The Advent Journey With the Saints: the Prophet Haggai

Wednesday December 16/29: the Holy Prophet Haggai.

The Holy Prophet Haggai was the tenth of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He was of the Tribe of Levi and he prophesied during the times of the Persian emperor Darius Hystaspis (prior to 500 B.C.). Upon the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity, he persuaded the people to build the Second Temple at Jerusalem, and he proclaimed that the Messiah would appear in this Temple in the last times.

 

The Canon of the prophet, the acrostic whereof is: “We sing the divinely given words of Haggai”, a composition of Theophanes, in Tone VII:

Ode I, Irmos: Unto our Immutable God, * Who brought Israel out from the Red Sea, * let us chant a hymn of victory * for He hath been glorified.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Standing before God as a true prophet with divine sight, O blessed one, be thou mindful of those who hymn thine honoured memory.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Having set thyself firmly upon the steadfast foundation of the virtues, O divinely blessed one, thou didst build thyself up as an animate temple.

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

Thy most pure mind which ever gazed at God as far as it was able, O blessed one, was illumined with the gifts of heaven shining from afar.

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

Having in her womb conceived Thee in the flesh, the Word of God Who wast begotten without mother before time, the Virgin gave birth to Thee, her Son, without a father.

Ode III, Irmos: The Church of Christ hath been confirmed by faith; * wherefore she crieth out unceasingly in hymns, chanting: * Holy art Thou, O Lord! * and my spirit doth hymn Thee!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Having released us from a cruel captivity to the demons by Thy divine power, O Saviour, show us forth as Thine honored temples, who cry aloud: Holy art Thou, Who savest our souls!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

O prophet, who abidest in the highest and fillest the whole world with sanctity, the temple showeth thee crying aloud: Holy art Thou, Who savest our souls!

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

The divine Spirit Who sendeth down grace upon all, dwelt in thy heart and taught thee to cry aloud: Holy art Thou, O Lord, Who savest our souls!

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

He Who is the Lover of mankind, Who wisely fashioned all creation by His word, fashioned Himself into our form through thee, O Theotokos, becoming a man in His loving-kindness.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Of the divine Faith …”: Possessed of a mind illumined by the divine Spirit, O all-blessed Prophet Haggai, thou didst foretell the mysteries of God, disclosing the revelation of things to come, and speaking of the fulfilment of things. Entreat Christ God, that He grant us great 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.

Stavrotheotokion: Thy pure Mother who hath not known wedlock, O Christ, * upon seeing Thee hanging dead upon the Cross, * said, weeping maternally: * How hath the iniquitous and ungrateful synagogue of the Jews repaid Thee, * which hath enjoyed Thy many and great wonders, ** O my Son?

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard report of Thee, O Lord, * that Thou hast appeared on earth to save us. * Wherefore, we cry aloud: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

To Thy prophet, O Christ, Thou didst reveal the Virgin – the animate temple, pleasing to Thee, from whence Thou didst come. And with him we cry aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Thou hast gathered to Thee all the rejected ones, O Lord, freeing us from slavery to the enemy, as the God-pleasing prophet hath said.

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

The salvation of the nations which would come afterwards didst Thou reveal to Thy prophet, O Christ, who crieth out to Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

Thou didst turn the curse of Adam into a blessing, O Lady, giving birth to Christ for our sake. To Him do we cry: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Ode V, Irmos: I rise at dawn to Thee, * and I cry unto Thee O compassionate Lord: * do Thou illumine my soul, darkened by sins, * with the light of Thy commandments, and guide it!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Grant, O blessed one, that those who celebrate thy radiant memory may become temples of the living God, establishing them on the rock of the dogmas by thy supplications.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

In that thou art our Benefactor, O Lord, grant us Thy peace, the peace which edifieth the soul, of which the godly Haggai foretold in the divine Spirit.

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

Truly great will be the glory of the Church of the incarnate Word Who hath shared human nature, surpassing that of the assembly of Israel of old.

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

O blessed and exceedingly glorious Mother who knew not a man, impart life to my soul, which hath been slain by sins and buried by mine unrestrained passions.

Ode VI, Irmos: Jonah cried out from the belly of Hades: * Lead my life up from corruption! * And we cry aloud unto Thee: * O almighty Saviour, have mercy on us!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Teaching piety to the youth, O blessed one, thou didst erect a sanctified temple to the Master of all, promising an abundance of good things.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

O Saviour, Thou didst lead us up from far captivity and the uttermost depths, bringing us up to the city on high, in that Thou lovest mankind.

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

Rejoicing, O prophet, through the illumination of the Spirit thou didst utter beforehand words of action, teaching us piety through justification.

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

Having of his own will fallen, Adam was expelled from paradise; but the Word Who was incarnate from the Virgin, calleth him back and leadeth him up to delight on high.

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 4: Spec. Mel.: “Today You have shown forth…”: Enlightened by the Spirit, thy pure heart became the dwelling place of most splendid prophecy; / for thou didst see things far off as if they were near. / Therefore, we honour thee, blessed and glorious Prophet Haggai.

Ode VII, Irmos: Cast into the fiery furnace, * the venerable children transformed the fire
into dew, * crying aloud thus in hymnody: * Blessed art Thou O Lord, the God of our fathers!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Having purified thy mind, thou didst manifestly receive the effulgence of the Spirit, O prophet, prophesying splendidly and crying aloud: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Having purified thy mind, thou didst manifestly receive the effulgence of the Spirit, O prophet, prophesying splendidly and crying aloud: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

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

Beholding thee passing through a most sacred life, God appointed thee the prophet of His coming, wherefore thou didst cry aloud unto all: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

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

He Who saved the three children in the fiery furnace, having made His abode within thy womb, O Virgin, doth save those who trust in Him and cry aloud: Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, O all-pure one!

