News from Parish Life

Dear brothers and sisters, 

This is a week of significant celebrations in the life of the Church, having been the feast of the Burial of St Alexander Nevsky on Monday, the Great-Martyr Katherine yesterday, the Leave-Taking of the feast of the Entry of the Mother of God today, and the feast of the Novgorod and Kursk Icons of the Theotokos on Friday. 

I particularly hope that our parishioners are taking special notice of the commemorations and feasts on their Advent journey, so that the saints are our companions as we make the spiritual journey to the Lord’s Nativity. 

These feasts are all way-side markers, and the lives of the saints and sacred events celebrated point the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

We journey through this week, having been buoyed and filled with joy by the celebrations of the past weekend, and what a wonderful and grace-filled weekend it was. 

Saturday – the feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple – saw our student Elliot enter the icy waters of the River Ewenny, in which he was baptised and named in honour of the Holy Hierarch Aldhelm of Sherborne, in his native Dorset.  

The newly-enlightened Aldhelm emerged from the river shivering but smiling radiantly, and the late afternoon sun offered a little warmth during his chrismation and tonsure.  

The parishioners from our local ROCOR and Romanian parishes who gathered to support him and welcome him into the Church were filled with great joy and heartily sang ‘mnogaya leta’ before heading for a hot meal to celebrate the feast, to warm up, and to spend time together. 

Sunday began with Aldhelm’s churching before the Hours and a well-attended Liturgy, with his baptism, first-communion, and his excellent chanting of the Thanksgiving Prayers bringing a very special joy to our service.

We pray for God’s blessing on our newly-enlightened brother, that the Lord may grant him many years! 

Later this week, on Friday, we will chant an Advent Moleben before a seasonal reflection in the parish hall at St Mary Butetown, in Greek Church Street, our theme being ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ 

We will gather at 19:00 and expect that the prayers and Advent reflection will last around an hour, with time for refreshments and a chat. We are extremely grateful to Father Dean for his characteristic warmth and hospitality. I would appreciate a quick email or text from those joining us and look forward to our slightly delayed first Advent gathering. Email: otetzmark@hotmail.com

On a similar note, may I ask that those confessing on Saturday and Sunday also get in touch with us. We will be stopping off at Deacon Mark’s office on the way home from our Cheltenham Liturgy on Saturday and will look to begin confessions at 16:00. Please email me by Thursday night, as Friday will be a busy day and I will need to make arrangements for confessions before heading to Cardiff in the late-morning. 

In Cheltenham, on Saturday, confessions will be heard from our arrival at 09:15, and we will begin the Hours as close to 10:00 as possible, knowing that there are always lots for confession and communions, which is wonderful, given the recent schismatic-assault against our Gloucestershire community.  

Back in Cardiff on Sunday, the Hours and Liturgy will be at the usual time of 11:00, and I must remind parishioners that confessions are BEFORE the Hours, whilst Deacon Mark directs the setting up of the church. Confessions begin at 10:15. 

A bring-and-share lunch will follow both of our Liturgies, with the typicon allowing us fish, wine and oil.  

I would like to give advance notice that there will be a baptism at 14:00, on Sunday 19th December, and parishioners will need to be mindful of this with regard to post-Liturgy refreshments and food.

May God bless you, and give you good strength, and thank you all for your support over the last few weeks – especially to our ‘baptismal-team’!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

 

The Advent Journey With the Saints: The Holy Hieromartyrs Clement and Peter

Wednesday, November 25 / December 8: Leavetaking of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. The Holy Hieromartyrs Clement of Rome and Peter of Alexandria.

The Hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome, was born at Rome into a rich and illustrious family. Separated from his parents from childhood by force of circumstances, Clement was raised by strangers. Living in Rome, the youth received a fine education, he was surrounded by luxury, and had access to the imperial court. But these comforts brought him no joy, and pagan wisdom failed to attract him. He began to ponder the meaning of life.

When the news of Christ and His teaching began to reach the capital, Saint Clement left his home and estate and went to the lands where the Apostles were preaching. At Alexandria Saint Clement met the holy Apostle Barnabas, listening to his words with deep attention, and perceiving the power and truth of the Word of God. Arriving in Palestine, Saint Clement was baptized by the holy Apostle Peter and became his zealous disciple and constant companion, sharing his toil and sufferings with him. Shortly before his own sufferings and death, Saint Peter consecrated Saint Clement as Bishop of Rome. After the death of the Apostle Peter, Saint Linus (67-79) was the next Bishop of Rome, succeeded by Saint Anacletus (79-91), and then Saint Clement (92-101).

The virtuous life, charitable works and prayerful activity of Saint Clement converted many to Christ. He once baptized 424 people on the day of Pascha. Among the baptized were people of all social classes: slaves, officials, and even members of the imperial family.

The pagans, seeing the success of his apostolic preaching, denounced Saint Clement to the emperor Trajan (98-117), accusing the saint of insulting the pagan gods. The emperor banished Saint Clement from the capital, sending him to the Crimea, to work at a stone quarry near the city of Cherson. Many of the saint’s disciples followed after him voluntarily, preferring to go into exile rather than live without their spiritual Father.

When he arrived at the place of exile, Saint Clement found many Christian believers there, sentenced to labor under harsh conditions amidst a scarcity of water. He prayed together with the condemned, and the Lord appeared to him in the form of a lamb and revealed the location of a spring, from which gushed forth a veritable river of water. This miracle attracted a multitude of people to Saint Clement. Hearing the zealous preacher, hundreds of pagans were converted to Christ. Each day 500 or more men were baptized. And there in the stone quarry, a church was built, in which he served as priest.

The apostolic activity of the saint aroused the wrath of the emperor Trajan, and he ordered that Saint Clement be drowned. They threw the martyr into the sea with an anchor tied to his neck. This occurred in the year 101.

The saint’s faithful disciples Cornelius and Fibius asked the people to pray that the Lord would permit them to see the martyr’s body. The sea drew back a distance of three miles from the shore and the people walked out on the seabed until they found a marble cave shaped like a church. There they found the incorrupt body of their archpastor in this “Angelic Church” formed by God. After this, each year on the anniversary of Saint Clement’s martyric death the sea receded, and for seven days Christians were able to venerate his holy relics.

During the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus (802-811), by divine providence, the sea failed to withdraw, and the relics of Saint Clement became inaccessible for fifty years. In the time of the emperor Michael and his mother Theodora (855-867), Saints Cyril and Methodius visited Cherson. When they learned of the concealed relics of Saint Clement, they asked Bishop George of Cherson to pray that the Lord would show them the relics of the hieromartyr.

Saints Cyril and Methodius walked along the shore in procession with the clergy who came with them from Constantinople. Through the fervent prayers of everyone gathered there, the holy relics of Saint Clement miraculously appeared on the surface of the sea at midnight. They solemnly took them to the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople. A portion of the relics were then brought to Rome by Saints Cyril and Methodius, but a large portion of the relics was later brought to Kiev by the holy Prince Vladimir (July 15) and placed in the Desyatin-Tithe church, together with the relics of Saint Fibius, where a chapel dedicated to Saint Clement had been built. The hieromartyr Clement is widely venerated in Russia. From ancient times, many churches have been dedicated to him.

Saint Clement, who belongs to the Apostolic Fathers, has left to us a spiritual legacy (two Epistles to the Corinthians) the first written examples of Christian teaching after the writings of the holy Apostles.

The Holy Hieromartyr Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria, was born and raised at Alexandria. He was a highly educated man, and was head of the school of Alexandria. In the year 300 he became the archpastor of the Alexandrian Church, succeeding his teacher and spiritual guide, the holy Bishop Theonas.
Forced into exile from the city during the anti-Christian persecutions under the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, Saint Peter traveled through many lands, encouraging his flock by letter. Again returned to his city, in order to guide the Alexandrian Church personally during this dangerous period. The saint secretly visited Christians locked up in prison, encouraging them to be steadfast in faith, assisting the widows and orphans, preaching the Word of God, constantly praying and officiating at the divine services. And the Lord kept him safe from the hands of the persecutors.

During this time of unrest the iniquitous heretic Arius, who denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, sowed the tares of his impious teaching. When Arius refused to be corrected and submit to the truth, Saint Peter anathematized the heretic and excommunicated him from the Church. Arius then sent two of Saint Peter’s priests to beg the saint to lift the excommunication from him, pretending that he had repented and given up his false teachings. This was not true, for Arius hoped to succeed Saint Peter as Archbishop of Alexandria. Saint Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, saw through the wickedness and deceit of Arius, and so he instructed his flock not to believe Arius nor to accept him into communion.

Under the wise nurturing of Saint Peter the Church of Alexandria strengthened and grew in spite of the persecutions. But finally, on orders from the emperor Maximian (305-311), the saint was arrested and sentenced to death. A multitude of people gathered at the entrance of the prison, expressing their outrage. Wanting to avoid bloodshed and a riot by the people, the saint sent a message to the authorities, in which he suggested that they make an opening in the back wall of the prison, so that he might be taken away secretly to execution.

In the dark of the night Saint Peter went with the executioners, who took him beyond the city walls and beheaded him at the same spot where formerly Saint Mark had been executed. That night a certain pious virgin heard a Voice from heaven saying, “Peter was first among the Apostles; Peter is the last of the Alexandrian Martyrs.” This took place in the year 311. In the morning, when people learned of the death of their bishop, a crowd gathered at the place of execution. They took up the body and head of the martyr and went to the church, dressing him in his bishop’s vestments, they sat him in his throne at the high place in the altar. During his life Saint Peter never sat on it, but sat on a footstool instead. The saint once explained that whenever he approached his throne he beheld a heavenly light shining on it, and he sensed the presence of a divine power. Therefore, he didn’t dare to sit there.

The Lord Jesus Christ once appeared to Saint Peter as a twelve-year-old child wearing a robe that was torn from top to bottom. Saint Peter asked the Savior who had torn his garment, and He replied, “That madman Arius has torn it by dividing the people whom I have redeemed by My blood. Do not receive him into Communion with the Church, for he has worked evil against Me and My flock.”

Saint Peter, a great champion of Orthodoxy, is known also as a profound theologian. Passages from his book, “On the Divinity (of Jesus Christ)”, were consulted at the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. Of all his works, the most widely known and highly esteemed by the Church are his “Penitential Canons”.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the feast and two canons of the saints.

Canon of the Theotokos, the composition of Basil, in Tone I:

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let us hasten today, honouring the Theotokos with hymns, and let us celebrate a spiritual feast; for she is offered as a gift to God in the temple.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With songs let us hymn the glorious arrival of the Theotokos; for today, as the prophets foretold, she is borne as a gift of great price into the temple, though she is herself the temple of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The blameless Anna rejoiced, maternally bringing a gift of great price to God in the temple; and with her Joachim keepeth splendid festival.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Of old, David, thine ancestor, hymned thee, O Virgin Bride of God, calling thee the daughter of Christ the King; and, having given birth to Him, as a Mother thou didst feed Him with milk as a babe.

Canon of Hieromartyr Clement, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VIII:

Irmos: Having passed through the water as upon dry land, * and having escaped the malice of the Egyptians, * the Israelites cried aloud: * Unto our God and Redeemer let us sing.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Having been taught by the godly Peter, preeminent among the apostles, and acquired divine understanding from him, O father, thou didst denounce the delusion of idolatry.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Christ setteth thee forth on earth as a divinely planted vine, the virtuous fruits of pious doctrines, a truly flourishing vineyard.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

The sound of thy divine precepts hath truly passed over all the ends of the earth, O wise Clement, enlightening all to theologize concerning the Trinity, the Godhead in unity.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Behold, the prophets’ predictions concerning thee have truly been fulfilled! For, having seedlessly conceived the Word, O Birthgiver of God, thou hast given birth to Him in the flesh.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, the acrostic whereof is: “I praise the thrice-rich Peter”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VIII:

Irmos: Let us sing unto the Lord, * who led His people through the Red Sea: * for He alone hath gloriously been glorified.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

As thou hast thy dwelling in the most splendid mansions, O all-blessed Peter, by thy supplications grant me enlightenment.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Having been taught understanding and been adorned with the priesthood, O all-blessed Peter, thou didst offer thyself to Christ in the shedding of thy blood.

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

O blessed one, thou wast given by God to the Church of Christ as an offering of great value, as an elaborate ornament.

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

O most pure Theotokos, we hymn thee, who hast given birth supra-naturally to the Incarnate, everlasting and all-divine Word.

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

Ode III, Canon of the Feast, 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.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye who love the feasts of the Church, let us keep festival and rejoice today together in spirit, and in gladness, on the holy feast of the daughter of the King, the Mother of our God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice today, O Joachim! Be thou glad in spirit, O Anna, leading to the Lord the three-year-old child born from thee, as though she were a pure and most immaculate heifer.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Mary, the Theotokos, the habitation of God, is led into the holy temple, being three years of age in the flesh; and, going before her, virgins bear lighted lamps.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The pure ewe-lamb of God, the undefiled turtle-dove, the tabernacle containing God, the sanctuary of glory, hath chosen to dwell within the holy tabernacle.

Canon of Hieromartyr Clement, Irmos: Thy fear, O Lord, do Thou plant * in the hearts of Thy servants * and be Thou the confirmation of us * who in truth call upon Thee.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Richly, O wise one, was the grace of the Spirit poured forth through thy lips, whereby thou hast enlightened all by thy divine teachings, leading them to Christ.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

With the fire of abstinence thou didst utterly consume the fiery assaults of the passions having made thyself a temple of the divine Spirit, O father of valiant mind.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Having ascended the mountain of divine virtues and been covered by noetic darkness thou didst perceive the ineffable effulgence of the Spirit in thy pure soul.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure one, thou didst ineffably conceive the Saviour and Lord, Who hath delivered from evils us who call upon thee in truth.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: There is none as holy as the Lord, * and none as righteous as our God,* Whom the whole of creation doth hymn: * There is none more righteous than Thee, O Lord.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thou didst ascend to the heavens, riding thy blood as it were a chariot, O most wise one, where Christ, our Forerunner, Who alone is sinless, hath entered.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thou didst forsake this corruptible life and find immortal life, O blessed one, where, crowned, thou dost rejoice, praying that our souls be saved.

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

Thou didst flourish like a most fruitful palm-tree; and wast revealed to be like a fertile olive-tree in the courts of the Lord, O divinely inspired one, who art like myrrh, frankincense and sweetly fragrant ointment.

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

We all hymn the holy Virgin, as the door of salvation, the beauteous garden, the cloud of the everlasting Light, saying to her: Rejoice!

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

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

Kontakion of the Hieromartyrs, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Thou hast appeared today …”: O ye divine and immovable towers of the Church, * truly strong and divine pillars of piety, * O all-praised Clement and Peter: * by your supplications ** preserve us all.

Sessional Hymn of Hieromartyr Clement, in the same tone & melody: Having shone forth like the radiance of the sun, O venerable Clement, divinely eloquent light-bearer, boast of martyrs, thou dost radiantly shine upon the whole world with thy teachings.

Glory …, Sessional Hymn of Hieromartyr Peter, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Thou didst lead the flock given thee by Christ, the Most-High Judge, and didst tend it in the meadows of proper living with thine all-wise dogmas, driving away Arius, as a savage wolf, who had come among them with ungodly teachings, wherefore, having laid down thy life for them, thou didst earn the name shepherd, as saith the Lord. O blessed hierarch Peter, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins to those who honour thy holy memory with love.

Now & ever …, Sessional Hymn of the feast, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Joseph marvelled …”: With gladness Mary, the Theotokos, is most gloriously brought into the house of God: the unblemished ewe-lamb, the undefiled bridal-chamber, whom the angels of God, escort with faith and all the faithful ever call blessed and hymn her unceasingly with a loud voice in thanksgiving: Thou art our glory and salvation, O most immaculate one!

Ode IV, Canon of the Feast, 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!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Prophet Isaiah, prophesy unto us: Who is the Virgin Who will conceive in her womb, who springing forth from the root of Judah, and who shall give birth to the right glorious Fruit of the holy seed of King David?

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O virgins, commence ye to chant hymns, holding candles in your hands, and praising the arrival of the pure Theotokos who now cometh to the temple of God, celebrating with us!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice now, O Joachim and Anna, leading into the temple of the Lord, like a heifer three years of age, the pure one born from you, who will become the Mother of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As the holy of holies, O pure one, thou didst love to dwell in the holy temple, remaining there and conversing most gloriously with the angels, receiving bread from heaven, O Virgin, thou nourisher of Life.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Having arrived in the East from the West, O blessed one, thou didst join the Apostle Peter, and, illumined by his divine effulgence and teachings, thou didst pass over all the lands of the West, announcing with him the word of salvation.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Thou wast another Moses, O Clement, for, setting forth the laws of God for all and writing down sacred teachings, thou hast ordered all the fullness of the Church. Wherefore, having thee as our legislator and teacher, we all honour thee with faith.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Having washed away all the sweat of ascetic endeavour, O blessed one, thou wast revealed to be a pious hierarch, leading all by thy divine proclamations to the faith of Christ; and having suffered lawfully, thou didst fittingly plait a wreath, O ever-memorable one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

We have acquired thee, with God, as our helper; for thou wast the Mother of God, the Creator and Fashioner, Who took upon Himself our image and saved it from corruption and death, and glorified it with divine glory, O all-immaculate one.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: From the overshadowed mountain, * from the only Theotokos, * the Prophet in divine vision * foresaw Thy coming in the flesh, O Word, * and with fear he glorified Thy power.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Having trod the path of the virtues, O God-bearing father, thou didst attain to the mansions on high, adorned with the anointing of the priesthood and resplendent with the blood of martyrdom.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

With the outpourings of the torrents of thy blood, O blessed one, thou didst quench the furnace of deception, destroying the darkness of the persecutors, O right glorious Hieromartyr.

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

Thou hast been revealed to us to be like a new Peter, truly shining with apostolic gifts, a performer of sacred mysteries and a witness to the sufferings of thy Master, O thou who art most noetically rich.

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

Having given birth to the Fulfilment of all good things, O Virgin, fulfil thou our petitions, asking for us deliverance from sins, enlightenment and great mercy.

