The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Nicholas the Wonderworker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ministry of Fr Nicholas

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

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

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

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

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

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

Consecration to the episcopate

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

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

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

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

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

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

The First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea 325

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

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

Nicholas the Wonderworker

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

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

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

The saint’s departure

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKATHIST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified

Saturday December 5/18: Venerable Sabbas the Sanctified

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Sabbas, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Birinus of Wessex

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Hierarch Birinus, pray to God for us!

Dmitry Lapa

12/16/2013

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

 

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Father, Birinus, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Confession of Redemption and a Prayer for the Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: the Holy Prophet Habbakuk

Tuesday, December 1/14: the Holy Prophet Habbakuk

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Righteous Philaret the Merciful

Tuesday, December 1/14: Righteous Philaret the Merciful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theotokion: O Christ, we glorify Thee as One of the Trinity, for, having become incarnate from the Virgin without undergoing change, Thou didst bear all things as a man without departing from the Father’s essence, O Jesus, even though Thou wast united unto us. Katavasia: Scorning the impious decree of the godless one, * the Children brought up together in godliness * feared not the threat of fire, * but standing in the midst of the flames, they sang: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St James the Persian

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

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

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

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Standing now before the throne of Christ as one crowned, O glorious martyr James, by thy supplications grant me radiant illumination and grace from heaven.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Issuing forth from the east, O martyr James, thou hast shone upon us like a radiant dawn illumining the Church of Christ with the effulgence of thy sufferings.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Having shown youthful resistance, as a victor thou wast deemed worthy of the honours of a successful combat and eternal glory, O martyr James.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The trumpets of the prophets announced thee, proclaiming the mystery wrought within thee, O Virgin Theotokos, having beheld thy wonders from afar.

Ode III, Irmos: O Lord, who didst slay sin upon the tree, * firmly establish us in Thee, * and in the hearts of us who hymn Thee * plant the fear of Thee.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Thou wast like a choice vine of Christ, pruned with the sickle of torments, and which, bearing much fruit, is offered up in the winepress of the Saviour.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Thou didst sensibly perceive the corruption and instability of transitory things, O crown-bearer; and as one with a great intellect, preferred the stability of those things which abide forever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thy body, dismembered by the savagery of the torturers, won thee splendid crowns, O James, and the delight of the food of paradise.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Mankind, united hypostatically to the Master of all through thy divine birthgiving, O Virgin Bride of God, hath manifestly received mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Christ hath caused the godly and ever-memorable martyr James to shine forth from Persia like a star newly-appeared; wherefore, he hath dispelled the darkness of deception and shone forth the grace of the Spirit upon the faithful. Therefore, let us keep his memory with faith and cry out, saying: O much suffering spiritual athlete, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins to those who with love celebrate his holy memorial. (Twice)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Stavrotheotokion: The Virgin, the Mother of the Redeemer, standing before the Cross, cried out maternally, groaning with pain and tears: “What is this strange and most glorious sight which I see, O my Son? Thou Who pourest forth dispassion upon all men hast been crucified on a Cross between two condemned thieves, pierced in the side, and given gall to eat, all by hands which Thou didst make! But arise and grant remission of transgressions unto those who with faith hymn thy divine sufferings!”

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard report of Thy dispensation, O Lord, * and have glorified Thee * Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Revived by the armour given thee by God, O glorious one, thou didst reduce to ashes all the deception of those who worship fire.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Ask thou cleansing for us who celebrate thy precious memory, O martyr James, in that thou dost possess boldness.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

The torrents of blood gushing forth from thy members, O thrice blessed one, have quenched all the flames of delusion.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Direct my thoughts to the calm haven of thy dispassion and purity, O most pure one.

Ode V, Irmos: O Lord, Bestower of light and Creator of the ages: * guide us in the light of Thy commandments, * for we know none other God than Thee.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Thou wast truly like richly fertile earth, broken apart by the plough of bitter torments, O wise one, bringing a goodly harvest to the Creator.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

With the blood of the severed limbs of thy body thou didst extinguish the burning arrows of the enemy, O thrice-blessed one; for thou wast shown to be protected by hope and faith.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

As each of thy members was cruelly cut away, O most wise one, like a goodly lamb thou didst offer to Christ a hymn of victory and fitting praise.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou hast given me cleansing of the defilements of my soul, O glorious martyr of Christ, through thy pangs, bestowing deliverance through the streams of thy blood, O all-praised one.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Clearly offering a genuine cry to thine honored and awesome birthgiving with heart and tongue, we now call thee the pure Theotokos.

