The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Birinus of Wessex

December 3/16: the repose of St Birinus, Apostle of Wessex

As a result of the invasion of eastern Britain by pagan Angles, Saxons and Jutes, by the 7th century seven small kingdoms had formed on its territory. These were the kingdoms of Kent, Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, Essex, Wessex, and Sussex. During the 7th century all of them accepted Christianity one after another. Wessex (the Kingdom of the West Saxons) was founded in the south and south-west of England. It gradually took lands from other kingdoms and by the 10th century it had become so powerful that it had formed the one large Kingdom of England. St Birinus is venerated as the Apostle of the Kingdom of the West Saxons.

The future hierarch was probably born in Lombardy in c. 600. Unfortunately, nothing is known about his childhood and early years, but he lived as a monk in Rome some time before becoming a bishop. In the year 634 in Genoa, Archbishop Asterius consecrated him bishop and in the same year Pope Honorius sent him to Britain, which was then still mostly pagan. In 635 the bishop successfully reached the shores of Albion and landed in the port of Southampton on the south coast of Britain, in the Kingdom of Wessex. He intended to go further inland where there were no missionaries, but since he met only pagans in Wessex, he realized that he must remain there. Moving from settlement to settlement, he preached the Word of God, healing the sick, working numerous miracles and converting many pagans to the Christian faith.

At that time Wessex was ruled by King Cynegils, who was still a pagan. Bishop Birinus made for the royal estates of Wessex, which were situated in the region of the Berkshire Downs. The king allowed him to stay on his lands and even agreed to meet him in a place called Churn Knob—now by the small town of Blewbury in Berkshire. During the meeting Bishop Birinus told the king about Christ for the first time. Soon after this Cynegils, enlightened by the grace of God, decided to embrace Christianity and was baptised; he also gave Bishop Birinus the Roman town of Dorcis (the present-day Dorchester-on-Thames) to found his See there. This town, now in the county of Oxfordshire, became the centre of Bishop Birinus’ mission. Over the 15 years of his active missionary labours in Wessex, Bishop Birinus baptised many people of the kingdom. The hierarch was energetically supported by King Cynegils, whom the saint had converted to Christ. Thanks to the fruitful works of Bishop Birinus the Christian faith spread very quickly all over Wessex and was even taken to other parts of southern and western England.

Among the churches founded by the Apostle of Wessex we should mention the church of the Holy Virgin in Reading (Berkshire), St. Helen’s church in Abingdon (Oxfordshire) as well as the church in the village of Taplow (Buckinghamshire), where the saint performed a mass baptism in Bapsey Pool. (All these churches, though rebuilt during the following centuries, exist to this day, and Bapsey Pool has survived as well). In 648, the successor of Cynegils, King Cenwalh, invited Bishop Birinus to found and consecrate the new cathedral in Winchester. As Winchester was an important political centre, it later became the major spiritual centre of Wessex as well.

Bishop Birinus reposed on 3 December 649 (or 650) and was buried in Dorchester.

Holy Hierarch Birinus, pray to God for us!

Dmitry Lapa

12/16/2013

Source: https://orthochristian.com/66743.html

 

Canon of the saint, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Birinus shepherded the lambs of Christ”, in Tone V.

Ode I, Irmos: Christ, Who hath delivered our race from the madness of idolatry, hath appeared on earth! To Him alone let us chant, for He hath been glorified.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Blessed Birinus took the easy yoke of Christ upon his shoulders, and set forth for distant Wessex to free men’s souls from the madness of idolatry.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Imitating the apostles, the holy Birinus journeyed far to preach Christ, our God and Saviour, to Whom alone let us chant, for He hath been glorified.

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

Raging seas could not keep the holy hierarch from the flock entrusted to his care by Christ, to Whom alone let us chant, for He hath been glorified.

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

In thy most pure womb, O Virgin, did the Word become incarnate, appearing to men on earth. To Him alone let us chant, for He hath been glorified.

Ode III, Irmos: God is King over the nations. God sitteth on His holy throne. And with understanding we chant unto Him as King and God.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Never failing in his care for the sheep and lambs of Christ, the wondrous hierarch Birinus taught them to worship Him as King and God.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Unto the king of Wessex didst thou preach, O saint, uprooting pagan superstitions from his heart and uniting him to the King of kings. Saving the king, O Birinus, thou didst also save his people; for through thy preaching were thousands brought to divine understanding.

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

Sanctified by thee in the laver of regeneration, Cynegils was illumined by grace divine and was arrayed in a baptismal robe of pure white.

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

How didst thou, O Virgin, conceive in thy womb God Who is King over the nations, to Whom we all chant as eternal King and God?

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

Sessional hymn, in Tone III: Spec. Mel: “Awed by the beauty of thy virginity…”:  Hallowed by the oil of anointing and the indwelling of the Spirit of God, as a great high priest the holy Birinus faithfully served Christ his Lord, caring for the souls of the people, whom by his preaching he had brought into the light of grace out of the gloom and darkness of ignorance; wherefore, let us praise his godly memory.

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

Theotokion: Like a vine which had not been cultivated didst thou put forth the most comely Cluster of grapes which poureth forth upon us the wine which maketh glad the souls and bodies of all. Wherefore, ever blessing thee as the cause of good things, with the angel we cry to thee: Rejoice, O thou Who art full of grace!

Stavrotheotokion: Thy pure Mother who knew not wedlock, beholding Thee hanging dead upon the Cross, O Christ, said, weeping maternally: “How hath the iniquitous and thankless assembly of the Jews, which enjoyed Thy manifold and great gifts, rewarded Thee, O my Son? I hymn Thy divine condescension!”

Ode IV, Irmos: Hearing of Thine advent from the densely wooded mountain, the prophet cried aloud: Glory to Thine ineffable incarnation!

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Edifying his flock with the teachings of the Saviour, the saint taught them to cry unto Him: Glory to Thine ineffable incarnation!

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Praise ye the virtues of Birinus and the wonders he wrought through the power of God, crying: Glory to Thine ineffable incarnation!

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

Hearing the words of salvation, which fell from thy mouth like precious jewels, all cried out: Glory to Christ’s ineffable incarnation!

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

Eminent among the angels, Gabriel was sent to the all-holy Mary to proclaim: Glory to God’s ineffable incarnation in thee!

Ode V, Irmos: O almighty Word of God, send peace upon the whole world, enlightening and illumining with the light of truth all who glorify Thee, awakening out of the night.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Rising at dawn out of each night, the holy hierarch fervently did his Master’s bidding, bringing the light of Truth to all, that they might glorify His incarnation.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Divine light dawned upon the people of Wessex, for the holy Birinus brought them the light of Christ, Who is the true Light that enlighteneth the whole world.

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

Exalt ye the honoured memory of the God-bearing hierarch, for he illumined with grace divine a people who sat in darkness and the shadow of death and corruption.

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

David, thy forefather, called thee a queen, O Lady, and thou art verily the Queen of all that is, having given birth to Christ the King, the preëternal Word of God.

Ode VI, Irmos: Like Jonah I cry to Thee from the depths of the heart of the sea: Let my supplication come unto Thy holy and heavenly Church!  Lead me up from my sins, I pray Thee, O Lord!

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Two holy kings gave thee Dorchester as thy see, O Birinus – Cynegils of Wessex and Oswald of Northumbria; and therein thou didst establish the Church, to deliver men from their sins.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Heartfelt praise let us utter from the depths of our souls, giving thanks with gladness to the holy Birinus, who dwelleth now in the holy and heavenly Church, where he prayeth for our souls.

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

Exalted above all earthly things, the holy hierarch standeth now in the Holy Church triumphant, crying out to Christ most fervently: Lead up my people from their sins, I pray Thee, O Lord!

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

Like as Jonah cried out to the Lord, so do we send up entreaties to His most immaculate Mother, crying: Lead us up out of our sins, O Lady, and pray thou in our behalf to the Lord thy Son!

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 IV: Spec. Mel.,: “Thou hast appeared…”: With sacred hymns and spiritual songs we exalt the most blessed hierarch Birinus today, for he was a faithful servant of Christ and a vigilant shepherd of His flock, who ever prayeth in our behalf.

Ikos: With hymns of praise let us exalt Birinus, great among hierarchs, the enlightener of the Saxons and teacher of the Christian Faith; and let us bestow a wreath of honour upon his brow, for he tirelessly uprooted the tares of idolatry from Wessex, and with the light of Christ dispelled the darkness of ignorance from men’s souls. Wherefore, having received an everlasting reward from the Lord, he ever prayeth in our behalf.

Ode VII, Irmos: Blessed, all-hymned and all-glorious art Thou, O God Who lookest upon the depths and sittest upon the throne of glory!

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

All-glorious is the sacred memory of the holy hierarch Birinus, who now sitteth upon a throne of glory in the heights of heaven.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Many who before were drowning in the depths of heathen error did the most blessed hierarch lift up to the heights of heaven.

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

Blessed and most wondrous is the saint of God, for he put his hand to his Master’s plough and did not turn back.

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

Sacred hymns let us offer now to the all-hymned Virgin Mary, who in her loving-kindness looketh down upon us with pity.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Him Who bedewed the furnace and preserved the children amid the burning flame do ye hymn, O children, bless, O priests, and exalt supremely, ye people, for all ages!

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

O ye children of the Orthodox Church, lift up your voices in praise of God Who is wondrous in His saint, crying. Ye priests and people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

For our sins and iniquities we fear the burning of the fiery furnace; but, bedewed by God’s saint, let us cry: Ye priests and ye people, exalt Christ supremely for all ages!

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

Come, ye who love Birinus, and, burning with zeal to imitate his virtues, let us cry to God: Ye children, hymn; ye priests, bless; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages.

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

Her who was prefigured by the bush, which burned with flame yet was not consumed, do ye children hymn, ye priests bless, ye people exalt supremely for all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: O most hymned Theotokos, thou rod sprung forth from the root of David, thou hast borne for us a most comely Blossom, the Cause of our ancient blessedness. Wherefore, we all magnify thee with hymns.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

Rivers of grace issued forth from thy tomb, O Birinus, watering Dorchester with blessedness, filling the vale of the River Thames with the souls of the saved, as with comely flowers; wherefore, we magnify thee.

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

In royal Winchester did the holy Hædda enshrine the sacred relics of the hierarch Birinus, where they put forth the sweet fragrance of gracious healings for those who approached them with faith and the fear of God.

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

Sent forth to proclaim the Godhead of the Son of David, Birinus bore to a distant land the words that are able to restore men to their ancient blessedness; wherefore, we glorify him with spiritual songs and hymns of praise.

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

The most hymned Theotokos is eternally praised in the courts of heaven, for she gave birth in the flesh to the Creator of all things, in manner past understanding and recounting; wherefore, we also dare to magnify her. 

Troparion of the saint, in Tone VI: Taking up the Cross of Christ as it were a battle standard, thou didst set forth for the English lands, to wage war upon the ancient foe of mankind, O Birinus glorious in wonders; and, as a valiant champion of the Christian Faith, thou didst fight the good fight until the end. Wherefore, thou hast received the trophy of victory from the King of kings Whom thou didst serve. Entreat Him, O holy hierarch, that He save our souls.

A Confession of Redemption and a Prayer for the Church

May Thy compassion be praised, O Christ our King, O Son of God worshipped by all! Thouart our King, Thou art our God, Thou art the author of our life and our great hope.

With one soul do both the heavenly hosts and the ranks below praise Thee and sing unto Thee a song of thanks, for Thou Who wast concealed hast in the last days appeared in the flesh of us mortals.

When Thy compassion was aroused and when it pleased Thy love to do so, Thou didst come for our redemption and liberate our race.

Thou didst cure our afflictions, cleanse our sins and, according to Thy Compassion, Thou didst raise those who were dead.

Thou didst establish on earth the holy Church in the image of the heavenly kingdom: Thou didst build her with love, establish her with compassion, and

Thou didst spiritually betroth Thyself to her, and gain her by Thy suffering.
But the hater of mankind, in his shameless impudence, attacks her in the person of her servers.

O Lord, do not leave Thy holy Church without Thy care, that the promise that Thou didst utter concerning her invincibility may not be shown false.

Do not let her majestic beauty be disfigured or her wealth be stolen.

Fulfill Thy promise that Thou didst make to Peter; seal Thy words with deeds.

Fortify her gates, strengthen her bars, exalt her horn, raise up her head.

Bless her sons, preserve her children, give peace to her priests and subdue those who wish her evil.

May Thy peace dwell in her and drive away from her all evil schisms.

