The Canon to St Varus for Those Who Have Died Without Baptism

A Canon Of Supplication To The Holy Martyr Varus, To Whom The Grace Was Given To Pray For Those Deceased Ancestors Of Cleopatra Who Had Not Been Vouchsafed To Receive Holy Baptism: Tone VIII

Ode I, Irmos: The staff of Moses, once working a wonder, striking the sea in the form of the Cross and dividing it, drowned the mounted tyrant Pharaoh, and saved Israel who fled on foot, chanting a hymn unto God.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

O Lord, be Thou entreated by Thy holy martyr Varus, and clothe Thyself in mercy and compassions! Lo! they will be poured out even unto hades, O Thou Who lovest mankind, and, through Thy rich lovingkindness will bring pity unto NN., for whom we pray.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

O great martyr of Christ, be thou mindful of the afflicted and helpless NN. Who sit, unenlightened, in the gloom of darkness; and do not cease to fall down before the compassionate Lord, until He comfort them with His rich lovingkindness.

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

Thou wast able to make entreaty for the family of the wondrous Cleopatra, O glorious passion-bearer; wherefore, rendering aid today, thou art likewise able to free from torments NN., who are remembered by us, if it is fitting for thee to pray to the Lord for them: for the Master will comfort them with His rich lovingkindness for thy sake.

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

O good helper and Mistress, look down from thy glory upon the helpless who are in the gloom of hades, and behold the misfortunes of the pitiful NN. whom we remember to thee; and cease thou never to entreat thy Son, the compassionate Lord and Master, in their behalf, until He comfort them with His rich lovingkindness.

Ode III, Irmos: O Christ, Who in the beginning established the heavens in wisdom and founded the earth upon the waters, make me steadfast upon the rock of Thy commandments; for none is holy as Thee, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Move thou the choir of the holy hosts of heaven to make supplication with thee, O martyr, and do thou a thing all-wondrous, great and honourable, which will bring even greater joy unto those who have no hope and consolation and are without expectation: our ancestors who died a bitter death outside the Faith, and NN., who are remembered with them, that the Lord may grant them forgiveness and great mercy.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

O excellent passion-bearer, beloved of Christ! Thou knowest how desirable and joyful freedom is for those in torment; wherefore, the joy of our kin and NN. with them, who have incurred everlasting torments because of their unbelief, will know no bounds if thou wilt ask the Lord to grant them forgiveness and great mercy.

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

O Varus, right victorious athlete, be thou merciful to our entreaties, and look upon NN., who are in desperate need; and moved by pity, do thou thyself earnestly pray to the Master Who loveth mankind, that He grant them forgiveness and great mercy.

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

O Mary our Mistress, thou hope of the universe, divinely acceptable habitation, our reconciliation with God: Accept the petitions of this present intercession, and cease not to beseech thy Son, the Lord of all, that for thy sake He grant forgiveness and great mercy unto the hopeless NN.

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

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

Sessional hymn, Tone V: Pray thou for the whole world, O great-martyr, and cease not to ask mercy for all sinners who have in divers ways grievously offended the Master and continue to offend him, who by mortal works have utterly done themselves to death and acquired nought, since they have wrought evil. And intercede also, O passion-bearer, for our departed kinfolk, NN., beginning as is possible; and cease not to pray and fall down before the Lord Who hath mercy on all, that He forgive and have mercy on those who sit in darkness and are embittered with exceeding great bitterness.

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

Another sessional hymn, Tone III: O great Varus, dweller in everlasting joy and namesake of heavenly rest: With boldness thou darest to remember before the Lord the redeeming qualities of our forebears; for even though we cannot place thee in their graves, yet do we beseech thee to add thy prayers to our earnest supplications that they be granted pity. Wherefore, fall down and pray, for the Master will not reject thine intercession, but, inclined by His infinite goodness, will send deliverance and great mercy upon those who are embittered with exceeding great bitterness.

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

O all-radiant Lady, who art hymned above all and art continually magnified by the heavenly hosts, Mother of the King of all: Since thy glory and greatness are increased where and when He desireth, when thou helpest sinners and coverest the whole world with thy supplications, O Mistress, increase the majesty of thy sublimity, and by thy fervent supplications deliver from grievous torments our unbelieving and unbaptized kinfolk and NN., who are commemorated with them; and grant them deliverance and great mercy.

Ode IV, Irmos: Thou art my strength, O Lord, Thou art my power; Thou art my God, Thou art my joy, Who, without leaving the bosom of the Father, hast visited our lowliness. Wherefore, with the Prophet Habbakuk I cry unto Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Since thou lovest all who have recourse to thee with faith, O passion-bearer, thou hast won the love of those who make entreaty unto thee. What other thing, desiring to glorify thee, will He Who loveth mankind do if not to bestow the asked-for mercy upon the compunctionate, the eternal prisoners bereft of all joy, NN. As before, O valiant martyr, fail not in thy prayers for them.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Cruel winter, barren of salvation, and joyless lamentation lie upon the ungodly who have died, in the place where NN., whom we remember, are assigned. But haste thou, O passion-bearer, to unite them to the race of the righteous, and fail not in thy prayers for them.