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

Ode V, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: Shine forth thy radiant and everlasting light * upon us who rise early at dawn, * unto the judgments of Thy commandments, * O Master, Lover of mankind, * Christ our God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O all ye Orthodox, let us take up lamps, hastening to glorify the Mother of God, for she is led to the Lord today as a right acceptable sacrifice.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let thine ancestors be glad today, O Lady; and let her who gave birth to thee rejoice with thy father, for their fruit is offered to the Lord.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Celebrating with faith, let us all hymn the unblemished heifer, most glorious and of great renown, for she gave birth to the divine Bullock in the flesh.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The divine tokens of thy betrothal, of thy birthgiving which passeth understanding, O pure Virgin; are recorded today by the Holy Spirit in the house of God.

Canon of Hieromartyr Clement, Irmos: Illumine us O Lord with Thy commandments, * and with Thine arm raised on high * grant us Thy peace, * O Lover of mankind!

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Walking in the light of the Lord’s commandments, O blessed one, thou wast verily revealed to be His true child.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Thou didst renounce all passionate attachments on earth, O hierarch, that thou mightest receive the goodly fame which is to come and the splendor of the glory of Christ.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Adorned with the splendors of the martyrs, thou dost now stand with the angels before the Master. Pray thou for those who hymn thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Virgin Mother of God, by thy supplications deliver from misfortunes those who hymn thee with faith, for we know thee to be our intercessor,
O pure one.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: Rising early we cry to Thee, O Lord; * save us, for Thou art our God, * and we know none other besides Thee.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Having ascended the rock of faith, O spiritual athlete, thou didst remain unshaken amid temptation by the adversary.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

With the flaming sword of the Holy Spirit, O hierarch, by divine judgment thou didst slay Arius the blasphemer.

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

Strengthened by the might of the Saviour, O glorious one, thou didst trample down the power and might of the enemy.

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

We hymn thee, as Virgin after giving birth, O Theotokos, who for the sake of the world thou hast given birth in the flesh unto God the Word.

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

Ode VI, Canon of the Feast, 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!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye faithful, let us celebrate the spiritual feast of the Mother of God, chanting piously; for she is more holy than the heavenly intelligences.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With spiritual hymns let us praise the Mother of the Light, O ye faithful, for she hath appeared to us today, going forth into the temple of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The unblemished ewe-lamb, the pure turtle-dove, is brought to dwell in the house of God, for, as one all-immaculate, she was chosen beforehand to be the Mother of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The temple of God, the heavenly tabernacle, maketh entry into the temple of the law, and from her hath the Light shone forth upon us who are in darkness.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Afire with zeal for the love of the Lord, O wise one, thou didst mightily denounce the delusion of idolatry with thy discourse directed against it and with miraculous manifestations, O all-praised one.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Thou didst preserve the eye of thy heart from slumber, in nowise falling into the sleep of evil, ascending to the preeminent one with the divine ascents of the virtues.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

As an honoured hierarch who received the authority to bind and loose sins from Christ the Saviour, lift thou the debt of my manifold transgressions, and lead me to repentance.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

By thy prayers, O pure one, rescue me from misfortunes and cruel perils, and de1iver me, I pray; for thou art an impregnable rampart, a haven and wall of protection, and an unassailable bulwark.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: O Thou that puttest on light as a garment * grant me also a robe of light, * O All-merciful Christ, our God.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Having lived for God in chastity and righteousness, O all-blessed Peter, thou didst receive from Him a blessed end.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

O wondrous Peter, thou didst offer thyself as a most perfect and acceptable sacrifice unto God Who became a sacrifice for thy sake.

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

Full of spiritual discourse, thou wast an instrument played by the Spirit, giving rise to ineffable music, O divinely eloquent one.

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

O thou who at the word of the angel alone hast given birth to the Word in the flesh, we pray thee to deliver our souls from the snares of the enemy.

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

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

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

Kontakion of the feast, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: The most pure temple of the Saviour, * the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, * the sacred treasury of the glory of God, * hath been brought into the house of the Lord this day, * bringing with her the grace that is in the divine Spirit. * To her do the angels of God chant the hymn: ** She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ikos: Beholding the grace of the ineffable and divine mysteries of God made plainly manifest in and filling the Virgin, I rejoice; yet I know not how to understand this strange and ineffable image. How hath the pure one alone been shown to be above all creation, visible and immaterial? Wherefore, wishing to praise her, I am greatly in awe in mind and word; yet, bold, I proclaim and magnify her, saying: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ode VII, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: The furnace became bedewed, O Saviour, * and the children dancing, chanted: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye who love the feasts of the Church let us join chorus and hymn the pure Lady honouring Joachim and Anna as is meet.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Prophesy, O David, speaking in the Spirit: The virgins who follow after thee shall be brought to thee into the temple of the Queen and Mother.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The ranks of the angels rejoiced and the souls of the righteous were gladdened, for the Mother of God is led into the Holy of holies,

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of Christ God in the flesh, excelled in wisdom and grace.

Canon of Hieromartyr Clement, Irmos: In Babylon, the pious youths did not worship the golden image, * but, bedewed in the midst of the fiery furnace, * they chanted a hymn, saying: * O supremely exalted God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Thou didst shine forth like the dawn, illumining all the ends of the earth and driving away the most deceitful night of the delusion of idolatry, O divinely eloquent one, crying: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Desiring to save all by thy supplications, God bestowed clear sight upon Sisinnius, opening the eyes of both his soul and body, O father; and thereafter he found enlightenment in the divine font.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Thou dost pour forth streams of healings from thy divine shrine, O glorious Clement, ever delivering from many sufferings those who have recourse to thee and chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

It was fitting that He Who became incarnate from thee without seed issue forth, O most pure Virgin; for thou hast given rise to thy Son in a manner greater than all others, O pure one. Wherefore, we unceasingly cry aloud: Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb!

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: In Babylon, the pious youths did not worship the golden image, * but, bedewed in the midst of the fiery furnace, * they chanted a hymn, saying: * O supremely exalted God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Adorned with a godly life and illumined with divine light, O wise one, thou didst enter into the impassable precincts of heaven, making thine abode there, and crying out to the Creator: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

That thou mightest please Christ God most splendidly, O most noetically rich and divinely blessed one, thou didst willingly give thyself over to the hands of the iniquitous, chanting: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Wholly illumined, thou wast deemed worthy to behold Christ Who showed thee His own robe, woven from on high, which was cruelly rent, O venerable one, and thou didst cry: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

In that thou art wholly pure, thou didst receive the incarnate Word within thy womb; do thou entreat Him, that He cleanse my soul and body of transgressions, O most pure one, for I run to thee with pure faith.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Joachim rejoiceth today in splendour, and the blameless Anna offereth to the Lord God a sacrifice: the holy daughter given her according to God’s promise.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The holy David and Jesse render praise, and Judah offereth homage; for the pure Virgin, of whom the pre-eternal God was born, grew forth as fruit from their root.

The most pure Mary, the animate tabernacle, is brought today into the house of God; and Zachariah taketh her in his arms as the sanctified treasure of the Lord.

O ye faithful, let us truly honour the Virgin Mother of God, who is blessed by the hands of the priests, as the portal of salvation, the noetic mountain and the animate ladder.

Canon of Hieromartyr Clement, Irmos: The instruments of music sounded out in harmony, * and countless multitudes worshipped the image in Dura; * but the three Children, refusing to bow in obeisance, * hymn and glorify the Lord throughout all ages.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

As a disciple of Peter, thou didst emulate his divine character, O spiritual athlete Clement; wherefore, thou wast truly shown to be the inheritor of his cathedra, illumining all creation.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Having mystically reddened thy lips with the cup of wisdom, O Clement, thou didst cause the abyss of divine teachings to overflow, drowning the fear wrought by the demons and pouring forth salvation upon men’s souls.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

The Church, having acquired thy divine statutes as a most precious ornament, boasteth in thee and moveth all to honour thy memory with faith throughout all ages.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Mary, Virgin Theotokos, who for our sake hast given birth to God the Saviour in the flesh: Save those who hymn thy birthgiving with faith and supremely exalt thee throughout all ages.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: Glorified in the holy mountain, * the Lord revealed the mystery of the Ever-Virgin unto Moses * in the flames of the burning bush: * praise ye and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thou didst suppress the ripe perniciousness of the most evil blasphemy of Arius, cutting him off from the company of the faithful and driving him from the fold of the Church, O divinely wise one.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Peter was revealed to be a leader, and divine primate of the choir of the apostles, and thou wast revealed to be a pillar of the martyrs, O all-wise God-bearer Peter, and a sacred performer of the divine mysteries.

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

Having been taught the understanding of things to come through divine revelation, O thou of godly eloquence, and having perceived thy departure from the earth through martyrdom, thou didst pass over to the highest, unto Christ, the Lord of glory throughout all ages.

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

The Lord Who dwelt in the Virgin’s womb and in an awesome manner surpassing all understanding issued forth from her and restored ancient Adam, hymn ye and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

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

At Ode IX the Magnificat is not chanted, but we chant the refrain of the feast:

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

Ode IX, Canon of the Feast, 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.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

The divine maiden Mary, the fruit of the promise, issued forth from the righteous Joachim and Anna, and, a babe in the flesh, she is brought into the holy sanctuary like pleasing incense, to dwell in the Holy of holies.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

With hymns let us praise her who was a babe by nature and was supernaturally revealed as the Mother of God; for she is led unto the Lord in the temple of the law, as the fragrance of sweet savor for the righteous, as the spiritual fruit of her righteous parents.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, the dominion of the indivisible Godhead in three Hypostases.

Triadicon: Let us glorify the indivisible Trinity, the one Essence in three Hypostases, the undivided glory, Who, in a single Godhead, is unceasingly hymned in heaven and on earth, piously worshiping the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, the most pure Theotokos, who is more honourable and more glorious than the armies on high.

O Virgin Birthgiver of God, pray thou, that we who flee with faith beneath thy compassion and piously worship thy Son as God and Lord of the world be delivered from corruption, misfortunes and all manner of temptations.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Having finished thy race with many struggles and kept the Faith of Christ without wavering, thou hast been adorned with the crown of righteousness.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

As of old thou didst save the boy overtaken by the sea at the time of thine annual procession, O martyr of Christ, so also save me from the abyss of sin.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

O spiritual athlete Clement, from perils, misfortunes and sorrows save those who honour thee with love, entreating Christ the Creator.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Fill my heart with joy, O Virgin who received the Fullness of joy, wiping away the grief of sin.

Canon of Hieromartyr Peter, Irmos: The prophetic vision of the lawgiver on the mountain, * in the fire of the burning bush, * prefigured thy birthgiving O Ever-Virgin, * the salvation of us the faithful, * wherefore with never silent hymns we magnify thee.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Let us hymn the wondrous Peter who was appointed beforehand to serve in sanctity as a hierarch, who right gloriously received the crown of the priesthood and emulated the suffering of Christ.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Let us hymn the God-bearing Peter, who was strengthened by the staff of the power of the Lord, who was made a priest and served as a priest, and who offered himself to Christ as a sacrifice.

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

Let us hymn the God-pleasing Peter, who was permeated with the effulgence of the Trinity, having found delight in the most splendid radiance thereof and asketh for salvation on our behalf.

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

Thou givest salvation abundantly to my soul, for as primate thou hast the authority to loose and bind transgressions through thine entreaties, O most sacred one.

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

Thou art our sword and rampart, O Theotokos, thou art the help of those who have recourse to thee, and we now prompt thee to make supplications, that we may be delivered from our enemies.

Troparion of the hieromartyrs, in Tone IV: O God of our fathers, * ever deal with us according to Thy meekness. * Take not Thy mercy from us, * but by the prayers of these saints ** direct our life in peace.

Glory …, Now & ever …, Troparion of the feast, in the same tone: Today is the prelude of God’s good will * and the proclamation of the salvation of mankind. * The Virgin hath manifestly appeared in the temple of God, * proclaiming Christ unto all. * To her let us cry aloud: * Rejoice, O thou fulfillment ** of the Creator’s dispensation!

Nameday Greetings

We congratulate our parishioner and parish-trustee Karen on the feast of her her heavenly patroness, the Holy Great-Martyr Katherine of Alexandria.

Thanking her for all that she does for us, and for for her constant enthusiasm, dedication and support, we wish Karen a happy nameday, praying that the Lord grant her many, blessed years!

Многая и Благая лѣта!

We look forward to serving a litia to the Holy Great-Martyr Katherine, this coming Sunday, when we will be praying for the Monastery of St Katherine and the ancient and venerable Church of Sinai.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Holy Great-Martyrs Katherine and Mercurius

Tuesday November 24/ December 7: the Holy Great-Martyrs Katherine of Alexandria and Mercurius of Caesarea, in Cappadocia

he Holy Great Martyr Katherine was the daughter of Konstos, the governor of Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Emperor Maximian (305-313). Living in the capital, the center of Hellenistic knowledge, and possessed of a rare beauty and intellect, Katherine received an excellent education, studying the works of the greatest philosophers and teachers of antiquity. Young men from the most worthy families of the empire sought the hand of the beautiful Katherine, but she was not interested in any of them. She told her parents that she would enter into marriage only with someone who surpassed her in nobility, wealth, comeliness and wisdom.

Katherine’s mother, a secret Christian, sent her to her own Spiritual Father, a saintly Elder living in a cave outside the city, for advice. After listening to Katherine, the Elder said that he knew of someone who surpassed her in everything. “His countenance is more radiant than the shining of the sun, and all of creation is governed by His wisdom. His riches are given to all the nations of the world, yet they never diminish. His compassion is unequaled.”

This description of the Heavenly Bridegroom produced an ardent desire in the soul of the holy maiden to see Him. “If you do as I tell you,” said the monk, “you will gaze upon the countenance of this illustrious man.” In parting, the Elder gave Katherine an icon of the Theotokos with the Divine Child on Her arm and told her to pray with faith to the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of the Heavenly Bridegroom, and she would hear Katherine and grant her heart’s desire.

Katherine prayed all night and was permitted to see the Most Holy Virgin, Who said to her Divine Son, “Behold Thy handmaiden Katherine, how fair and virtuous she is.” But the Child turned His face away from her saying, “No, she is ugly and unbelieving. She is a foolish pauper, and I cannot bear to look at her until she forsakes her impiety.”

Katherine returned again to the Elder deeply saddened, and told him what she had seen in the dream. He received her, instructed her in the faith of Christ, admonished her to preserve her purity and integrity and to pray unceasingly. She then received the Mystery of Holy Baptism from him. Again Saint Katherine had a vision of the Most Holy Theotokos with her Child. Now the Lord looked at her tenderly and gave her a beautiful ring, a wondrous token of her betrothal to the Heavenly Bridegroom (this ring is still on her hand).

At that time Emperor Maximian was in Alexandria for a pagan festival. Therefore, the celebration was especially splendid and crowded. The cries of the sacrificial animals, the smoke and the smell of the sacrifices, the endless blaze of fires, and the bustling crowds at the arenas defiled the city of Alexandria. Human victims also were brought, the confessors of Christ, who would not deny Him under torture. They were condemned to death in the fire.

Katherine’s love for the Christian martyrs, and her fervent desire to ease their sufferings, compelled her to speak to the pagan priest and to Emperor Maximian.

Introducing herself, the Saint confessed her faith in the One True God, and exposed the errors of the pagans. The beauty of the maiden captivated the Emperor. In order to convince her of the superiority of pagan wisdom, the Emperor ordered fifty of the most learned philosophers and rhetoricians of the Empire to dispute with her, but the Saint got the better of the wise men, so that they came to believe in Christ themselves. Saint Katherine made the Sign of the Cross over the martyrs, and they bravely accepted death for Christ and were burnt alive by order of the Emperor.

Unable to persuade the Saint, Maximian tried to entice her with the promise of riches and fame. Hearing her angry refusal, the Emperor ordered his men to subject the Saint to terrible tortures, and then throw her in prison. The Empress Augusta, who had heard much about the Saint, wanted to see her. She prevailed upon the military commander Porphyrios to accompany her to the prison with a detachment of soldiers. The Empress was impressed by Katherine’s strong spirit, and her face was radiant with divine grace. The holy martyr explained the Christian Faith to them, and they were converted to Christ.

On the following day, they again brought the martyr to the judgment court where, under the threat of being broken on the wheel, she was urged to renounce the Christian Faith and to offer sacrifice to the “gods.” The Saint steadfastly confessed Christ and she was taken to be tortured on four wheels with sharp iron spikes, but an Angel smashed the instruments of execution, which shattered into pieces with many pagans standing nearby.

After seeing this miracle, the Empress Augusta and the imperial courtier Porphyrios and 200 soldiers confessed their faith in Christ before everyone, and they were beheaded. Maximian tried again to entice the holy martyr, offering to marry her, and again he was refused. Saint Katherine remained faithful to her heavenly Bridegroom Christ, and after praying to Him, she laid her head on the block beneath the executioner’s sword.

The relics of Saint Katherine were taken by the Angels to Mount Sinai. In the VI century, the venerable head and left hand of the holy martyr were found through a revelation and transferred with honor to the newly-constructed church of the Monastery on Mount Sinai, built by the holy Emperor Justinian (November 14).

Saint Katherine is called upon for relief and assistance during a difficult childbirth. Pilgrims to her monastery on Mount Sinai are given souvenir rings as a remembrance of their visit.

The Holy Great Martyr Mercurius, a Scythian by descent, served as a soldier in the Roman army. The impious emperors Decius (249-251) and Valerian (253-259) issued a decree ordering all Roman citizens to worship the pagan gods, and condemning Christians to torture and death unless they obeyed the decree.

 At that time barbarians attacked the Roman empire, and the emperor Decius went on campaign with a large army. In one of the battles an angel of the Lord appeared to Mercurius in the guise of a nobleman and presented him a sword saying, “Fear not, Mercurius. Go forth bravely against the enemy, and when you are victorious, do not forget the Lord your God.” With this sword the holy warrior cut through the ranks of the barbarians. He also killed their king, winning victory for the Romans. The grateful Emperor Decius rewarded Saint Mercurius for his bravery, and made him commander of the entire army.

 The angel of the Lord appeared again to the holy warrior, who had received great honors and riches, and reminded him by Whom the victory had been given. He also told General Mercurius that he would suffer for Christ, and would receive a crown of victory in His Kingdom. Mercurius recalled that his father Gordian had also confessed the Christian Faith. Although the saint had been baptized, he felt he had not devoted his life to God as his father and grandfather had done. Thus, he was weeping and lamenting when he was summoned before the emperor.

