

Canon to the Venerable One, the acrostic whereof is: “Lovingly I hymn Sabbas, most eminent among fasters,” the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VIII.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

With the splendour of the Holy Spirit, O Sabbas, illumine us who with devout love praise thee with hymns as the boast of fasters, the glory of monastics, the adorner of the desert and teacher of piety.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Having offered all thy love to God from thy youth and made Him the object of all thy desire, rejoicing, thou didst mortify the movements of the flesh and the assaults of the passions, O all-praised God-bearer Sabbas.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Conquering the serpent hidden in the fruit, thou didst trample it down and easily pass over his snares, taking flight on wings of piety, O father; and, rejoicing, thou didst partake of life in the garden of the Cross.

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

Illumined with the light of grace, thou didst enter into the fire and, like the three youths, remained unconsumed, for God preserved thee, revealing to all thine ultimate future progress and perfection, O father.

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

Death hath laid hold upon us with irresistible assaults; but, drawing nigh to thine Offspring, it perished and, rushing against Him, it was destroyed. For thou didst truly give birth unto everlasting Life incarnate, O Virgin Theotokos.

Ode III, Canon to the Venerable One, Irmos: O Christ fortify me on the rock of Thy commandments, * Thou who in the beginning didst establish the heavens with understanding * and didst establish the earth upon the waters, * for there is none holy save Thee, O only Lover of mankind.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Having set thy mind as master over the passions, O thou who art most noetically rich, showing thyself to be a dispenser of justice; for thou didst manifestly subject what is worse to that which is better. Wherefore, thou didst flourish in the desert like a palm tree, O father.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Having resolved to follow in the steps of the Master, thou didst forsake thy homeland; and, making thine abode in the desert, thou didst win a victory over the adversaries, strengthened by the power of God.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by steadfastness of mind, O all-blessed one, thou didst denounce the divers wiles of the enemy, unmasking them in the sight of all, and setting at naught his conceited audacity, O wise one.

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

Perceiving thee to be sacred of soul and adorned with simplicity of intent and with the virtues, Euthymius, the most radiant star, received thee, prophetically proclaiming thy splendour, O all-blessed one.

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

O Virgin Mother, thou hast truly been known to be the splendid portal of the dispensation of the Word, Who hath saved us; for thou hast brought forth upon us the noetic Ray of the supremely divine Godhead.

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.

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Having forsaken all earthly things, while on earth in the body thou wast a companion of the angels in spirit; for, having mortified the passions present in thy body, thou wast shown to be a servant of the Trinity, O blessed one. Wherefore, thou dost cure the sufferings of the afflicted and, at thy word, dost drive away evil spirits through grace, O our God-bearing father. Pray thou to Christ God, that remission of sins be granted unto those who celebrate thy holy memory with love.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII: Abandoning the tumults of life and taking thy cross upon thy shoulders, thou didst offer thyself wholly unto God; and, being beyond the flesh and the world, thou didst become a converser with the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, raising men up to zealous deeds, thou didst empty the cities and didst make cities of desert places, O our God-bearing father. Entreat Christ God, that remission of transgressions be granted to those who celebrate thy holy memory with love.

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

Theotokion in Tone VIII: As the all-immaculate Bride of the Creator, * Mother of the Redeemer, who knewest not a man, * and as the receptacle of the Comforter O all-hymned one, * hasten thou to deliver me, * the vile abode of iniquity and noetic plaything of the demons, * from their evil machinations; * and make me the bright dwelling-place of the virtues, * O thou incorrupt light-bearing one. * Drive away the clouds of the passions and grant that, * by thy supplications, * I may receive a portion on high ** and share in the never-waning light.

Ode IV, Canon to the Venerable One, Irmos: Thou, O Lord, art my strength and Thou art my power, * Thou art my God and Thou art my joy, * Thou Who, while never leaving the bosom of Thy Father, * hast visited our poverty. * Therefore, with the Prophet Habbakuk I cry unto Thee, * ‘Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!’

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Cleansing and expanding the state of thy soul with divine visions, thou didst truly fashion it into a dwelling-place of divine gifts, O divinely blessed one; and by the laying on of thy hands thou didst heal the afflicted, being an emulator of the Master.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

He that waxed arrogant against thee, O father, was swallowed up like the wretched Dathan, and like Abiram was destroyed; for the grace of God invisibly preserved thee, intending the salvation of many, O all-blessed, glorious and divinely wise Sabbas.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

O divinely eloquent one, having chastised thy senses with the Law of God, thou didst direct thy skillful thought to the knowledge of incorporeal and noetic things, passing inexorably from glory to glory and from strength to strength, O father.

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

Proposing to do good unto thy compatriots, thou didst found magnificent and spiritually profitable cities in the desert, bringing springs of water to the parched land, and most gloriously bringing down rains from heaven upon the waterless fields.

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

A beauteous paradise newly sprung forth hast thou been shown to be, O thou who most divinely bore within thy womb and gave birth to, the Tree of Life planted therein, Which poureth forth the hope of salvation upon all who with faith know thee to be the Theotokos.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Stretching forth unwavering thought toward Him Whom thou didst desire, from Him thou didst receive the sure grace of most wondrous miracles, O father; compassionately healing those who have recourse to thee in faith, O venerable one.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Putting away the coarseness of the heaviness of the flesh, thou didst become a divinely wrought and chosen vessel of the Holy Spirit, O wondrous one, adorned with abstinence from foods, patience and chastity.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Thou wast appointed the most resounding herald of the divine dogmas of the Councils, O father, and wast a partaker with the saints, enlightening emperors, to whom, O blessed one, thou wast clearly revealed to be protected by divine grace.