Grant that we may lead a calm, peaceful life in fear of Thee.

May we maintain our faith with great confidence and perfect love.

May our life be pleasing to Thee and may we find compassion in Thee in the day of reckoning.

May we ceaselessly bring praise to Thee, O Lord, and to Thy Father and to the Holy Spirit.

‘Psalm’ 86, from ‘A Spiritual Psalter, or Reflections on God Excerpted by Bishop Theophan the Recluse from the works of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian.

Icon of Christ ‘The King of Kings and Great High Priest’ by the hand of Konstantin Antonov, cell of Hieromonk Mark.

Parish News Round Up

Dear brothers and sisters, 

I hope that the Advent Fast is proving to be a spiritually fruitful time for all in our Cardiff and Cheltenham parishes. 

It is wonderful that my full-time appointment coincides with this season, allowing me to spend time with parishioners – especially those who have joined us since the summer. Simply having the time to chat and correspond by whatever means suits people is wonderful. 

It has also been good to spend time with friends of the parish, with last week seeing ‘catch-ups’ at the Oratory and the Catholic Chaplaincy, allowing discussion of present Russian Orthodox life and the development of the parish – not to mention some temporary limitations since the community left Nazareth House and moved to St John’s. 

One of the fruits of these discussions is the hope (and intention) to establish regular prayers before the relics of St Alban, who is the de facto patron of the British part of our diocese. It is a great blessing that a portion of his sacred relics are here in Cardiff, and we look forward to regular prayers and veneration at the shrine in the Oratory Church. 

Last weekend saw the celebration of the Kursk-Root Icon in Cheltenham (albeit a day late), with the Divine Liturgy celebrated in Prestbury, where the United Reformed Church remains our temporary home. 

It was a joy to be together, with the gathered congregation witnessing to the parish’s faithfulness to ROCOR and our Diocese, whatever virtual-reality, PR and spin is being propagated in cyber-space. 

Though Cardiff friends of the parish were unable to attend Liturgy this month, the faithful still travelled from North Wiltshire, Exeter, and the Forest of Dean, in addition to our Cheltenham and Gloucester parishioners. It was a great joy to see parishioners who are usually unable to attend on Saturdays, due to work commitments, but who changed their work plans to be able to attend Liturgy during the Fast. 

Though the little chapel is bare, as we would expect in a Nonconformist setting, our faithful brought icons to place on the window-ledges, vases of flowers to place before the icon-stands, and fragrant herbs with which to adorn the icons. 

We very much enjoyed being able to sit down to a hearty lunch after Liturgy, with friendly conversation and social-time together. 

Sunday’s Liturgy, in Cardiff, was especially bright and joyful, reflecting Aleksandra’s return from London. The singing on the kliros was excellent, with Agni Parthene (O Pure Virgin) chanted beautifully during the veneration of the Cross and the parish Kursk-Root Icon. We look forward to the visit of the Kursk-Root Icon itself to Great Britain, hoping that there may be a visit, however short to our Welsh capital and our Cheltenham Community. 

This Friday will see another Advent Moleben and reflection in the parish-room at St Mary Butetown, which provided an excellent venue, last week. 

Having reflected on the many meanings of Christ as the Eternal Logos, last Friday, we will remain with the Prologue of St John’s Gospel, reflecting upon the Saviour as the Creative Word of God: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” 

Many thanks to Norman and Georgina for making arrangements with Fr Dean, to whom we are especially grateful for allowing use of the parish-room. 

Though I will confess a few parishioners on Friday, the weekly parish confessions for our locals will be on Saturday, so please let me know, as usual and the clergy will arrange a ‘rota’.  

I will, of course, confess those travelling from farther afield on Sunday, though there will be no ‘over-flow’ after the Liturgy, as we will have the joy of baptising baby Adam from Hereford at 14:00. This will mean that trapeza will not be so long in duration. Support at the baptism would be lovely, and we look forward to seeing Adam, as the last time we saw Ekaterina she still had a few months of pregnancy left. 

I will confess our travelling parishioners from 10:15 before Sunday Liturgy, and ask for advance notice, given that this time is a challenge for us. 

We very much look forward to celebrating the feast of St Nicholas, and the variables for the Liturgy may be found here: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zWuJ3fNC7zmad4RljYYPPBbw1K8Lojry/view

In Christ –

Hieromonk Mark

The Advent Journey With the Saints: the Holy Prophet Habbakuk

Tuesday, December 1/14: the Holy Prophet Habbakuk

The Holy Prophet Habakkuk, the eighth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, was descended from the Tribe of Simeon, and he prophesied around 650 B.C.

The Prophet Habakkuk foresaw the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Babylonian Captivity and the later return of the captives to their native land. During the war with the Babylonians the prophet withdrew to Arabia, where the following miracle occurred. When he was bringing dinner to the reapers, he met an angel of the Lord, and instantly by the strength of his spirit he was transported to Babylon, where at the time the Prophet Daniel was languishing in prison. The food intended for the reapers assuaged the hunger of the exhausted Prophet Daniel (Dan. 14:33-37).

After the end of the war with the Babylonians, the Prophet Habakkuk returned to his homeland and died at a great old age. His relics were found at the time of Emperor Theodosius he Younger (408-450), together with the relics of the Prophet Micah (August 14).

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the prophet, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn thee, O blessed Prophet Habbakuk,” the composition of Theophanes, in Tone IV.

Ode I, Irmos: I hymn Thee, O Lord my God, * for Thou hast led Thy people out of the bondage of Egypt, * and hast drowned in the waters * the chariots and the might of Pharaoh.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Make me wise, O Lord my God, that I may hymn Thy divine Prophet Habbakuk, and illumine my heart with Thy grace O Good One.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

“How long, O Lord, will I cry unto Thee, and Thou wilt not hearken?” said the prophet “Wherefore hast Thou shown me the injustice of the judges?”

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

By thine entreaties, O prophet, deliver from misfortunes and cruel circumstances, those who piously celebrate thine honoured memory.

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

When the fullness of time drew nigh, our holy God appeared from thee, O Theotokos, becoming a man, that He might save mankind.

Ode III Irmos: The bow of the mighty hath waxed feeble * and the weak have girded themselves with strength: * therefore is my heart established * in the Lord.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Raised on high by elevating thy gaze unto God, and illumined by the effulgence emanating from Him, thou didst foresee the form of things to come, O thou divinely revealed one.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Possessing every virtue, and hating all wickedness of mind, O all-blessed one; thou didst justly revile the iniquitous.

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

As one pure, O right wondrous one, and entrusted with speech by the Holy Spirit, thou didst clearly prophesy the fulfilment of things to come.

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

O all-pure one, thou hast been revealed to be the mountain overshadowed by the virtues, from whence the Master hath issued forth as a servant, to free mankind from slavery.

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

Sessional Hymn; in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: Thou didst stand on divine watch, O blessed and divinely inspired Habbakuk, and with the eyes of prophecy perceived the coming of God; wherefore, thou didst cry out with fear: O Lord, I have heard of Thy dread coming, and I hymn Thee, Who hast willed to bear the flesh of clay which Thou didst receive from the Virgin!

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

Stavrotheotokion: She who in latter times gave birth to Thee in the flesh, * O Christ Who wast begotten of the unoriginate Father, * when she saw Thee hanging upon the Cross, cried out: * “Woe is me, O Jesus most beloved! * How is it that Thou Who art worshipped as God by the angels, * art now crucified by iniquitous men? ** I hymn Thee, O Long-suffering One!”

Ode IV Irmos: Proclaiming the advent of Thine appearance on earth, O Christ God, * the prophet cried aloud with gladness: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Thou wast shown to be radiant in virtue O divinely inspired one, and announced the never-waning Light. To Him do we now cry out with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

The most radiant grace of the Spirit, dwelling abundantly within thee, O all-wise one, made thee a prophet announcing the Saviour unto all.

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

Instructed by hearing of the Almighty, O wondrous one, thou wast seized with reverent fear, and, understanding His words, thou wast filled with awe.

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

The Word Who is equally everlasting with the Father described thee O Virgin, as the ark of witness, truly containing the Bread of life.

Ode V Irmos: O Thou Who hast caused the light to shine, * who hast made bright the dawn and revealed the day; * glory be to Thee, glory be to Thee, * O Jesus Thou Son of God.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

The honoured Church doth now see the Sun lifted up upon the Tree, as Thou didst foretell, O most sacred Habbakuk.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

The honoured Church doth now see the Sun lifted up upon the Tree, as Thou didst foretell, O most sacred Habbakuk.

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

Giving wings to thy mind, thou didst stand watch, O thou who art most noetically rich, perceiving the advent of the Lord. “I rejoice aloud in God my Saviour and am glad!” didst thou cry aloud, O wise and all-blessed Habbakuk.

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

Weighed down by the fetters of my many transgressions, I flee to thee, O Lady Theotokos. Save me, thou boast of the faithful!

Ode VI Irmos: Prefiguring Thy three-day burial * the Prophet Jonah praying in the belly of the sea-monster cried aloud: * Deliver me from corruption * O Jesus Thou King of hosts.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

God incarnate hath come from the south as thou didst foretell, O thrice blessed Habbakuk, and, radiantly enlightened by Him, thou hast illumined the world with light.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

O God, by the supplications of the honoured and divinely wise Habbakuk illumine the souls of those who hymn Thee, for by divine inspiration Thou didst enlighten his mind.

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

Thine announcement and the power of thy divine words passed over all the ends of the earth, O divinely eloquent one, prophesying to us the divine advent of the Word.

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

O Virgin, thou hast given birth to the Son, Who is consubstantial with the Father, is clearly understood to be with Him Who begat Him outside time, and Who in the latter times assumed flesh.

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 …”: Having announced to the world God’s coming forth from the south, from the Virgin, * standing on divine watch O divinely eloquent Habbakuk, * thou didst receive report from the radiant angel: * and proclaimed the resurrection of Christ to the world. * Wherefore, in gladness we cry out to thee: ** Rejoice, O splendid adornment of the prophets!

Ode VII Irmos: Of old the Children of Abraham in Babylon * trampled down the flame of the furnace, * crying aloud with hymns: * O God of our Fathers, blessed art Thou.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Taught understanding which transcendeth all telling, and prophesying concerning the abundantly radiant lamp, O blessed one, thou dost now cry aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Taught understanding which transcendeth all telling, and prophesying concerning the abundantly radiant lamp, O blessed one, thou dost now cry aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Christ, Whom thou didst glorify, hath given thee thrice-radiant effulgence and a share in never-waning glory, for thou didst cry aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Among all generations thou hast been revealed to be the blessed Virgin Mother who, in a manner past understanding, hast given birth to the incarnate Word; wherefore, we hymn thee, O pure one.

Ode VIII Irmos: O all ye works of God and all creation, * bless ye the Lord, * ye venerable and humble of spirit * chant ye and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Illumined with the light of the threefold Sun, O most excellent one, thou wast deemed worthy of divine and supra-natural visions, crying aloud: Supremely exalt ye God throughout all ages!

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Drinking from the torrent of sweetness, full of immaterial vision, partaking of the glory and eminence of the prophets, rejoicing, thou dost hymn God throughout the ages.

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

O divine and honoured is the comeliness of the Prophet Habbakuk! For, joining chorus with the angelic hosts, rejoicing he hymneth Christ throughout the ages.

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

Thou wast truly shown to be the Mother of Him Who shone forth from the Father before all ages; for thou alone wast more holy than all others. Thee, the pure one, do we supremely exalt throughout the ages!

Ode IX Irmos: Thy birthgiving was revealed to be incorrupt, * God came forth from thy womb, * and He appeared upon earth in mortal flesh * and dwelt among mankind; * Wherefore we all magnify thee, O Theotokos.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Thy memory shineth forth, O prophet, emitting the radiant effulgence of thy divine eloquence, thy mystic teachings and prophecies, for those who honour thee, O most blessed Habbakuk.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Thy memory shineth forth, O prophet, emitting the radiant effulgence of thy divine eloquence, thy mystic teachings and prophecies, for those who honour thee, O most blessed Habbakuk.

Holy prophet of God, Habbakuk, pray to God for us.

Having preached the Lord of glory and clearly foretold His advent from the holy Virgin, O divinely blessed Habbakuk, thou wast filled with gladness, seeing it come to pass.

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

All the prophets rejoice in gladness on this thy joyous day, O divinely wise one, sharing in thy joy and divine glory. And, praying with them, save those who hymn thee.