Ode VI, Irmos: Whirled about in the abyss of sin, * I appeal to the unfathomable abyss of Thy compassion: * Raise me up from corruption, O God.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Having sensibly accepted the instruction of thy friends, O glorious one, rejoicing, thou didst hasten to the struggle and received a crown of victory.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Suffering as though in another’s body, O martyr James, thou didst endure dismemberment, sending up hymnody to the Master.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

As a victorious martyr, O most wise one, thou didst manifestly array thyself in the robe of salvation and the vesture of gladness, which had been dyed in thy blood.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Having traversed the sea of martyrdom, thou didst receive a sacred crown of victory, and now joinest chorus with ranks of martyrs as is meet, O glorious James.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou hast given birth without knowing a man, O Virgin, remaining a virgin forever, showing forth the impress of thy Son and God, the true Divinity.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion, in Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest …”: Persuaded by thy good spouse, O James who wast patient of soul, * and fearing rather the dread tribunal, * thou didst spit upon the Persians’ command and the fear of them, * showing thyself to be an honourable martyr ** whose body was pruned like a vine.

Ikos: Let us all sigh from the depths of our souls, pouring forth tears as we envisage the martyr cruelly dismembered by those who were like barking dogs, and who, gathering together, tore off the limbs of the wondrous martyr, who was valiant in his confession. What then shall I say? If ye desire, let me tell all with zeal, how one day death came to James, whose body was pruned like a vine.

Ode VII, Irmos: When the golden image was worshipped on the plain of Dura, * Thy three children spurned the impious command, * and, cast into the midst of the flame, * they were bedewed, and sang: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

When thy body was dismembered, O martyr James, strengthened by divine faith, noetic might and spiritual endurance, thou wast unmoved and unshaken, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Having set thy thoughts on the goal of a higher calling, thou wast not overwhelmed when torments were poured forth upon thee; but, enduring the wounds inflicted on thee by the iniquitous as is meet, dismembered, thou didst chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Blessed art Thou, and well is it for thee now, O most blessed one, who vanquished the savage cruelty of the wicked one and the wrath of the tyrant, saying with zeal: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou hast been shown to be a candle-stand of golden lustre for the never-waning Light, the Candle of divine splendour, illumining all the world with the radiance of thine honourable virginity, and saving those who chant aloud: Blessed art thou who hast given birth to God in the flesh!

Ode VIII Irmos: God Who descended into the fiery furnace * with the Hebrew children, * and transformed the flame into dew, * do ye works hymn, * and supremely exalt as Lord throughout all ages.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by the power of God, O blessed one, thou didst drive off the assemblies and hordes of the wicked, and having mightily dispelled them, received a crown of victory, crying aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord! Hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Thou didst look upon the severing of thy members as goodly offerings, O martyr, ignoring the attendant pangs, but directing thy gaze rather to the beauteous crowning of the martyr’s which is to come, and which hath been prepared by the just Judge.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Having steadfastly acquired supra-natural endurance, thou didst remain like a pillar, O blessed one, fearlessly undergoing the assaults and receiving the darts of the enemy, crying aloud: Bless ye Christ throughout the ages!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

The soul-corrupting enemy, the author of evil, assailing thee with great fury, and inspiring the torturers to break the strength of thy soul, was unable to accomplish his ends, O glorious one, for Thou didst array thyself in the armour of Christ.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, we know thee to be the clear well-spring of immortality, for thou hast given birth to the Word of the immortal Father, Who hast delivered from death all who supremely exalt Him throughout the ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: God the Word, God of God, * Who by ineffable wisdom came to create Adam anew * after his grievous fall to corruption through eating * and Who took flesh beyond all telling from the Holy Virgin for our sake, * Him we faithful with one accord magnify in song.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Joining chorus with the martyrs, O thrice-blessed one, and standing as a martyr before the throne of Christ, by thy supplications deliver from cruel misfortunes those who celebrate thy memory today and with gladness honour thy radiant festival.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

As a martyr, O James, thou hast now truly made thine abode in the heavens, where the assemblies of the martyrs are, where the holy multitude of all the saints rest, where the souls of the righteous and the Church of the firstborn are.