Ode VIII, Irmos: The King of glory, who is alone without beginning, * Before Whom all the powers of heaven stand in awe * and the hosts of angels tremble: * O ye priests praise, and ye people * supremely exalt Him throughout the ages.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

We hymn Thee, the Master of all, Whom Haggai, the prophet of divine vision, hath taught us to worship and praise, singing: O ye priests praise! and Ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

We hymn Thee, the Master of all, Whom Haggai, the prophet of divine vision, hath taught us to worship and praise, singing: O ye priests praise! and Ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

When the unoriginate Word appeared in latter times, O prophet of vision divine, thou didst manifestly proclaim Him, crying: O ye priests praise! and Ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

He Who before was invisible and infinite in essence became finite and visible in thy womb, O all-pure one. To Him do we cry aloud with faith: O ye priests praise! and Ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: O all-hymned one, * who art higher in eminence than the heavens: * having seedlessly conceived the unoriginate Word * thou hast given birth to the incarnate God for all mankind. * Wherefore, we all magnify thee.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Having tasted divine vision which transcendeth description, thou didst put away earthly cares, O prophet, and worthily standest before our supremely glorious God. Wherefore, all of us, the faithful, call thee blessed.

Holy prophet, Haggai, pray to God for us.

Thy godly and wondrous life hath shown thee to be an intercessor before God, O blessed and divinely wise one; and thou dwellest eternally with the incorporeal choirs. Wherefore, we all ever call thee blessed.

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

It was fitting for thee, as a teacher of piety, to be with God and to mingle in His light, O blessed one: Entreat Him now, that He deliver our souls from temptation.

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

Truly didst thou supra-naturally become the dwelling-place and golden ark of the King of all, having Christ, the only incarnate Bestower of the law, within thee, O Birthgiver of God.

Troparion, in Tone 2: We celebrate the memory of Thy prophet Haggai, O Lord; through him we beseech Thee: save our souls.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: The Hieromartyr Eleutherius

Tuesday 15/28 December: Hieromartyr Eleutherius, Bishop of Illyria, his mother, Martyr Evanthia, and Caribus the Eparch.

Saint Eleutherius, the son of an illustrious Roman citizen, was raised in Christian piety by his mother. His virtue was such that at the age twenty, he had been elevated to bishop of Illyria. In the reign of the emperor Hadrian, Saint Eleutherius was tortured for his bold preaching about Christ, then was beheaded at Rome with his mother Evanthia. The Eparch Caribus, who had tortured Saint Eleutherius, also came to believe in Christ and was executed.

Canon of the hieromartyr, the acrostic whereof is: “Show me to be free of the passions, O all-blessed one”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone I.

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

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

By thy radiant supplications, O martyr Eleutherius, free me, who am held captive by the darkness of the passions, that I may hymn thee, the servant of Christ, with divine hymns.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Thou didst shine forth with the most pure rays of suffering, O most sacred one, with thy blood didst thou dye thy priestly raiment, and become radiant through the Spirit.

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

Cleaving unto God from thy youth with a most pure mind, thou didst drive carnal understanding away from thy soul and became enriched with the abundant grace of miracles.

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

Like a throne of fire thou didst bear the Creator, and like an animate bridal-chamber and a beautiful palace thou didst contain the King Who became as we are, apart from change and mingling of natures.

Ode III, 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 hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

O wise one who didst will to suffer for Christ, thou didst endure the wounding of thy body, finding delight in thy pangs and afflictions; wherefore, thou hast now received a life without pain.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Holding fast with the fervent desire for the Creator, O divinely wise spiritual athlete Eleutherius, bedewed by the fire of the Spirit thou didst submit thyself to fiery testing.

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

Shown forth as most sacred among priests and a martyr most steadfast among the martyrs, O blessed one, thou hast received a twofold crown, continually beholding the face of God.

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

Thou didst bud forth the Staff of strength whereby we are made steadfast; for the staff of Aaron, which once put forth branches, prefigured thee, O land untouched by the plough, O pure turtle-dove, O Ever-virgin!

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

Sessional Hymn of the hieromartyr, in Tone I: Spec. Mel.: “Thy tomb, O Saviour …”: Having acquired a mind free of the passions, thou wast a most dutiful servant of God, and didst free from delusion those who hearkened well unto thee; and having suffered as priest and martyr, O Eleutherius, thou hast received a twofold crown. Pray thou, that we be saved.

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

Theotokion in Tone VIII: Having fallen into the temptations of great cunning laid for me by enemies visible and invisible, caught in the tempest of my countless offenses, I make haste to the haven of thy goodness, O pure one, as to my fervent assistance and protection. Wherefore, O most pure one, pray thou earnestly to Him Who becameth incarnate of thee without seed on behalf of all thy servants who unceasingly entreat thee, O most pure one, ever beseeching Him to grant remission of sins unto those who hymn thy glory as is meet.