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

O divinely inspired one, the grace given thee by God sounded forth, for it hath been distributed unto all, unto the ends of the earth, manifestly bringing about the divine activity of wondrous revelation in a most godly manner.

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

O most pure one, intercessor for the faithful, indestructible rampart of those who praise thee, O thou who hast given birth in the flesh unto God, the Salvation revealed to the whole human race: save thou my soul!

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Having acquired love for God and neighbour, fulfilling the chief precepts of the Law and the prophets; thou didst achieve unattainable virtue, surpassing all others, O father.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Thou didst attain on earth a life equal to that of the angels, and Christ hath given thee honour equal to that of the angels, sending thy soul to accompany the ranks of the holy ones.

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

Having been shown to be a child of wisdom, thou didst desire the beginning of wisdom, the fear of God; and, strengthened thereby, O father, thou didst attain unto perfection as far is permitted.

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

O pure Lady, who hast given birth unto God, the Saviour and Redeemer of all, Who took our flesh upon Himself: from misfortune save those who call upon thee!

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “To thee the champion leader …”: In thy virtue didst thou offer thyself from childhood unto God * as an unblemished sacrifice, O blessed Sabbas, * becoming a gardener in the garden of piety. * Therefore, thou wast an adornment for the venerable and a right praiseworthy citizen of the desert. ** Wherefore, we cry to thee: Rejoice, O Sabbas most noetically rich!

Ikos: O leader of the fathers, beauty of the venerable, boldness of fasters before Christ, citizen and gardener of the desert: how can I hymn thy life, O venerable one? for thou dost shine forth in brilliance unto the ends of the earth, like the sun. Wherefore, I cry unto thee: Rejoice, beauteous glory of the Cappadocians! Rejoice, honoured standard of the whole world! Rejoice, most good offspring of the desert! Rejoice, godly delight of the righteous! Rejoice, for thou didst disdain that which is fleeting and corruptible! Rejoice, for thou dost dwell with the angels in the heavens! Rejoice, correction and rule of monastics! Rejoice, rousing of the slothful toward God! Rejoice, divinely flowing fountain of miracles! Rejoice, honoured instrument of the Spirit! Rejoice, thou with whom the East is adorned! Rejoice, thou through whom the Western lands shine forth! Rejoice, O Sabbas most noetically rich!

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Thou didst put away transitory things, being rewarded with eternal things; and with the angels dost thou join chorus as one that led an angelic life. And with them hast thou chanted: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

In thanksgiving thy great and most honourable Lavra crieth out to the Lord, putting thee forward as its inhabitant, founder and citizen, O wise one, and crying out in praise: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

O Sabbas most wise, entreat the Lord unceasingly on behalf of thy flock, and earnestly pray that thy labours be preserved forever for those who bear fruit and cry out with love: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Reasoning rightly, we call thee the bridal chamber, the banquet hall and throne of the incarnation of the Word, most pure beyond telling; and, rejoicing, we cry out to thy Son: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

With gladness the ranks of the saints preceded thy most pure soul to the place of delight among the splendid mansions, where the choirs of the righteous rejoice, O venerable one. With them dost thou now chant: Ye priests, hymn; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Strange are thy wonders, for thou didst tame wild beasts, having quelled the waves of the passions; and with thy prophetic gift thou dost foretell things to come; and, expelling legions of demons, thou dost wound them with thy right powerful vigils, prayers and fasts, and by the invincible power of the Cross, O God-bearer.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

He, that of old spake to Moses from the pillar of cloud and fire, showed thee to be a most magnificent pillar reaching from the earth, where now thy patient and much-suffering body doth lie, unto heaven. Standing before it in faith, we piously chant: Ye people, exalt Christ supremely forever!

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

Joyously is thy memory celebrated, O all-praised one; for thou didst robe thyself in the virtue which bringeth joy, the true garment of salvation, the pure and radiant garment of gladness, wherein adorned, thou dost now chant unceasingly: Ye priests, hymn; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

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

Remaining virgin, thou didst give birth without knowing wedlock, and by thy strange birthgiving thou hast brought all together, abolishing the strife of time and great distance, bearing in thy womb Christ, the Bestower of peace. Him do we faithfully hymn and supremely exalt throughout the ages.

Ode IX, Canon to the Venerable One Irmos: Heaven was stricken with awe, * and the ends of the earth were filled with amazement, * for God hath appeared in the flesh, * and thy womb was rendered more spacious than the heavens. * Wherefore, the ranks of men and of angels * magnify thee as the Theotokos.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Thy shrine issueth forth a sweet spiritual fragrance, richly making glad thy children who fervently surround thee, commemorating thine angelic sojourn on earth, O venerable one, and the radiance, glory and everlasting beauty bestowed upon thee.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

Water broke forth in the desert, and the parched earth became a marsh, transformed by thy prayers, O father; for legions of fasters inhabit it as it were a river valley, and the land of Jordan hath blossomed forth like a lily, watered by thy tears.