Holy Great-Martyr, James, pray to God for us.

Thou hast taken thy place before the Saviour of all as a lamp-bearer, for Whom thou didst endure the severing of the members of thy body and with might ignored the fire and wounds of thy trials. Wherefore, with faith and love we all call thee blessed, O James.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Clad now in an embroidered purple robe dyed in thine own blood, thou dost reign with Christ, O James; for through sufferings thou didst find the well-spring of dispassion, in which thou hast been deemed worthy to delight eternally, O all-blessed one.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Manifestly ascribing to thee a title befitting the nature of things, and likewise offering up to thee a divine cry, we glorify thee, the Theotokos, as the one who conceived God and truly became the pure Mother of God.

Troparion of the martyr, in Tone IV: In his sufferings, Thy martyr James O Lord, * received an imperishable crown from Thee, our God; * for, possessed of Thy might, * he set at naught the tyrants and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. ** By his supplications save Thou our souls.

Another Troparion, in the same tone: Thou hast astonished all by thy terrifying torments * and the valour of thine endurance, O much suffering one, * most wondrously uttering prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord * as each of thy members was severed from thy body. * Wherefore, receiving a crown amid thy suffering, * thou hast ascended to the throne of Christ God, the King of heaven. ** Entreat Him, O James, that He save our souls.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Venerable Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis

Thursday, November 26 / December 9: Venerable Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis.

Saint Alypius the Stylite was born in the city of Adrianopolis in Paphlagonia. His mother, a Christian, was widowed early, and she sent her son to be educated by Bishop Theodore. She distributed her substance to the poor, then began to live an ascetic life near the church as a deaconess.

Saint Alypius, from his early years, wanted to devote his life to God and yearned for the solitary life, although Bishop Theodore would not give him permission to do so. Once, when Saint Alypius was accompanying his bishop to Constantinople, the holy Martyr Euphemia (September 16) appeared to him in a vision, summoning Saint Alypius to return to Adrianopolis and found a church in her name.

With contributions offered by believers in Adrianopolis, Saint Alypius did build a church in the name of the holy Martyr Euphemia, on the site of a dilapidated pagan temple infested by legions of devils. Beside the church, under the open sky, the saint erected a pillar over a pagan tomb. For fifty-three years Saint Alypius struggled upon the pillar, praying to God and teaching those who came to him.

The demons which infested the pagan cemetery fell upon the ascetic by night and pelted him with stones. Saint Alypius, wanted nothing to stand in the way of the attacks of the spirits of darkness, then even took down the boards that served him as a roof, protecting him from the rain and wind. In the face of the saint’s conquering steadfastness, the demons fled the place forever, which had been sanctified by his deed of voluntary martyrdom.

Fourteen years before his death, Saint Alypius was no longer able to stand. He was compelled to lie on his side because of the weakness of his legs, and endured grievous sufferings with humble gratitude. Around the saint’s pillar two monasteries sprang up: a men’s monastery on the one side, and a women’s monastery on the other. Saint Alypius introduced strict monastic rules for both monasteries and he directed both monasteries until his death. Saint Alypius reposed in the year 640, at age 118. The body of the venerable stylite was buried in the church he founded in honour of the holy Martyr Euphemia. The relics of the saint of God healed many of those who came in faith.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

The canon of the venerable one, the acrostic whereof is: “Rejoicing, I praise the pangs of Alypius”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone V.