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

With the sprinkling of thy compassions, O pure maiden, wash away the defilement of my soul, and unceasingly cause torrents of tears to pour forth in me, staunching the torrents of my passions.

Troparion, in Tone II: Celebrating the memory of Thy Prophet Habbakuk, O Lord, * through him we entreat Thee: ** Save Thou our souls!

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Righteous Philaret the Merciful

Tuesday, December 1/14: Righteous Philaret the Merciful

Righteous Philaret the Merciful, son of George and Anna, was raised in piety and the fear of God. He lived during the eighth century in the village of Amnia in the Paphlagonian district of Asia Minor. His wife, Theoseba, was from a rich and illustrious family, and they had three children: a son John, and daughters Hypatia and Evanthia.

Philaret was a rich and illustrious dignitary, but he did not hoard his wealth. Knowing that many people suffered from poverty, he remembered the words of the Savior about the dread Last Judgment and about “these least ones” (Mt. 25:40); the Apostle Paul’s reminder that we will take nothing with us from this world (1 Tim 6:7); and the assertion of King David that the righteous would not be forsaken (Ps 36/37:25). Philaret, whose name means “lover of virtue,” was famed for his love for the poor.

One day Ishmaelites [Arabs] attacked Paphlagonia, devastating the land and plundering the estate of Philaret. There remained only two oxen, a donkey, a cow with her calf, some beehives, and the house. But he also shared them with the poor. His wife reproached him for being heartless and unconcerned for his own family. Mildly, yet firmly he endured the reproaches of his wife and the jeers of his children. “I have hidden away riches and treasure,” he told his family, “so much that it would be enough for you to feed and clothe yourselves, even if you lived a hundred years without working.”

The saint’s gifts always brought good to the recipient. Whoever received anything from him found that the gift would multiply, and that person would become rich. Knowing this, a certain man came to Saint Philaret asking for a calf so that he could start a herd. The cow missed its calf and began to bellow. Theoseba said to her husband, “You have no pity on us, you merciless man, but don’t you feel sorry for the cow? You have separated her from her calf.” The saint praised his wife, and agreed that it was not right to separate the cow and the calf. Therefore, he called the poor man to whom he had given the calf and told him to take the cow as well.

That year there was a famine, so Saint Philaret took the donkey and went to borrow six bushels of wheat from a friend of his. When he returned home, a poor man asked him for a little wheat, so he told his wife to give the man a bushel. Theoseba said, “First you must give a bushel to each of us in the family, then you can give away the rest as you choose.” Philaretos then gave the man two bushels of wheat. Theoseba said sarcastically, “Give him half the load so you can share it.” The saint measured out a third bushel and gave it to the man. Then Theoseba said, “Why don’t you give him the bag, too, so he can carry it?” He gave him the bag. The exasperated wife said, “Just to spite me, why not give him all the wheat.” Saint Philaret did so.

Now the man was unable to lift the six bushels of wheat, so Theoseba told her husband to give him the donkey so he could carry the wheat home. Blessing his wife, Philaret gave the donkey to the man, who went home rejoicing. Theoseba and the children wept because they were hungry.

The Lord rewarded Philaret for his generosity: when the last measure of wheat was given away, a old friend sent him forty bushels. Theoseba kept most of the wheat for herself and the children, and the saint gave away his share to the poor and had nothing left. When his wife and children were eating, he would go to them and they gave him some food. Theoseba grumbled saying, “How long are you going to keep that treasure of yours hidden? Take it out so we can buy food with it.”

During this time the Byzantine empress Irene (797-802) was seeking a bride for her son, the future emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitos (780-797). Therefore, emissaries were sent throughout all the Empire to find a suitable girl, and the envoys came to Amneia.

When Philaret and Theoseba learned that these most illustrious guests were to visit their house, Philaret was very happy, but Theoseba was sad, for they did not have enough food. But Philaret told his wife to light the fire and to decorate their home. Their neighbours, knowing that imperial envoys were expected, brought everything required for a rich feast.

The envoys were impressed by the saint’s daughters and granddaughters. Seeing their beauty, their deportment, their clothing, and their admirable qualities, the envoys agreed that Philaret’ granddaughter, Maria was exactly what they were looking for. This Maria exceeded all her rivals in quality and modesty and indeed became Constantine’s wife, and the emperor rewarded Philaret.

Thus fame and riches returned to Philaret. But just as before, this holy lover of the poor generously distributed alms and provided a feast for the poor. He and his family served them at the meal. Everyone was astonished at his humility and said: “This is a man of God, a true disciple of Christ.”

He ordered a servant to take three bags and fill one with gold, one with silver, and one with copper coins. When a beggar approached, Philaret ordered his servant to bring forth one of the bags, whichever God’s providence would ordain. Then he would reach into the bag and give to each person, as much as God willed.

Saint Philaret refused to wear fine clothes, nor would he accept any imperial rank. He said it was enough for him to be called the grandfather of the Empress. The saint reached ninety years of age and knew his end was approaching. He went to the Rodolpheia (“The Judgment”) monastery in Constantinople. He gave some gold to the Abbess and asked her to allow him to be buried there, saying that he would depart this life in ten days.

He returned home and became ill. On the tenth day he summoned his family, he exhorted them to imitate his love for the poor if they desired salvation. Then he fell asleep in the Lord. He died in the year 792 and was buried in the Rodolpheia Judgment monastery in Constantinople.

The appearance of a miracle after his death confirmed the sainthood of Righteous Philaret. As they bore the body of the saint to the cemetery, a certain man, possessed by the devil, followed the funeral procession and tried to overturn the coffin. When they reached the grave, the devil threw the man down on the ground and went out of him. Many other miracles and healings also took place at the grave of the saint.

After the death of the righteous Philaret, his wife Theoseba worked at restoring monasteries and churches devastated during a barbarian invasion.

Canon to the holy and righteous Philaret the Merciful, with four Troparia, the acrostic whereof is: “I praise the sun-like remembrance of Philaret,” the composition of Valeria, Tone II.

Ode I Irmos: Come, O ye people, * let us sing a song to Christ our God, * Who divided the sea, * and made a way for the nation * which He had brought up out of the bondage of Egypt; * for He hath been glorified.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Come ye, and let us celebrate today the memory of Philaret, radiant in our gladness, forming an harmonious chorus, for Christ God hath wondrously glorified him.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Thou didst give thy property to God in loan, O Philaret, purchasing things eternal with that which is transitory, O wise one. Wherefore, thou wast deemed worthy to receive a twofold reward, being crowned with honour on earth and with glory in heaven.

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

Being truly a beacon of the love of Christ, in no wise extinguished by the winds of tribulations and temptations, with divine love thou hast enkindled the hearts of the faithful that they may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Philaret, beloved of God!

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

Unceasingly we cry unto thee, chanting the archangel’s greeting: Rejoice! For thou art the cause of all joy, O Lady, who hast given birth unto the Salvation of the world.

Ode III, Irmos: The bow of the mighty hath been broken * by Thy might, O Christ, * and the enfeebled * have girded themselves with power.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Thou didst open thy hands unto the poor and the wretched, and thy lips unto the praise of thy Creator and God, O righteous one. Wherefore, the gates of paradise have been opened unto thee with joy.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

When thou didst beggar thyself for a while, when God tested thy love, O Philaret, in no wise despondent, thou didst place all thy trust in God, Who humbleth, exalteth and bestoweth wealth.

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

Thou didst not set thy heart on fleeting riches, but established it in the will of God, O wise Philaret, truly well-beloved.

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

Rejoice radiantly with Joachim, O righteous Anna, for in but a few days thou shalt joyously cry out: Lo! the most glorious root of the Tree of life hath been sown within me!

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VII: Come ye, and let us prepare a great feast, and a banquet of honour, thus didst thou say to thy household, O Philaret, announcing the arrival at thy house of the King Himself and His servants; and when the time was come, thou didst go forth to meet those who were invited: the poor and wretched of the imperial city; and to all who marvelled, beholding them, thou didst cry aloud: These are the servants of the King, and in them the King Himself hath arrived! Truly, therefore, Christ, the King of kings, came invisibly to thy feast, and with love dost thou now serve Him in unwaning light, reclining with the saints at His banquet and chanting the awesome thrice-holy hymn sung by the seraphim.

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

Theotokion, in Tone VII: Thou hast surpassed the hosts of heaven, * O blessed Theotokos, * for thou hast been shown to be a divine temple, * in that thou hast given birth unto Christ, ** the Saviour of our souls. Or this Stavrotheotokion: Ever protected by the Cross of thy Son, O Virgin, we escape the demons’ assault. Wherefore, raising a song as is meet, we glorify thee, O all-hymned Theotokos.

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard report of Thy dispensation, O Lord, * and have glorified Thee * Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Distributing silver, gold, and copper coins unto the people who begged of thee, thou didst spiritually perceive the need of each, O merciful one, wisely managing the property of Christ, the almighty Master of the house.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

The right loving and divinely wise Philaret showed himself to be a father to orphans and paupers and made love the dominion of his might.

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

Bearing reproaches and insults with love, and deprived of thy wealth as was Job, thou didst cry aloud: The Lord is my God and my power, and He will set my feet toward perfection!

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

Thou didst come forth unto the salvation of Thy people, O Saviour, willingly incarnate of the foreordained Virgin, whom we unceasingly glorify.

Ode V, Irmos: The burning Ember was revealed to Isaiah, * and the Sun hath shone forth from the Virgin’s womb, * granting the enlightenment of the knowledge of God * to those who in darkness have gone astray.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Being a kinsman of the emperor, O Philaret, thou didst not exalt thyself, honouring the King of kings in the guise of the orphaned and the wretched, and adorning thyself with love, the queen of the virtues.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Living in accordance with the Gospel, O Philaret, and bearing fruit an hundredfold for the Saviour, thou didst show thyself to be a good and fertile land for Him.

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

Thou hast shown us an example of godly mercy, letting thy light shine before all in accordance with the word of the Lord, moving them to glorify the heavenly Father.

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

Magnifying the Theotokos, the Mother of Emmanuel, with unceasing hymns, and beholding Him Who was born of her, we cry out: God is with us!

Ode VI, Irmos: O Master, hearkening unto the sound of entreaties * from a soul in pain, * do Thou deliver me from my grievous sins, * for Thou alone art the Cause of our salvation.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Thou didst sanctify thy hands with the blessings of almsgiving, enkindling thy heart with mercy, putting an end to sorrows, comforting the afflicted and bringing joy to all in place of grief.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Emulating Abraham the hospitable, O Philaret, thou didst honour the life-creating Trinity, which did not reveal itself to thee in the guise of three strangers, but in the guise of a multitude of the wretched to whom thou didst zealously minister.

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

Accepting tribulations from the hand of the Lord as blessings, thou didst show forth the patience of Job; and, tempest-tossed by tribulations and deprivation, thou didst bless God, inheriting the blessing of all the righteous.

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

We have no hope; there is no hope for us, if thou dost not help us and deliver us from misfortunes O Theotokos, by thine all-powerful intercession, which Thy mighty Son doth not disdain.

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 III: Truly thy most excellent commerce * is seen and judged to be wise * by all the divinely wise, * for thou didst forgive transitory debts, * seeking that which is lofty and eternal. * Wherefore, thou hast acquired eternal glory as is meet, ** O merciful Philaret.

Ikos: Every virtue acquired for Christ’s sake is comely and loving; fasting is honorable, and abstinence is pleasing to God; meekness doth inherit the earth, and humility leadeth to the heavens; repentance doth conquer every sin, and vision of God is granted to the pure of heart; yet charity and love are exalted above all of these, and, before all else, are received back from the righteous Judge at the dread tribunal of Christ; and on that day shalt thou hear from Him, O righteous one: Come, thou blessed of the heavenly Father, inherit eternal glory and the Kingdom prepared for thee from before the ages, O merciful Philaret!

Ode VII, Irmos: Of old the youths revealed themselves to be rhetors * with a supreme love for wisdom, * for from the depths of their God-pleasing souls, * they theologized with their lips as they sang: * O supremely divine God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Having prepared a great feast, thou didst announce to thy household the coming of the King and His servants; and having filled thy house with the poor and wretched, thou didst cry aloud: Behold the servants of the King!

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

In their midst hath the most divine King, the blessed God of our fathers, come invisibly unto me! Young men and elders, orphans and widows, blessed thy compassionate right hand, O Philaret, giving thanks unto Christ God for thee; and they cried out in compunction: O supremely divine God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom, for ye ministered unto Me in the thirsty, the hungry and the sick! Thus shall Christ the Judge cry to the merciful at His dread Judgment. And at that time, O father, thou shalt be exceeding glad.