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

Let not the gloomy prison of hades forever hold our ancestors and kinfolk, and all who are remembered with them, NN. Since thou, the wondrous athlete, hast set at nought the power of unbelief and the might of sin, so as before with the family of Cleopatra, fail not in thy prayers for them, that they may be forgiven, O martyr.

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

Through thee, O all-pure one, have we come to know how to glorify the Creator of all things; through thee are we wont to magnify the true Saviour Who came forth from thee bearing flesh. We praise and bow down before thee, the Mistress, and pray: Have mercy on the our kinfolk NN. who have died in unbelief, and fail not in thy prayers to thy Son, that He deliver them.

Ode V, Irmos: Wherefore hast Thou turned Thy face from me, O Light never-waning? And why hath a strange darkness covered me, wretch that I am? But turn me, and guide my steps to the light of Thy commandments, I pray.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Every gift and every mercy poured forth from the merciful Lord, though allwondrous and all-marvelous, when brought to bear to accomplish the forgiveness of NN. who have died in impiety, impart excellent magnitude thereto. Wherefore, today also do thou make haste to entreat the Master, O martyr, that He work great things.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Turn not away from our compunction, O Lord, neither be Thou mindful of the multitude of our sins; rather, remember Thy mercies which are from of old, and in Thy compassions, and for the sake of the valiant athlete Varus, exhaust not the riches of Thine infinite lovingkindness, but pour forth Thy mercies and forgiveness upon NN., whom we remember.

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

If the Master’s love for mankind extendeth even unto those afar off at sea, O great-martyr, stand forth today and, falling down, beseech Him to have mercy on those far away from the Faith, our kinfolk who have died unbaptized, and NN., who are commemorated with them, that He may grant them forgiveness and great mercy.

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

Intercede, O Mistress, for our weakness, and be thou constantly with us in time of need, helping us everywhere and always; for thou art the hope and expectation of Christians. Wherefore, reject not our petitions, but fulfil and perfect them by thine incomprehensible grace.

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

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Let not the pride of the enemy rejoice, having seized men’s souls as plunder; but by thy fervent supplications do thou, O martyr, destroy his desires, entreating the Lord to forgive NN., whom we remember, and to deliver them and us from everlasting torment.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

The inspiration for our feat of prayer is the forgiveness of the family of Cleopatra, whence we have conceived the thought to move thee to make supplication. Disdain not NN., whom we remember, O great-martyr, and reject not their sinful state; but making haste, ask of Christ the Master that He grant them forgiveness and deliverance from bitter torments.

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

Assuming boldness, O passion-bearer, ask of the King of heaven that He grant the joy of remission instead of dread punishment unto those who have met an evil end because of their unbelief, and whose hope of good things hath utterly perished because they have angered God; and having led them up from bitterness, preserve them in the mercy of the Master.

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

What evil can prevail over thy maternal supplications, O Mistress? For truly, if thou wilt stand forth today and make supplication for NN., for whom we ask thee to pray, thou shalt obtain for them joyous forgiveness, deliverance and great mercy.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone IV: Following Christ, O martyr Varus, and draining His cup, thou wast crowned with the wreath of martyrdom and joinest chorus with the angels. Pray thou without ceasing for our souls.

Ikos: Be thou mindful of our words, O splendid denizen of heaven, glorious Varus, great-martyr of Christ, namesake of everlasting rest, who by thy great sufferings didst obtain an impassable and splendid resting-place, far from inescapable imprisonment, unceasing retribution and want: Haste thou by thy God-pleasing supplications to deliver His compunctionate servants NN., for whose sake we entreat thee, standing before thee and crying out with earnestness: Fulfil our petitions, O holy one, and beseech Christ God unceasingly in behalf of our souls.

Ode VII, Irmos: Once, in Babylon, the fire stood in awe of the condescension of God; wherefore, the youths, dancing with joyous step in the furnace, as in a meadow, chanted: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

As Thou dost enlighten all like the sun, O Lord, and lettest rain fall in abundance upon all, and unceasingly bestowest mercy upon those who anger Thee, hearken now unto Varus, Thine athlete, and pour forth Thy mercy utterly upon our kinfolk who have been separated from Thee, and upon the unbelieving NN., whom we remember, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Now as before, be Thou compassionate, O Lord, and allowing Thyself to be entreated, O Master, as Thou didst with Cleopatra, so do Thou deal with us, O Merciful One: Send forth Thy compassions and lovingkindness upon NN., whom we remember, for Thou art the inexhaustible Well-spring of mercy.

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

The prophet, soaring aloft, hymneth Thy mercies, O Lord, unto the ages, and we also believe that Thou hast not diminished in Thy compassions, for the bounds of Thy lovingkindness are infinite. We entreat Thee to pour forth mercies from the abyss thereof upon NN., who have been drowned in the depths, and fill them therewith, for the sake of the martyr, O our Master.