Ode I, Irmos: Christ, who with an upraised arm * bringeth wars to naught, * hath shaken horse and rider in the Red Sea; * but Israel hath He saved * as they chanted a song of victory.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Full of grace, O Alypius, do thou fill my soul with joy to praise thy life and manner of living, wherein struggling, thou didst fill all the angels with gladness.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

God consecrated thee like a second Samuel from thy mother’s womb, O blessed Alypius, causing thee, as a divine prophet, to see things to come, O right glorious one.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

That God might reveal the splendour which thou didst possess in the latter times O venerable one, as one who would struggle well in a manner transcending understanding, He filled the house with divine light when thou wast born.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The saying of the honoured prophet hath come to pass; for, lo! the Virgin hath given birth in the flesh unto God, Who fashioned mankind anew who before was crushed by sins and transgressions.

Ode III, Irmos: By Thy command Thou didst establish the earth upon nothing * and suspended it unsupported; * do Thou establish Thy Church on the unshakeable rock of Thy commandments, O Christ, * who alone art good * and the Lover of mankind.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Set like a candle upon the candlestick of lofty activity, O father, with thy splendid virtues thou hast illumined with pious wisdom every soul which approacheth thee with faith, delivering it from the darkness of sin.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Directing the sacred movements of thy mind toward the keeping of the divine commandments of the Spirit, thou wast revealed to be an angel on earth, leading an angelic way of life in the flesh, O God-bearing father Alypius.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst wisely show thyself to be a recluse from the tumults of life, O venerable Alypius, eagerly undertaking the contests of the path of fasting, showing thy heart to be a dwelling-place of the Spirit.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O pure Virgin, thou palace of the Word, show my soul to be a habitation of the Spirit, and grant me to drink of the water of the life-creating Wellspring, for I am parched by the burning heat of sin, that I may glorify thee as is meet.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

Sessional Hymn, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before …”: By the radiance of faith and the light of spiritual activity wast thou truly revealed to be an equal of the angels on earth, O venerable Alypius; and manfully showing the strength of thy mind, thou didst vanquish all the assaults of the passions through fasting. Wherefore, as thou livest even after thy repose, pray that we be saved.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion in Tone IV: O all-immaculate Virgin * who hast given birth to the transcendent God: * do thou unceasingly entreat Him with the incorporeal ones, * that He grant forgiveness of transgressions * and correction of life before the end, * to us who, as is meet, hymn thee with faith and love, ** O thou who alone art all-hymned.

Stavrotheotokion: O most immaculate Virgin, * Mother of Christ God, * a sword pierced thy most holy soul * when thou didst behold thy Son and God * crucified of His own will. * Him do thou never cease to entreat, O blessed one, ** that He grant us the forgiveness of our transgressions.

Ode IV, Irmos: Habbakuk, prophetically apprehending * Thy divine self-emptying, O Christ, * cried out to Thee with trembling: * Thou hast come for the salvation of Thy people; * to save Thine anointed Ones.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Possessed of true love and compassion, steadfast faith and hope, and a guileless manner of life, O father, thou wast a favourite of Christ.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Standing upon thy pillar, unmoved by the assaults of the adversary, thou didst vanquish hordes of demons and wast an immovable foundation for the wavering, O all-blessed one.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Full of divine waters, thou didst bedew souls which were wasting away in the burning heat of grievous sin, O divinely wise and most noetically-rich Alypius.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou wast shown to be truly dreadful and unapproachable to all the demons, O Alypius, inflicting upon them wounds by thy sacred prayers, driving them far away.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Heal thou the sufferings of my soul and illumine my mind and heart, O Lady, who hast given birth unto the supremely good God, Christ the Bestower of light.

Ode V, Irmos: O Thou Who hast clothed Thyself in light as with a garment, * I rise early unto Thee and cry out to Thee: * Enlighten my darkened soul, O Christ, * in that Thou alone art compassionate!

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Placing thyself wholly in the hands of the Almighty, O father, and suffering greatly in thy standing without shelter for many years, through rain and the heat of day, thou didst earnestly endure.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Training thyself in hymnody and prayer, O venerable one, in thy purity of mind thou didst receive the grace of the radiance of the threefold Sun, emitting the brilliant light of healings.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Confining thy body to thy pillar, O father, full of light, thou didst permit thyself to pass unhindered to Him Whom thou didst desire.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou hast given birth, O holy Maiden, unto our holy God, Who, in His tender compassion, became a man and sanctified those who hallow Him with faith and fear.