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

The splendour of the saints in the heavens shone forth upon thee, in that thou wast a righteous man, O father; for thou didst manifestly love the true righteousness of Christ. Following His manner of life, O all-blessed one, thou didst emulate His life-imparting sanctity as far as thou wast able.

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

Shining with rich light, O God-bearer, beholding now the choirs of angels standing in splendour around the light of the Trinity, and receiving rays of divine knowledge through grace, pray thou unceasingly that remission of sins be granted to those who hymn thee.

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

O pure one, thou art more highly exalted than all mortal mankind in thine incomparable pre-eminence; for in thy womb thou didst contain God, the Creator of all creation. Him do thou beseech, in that He is merciful, that He grant to His Churches oneness of mind, peace and serene prosperity.

Troparion of the saint, in Tone VIII: With the streams of thy tears thou didst irrigate the barren desert, * and with sighs from the depths of thy soul thou didst render thy labors fruitful an hundredfold, * becoming a beacon for the whole world, resplendent with miracles. ** O Sabbas our father, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: The Holy Great-Martyr Barbara & Venerable John Of Damascus

Friday December 4/17: The Holy Great-Martyr Barbara & Venerable John Of Damascus

The Holy Great Martyr Barbara lived and suffered during the reign of the emperor Maximian (305-311). Her father, the pagan Dioscorus, was a rich and illustrious man in the Syrian city of Heliopolis. After the death of his wife, he devoted himself to his only daughter.

Seeing Barbara’s extraordinary beauty, Dioscorus decided to hide her from the eyes of strangers. Therefore, he built a tower for Barbara, where only her pagan teachers were allowed to see her. From the tower there was a view of hills stretching into the distance. By day, she was able to gaze upon the wooded hills, the swiftly flowing rivers, and the meadows covered with a mottled blanket of flowers; by night the harmonious and majestic vault of the heavens twinkled and provided a spectacle of inexpressible beauty. Soon the virgin began to ask herself questions about the First Cause and Creator of so harmonious and splendid a world.

Gradually, she became convinced that the soulless idols were merely the work of human hands. Although her father and teachers offered them worship, she realized that the idols could not have made the surrounding world. The desire to know the true God so consumed her soul that Barbara decided to devote all her life to this goal, and to spend her life in virginity.

The fame of her beauty spread throughout the city, and many sought her hand in marriage. But despite the entreaties of her father, she refused all of them. Barbara warned her father that his persistence might end tragically and separate them forever. Dioscorus decided that the temperament of his daughter had been affected by her life of seclusion. He therefore permitted her to leave the tower and gave her full freedom in her choice of friends and acquaintances. Thus Barbara met young Christian maidens in the city, and they taught her about the Creator of the world, about the Trinity, and about the Divine Logos. Through the Providence of God, a priest arrived in Heliopolis from Alexandria disguised as a merchant. After instructing her in the mysteries of the Christian Faith, he baptized Barbara, then returned to his own country.

During this time, a luxurious bathhouse was being built at the house of Dioscorus. By his orders, the workers prepared to put two windows on the south side. But Barbara, taking advantage of her father’s absence, asked them to make a third window, thereby forming a Trinity of light. On one of the walls of the bath-house Barbara traced a cross with her finger. The cross was deeply etched into the marble, as if by an iron instrument. Later, her footprints were imprinted on the stone steps of the bathhouse. The water of the bathhouse had great healing power. St. Simeon Metaphrastes (November 9) compared the bathhouse to the stream of Jordan and the Pool of Siloam, because by God’s power, many miracles took place there.

When Dioscorus returned and expressed dissatisfaction about the change in his building plans, his daughter told him about how she had come to know the Triune God, about the saving power of the Son of God, and about the futility of worshipping idols. Dioscorus went into a rage, grabbed a sword and was on the point of striking her with it. The holy virgin fled from her father, and he rushed after her in pursuit. His way became blocked by a hill, which opened up and concealed the saint in a crevice. On the other side of the crevice was an entrance leading upwards. St Barbara managed then to conceal herself in a cave on the opposite slope of the hill.

After a long and fruitless search for his daughter, Dioscorus saw two shepherds on the hill. One of them showed him the cave where the saint had hidden. Dioscorus beat his daughter terribly, and then placed her under guard and tried to wear her down with hunger. Finally he handed her over to the prefect of the city, named Martianus. They beat St. Barbara fiercely: they struck her with rawhide, and rubbed her wounds with a hair cloth to increase her pain. By night, St. Barbara prayed fervently to her Heavenly Bridegroom, and the Savior Himself appeared and healed her wounds. Then they subjected the saint to new, and even more frightful torments.

In the crowd where the martyr was tortured was the virtuous Christian woman Juliana, an inhabitant of Heliopolis. Her heart was filled with sympathy for the voluntary martyrdom of the beautiful and illustrious maiden. Juliana also wanted to suffer for Christ. She began to denounce the torturers in a loud voice, and they seized her.

Both martyrs were tortured for a long time. Their bodies were raked and wounded with hooks, and then they were led naked through the city amidst derision and jeers. Through the prayers of St. Barbara, the Lord sent an angel who covered the nakedness of the holy martyrs with a splendid robe. Then the steadfast confessors of Christ, Ss. Barbara and Juliana, were beheaded. Dioscorus himself executed St. Barbara. The wrath of God was not slow to punish both torturers, Martianus and Dioscorus. They were killed after being struck by lightning.