 Decius consulted Mercurius on matters of state, then suggested that they offer sacrifice in the temple of Artemis. Not wishing to do this, the saint returned to his home. He was denounced as a Christian by a nobleman, whose name was Catullus. The emperor would not believe this, however, until he himself had questioned the saint. Openly declaring himself a Christian, Mercurius threw down his military belt and cloak at the emperor’s feet, and he repudiated all the honors he had received. The angel of the Lord again appeared to Saint Mercurius in the prison, encouraging him to endure every suffering for Christ.

 They stretched the holy martyr between four pillars and lit a fire beneath him. They cut his body with knives, and so much blood flowed from his wounds that it extinguished the fire. When they threw him back into the prison nearly dead from his wounds, Saint Mercurius was healed by the Lord, demonstrating the great power of Christ to the impious pagans. Condemned to death, the saint was deemed worthy of a vision of the Lord, Who promised him a quick release from his sufferings. The Great Martyr Mercurius was beheaded at Caesarea in Cappadocia. His holy body emitted a fragrance like myrrh and incense. Many of the sick were healed at his tomb.

 Even after his death the warrior of Christ performed a soldier’s service for the good of the earthly Church. Saint Basil the Great (January 1) once prayed before an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, upon which Saint Mercurius was depicted as a soldier holding a spear. He asked God not to permit the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) to return from his war against the Persians and resume his oppression of Christians. The image of the holy Great Martyr Mercurius, depicted on the icon beside the image of the Most Holy Theotokos, became invisible. It reappeared later with a bloodied spear.

At this very moment Julian the Apostate, on his Persian campaign, was wounded by the spear of an unknown soldier, who immediately disappeared. The mortally wounded Julian, as he lay dying, cried out, “Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!”

 The Most Holy Theotokos, through the prayers of Saint Basil, had sent Saint Mercurius to defend the Christians from the apostate Julian. May we also be preserved from God’s foes, overcoming them through the prayers and assistance of Saint Mercurius.

 

 

Canon I of the Theotokos: The acrostic whereof is: “O Lady, grant me the grace of discourse”, the composition of George, in Tone IV.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure one, we know thee to be a treasury of wisdom and an ever-flowing fountain of grace; and we pray thee rain down upon us knowledge, that we may praise thee forever.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Being a temple and palace more exalted than the heavens, O most pure one, thou wast set apart in the Temple of God to be prepared as a divine dwelling-place for His advent.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Shining with the Light of grace, the Theotokos hath illumined all and assembled us to adorn her most splendid festival. Come ye, let us draw nigh to her!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The glorious portal which surpasseth human thought, having opened the doors of the Temple of God, doth now command us who have assembled to delight in her divine wonders.

Canon to the Great Martyr Katherine, the acrostic whereof is: “With hymns do I hymn the ever-memorable Katherine,” by Theophanes, in Tone VIII:

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

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

Let us hasten today, honoring the Theotokos with hymns, and let us celebrate a spiritual feast; for she is offered as a gift to God in the temple.

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

By the prayers of the all-wise martyr Katherine, O Christ, enlighten Thou the darkened eye of my soul, granting me a ray of thy splendor, O Master, which destroyeth all the gloom of my soul-destroying falls.

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

O all-wise one, guided by the divine commandments of the Master and consumed with love for Him, thou didst hasten to thy struggles rendering the tormentors awestruck with thy knowledge, discourse, wisdom and grace.

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

Directed by the mighty hand of Christ, thou didst escape the tempests of idolatry, O martyr, voyaging dryshod with the sail of the Cross and the divine winds of the Spirit, chanting a hymn unto God.

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

Rejoicing in the beauties of virginity, O wise Katherine, and possessed of divine knowledge from heaven, thou didst right boldly and courageously put to shame the proponents of false knowledge, mightily vanquishing them.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure one, he Who proclaimeth thee to be the Theotokos doth reject every heresy; for thou hast given birth unto the ever-existing Word of God, Who immutably assumed flesh, O Birthgiver of God, who art more exalted than all creation.

Canon to the Great Martyr Mercurius, the acrostic whereof is: “May the might of Mercurius preserve me!” the composition of Joseph the Hymnographer, in Tone VIII.

Irmos: That which had been hewn down divided the undivided, * and land unseen was seen by the sun; * water engulfed the cruel enemy, * and Israel traversed the impassable, chanting a hymn: * Let us sing unto the Lord, * for gloriously hath He been glorified!

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

Standing joyfully before the Wellspring of blessings with the choirs of heaven, O Mercurius, and filled with divine delight, O ever-memorable one, preserve those who with love celebrate thy festival, chanting unto the Lord: Gloriously hath He been glorified!

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

Willingly didst thou enter the arena of torment, O wise one, strengthened with the power of Christ, Who for our sakes willingly endured His saving sufferings; and, rejoicing, thou didst cry aloud: Let us chant unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

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

Adorned with the confession of Christ, O blessed one, thou didst openly revile the words of the tyrant and, with gladness, endured all manner of pain, O Mercurius, crying out to Him Who strengthened thee: Let us chant unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

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

For our sake didst Thou appear incarnate of the Virgin Maiden, becoming a man like unto us; and Thou dost reveal Mercurius, Thy valiant spiritual athlete, to be a faithful witness to Thy sufferings, who chanteth mightily unto Thee: Let us chant unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Ode III, Canon I, Irmos: O Theotokos, thou living and plentiful fount, * establish in spiritual fellowship those who sing hymns of praise * of thine honored entry: * grant them crowns of glory.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving the pure and undefiled one, who is more splendid than all creation, the animate bridal chamber of God, the beautiful Temple and chamber doth appear today like a bride adorned for her wedding.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

David, preceding the chorus, doth leap and dance with us, declaring thee, O allpure one, to be the queen all-adorned, standing in the Temple before our King and God, O most pure one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

From her, whom transgressions issued forth among the race of mankind, hath her correction and incorruption blossomed forth, the Theotokos, who is led today into the house of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The angelic armies and the multitudes of all mankind leap for joy, and they advance as lamp-bearers before thy countenance, proclaiming thy majesty in the house of God.

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

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

Striving voluntarily of thine own will, thou didst go to thy suffering, emulating Christ; and, having radiantly vanquished myriads of the princes of this world, thou wast revealed to be crucified, O God-pleasing Katherine.

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

With strength of mind didst thou denounce the tormentors, who were overwhelmed in the abyss of godlessness, O all-praised martyr, plainly expounding the dogmas of the knowledge of God, illumined with the wisdom of God.

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

He who whispered thoughts of equality with God into the ears of Eve is now trod underfoot by a young maiden; for, defended with the sword of the Cross, the martyr Katherine hath put him to shame, immeasurably glorying over him.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Birthgiver of God, who alone art most pure, raise up my morbid mind through the activity of the Life Who, from thee, manifested Himself to the world, cleansing the wounds and stripes of my sins.

Canon to the Great Martyr Mercurius, Irmos: O Lord, thou art the confirmation of those who flee to Thee, * Thou art the Light of those in darkness, * and my spirit doth hymn Thee.

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

All aflame with divine love, O glorious Mercurius, thou didst regard fire and bonds, the sword and torments to be a dream.

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

Meeting with grievous wounds, thou didst hymn the Creator, O wise martyr, and thereby received healing, O glorious one.

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

Strengthened by the divine staff, O right valorous martyr, like a spiritual athlete thou didst mightily cast down the audacity of the enemy.

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

To prefigure thy birthgiving, which surpasseth understanding, O pure one, a bush appeared, burning with fire, yet unconsumed.

Kontakion of the feast, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Having been lifted up on the Cross …”: The most pure temple of the Savior, * the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, * the sacred treasury of the glory of God, * hath been brought into the house of the Lord this day, * bringing with her the grace that is in the divine Spirit. * To her do the angels of God chant the hymn: ** She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ikos: Beholding the grace of the ineffable and divine mysteries of God made plainly manifest in and filling the Virgin, I rejoice; yet I know not how to understand this strange and ineffable image. How hath the pure one alone been shown to be above all creation, visible and immaterial? Wherefore, wishing to praise her, I am greatly in awe in mind and word; yet, bold, I proclaim and magnify her, saying: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Kontakion of the Great Martyr Mercurius, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast appeared today …”: Glorifying Mercurius with hymns, * let us bless him as an unvanquished warrior in battle, * an unashamed helper amid misfortunes, * and a deliverer from tribulations and sorrows, of those ** who celebrate his memory with gladness.

Sessional Hymn of the Great Martyr Katherine, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Having been lifted up on the Cross …”: Thou didst love Christ thy Bridegroom, radiantly trimming thy lamp and shining forth with virtue, O glorious one. Wherefore, with Him thou hast entered into the bridal chamber, receiving a crown of suffering from Him. From misfortunes do thou deliver us who keep thy memory, O Katherine.

Glory …, the Sessional Hymn of the Great Martyr Mercurius, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Go thou quickly before …”: Struggling, the martyr Mercurius put the deceiver to shame and became a mighty champion of Christ. Therefore, he hath now been numbered among the choirs of heaven, worthily sharing in everlasting glory. Wherefore, we faithfully celebrate his
sacred memory.

Now & ever …, the Sessional Hymn of the feast, in Tone IV: O David, go thou before us into the Temple of God, and, rejoicing, receive thou our Queen, and cry out unto her: Enter thou, O Sovereign Lady! Enter thou into the Temple of the King! Her glory is understood allegorically, for from her doth Christ the Light desire to pour Himself forth upon all!

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Temple of God, receiving today the portal through whom none may pass, hath ceased to perform any service of the Law, crying: Truly truth hath appeared to those who are on earth!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The mountain overshadowed, which Habbakuk beheld of old, prefigured her who hath made her abode in the inaccessible chambers of the Temple, flourishing with virtues, for she doth cover the ends of the earth therewith.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

All the earth hath seen most glorious things, things strange and marvelous, for the Virgin, receiving food from an angel, doth receive tokens of God’s dispensation.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Revealed as the temple and palace and animate heaven, O divine bride of the King, thou art brought today to the Temple of the Law to be kept for Him, O most pure one.

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

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

O ever-memorable martyr Katherine, showing the determination of a spiritual athlete, with great endurance thou didst set thyself against the hostile one, trampling him beneath thy beautiful feet by the power of the Cross, O passion-bearer, thou boast of the martyrs.

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

O all-blessed Katherine, bride of Christ, thou art luminous with the radiant beams of divine beauty, splendid in comeliness. Wherefore, in gladness dost thou chant unto the Master: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

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

Thou didst set at naught the audacity of the tyrant by the godly discourse of thy wisdom, for thou didst rescue from the abyss of the false worship of demons those who were deceived thereby, teaching them to cry aloud to Christ in hymns: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

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

O all-praised one, who hast mightily trampled down the audacity of the enemy, the right glorious and splendid festival of thy memory hath dawned like the sun, and thereon we cry aloud to the Master: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The might of those who reject the veneration of the icons of thee, O pure Maiden, and of Him who, in a manner surpassing understanding, was incarnate of thee and enlightened the whole world, and of all the saints, hath now been cast down. Enlighten those who honor thee with faith, O thou who alone art all-hymned.

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

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

Thou didst make thyself like unto thy Creator, O divinely wise one, by the sufferings of thy divine martyrdom, and from Him hast thou received splendid crowns, in that didst remain unconquered, O glorious one.

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

Thou hast now been arrayed in a garment woven by the grace of the Most High, O martyr, having shed the robe of mortality.

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

Having contended, even to the shedding of thy blood, against sin, thou wast revealed to be victorious and hast been deemed worthy of the glory of the Most High, O Mercurius.

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

O Ever-virgin, the saving Word descended upon thee like a shower drying up the flood of polytheism.

Ode V, Canon I, Irmos: All creation stands in awe of thy divine glory; * for thou, O Virgin who hast not known wedlock, * didst enter into the temple of the Lord; * thyself being a most pure temple, * bestowing peace, upon all who hymn thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The most pure Virgin, the glorious sanctity and sacred offering which is brought today to the Temple of God, is preserved as a habitation for our one God, the King of all, as He Himself knoweth.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Zachariah, having of old beheld the beauty of thy soul, cried out in faith: Thou art the deliverance, thou art the joy of all, thou art our restoration, through whom the Uncontainable One shall appear unto me contained.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O, thy wonders which pass understanding, O all-pure one! Strange is thy birthgiving; strange is the manner of thy maturation; strange also, most glorious and unutterable by mortals, are all thy wonders, O Bride of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As a most radiant lamp, O Bride of God, hast thou shone forth today in the house of the Lord, illumining us with the precious gifts of thy wonders, O pure and allhymned Theotokos.

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

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

Aflame with the fire of love for thy Master, O all-glorious martyr, and seeking to behold His incomprehensible beauty, thou didst willingly give thyself over to wounds, radiant with the graces of virginity.

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

Having splendidly adorned thyself with most-sacred sufferings, O good virgin maiden, thou didst ascend to the heavenly bridal chamber of Christ, and hast now been radiantly joined to thy Bridegroom in gladness, O all-blessed one.

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

Thou wast revealed to be an all-radiant maiden who having loved Him Whom thou didst desire, and having followed in His steps by finishing a most difficult struggle, cried aloud unto Him as the fragrance of thy noetic myrrh: I have come, O my Bridegroom!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Knowing thee to be the true Theotokos, and knowing the Word of God Who was born from thee, O most pure Lady, we all preach Him Who is known in two independent natures and wills, O Mother and Bride of God.

Canon to the Great Martyr Mercurius, Irmos: Rising early we cry to Thee, O Lord; * save us, for Thou art our God, * and we know none other besides Thee.

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

Lacerated, cut with a blade without respite, O Mercurius, thou didst endure, strengthened by divine hope.

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

Having fortified thy heart with the noetic Stone, O glorious Mercurius, thou didst not waver when crushed by a stone.

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

Having shared in the sufferings of thy Master, thou didst partake of His glory and divine splendor.

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

O Virgin, who hast given birth unto the Life which hath slain death: Slay thou the sin which liveth within me.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou Who hast upheld all things by Thy word hast hearkened to the prayer of the righteous ones. Wherefore, Thou hast loosed the infirmity of the barren woman, in that Thou art compassionate, and given them her who is the cause of joy.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wishing to make His salvation known to the Gentiles, the Lord hath now taken from among mankind her who hath not known wedlock, as a sign of reconciliation and renewal.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As a house of grace, wherein treasures of the ineffable dispensation of God are laid up, O all-pure one, thou didst share in unfading delight in the Temple.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving thee as a royal diadem, O Bride of God, the Temple hath been rendered splendid and been elevated to better things, beholding in thee the fulfillment of the prophecies.

Canon to the Great Martyr Katherine, Irmos: The abyss of my sins and the storm of my transgressions * disquieten me and thrust me down * into the depths of despondency; * but do Thou stretch forth Thy mighty arm, * unto me as Thou didst to Peter, * and save me, O my Guide.

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

The good and most pure Word, beholding thee all resplendent in the radiance and beauty of virginity and empurpled in the blood of thy martyrdom, O maiden, brought thee to dwell in the mansions of heaven.

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

By the Cross thou didst do away with the dominion of the tyrants, denouncing the vanity of earthly wisdom and pouring forth dogmas of divinely inspired teaching, O most wise and ever-memorable Katherine.

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

Mightily enduring the pain of thy wounds, O all-glorious martyr, thou didst cast down to the ground him who of old drove Adam from the sweetness of paradise through deceit, and thou hast been crowned with the crowns of the kingdom.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

By thy prayers, O Mother, Virgin Theotokos, make thy Son and our Judge, Who doth deliver us from evil circumstances, to be merciful unto me on the day of Judgment, for in thee alone do I place my trust.

Canon to the Great Martyr Mercurius, Irmos: I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, * and to Him will I proclaim my grief; * for my soul is filled with evils, * and my life unto Hades hath drawn nigh, * and like Jonah I pray unto Thee: * Raise me up from corruption, O God.

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

The ever-existent Word beholding thee enduring all manner of torments for His sake, O wise martyr, enlivened thee, and by His angel, commanded thee to take heart, O Mercurius, and in no wise fear the opposition of the tormentors.

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

The serpent of many guises hath been slain and trampled beneath the beautiful feet of the spiritual athlete, the valiant warrior, for, willingly striving unto death towards the wounds of torture, he was filled with glory.

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

To the Master didst thou wholly offer the desire of thy heart, O martyr; and, having endured the rack, thou wast crowned by Him as a victor O Mercurius, and dost now stand before Him in the heavens with all the martyrs.

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

At the angel’s cry thou didst conceive the Angel of Great Counsel, O Maiden, and gave birth incarnate of thy most pure blood unto Him, Who in His unutterable mercy, hath shown to all the ways which lead to life, O all-immaculate one.

Kontakion of the Great Martyr Katherine, in Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest…”: O ye who love the martyrs, * raise up an honored chorus in a most godly manner, * honoring the all-wise Katherine; * for in the arena she preached Christ and trod upon the serpent, ** trampling down the knowledge of the rhetors.

Ikos: Having received the wisdom of God from childhood, O martyr, thou didst also master well all external wisdom; and learning therefrom the movement of the elements and creation through discourse and Him that by His word fashioned them in the beginning, day and night didst thou render thanksgiving unto Him, setting at naught idols and those who worship them, putting down the knowledge of the rhetors.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Lo, today a joyous spring hath dawned upon the ends of the earth, enlightening our souls, thoughts and minds with grace: the festival of the Theotokos. Let us mystically make festival this day!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let all things – heaven and earth, the ranks of angels and the multitudes of mankind – bear gifts today unto the Queen and Mother of God; and let them cry aloud: Our joy and deliverance is brought into the Temple!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Scriptures have come to pass, the Law hath faded like a shadow, and rays of grace have shone forth upon thee who hast entered into the Temple of God, O pure Virgin Mother wherein thou art blessed.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Heaven and earth and the netherworld are subject to thine Offspring as Creator and God, O all-pure one, and every nation of mortals doth confess that the Lord and Savior of our souls hath appeared.

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

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

Thou art the boast of martyrs and a teacher of piety, leading a multitude of martyrs unto Christ, thy radiant Bridegroom. And with them dost thou cry aloud, O all-praised one, chanting: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Thy most wise discourse brought many out of the madness of idolatry unto salvation, and thou didst show them forth as all-radiant martyrs, who cry aloud with thee: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Following in Thy footsteps, the maiden was brought to Thee beheaded by the sword, emulating Thy most pure Passion, crying aloud unto Thee, our Creator, and saying: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Holy of Holies dwelt within thee in a hallowed manner, O pure Virgin Theotokos, and He became incarnate from thee to save those who cry out in faith: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Canon to the Great Martyr Mercurius, Irmos: The Hebrew children in the furnace * boldly trampled upon the flames, * changing the fire into dew, they cried aloud: * ‘Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, throughout the ages’.