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

O Virgin Theotokos, entreat thou the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world and hath washed Christians in His Blood, that He take away our sins; for, lo! with contrite heart we seek the countenance of Him Who is blessed by all creation.

ODE VIII, Irmos: Disdaining the golden image, the thrice-blessed children, * beholding the immutable and living image of God, * chanted in the midst of the flame: * Let all existing creation hymn the Lord * and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Emulating the merciful Samaritan, pass me not by, for I have fallen among thieves through my many sins, O Philaret, and pour forth the oil of thy prayers upon my grievously wounded soul, O merciful one, that, healed, I may thankfully chant unto God: Let all creation hymn the Lord Who is wondrous in His saints!

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

Thou wast revealed to us to be a wise gatherer of treasures which rust doth not corrupt, nor worm devour, and which thou dost lay up in the treasuries of heaven. Wherefore, thy heart doth abide there, and thy mouth, knowing not satiety, doth hymn the Lord throughout the ages.

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

They, that of old did foolishly worship the golden calf, were condemned, and the most-wise youths, that did not bow down before the golden image set up by the king in Babylon, were blessed; and thou, O Philaret, didst emulate the latter and not the former, joyously casting down the idol of wealth, and chanting: Let all creation hymn the Lord throughout the ages!

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

The cherubim bow down before thee in awe, O Theotokos, and the seraphim hymn thee unceasingly, for truly the King of heaven hath desired thy beauty, calling thee His own Mother. Wherefore, the people confess thee always, and unto the ages of ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: Thou art all desire, Thou art all sweetness, * O Word of God, Son of the Virgin, * God of gods, most holy Lord of the saints. * Wherefore, we magnify Thee * and her who hath given birth to Thee. Pouring forth thy wealth in faith, thou didst receive all of it back again from God.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

And receiving and nourishing the wretched with faith, thou didst receive God Himself. Having lived by faith, and through faith passed on to the eternal mansions, thou dost ever magnify God with the choirs of the righteous.

Holy and righteous, Philaret, pray to God for us.

As an emulator of Abraham and entertainer of the beginningless Trinity, a servant and most intimate friend of the Master, thou didst have mercy on every creature, thereby inclining the mercy of God toward thyself. Wherefore, in thy mercy do thou also visit us who magnify thee with all our heart.

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

Enlighten us with thy love, O Philaret, who shone like the sun in thy righteous repose, that, radiantly rejoicing in thee, we may magnify God, Who is wondrous in His saints.

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

Young men and elders, rich men and paupers, monks and laymen, righteous and penitents: Come ye, let us fall down before the Mother of God, crying out to her: Ever preserve under thy protection, us who magnify thee O Lady.

Troparion, in Tone IV: Emulating Abraham in faith and following after Job in patience, * O father Philaret, * thou didst distribute the blessings of the earth to the needy * and didst manfully endure the lack thereof. * Wherefore, Christ our God, the Judge of the contest, * hath crowned thee with a crown of light. ** Him do thou entreat, that our souls be saved.

Nameday Greetings

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Though it’s rather late in the day, as I went out without my laptop and have only just returned home, this is the first chance to post nameday greetings to our brother and elder of the parish, Andrew (Allan).
We send him our congratulations and warmest regards, praying that God will grant him ‘Many blessed years!’

Многая и Благая лѣта!

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Andrew the First-Called

Monday November 30 / December 13: The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he later brought his own brother, the holy Apostle Peter, to Christ (John 1:35-42). The future apostle was from Bethsaida, and from his youth he turned with all his soul to God. He did not enter into marriage, and he worked with his brother as a fisherman. When the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John began to preach, Saint Andrew became his closest disciple. Declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God, Saint John the Baptist himself sent to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian.

After the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, Saint Andrew went to the Eastern lands preaching the Word of God. He went through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, he reached the River Danube, went along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea, the Black Sea region and along the River Dniepr he climbed to the place where the city of Kiev now stands.

He stopped overnight on the hills of Kiev. Rising in the morning, he said to those disciples that were with him: “See these hills? Upon these hills shall shine forth the beneficence of God, and there will be a great city here, and God shall raise up many churches.” The apostle went up around the hills, blessed them and set up a cross. Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dniepr and reached a settlement of the Slavs, where Novgorod was built. From here the apostle went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome for preaching, and again he returned to Thrace, where in the small village of Byzantium, the future Constantinople, he founded the Church of Christ. The name of the holy Apostle Andrew links the mother, the Church of Constantinople, with her daughter, the Russian Church.

On his journeys the First-Called Apostle endured many sufferings and torments from pagans: they cast him out of their cities and they beat him. In Sinope they pelted him with stones, but remaining unharmed, the persistent disciple of Christ continued to preach to people about the Saviour. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the Lord worked miracles. By the labours of the holy Apostle Andrew, Christian Churches were established, for which he provided bishops and clergy. The final city to which the Apostle came was the city of Patra, where he was destined to suffer martyrdom.

The Lord worked many miracles through His disciple in Patra. The infirm were made whole, and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of the Apostle, the illustrious citizen Sosios recovered from serious illness and Maximilla and Stratokles, the wife and brother of the governor of Patra, were healed. The miracles accomplished by the Apostle and his fiery speech enlightened almost all the citizens of the city of Patra with the true Faith.

Few pagans remained at Patra, but among them was the prefect of the city, Aegeatos. The Apostle Andrew repeatedly turned to him with the words of the Gospel. But even the miracles of the Apostle did not convince Aegeatos. The holy Apostle with love and humility appealed to his soul, striving to reveal to him the Christian mystery of life eternal, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Cross of the Lord. The angry Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the apostle. The pagan thought he might undo Saint Andrew’s preaching if he were to put him to death on the cross.

Saint Andrew the First-Called accepted the decision of the prefect with joy and with prayer to the Lord, and went willingly to the place of execution. In order to prolong the suffering of the saint, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail the saint’s hands and feet, but to tie them to the cross. For two days the apostle taught the citizens who gathered about. The people, in listening to him, with all their souls pitied him and tried to take Saint Andrew down from the cross. Fearing a riot of the people, Aegeatos gave orders to stop the execution. But the holy apostle began to pray that the Lord would grant him death on the cross. Just as the soldiers tried to take hold of the Apostle Andrew, they lost control of their hands. The crucified apostle, having given glory to God, said: “Lord Jesus Christ, receive my spirit.” Then a blazing ray of divine light illumined the cross and the martyr crucified upon it. When the light faded, the holy Apostle Andrew had already given up his holy soul to the Lord. Maximilla, the wife of the prefect, had the body of the saint taken down from the cross, and buried him with honor.

A few centuries later, under the emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles beside the relics of the holy Evangelist Luke and Saint Paul’s disciple Saint Timothy.

Canon I to the Apostle, the composition of John the Monk

Irmos: Thy victorious right arm, * in a manner befitting God, * hath been glorified in strength, O Immortal One; * for in its infinite strength it shattered the enemy, * fashioning anew a path for the Israelites through the deep.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

My soul, which hath been troubled by wicked thoughts and words, do thou cleanse with the divine grace which dwelleth within thee, O Andrew, preacher of Christ, that I may pour forth a worthy hymn to thee in a pure manner.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The Forerunner of Christ, who sprang forth from a barren woman, led Andrew, rejoicing, the most eminent and honoured of his disciples, to Christ the supremely glorified One Who was born from the Virgin.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

With desire and unwavering love, beginning the steps of the virtues, ever learning to ascend, from weakness thou didst attain unto the most lofty strength, O Andrew.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice, O wellspring of grace! Rejoice, stairway and portal to heaven! Rejoice, golden candlestick and jar, and unquarried mountain, who for the world didst give birth unto Christ, the Bestower-of life.

Canon II to the Apostle, Irmos: Guiding Israel with a pillar of fire and cloud, * as God He divided the sea * and engulfed the chariots of Pharaoh in the deep. * Let us chant a hymn of victory, * for He alone hath been glorified!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

With the rod of the Gospel didst thou fish, O all-praised Andrew, drawing forth souls from the deep of delusion, as Christ promised, Who taught thee to catch them as though fish.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The divinely inspired Andrew, the pillar of the Faith and seat of the true dogmas of Christ, doth today summon all the ends of the earth to celebrate his yearly festival. Let us therefore make haste, all ye faithful!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having pursued the whale of the sea with nets, with the skill of a fisherman thou dost fish for nations, tribes and peoples with the net of the Spirit, most plainly disclosing unto us through the Spirit the lofty depths, O most wondrous one.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O thou who solemnly performed the mysteries of heaven, as an eyewitness and advocate of the ineffable knowledge of Christ, in that thou that had received the Holy Spirit from on high, thou didst discourse, and sit among the nations dispensing sacred gifts with fire: pray thou that we be saved.

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

Triadicon: With faith I worship the supra-natural Unity of the unoriginate Trinity, not dividing the Godhead. For it is of a single kind, simple and indivisible. And I unite it by essence faithfully distinguishing the Hypostases.

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

Theotokion: God is born an Infant through the Virgin, and He reneweth that which, through Adam, had become corrupt; and breaking down the middle-wall of partition and the chamber of enmity with His flesh, He came forth from His most pure Mother, abolishing the curse of our first mother.

Ode III, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: Thou alone knowest the weakness of human nature * and in compassion hast assumed its form; * do Thou gird me with power from on high, * that I may cry unto Thee: * Holy is the animate temple of Thine ineffable glory, O Lover of mankind!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Not summoned, but of thine own will didst thou run like a thirsting hart to the Wellspring of life, and having found Him thou didst preach Him to all; and having drunk thereof thou didst drench the parched ends of the earth with the waters of incorruption.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Mindful of the laws of nature, O right wondrous Andrew, thou didst take thy kinsman into partnership, crying out: We have found the Desired One! And to him who prepared the way by his birth in the flesh thou didst reveal spiritual knowledge.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

From the depths of delusion hast thou taken the rational fish in the net of the Word, O apostle, and brought as pure food to the table of Christ: those who have been enlightened by the grace of Him Who appeared in the likeness of the flesh.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Though thou didst conceive God in thy womb, O Virgin, by the All-Holy Spirit thou wast preserved unconsumed, for to Moses the law-giver the unburnt bush manifestly foretold thee, who aflame, received the unbearable Fire.

Canon II to the Apostle, 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, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Peter and Andrew straightway followed Christ, Who summoned them, saying, Come, follow me! leaving their father, their boat and nets, for they were visionaries of faith.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Transforming pagan temples into churches, O all-honoured one, thou didst sanctify therein sons of baptism, whom grace hath renewed through the water and the Spirit.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst mystically set before the world the pearl of great price which was hid within the field of thy heart, O apostle, which the Gentiles, finding, treasured faithfully.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Taking up the Gospel in thy hands as a treasure, O much lauded one, thou didst enrich all the earth with thy divine preaching. Wherefore, it doth honour thy memory and thy sufferings. Glory …,

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

Triadicon: Let us all hymn chanting in an Orthodox manner the Trinity, the one power of the beginningless, uncreated, consubstantial, co-enthroned, tri-hypostatic, three-sunned God.

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

Theotokion: Every mother that beareth a child can no longer be a virgin; but thou, O Virgin Mother, having given birth unto Christ, remained so, nourishing our Life with milk and remaining pure.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: We honour thee as is meet, O apostle Andrew, as the first-called of all the disciples and an eyewitness and minister of the Word; for, fervently and with unwavering faith, thou didst follow the Lamb that taketh away the sins of the world. And thereafter showed thyself to be a sharer in the sufferings of Him Who willingly endured death for our sake. Wherefore, we cry to thee: Pray thou to Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who, with love, celebrate thy holy memory.

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

Another Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII and same melody: Setting at naught the audacity of the idols and yearning for the sufferings of Christ, thou didst show thyself to be an apostle, O blessed Andrew, raining down wonders from heaven, teaching the nations, O all-blessed one. Wherefore, honouring thy memory as is meet, in hymns we glorify and faithfully magnify thee, O apostle of the Lord. Pray thou to Christ God, that He grant remission of sins to those who with love celebrate thy holy memory.

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

Theotokion in Tone VIII: Rejoice, O fiery throne of God! Rejoice, O Maiden, royal seat and lavishly furnished couch, chamber hung with gold-embroidered purple, cloak of scarlet, temple adorned, chariot of lightning, most radiant candlestick! Rejoice, twelve-walled city, gate cast of gold, radiant bridal chamber, magnificently appointed banquet hall and divinely embellished tabernacle! Rejoice, glorious Bride, radiant as the sun! Rejoice, thou who alone art the splendour of my soul!