Stavrotheotokion: The Virgin and Mother of the Redeemer, standing before the Cross and lamenting with tears of anguish, cried out maternally: What strange and most glorious thing is this that I behold, O my Son? Thou that pourest forth dispassion upon all men art crucified upon a Cross between two condemned thieves, Thy side pierced, and Thou art given gall to drink by hands which Thou Thyself hast made! But arise and grant remission of sins unto those who hymn Thy divine Passion with faith.

ODE IV, 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 hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Neither the gaping mouths of the lions, nor the raging of the fire, nor cruel threats were able to weaken the endurance of thy strength, O initiate of the sacred mysteries; but, as firm as adamant, thou didst delight in tortures, aflame with divine zeal.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Full of life-bearing waters, thy mouth poured forth rivers of divine doctrines, O hieromartyr, engulfing the mockery of the iniquitous and watering the hearts of those who acknowledge Christ as God.

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

Glorifying thee greatly, thy Creator, for Whom thou wast zealous to suffer, O spiritual athlete, sent a dove bearing angelic food to thee who didst become angelic through the most radiant splendours of suffering.

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

The angelic armies were in awe, beholding how He Who is invisible became visible, through thee assuming a guise like unto us, O Virgin Birthgiver of God. Him do thou beseech, that He grant salvation unto all who glorify thee with faith.

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

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

The most wicked enemy, plotting to lead thee astray through deceitful words, O martyr, was shown to be put to scorn, the most crafty sage of malice being outwitted by thy wisdom.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Mounting the chariot of the divine virtues, O glorious one, thou didst reach the summit of martyrdom and didst cast down the vaunted pride of the wicked demons.

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

Desiring to behold the beauty of Jesus, O venerable one, thou didst adorn thyself with the beauty of martyrdom, and departed to Him, crowned with a wreath of splendour.

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

Every mind marvels at the wonder of thee, O pure one; for thou hast given birth to God in the flesh and fed the Nurturer with milk, without having experienced the temptation of a man, as thou thyself knowest.

Ode VI, 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 hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

The excellent shepherd of the flock of Christ, the most eloquent pastor, the path of struggles, is glorified, having glorified God with his members.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Given life through visions of God, thou didst steadfastly render lifeless the greatly crafty foe, O ever-memorable wise one, glory of the martyrs and rule of the priesthood.

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

Enduring wounds, entering the fire of thine own will, thou didst put down the onslaughts of the savage beasts, possessing constant love for the Creator.

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

Revealed as a tabernacle of sanctity, O Mary, sanctify my wretched soul, which hath been defiled by the pleasures, and make it a receptacle of divine glory.

Kontakion of the hieromartyr, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “The steadfast …”: We all praise thee as the adornment of priests * and the proclamation of passion-bearers, * O venerable hieromartyr Eleutherius, * and we entreat thee: * From multifarious misfortunes free those * who celebrate thy memory with love, ** praying unceasingly for us all.

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

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

Ikos: As Thou alone art the compassionate God Who is the Lover of mankind, O loving Bestower of life, look Thou upon the darkness of my soul, and with Thine omnipotent right hand free me from the oppression of the passions, O Word, that I may hymn Thy hierarch Eleutherius; for, truly acknowledging Thee from his mother’s womb, he became sanctified, and like Samuel was offered by his sacred mother to Thee, the Creator, unceasingly praying for us all.

Ode VII, 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 hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Shattered, O wise one, thou didst cry out: “May Christ now be magnified in my flesh! I fear neither the boiling of the cauldron, nor am I daunted by death or the assaults of wild beasts, for the sake of life!”

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

“Seeking the beauty of the one God, I desire to receive His glory alone! Let my whole body be broken and burned!” didst thou cry aloud, O glorious one; “I seek the freedom which doth enslave me to Christ!”

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

Looking toward the life to come, O blessed one, thou didst truly die to the world, and, burned with the wounds of torture, thou didst shine forth like gold and hast been laid up in the treasuries of the mansions of heaven.

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

The most pure Word, of God, Who was born of thy womb, found thee alone to be most pure, O all-immaculate Bride of God, purifying us the faithful of the defilements which have come upon us through the passions and lack of restraint.

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

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Blossoming, thou didst put forth a garden beauteous in the splendours of martyrdom, O adornment of the martyrs. Ye have now shown yourselves to be flowers of paradise, emitting a divine fragrance in a most godly manner.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Thy mother mingleth her own blood with the outpouring of the blood of thee who wast born from her; for, embracing thy body, O wise one, she was slain by the sword and liveth forevermore.

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

Thy shrine poureth forth the waters of healings and rivers of miracles upon those in need, who wash away the defilements of soul-destroying passions, O martyred hierarch, throughout all ages.

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

Like rain Christ, the only Benefactor, descended upon thy womb, O Virgin, truly watering all creation, and drying up the turbid rivers of the madness of idolatry.

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

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

As the mouth of God, rescuing vain-minded people from the mouth of the alien, thou didst show them to be heirs of grace; and suffering mightily, thou livest with priests and passion-bearers, O Eleutherius.

Holy hieromartyr, Eleutherios, pray to God for us.

Let Eleutherius be faithfully praised: the pure phial of the Spirit, the beautiful abode of the virtues, the innocent lamb, the ever-burning lamp, the foundation of hierarchs and martyrs.

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

Truly thou dost live in never-waning light, having become the most radiant light of the Sun; wherefore, by thy supplications to God, O Eleutherius deliver from the darkness of the passions those who celebrate thy radiant memory today.

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

Spare us who hymn Thee, O Lord, Thou ineffable Offspring of the Virgin, in that Thou alone art our Benefactor Who lovest mankind, delivering Thy servants from perils, passions and tribulations.