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

Illumined with the light of heavenly enlightenment, O valiant warrior, thou dost enlighten those who now hymn thee and chant: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

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

O blessed one, having hymned the Benefactor of all, and consumed with love for Him while burning with material fire; thou didst chant: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

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

Those who rendered homage to stone, and were thereby stony of heart, O martyr, weighted down thy neck with a stone, but thou didst cry aloud: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

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

Having mingled thy precious blood with the blood of the Master and Lover of mankind, thou wast revealed to be a participant in His sufferings, O Mercurius, crying aloud: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

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

The ranks of angels stand in awe of the depth of thy mystery, O Theotokos; for God appeared incarnate from thee, He to Whom we chant: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

Ode VIII, Canon I, Irmos: Hearken, O pure Virgin Maiden, * that Gabriel may tell thee the true counsel of the Most High of old. * Make ready to receive the Godhead; * for through thee the Infinite One hath come to dwell among mankind. *

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry aloud: * Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord! Anna, once, leading the most pure temple to the house of God, faithfully said unto the priest, crying aloud: Now accept thou this child, given me by God; lead her into the Temple of the Creator; and, rejoicing, chant unto Him: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

And Zachariah then, beholding them in the Spirit, said unto Anna: Thou dost bring hither the true Mother of Life, whom the prophets of God have clearly foretold as the Theotokos! How, therefore, can the Temple hold her?

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wherefore, marveling, I cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord! The handmaid of God have I been, answered Anna unto him, and I call upon Him with faith and prayer to accept the fruit of my birth-pangs, that, having received this child, I might bring her that was born unto Him that bestowed her. Wherefore, I cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Truly this is a matter of the Law, the priest said to her, and strange doth this thing seem unto me, beholding her that doth most gloriously surpass the holy ones in grace led into the house of God. Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

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

The empress, converted by thy teachings, advanced in piety and, mightily enduring the infliction of pain, was clearly deemed worthy of the everlasting kingdom of heaven, crying out to the Master: Ye priests bless; ye people exalt supremely Christ throughout all ages!

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

Let the entreaties of the faithful be entrusted to the martyrs, for the passion-bearer doth stand before Christ, asking that which is best for all and mediating salvation for those who earnestly celebrate her most holy and honored memory and faithfully cry aloud: Ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout all ages!

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

Opening wide the gateways of paradise, the Bridegroom doth receive thee, O all-wise one; and hath made thee a most radiant dwelling place, revealing thee to be one who shares in His kingdom and His suffering. And, standing now before Him, splendidly adorned, O daughter of the King, forget us not.

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

The tyrant tempted thee with alluring words; the cruel one sought to deceive thee with persuasions, hoping thereby to weaken thy resolve, O glorious one; but, wishing to betroth thyself to Christ, thou didst cry out to the Master: Ye priests hymn; ye people, supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O all-immaculate Theotokos, thou art more sacred than the supranatural ranks of angels, for from thy virginal womb, which kneweth not wedlock, thou hast given birth unto their Creator and Lord in two natures, unconfused and immutable, God incarnate in a single hypostasis.

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

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

The choir of passion-bearers accepted as one of their number thee who wast
adorned and radiant with the precious beauties of thy sufferings and thy pious and honorable martyrdom. And now thou dost unceasingly cry aloud: Ye priests bless; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

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

Piously didst thou finish thy course, O glorious one, valiantly putting the foe to
shame; and, laying hold of a heavenly trophy as a victor, thou dost now rejoice with the angelic choirs, unceasingly crying out with them: Ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

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

In meeting thy death by the sword, and receiving the expected end, which thou
didst desire, O all-blessed one, thou didst irrigate the ground with the outpourings of thy blood; whereupon thy blessed and victorious body was shown to be whiter than snow, having chanted: Ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

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

All we, the faithful, hymn thee, O most pure one, as her who is the cause of our restoration; for in a manner beyond reproach thou didst give birth unto God, the Cause of all, Who in His tender compassion hath restored His image which had been marred by wickedness, O thou who alone art most blessed and joyous.

Ode IX, Canon I, Irmos: In nowise may the hand of the defiled * touch the animate ark of God; * and let the lips of the faithful * never-silently cry out with joy to the Theotokos, * chanting the words of the angel: * Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! * The Lord is with thee!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O pure Theotokos, as thou hast the most radiant beauty of purity of soul and art full of the grace of God from heaven, with the ever-existent light thou dost ever enlighten those who cry out with joy: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thy wonder doth surpass the power of words, O pure Theotokos, for in thee I perceive a body impervious to the movement of sin. Wherefore, thankfully I cry out to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Most gloriously did the Law prefigure thee, O pure one, as the tabernacle, the divine jar, the awe-some ark, the veil, the staff, the inviolable temp1e and portal of God. Wherefore, all these things teach us to cry to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

In hymnody David cried out to thee prophetically, calling thee the daughter of the King in the comeliness of thy virtues, beholding thee standing, elaborately adorned, at the right hand of God. Wherefore, in prophecy he cried out: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Foreseeing thee who art pleasing to God, Solomon proclaimed thee to be the bower of the King, the living and sealed fountain, from whence untroubled waters have issued forth for us who cry out with faith: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Theotokos, thou givest to my soul the tranquility of thy gifts, pouring forth life upon those who honor thee as is meet, defending, protecting and preserving them thyself, that they might cry to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

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

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

Adorned with bridal ornaments, thou hast passed on to the splendid bridal chambers, holding the lamp of virginity in thy right hand and thy severed head in the other. And now, standing before Christ, thy Bridegroom, preserve thou those who hymn thee.

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

Thy prayer was accepted, O divinely wise one, for the Master doth save from temptations those who call upon thy name with faith, O honored one, bestowing health upon them, and delivering them from divers spiritual and bodily ailments. Wherefore, in gladness we bless thee, O Katherine.

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

Thou hast now attained unto the calm harbor, O martyr, having easily sailed over this world’s sea of threefold waves, and in good order, without succumbing to temptation, O all-wise virgin; bringing an offering of varied riches unto Christ, a multitude of martyrs, O all-blessed Katherine.

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

Joining chorus now with the choirs of virgins within the bridal chambers of heaven, and illumined with rays of thy sufferings, O all-wise Katherine, thou hast loosed the bonds of my falls, earnestly entreating the Benefactor of all, for Whom thou didst shed thy blood.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou hast been revealed, O Virgin Mother of God, to have given birth in the body, in a manner transcending nature, to the good Word, Whom the Father brought forth from His own heart before all ages, in that He is good, and Whom we now know to be more exalted than all bodies, even though clad in a body Himself.

Canon to the Great Martyr Mercurius, Irmos: Every ear is awestruck at hearing of God’s ineffable condescension, * for the Most High voluntarily descended and assumed flesh, * becoming man in the Virgin’s womb; * wherefore we the faithful magnify the most pure Theotokos.

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

With grace the martyrs now dispel the stench of dung and with ineffable discourse they drive away our foul passions, pouring forth waters for the healing of our bones and water the souls of those who hymn their wondrous miracles.

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

We honor thee in a sacred manner as a great pillar of the Church of Christ, an indestructible rampart, a city which cannot be taken captive, a mighty warrior of God the King of all, a destroyer of our enemies and a noetic and universal beacon, O martyr.

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

Thou didst receive an angel of light as a companion before thy suffering, O divinely wise one. Wherefore, lacerated, burned with candles and grievously cut asunder and beheaded with a sword, thou wast not afraid, O most valiant spiritual athlete of Christ.

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

Thy divine memorial hath dawned as a day full of enlightenment, gladness and joy for us who honor thee, O martyr Mercurius, wherefore remember us who keep thy memorial and deliver us from grievous temptations, misfortunes and passions.

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

O portal of the Light, enlighten my soul which hath been blinded by the passions and darkened by wicked thoughts, and is in danger; and deliver me from temptations, misfortunes and sorrows, that I may glorify thee, the hope and confirmation of the faithful

Troparion of the Great Martyr Catherine, in Tone IV: Thy ewe-lamb Catherine O Jesus, crieth out with a loud voice: * “Thee do I love, O my Bridegroom, * and, seeking Thee, I endure suffering. * in Thy baptism I am crucified and buried with Thee. * I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; * I die for Thee, that I may live with Thee. * Accept me, who with love sacrifice myself for Thee, * as an unblemished offering!” ** By her supplications save Thou our souls, O most merciful One.

Or this Troparion, in Tone IV: With thy virtues, as with the rays of the sun, * thou didst enlighten the unbelieving philosophers; * and, like the most radiant moon shining on those who walk at night, * thou didst drive away the darkness of unbelief. * Thou didst bring the empress to faith * and didst denounce the tyrant, O divinely elect bride. * O blessed Catherine, with desire didst thou make haste to the heavenly bridal chamber, * to Christ the most comely Bridegroom, * and by Him hast thou been crowned with a royal crown. * Standing with the angels before Him, ** pray thou for us who keep thy most honored memory.

Glory …, Troparion of the Great Martyr Mercurius, in Tone IV: In his sufferings, Thy martyr Mercurius 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.

Now & ever …, Troparion of the feast, in Tone IV: Today is the prelude of God’s good will * and the proclamation of the salvation of mankind. * The Virgin hath manifestly appeared in the temple of God, proclaiming Christ unto all. * To her let us cry aloud: ** Rejoice, O thou fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation!

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Saints Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, & Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum

Monday November 23/ December 6: Saints Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, & Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum

Saint Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, was born in Caesarea in Cappadocia, a city which has given the world some of the greatest Fathers and teachers of the Orthodox Church. He was a first cousin to Saint Gregory the Theologian, and a close friend of Saint Basil the Great. He was their disciple, follower and of like mind with them.

Saint Amphilochius toiled hard in the field of Christ. He lived in the wilderness as a strict ascetic for about forty years, until the time when the Lord summoned him for hierarchic service. In the year 372 the Bishop of Iconium died. Angels of the Lord thrice appeared in visions to Saint Amphilochius, summoning him to go to Iconium to be the bishop. The truthfulness of these visions was proven when the angel, appearing to him the third time, sang together with the saint the angelic song: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth.” The heavenly messenger led the saint to the nearest church, where an assembly of angels consecrated Amphilochius bishop.

The saint, on the way back to his cell, encountered seven bishops who were seeking him at the command of God, in order to establish him as archpastor of Iconium. Saint Amphilochius told them that he was already consecrated by the angels.

For many years Saint Amphilochius tended the flock of Iconium entrusted to him by the Lord. The prayer of the righteous one was so intense that he was able to ask the Lord to heal the spiritual and bodily infirmities of his flock. The wise archpastor, gifted as writer and preacher, unceasingly taught piety to his flock. A strict Orthodox theologian, the saint relentlessly confronted the Arian and Eunomian heresies. He participated in the Second Ecumenical Council (381), and he headed the struggle against the heresy of Macedonius. Letters and treatises of Saint Amphilochius are preserved, which are profoundly dogmatic and apologetic in content. The holy Bishop Amphilochius of Iconium departed peacefully to the Lord in the year 394.

Saint Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum, was born on the island of Sicily, in the village of Pretorium, not far from the city of Agrigentum, of the pious parents Chariton and Theodota. The infant Gregory was baptized by the bishop of Agrigentum, Pataimonus. At ten years of age the studious boy mastered writing and was able to read, and to sing church hymns. At twelve years of age Saint Gregory was given to the clergy, and he was put under the spiritual guidance of the archdeacon Donatus. Saint Gregory spent the next ten years in the Agrigentum church. Then, however, an angel of the Lord appeared to the holy youth, who had a fervent desire to visit Jerusalem, and said that God had blessed his intention.
At Jerusalem Saint Gregory was presented to Patriarch Macarius (563-574), who retained the pious youth for service in his own cathedral church, ordaining him deacon. The soul of Saint Gregory thirsted for monastic labors, and the Patriarch gave his blessing, allowing him go to a monastery on the Mount of Olives. After a year Saint Gregory departed this monastery for a desert Elder, who for four years taught him spiritual wisdom, humility and the principles of monastic life. The ascetic, foreseeing in Saint Gregory a future great luminary of the Church, gave him a blessing to forsake the solitary life.

Having left the Elder, Saint Gregory dwelt for a certain time at Jerusalem, and then went to Constantinople, where he was received with love by the brethren of the monastery of the holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus. The ascetic efforts of Saint Gregory were noticed by Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople (552-565), at whose insistence the saint participated in the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553). At the completion of the Council Saint Gregory set off for Rome, to venerate the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

During this time the bishop of Agrigentum died. The elder clergy and illustrious citizens of Agrigentum journeyed to Rome with a request for the Pope to determine a successor for their late hierarch from among a list of candidates they were presenting. The Pope, however, declined their proposal through divine inspiration, and instead summoned Saint Gregory to serve them as bishop.

For a few years Saint Gregory peacefully guided the flock entrusted to him by God. He was a defender of the down-trodden, a wise preacher, and miraculous healer. As archbishop, Saint Gregory led the life of an ascetic monk, fervently observing monastic vows. The flock loved their hierarch and trusted in him. But there were also malicious people who had resolved to slander him.

While Saint Gregory was in church, these vicious people secretly led a bribed harlot into his chambers, and then in front of the crowd which accompanied the bishop to the doors of his house after services, they led her out and accused Saint Gregory of the deadly sin of fornication. They placed the holy bishop under guard. The people attempted to defend their bishop, but were unsuccessful. At the trial the harlot gave false testimony against Saint Gregory. Just as she pronounced the words of slander, she went into a fit of frenzied rage. The judges accused the saint of sorcery. Saint Gregory was sent for judgment to the Roman bishop together with a report about his “crimes.”

The Pope, after reading the charges, did not want to see the accused, and gave orders to remand him to prison. The saint endured his humiliation humbly, dwelling in constant prayer. His prayerful effort and wonderworking gifts quickly became known through the city and the surrounding region. Pious Romans began to gather at the prison, whom the imprisoned saint taught about the righteous life, and he implored the Lord to heal the sick.

After two years, a clairvoyant Elder named Mark, who had known Saint Gregory since youth, came to the Pope. The Elder did not believe the charges and he persuaded the Pope to convene a Council to decide Gregory’s case. At the invitation of the Pope, many clergy from the city of Agrigentum came to the Council, together with all those making accusations against the saint, including the harlot. From Constantinople three bishops and the imperial dignitary Marcian came to Rome. Along the way Marcian had fallen grievously ill. On the advice of many people who had received healing through the prayers of Saint Gregory, servants carried the dying man to the prison where the wonderworking saint languished. Through the prayers of Saint Gregory the Lord granted healing to Marcian.

At the Council the slanderers attempted to renew their accusations, and as their chief proof they presented the deranged harlot to the judge, declaring that Gregory had bewitched her. But the saint prayed over her and cast out the devil. The woman came to her senses and told the Council the whole truth. The slanderers were brought to shame and judged. Marcian even wanted to execute them, but Saint Gregory implored forgiveness for them.

Saint Gregory returned in honor to his own cathedral, and surrounded by the love of his flock, he guided the Church until his own peaceful demise.

Source: The Orthodox Church of America

Canon of the feast, and two canons of the saints.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let us hasten today, honoring the Theotokos with hymns, and let us celebrate a spiritual feast; for she is offered as a gift to God in the temple.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With songs let us hymn the glorious arrival of the Theotokos; for today, as the prophets foretold, she is borne as a gift of great price into the temple, though she is herself the temple of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The blameless Anna rejoiced, maternally bringing a gift of great price to God in the temple; and with her Joachim keepeth splendid festival.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Of old, David, thine ancestor, hymned thee, O Virgin Bride of God, calling thee the daughter of Christ the King; and, having given birth to Him, as a Mother thou didst feed Him with milk as a babe.

Canon of the Holy Amphilochius, the acrostic whereof is, “I hymn the pastor who put delusion to shame”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone IV:

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Thou didst easily destroy the words and insolence of heresies, illumined with the radiance of Orthodoxy. O thou who art manifestly sacred, preserve us also who honor thee therein.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

The Lord Who ever desires the salvation of all appointed thee as a guide for His sacred flock, O hierarch, seeing thee shining excellently in word and life.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Having chosen to contend lawfully for the Church of Christ, O glorious father, thou didst protect thyself with the sword of the Cross, and through grace wast revealed to be a victor and crown-bearer.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

To the Word Who is co-beginningless and equally everlasting with the Father, and is the image of His essence, didst thou ineffably give birth, incarnate, O thou who knewest not wedlock.

Canon of Saint Gregory, the acrostic whereof is, “I marvel at the wonder-working Gregory”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VIII:

Irmos: To Him who crushed the enemy with His arm * and led Israel through the Red Sea, * to our Redeemer and our God let us sing, * for He hath been glorified.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Ever illumined with the rays of the Spirit and having become a brilliant star, O sacred Gregory, wholly enlighten me by thy prayers, that I my hymn thee.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

He Who knoweth all things beforehand, having shown grace to thy mind with divinely imparted effulgence, from thine earliest infancy hallowed thee, who desired to shine forth with godly virtues and miracles, O father.

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

Casting off the slumber of despondency from thine eyelids, thou didst show thyself to be a vigilant luminary, O God-bearer, showing forth thy calling which is confirmed as true by material things, O Gregory.

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

I truly and decisively confess thee to be the Theotokos; for thou didst ineffably give birth to the Lord Who is understood in two natures and wills, O most pure Virgin.

Ode III, Canon of the Feast, 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.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye who love the feasts of the Church, let us keep festival and rejoice today together in spirit, and in gladness, on the holy feast of the daughter of the King, the Mother of our God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice today, O Joachim! Be thou glad in spirit, O Anna, leading to the Lord the three year old child born from thee, as though she were a pure and most immaculate heifer.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Mary, the Theotokos, the habitation of God, is led into the holy temple, being three years of age in the flesh; and, going before her, virgins bear lighted lamps.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The pure ewe-lamb of God, the undefiled turtle-dove, the tabernacle containing God, the sanctuary of glory, hath chosen to dwell within the holy tabernacle.

Canon of St. Amphilochius, Irmos: Thy Church rejoiceth in Thee, O Christ, crying aloud: Thou art my might, O Lord, my refuge and confirmation!