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

He who is most wise among the prophets calleth thee the mountain; and we believe him when he saith that from thee, without the interference of man, the Stone of the divine Offspring issued forth, from Whom we have received salvation and release from the depths of hades. O Mistress, lead up from hades NN., whom we remember today, that we may unceasingly magnify thee, the most merciful one.

Ode VIII, Irmos: When the musical instruments sounded and innumerable were those who worshiped the image in Dura, the three youths, refusing to obey the tyrant’s command, hymned and glorified the Lord for all ages.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

Let Thine ancient words of mercy, which bespeak the hope that we will be lifted up, be fulfilled, O Lord, for Thou didst hearken to Thy saints when they besought Thee to have mercy on those who died in unbelief. And today we bring them before Thee, O Lord, to pray that for the sake of their entreaties Thou mightest have pity on NN., who have died outside of Orthodoxy, O Master, and have offended Thee, whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

O Lamb of God Who hast redeemed us by Thy precious Blood, Who didst hearken to the plea of Thecla and the blessed Gregory, who didst accept the petitions of Methodius, Macarius and many others, bestowing joy and deliverance upon those who died in wicked religions, and moved Chrysostom to write that we pray for them: Accept, O Master, with him the glorious Varus, and by their supplications forgive and have mercy on NN., whom we remember.

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

Entreat joy for us, O great-martyr, for we will be filled with gladness if we find that our kinfolk NN. are delivered from everlasting torments; for the Master always listeneth to thy supplications and fulfilleth thy petitions. Wherefore, fail not therein, praying even now, that we may continually glorify thee.

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

O all-immaculate Mistress, wondrous and unwedded Mother of the King, increase to abundance the multitude of thy lovingkindness and compassions for us who seek mercy. For where else may we find it if we do not make haste to fall down before thee? For thou gavest birth for us to the most abundant Torrent of delight, O all-blessed one.

Ode IX, Irmos: Heaven was stricken with awe, and the ends of the earth were amazed, that God hath appeared in the flesh, and that thy womb became more spacious than the heavens. Wherefore, the ranks of men and angels magnify thee as the Theotokos.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

O glorious Varus, in God thou art able by thy divinely acceptable supplications to obtain and pour forth mercies upon those who have been utterly separated therefrom. For there is but one Father of compassions and lovingkindness, and as Master all things are possible for Him. Unfailingly beseech Him, O athlete, that He forgive and have mercy on NN., whom we remember.

Holy Martyr, Varus, pray to God for us.

O great-martyr, accomplish thou an all-wondrous deed attendant upon thy glory: Ask forgiveness from the Lord and the assuaging of His righteous anger for our ancestors, who are embittered because of their dark unbelief, and for NN., who find themselves in bitterness and the expectation of the most grievous of torments, that thou mightest raise them up to a deliverance free of fear, where are the mansions wherein the Master placeth the forgiven to live.

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

What miracle is more wondrous than this, what glory more remarkable, what lovingkindness greater than when thou, O martyr, takest pity and entreatest the merciful Lord to remit the sin of impiety from NN., whom we remember, and to deliver them from grievous punishment?

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

O merciful Mistress, who lovest mankind and art not mindful of evil: Accept the urgency of our petition, and unfailingly intercede for mercy with thy Son and Master, that He have mercy and forgive the sin of heterodoxy for our deceased kinfolk, and for NN. who are remembered with them, and that He bestow upon them remission and a place of mercy which shall not be taken away.

Prayer: O Holy, wondrous Martyr Varus, who, burning with zeal for the Heavenly King, didst confess Him before thy torturers and didst greatly suffer for Him! Now the Church doth venerate thee, as one glorified with the glory of heaven by Christ the Lord, Who granted thee the abundant grace to approach Him boldly. And now, standing before Him together with the Angels, rejoicing on high, beholding the Most Holy Trinity clearly, and enjoying the Uncreated Light, remember the suffering of our relatives (and those we remember, and those we hold in our hearts) who have died outside the Faith, and accept our pleas, and as thou didst intercede for the unbelieving ancestors of Cleopatra and didst free them from eternal suffering, remember those who have died unbaptized or have been buried in an ungodly manner, or died suddenly, or by their own hand, or unjustly, N.N. …. and pray earnestly that they may be delivered from eternal darkness, that we may all, with one mouth and one heart, praise the Most Merciful Creator unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Translated from the Church Slavonic by the reader Isaac E. Lambertsen from The Holy Martyr Varus:

Prayers for Those Who Have Died Unbaptized, 5th printing (Moscow: Dunkan Service, 1996), pp. 4-13.

Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved by the translator.

Troparion, Tone V:  Thou didst follow in the steps of the martyrs and contend for the glory of Christ. Thou wast tied to a beam and restored by the Tree of Life, and thine intercessions gladden our souls.

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