In the sixth century the relics of the holy Great Martyr Barbara were transferred to Constantinople. Six hundred years later, they were transferred to Kiev (July 11) by Barbara, the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenos, who married the Russian prince Michael Izyaslavich. They rest even now at Kiev’s St Vladimir cathedral, where an Akathist to the saint is served each Tuesday.

Many pious Orthodox Christians are in the habit of chanting the troparion of St. Barbara each day, recalling the Savior’s promise to her that those who remembered her and her sufferings would be preserved from a sudden, unexpected death, and would not depart this life without benefit of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. St. Barbara is commemorated on December 4.

Saint John of Damascus was born about the year 680 at Damascus, Syria into a Christian family. His father, Sergius Mansur, was a treasurer at the court of the Caliph. John had also a foster brother, the orphaned child Cosmas (October 14), whom Sergius had taken into his own home. When the children were growing up, Sergius saw that they received a good education. At the Damascus slave market he ransomed the learned monk Cosmas of Calabria from captivity and entrusted to him the teaching of his children. The boys displayed uncommon ability and readily mastered their courses of the secular and spiritual sciences. After the death of his father, John occupied ministerial posts at court and became the city prefect.

In Constantinople at that time, the heresy of Iconoclasm had arisen and quickly spread, supported by the emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741). Rising up in defense of the Orthodox veneration of icons [Iconodoulia], Saint John wrote three treatises entitled, “Against Those who Revile the Holy Icons.” The wise and God-inspired writings of Saint John enraged the emperor. But since the author was not a Byzantine subject, the emperor was unable to lock him up in prison, or to execute him. The emperor then resorted to slander. A forged letter to the emperor was produced, supposedly from John, in which the Damascus official was supposed to have offered his help to Leo in conquering the Syrian capital.

This letter and another hypocritically flattering note were sent to the Saracen Caliph by Leo the Isaurian. The Caliph immediately ordered that Saint John be removed from his post, that his right hand be cut off, and that he be led through the city in chains.

That same evening, they returned the severed hand to Saint John. The saint pressed it to his wrist and prayed to the Most Holy Theotokos to heal him so that he could defend the Orthodox Faith and write once again in praise of the Most Pure Virgin and Her Son. After a time, he fell asleep before the icon of the Mother of God. He heard Her voice telling him that he had been healed, and commanding him to toil unceasingly with his restored hand. Upon awakening, he found that his hand had been attached to his arm once more. Only a small red mark around his wrist remained as a sign of the miracle.

Later, in thanksgiving for being healed, Saint John had a silver model of his hand attached to the icon, which became known as “Of the Three Hands.” Some unlearned painters have given the Mother of God three hands instead of depicting the silver model of Saint John’s hand. The Icon “Of the Three Hands” is commemorated on June 28 and July 12.

When he learned of the miracle, which demonstrated John’s innocence, the Caliph asked his forgiveness and wanted to restore him to his former office, but the saint refused. He gave away his riches to the poor, and went to Jerusalem with his stepbrother and fellow-student, Cosmas. There he entered the monastery of Saint Savva the Sanctified as a simple novice.

It was not easy for him to find a spiritual guide, because all the monks were daunted by his great learning and by his former rank. Only one very experienced Elder, who had the skill to foster the spirit of obedience and humility in a student, would consent to do this. The Elder forbade John to do anything at all according to his own will. He also instructed him to offer to God all his labors and supplications as a perfect sacrifice, and to shed tears which would wash away the sins of his former life.

Once, he sent the novice to Damascus to sell baskets made at the monastery, and commanded him to sell them at a certain inflated price, far above their actual value. He undertook the long journey under the searing sun, dressed in rags. No one in the city recognized the former official of Damascus, for his appearance had been changed by prolonged fasting and ascetic labors. However, Saint John was recognized by his former house steward, who bought all the baskets at the asking price, showing compassion on him for his apparent poverty.

One of the monks happened to die, and his brother begged Saint John to compose something consoling for the burial service. Saint John refused for a long time, but out of pity he yielded to the petition of the grief-stricken monk, and wrote his renowned funeral troparia (“What earthly delight,” “All human vanity,” and others). For this disobedience the Elder banished him from his cell. John fell at his feet and asked to be forgiven, but the Elder remained unyielding. All the monks began to plead for him to allow John to return, but he refused. Then one of the monks asked the Elder to impose a penance on John, and to forgive him if he fulfilled it. The Elder said, “If John wishes to be forgiven, let him wash out all the chamber pots in the lavra, and clean the monastery latrines with his bare hands.”

John rejoiced and eagerly ran to accomplish his shameful task. After a certain while, the Elder was commanded in a vision by the All-Pure and Most Holy Theotokos to allow Saint John to write again. When the Patriarch of Jerusalem heard of Saint John, he ordained him priest and made him a preacher at his cathedral. But Saint John soon returned to the Lavra of Saint Savva, where he spent the rest of his life writing spiritual books and church hymns. He left the monastery only to denounce the iconoclasts at the Constantinople Council of 754. They subjected him to imprisonment and torture, but he endured everything, and through the mercy of God he remained alive. He died in about the year 780, more than 100 years old.

Saint John of Damascus was a theologian and a zealous defender of Orthodoxy. His most important book is the Fount of Knowledge. The third section of this work, “On the Orthodox Faith,” is a summary of Orthodox doctrine and a refutation of heresy. Since he was known as a hymnographer, we pray to Saint John for help in the study of church singing.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Ode I Canon of the Great-Martyr, in Tone II.