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

The divine and luminous effulgence of thy dogmas put down the evil hordes of the heretics, O glorious Amphilochius.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

As a high priest, like a river filled by God to overflowing with life-creating waters, thou dost give us thy piety to drink.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Illumined with abundant radiance, thou didst illumine thy mind with the mystic splendor of thy teachings, O venerable one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

All of us, the faithful, declare thee to be the lustrous candle-stand, the spiritually nourishing banquet of piety, and the ark, O most pure one.

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: My heart is established in the Lord, * my horn is exalted in my God, * my mouth is enlarged against mine enemies, * and I rejoice in Thy salvation.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

The Creator, accepting thy labors for His sake, O father Gregory, led thee to an elder in the desert, who taught thee the meaning of every Scripture.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Passing a whole week without food, O father, thou wast nourished with heavenly food, drinking the rain of thy tears, divinely filled to repletion.

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

To thee, O hierarch, was breadth of heart given by God; for thou didst richly pour forth the most pure waters of teachings watering thereby the hearts of the faithful.

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

The words of the divinely eloquent preachers have been fulfilled; for, lo! the Virgin hath given birth to a little Babe, Who is more ancient than Adam and co-enthroned with the Father.

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

Kontakion of the feast, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel: “Having been lifted up …”: The most pure temple of the Savior, * the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, * the sacred treasury of the glory of God, * hath been brought into the house of the Lord this day, * bringing with her the grace that is in the divine Spirit. * To her do the angels of God chant the hymn: ** She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ikos: Beholding the grace of the ineffable and divine mysteries of God made plainly manifest in and filling the Virgin, I rejoice; yet I know not how to understand this strange and ineffable image. How hath the pure one alone been shown to be above all creation, visible and immaterial? Wherefore, wishing to praise her, I am greatly in awe in mind and word; yet, bold, I proclaim and magnify her, saying: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Kontakion of St. Gregory, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast appeared today …”: With effulgence of splendid radiance * the Church of the Holy Spirit illumineththose who celebrate thy splendid repose, ** O venerable and all-blessed father Gregory.

Sessional Hymn of St. Amphilochius, in the same tone, Spec. Mel: “Go thou quickly before …”: Thou dost enlighten the ends of the earth at thy memorial, O wise and glorious Amphilochius; for thy body poureth forth a well-spring of healings. Wherefore, thou deliverest from every infirmity those who with faith approach thine honored temple. For this cause, pray thou now, that we be saved.

Glory …, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Offered to the Lord from earliest infancy, as the most glorious Samuel had been of old, thou didst likewise hear the Savior calling thee, and, having purified thy soul with gifts of good things, thou didst worthily receive the grace of the priesthood.
Wherefore, shepherding thy flock in the pasture of divine knowledge, thou didst shine forth acts of healing, O Gregory. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who celebrate thy holy memory with love.

Now & ever …, Sessional Hymn of the feast, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before …”: O David, go thou before us into the Temple of God, and, rejoicing, receive thou our Queen, and cry out unto her: Enter thou, O Sovereign Lady! Enter thou into the Temple of the King! Her glory is understood allegorically, for from her doth Christ the Light desire to pour Himself forth upon all!

Ode IV, Canon of the Feast, 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!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Prophet Isaiah, prophesy unto us: Who is the Virgin Who will conceive in her womb, who springing forth from the root of Judah, and who shall give birth to the right glorious Fruit of the holy seed of King David?

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O virgins, commence ye to chant hymns, holding candles in your hands, and praising the arrival of the pure Theotokos who now cometh to the temple of God, celebrating with us!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice now, O Joachim and Anna, leading into the temple of the Lord, like a heifer three years of age, the pure one born from you, who will become the Mother of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As the holy of holies, O pure one, thou didst love to dwell in the holy temple, remaining there and conversing most gloriously with the angels, receiving bread from heaven, O Virgin, thou nourisher of Life.

Canon of St. Amphilochius, Irmos: Beholding Thee, the Sun of righteousness, * lifted up upon the Cross, * the Church now standeth arrayed and doth worthily cry aloud: * Glory be to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Come, ye divinely wise, let us clap our hands with faith on the sacred festival of the godly and divinely eloquent Amphilochius, strengthened by his doctrines and theology.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

As an attendant of the Church, the bride in Christ, O God-bearer, thou didst adorn her with the beauty of thy discourses and render her radiant with the
comeliness of Orthodoxy.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Thy divinely eloquent tongue of theology hath clearly explained to all the dominion of the Trinity One in honor, that they may worship the one Godhead in three Hypostases.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Virgin, we know thee to be the new tabernacle and pure sanctuary of the Master of all; for thou hast given birth to Him in the flesh in two united hypostases, O all-immaculate one.

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: I have heard report of Thee O Lord, * and I was afraid, * for thy counsel is ineffable, * being the ever-existent God, * Thou didst come forth from the Virgin, * wherefore I hymn Thee: * glory to thy condescension, O Christ, * glory to Thy power.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Like fertile soil thou didst bring forth grain an hundredfold, O father, and with the axe of thy teachings thou didst cut down the impious opinions of the heretics, showing thyself to be a champion of the Council, O venerable Gregory.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

The judgment of heaven showed thee forth as a hierarch, guiding well the flock which Christ, Who perceived the radiance of thy soul, obtained through His blood, O father, favorite of God.

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

Thou wast a temple of God cleansed of the defilement of the passions, and, standing before Him in the sacred temple, thou didst openly receive the advent of the Spirit in the form of a pure dove, when Christ glorified thee.

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

The race of mankind hath been saved by thy birthgiving, which surpasseth understanding; and those in the darkness of corruption have seen the Light Which shone forth from thy womb, the Author of our restoration, O most pure Lady and Maiden.

Ode V, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: Shine forth thy radiant and everlasting light * upon us who rise early at dawn, * unto the judgments of Thy commandments, * O Master, Lover of mankind, * Christ our God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O all ye Orthodox, let us take up lamps, hastening to glorify the Mother of God, for she is led to the Lord today as a right acceptable sacrifice.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let thine ancestors be glad today, O Lady; and let her who gave birth to thee rejoice with thy father, for their fruit is offered to the Lord.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Celebrating with faith, let us all hymn the unblemished heifer, most glorious and of great renown, for she gave birth to the divine Bullock in the flesh.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The divine tokens of thy betrothal, of thy birthgiving which passeth understanding, O pure Virgin; are recorded today by the Holy Spirit in the house of God.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Illumined with the light of the threefold Sun of the Godhead, O divinely wise Amphilochius, thou didst take thy seat upon thy hierarchal cathedra.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Thou didst dedicate thyself wholly to God and wast a trumpet-voiced divine herald, O all-blessed father Amphilochius.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

The joyous and most sacred feast of the divine and wise teacher hath dawned for us, sanctifying the world.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure Mother of God, magnificent adornment of all the faithful, by thy supplications wash away the defilement of my soul.

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: Disperse, O Word, the darkness from my soul, * O Christ God, the Light-Giver, * Having driven out the primordial darkness of the abyss, * grant unto me the light of Thy commandments, * that early in the morning I may glorify Thee.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

With thy word thou didst once cleanse the vile infirmity of the leper who came to thee with faith; for, like the godly Elisha, O divinely wise Gregory, thou didst receive from God the grace of miracles.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

By thine entreaty thou didst open the mouth and ears of the deaf-mute, O allblessed Gregory; for enriched with the ability to work healings, thou didst also plumb the depths of theology, drying up the seas of ungodliness.

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

Having cleansed thyself of every passionate earthly attachment, O father, like Peter, the first-chosen of the apostles, thou didst effect healings by thy shadow, divinely curing those held fast by the cruel assaults of illness.

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

Without leaving the bosom of the Father to become incarnate, the Word is seen held at thy bosom as a babe, O all-immaculate one. Him do thou render merciful unto those who piously honor thee, O Virgin Bride of God.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye faithful, let us celebrate the spiritual feast of the Mother of God, chanting piously; for she is more holy than the heavenly intelligences.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With spiritual hymns let us praise the Mother of the Light, O ye faithful, for she hath appeared to us today, going forth into the temple of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The unblemished ewe-lamb, the pure turtle-dove, is brought to dwell in the house of God, for, as one all-immaculate, she was chosen beforehand to be the Mother of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The temple of God, the heavenly tabernacle, maketh entry into the temple of the law, and from her hath the Light shone forth upon us who are in darkness.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Having mortified worldly understanding in the flesh, thou didst array thyself in the grace of dispassion, O father, initiate of the sacred mysteries, proclaiming the Trinity in most pure teachings.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Having mortified worldly understanding in the flesh, thou didst array thyself in the grace of dispassion, O father, initiate of the sacred mysteries, proclaiming the Trinity in most pure teachings.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Protected by the fear of God, O venerable God-pleaser, having rendered thy soul pure of defilement, thou wast shown to be the most sacred instrument of theology.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Knowing thee to be the pure habitation of the King of glory and the temple and throne of the Most High, we pray: Save thou our souls, O all-hymned one!

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: As Thou didst deliver the prophet from the depths * of the abyss, O Christ God, * so deliver me also from my sins, * O Lover of mankind, * and guide my life, I pray Thee.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

The maiden whose body had been paralyzed for many years, came to thee with faith and was strengthened by thy prayer, O venerable one, magnifying Christ, the Author of all things.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Following in the steps of the Master with a blameless life, O glorious one, unjustly oppressed and slandered, thou didst remain impervious to thine ill treatment.

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

Seizing thee like savage beasts, as if an innocent lamb, O father, those who lived together in wickedness condemned thee to prison; but by divine grace thou didst remained unharmed.

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

The mind is at a loss how to understand the great mystery of thy birthgiving; for thou hast given birth to the incomprehensible God Who become a man, O Ever-virgin.

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

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

Kontakion of St. Amphilochius, in Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest …”: O hierarch Amphilochius, * thou divine thunder, trumpet of the Spirit, * husbandmen of the garden of Faith, * scythe cutting down heresies, * great favorite of the Trinity, * standing ever with the angels, ** pray thou unceasingly on behalf of us all.

Ikos: Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the allwise hierarch of Christ sealed the Church; for, possessed of the working of power, the glorious initiate of the mysteries, the acceptable teacher of the Faith, having hearkened to the reading of the divine Scriptures, drove away Eunomius by making the sign of the life-bearing and precious Cross; and, explaining the Faith and preaching Christ, he prayeth unceasingly on behalf of us all.

Ode VII, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: The furnace became bedewed, O Savior, * and the children dancing, chanted: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye who love the feasts of the Church let us join chorus and hymn the pure Lady honoring Joachim and Anna as is meet.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Prophesy, O David, speaking in the Spirit: The virgins who follow after thee shall be brought to thee into the temple of the Queen and Mother.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The ranks of the angels rejoiced and the souls of the righteous were gladdened, for the Mother of God is led into the Holy of Holies.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of Christ God in the flesh, excelled in wisdom and grace.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Heeding thy most mystical and divine admonitions, O father, we avoid Arius’ division of the Godhead, glorifying with faith the uncreated and consubstantial Trinity.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Beholding Macedonius denounced by thy teachings, O father, with faith we glorify the good Spirit, Who is equally worshipped and co-beginningless with the Father and the Son.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Explaining by thy words the incarnation of the Word in a manner surpassing words, O God-pleaser, with divine wisdom thou didst teach us to worship the one God in two natures and to avoid division and commingling.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Come and, saved by faith in the Almighty Who was born of her, let us all fervently praise the Theotokos, crying: Blessed art thou among women, O allimmaculate one.

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: By an angel didst Thou refresh the Children in the furnace * transforming the roaring flames into dew. * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

The Creator worked a miracle when thou wast condemned, O blessed one; for the adulterous woman fell prey to the assault of the demons and showed thee to be pure, O Gregory.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

The light-bestowing divine disciples of the Savior, standing before thee, O venerable one, loosed the bonds which bound thee to the tree kissing them with joy.

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

Taking heed of thy patience, O father, the Master sacredly adorned thee with yetgreater miracles, in that thou drivest away the gloom of infirmities.

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

As a Mother thou hast given birth to the Creator of all and bore in thine arms, as though thou wast the throne of the cherubim, Him Who holdeth all things, O thou who knewest not wedlock.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Joachim rejoiceth today in splendor, and the blameless Anna offereth to the Lord God a sacrifice: the holy daughter given her according to God’s promise.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The holy David and Jesse render praise, and Judah offereth homage; for the pure Virgin, of whom the pre-eternal God was born, grew forth as fruit from their root.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The most pure Mary, the animate tabernacle, is brought today into the house of God; and Zachariah taketh her in his arms as the sanctified treasure of the Lord.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye faithful, let us truly honor the Virgin Mother of God, who is blessed by the hands of the priests, as the portal of salvation, the noetic mountain and
the animate ladder.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Thy mouth, adorned with hymns, manifestly theologized concerning the uncreated, beginningless, consubstantial Trinity uncommingled in three Hypostases, O divinely wise father, wherefore to the Trinity we cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

The hypostatic Wisdom gave thee riches and the glory of honor, O most wise one, when thou didst piously theologize, casting down the arrogance of heresies and chanting with love: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

He Who bestoweth life upon all led thee into the church of the firstborn as a faithful and divinely eloquent hierarch who mystically exercised the priestly office and who chants with faith: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Behold, the tribe of Judah shall not now lack for a guide and leader; for thou, O all-immaculate one, hast given birth to Christ, the long-awaited expectation of the nations. To Him do we chant: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: O Thou who dost cover Thy chambers on high with the waters, * Thou Who hast set the sands to bound the sea * and Who upholdest all things: * the sun doth sing Thy praises, * the moon giveth Thee glory, * every creature offereth a hymn unto Thee, * as their Fashioner, throughout the ages.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

The maiden who slandered thee, a most righteous man, because of the wickedness of all-iniquitous men, was freed from the dreadful wounding of the demons by thy prayer, O blessed one, and in the midst of the council God, the Judge of the contest, doth glorify thee throughout all ages.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Those who through wickedness taught against thee are filled with gloomy darkness, O father Gregory, and thy radiant life shined forth before the fathers, in whose presence thou didst work a miracle, holding a burning coal in thy hand.

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

Thou hast been truly revealed to be like a most brilliant star in the firmament of the Church, O father, ever illumining with virtues and rays of miracles those who hymn thy luminous memory, O divinely wise and holy hierarch Gregory.

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

Thy most glorious birth giving doth fill our thoughts with awe, O thou who alone art blessed; for God received flesh from thee, while remaining immutable in essence, as He was, O Theotokos. Him do we supremely exalt throughout the ages.

Ode IX, Canon of the Feast, 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.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The divine maiden Mary, the fruit of the promise, issued forth from the righteous Joachim and Anna, and, a babe in the flesh, she is brought into the holy sanctuary like pleasing incense, to dwell in the Holy of holies.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With hymns let us praise her who was a babe by nature and was supernaturally revealed as the Mother of God; for she is led unto the Lord in the temple of the law, as the fragrance of sweet savor for the righteous, as the spiritual fruit of her righteous parents.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye faithful, with the angel let us fittingly cry out to the Theotokos “Rejoice!” Rejoice, O most comely Bride! Rejoice, O radiant cloud, from whom the Lord hath shone forth upon us who sit in the darkness of ignorance! Rejoice, thou hope of all!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O pure Mary Mother of God, thou Holy of holies, from the snares of the enemy and from all heresy and tribulation do thou free us by thy supplications, who bow down with faith before the image of thy holy countenance.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Most piously theologizing concerning the one Essence in three Hypostases, the most holy, divine and unapproachable Trinity, thou hast been honored thereby, O Amphilochius manifest in sanctity.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

Possessing boldness before God as a hierarch, O God-bearer, standing before thy Master be thou ever mindful of those who celebrate thy sacred and luminous memory, O blessed one.

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

O divinely wise and venerable father Amphilochius, as a most faithful hierarch thou dost grant an abundance of grace unto those who with an ardent heart weave praises for thee and ask for the remission of sins.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou wast revealed to be a descendant of Adam and art known to be the Mother of God; for from ages past thou wast revealed to be more holy than all of creation, O most pure and blessed one, wherefore, we magnify thee.

Canon of St. Gregory, Irmos: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, * Who hath exalted the horn of salvation on our behalf * in the house of His child David, * wherein the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, * and guided us on the path of peace.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Behold, the radiant festival! Behold, the sacred memorial! Behold, the grace which is upon all the faithful who have assembled, pouring forth healings in abundance! Let us draw nigh, for the shrine of Gregory poureth forth ever-flowing enlightenment and immortality upon us.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Like a river full of the waters of Christ, like an olive-tree pouring forth the oil of
life, like a date-palm wast thou exalted, O Gregory. Like a vine thou didst bear the grapes of thy virtues for us, and we drink the wine of incorruption therefrom.

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

Let the council of the sanctified, the multitude of the venerable and the ranks of all the angels rejoice with us today in thy memory, O father. Standing with them, illumined, before the Creator, be thou mindful of those who hymn thee with love.

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

Thou wast the sanctified vessel of Christ, O father, a pillar of the Church, the haven of the faithful, a sword cutting down falsehood, a wellspring of healings, and an abyss of divine understanding, an inextinguishable lamp and a shepherd of shepherds.

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

O Virgin Maiden who hast given birth to the timeless Light Who shone forth from the Father, illumine my soul and mind, driving far from me the darkness of the passions, that I may bless thee, the ever-blessed hope of the faithful.

Troparion of the holy hierarchs, in Tone IV: O God of our fathers, * ever deal with us according to Thy meekness. * Take not Thy mercy from us, * but by the prayers of these saints ** direct our life in peace.

Nameday and Birthday Greetings

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy, Right-Believing Prince, Alexander Nevsky, we greet and congratulate our Cardiff and Cheltenham parishioners named in his memory.

In Cardiff, several our Alexanders celebrate their heavenly patron today, rather than other his other feasts, and we look forward to greeting them in person and singing many years to them on Sunday. 

We also wish Mike a happy birthday, and thank him for his constant, quiet support for our Cardiff parish.

Wishing our Alexanders a joyful feast, and Mike a happy birthday, we pray that God will grant them all many, blessed years.

Многая и Благая лѣта!

Troparion, in Tone IV: Recognize thy brethren, O right-believing Prince Alexander, thou Russian Joseph who reignest not in Egypt, but in heaven; and accept their entreaties, increasing the harvests of thy people through the fertility of thy land, and protecting the cities of thy dominion by thy supplications. And together with our Orthodox hierarchs do battle against all heresies.