Troparion of the hieromartyr, in Tone IV: As thou didst share in the ways of the apostles * and didst occupy their throne, * thou didst find thine activity to be a passage to divine vision, * O divinely inspired one. * Wherefore, ordering the word of truth, * thou didst suffer for the Faith even to the shedding of thy blood, ** O Hieromartyr Eleutherius, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: The Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Lucius, Philemon & those with them.

Monday 14/27 December: The Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Lucius, Philemon & those with them.

The Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Leucius and Callinicus suffered for Christ under the emperor Decius (249-251) at Caesarea in Bithynia.

Saint Leucius, having reproached the prefect Cumbricius for his unjust persecution of Christians, was executed after being tortured. As soon as his head was cut off, his soul departed to heaven.

Saint Thyrsus, who was still a catechumen, was nonetheless eager for martyrdom. He was sentenced to cruel tortures and torments after refusing to offer sacrifice to the idols. Citing the words of the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 2:27), he ridiculed those who worshiped wood and stone.

The saint’s arms and legs were pulled out of their sockets, his eyes were plucked out, and his teeth were shattered with a hammer. He was taken to a heathen temple, where, by his prayers, he toppled a statue of Apollo. Cumbricius was enraged by this, and he ordered that greater torments be devised for the athlete of Christ. He endured them all and died peacefully after making the Sign of the Cross. The pagan priest Callinicus, seeing the bravery and the miracle involving Saint Thyrsus, believed in Christ and boldly confessed the true Faith, for which he was beheaded.

Source: Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the martyrs, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VI.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Standing before the throne of God, arrayed in the beauties of martyrdom and resplendent with divine effulgence, O passion-bearers, illumine us who hymn your memory.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Desiring divine beauty, ye reckoned the beauties of life to be as naught, O spiritual athletes of Christ; and dying in body, ye have been deemed worthy to receive life without end.

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

Denouncing the delusion of idolatry in a godly manner, O passion-bearing martyrs, ye endured the burning of manifold pangs and have now attained the life which is devoid of pain.

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

O pure one, thou hast given birth to the uncircumscribable Word, Who became circumscribed in a human body. Him do thou beseech, that those who glorify thee be delivered from corruption and the assault of the passions.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

The minions of darkness, cruelly lacerating thy body, O Thyrsus mighty in love, were unable to weaken the strength of thy mind, which was fortified by divine love.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O wondrous martyr Philemon, thy faith in the Lord was truly constant, and thereby thou didst put the false religion of the enemy to shame, crying aloud: “I am a servant of Christ!”

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

Thou didst go forth boldly to do battle with the enemy, O martyr, armed not with shield and spear, but divinely defending thyself with steadfast faith; and thou didst manfully cast him down to the ground.

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

One of the Holy Trinity, having become incarnate through thy pure blood in two natures, O all-pure one, hath issued forth divinely, saving the descendants of Adam in His goodness.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “Joseph marvelled …”: Protected well by the shield of piety, and arrayed in the armour of the Cross, the right wondrous martyrs of Christ humbled the legions of the tyrant; and, crowned by Him with the wreath of victory, they join chorus unceasingly with the hosts on high, and entreat the Saviour to save our souls.

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

Theotokion in Tone IV: Tempest-tossed by the threefold-waves of the passions, * I who lack conscience fervently call upon thee, O most pure one: * Disdain me not, lest I perish, wretch that I am, * O thou who hast given birth to the Abyss of mercy; * for I have no other hope than thee. * Let me not become a joy unto mine enemies, * nor a byword, for I trust in thee. * For whatsoever thou desirest thou canst do, ** in that thou art the Mother of the God of all.

Stavrotheotokion: The Virgin and ewe-lamb, beholding on the Cross the Lamb Who was born of her without seed, His side pierced by a spear, was wounded and with grief and cried aloud, exclaiming amid her pain: “What is this new mystery? How is it that Thou diest Who alone art Lord of life? Wherefore, arise, raising up our fallen forefather!”

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Desiring to confess the one Lord and God of all, Who alone is compassionate, through their sufferings the martyrs have received His kingdom.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by the power of the Cross, O martyr Thyrsus who art most noetically rich, like a youth thou didst endure the laceration of thy body, the raging of the fire, and the onslaught of wild beasts and the sea.

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

Adorned with the wounds of thy struggles as a warrior of Christ, O martyred spiritual athlete Lucius, thou didst render thy soul more radiant than the brilliance of the sun.

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

O blessed Mary, thou art the setting aright of mortals, and we know thee, alone among women, to be the Mother who knew not a man, the immaculate Virgin, the undefiled Maiden.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Sanctified in godly splendour by most divine rays, O all-praised martyrs, ye sailed across the inconstant abyss of ungodliness and have passed over to divine tranquillity

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Cruelly dragged across the ground and wounded by tortures, O all-praised martyrs, ye have received the honours of heaven, having now become fellow citizens with the angels.

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

Manifestly preferring to die for Christ Who loved thee, O divinely blessed martyr Philemon, thou didst treat the wounds inflicted on thy body as though they were made by the darts of children.

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

O Mary, good Lady of the word, save those who with all their soul confess thee to be the Theotokos; for thee, who art the Theotokos, have we acquired as our invincible intercessor.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Moved by the winds of the divine Spirit, O wise martyrs, ye most joyously saved the entry of your souls for the noetic havens, delighting together therein in deification.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Mounting the flaming chariot, O spiritual athletes, ye were caught up to the heavens by the blood ye shed, and having attained to the glory of God, ye have received crowns of victory from Him.