Irmos: In the deep of old the infinite Power overwhelmed Pharaoh’s whole army. * But the Incarnate Word annihilated pernicious sin. * Exceedingly glorious is the Lord, * for gloriously hath He been glorified.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

O most blessed and honoured Trinity Who givest gifts to Thy servants which are beyond understanding, breathe Thou a ray of splendour into my darkened mind, that I may praise the ever-memorable martyr Barbara.  

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

O most blessed and honoured Trinity Who givest gifts to Thy servants which are beyond understanding, breathe Thou a ray of splendour into my darkened mind, that I may praise the ever-memorable martyr Barbara.  

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

The glory of Thy martyrs hath truly passed every bound of praise, O Lover of mankind; yet, accepting the praise we offer thee with faith according to our measure, O Master, send down upon us rich rewards.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

A most beauteous rose sprang forth from a thorny root and hath perfumed the Church of Christ: the glorious Barbara, who dyed her vesture in the blood of her suffering. Her do we hymn as is meet.

Canon of the Venerable One, in the same tone, Irmos: In the deep of old the infinite Power overwhelmed Pharaoh’s whole army. * But the Incarnate Word annihilated pernicious sin. * Exceedingly glorious is the Lord, * for gloriously hath He been glorified.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

To me who desirest to begin thy praises, grant me now thy honeyed voice, O venerable one, wherewith thou didst with hymns illumine the Orthodox Church which honoureth thy memory, O father John.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

To me who desirest to begin thy praises, grant me now thy honeyed voice, O venerable one, wherewith thou didst with hymns illumine the Orthodox Church which honoureth thy memory, O father John.

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

Perceiving the nature of things most excellently, as a wise judge keen of intellect, thou didst prefer eternal things to those which do not last; for thou didst trade transitory things for those which are abiding, O John, where Christ hath now glorified thee.

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

Thou hast been shown to surpass all creation, visible and invisible, O pure Ever-virgin; for thou gavest birth to the Creator, in that it was His good pleasure to become incarnate in thy womb. Him do thou entreat with boldness, that He save those who hymn thee.

Ode III, Irmos: The desert of the barren Church of the nations * blossomed like a lily * at Thy coming, O Lord, * therein hath my heart been established.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Wounded by the love of Thee, her Bridegroom, O Master, the passion-bearer Barbara rejected all the ungodliness of her father with unrestrained vehemence.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Wounded by the love of Thee, her Bridegroom, O Master, the passion-bearer Barbara rejected all the ungodliness of her father with unrestrained vehemence.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Neither the sweet beauty and comeliness of flowers, nor riches, nor yet the sweetness of youth satisfied thee, O goodly virgin, glorious Barbara, who had become the bride of Christ.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Neither the hindrance of a feminine nature or youthful stature impeded the martyr’s perfect struggles, O Christ; for she was fortified by Thine invisible power.

Canon of the Venerable One Irmos: The desert of the barren Church of the nations * blossomed like a lily * at Thy coming, O Lord, * therein hath my heart been established.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou didst distribute thy wealth, thereby giving it back to God; wherefore, the kingdom in the heavens hath been prepared for thee, and thou hast now received abundant rewards, O John.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou didst distribute thy wealth, thereby giving it back to God; wherefore, the kingdom in the heavens hath been prepared for thee, and thou hast now received abundant rewards, O John.

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

Receiving a talant of wisdom, O John, thou didst adorn the Church of Christ, adorning it with thy deeds; and, departing this life, thou hast increased it exceedingly.

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

The ranks of angels were astonished, O most pure one, and the hearts of mortals were filled with awe at thy birthgiving. Wherefore, we honour thee, the Theotokos, with faith.

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

Kontakion of the venerable one, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up upon the Cross …”: Let us hymn John, the honoured and divinely eloquent speaker and hymnographer, * the instructor and teacher of the Church, * the opponent of the enemy; * for taking up the Cross of the Lord as a sword, * he hath cut down all the falsehood of heresies, * and as a fervent intercessor before God ** he bestoweth forgiveness of transgressions upon all.

Ikos: Together let us cry out to the instructor, teacher and priest of the Church, as an initiate of ineffable mysteries: By thy supplications to God open our mouths and grant that we may speak the words of thy doctrines; for thou didst appear in the world as one who shares in the Trinity, shining forth in the world like another sun, illumining all with thy miracles and teachings, like Moses ever instructing in the law of the Lord. And thou wast a luminary in word and deed, praying unceasingly, that forgiveness of transgressions be given to all.

Sedalion, in Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Awed by the beauty of thy virginity …”: In thy suffering thou didst amaze all, for thou didst endure the wounding, bonds, tortures and imprisonment inflicted upon thee by the tormentors, O most praised Barbara. Wherefore, Christ hath given thee a crown in heaven, and it is to Him that thou didst flee, desiring Him earnestly. He hath imparted grace to thee, O martyr, to pour forth healings upon all.

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

Sedalion of the venerable one, in Tone III: Thou hast been shown to us to be a melodious and sanctified trumpet, O most sacred one, sounding forth in hymnody the teachings of the Lord and Saviour to the ends of the earth; and by thy words thou hast illumined the earth, O venerable John, entreat Christ God, that He grant us great mercy.