Kontakion, in Tone IV: As thy kinsmen Boris and Gleb appeared to thee, bringing thee help from heaven when thou didst battle against Velgar the Swede and his warriors, so now, O blessed Alexander, come to the aid of thy kinfolk, and contend thou against those who wage war against us.

Prayer: Swift helper of those who take heartfelt refuge in thee, and warm intercessor for us before the Lord: holy, devout, grand Prince Alexander! Look down mercifully upon us unworthy ones, who have made ourselves of little use through our many iniquities, but now approachthine icon, crying out to thee from the depths of our hearts Thou was a zealot and defender of the Orthodox Faith in thy lifetime; strengthen us too in it, by thy loving prayers to God, that we be not shaken. Thou hast diligently borne the great service that lay upon thee; teach us also, through thy help, to stand in that wherein each of us is called. Thou, having defeated hordes of enemies, didst drive them from the limits of Russia; cast down also the enemies visible and invisible that beset us. Thou, having relinquished the corruptible crown of earthly rule, didst choose the life of silence, and now reignest in heaven, rightfully crowned with a garland incorruptible; ask thou for us, we humbly entreat thee, a life quiet and untroubled, and intercede that our path may lead us unwaveringly to the Eternal Kingdom. Thou that standest with all the Saints before the throne of God, pray for all Orthodox Christians, that the Lord God by His Grace may preserve His community in peace, and that we may ever glorify and bless God, Who is One in the Holy Trinity: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: the Holy Apostles Archippus & Philemon & those with them.

Sunday November 22/ December 5: the Holy Apostles Archippus & Philemon & those with them.

Saints Archippus, Philemon and Apphia, Apostles of the Seventy were students and companions of the holy Apostle Paul. In the Epistle to Philemon, the Apostle Paul names Saint Archippus as his companion, and mentions him again in the Epistle to the Colossians (Col. 4:17).

Saint Archippus was bishop of the city of Colossae in Phrygia. Saint Philemon was an eminent citizen of this city, and the Christians gathered in his home to celebrate church services. He was also made a bishop by Saint Paul and he went about the cities of Phrygia, preaching the Gospel. Later on, he became archpastor of the city of Gaza. Saint Apphia, his wife, took the sick and vagrants into her home, zealously attending to them. She was her husband’s co-worker in proclaiming the Word of God.

During the persecution against Christians under the emperor Nero (54-68), the holy Apostles Archippus and Philemon and Apphia were brought to trial by the ruler Artocles for confessing faith in Christ. Saint Archippus was brutally slashed with knives. After torture, they buried Saints Philemon and Apphia up to the waist in the ground, and stoned them until they died.

Source: The Orthodox Church of America

Ode I, Canon of the feast, the acrostic whereof is “O Lady, grant thou grace and discourse”, the composition of George, in Tone IV:

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure one, we know thee to be a treasury of wisdom and an ever-flowing fountain of grace; and we pray thee rain down upon us knowledge, that we may praise thee forever.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Being a temple and palace more exalted than the heavens, O most pure one, thou wast set apart in the Temple of God to be prepared as a divine dwelling-place for His advent.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Shining with the Light of grace, the Theotokos hath illumined all and assembled us to adorn her most splendid festival. Come ye, let us draw nigh to her!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The glorious portal which surpasseth human thought, having opened the doors of the Temple of God, doth now command us who have assembled to delight in her divine wonders.

Canon of the saints, the acrostic whereof is “I glorify thee who lovest Christ, O Philemon”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone II:

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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Joining chorus joyously in the mansions of heaven, O accomplisher of sacred things, grant grace unto me who hymn thy holy memory in a godly manner, for thou hast been glorified.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

Giving drink to men’s hearts with the streams of thy words, O blessed and right wondrous Apostle Philemon, thou hast prepared them to accomplish divine understandings with faith.

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

Having delivered men’s souls from the gloom of the madness of idolatry, O wise apostle, thou hast illumined them with the splendors of the Spirit, doing the sanctified works of the sacred Gospel.

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

O pure one, of old the divine assembly of the prophets truly described thee from afar in many and varied images, as the only one who gave birth to the Master.

Ode III, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: O Theotokos, thou living and plentiful fount, * establish in spiritual fellowship those who sing hymns of praise * of thine honored entry: * grant them crowns of glory.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving the pure and undefiled one, who is more splendid than all creation, the animate bridal chamber of God, the beautiful Temple and chamber doth appear today like a bride adorned for her wedding.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

David, preceding the chorus, doth leap and dance with us, declaring thee, O allpure one, to be the queen all-adorned, standing in the Temple before our King and God, O most pure one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

From her, whom transgressions issued forth among the race of mankind, hath her correction and incorruption blossomed forth, the Theotokos, who is led today into the house of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The angelic armies and the multitudes of all mankind leap for joy, and they advance as lamp-bearers before thy countenance, proclaiming thy majesty in the house of God.

Canon of the Saints, 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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Preaching the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, O right glorious Philemon, thou dost raise us up from the tomb of unbelief and mortality.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

With sacred hymnody let us praise the godly Onesimus and Philemon, Apphia and Archippus, the stars who illumine the ends of the earth.

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

Having purified the eyes of your mind, ye received divine vision and have raised erring hearts up to knowledge, O most sacred ones.

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

Having been shown to be pure and supremely incorrupt, O Virgin, thou didst receive within thy womb God the Word Who hath cleansed nature, which had been defiled by our fall into sin.

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

Kontakion of the saints, Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest …”: Let us praise the apostles of Christ, * the glorious Philemon, the sacred Archippus, Onesimus, Mark and Apollos, * and with them the all-wise Apphia * as most radiant stars illumining the ends of the earth; ** and let us cry out: Pray ye unceasingly on behalf of us all!

Sessional Hymn of the apostle, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: Cultivating stony hearts with the plough of the word, O sacred husbandman, thou didst prepare them for divine knowledge, and, casting down the temples of the idols, O blessed one, thou didst erect churches to the glory of thy Creator. Wherefore, assembling, we who are illumined in a most sacred manner glorify thy holy memory, O Philemon, and cry out to thee together: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who honor thy holy memory with love.

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

Sessional Hymn of the feast, in the same tone, Spec. Mel.: “That which was mystically commanded …”: Let David the psalmist rejoice, and let Joachim and Anna join chorus, for the radiant Mary, the divine lamp, issued forth from them like a holy fruit, and she rejoiceth, entering the temple, and beholding her, the son of Barachiah blessed her, and, rejoicing, cried aloud: “Rejoice, O wonder of the universe!”

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Temple of God, receiving today the portal through whom none may pass, hath ceased to perform any service of the Law, crying: Truly truth hath appeared to those who are on earth!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The mountain overshadowed, which Habbakuk beheld of old, prefigured her who hath made her abode in the inaccessible chambers of the Temple, flourishing with virtues, for she doth cover the ends of the earth therewith.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

All the earth hath seen most glorious things, things strange and marvelous, for the Virgin, receiving food from an angel, doth receive tokens of God’s dispensation.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Revealed as the temple and palace and animate heaven, O divine bride of the King, thou art brought today to the Temple of the Law to be kept for Him, O most pure one.

Canon of the Saints, Irmos: I hymn Thee, O Lord, for I have heard report of Thee, * and I was afraid; * for Thou comest to me, seeking me who am lost. * Wherefore, I glorify Thy great condescension towards me, * O greatly Merciful One.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

With the Cross as mast and sail, thou didst pass over the cruel abyss of the temptations of life without foundering, O blessed one, directing many of those at sea to the harbor of salvation through divine grace.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

The godly city of Colossae manifestly setteth forth radiant luminaries: the sacred Archippus, Philemon and Apphia, and the glorious Onesimus, who enlighten the ends of the world.

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

A divine river arose in thy heart, O godly eloquent one, stopping the rivers and torrents of ungodliness; and through grace giving drink to souls parched by the burning heat of ignorance, O glorious one.

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

I hymn thee, O truly all-hymned one, who supra-naturally gave birth to the all-hymned Word of God, and I pray: In that thou art good, O Bride of God, heal thou the infirmities of my lowly soul.

Ode V, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: All creation stands in awe of thy divine glory; * for thou, O Virgin who hast not known wedlock, * didst enter into the temple of the Lord; * thyself being a most pure temple, * bestowing peace, upon all who hymn thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The most pure Virgin, the glorious sanctity and sacred offering which is brought today to the Temple of God, is preserved as a habitation for our one God, the King of all, as He Himself knoweth.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Zachariah, having of old beheld the beauty of thy soul, cried out in faith: Thou art the deliverance, thou art the joy of all, thou art our restoration, through whom the Uncontainable One shall appear unto me contained.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O, thy wonders which pass understanding, O all-pure one! Strange is thy birthgiving; strange is the manner of thy maturation; strange also, most glorious and unutterable by mortals, are all thy wonders, O Bride of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As a most radiant lamp, O Bride of God, hast thou shone forth today in the house of the Lord, illumining us with the precious gifts of thy wonders, O pure and allhymned Theotokos.

Canon of the Saints, 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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Seeing those ailing with the wounds of evil deeds, O glorious Philemon, by thine active discourse thou didst heal those cruelly sick with the madness of idolatry.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

As a sure guide, O Philemon, thou didst point out the paths of salvation to those grievously lost, and wondrously led them to love Christ, the only Way.

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

Today the honored Church of Christ in Colossae doth sing the splendid festival of the godly Archippus, honoring also the divinely eloquent Philemon.

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

O Lady, save us who are tempest-tossed by the cruel billows of temptations, the audacious assaults of barbarians and the attacks of the cruel demons.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou Who hast upheld all things by Thy word hast hearkened to the prayer of the righteous ones. Wherefore, Thou hast loosed the infirmity of the barren woman, in that Thou art compassionate, and given them her who is the cause of joy.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wishing to make His salvation known to the Gentiles, the Lord hath now taken from among mankind her who hath not known wedlock, as a sign of reconciliation and renewal.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As a house of grace, wherein treasures of the ineffable dispensation of God are laid up, O all-pure one, thou didst share in unfading delight in the Temple.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving thee as a royal diadem, O Bride of God, the Temple hath been rendered splendid and been elevated to better things, beholding in thee the fulfillment of the prophecies.

Canon of the Saints, 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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been revealed to be a heaven proclaiming to all the saving glory of Him Who glorified thee and numbered thee among His seventy apostles, O most noetically rich martyr.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

Having become a stranger to thy native land, with thy strange discourse thou didst pursue those who had become estranged from God, O hierarch Philemon, and showing them to be inhabitants of Sion.

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

Shining with sacred virtues, and splendidly pleasing God, thou didst hasten to the heavens, where thou dost rejoice with the angels, O Apphia.

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

The Word became incarnate within thy womb and became known as a man in His compassion, that He might deify mankind, O all-immaculate Maiden.

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

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

Kontakion of the feast, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: The most pure temple of the Savior, * the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, * the sacred treasury of the glory of God, * hath been brought into the house of the Lord this day, * bringing with her the grace that is in the divine Spirit. * To her do the angels of God chant the hymn: ** She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ikos: Beholding the grace of the ineffable and divine mysteries of God made plainly manifest in and filling the Virgin, I rejoice; yet I know not how to understand this strange and ineffable image. How hath the pure one alone been shown to be above all creation, visible and immaterial? Wherefore, wishing to praise her, I am greatly in awe in mind and word; yet, bold, I proclaim and magnify her, saying: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Lo, today a joyous spring hath dawned upon the ends of the earth, enlightening our souls, thoughts and minds with grace: the festival of the Theotokos. Let us mystically make festival this day!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let all things – heaven and earth, the ranks of angels and the multitudes of mankind – bear gifts today unto the Queen and Mother of God; and let them cry aloud: Our joy and deliverance is brought into the Temple!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Scriptures have come to pass, the Law hath faded like a shadow, and rays of grace have shone forth upon thee who hast entered into the Temple of God, O pure Virgin Mother wherein thou art blessed.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Heaven and earth and the netherworld are subject to thine Offspring as Creator and God, O all-pure one, and every nation of mortals doth confess that the Lord and Savior of our souls hath appeared.

Canon of the Saints, 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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Beautiful were thy precious feet, O Philemon, which meekly trod the paths of the Gospel, announcing sacred peace to all those who do battle, and hindering the assaults of the demons.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

The profound darkness of the Gazanenes was dispelled by the light of thy words, in that thou art a most sacred performer of the sacraments, O apostle, and among them thou wast most excellent, shepherding them all and teaching them to chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

The city of Gaza first shared in thy god-pleasing labors, being the first bishop there, O salvific hierarch Philemon, and as a sacred herald thou didst instruct them to cry aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

As a lover of Christ, Who loved mortals in His compassion, O Philemon, thou didst transform hate-filled enemies into loving friends through love, whereby they chanted unto God: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

O Virgin, thou art the strength of the lowly, the radiant lamp, the divine table, the impassable gate, the throne and palace of God, the staff of Aaron and the golden jar bearing Christ, the Manna of life.

Ode VIII, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: Hearken, O pure Virgin Maiden, * that Gabriel may tell thee the true counsel of the Most High of old. * Make ready to receive the Godhead; * for through thee the Infinite One hath come to dwell among mankind. * Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry aloud: * Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Anna, once, leading the most pure temple to the house of God, faithfully said unto the priest, crying aloud: Now accept thou this child, given me by God; lead her into the Temple of the Creator; and, rejoicing, chant unto Him: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

And Zachariah then, beholding them in the Spirit, said unto Anna: Thou dost bring hither the true Mother of Life, whom the prophets of God have clearly foretold as the Theotokos! How, therefore, can the Temple hold her? Wherefore, marveling, I cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The handmaid of God have I been, answered Anna unto him, and I call upon Him with faith and prayer to accept the fruit of my birth-pangs, that, having received this child, I might bring her that was born unto Him that bestowed her. Wherefore, I cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Truly this is a matter of the Law, the priest said to her, and strange doth this thing seem unto me, beholding her that doth most gloriously surpass the holy ones in grace led into the house of God. Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Canon of the Saints, 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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Bearing the word in thy heart like a splendidly lit lamp, O glorious one, thou didst raise up to the day of the knowledge of God those who before were like lamps extinguished and lay in the deep-darkness of ignorance.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

Thy sacred departure unto God was rendered magnificent by the sacred presence of the apostles and the incorporeal intelligences, whose life thou didst emulate on earth, as an initiate of the sacred mysteries, O divinely eloquent Philemon.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

Manifestly exuding the sweet-smelling myrrh of sacred miracles, O blessed and wise Philemon, thou didst perfume the minds and thoughts of the pious, dispelling the fetid passions of those who supremely exalt Christ.

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

Like radiant stars ever shining in the firmament of the Church, the wondrous Archippus, Apphia, Philemon and Onesimus illumine our souls.

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

Thy womb hath truly been revealed to us as a new garden of paradise, O pure Theotokos, producing the Tree of life, and it hath led back into paradise those who died through the fruit of the tree, giving them life.

Ode IX, Canon of the Feast, Irmos: In nowise may the hand of the defiled * touch the animate ark of God; * and let the lips of the faithful * never-silently cry out with joy to the Theotokos, * chanting the words of the angel: * Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! * The Lord is with thee!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O pure Theotokos, as thou hast the most radiant beauty of purity of soul and art full of the grace of God from heaven, with the ever-existent light thou dost ever enlighten those who cry out with joy: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thy wonder doth surpass the power of words, O pure Theotokos, for in thee I perceive a body impervious to the movement of sin. Wherefore, thankfully I cry out to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Most gloriously did the Law prefigure thee, O pure one, as the tabernacle, the divine jar, the awesome ark, the veil, the staff, the inviolable temp1e and portal of God. Wherefore, all these things teach us to cry to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

In hymnody David cried out to thee prophetically, calling thee the daughter of the King in the comeliness of thy virtues, beholding thee standing, elaborately adorned, at the right hand of God. Wherefore, in prophecy he cried out: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Canon of the Saints, 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 Apostles, pray to God for us.

Deified by divine communion, shining ‘with ineffable light and ever filled with spiritual joy, O Philemon, thou dwellest in the heavens with the most sacred choir of the sacred apostles as is meet.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

Wondrous is thy character, comely and beautiful thy life, and most glorious was thy repose, O blessed apostle, as the radiant day whereon, forsaking that which is on earth, thou didst ascend in gladness to the circles of heaven.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

Today the whole Church of Christ is glad, spiritually ordaining festive joy at thy memorial, for thou hast preserved it unshaken by thy god-pleasing supplications to God the Savior, O most sacred Philemon.

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

The shrine of thy relics poureth forth drops of healing upon those who approach it reverently, O blessed Apostle Philemon, for it banishes illnesses and hallows the souls of all who ever celebrate thy divine memory.

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

O all-immaculate one, thou bearest Him Who holdeth all things, and who didst nourish the Nurturer, in nowise experiencing the usual pangs of birthgiving. Thy wonder surpasseth understanding, and fills with awe both angels and mortals, who know thee to be the only Virgin Mother of God.

Troparion of the apostles, in Tone III: O holy Apostles * entreat the Merciful God * that He grant remission of sins ** unto our souls.

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

Troparion of the feast, in Tone IV: Today is the prelude of God’s good will * and the proclamation of the salvation of mankind. * The Virgin hath manifestly appeared in the temple of God, proclaiming Christ unto all. * To her let us cry aloud: ** Rejoice, O thou fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation!

The Advent Journey With the Saints: The Entrance of the Theotokos

Saturday November 21/ December 4: The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.

Dear fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters,

Greetings, as we celebrate the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple – an important marker in the long Advent of the coming-in-the-flesh of the Saviour.

As we have reflected many times in the parish, the Advent of the coming of Christ, was not one of a mere forty days, but of thousands of years, announced after the fall of the first-father and first-mother by the protoevangelium / proto-gospel of Genesis, Chapter 15, verse 3, where God addresses Satan:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

In this feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple, we see the Lord’s ongoing preparation of salvation as ‘the woman’, who has been chosen as the Second Eve enters the Holy of Holies, to grow in grace and holiness, ready for the Annunciation and the conception of Christ – the Second Adam – who will crush the head of the serpent, and destroy the hold of hell and death on all of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, from Cain and Abel to those in the future, who have yet to come into the world.

This feast reminds us that the Incarnation is not a random or chance event, but one planned by the Lord from the fall of his children, Adam and Eve – whom he still loved, despite their wilfulness and disobedience. This love runs forward to those who will be born unto the end of the world, and in the feast, we celebrate the Lord’s preparation of the Holy Virgin, as an instrument of His love for man.