ODE IV, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: Perceiving thee with prophetic eyes * as the mountain overshadowed by the grace of God, * Habbakuk proclaimed that the Holy One of Israel * would come forth from thee, * for our salvation and restoration.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The divine and consuming power of the higher, all-accomplishing and radiant Spirit, Who, in a godly manner, made His abode within thee in the form of a tongue of fire, O Andrew, showed thee to be a preacher of ineffable things.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The all-honoured Andrew did not take up weapons of the flesh for retribution, even to lay low the strong citadels of the enemy, but, protected by Christ, having captured the nations, he brought them to obedience.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Our super-essential God, Who assumed our nature, hath revealed thee, O Andrew, to be a mountain pouring forth noetic gladness, destroying the cruel mountains of demonic arrogance.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications, O Andrew, never cease to fill with the bountiful gifts of Christ, thy Teacher, those who with love celebrate thy memory in hymns.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

We hymn thy great and awesome mystery, for He Who is ever existing, hiding Himself from the supra-mundane legions, descended upon thee like the dew upon the fleece, unto our salvation and restoration, O all-hymned one.

Canon II to the Apostle, 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, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having cast aside thy nets and taken up the Cross, thou didst follow after Christ Who called thee, and, stretching out the net of the Spirit, thou dost catch souls instead of fish. Glory to Him Who gaveth thee the Spirit!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having received the flaming tongue of the Spirit, thou didst become a man well-pleasing unto God, O apostle, going about the beauties of heaven, recognizing the noetic comeliness therein, and revealing it to us.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst water the parched desert with thy divine words, O wise one, and didst show it forth as fertile, bearing fruit, the children of the Church, through the casting of the divine seed. Glory be to Him Who gaveth thee the Spirit!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Perceiving Thine ineffable goodness, O Jesus, Andrew summoned his kinsman, saying: O Peter, my blood kinsman, we have found the Messiah, Who was proclaimed in the Law and the Prophets! Come, let us truly join ourselves unto Life!

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

Triadicon: O ye faithful, let us hymn the Trinity in Unity: the Father, the Son, and the divine Spirit, One in Godhead, Essence and Nature, indivisible, inseparable, undivided, for He is One God in three Hypostases.

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

Theotokion: Having ineffably conceived One of the Trinity in thy womb, thou didst incorruptly give birth unto Him as a Son; yet the Trinity was not at any time added to, and as thou wast pure before giving birth, thou wast kept whole, O Mother of God.

Ode V, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: O Hou hast shone upon us with the radiance * of Thy coming O Christ, * and illumined the ends of the world with Thy Cross, * enlighten with the light of thine understanding * the hearts of those who with right worship hymn Thee.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst receive Him for Whom thou didst long, O apostle Andrew, making thine abode with Him in the incorruptible mansions, worthily having harvested the sheaves of thy labours. Wherefore, we glorify thee with hymns.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst love the Master, and quickly didst thou run after Him, guided in life by His footprints and sincerely emulating His sufferings even unto death, O most honourable Andrew.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having drawn thee like a mighty arrow, O blessed one, the Lord loosed thee upon the world, wounding the demons and healing souls wounded by impiety.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The hosts of heaven are gladdened at the sight of thee, and with them rejoice assemblies of mankind; for by thy birthgiving, a Virgin Theotokos, they are united, glorifying thee as is meet.

Canon II to the Apostle, Irmos: Illumine our minds with the light * of Thy commandments * and with the radiant splendour of Thy grace, O God, * granting us Thy mercy O Good One, * for Thy precepts are light and peace.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having yearned for the Cross, O disciple of Christ, through thy cross thou didst obtain the incorruptible kingdom, drawing all the initiates of God thereto by the Cross, granting an inheritance unto us, the theologians thereof.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst truly search for Christ our Life, and having searched, thou wast first to find Him; and having found Him, thou didst mystically embrace Him; and having received the Giver Himself, thou didst become a treasury of life incorruptible.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The utterances of thy divine thundering were poured forth throughout the world and travelled from one end of the earth to the other, for they have circled round like a wheel; and thy lightnings, as David saith, have appeared to the whole world.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Remember us who celebrate thy memory and venerate thy relics, O disciple of Christ. Pray thou ever earnestly on behalf of the flock whose preserver and salvation thou hast been from the beginning.

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

Triadicon: O ye faithful, together let us glorify God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the indivisible Trinity, the tri-hypostatic Kingdom, faithfully glorifying It with unceasing theology.

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

Theotokion: Thou didst give birth to the Light knowing not how, O thou who hast borne the lamp of the Light of the Sun; the new tabernacle of divine light, emitting rays of divine knowledge upon the whole world.

ODE VI, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: The deepest abyss hath surrounded us, * and there is none to deliver us, * yea we have been counted as sheep for the slaughter; * save Thy people O our God, * for thou art the strength and restoration of the weak.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Sailing the sea of life in the vessel of thy body, thou didst discover Christ, the Steersman Who guideth all things, O all-blessed one, and thou didst stand before Him rejoicing, O most honoured Andrew.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Evil spirits are cast out at thy word, infirmities take flight, a multitude of spiritual passions are driven far away from the afflicted by the grace given thee by God, O Andrew.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Like a calm wave, moved by a meek spirit, O blessed one, with divine streams didst thou drain the sea of wicked polytheism and didst pour forth rivers of divine knowledge for all.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure Virgin, the ancestors of our race are gladdened on thine account, having received through thee Eden, which they had lost through transgression, for thou art pure both before and after giving birth.

Canon II to the Apostle, 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, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

He that was led away from Bethsaida doth summon us to hold festival, having set before us the solemnity of the commemoration of his struggles.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

By trade a fisherman, by faith a disciple, plumbing the depths of the heart of the faithful, he doth lower the hook of the word and doth catch us.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Spreading the fire of the love of Christ within thy heart, O disciple, thou didst cry out to the Gentiles: Your flame doth burn for Christ, Who hath truly appeared!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having seasoned your minds with the salt of Christ, your wages have sweetened the heavenly dogmas of unwaning delight for us.

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

Triadicon: The Father, the Son, and the right Spirit, the tri-hypostatic Essence, indivisible, let us worship, O ye faithful, crying out: Glory to God in Trinity!

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

Theotokion: At the good pleasure of the Father and through the Holy Spirit was the Son incarnate in thy womb, O pure Birthgiver of God, and manifestly did He save that which was formerly in His image.

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 II: Spec. Mel. “In supplications …”: The divinely eloquent namesake of manliness, * the eminent follower of the Church, * the kinsman of Peter, let us praise, * for as of old he was called, so now he calleth us: ** Come ye, we have found the Desired One!

Ikos: Of old David constrained a sinner like me to declare the precepts of God honourably. And again he teacheth and with many tears doth proclaim: Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts as Israel once embittered themselves! And he leadeth the rest in psalmody: Come ye, hymn the Lord, all ye lands, for we have found the Desired One!

Ode VII, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: We the faithful perceive thee, O Theotokos, * to be a noetic furnace; * for as He, the supremely exalted One, * saved the three children, * so hath He wholly refashioned fallen humanity, in thy womb, * O Thou praised and supremely glorified God of our fathers.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Truly and manifestly hath Thy promise been fulfilled, O Christ, for Thy most divine disciple, rebuking the tempest with a word, transformed it in to a peaceful calm. Praised art Thou and supremely glorious, O God of our fathers!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Commanded to ascend the mountain of the noetic Zion, O apostle, and having passed over death to divine life, rejoicing, thou dost bestow the cup of salvation of the praised and supremely glorious God of our fathers, having received it within thyself.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The divine Water of life showed thee forth, O blessed one, as a noetic river drying up the rivers of delusion with the streams of teaching, and watering those who cry aloud: Praised and supremely glorious art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Though a mortal, O apostle, thou dost supra-naturally work wonders, for, undergoing suffering with love, thou didst follow after Christ Who loved thee, chanting: Praised and supremely glorious is our God!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Theotokos, Jacob prophetically understood thee to be a ladder, for through thee the supremely exalted One appeared and dwelt among mankind on earth, as he was well-pleased so to do. Praised and supremely glorious is the God of our fathers!

Canon II to the Apostle, 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, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O apostle of Christ, the fire of the all-holy Spirit descended from on high, and commanded thee to proclaim His mighty works upon the ends of the earth in new languages which thou hadst never spoken before.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The proclamation which ye trumpeted forth throughout the earth astounded every mind, O initiates of the mysteries of Christ and beholders of lofty things, for as the twelve ye have enlightened the darkness covering the earth.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O Master Christ, wondrous was Thy grace in Thy divinely wise disciples who, as simple and humble men, traversed the whole earth from one end thereof even unto all its ends.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Who instructed thee to speak thus, O apostle? Who enlightened thy mind to behold clearly the radiance of the unapproachable glory which shineth forth the light of truth in our hearts?

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

Triadicon: Let us hymn the Trinity, O ye faithful, glorifying the beginningless Father, and the Son, and the righteous Spirit, the single Essence; and let us chant threefold hymns, singing: Holy, holy, holy art Thou throughout the ages! Amen.

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

Theotokion: O Christ, we glorify Thee as One of the Trinity, for, having become incarnate from the Virgin without undergoing change, Thou didst bear all things as a man without departing from the Father’s essence, O Jesus, even though Thou wast united unto us. Katavasia: 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.

Ode VIII, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: In the furnace as in a fiery smelter * the Israelite children shone more brightly than gold * with the beauty of godliness, * as they exclaimed: Bless the Lord all ye works of the Lord, * hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O Andrew, apostle of Christ, thy divine memory doth emanate with radiant and gladdening rays of healing upon us who cry aloud: Hymn the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Possessed of human nature, thou didst transcend the laws thereof and pass on to the habitations of the angels, O apostle Andrew; crying aloud: Hymn the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The inspiration of the Spirit of God, which before illumined thee with fire from on high, O divinely eloquent apostle, hath revealed thee to be a zealous orator who crieth out to thy Christ: Hymn the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, and exalt Him supremely throughout all ages!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst flash forth like lightning, like a radiant light unto the Gentiles, dispelling the darkness of ignorance and illumining the faithful, who cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice, thou throne of the glory of God! Rejoice, rampart of the faithful through which Christ hath shone forth, the Light of those who are in darkness, who bless thee and cry aloud: Hymn the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Canon II to the Apostle, Irmos: The bush which burnt on Sinai * was preserved unconsumed, * likewise the children in the midst of the burning flame * were delivered by God, * hymn ye, bless and supremely exalt Him * throughout the ages!

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

With the craft of fishing thou didst draw fish from the sea, O all-wise one, and now, with faith, thou dost draw forth souls for Christ, from the delusion of the enemy. For such deception was once an abyss which drowned the nations in the storm of impiety.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

With faith in Christ thou didst navigate the noetic abyss of life without capsizing, O apostle, propelled by the sail of the Spirit. Wherefore, thou hast attained unto the harbor of life rejoicing throughout all ages.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

When the noetic Sun willingly set upon the Tree, the great Andrew, the lamp of the Church, the beacon of the Sun, seeking to end his life with Christ and to set in Him, was hung upon the wood of a cross.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O disciple and beloved friend of Christ, and one of His apostles: when the Judge sitteth upon His throne with you, His twelve, to render judgment as He hath promised, be ye then a rampart of love for mankind and for us.

We bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Lord.

Triadicon: Let us glorify the thrice-radiant Unity, the equally-enthroned Trinity, not separating it, but uniting It consubstantially as truly One Essence, united without commingling in three Hypostases.

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

Theotokion: Having conceived, thou didst give birth unto one of the Trinity, Who, incarnate from thee, renewed the laws of nature by thy birthgiving, O pure one. Cease not to ever beseech Him as God on our behalf, O Theotokos.

Ode IX, Canon I to the Apostle, Irmos: The Bush, which burnt without being consumed, * prefigured thy pure birthgiving, O Theotokos. * Wherefore we now entreat Thee: * quench the raging furnace of temptations that beset us, * that we may unceasingly magnify Thee.

 Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

As a most excellent disciple, following even thy Master unto death, Who was crucified of His own will upon the Cross, thou didst ascend the heights of thy cross rejoicing, and passed on to the heavens, O blessed Andrew.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The gates of Eden were opened unto thee, and the ladder of heaven was set up for thee. The mansions of heaven received thee and thou didst stand, rejoicing, before Christ, the Bestower of life, O apostle, most eminent intercessor for the world.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Thou wast glorified by sufferings like unto those of thy Teacher, O blessed and all-wise Andrew; for thou didst receive thine end through a cross and wast deified through communion. Wherefore, we beseech thee: Ever pray thou on our behalf.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Rejoice, most excellent pair, having now inherited citizenship in the heavens! Ye have transcended the desire for crowds; having conquered the power thereof, and ye illumine us with the radiance of divine gifts.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou didst spring forth from the root of David, the Prophet and forefather of God, O Virgin; but thou hast glorified David, for thou hast given birth unto the Lord of glory, Whom he prophesied. Hymning Him, we magnify thee as is meet.

Canon II to the Apostle Irmos: The light-bearing cloud upon whom * the beginningless Master of all descended from heaven, * like the dew upon the fleece, * and of whom He was incarnate, * becoming a man for our sake, * let us all magnify as the pure Mother of God.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O holy one, who spread out the net of the mystic knowledge of God, and who ensnared fish therein with the beauties of heavenly thoughts: Entreat the Holy Trinity to pour forth cleansing upon us.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

The nations enlightened by thee and led up from earth to the heavens by thee give thanks, for, wrested from the service of the enemy, they have become co-dwellers with the holy angels, and partakers of the glory of the Lord.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

O ye apostles, witnesses of ineffable things and ministers of the Word, performers of the mysteries and beholders of inscrutable things: Pray ye that we become heirs to the Kingdom of Christ and partakers in His divinity.

Holy, glorious, all-praised apostle, Andrew, pray to God for us.

Having received from Christ the power to bind and to loose, loose ye us all from the bonds of our many transgressions when Christ shall come and all ye twelve will be seated upon thrones to judge the tribes of Israel.

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

Triadicon: Unceasingly we glorify in heaven and on earth the incomprehensible Trinity, the tri-hypostatic Essence, the indivisible Glory which is hymned in one Godhead, piously worshipping the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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

Theotokion: We flee with faith to thy tender compassion, piously worshipping thy Son, O Virgin Birthgiver of God. Him do thou entreat as the God and Lord of all the world, that He deliver us from corruption, misfortune and every temptation.

Troparion, in Tone IV: As thou art the first-called of the apostles * and the brother of the pre-eminent one, * entreat thou the Master of all, O Andrew, * that He grant peace to the world ** and great mercy to our souls.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Venerable Martyr Stephen the New

Saturday, November 28 / December 11: Venerable Martyr Stephen the New

The Monk Martyr and Confessor Stephen the New was born in 715 at Constantinople into a pious Christian family. His parents, having two daughters, prayed the Lord for a son. The mother of the new-born Stephen took him to the Blachernae church of the Most Holy Theotokos and dedicated him to God.

During the reign of the emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-741) there was a persecution against the holy icons and against those venerating them. With the support of the emperor, the adherents of the Iconoclast heresy seized control of the supreme positions of authority in the Empire and in the Church. Persecuted by the powers of this world, Orthodoxy was preserved in monasteries far from the capital, in solitary cells, and in the brave and faithful hearts of its followers.

The Orthodox parents of Saint Stephen, grieved by the prevailing impiety, fled from Constantinople to Bithynia, and they gave over their sixteen-year-old son in obedience to the monk John, who labored in asceticism in a solitary place on the Mount of Saint Auxentius. Saint Stephen dwelt with the venerable monk John for more than fifteen years, devoting himself totally to this spirit-bearing Elder, and learning monastic activity from him. Here Stephen received the news that his father was dead, and his mother and sisters had been tonsured as nuns.

After a certain time his teacher John also died. With deep sorrow Saint Stephen buried his venerable body, and continued with monastic effort in his cave by himself. Soon monks began to come to the ascetic, desiring to learn from him the virtuous and salvific life, and a monastery was established, with Saint Stephen as the igumen. At forty-two years of age Stephen left the monastery he founded, and he went to another mountain, on whose summit he dwelt in deep seclusion in a solitary cell. But here also a community of monks soon gathered, seeking the spiritual guidance of Saint Stephen.

Leo the Isaurian was succeeded by Constantine Copronymos (741-775), a fiercer persecutor of the Orthodox, and an even more zealous iconoclast. The emperor convened an Iconoclast Council, attended by 358 bishops from the Eastern provinces. However, except for Constantine, the Archbishop of Constantinople, illegitimately raised to the patriarchal throne by the power of Copronymos, not one of the other patriarchs participated in the wicked doings of this Council, thus making it less likely to style itself as “ecumenical.” This council of heretics, at the instigation of the emperor and the archbishop, described icons as idols, and pronounced an anathema on all who venerated icons in the Orthodox manner, and it described icon veneration as heresy.

Meanwhile, the monastery of Mount Auxentius and its igumen became known in the capital. They told the emperor about the ascetic life of the monks, about their Orthodox piety, about the igumen Stephen’s gift of wonderworking, and of how Saint Stephen’s fame had spread far beyond the region of the monastery, and that the name of its head was accorded universal respect and love. The saint’s open encouragement of icon veneration and the implied rebuff to the persecutors of Orthodoxy within the monastery of Mount Auxentius especially angered the emperor. Archbishop Constantine realized that in the person of Saint Stephen he had a strong and implacable opponent of his iconoclastic intentions, and he plotted how he might draw him over to his side or else destroy him.

They tried to lure Saint Stephen into the Iconoclast camp, at first with flattery and bribery, then by threats, but in vain. Then they slandered the saint, accusing him of falling into sin with the nun Anna. But his guilt was not proven, since the nun courageously denied any guilt and died under torture and beatings. Finally, the emperor gave orders to lock up the saint in prison, and to destroy his monastery. Iconoclast bishops were sent to Saint Stephen in prison, trying to persuade him of the dogmatic correctness of the Iconoclast position. But the saint easily refuted all the arguments of the heretics and he remained true to Orthodoxy.

Then the emperor ordered that the saint be exiled on one of the islands in the Sea of Marmora. Saint Stephen settled into a cave, and there also his disciples soon gathered. After a certain while the saint left the brethren and took upon himself the exploit of living atop a pillar. News of the stylite Stephen, and the miracles worked by his prayers, spread throughout all the Empire and strengthened the faith and spirit of Orthodoxy in the people.

The emperor gave orders to transfer Saint Stephen to prison on the island of Pharos, and then to bring him to trial. At the trial, the saint refuted the arguments of the heretics sitting in judgment upon him. He explained the dogmatic essence of icon veneration, and he denounced the Iconoclasts because in blaspheming icons, they blasphemed Christ and the Mother of God. As proof, the saint pointed to a golden coin inscribed with the image of the emperor. He asked the judges what would happen to a man who threw the coin to the ground , and then trampled the emperor’s image under his feet. They replied that such a man would certainly be punished for dishonoring the image of the emperor. The saint said that an even greater punishment awaited anyone who would dishonor the image of the King of Heaven and His Saints, and with that he spat on the coin, threw it to the ground, and began to trample it underfoot.

The emperor gave orders to take the saint to prison, where already there were languishing 342 Elders, condemned for the veneration of icons. In this prison Saint Stephen spent eleven months, consoling the imprisoned. The prison became like a monastery, where the usual prayers and hymns were chanted according to the Typikon. The people came to the prison in crowds and asked Saint Stephen to pray for them.

When the emperor learned that the saint had organized a monastery in prison, where they prayed and venerated holy icons, he sent two of his own servants, twin-brothers, to beat the saint to death. When these brothers went to the prison and beheld the face of the monk shining with a divine light, they fell down on their knees before him, asking his forgiveness and prayers, then they told the emperor that his command had been carried out. But the emperor learned the truth and he resorted to yet another lie. Informing his soldiers that the saint was plotting to remove him from the throne, he sent them to the prison. The holy confessor himself came out to the furious soldiers, who seized him and dragged him through the streets of the city. They then threw the lacerated body of the martyr into a pit, where they were wont to bury criminals.

On the following morning a fiery cloud appeared over Mount Auxentius, and then a heavy darkness descended upon the capital, accompanied by hail, which killed many people.

The canon to the venerable one, with 6 Troparia, the acrostic whereof is: “Christ crowneth thee with the wreath of martyrdom, O blessed one”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VI.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Joyfully treading the narrow path of fasting, O blessed one, thou didst scorch the assaults of the enemy on the griddle of martyrdom and inherited spacious life.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

She who before was barren, the namesake of Hannah, brought thee forth as a root, like Samuel of old, and gave thee to God Who gave thee to her, O wise one, signifying the grace of thy life.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Arriving at the most sacred and divine rank of monastics, O venerable Stephen, thou didst shine forth like a most brilliant star in thy virtues, mystically illumining the faithful.

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

Confining thy body in a narrow dwelling, thou didst furnish thy mind with wings to fly to the heavens, O wise one, freeing thyself to soar well through the expanse of the heavens.

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

With sacred voices let us glorify the holy Lady, O sacred people: the impassable portal, the pure temple of purity, her who is most comely among women.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thy mind, made beautiful through the vision of God, O father, was revealed to be most comely, truly filled with every grace, and partaking of divine splendor.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Venerating the precious icon of Christ and her who gave birth to Him, O blessed one, by the power of the divine Spirit thou didst despise the vile command of the impious emperor.

The most foolish one, binding with iron fetters thee who dost possess a heart of iron, sent thee to prison, O all-blessed Stephen, as a preserver of the dogmas of Christ.

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

Thou didst manifestly possess beautiful feet which tread radiantly the paths of martyrdom, O venerable one, and crushed the heads of the enemy, O much-suffering Stephen.

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

From thee, the only pure one, did the supremely divine Word become incarnate, as is known; and He hath saved from corruption us who worship His divine condescension, in that He is full of loving-kindness.

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

Kontakion, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “To thee, the chosen leader …”: With all our heart, O ye who love the feasts of the Church, * let us faithfully praise with hymns the godly Stephen, the lover of the Trinity, * as one who venerated the beauteous image of the Master and His Mother; * and together let us now cry out to him, rejoicing with love: ** Rejoice, O ever-glorious father!

Sessional Hymn, in Tone I, Spec. Mel.: “Thy tomb, O Saviour …”: Thy blood, O divinely wise one, mystically crieth out to God from the earth like that of Abel; for thou didst clearly preach that Christ was both God and man. Wherefore, thou didst put to shame the delusion of the iconoclasts and hast passed over to the mansions of heaven. Pray thou that Christ save us.

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

Tone I, same melody: Luminous in fasting, thou didst shine in lawful suffering like gold in the crucible, O wise one; and received a crown which befitteth thy calling. Wherefore, rejoicing, we celebrate thy most holy memory, honoring thy feats, O ever-memorable Stephen.

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

Theotokion in Tone I: O pure Virgin Theotokos who knewest not wedlock, thou sole intercessor and protection of the faithful: from tribulations, sorrows and cruel circumstances deliver all who place their trust in thee, O Maiden, and save our souls by thy divine supplications.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Illumined with the light of the Spirit, O father, thou didst impart light to the blind by thy supplications, emulating thy Master and God, O divinely inspired one.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been seen by those sailing afar off at sea, by divine grace piloting to a calm harbour those who with faith invoke thy name, O blessed father Stephen.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

As a sacred minister, thou didst offer thyself as a sacred immolation unto Him Who was slain for thy sake, O Stephen, and, rejoicing, thou hast found rest in the mansions of the first-born.

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

The dry field wast shown to be wholly healthy by thy precious word, O martyr, and we marvel at the grace given thee abundantly from on high for the correction of all mankind.

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

On thee, O all-immaculate one, have I set all hope of my salvation, and I have fled to thy protection. Be thou my helper, O Maiden, delivering me from evil things.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Our God, Who alone is the Judge of the contest, strengthened thee against the murderers, O venerable Stephen, and truly crowned thy labors of fasting with the honors of martyrdom.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Struggling right gloriously, thou wast found, O martyr, sharing fellowship with a multitude of martyrs in prison; for, surrounding thee like stars around a never-waning sun, they shone all the more greatly.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

O sacred confessors with divine words as emulators of the divine sufferings, we bless you, the three hundred and forty-two who contended against the ungodly.

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

For the icon of Christ the most virtuously glorious multitude of the venerable endured the mockery of having their hair shorn off, their ears and hands severed, and their divine members burned away.