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

Stavrotheotokion in Tone III: The unblemished ewe-lamb of the Word, * the incorrupt Virgin Mother, * beholding Him Who sprang forth from her without pain * suspended upon the Cross, cried out, maternally lamenting: * “Woe is me, O my Child! * How is it that Thou dost suffer willingly, * desiring to redeem mankind ** from the indignity of the passions?”

Ode IV, Canon of the Great-martyr Irmos: From a Virgin didst Thou come forth, not as an ambassador, * nor as an Angel, * but the very Lord himself incarnate, * and didst save me, the whole man; * wherefore I cry unto Thee: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

O Thou Who wast born of the Virgin, Thou hast given to virgin maidens the boldness to cast down the deceiver. Wherefore, the right victorious Barbara put his arrogance to shame.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

O Thou Who wast born of the Virgin, Thou hast given to virgin maidens the boldness to cast down the deceiver. Wherefore, the right victorious Barbara put his arrogance to shame.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Our first mother, led astray of old by the machinations of the deceiver, wast driven from the food of paradise; but Barbara, putting him to shame, hath now made her abode in the bridal-chamber of heaven.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Thou didst destroy the power of death by Thy Cross; wherefore, the maiden Barbara, sparing not her body, most valiantly endured wounding with steadfast mind.

Canon of the Venerable One, Irmos: From a Virgin didst Thou come forth, not as an ambassador, * nor as an Angel, * but the very Lord himself incarnate, * and didst save me, the whole man; * wherefore I cry unto Thee: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou didst distribute thy wealth, thereby giving it back to God; wherefore, the kingdom in the heavens hath been prepared for thee, and thou hast now received abundant rewards, O John.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Submitting to the command of Christ, thou didst forsake the beauty, wealth, sweetness and splendour of the world; and taking up thy cross for His sake, O wise John, thou didst follow after Him.

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

Impoverishing thyself for Christ Who impoverished Himself for the sake of our salvation, thou wast glorified with Him as He promised, and dost now reign with Him Who reigneth for ever, O John.

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

All of us, the faithful, know thee to be the haven of salvation and an invincible rampart, O Lady Theotokos; for by thy supplications thou dost deliver our souls from tribulations.

Ode V, Canon of the Great-martyr Irmos: O Christ God Thou art a mediator between God and man; * for by Thee, O Master, * have we been led from the night of ignorance, * to Thy Father, the Source of light.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Commanding that the bath-house be lighted by three windows, O Barbara, thou didst mystically describe baptism, which, through the light of the Trinity, is the radiant cleansing of thy soul.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Commanding that the bath-house be lighted by three windows, O Barbara, thou didst mystically describe baptism, which, through the light of the Trinity, is the radiant cleansing of thy soul.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Aflame with zeal for God, the all-praised maiden Barbara spat upon the vile faces of the false deities, putting to shame the prince of this world.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Opening for Barbara, who was fleeing the savagery of her cruel father, the mountain straightway received her, like the ever-memorable protomartyr Thecla of old, Christ having wrought a miracle.

Canon of the Venerable One, Irmos: O Christ God Thou art a mediator between God and man; * for by Thee, O Master, * we have been led from the night of ignorance, * to Thy Father, the Source of light.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Made steadfast in the divine life by the fear of Christ, O father John, thou didst subject all thy carnal mind to thy spirit, cleansing thy senses.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Made steadfast in the divine life by the fear of Christ, O father John, thou didst subject all thy carnal mind to thy spirit, cleansing thy senses.

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

Having assiduously purified body, mind and soul of all defilement, O divinely wise one, thou didst receive the splendour of the threefold Sun, Who hath enriched thee with radiant gifts.

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

Entreat thy Son and Lord, O pure Virgin; that He grant deliverance from the assaults of the adversary to all captives and peace to those who place their hope on thee.

Ode VI, Canon of the Great-martyr Irmos: I am held fast in the depths of sin O Saviour, * and am overwhelmed by the sea of life, * but as Jonah was delivered from the sea-monster, * so also deliver me from the passions, * and save me.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

As Thou didst promise to give divinely inspired wisdom to those who stand before the tyrants’ tribunals for Thy sake, the martyr Barbara was filled therewith.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

As Thou didst promise to give divinely inspired wisdom to those who stand before the tyrants’ tribunals for Thy sake, the martyr Barbara was filled therewith.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

With divinely wise words thou didst denounce the falsehood of the ungodly, O glorious Barbara, and in enduring the deeds of the torments thou didst astonish the wise.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

The blameless spiritual athlete gave her body over to be pitilessly afflicted with wounds and to be scraped thoroughly with rags of horse-hair, for the sake of Christ.

Canon of the Venerable One Irmos: I am held fast in the depths of sin O Saviour, * and am overwhelmed by the sea of life, * but as Jonah was delivered from the sea-monster, * so also deliver me from the passions, * and save me.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Illumined by the grace of the Spirit, and clearly enriched by the knowledge of secular things, thou didst generously give thy wealth to the needy, O John.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Illumined by the grace of the Spirit, and clearly enriched by the knowledge of secular things, thou didst generously give thy wealth to the needy, O John.

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

Like the choirs of heaven didst thou adorn the Church in Orthodox manner, intoning divine harmonious hymns to the Trinity.