Now we see the Mother of God as the spiritual fulfilment of all of these symbols, in an empty Debir (Holy of Holies), in a Temple from which Ezekiel, in prophecy, had seen the glory of the Lord gradually depart.

In the first vespers reading we heard God’s insturction regarding the Tabernacle, which preceded the Temple: “And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and shalt anoint the tabernacle, and all things therein; and shalt sanctify it, and all its furniture, and it shall be holy. And thou shalt hallow the altar, and the altar shall be most holy. And Moses did all things soever the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, commanded him. And a cloud covered the tabernacle of witness, and the tabernacle was filled with the glory of the Lord. And Moses was not able to enter into the tabernacle of testimony, because the cloud overshadowed it, and the tabernacle was filled with the glory of the Lord.”

… but in this feast, we see the Infant Mary who will become the God-Bearer as the new Holy of Holies, in whom the God-Man, the Glory of the Lord, will dwell; the new lampstand which will bear Christ, the Light of the World; the new table of shewbread, which will hold Christ the Bread of Life; the new laver and vessel of Christ, who is the Water of Life; the new altar of offering, baring the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world; the new altar of incense, whose own prayers will rise like clouds of incense smoke for the children of Christ’s Church, the New Israel of God; the new Ark of the Covenant, which will contain Christ who is both Lawgiver and the new Law, and the new Manna, who will tell the people: “Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever”; and the new mercy-seat, on whom Christ will be enthroned.

No holy-oil is needed for the consecration of the Infant-Theotokos, as the fulfilment of the signs and symbols these sacred Temple-objects, for in the Holy of Holies, she would be anointed with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, and in the fullness of time, the Holy Spirit would overshadow her. As the new Tabernacle, the Glory of the Lord dwelt in her: Emmanuel – God-with-us.

I wish you all, a happy and holy feast!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Canon I of the Theotokos: The acrostic whereof is: “O Lady, grant me the grace of discourse”, the composition of George, in Tone IV.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure one, we know thee to be a treasury of wisdom and an ever-flowing
fountain of grace; and we pray thee rain down upon us knowledge, that we may praise thee forever.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Being a temple and palace more exalted than the heavens, O most pure one, thou wast set apart in the Temple of God to be prepared as a divine dwelling-place for His advent.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Shining with the Light of grace, the Theotokos hath illumined all and assembled us to adorn her most splendid festival. Come ye, let us draw nigh to her!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The glorious portal which surpasseth human thought, having opened the doors of the Temple of God, doth now command us who have assembled to delight in her divine wonders.

Canon II of the Theotokos, the composition of Basil, in Tone I:

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let us hasten today, honoring the Theotokos with hymns, and let us celebrate a
spiritual feast; for she is offered as a gift to God in the temple.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With songs let us hymn the glorious arrival of the Theotokos; for today, as the
prophets foretold, she is borne as a gift of great price into the temple, though she is herself the temple of God.

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

The blameless Anna rejoiced, maternally bringing a gift of great price to
God in the temple; and with her Joachim keepeth splendid festival.

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

Of old, David, thine ancestor, hymned thee, O Virgin Bride of
God, calling thee the daughter of Christ the King; and, having given birth to Him, as a Mother thou didst feed Him with milk as a babe.

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

Ode III, Canon I, Irmos: O Theotokos, thou living and plentiful fount, * establish in spiritual fellowship those who sing hymns of praise * of thine honored entry: * grant them crowns of glory.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving the pure and undefiled one, who is more splendid than all creation, the animate bridal chamber of God, the beautiful Temple and chamber doth appear today like a bride adorned for her wedding.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

David, preceding the chorus, doth leap and dance with us, declaring thee, O allpure one, to be the queen all-adorned, standing in the Temple before our King and God, O most pure one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

From her, whom transgressions issued forth among the race of mankind, hath her correction and incorruption blossomed forth, the Theotokos, who is led today into the house of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The angelic armies and the multitudes of all mankind leap for joy, and they
advance as lamp-bearers before thy countenance, proclaiming thy majesty in the house of God.

Canon II, 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.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye who love the feasts of the Church, let us keep festival and rejoice today
together in spirit, and in gladness, on the holy feast of the daughter of the King, the Mother of our God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Rejoice today, O Joachim! Be thou glad in spirit, O Anna, leading to the Lord the three year old child born from thee, as though she were a pure and most immaculate heifer.

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

Mary, the Theotokos, the habitation of God, is led into the holy temple,being three years of age in the flesh; and, going before her, virgins bear lighted lamps.

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

The pure ewe-lamb of God, the undefiled turtle-dove, the
tabernacle containing God, the sanctuary of glory, hath chosen to dwell within the holy tabernacle.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone IV- Spec. Mel. “Joseph marveled …”: Tell us, O David: what is this present festival? Who is she whom of old thou didst
hymn in the Book of Psalms as the daughter, divine Maiden and Virgin? “The virgins that follow after her, together with those near her,” said he, “shall be mystically brought unto the King.” Make this a wondrous and universal feast for those who cry aloud: the Theotokos is come unto us, the mediatress of salvation!

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

Glory …, Now & ever …, in Tone IV & same melody: With gladness Mary, the Theotokos, is most gloriously brought into the house of God: the unblemished ewe-lamb, the undefiled bridal-chamber, whom the angels of
God, escort with faith and all the faithful ever call blessed and hymn her unceasingly with a loud voice in thanksgiving: Thou art our glory and salvation, O most immaculate one!

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Temple of God, receiving today the portal through whom none may pass,
hath ceased to perform any service of the Law, crying: Truly truth hath appeared to those who are on earth!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The mountain overshadowed, which Habbakuk beheld of old, prefigured her who hath made her abode in the inaccessible chambers of the Temple, flourishing with virtues, for she doth cover the ends of the earth therewith.
All the earth hath seen most glorious things, things strange and marvelous, for the Virgin, receiving food from an angel, doth receive tokens of God’s dispensation.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Revealed as the temple and palace and animate heaven, O divine bride of the
King, thou art brought today to the Temple of the Law to be kept for Him, O most pure one.

Canon II, 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!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Prophet Isaiah, prophesy unto us: Who is the Virgin Who will conceive in her womb, who springing forth from the root of Judah, and who shall give birth to the right glorious Fruit of the holy seed of King David?

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O virgins, commence ye to chant hymns, holding candles in your hands, and
praising the arrival of the pure Theotokos who now cometh to the temple of God, celebrating with us!

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

Rejoice now, O Joachim and Anna, leading into the temple of the Lord,
like a heifer three years of age, the pure one born from you, who will become the Mother of God.

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

As the holy of holies, O pure one, thou didst love to dwell in the
holy temple, remaining there and conversing most gloriously with the angels,
receiving bread from heaven, O Virgin, thou nourisher of Life.

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

Ode V, Canon I, Irmos: All creation stands in awe of thy divine glory; * for thou, O Virgin who hast not known wedlock, * didst enter into the temple of the Lord; * thyself being a most pure temple, * bestowing peace, upon all who hymn thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The most pure Virgin, the glorious sanctity and sacred offering which is brought today to the Temple of God, is preserved as a habitation for our one God, the King of all, as He Himself knoweth.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Zachariah, having of old beheld the beauty of thy soul, cried out in faith: Thou art the deliverance, thou art the joy of all, thou art our restoration, through whom the Uncontainable One shall appear unto me contained.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O, thy wonders which pass understanding, O all-pure one! Strange is thy
birthgiving; strange is the manner of thy maturation; strange also, most glorious and unutterable by mortals, are all thy wonders, O Bride of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As a most radiant lamp, O Bride of God, hast thou shone forth today in the house of the Lord, illumining us with the precious gifts of thy wonders, O pure and allhymned Theotokos.

Canon II, Irmos: Shine forth thy radiant and everlasting light * upon us who rise early at dawn, * unto the judgments of Thy commandments, * O Master, Lover of mankind, * Christ our God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O all ye Orthodox, let us take up lamps, hastening to glorify the Mother of God,
for she is led to the Lord today as a right acceptable sacrifice.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let thine ancestors be glad today, O Lady; and let her who gave birth to thee
rejoice with thy father, for their fruit is offered to the Lord.

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

Celebrating with faith, let us all hymn the unblemished heifer, most
glorious and of great renown, for she gave birth to the divine Bullock in the flesh.

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

The divine tokens of thy betrothal, of thy birthgiving which passeth understanding, O pure Virgin; are recorded today by the Holy Spirit in the house of God.

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou Who hast upheld all things by Thy word hast hearkened to the prayer of the righteous ones. Wherefore, Thou hast loosed the infirmity of the barren woman, in that Thou art compassionate, and given them her who is the cause of joy.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wishing to make His salvation known to the Gentiles, the Lord hath now taken
from among mankind her who hath not known wedlock, as a sign of reconciliation and renewal.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

As a house of grace, wherein treasures of the ineffable dispensation of God are laid up, O all-pure one, thou didst share in unfading delight in the Temple.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Receiving thee as a royal diadem, O Bride of God, the Temple hath been rendered splendid and been elevated to better things, beholding in thee the fulfillment of the prophecies.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye faithful, let us celebrate the spiritual feast of the Mother of God, chanting
piously; for she is more holy than the heavenly intelligences.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With spiritual hymns let us praise the Mother of the Light, O ye faithful, for she hath appeared to us today, going forth into the temple of God.

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

The unblemished ewe-lamb, the pure turtle-dove, is brought to dwell in
the house of God, for, as one all-immaculate, she was chosen beforehand to be the Mother of God.

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

The temple of God, the heavenly tabernacle, maketh entry into the temple of the law, and from her hath the Light shone forth upon us who are in darkness.

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

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

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

Kontakion of the feast, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: The most pure temple of the Savior, * the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, * the sacred treasury of the glory of God, * hath been brought into the house of the Lord this day, * bringing with her the grace that is in the divine Spirit. * To her do the angels of God chant the hymn: ** She is the heavenly tabernacle!

Ikos: Beholding the grace of the ineffable and divine mysteries of God made
plainly manifest in and filling the Virgin, I rejoice; yet I know not how to understand this strange and ineffable image. How hath the pure one alone been shown to be above all creation, visible and immaterial? Wherefore, wishing to praise her, I am greatly in awe in mind and word; yet, bold, I proclaim and magnify her, saying: She is the heavenly tabernacle!

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Lo, today a joyous spring hath dawned upon the ends of the earth, enlightening
our souls, thoughts and minds with grace: the festival of the Theotokos. Let us
mystically make festival this day!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let all things – heaven and earth, the ranks of angels and the multitudes of
mankind – bear gifts today unto the Queen and Mother of God; and let them cry aloud: Our joy and deliverance is brought into the Temple!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Scriptures have come to pass, the Law hath faded like a shadow, and rays of grace have shone forth upon thee who hast entered into the Temple of God, O pure Virgin Mother wherein thou art blessed.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Heaven and earth and the netherworld are subject to thine Offspring as Creator and God, O all-pure one, and every nation of mortals doth confess that the Lord and Savior of our souls hath appeared.

Canon II, Irmos: The furnace became bedewed, O Savior, * and the children dancing, chanted: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O ye who love the feasts of the Church let us join chorus and hymn the pure Lady honoring Joachim and Anna as is meet.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Prophesy, O David, speaking in the Spirit: The virgins who follow after thee shall be brought to thee into the temple of the Queen and Mother.

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

The ranks of the angels rejoiced and the souls of the righteous were gladdened, for the Mother of God is led into the Holy of holies,

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

Receiving heavenly food, she who was to become the Mother of
Christ God in the flesh, excelled in wisdom and grace.

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, Irmos: Hearken, O pure Virgin Maiden, * that Gabriel may tell thee the true counsel of the Most High of old. * Make ready to receive the Godhead; * for through thee the Infinite One hath come to dwell among mankind. *

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry aloud: * Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Anna, once, leading the most pure temple to the house of God, faithfully said unto the priest, crying aloud: Now accept thou this child, given me by God; lead her into the Temple of the Creator; and, rejoicing, chant unto Him: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

And Zachariah then, beholding them in the Spirit, said unto Anna: Thou dost
bring hither the true Mother of Life, whom the prophets of God have clearly foretold as the Theotokos! How, therefore, can the Temple hold her?

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Wherefore, marveling, I cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
The handmaid of God have I been, answered Anna unto him, and I call upon Him with faith and prayer to accept the fruit of my birth-pangs, that, having received this child, I might bring her that was born unto Him that bestowed her. Wherefore, I cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Truly this is a matter of the Law, the priest said to her, and strange doth this thing seem unto me, beholding her that doth most gloriously surpass the holy ones in grace led into the house of God. Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Joachim rejoiceth today in splendor, and the blameless Anna offereth to the Lord God a sacrifice: the holy daughter given her according to God’s promise.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The holy David and Jesse render praise, and Judah offereth homage; for the pure Virgin, of whom the pre-eternal God was born, grew forth as fruit from their root.

We bless the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit, the Lord:

The most pure Mary, the animate tabernacle, is brought today into the house of God; and Zachariah taketh her in his arms as the sanctified treasure of the Lord.

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

O ye faithful, let us truly honor the Virgin Mother of God, who is blessed by the hands of the priests, as the portal of salvation, the noetic mountain and the animate ladder.

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

Ode IX,  Canon I, Irmos: In nowise may the hand of the defiled * touch the animate ark of God; * and let the lips of the faithful * never-silently cry out with joy to the Theotokos, * chanting the words of the angel: * Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! * The Lord is with thee!

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

O pure Theotokos, as thou hast the most radiant beauty of purity of soul and art full of the grace of God from heaven, with the ever-existent light thou dost ever enlighten those who cry out with joy: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

Thy wonder doth surpass the power of words, O pure Theotokos, for in thee I perceive a body impervious to the movement of sin. Wherefore, thankfully I cry out to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

Most gloriously did the Law prefigure thee, O pure one, as the tabernacle, the
divine jar, the awe-some ark, the veil, the staff, the inviolable temp1e and portal of God. Wherefore, all these things teach us to cry to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

In hymnody David cried out to thee prophetically, calling thee the daughter of the King in the comeliness of thy virtues, beholding thee standing, elaborately adorned, at the right hand of God. Wherefore, in prophecy he cried out: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

Foreseeing thee who art pleasing to God, Solomon proclaimed thee to be the
bower of the King, the living and sealed fountain, from whence untroubled waters have issued forth for us who cry out with faith: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the all-pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

O Theotokos, thou givest to my soul the tranquility of thy gifts, pouring forth life upon those who honor thee as is meet, defending, protecting and preserving them thyself, that they might cry to thee: Truly thou art more highly exalted than all, O pure Virgin!

Canon II, Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

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. 

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

The divine maiden Mary, the fruit of the promise, issued forth from the righteous Joachim and Anna, and, a babe in the flesh, she is brought into the holy sanctuary like pleasing incense, to dwell in the Holy of holies.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

With hymns let us praise her who was a babe by nature and was supernaturally revealed as the Mother of God; for she is led unto the Lord in the temple of the law, as the fragrance of sweet savor for the righteous, as the spiritual fruit of her righteous parents.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

O ye faithful, with the angel let us fittingly cry out to the Theotokos “Rejoice!”
Rejoice, O most comely Bride! Rejoice, O radiant cloud, from whom the Lord hath shone forth upon us who sit in the darkness of ignorance! Rejoice, thou hope of all!

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

O pure Mary Mother of God, thou Holy of holies, from the snares of the enemy
and from all heresy and tribulation do thou free us by thy supplications, who bow down with faith before the image of thy holy countenance.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

With the Angel Gabriel all creation uttereth a fitting hymn to the Theotokos,
crying: Rejoice, O most immaculate Mother of God, by whom we have been
delivered from the primal curse, coming to share in incorruption!

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

O Virgin, thou hast been shown to be greater than the cherubim, more exalted
than the seraphim and more spacious than the heavens, for thou didst contain within thy womb our God Whom naught can contain, and hast given birth to Him ineffably. Him do thou earnestly beseech on our behalf.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

Triadicon: Let us glorify the indivisible Trinity, the Essence in three Hypostases, the undivided glory, Who in a single Godhead, is unceasingly hymned in heaven and on earth, piously worshiping the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

Refrain: Magnify, O my soul, her who hath been led into the temple of the
Lord and been blessed by the hands of the priest.

O Virgin Birthgiver of God, pray thou, that we who flee with faith beneath thy
compassion and piously worship thy Son as God and Lord of the world be delivered from corruption, misfortunes and all manner of temptations.

Refrain: The angels, beholding the entry of the most pure one, were amazed to see the Virgin enter into the Holy of holies.

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

Tomorrow: Saturday Events

13:00 Elliot’s baptism in the River Ewenny, Ogmore Castle – ALL WELCOME.
 
14:00-16:00 St John’s Christmas Fair, in the church.
 
17:00 Community celebration with a short Advent Moleben, the blessing of the Christmas tree,  and lighting up St John’s Crescent – mulled wine, street-food (Advent-friendly available) and mince-pies kindly provided by sponsors.
Confessions following the Moleben, and assistance tidying the church will be greatly appreciated.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Tomorrow, the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple, will see the baptism of our catechumen, Elliot, in the River Ewenny, at Ogmore Castle at 13:00.
In baptism, he will take the name of the Holy Hierarch Aldhelm, a musician-bishop, and fellow-native of Dorset.
We look forward to welcoming Elliot into the Ark of the Church with joy and anticipation, and anyone wishing to support him on this momentous day is most welcome to join us near the stepping-stones for the service.

As you are already aware, tomorrow’s confessions have to be accommodated around the community Advent celebration and turning on of the Christmas lights in the Crescent starting at 17:00.

Orthodox Advent prayers will bless this occasion, and this provides is a wonderful opportunity for the St John’s community and the local residents to encounter our Orthodox parish. We have been asked to be there for the beginning of the proceedings at 17:00, but I have been offered little detail regarding timings, making it impossible to give a confession timetable.

As it is a Fast, there are more people communing than usual and there are thirteen confessions tomorrow, so may I ask you to be succinct and sensitive to time when you are confessing, and be useful whilst you are waiting! I know that Mother Frances is worrying about the clean-up in St John’s and Orthodox hands will be appreciated in assisting her and the Anglican parishioners so that we have a nice clean and tidy church for Sunday worship.

I very much hope that I may be able to hear some confessions before the evening festivities and thereby ease the pressure a little, and allow parishioners more time, and that next week may see me hearing confessions over several days.