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

Philemon and Lucius, Apollonius and the ever-memorable Thyrsus, the four divine and radiant martyrs, have been enriched by partaking immaterially of the effulgence of the Trinity.

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

He Who as God transcendeth all creation, noetic and visible, passed, incarnate, through thy womb, O Virgin Mother, preserving thee incorrupt, as thou wast before birthgiving.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “The steadfast …”: Reviling the impious tyrant, * O champions of faith and piety, * ye denounced his bestial thirst for blood, * and, fortified by the help of Christ, * O Thyrsus and Lucius, * ye vanquished his wrathful opposition. ** With those who suffered with you, pray ye on our behalf.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Thou. With divine rains ye extinguished the furnace of polytheism, all-joyously aflame with divine love, O spiritual athletes; and ye now chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Casting your divine net to ensnare the persecutor, O right wondrous ones, ye drew him forth from the depths of delusion and brought him to Christ, chanting with fervour: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Showing unshakable resolve and a courageous mind, ye shook the foundations of delusion, O spiritual athletes, and ye now piously chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Past description is thy conception, O Bride of God; for thou hast given birth to God the Word, Who hath delivered mankind from all irrationality, and thou givest us the words to cry aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Defending yourselves with the shield of piety, and taking up the Cross as a spear, O Thyrsus of valiant mind, thou didst cut down the hordes of the invisible foe, O divine glory of the martyrs.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Aflame with love for the Almighty, thou didst manfully enter the tribunal of the tyrant, and, having suffered patiently, thou didst break asunder the great serpent, O spiritual athlete Philemon.

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

Showing forth the power of the enemy to be drowned in the depths of thy courage and patience, O Adrian, thou wast deemed worthy of the kingdom which remaineth unshaken throughout all ages.

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

Confessing thee to be the true Theotokos, like the angel we cry out to thee: Rejoice! For thou alone on earth hast given birth to our Joy, O pure, blessed and joyous one.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Emulating the suffering of Christ, ye endured the trial of many torments, O blessed ones; and when your heads were severed, ye were numbered among the ranks of heaven, resplendent with glory and adorned with divine radiance.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Thou didst dye thy robe purple in thy blood, O wise Thyrsus, and having gloriously arrayed thyself therein, and wielding the Cross as it were a sceptre, thou dost now reign with Christ, rejoicing with all the passion-bearers, O divinely blessed one.

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

The angelic hosts marvelled at your struggles, wounds, opposition and violent death, O blessed ones; and dwelling with them, O all-praised ones, be ye mindful of those who celebrate your memory.

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

In the guise of human flesh the Word appeared, born from thy womb, O pure and divinely joyous Virgin Mary, and, having endured suffering, He hath drawn to Himself a multitude of martyrs.

Celebrating the Forefathers of Christ

Come, ye lovers of the feasts of the Church, and with psalms let us praise the assembly of the forefathers: Adam, the forefather of us all, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and, after the Law, Moses and Aaron, Joshua, Samuel and David, and, with them, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the twelve prophets, together with Elijah, Elisha and all the rest, Zachariah and the Forerunner; who all preached Christ, the Life and Resurrection of our race.

Let us celebrate today the divine memory of the honoured fathers of all ages past: Adam, Abel, Seth, Noah, Enos, Enoch and Abraham, Melchizedek and Job, Isaac and the faithful Jacob, crying aloud: Let all creation bless the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Let us praise the divinely beauteous multitude of the divine fathers: Barak, Nathan and Eleazar, Josiah and David, Jephthah and Samuel, who honourably beheld things which were to come and cried out: Let all creation bless the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

With hymnody let us offer laudation unto the prophets of God: Hosea and Micah, Zephaniah and Habbakuk, Zechariah and Jonah, Haggai and Amos, Malachi, Obadiah and Nahum, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, together with Daniel, Elijah and Elisha.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: The Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes.

Sunday 13/26 December: The Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes.

The Holy Martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugene, Mardarius, and Orestes (the Five Companions) suffered for Christ under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) at Sebaste, in Armenia.

Among the first Christians imprisoned and undergoing torture at that time was Saint Auxentius, a presbyter of the Arabian Church. One of those who witnessed the steadfastness of the Christians was the noble military commander Saint Eustratius, the city prefect of Satalios, and archivist of the province. He was secretly a Christian, and when he openly confessed his faith, he was subjected to torture. They beat him, and put iron sandals studded with sharp nails on his feet, then forced him to march to the city of Arabrak.

Witnessing the arrival of Saint Eustratius in Arabrak, one of the common people, Saint Mardarius, confessed that he was also a Christian like Saint Eustratius. He was arrested and cast into prison. Holes were drilled in his ankles, and ropes were passed through them. He was suspended upside down, then heated nails were hammered into his body. He died a short time later. To him is attributed the prayer “O Master Lord God, Father Almighty …” (which is read at the end of the Third Hour).

As for Saint Eugene, they ripped out his tongue, they cut off his hands and feet, and then they beheaded him with a sword. Saint Auxentius was also arrested and beheaded. The young soldier Saint Orestes confessed himself a Christian and stood trial for this “crime.” He was sentenced to be stretched out upon a red-hot iron bed, and became frightened when he approached it. Encouraged by Saint Eustratius, he made the Sign of the Cross and got onto the heated bed, where he surrendered his soul to God.