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

O most pure one, who alone hast truly given birth to the Most holy One on earth; sanctify those who ceaselessly profess thee to be the Theotokos, and save us by thy mediation.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

The author of evil was unable to endure the power of thy words; wherefore, O Stephen, the deceiver savagely gave thee over to bonds, wounds and a violent death.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou wast burned like bread baked by fire, suspended pitilessly by thy feet, O Paul; thus offering thyself as a sacrifice to God, and been deemed worthy to dwell with the martyrs. With faith and love we bless you, O ye thirty-eight venerable monks who suffered lawfully in Ephesus, imprisoned and deprived of life by suffocation.

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

Thou didst mightily oppose the judge, O right glorious Peter of great renown, and, with thy body lacerated by stripes, thou didst desire to die for Christ, the only Immortal One.

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

O Theotokos, with steadfast heart we bless thee, who alone among women art all-hymned and comely, the invincible rampart of Christians, the most pure Lady.

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 III, Spec. Mel. “Today the Virgin …”: From a barren woman didst thou, the offshoot of a root, grow forth, * O venerable father, * namesake of the protomartyr; * and thou wast shown to be a great instructor of monks, * unafraid of the wrath of the emperor * who did not wish to venerate the image of Christ. * Wherefore, in dying thou didst receive ** the crown of martyrdom, O Stephen.

Ikos: He who is the father of hatred and a stranger to God raised many temptations and threefold waves against thee; yet he could not bear to look upon thy godly life and the straight and undeviating steps of thy path. The vile one devised evils against thee, feigning to be thy disciple, like Judas of old; and made haste to place thee in the hands of the iniquitous, O father, who splendidly confessed Christ and venerated His image with love. Wherefore, thou hast received the crown of martyrdom, O Stephen.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thine end was announced to thee by the all-accomplishing will of God, O blessed one; wherefore, thou didst give thyself over to yet greater fasting, and now, having been slain for Christ Who is God over all, thou hast gone from glory to glory.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou wast glorified with the protomartyr of the same name as thee; for, stoned, dragged and beaten mercilessly, thou didst fill the earth with blood and, rejoicing, surrendered thy soul to the Lord.

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

Dragged through the streets of the city, O martyr Stephen, thou didst smooth the way of martyrdom for all the faithful; and stepping forth upon it confidently, they have manifestly reached the city of heaven.

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

The most sacred prophets announced beforehand the supremely revealed mystery of thine honoured birthgiving, O pure one. And we, splendidly contemplating the fulfilment thereof, now piously call thee blessed.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Most savagely, like wild beasts, the murderous ones seized the lamb of Christ, beating him, and they who live iniquitously buried him with the malefactors.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Pitilessly the enemy crushed thy head which God hath crowned with the wreath of victory in the highest, O crowned sufferer, glory of martyrs and all the venerable.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

The divinely wise and righteous Andrew, steadfastly opposing the tyrant, was broken by blows and mercilessly slain, chanting to Christ God throughout all ages.

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

As a most holy habitation of Him Who resteth in all the saints, O much-suffering Stephen, thou dost bear Him in thy heart throughout all ages.

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

With the sprinkling of the divine blood which flowed from the side of thy Son and God, O Virgin who art blessed of God, wash away, I pray thee, the defilement which hath come upon me through wicked sin.

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

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Beholding the ranks of angels, patriarchs, the venerable, prophets, martyrs, apostles and all the righteous, O divinely inspired one, thou didst rejoice; and as thou hast now joined them, be thou mindful of, and help those of us on earth, who in a pure manner call thee blessed.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou wast like a light, like the dawning, like the great sun, like the star-spangled sky replete with the splendours of miracles and holy wounds, O Stephen, truly adorning the thoughts of all who praise thee, O much-suffering martyr.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Having first destroyed the princes of darkness with the steadfast feats of asceticism, O father, thou didst later suffer mightily, giving them over to utter destruction, O Stephen, beauty of the martyrs and boast of the venerable.

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

Thy most glorious memory doth today illumine the multitudes of the earthborn with the most radiant beams of the gifts of the Spirit, O divinely blessed Stephen. Illumine and sanctify us who now joyfully celebrate it.

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

O divinely joyous one, abode of the Light, true confirmation of hieromartyrs and boast of all the venerable: from misfortunes, evil circumstances and the invasion of enemies save us who hymn thee.

Troparion, in Tone IV: Struggling in fasting upon the mountain, * thou didst slay the noetic hordes of the enemy * with the weapon of the Cross, O all-blessed one, * manfully arming thyself again for martyrdom, * slaying Copronymus with the sword of the Faith. * And for both hast thou been crowned by God, ** O ever-memorable venerable martyr Stephen.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St James the Persian

Friday, November 27 / December 10: the Great-Martyr, James the Persian

The Holy Great Martyr James the Persian (the Sawn-Asunder) was born in the fourth century into a pious Christian family, both wealthy and illustrious. His wife was also a Christian, and the couple raised their children in piety, inspiring in them a love for prayer and the Holy Scriptures. James occupied a high position at the court of the Persian emperor Izdegerd (399-420) and his successor Barakhranes (420-438). But on one of the military campaigns James, seduced by the emperor’s beneficence, was afraid to acknowledge himself a Christian, and so he offered sacrifice to idols with the emperor.

Learning of this, James’ mother and wife wrote him a letter, in which they rebuked him and urged him to repent. Receiving the letter, James realized the gravity of his sin. Faced with the horror of being cut off not only from his family, but also from God Himself, he began to weep loudly, imploring the Lord for forgiveness.

His fellow-soldiers, hearing him pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, reported this to the emperor. Under interrogation, Saint James bravely confessed his faith in the one True God. No amount of urging by the emperor could make him renounce Christ. The emperor then ordered the saint to be put to death.

They began to cut off his fingers and his toes one by one, then his hands and his feet, and then his arms and legs. During the prolonged torture Saint James offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord, Who had granted him the possibility of redemption from his sins by enduring these terrible torments. Finally, the martyr was beheaded. Christians gathered up the pieces of his body and buried them with great reverence.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

The canon of the great-martyr, with 6 Troparia, the acrostic whereof is: “With songs do I hymn the Persian martyr James,” the composition of Joseph, in Tone II.

Ode I, Irmos: Come, O ye people, * let us sing a song to Christ our God, * Who divided the sea, * and made a way for the nation * which He had brought up out of the bondage of Egypt; * for He hath been glorified.

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

Standing now before the throne of Christ as one crowned, O glorious martyr James, by thy supplications grant me radiant illumination and grace from heaven.

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

Issuing forth from the east, O martyr James, thou hast shone upon us like a radiant dawn illumining the Church of Christ with the effulgence of thy sufferings.

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

Having shown youthful resistance, as a victor thou wast deemed worthy of the honours of a successful combat and eternal glory, O martyr James.

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

The trumpets of the prophets announced thee, proclaiming the mystery wrought within thee, O Virgin Theotokos, having beheld thy wonders from afar.

Ode III, Irmos: O Lord, who didst slay sin upon the tree, * firmly establish us in Thee, * and in the hearts of us who hymn Thee * plant the fear of Thee.

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

Thou wast like a choice vine of Christ, pruned with the sickle of torments, and which, bearing much fruit, is offered up in the winepress of the Saviour.

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

Thou didst sensibly perceive the corruption and instability of transitory things, O crown-bearer; and as one with a great intellect, preferred the stability of those things which abide forever.

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

Thy body, dismembered by the savagery of the torturers, won thee splendid crowns, O James, and the delight of the food of paradise.

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

Mankind, united hypostatically to the Master of all through thy divine birthgiving, O Virgin Bride of God, hath manifestly received mercy.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Christ hath caused the godly and ever-memorable martyr James to shine forth from Persia like a star newly-appeared; wherefore, he hath dispelled the darkness of deception and shone forth the grace of the Spirit upon the faithful. Therefore, let us keep his memory with faith and cry out, saying: O much suffering spiritual athlete, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins to those who with love celebrate his holy memorial. (Twice)

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

Stavrotheotokion: The Virgin, the Mother of the Redeemer, standing before the Cross, cried out maternally, groaning with pain and tears: “What is this strange and most glorious sight which I see, O my Son? Thou Who pourest forth dispassion upon all men hast been crucified on a Cross between two condemned thieves, pierced in the side, and given gall to eat, all by hands which Thou didst make! But arise and grant remission of transgressions unto those who with faith hymn thy divine sufferings!”

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard report of Thy dispensation, O Lord, * and have glorified Thee * Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

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

Revived by the armour given thee by God, O glorious one, thou didst reduce to ashes all the deception of those who worship fire.

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

Ask thou cleansing for us who celebrate thy precious memory, O martyr James, in that thou dost possess boldness.

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

The torrents of blood gushing forth from thy members, O thrice blessed one, have quenched all the flames of delusion.

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

Direct my thoughts to the calm haven of thy dispassion and purity, O most pure one.

Ode V, Irmos: O Lord, Bestower of light and Creator of the ages: * guide us in the light of Thy commandments, * for we know none other God than Thee.

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

Thou wast truly like richly fertile earth, broken apart by the plough of bitter torments, O wise one, bringing a goodly harvest to the Creator.

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

With the blood of the severed limbs of thy body thou didst extinguish the burning arrows of the enemy, O thrice-blessed one; for thou wast shown to be protected by hope and faith.

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

As each of thy members was cruelly cut away, O most wise one, like a goodly lamb thou didst offer to Christ a hymn of victory and fitting praise.

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

Thou hast given me cleansing of the defilements of my soul, O glorious martyr of Christ, through thy pangs, bestowing deliverance through the streams of thy blood, O all-praised one.

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

Clearly offering a genuine cry to thine honored and awesome birthgiving with heart and tongue, we now call thee the pure Theotokos.

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.

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

Having sensibly accepted the instruction of thy friends, O glorious one, rejoicing, thou didst hasten to the struggle and received a crown of victory.

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

Suffering as though in another’s body, O martyr James, thou didst endure dismemberment, sending up hymnody to the Master.

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

As a victorious martyr, O most wise one, thou didst manifestly array thyself in the robe of salvation and the vesture of gladness, which had been dyed in thy blood.

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

Having traversed the sea of martyrdom, thou didst receive a sacred crown of victory, and now joinest chorus with ranks of martyrs as is meet, O glorious James.

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

Thou hast given birth without knowing a man, O Virgin, remaining a virgin forever, showing forth the impress of thy Son and God, the true Divinity.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest …”: Persuaded by thy good spouse, O James who wast patient of soul, * and fearing rather the dread tribunal, * thou didst spit upon the Persians’ command and the fear of them, * showing thyself to be an honourable martyr ** whose body was pruned like a vine.

Ikos: Let us all sigh from the depths of our souls, pouring forth tears as we envisage the martyr cruelly dismembered by those who were like barking dogs, and who, gathering together, tore off the limbs of the wondrous martyr, who was valiant in his confession. What then shall I say? If ye desire, let me tell all with zeal, how one day death came to James, whose body was pruned like a vine.

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!

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

When thy body was dismembered, O martyr James, strengthened by divine faith, noetic might and spiritual endurance, thou wast unmoved and unshaken, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Having set thy thoughts on the goal of a higher calling, thou wast not overwhelmed when torments were poured forth upon thee; but, enduring the wounds inflicted on thee by the iniquitous as is meet, dismembered, thou didst chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Blessed art Thou, and well is it for thee now, O most blessed one, who vanquished the savage cruelty of the wicked one and the wrath of the tyrant, saying with zeal: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Thou hast been shown to be a candle-stand of golden lustre for the never-waning Light, the Candle of divine splendour, illumining all the world with the radiance of thine honourable virginity, and saving those who chant aloud: Blessed art thou who hast given birth to God in the flesh!

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

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

Strengthened by the power of God, O blessed one, thou didst drive off the assemblies and hordes of the wicked, and having mightily dispelled them, received a crown of victory, crying aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord! Hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

Thou didst look upon the severing of thy members as goodly offerings, O martyr, ignoring the attendant pangs, but directing thy gaze rather to the beauteous crowning of the martyr’s which is to come, and which hath been prepared by the just Judge.

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

Having steadfastly acquired supra-natural endurance, thou didst remain like a pillar, O blessed one, fearlessly undergoing the assaults and receiving the darts of the enemy, crying aloud: Bless ye Christ throughout the ages!

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

The soul-corrupting enemy, the author of evil, assailing thee with great fury, and inspiring the torturers to break the strength of thy soul, was unable to accomplish his ends, O glorious one, for Thou didst array thyself in the armour of Christ.