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

Thou gavest birth without knowing a man, O Virgin, and remainest eternally virgin, revealing the true Godhead of thy Son and God in images.

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

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

Kontakion of the Great-martyr, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up upon the Cross …”: Following God Who is piously hymned in Trinity, * thou didst dim the pagan temples O spiritual athlete; * and suffering amid thy contest, * O Barbara of manly mind, * thou wast not afraid of the threats of the tyrants, * ever chanting aloud: ** “I worship the Trinity, the One God!”

Ikos: Assembling, let us honour, as is meet, Barbara, who made herself the bride of Christ through martyrdom; for delivered from soul-corrupting danger, destruction and earthquake through her supplications, we lead our life in peace, and are granted Thy mercies, O Saviour, with all the saints who have pleased Thee from ages past, to walk in the light and to chant with them. And Thou hast astonished all those who confess with faith: We worship the Trinity, the One God!

Ode VII, Canon of the Great-martyr Irmos: The godless order of the lawless tyrant * fanned the roaring flame; * but Christ bedewed the God-fearing children with the Spirit, * therefore He is blessed and supremely exalted.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

The tyrant who rageth in vain to destroy the earth and annihilate the sea lieth like a plaything beneath the feet of the maiden Barbara; for Christ, having trampled Him down, hath bound him like a vile bird.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

The tyrant who rageth in vain to destroy the earth and annihilate the sea lieth like a plaything beneath the feet of the maiden Barbara; for Christ, having trampled Him down, hath bound him like a vile bird.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

When thy whole body was wracked with unbearable wounds and empurpled with the drops of thy blood, O all-praised glorious martyr Barbara, thou didst yet endure scorching of thy sides by candles.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

O the inhuman and pitiless savagery and exceeding ungodliness of the torments! For with swords they cruelly severed the breasts of the martyr as though in a butcher’s shop, but her mind was set steadfastly on Christ, the Judge of the contest.

Canon of the Venerable One, Irmos: The godless order of the lawless tyrant * fanned the roaring flame; * but Christ bedewed the God-fearing children with the Spirit, * therefore He is blessed and supremely exalted.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Afire with zeal, thou didst strike down all the false knowledge of God-opposing heresies with thy splendid writings, O John, manifestly making clear what had been sown of old by the wise and written carefully.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Afire with zeal, thou didst strike down all the false knowledge of God-opposing heresies with thy splendid writings, O John, manifestly making clear what had been sown of old by the wise and written carefully.

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

With the discourses and the dogmas compiled by thee, thou didst fervently denounce the blasphemous impiety of the abominable disciples of Manes, who strove to infect the Church of Christ, O John.

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

O undefiled Virgin, Mother unwedded, we know thee to be more holy than the saints, in that thou alone hast given birth to the immutable God; for thou hast poured forth incorruption upon all the faithful by thy divine birth giving.

Ode VIII Canon of the Great-martyr, Irmos: In Babylon, the activity of the fire was once divided, * for, by the command of God it consumed the Chaldeans, * but bedewed the faithful, who chant: * Bless ye the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Christ appeared to thee in prison, O Barbara, surrounded by unapproachable light, commanding thee to be of good cheer, healing thy wounds and granting thee joy; wherefore, thou hast lovingly taken wing to thy Bridegroom.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Christ appeared to thee in prison, O Barbara, surrounded by unapproachable light, commanding thee to be of good cheer, healing thy wounds and granting thee joy; wherefore, thou hast lovingly taken wing to thy Bridegroom.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Manifestly hath Thy prophecy been fulfilled, O Christ; for the father gave his own child over to death, the wretched parent having become the instigator of Thy martyr’s slaughter. Wherefore, he was destroyed by fire from heaven.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

An angel of light arrayed thee like a bride in brilliant vesture, O Barbara, who wast stripped naked for Christ’s sake and wast subjected to suffering; for thou didst shed thy garments, receiving divine transformation.

Canon of the Venerable One, Irmos: In Babylon, the activity of the fire was once divided, * for, by the command of God it consumed the Chaldeans, * but bedewed the faithful, who chant: * Bless ye the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou didst openly denounce the division of Nestorius, the confusion of Severus and the monothelite foolishness, O thrice-blessed John, shining forth the radiance of Orthodoxy upon all the ends of the earth in the one true Faith.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou didst openly denounce the division of Nestorius, the confusion of Severus and the monothelite foolishness, O thrice-blessed John, shining forth the radiance of Orthodoxy upon all the ends of the earth in the one true Faith.

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

The enemy abundantly sowed the tares of heresy in the Church of Christ, that the worship of Christ in His precious icons might be eliminated; but he did not find thee sleeping, O all-blessed John, who uprooted every seed of evil.

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

Without seed didst thou conceive Him Who is inseparable from the Father and dwelt in thy womb as God and man, and thou hast given birth to Him ineffably, O most pure Theotokos. Wherefore, we confess thee to be the salvation of us all.

Ode IX Canon of the Great-martyr, Irmos: The Son of the Unoriginate Father, God and Lord, * hath appeared to us incarnate of a Virgin, * to enlighten those in darkness, * and to gather the dispersed; * therefore the all-hymned Theotokos do we magnify.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Meeting the glorious end of thy martyrdom under the sword, O Barbara, and deemed worthy of a crown of martyrdom with Juliana, thou didst hear the voice of God, which filled thee with power.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Meeting the glorious end of thy martyrdom under the sword, O Barbara, and deemed worthy of a crown of martyrdom with Juliana, thou didst hear the voice of God, which filled thee with power.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

United now with Christ thy Bridegroom, shining with the glory of the divine light in the mansions of heaven, O Barbara, look down upon those who hymn thee, lightening our sufferings and leading us to the living God.