Saint Eustratius was sentenced to be burned alive on December 13. As he was being led to his death, he prayed aloud (“I magnify Thee exceedingly, O Lord, for Thou hast regarded my lowliness…”). This prayer is still read at the Saturday Midnight Office.

Source: Orthodox Church in America

Canon I of the martyrs, the composition of John the Monk, in Tone IV.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Distributing gifts in the heavens to the spiritual athletes on earth with His almighty right hand, Christ the Judge of the contest sitteth and extendeth divine crowns to Eustratius and those with him.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Come, let us behold the five-membered choir of martyrs, which emmiteth the most radiant light, and hath Eustratius as its desired leader, who is crowned with divine grace.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Casting off the vesture of an earthly army, thou didst enlist for the true King, receiving the token of suffering from Christ through Auxentius, O Eustratius.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou wast the edifice which contained the divine Essence, O pure Birthgiver of God. Wherefore Lucia, desiring thee, was as a virgin led to thy Son in thine entourage.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Christ, the King of the circles of heaven and Bestower of gifts, setteth forth his seat, extending crowns of victory to Eustratius and those who suffered with him.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O ye faithful, let us praise the chanting and divinely crowned choir of the five passion-bearers, which had the wise Eustratius to lead them faithfully and divinely to Christ.

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

Desiring to enlist in the army of the Most High, O Eustratius, thou didst shun honours; and, leading thy life to God, O wise one, thou wast purified in sanctity.

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

Rejoicing, the choir of the right victorious martyrs, who have received crowns of victory, hymneth thee, O pure one; for through thee hath heaven been rendered accessible to us, in that thou hast given birth past understanding to the Creator of heaven.

Ode III, Canon I, Irmos: Thy Church, O Christ, rejoiceth in Thee crying aloud: * Thou, O Lord, art my strength, * my refuge and foundation.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O all-blessed Eustratius, by the hope of torments wast thou supra-naturally filled with all manner of joy, like an immaterial treasury.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

With spiritual wisdom and the endurance of perils thou didst denounce the ungodliness of the tyrant, O Auxentius, martyr of Christ.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Like most splendid adornments, like flowers, ye were arrayed in the wounds of Christ, O martyrs of the Church of the faithful.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

We, the faithful, truly honour thee, the Theotokos, as our Sovereign Lady; for thou hast given birth to God, Who became flesh, O all-immaculate one.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Having set all thy hope on God Most High with firmness of mind, O blessed one, thou wast wholly filled with consolation by the expectation of wounds.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Through divine wisdom thou didst flourish in the love of Christ; and by enduring wounds, O Auxentius, thou didst denounce the mindlessness of the persecutors, their insolence and vainglory.

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

The unrestrained rage of Lysius and the fire of mighty tortures didst thou account as but a dream, O wise one; for, made steadfast in Christ, thou didst prevail, as though it were another who was suffering.

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

Chanting, we, the faithful, bless thee in a godly manner with voices of sacred discourse, O Virgin Mother of God, as the one who brought about our Author, Who became like unto us.

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

Kontakion, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “The tomb and mortality …”: Thou hast been shown to be a most splendid luminary * for those who sit in the darkness of ignorance, * O passion-bearer; * for, armed with faith as with a spear, * thou wast undaunted by the arrogance of the enemy, * O Eustratius, ** who art far more eloquent than any orator.

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: Neither the sword, nor wild beasts, nor fire, nor any other thing that filleth material beings with fear was able to dissuade thy steadfastness; for, having trampled underfoot the power of the enemy by thy contest, as one impervious to fear thou didst pass over to the life of the incorporeal ones. Wherefore, thou bestowest healings upon the faithful who hasten to thy memorial with love, O holy passionbearer Eustratius. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love celebrate thy holy memory. (Twice)

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

Theotokion: When the Master and Fashioner of all * shall come to judge the whole world, * do thou number me, the condemned, * at His right hand with the sheep; * and deliver me, thine unprofitable servant, * from the outermost darkness and torment, * I pray, that with thanksgiving I may magnify the richness of thy goodness, * O all-immaculate one, * and cry out to thee, rejoicing: * Pray to Christ God, that He grant me remission of sins, ** for thee do I, thy servant, have as my hope.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

With the wounds of thy flesh thou didst set aside the defilements of thy soul, and by faith thou didst shatter the arrows of the wicked serpent, O Eustratius.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

By thy wounds was the King of glory glorified, O passion-bearer Eustratius, and He hath filled thee with ineffable glory by the power of miracles.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Emulating the boldness of the fishermen, fishing with the net of martyrdom thou didst bring the wise Eugene to the Master, O Eustratius.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O all-immaculate one, who alone hast been revealed to be more holy than the cherubim: from every evil circumstance save the souls of us who hymn thee with faith.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

The Almighty, enkindling divine desire in thy soul, showed thee to be eminently wondrous, making the wounds of thy flesh whole.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Fishing with the spiritual net of the fishermen, O wise Eustratius, thou didst bring to Christ the King the wise Eugene.

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

Thy feet pierced by the nails of iron sandals during thy torture, O all-wise one, thou didst wholly stain thyself with thy blood, emulating the suffering of Jesus the King.