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

O Theotokos, we know thee to be the clear well-spring of immortality, for thou hast given birth to the Word of the immortal Father, Who hast delivered from death all who supremely exalt Him throughout the ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: God the Word, God of God, * Who by ineffable wisdom came to create Adam anew * after his grievous fall to corruption through eating * and Who took flesh beyond all telling from the Holy Virgin for our sake, * Him we faithful with one accord magnify in song.

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

Joining chorus with the martyrs, O thrice-blessed one, and standing as a martyr before the throne of Christ, by thy supplications deliver from cruel misfortunes those who celebrate thy memory today and with gladness honour thy radiant festival.

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

As a martyr, O James, thou hast now truly made thine abode in the heavens, where the assemblies of the martyrs are, where the holy multitude of all the saints rest, where the souls of the righteous and the Church of the firstborn are.

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

Thou hast taken thy place before the Saviour of all as a lamp-bearer, for Whom thou didst endure the severing of the members of thy body and with might ignored the fire and wounds of thy trials. Wherefore, with faith and love we all call thee blessed, O James.

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

Clad now in an embroidered purple robe dyed in thine own blood, thou dost reign with Christ, O James; for through sufferings thou didst find the well-spring of dispassion, in which thou hast been deemed worthy to delight eternally, O all-blessed one.

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

Manifestly ascribing to thee a title befitting the nature of things, and likewise offering up to thee a divine cry, we glorify thee, the Theotokos, as the one who conceived God and truly became the pure Mother of God.

Troparion of the martyr, in Tone IV: In his sufferings, Thy martyr James O Lord, * received an imperishable crown from Thee, our God; * for, possessed of Thy might, * he set at naught the tyrants and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. ** By his supplications save Thou our souls.

Another Troparion, in the same tone: Thou hast astonished all by thy terrifying torments * and the valour of thine endurance, O much suffering one, * most wondrously uttering prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord * as each of thy members was severed from thy body. * Wherefore, receiving a crown amid thy suffering, * thou hast ascended to the throne of Christ God, the King of heaven. ** Entreat Him, O James, that He save our souls.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Venerable Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis

Thursday, November 26 / December 9: Venerable Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis.

Saint Alypius the Stylite was born in the city of Adrianopolis in Paphlagonia. His mother, a Christian, was widowed early, and she sent her son to be educated by Bishop Theodore. She distributed her substance to the poor, then began to live an ascetic life near the church as a deaconess.

Saint Alypius, from his early years, wanted to devote his life to God and yearned for the solitary life, although Bishop Theodore would not give him permission to do so. Once, when Saint Alypius was accompanying his bishop to Constantinople, the holy Martyr Euphemia (September 16) appeared to him in a vision, summoning Saint Alypius to return to Adrianopolis and found a church in her name.

With contributions offered by believers in Adrianopolis, Saint Alypius did build a church in the name of the holy Martyr Euphemia, on the site of a dilapidated pagan temple infested by legions of devils. Beside the church, under the open sky, the saint erected a pillar over a pagan tomb. For fifty-three years Saint Alypius struggled upon the pillar, praying to God and teaching those who came to him.

The demons which infested the pagan cemetery fell upon the ascetic by night and pelted him with stones. Saint Alypius, wanted nothing to stand in the way of the attacks of the spirits of darkness, then even took down the boards that served him as a roof, protecting him from the rain and wind. In the face of the saint’s conquering steadfastness, the demons fled the place forever, which had been sanctified by his deed of voluntary martyrdom.

Fourteen years before his death, Saint Alypius was no longer able to stand. He was compelled to lie on his side because of the weakness of his legs, and endured grievous sufferings with humble gratitude. Around the saint’s pillar two monasteries sprang up: a men’s monastery on the one side, and a women’s monastery on the other. Saint Alypius introduced strict monastic rules for both monasteries and he directed both monasteries until his death. Saint Alypius reposed in the year 640, at age 118. The body of the venerable stylite was buried in the church he founded in honour of the holy Martyr Euphemia. The relics of the saint of God healed many of those who came in faith.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

The canon of the venerable one, the acrostic whereof is: “Rejoicing, I praise the pangs of Alypius”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone V.

Ode I, Irmos: Christ, who with an upraised arm * bringeth wars to naught, * hath shaken horse and rider in the Red Sea; * but Israel hath He saved * as they chanted a song of victory.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Full of grace, O Alypius, do thou fill my soul with joy to praise thy life and manner of living, wherein struggling, thou didst fill all the angels with gladness.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

God consecrated thee like a second Samuel from thy mother’s womb, O blessed Alypius, causing thee, as a divine prophet, to see things to come, O right glorious one.

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

That God might reveal the splendour which thou didst possess in the latter times O venerable one, as one who would struggle well in a manner transcending understanding, He filled the house with divine light when thou wast born.

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

The saying of the honoured prophet hath come to pass; for, lo! the Virgin hath given birth in the flesh unto God, Who fashioned mankind anew who before was crushed by sins and transgressions.

Ode III, Irmos: By Thy command Thou didst establish the earth upon nothing * and suspended it unsupported; * do Thou establish Thy Church on the unshakeable rock of Thy commandments, O Christ, * who alone art good * and the Lover of mankind.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Set like a candle upon the candlestick of lofty activity, O father, with thy splendid virtues thou hast illumined with pious wisdom every soul which approacheth thee with faith, delivering it from the darkness of sin.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Directing the sacred movements of thy mind toward the keeping of the divine commandments of the Spirit, thou wast revealed to be an angel on earth, leading an angelic way of life in the flesh, O God-bearing father Alypius.

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

Thou didst wisely show thyself to be a recluse from the tumults of life, O venerable Alypius, eagerly undertaking the contests of the path of fasting, showing thy heart to be a dwelling-place of the Spirit.

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

O pure Virgin, thou palace of the Word, show my soul to be a habitation of the Spirit, and grant me to drink of the water of the life-creating Wellspring, for I am parched by the burning heat of sin, that I may glorify thee as is meet.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before …”: By the radiance of faith and the light of spiritual activity wast thou truly revealed to be an equal of the angels on earth, O venerable Alypius; and manfully showing the strength of thy mind, thou didst vanquish all the assaults of the passions through fasting. Wherefore, as thou livest even after thy repose, pray that we be saved.

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

Theotokion in Tone IV: O all-immaculate Virgin * who hast given birth to the transcendent God: * do thou unceasingly entreat Him with the incorporeal ones, * that He grant forgiveness of transgressions * and correction of life before the end, * to us who, as is meet, hymn thee with faith and love, ** O thou who alone art all-hymned.

Stavrotheotokion: O most immaculate Virgin, * Mother of Christ God, * a sword pierced thy most holy soul * when thou didst behold thy Son and God * crucified of His own will. * Him do thou never cease to entreat, O blessed one, ** that He grant us the forgiveness of our transgressions.

Ode IV, Irmos: Habbakuk, prophetically apprehending * Thy divine self-emptying, O Christ, * cried out to Thee with trembling: * Thou hast come for the salvation of Thy people; * to save Thine anointed Ones.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Possessed of true love and compassion, steadfast faith and hope, and a guileless manner of life, O father, thou wast a favourite of Christ.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Standing upon thy pillar, unmoved by the assaults of the adversary, thou didst vanquish hordes of demons and wast an immovable foundation for the wavering, O all-blessed one.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Full of divine waters, thou didst bedew souls which were wasting away in the burning heat of grievous sin, O divinely wise and most noetically-rich Alypius.

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

Thou wast shown to be truly dreadful and unapproachable to all the demons, O Alypius, inflicting upon them wounds by thy sacred prayers, driving them far away.

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

Heal thou the sufferings of my soul and illumine my mind and heart, O Lady, who hast given birth unto the supremely good God, Christ the Bestower of light.

Ode V, Irmos: O Thou Who hast clothed Thyself in light as with a garment, * I rise early unto Thee and cry out to Thee: * Enlighten my darkened soul, O Christ, * in that Thou alone art compassionate!

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Placing thyself wholly in the hands of the Almighty, O father, and suffering greatly in thy standing without shelter for many years, through rain and the heat of day, thou didst earnestly endure.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Training thyself in hymnody and prayer, O venerable one, in thy purity of mind thou didst receive the grace of the radiance of the threefold Sun, emitting the brilliant light of healings.

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

Confining thy body to thy pillar, O father, full of light, thou didst permit thyself to pass unhindered to Him Whom thou didst desire.

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

Thou hast given birth, O holy Maiden, unto our holy God, Who, in His tender compassion, became a man and sanctified those who hallow Him with faith and fear.

Ode VI, Irmos: Calm the raging sea of the passions, * O Master Christ, * with its soul-destroying tempest, * and lead me up from corruption * in that Thou art compassionate.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

The spirits of wickedness, openly smiting with stones, thee who stood on the pillar like a steadfast stone, were in no wise able to shake thee.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

With patience didst thou endure for the Lord, Who gaveth thee true patience and delivered thee from all difficulties.

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

Most gloriously was a light seen above thy pillar every day, illumining thy spiritual senses, O venerable wonderworker.

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

All we who are in sorrow have thee as a mighty consolation, a refuge and a renowned helper, O Theotokos. Save thou thy servants from misfortunes.

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. “As the first-fruits …”: Today the Church doth glorify and hymn thee, O Alypius, * as a cause of virtues and the adornment of fasters. * In accordance with thy name thy supplications grant deliverance from grievous transgressions ** unto those who with love honor thy brave deeds and struggles.

Ikos: Come, ye priests and princes, ye monastics and all ye divinely wise people, let us marvel at the godly life of Alypius, which equalled that of the angels, and let us emulate his deeds, that by his prayers we may be deemed worthy of his portion, O ye who love the feasts of the Church; for he happily chanteth a heavenly hymn unto God in accordance with his name.

Ode VII, Irmos: The supremely exalted Lord of our fathers * quenched the flame, * and bedewed the Youths * as they chanted in harmony: * O God, blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

The most patient and mighty Alypius, vexed by winter for many years, was most gloriously warmed by the fervour of the Spirit.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Possessed of a way of life which led thee toward the heights of heaven, thou didst disdain the body as something which was destined for corruption; and when it began to putrefy, thou didst pay no heed to thy pain.

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

Spurning all love of pleasure, O father, thou didst suffer, contending against winter and the heat of day, chanting whilst exposed to the elements: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

The Unapproachable One received noetic and animate flesh from thee, O Ever-virgin, that He might save those who chant: O God, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Irmos: Unto Thee the Fashioner of all, * the children in the furnace chanted a hymn: * All ye works of the Lord, * supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Thou wast revealed to be like a new Samuel, O father Alypius, foreseeing the future with purity of mind and foretelling to all, as a prophet of God, the things revealed to thee by the Lord.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Let Alypius, the favourite of Christ, be honoured, the luminous pillar of the Church, the immovable bulwark, the indestructible rampart of all those who believe in God.

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

Thou didst sleep well the needful sleep of the just, O father, having first lulled to sleep the multifarious passions by prayers and vigils. Wherefore, we have become rich, having thee now as an ever-vigilant intercessor.

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

Thine Offspring hath now rendered fruitless the sin engendered by the malice of the serpent, O only Virgin, who hast abolished the curse. Wherefore, we honor thee throughout all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: O Isaiah, rejoice and be glad! * The Virgin hath conceived in her womb, * and hath borne a Son, Emmanuel, * who is both God and man; * and Orient is His name; * Him we magnify, and the Virgin we call blessed.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

From earliest infancy thy sacred life was revealed to Christ, shining with the light of the virtues, O blessed one; and thy death was precious in the sight of God, O father Alypius, instructor of monastics.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Like a most radiant beacon, thou dost illumine the whole earth, driving away the wicked passions, dispelling the darkness of sin, and enlightening those who hymn thee with the divine splendours of healings.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Contending most diligently like a spiritual athlete, O wise father, thou didst unflaggingly make thy stand upon thy pillar for fifty-three years, vexed by winter, frost and the heat of day.

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

Thy holy commemoration sanctifieth by the Holy Spirit us who keep it in a sacred manner and hymn thee thereon with faith, O wise father, as the helper and intercessor of our souls.

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

Do thou grant unto me enlightenment, for I languish in the darkness of the passions, and am wretched and sinful; deliver me from my wicked deeds and from the flame which lieth before me, O most pure Lady, who ever intercedest for those who hymn thee.

Troparion, in Tone I: Thou wast a pillar of endurance, O venerable one, * emulating the forefathers: * Job in sufferings and Joseph in temptations, * and the life of the incorporeal ones while yet in thy body. * O Alypius, our father, ** entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.