Please remember Elliot in your prayers, and support as many the events of the weekend as you are able.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Gregory Decapolites & St. Proclus

Friday November 20/ December 3: Saint Gregory Decapolites & Saint Proclus of Constantinople

Saint Gregory the Decapolite was born in the Isaurian city of Decapolis (ten cities) in the eighth century. From his childhood he loved the temple of God and church services. He read the Holy Scripture constantly and with reverence.

In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he lived as an ascetic on Olympus for a while. Saint Gregory preached the Word of God everywhere, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times oppressed, tortured and imprisoned.

Through his ascetic effort and prayer, Saint Gregory attained the gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. After overcoming the passions and reaching the height of virtue, he was permitted to hear angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. Saint Gregory left the monastery of Saint Menas near Thessalonica, where he had labored for a long time, and he went again to Constantinople in order to combat the Iconoclast heresy. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he departed to the Lord in the year 816.

Saint Gregory was buried at a monastery in Constantinople, and many miracles took place at his tomb. As a result, the monks removed the holy relics of Saint Gregory and enshrined them in the church where people could venerate them.

When Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the relics of Saint Gregory were carried to the region of the Danube by a Turkish official. In 1498 Barbu Craiovescu, the Ban of the Romanian Land (Wallachia) heard of the miracles performed by the holy relics and bought them for a considerable sum of money. Barbu Craiovescu placed the relics in the main church of Bistritsa Monastery which he founded in Rimnicu Vilcea, where they remain to the present day.

 

Saint Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople, from his early years devoted all his time to prayer and the study of Holy Scripture. The Lord granted him the great good fortune to be a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom (November 13), who at first ordained him as a deacon, and then to the holy priesthood. He witnessed the appearance of the Apostle Paul to Saint John Chrysostom. Saint Proclus received from his teacher a profound understanding of Holy Scripture, and learned to elucidate his thoughts in a polished form.

After the exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom, the holy Patriarch of Constantinople Sisinius (426-427) consecrated Saint Proclus as bishop of the city of Kyzikos, but under the influence of Nestorian heretics he was expelled by his flock there.

Saint Proclus then returned to the capital and preached the Word of God in the churches of Constantinople, strengthening listeners in the Orthodox Faith and denouncing the impiety of the heretics. He once preached a sermon before Nestorius in which he fearlessly defended the title “Theotokos” in speaking of the holy Virgin. Upon the death of the Patriarch Saint Sisinius, Saint Proclus was chosen to take his place. Having thus been made Patriarch of Constantinople, he guided the Church over the course of twelve years (434-447). By the efforts of Saint Proclus, the relics of Saint John Chrysostom were transferred from Comana to Constantinople in the time of the holy emperor Saint Theodosius II (408-450).

When Saint Proclus was Patriarch, the Empire suffered destructive earthquakes, lasting for several months. At Bithynia, in the Hellespont, and in Phrygia cities were devastated, rivers disappeared from the face of the earth, and terrible flooding occurred in previously dry places. The people of Constantinople came out of the city with the patriarch and emperor at their head and offered prayers for an end to the unprecedented calamities.

During one prayer service, a boy from the crowd was snatched up into the air by an unseen force and carried up to such a height that he was no longer to be seen by human eyes. Then, whole and unharmed, the child was lowered to the ground and he reported that he heard and he saw the angels glorifying God singing: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.” All the people began to sing this Trisagion Prayer, adding to it the refrain, “Have mercy on us!” Then the earthquakes stopped. The Orthodox Church sings still this prayer at divine services to this very day.

The Constantinople flock esteemed their Patriarch for his ascetic life, for his concern about the downtrodden, and for his preaching. Many works of the saint have survived to the present day. Best known are his discourses against the Nestorians, two tracts of the Saint in praise of the Mother of God, and four tracts on the Nativity of Christ, setting forth the Orthodox teaching about the Incarnation of the Son of God. The activity of the holy patriarch in establishing decorum in all the church affairs gained him universal esteem. Surrounded by love and respect, Saint Proclus departed to the Lord after serving as Patriarch for twenty years.

Canon of the Venerable Gregory, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VIII.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications, O blessed Gregory, enliven my lowly soul, which hath been slain by the passions; for thou hast now received the life which ageth not, having mortified thy members on earth with the struggles of asceticism, O venerable one.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Abstaining from the pleasures of the body with purity of mind, O father, from childhood thou wast an instrument of the Spirit, splendidly receiving His powers and being recognized as godly of visage.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With divine desire thou didst cause the desires of the flesh to wither away, O blessed one, espousing to thyself purity as a bride, from whom thou didst beget all the virtues as children for thyself, and who made thee a child of God, O ever memorable one.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O most pure and blessed one, thou heavenly ladder stretching from earth unto the heavens, ineffable is the wonder and incomprehensible the vision, for God the Word hath come down to mortal mankind! Do thou save those who have recourse unto thee.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch Proclus, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone I.

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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

The peer of the noetic archangels in activity and true discourse, O God-receiver, thou standest with them before the throne of the adored Trinity, O Proclus, Whom do thou beseech, that we be saved.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Manifestly following in the footsteps of Chrysostom, O all-blessed and ever-memorable one, thou didst receive his divine priestly vestments as a paternal inheritance, O right glorious father.

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

In that Isaiah of old cried out in the Spirit that God would come to earth, Nestorius, who blasphemously slandered the incarnation, was deposed in council by thee, O thrice blessed one.

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

With divinely inspired discourses thou didst explain the awesome incarnation of the Word of God from the Virgin, proclaiming her to be the Theotokos, following the all-wise dogmas of the apostles.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Having ascended the mountain of the virtues, O venerable father, thou didst enter into the darkness of vision and, comprehending, thou didst contain, as far as thou wast able, Him Who is unapproachable in essence, O father, being filled with enlightenment.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With heavenly light He Who was born in a cave for the deliverance of mortal mankind illumined thee like Paul, O all-blessed one, who of old wast dwelling in a cave, showing thee to be luminous, O father Gregory.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

The heavenly portal, the most pure Mother of Christ, furnished thee with wings, O father, who wast beset by the assaults of the demons, and through the grace of the Spirit rendered thee able to soar above them with strength.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Rejoice, O thou who alone hast given birth to the Lord of all! Rejoice, thou who hast mediated life for all! Rejoice, thou mountain overshadowed and unquarried, confirmation of the faithful! Rejoice, O all-immaculate one!

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, 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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Receiving light from Light in a most godly manner, O all-blessed one, thou didst become a light for the Church. Wherefore, the divine Light shone upon thee noetically, as is written, and, illumined thereby, thou dost enlighten those who hymn thy memory.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Sounding forth the thunder of thy dogmas, and as the walls of Jericho were cast down so were all the audacities and armies of heresy, and thou hast won the trophy of victory, manifestly proclaiming the incarnation of God from the Virgin.

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

Setting thy mouth to the well-spring of wisdom, O Proclus in that thou art pleasing to God, thou didst draw forth divine waters of spiritual wisdom, drowning the turbid rivers, and ungodly opinions of Nestorius, O all-blessed one.

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

The only-begotten Son who is ineffably understood to be with the Father on high, was the only-begotten born of thee below in a supra-natural manner past understanding, O most pure one; and hath deified mankind, O most pure Lady Theotokos. Wherefore, we call thee blessed.

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

Kontakion of Saint Proclus, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Thou hast appeared …”: Today the most honoured of all cities * doth truly celebrate as is meet on the feast of thine honoured repose, ** O wise Proclus, father of fathers.

Sessional Hymn of Saint Gregory, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before …”: Illumined with divine splendour, thou hast driven away the darkness of the soul-destroying passions, O most wise Gregory; and caught up to the most-pure heights of dispassion, thou hast most gloriously shone forth rays of healings, having made thine abode in the never-waning light of the Kingdom of Christ.

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

Sessional Hymn of Saint Proclus, in Tone III – Spec. Mel. “Of the divine Faith …”: Being a divine and sacred preacher, O all-praised teacher of the mysteries, enriching the Church with divine doctrine, thou didst proclaim the most pure Virgin to be the Theotokos and didst thereby put Nestorius to shame. Wherefore, we all faithfully honour thy memory, asking that we be granted great mercy.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

He Who in His goodness for our sake became a stranger by a strange descent, O Gregory, seeing thee a stranger for His sake, received thee who wast far from thy homeland and made thee a divine heir of His Kingdom, adorned with the virtues.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

For Christ Who for our sake became a babe and a child, O venerable one, didst thou give thyself over to a school of children, being as innocent as a babe, O divinely wise and venerable father; and with divine humility thou didst humble the malice of the enemy, O blessed Gregory.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Watered with the showers of thy tears as with divine dew, O father Gregory, thou didst cause every virtue to grow bringing forth the blossoming of fruitfulness from the tree of perfect fasting planted by the springs of water.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O blessed and all-immaculate Mother of God, heal thou the wounds of my soul, still the pleasures of the flesh, illumine my darkened heart, bring peace to my mind and deliver me from all the harm and assaults of the enemy.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, 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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

The resounding thunder of the words of thy proclamation and the teachings of thy doctrines gladden the Church of God with wisdom, dispelling the audacity of heresy, O all-glorious and sacred Proclus.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having purified thine honoured body by abstinence like gold by fire, O most sacred and wise one, didst thou present it to the Creator as beautiful. Wherefore, He hath forever bestowed the vesture of the priesthood upon thee.

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

Being a sacred hierarch, and accustomed to divine knowledge, thou didst generously grant the divine radiance of enlightenment unto all, for the salvation of souls, O right glorious one.

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

Having in a manner past understanding received the divine Ember in thy womb, O all-immaculate one, thou wast truly not consumed; for the bush of old prefigured thy birth-giving, for our salvation and restoration.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

By thine actions thou didst show thyself to be a fertile vine of the Word, O venerable father, bearing the magnificent ripe grapes of the virtues which exude the spiritual wine of salvation, making glad the hearts of the faithful.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Glorious Rome, receiving thee from the East with faith, O father, as a never-waning lamp, became enlightened by thy precious gifts; for thou didst have Christ within thy soul like a light illumining those who beheld thee, O father.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Walking the paths of life with godly vigilance as a favourite of God, as a husbandman of the commandments of Christ with the power of the Spirit, thou didst slay the serpent who lay in wait to bruise thy heel.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Ever-Virgin Mother, intercessor for the world, pilot me and guide me to the right path, and direct my thoughts along the straight paths of righteousness, setting aright the steps of my soul.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, Irmos: Thou 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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Radiant as a beacon, O all-blessed one, thou wast shown to be a champion of the Church of God, clearly explaining the nativity of the Immutable One from the divine and all-holy Virgin, O glorious one.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Placing the dogmas of the glorious incarnation of God from the Virgin in thy sling, like the godly David of old didst thou fell the audacious character of Nestorius as did Goliath the Philistine.

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

Full of the teachings of Paul, and having beheld a vision of him, O most elect one, thou wast shown to be another Elisha, mystically anointed with the priesthood as with divine unction.

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

God took upon Himself neither confusion nor co-mingling in the womb of the Virgin, issuing forth in the flesh; but what He had been, that He remained: revealed immutably to be both God and man in His activities.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Deified by mystic visions and divine splendours, and by thy yearning for God, O most sacred one, as a divine prophet, as a favourite of God thou hast been deemed worthy of the grace of God.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thou didst perfect thy life in silence, O divinely inspired one, and wast revealed to be greater than the tumults of this life, higher than the passions, and a strange wanderer throughout all the earth.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Like a clear mirror thou wast enriched with divine radiance; like a sacred vessel thou hast adorned the temple, O Gregory, illumining the heavenly Church of the firstborn.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Mary, pure palace of the King, having cleansed me who have become the impure den of thieves by thy supplications, show me to be a holy temple for Him Who was born from thee.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, 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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

With the noetic staff of thy teachings didst thou thou drive the proponents of heresy from the flock of Christ like marauding wild beasts, O blessed Proclus, leading thy flock into the fold of Orthodoxy.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Like another ark, through thine exhortations, O Proclus, thou didst present the body of the all-blessed Chrysostom to the Church of Christ, gladdening the choirs of the Orthodox by its arrival.

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

Ascending the great cathedra, O venerable one, with magnificent instructions didst thou adorn it in a most godly manner. Wherefore, assembling, we praise thee, O greatly wise and glorious hierarch Proclus.

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

Thou hast been revealed to surpass the cherubim, O Virgin full of the grace of God; for He Who is borne upon their shoulders, O pure one, was borne also in thine arms. Wherefore, we all ever glorify thee, O Theotokos.

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

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

Kontakion of the Venerable Gregory, in Tone III: The Church knoweth thee to be a sun radiant with the beauties of the virtues, * illumining all with rays of healings, O favourite of Christ. * Wherefore, we celebrate thine honoured memory * and honour thy struggles, ** O all-blessed and most wise father Gregory.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With the outpourings of thy tears didst thou quench the fire, O Gregory, pouring forth the water of dispassion and the pure beverage of healings upon those who chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Borne up by the perfection of honourable love as in a chariot of fire, didst thou mount to the summit, upon which thou didst acquire thy life, O divinely wise one, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With thy standing in all-night vigils thou didst still the threefold billows of the passions, and having fallen into the sleep of the righteous, thou hast passed over into the never-waning light, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O pure virgin, thou who hast given birth to Light, enliven me who am perishing and dying through sin; save me and rescue me from Gehenna, who chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, 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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having purified body, mind and soul by removing the passions, O wise hierarch Proclus, from thence thou didst declare the dogmas of God Who was born and received a body, soul and mind from the Virgin, without undergoing change, that He might save us.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having acquired boldness before Christ, O holy one, pray thou that those who with hymnody praise thy glorious memory on earth, hymning the praised and supremely glorious God, may be delivered from all manner of dangers.

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

Having kindled a noetic fire in thy thoughts, thou didst utterly consume the vile heresy of the abominable Nestorius; wherefore, we beseech thee: having burned up the fuel of our pleasures by thy supplications to God, O glorious one, do thou cleanse us.

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

O pure one, like the throne of the cherubim thou didst bear in thine embrace God Who became wrapped in the flesh, and Who beareth up all things by the word of His power. To Him do we chant in gladness: O all-hymned and supremely glorious God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Patiently sending up thy supplications to God, thou didst receive that for which thou didst ask with faith, O all-blessed one; for when thou didst sleep at night, an angel appeared to thee, who gave thee a fiery sword which cutteth down the passions of thy heart, cleanseth thee with immaterial fire and illumining thee with ineffable glory.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Like the most radiant sun hast thou shone noetically with the brilliant light of the virtues, O Gregory, illumining all the earth with the effulgence of thy miracles and enlightening those who piously chant: Ye children bless; ye priests chant; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Hearing the hymnody of the angels while still in thy mortal body, from which the senses of thy soul were manifestly delighted, O Gregory, thou wast shown to be godly and radiant of visage, crying out to the Master: Ye children bless; ye priests chant; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O all-pure one who hast given birth to the Judge and Lord, Him do thou entreat as thy Son, at the hour of judgment, condemnation and fire, of darkness devoid of light and the gnashing of teeth, to deliver those who piously chant with faith: Ye priests chant; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, 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 father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having cleansed the carnal passions like gold through purity in the glowing crucible, O all-glorious one, thou didst shine forth upon all, chanting: All ye works, hymn the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Adorned by the sound of the instrument of thine honourable tongue, the Church of God: hymned the descent of the Saviour to earth, manifestly singing for all to hear and crying: Thee do we supremely exalt, O Christ, throughout all ages!

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

Thou hast truly been shown to be a divine harp whose music soundeth for all who with faith accept the saving incarnation of God for us, O blessed father Proclus, who chantest with faith: Hymn the Lord, ye works, and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

God the Master, preserving the tokens of thy virginity intact, O Virgin, passed through thee in a manner past understanding, that He might save those who cry: Hymn the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Ode IX, Canon of the Venerable One, Irmos: Every ear is awestruck at hearing of God’s ineffable condescension, * for the Most High voluntarily descended and assumed flesh, * becoming man in the Virgin’s womb; * wherefore we the faithful magnify the most pure Theotokos.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With the sweat of thy fasting didst thou quench the burning ember of sin, O wise one, and manifestly receive graced from heaven in the guise of fire which burneth not, but rather bedewed and showed thee to be one mighty in strength over the passions.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thou didst blossom like a rose, like a fragrant lily, amid the vales of fasting, O father Gregory. Wherefore, thou pourest forth fragrant myrrh, and thy bones abundantly perfume our life; for thy cheeks have been shown to be full, like a cup, of sweet fragrance.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Today, the council of fasters and the venerable, the patriarchs and prophets, rejoice with us on thy memorial, O blessed one, and the apostles and martyrs celebrate with us. With them be thou mindful of those who honour thee with faith, O right wondrous one.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

The shrine wherein thy precious and much suffering body lieth, poureth forth the grace of miracles upon us, O father Gregory, sanctifying the souls and bodies of us who have been enriched by thee and have thee as an intercessor and fervent helper.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

We, the faithful, with the cry of Gabriel joyfully cry aloud to thee: Rejoice, O garden of paradise who put forth the Tree of Life! Rejoice, thou lifting of the curse, crown of martyrs, boast of the venerable and confirmation of the pious.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, Irmos: The Bush, which burnt without being consumed, * prefigured thy pure birth-giving, O Theotokos. * Wherefore we now entreat Thee: * quench the raging furnace of temptations that beset us, * that we may unceasingly magnify Thee.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Holy father, passing by images and shadows, and truly understanding Christ, having been reborn in the baptismal font, thou wast anointed a most sacred priest. Wherefore, thou didst proclaim as Theotokos her who gave Him birth.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst embrace the sacred character and dogmas of Chrysostom, O blessed one, and with his sacred zeal for the Faith, thou didst raise up from the noetic depths thy dogmas, which dry up the torrents of heresies with grace.

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

By thy sacred prayers bring an end to the turmoil which riseth up against us, and dispel the darkness of the passions and the afflictions of all mankind, in that thou hast boldness before our Master and God.

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

O thy wonders which pass understanding! For thou alone hast given birth supra-naturally to the Word of God, Who became flesh and wisely sustaineth, nurtureth, and preserveth all things by His divine will.

Troparion of the saints, in Tone IV: O God of our fathers, * ever deal with us according to Thy meekness. * Take not Thy mercy from us, * but by the prayers of these saints ** direct our life in peace.