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

The infinite and immutable Word of God the Father, having been transformed by an outward appearance in becoming incarnate through thee, O all-immaculate one, hath deified me in His love for mankind.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Like a radiant star thou didst shine forth like a light from afar among the company of martyrs, O victorious Eustratius.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O the goodly fate! O the divinely given portion! O the most beauteous woman, who by light overcame the deception of our first mother.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Thou didst consider all things of beauty to be as dung, O Mardarius, superseding the laws of nature in thy suffering.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The earthly mind cannot comprehend thy conceiving, which passeth understanding, O Virgin Maiden and Mother; for thou hast given birth unto God.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Wondrous like a star for the Church, thou didst shine forth among the martyrs, with martyric rays illumining the world more than the sun, O Eustratius.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

The divinely eloquent Mardarius, seeing thee emitting radiance in brilliant splendours, in the simplicity of his heart followed thee like an innocent lamb.

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

The intelligent and Christ-loving woman who loved her husband achieved supremacy over her kindred nature and eminently vanquished it completely, anointing her husband for martyrdom.

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

O good one, save those who confess thee with all their soul to be the Theotokos and Sovereign Lady of the world; for thee, who art the Theotokos, have we acquired as an invincible intercessor.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Mardarius cried aloud “Christ is more to me than everything: home, land, honour and fame”; for he was thus taught by thee, O Eustratius.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Though cut out, thy tongue hath not ceased to sing, and thy severed hands have lifted themselves up to God, O Eugene, asking salvation for those who hymn thy memory.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Suspended upside-down by thy feet, thy shoulders burned with heated irons, thou didst surrender thy spirit to the Master, O Mardarius.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Finding thee to be her steadfast might, O Virgin the passion-bearer valiantly endured wounds, and rejoicing, was brought to the Master of all in thine entourage.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Crying aloud: “Christ is more to me than all the things of my fathers”, O Mardarius, thy heels wholly burned away by heated irons, and thy breast pierced by arrows, thou didst repose, rejoicing.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Cut out, thy tongue did not cease to hymn Christ, O Eugene; and severed, thy hands elevated themselves to God, O blessed one, asking deliverance for those who hymn thee.

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

Thy manly soul was right wondrous, O most noble Eugene, for when thy legs were violently broken thou didst surrender thy spirit into the hands of the Master of all, rejoicing.

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

O most pure Lady who hast given birth to the Lord, and Helmsman of mortals, calm thou the constant and grievous turbulence of my passions, and grant serenity to my heart.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Today the Virgin …”: Eloquently speaking of divine things before the iniquitous, O all-wondrous one, * thou didst endure beatings with a most courageous heart, * shining forth with godly signs, * and extinguishing the towering flame of delusion. ** Wherefore, we honour thee, O all-blessed Eustratius, martyr of Christ.

Ikos: Today the Church doth mystically celebrate a sacred feast, radiantly proclaiming thy valor, pangs and labours, thy divine struggles surpassing nature, and the wounds which covered thy body, whereby thou didst cast down the greatly crafty one, O thou great glory and boast of spiritual athletes, pillar of courage, beacon for all who piously honour thee, treasury of healings, enricher of the poor, first champion of honourable martyrs, all-blessed Eustratius, martyr of Christ.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Possessed of the immutable wisdom of confession to worship the one God in Trinity, thou didst prevail over torments, crying aloud: Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

As one blessed, thou didst walk in the path of the blameless and didst right wisely bow the knee to the Redeemer, committing thy soul into the hands of the Master as a most fragrant sacrifice, O Auxentius.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

The same God Who sent food to Elijah by a raven, O Auxentius, working a miracle with thy precious head, revealed it to those who desired it, as a cherished object greatly desired by the world.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Virgin Mother, the pure Word loved thee as one pure and incorrupt, and, becoming incarnate of thee, He refashioned all of mankind, and hath glorified Lucia with miracles.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

As a victor thou didst hasten to the kingdom of heaven, O Auxentius; for after many and varied trials and torments, thou didst die, beheaded, for Christ God, confessing Him.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Most wondrous is thy right wise courage, O Orestes, for thou didst show forth understanding at the tribunal, binding the soul of Lysius by the Cross, and chanting: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Having Orestes as thy companion on the path of martyrdom, walking with thee as a fellow prisoner, O Eustratius, thou didst enrich him chanting: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

The furnace did not consume the three youths, prefiguring thy birthgiving; for the divine Fire, dwelling within thee, did not consume thee, illumining all to cry aloud: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Opening thy lips in purity, thou didst draw in the divine Spirit, O Eustratius; wherefore, having denounced the feebleness of soul-destroying worship, thou didst cry out that mankind should worship God in the Trinity: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

His resolve strengthened by thy wise instructions, O martyr Eustratius, the invincible Orestes, stretched out upon a bed of iron, cried out like the children to those who would destroy him by flame: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Thy body stretched forth patiently upon a heated bed, O glorious Orestes, thou wast numbered among the martyrs, rejoicing in the Lord, and hast found rest in the tabernacles of heaven, crying aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou hast been revealed to be more exalted than the heavens, having given birth to the God of heaven Who hath rendered heavenly the whole essence of mortals, O all-pure one, and illumined the memory of the honourable Lucia. To Him do we ever cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Boldly preaching the infinite power of the one Essence of the Trinity, thou didst theologize, and denounced the vain worship of idols, O most divinely wise Eustratius.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Ignorant of thy patience, the persecutor strove to terrify thee by the sight of the flames; but, spitting upon his savagery, thou didst chant, rejoicing in the Lord, O Eustratius.