Ode VI, Irmos: Calm the raging sea of the passions, * O Master Christ, * with its soul-destroying tempest, * and lead me up from corruption * in that Thou art compassionate.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

The spirits of wickedness, openly smiting with stones, thee who stood on the pillar like a steadfast stone, were in no wise able to shake thee.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

With patience didst thou endure for the Lord, Who gaveth thee true patience and delivered thee from all difficulties.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Most gloriously was a light seen above thy pillar every day, illumining thy spiritual senses, O venerable wonderworker.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

All we who are in sorrow have thee as a mighty consolation, a refuge and a renowned helper, O Theotokos. Save thou thy servants from misfortunes.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “As the first-fruits …”: Today the Church doth glorify and hymn thee, O Alypius, * as a cause of virtues and the adornment of fasters. * In accordance with thy name thy supplications grant deliverance from grievous transgressions ** unto those who with love honor thy brave deeds and struggles.

Ikos: Come, ye priests and princes, ye monastics and all ye divinely wise people, let us marvel at the godly life of Alypius, which equalled that of the angels, and let us emulate his deeds, that by his prayers we may be deemed worthy of his portion, O ye who love the feasts of the Church; for he happily chanteth a heavenly hymn unto God in accordance with his name.

Ode VII, Irmos: The supremely exalted Lord of our fathers * quenched the flame, * and bedewed the Youths * as they chanted in harmony: * O God, blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

The most patient and mighty Alypius, vexed by winter for many years, was most gloriously warmed by the fervour of the Spirit.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Possessed of a way of life which led thee toward the heights of heaven, thou didst disdain the body as something which was destined for corruption; and when it began to putrefy, thou didst pay no heed to thy pain.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Spurning all love of pleasure, O father, thou didst suffer, contending against winter and the heat of day, chanting whilst exposed to the elements: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Unapproachable One received noetic and animate flesh from thee, O Ever-virgin, that He might save those who chant: O God, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Irmos: Unto Thee the Fashioner of all, * the children in the furnace chanted a hymn: * All ye works of the Lord, * supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Thou wast revealed to be like a new Samuel, O father Alypius, foreseeing the future with purity of mind and foretelling to all, as a prophet of God, the things revealed to thee by the Lord.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Let Alypius, the favourite of Christ, be honoured, the luminous pillar of the Church, the immovable bulwark, the indestructible rampart of all those who believe in God.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst sleep well the needful sleep of the just, O father, having first lulled to sleep the multifarious passions by prayers and vigils. Wherefore, we have become rich, having thee now as an ever-vigilant intercessor.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thine Offspring hath now rendered fruitless the sin engendered by the malice of the serpent, O only Virgin, who hast abolished the curse. Wherefore, we honor thee throughout all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: O Isaiah, rejoice and be glad! * The Virgin hath conceived in her womb, * and hath borne a Son, Emmanuel, * who is both God and man; * and Orient is His name; * Him we magnify, and the Virgin we call blessed.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

From earliest infancy thy sacred life was revealed to Christ, shining with the light of the virtues, O blessed one; and thy death was precious in the sight of God, O father Alypius, instructor of monastics.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Like a most radiant beacon, thou dost illumine the whole earth, driving away the wicked passions, dispelling the darkness of sin, and enlightening those who hymn thee with the divine splendours of healings.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Contending most diligently like a spiritual athlete, O wise father, thou didst unflaggingly make thy stand upon thy pillar for fifty-three years, vexed by winter, frost and the heat of day.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thy holy commemoration sanctifieth by the Holy Spirit us who keep it in a sacred manner and hymn thee thereon with faith, O wise father, as the helper and intercessor of our souls.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Do thou grant unto me enlightenment, for I languish in the darkness of the passions, and am wretched and sinful; deliver me from my wicked deeds and from the flame which lieth before me, O most pure Lady, who ever intercedest for those who hymn thee.

Troparion, in Tone I: Thou wast a pillar of endurance, O venerable one, * emulating the forefathers: * Job in sufferings and Joseph in temptations, * and the life of the incorporeal ones while yet in thy body. * O Alypius, our father, ** entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.