Holy Great-Martyr, Barbara, pray to God for us.

Christ, fulfilling thy request, O Barbara, granteth healings to those who with faith keep thine annual memorial. For truly thy right glorious miracles have surpassed the sands of the sea in number.

Canon of the Venerable One Irmos: The Son of the Unoriginate Father, God and Lord, * hath appeared to us incarnate of a Virgin, * to enlighten those in darkness, * and to gather the dispersed; * therefore the all-hymned Theotokos do we magnify.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou hast taught all the children of the Church to hymn in an Orthodox fashion the adored Unity in Trinity, and to clearly theologize concerning the divine incarnation of the Word, O John, explaining those things which many find difficult to understand in the sacred Scriptures.

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

Thou hast taught all the children of the Church to hymn in an Orthodox fashion the adored Unity in Trinity, and to clearly theologize concerning the divine incarnation of the Word, O John, explaining those things which many find difficult to understand in the sacred Scriptures.

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

Having hymned the ranks of the saints, the pure Theotokos, the forerunner of Christ, the apostles, the prophets, fasters and wise teachers, the righteous and the martyrs, O John, thou dost now abide in their mansions.

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

In a manner beyond understanding, O Virgin Theotokos, thou didst become the bridal-chamber of the incarnation of the Word, arrayed and embroidered with the glory of the virtues. Wherefore, we proclaim thee to be the Theotokos, O allimmaculate one.

Troparion of the great-martyr, in Tone VIII: Let us honour the holy Barbara; for the most honored one * broke the snares of the enemy and was delivered from them like a bird, ** with the help and aid of the Cross.

Troparion of the venerable one, in Tone VIII: Teacher of Orthodoxy, instructor of piety and chastity, * luminary of the Church, God-inspired nourishment of monastics, * O supremely wise John, thou spiritual flute illumining all, ** entreat Christ God that our souls be saved.

Eleni: Memory Eternal – Ελένη: Αιωνία η Μνήμη.

Dear brothers and sisters,

I have just received news that our sister Eleni, one of the original members of the Orthodox community in Llanelli has fallen asleep in the Lord. 

This remarkable lady was one of a whole group of Cretan women who came to South Wales and made their home in Llanelli: Tinopolis.

Together with her fellow Cretans – especially the redoubtable Eleftheria – their Welsh spouses and families, she supported Archimandrite Barnabas in bringing the Orthodox Church to Llanelli, and continued to do so for as long as she was able.

Eleni – already a talented linguist – excelled in the Welsh language and loved the Welsh saints as much as those of her native Greece. She was not interested in division, jurisdictionalism or nationalism, for she was with the Holy Apostle in saying, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Guided by this principle, Eleni sought to bring all to the Lord; to encourage everyone in the Faith; to share the Gospel; and to communicate the sacred Tradition of the Church with all of her Orthodox sisters and brothers.

After Father Luke transferred to ROCOR, she still came to services for as long as she could, and said that he had not changed, his Faith had not changed and the chapel was still the one in which she’d prayed since it was built in it’s small initial incarnation.

Elderly, unwell and suffering, Eleni remained a bond between local paishioners who wished to coninue to belong to the the Archdiocese of Thyateira, and the parishioners who supported Fr Luke to form the ROCOR parish, remaining a mother and sister to those in each community.

Beyond this, Eleni showed a remarkable love for all Christians here in Llanelli, where she built her life and raised her family, spending more of her life than in Crete.

She was loved and respected by the members of the local chapels, and even taught Greek to some of the chapel ladies, meeting for coffee and a lesson each week. They would practice their Greek and she would practice her Welsh! Sometimes in the car, she would try to make us practice both, whether we were capable of doing so or not.

Over the decades, she brought so much to our lives, singing and praying together – especially the Akathist Hymn each Lent – sitting drinking Greek coffee or mountain tea, sharing the food she had made for us, telling others so much about the spiritual life and discussing all things Greek, Byzantine and linguistic.

One of our last conversations at Father Luke’s table was about the enkomia for the Dormition of the Mother of God, whom she loved with all her heart and to whom she loved to sing the ‘Axion Estin – It is truly meet…’

It was lovely to introduce her to the internet, sitting to watch the Burial Service of the Mother of God, singing along to the enkomia, and to have her remind us how young we all once were  in the days  when Father Luke (before ordination) and the future Prebytera Cacilia took on the reins of the parish – but, time has passed, we have all grown older, and now this matriarchal figure has departed to the Lord.

Having survived the privations of the war, having seen much suffering even as a child, but also some wonderful miracles, Eleni bore illness and suffering with courage and patience, being greatly inspired by Father Luke’s late much-suffering matushka, Prebytera Cacilia.

Glory to God – Δόξα τω Θεώ for having blessed us with Eleni, and may He grant us to have even an ounce of her lively and fervent faith.

We ask you to remember her in your prayers, as well as her husband Christophoros, her children Giannis, Maria and Natasha, and their families.

Eternal Memory – Αιωνία η Μνήμη.