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

The divinely wise Orestes, instructed by thy divine words, leapt up, dancing upon the bed, wholly consumed like an innocent lamb, crying out to God, the Bestower of crowns: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

O most pure Virgin, save me and be thou the help of my weakness. Deliver me from many tribulations and evils, that I may glorify thee, who alone art the Theotokos.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Desiring to partake of the divine mysteries, O blessed passion-bearer Eustratius, and to be deemed worthy of the radiant manifestation of God, thou didst hasten to Christ Whom thou desired, and Who called thee to the heavens.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Rejoicing exceedingly in the gladsome condemnation of the full mindlessness of the tyrant, O passion-bearer Eustratius, chanting hymns thou didst magnify Christ, the Destroyer of death, the Judge of thy contest.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Come, all ye who love the martyrs, and with sacred hymnody let us magnify Eugene, the destroyer of falsehood, and with him the wise Orestes and Mardarius, Auxentius and Eustratius.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Light hath now shone forth upon us from thy womb which knew not a man, O Virgin; and the wondrous Lucia, divinely illumined by His effulgence, became light, O Virgin Mother and Birthgiver of God.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Hymning Him Whom thou didst desire, O blessed Eustratius, and becoming a participant in the sacred mysteries, in prison thou wast deemed worthy of a divine vision of Him, Who called thee to the heavenly life of His kingdom.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by the power of Christ, O glorious Eustratius, thou didst mock the blandishments of the persecutors, magnifying Christ with hymns; for, like the youths of old, thou didst enter the furnace rejoicing, as if it were a beautiful garden, O blessed one.

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

O all ye people, with songs and hymns let us praise the divine warriors Auxentius and Eugene, together with Mardarius, the glorious Orestes and the wise Eustratius, their leader, fellow sufferer and guide.

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

O Virgin, thou wast the temple of Christ, Who reigneth with the Father and the Spirit; for thy sake, O pure one, we have been deemed worthy of adoption by Him through baptism, becoming temples through grace.

Troparion, in Tone IV: In their sufferings, Thy martyrs O Lord, * received imperishable crowns from Thee, our God; * for, possessed of Thy might, * they set at naught the tyrants and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. ** By their supplications save Thou our souls.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Saint Spyridon of Tremithus

Saturday 12/245 December: Saint Spyridon of Tremithus

Saint Spyridon of Tremithus was born towards the end of the third century on the island of Cyprus. He was a shepherd, and had a wife and children. He used all his substance for the needs of his neighbors and the homeless, for which the Lord rewarded him with a gift of wonderworking. He healed those who were incurably sick, and cast out demons.

After the death of his wife, during the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337), he was made Bishop of Tremithus, Cyprus. As a bishop, the saint did not alter his manner of life, but combined pastoral service with deeds of charity.

According to the witness of Church historians, Saint Spyridon participated in the sessions of the First Ecumenical Council in the year 325. At the Council, the saint entered into a dispute with a Greek philosopher who was defending the Arian heresy. The power of Saint Spyridon’s plain, direct speech showed everyone the importance of God’s wisdom before human wisdom: “Listen, philosopher, to what I tell you. There is one God Who created man from dust. He has ordered all things, both visible and invisible, by His Word and His Spirit. The Word is the Son of God, Who came down upon the earth on account of our sins. He was born of a Virgin, He lived among men, and suffered and died for our salvation, and then He arose from the dead, and He has resurrected the human race with Him. We believe that He is one in essence (consubstantial) with the Father, and equal to Him in authority and honor. We believe this without any sly rationalizations, for it is impossible to grasp this mystery by human reason.”

As a result of their discussion, the opponent of Christianity became the saint’s zealous defender and later received holy Baptism. After his conversation with Saint Spyridon, the philosopher turned to his companions and said, “Listen! Until now my rivals have presented their arguments, and I was able to refute their proofs with other proofs. But instead of proofs from reason, the words of this Elder are filled with some sort of special power, and no one can refute them, since it is impossible for man to oppose God. If any of you thinks as I do now, let him believe in Christ and join me in following this man, for God Himself speaks through his lips.”

At this Council, Saint Spyridon displayed the unity of the Holy Trinity in a remarkable way. He took a brick in his hand and squeezed it. At that instant fire shot up from it, water dripped on the ground, and only dust remained in the hands of the wonderworker. “There was only one brick,” Saint Spyridon said, “but it was composed of three elements. In the Holy Trinity there are three Persons, but only one God.”

The saint cared for his flock with great love. Through his prayers, drought was replaced by abundant rains, and incessant rains were replaced by fair weather. Through his prayers the sick were healed and demons cast out.

A woman once came up to him with a dead child in her arms, imploring the intercession of the saint. He prayed, and the infant was restored to life. The mother, overcome with joy, collapsed lifeless. Through the prayers of the saint of God, the mother was restored to life.

Another time, hastening to save his friend, who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death, the saint was hindered on his way by the unanticipated flooding of a stream. The saint commanded the water: “Halt! For the Lord of all the world commands that you permit me to cross so that a man may be saved.” The will of the saint was fulfilled, and he crossed over happily to the other shore. The judge, apprised of the miracle that had occurred, received Saint Spyridon with esteem and set his friend free.

Similar instances are known from the life of the saint. Once, he went into an empty church, and ordered that the lampadas and candles be lit, and then he began the service. When he said, “Peace be unto all,” both he and the deacon heard from above the resounding of a great multitude of voices saying, “And with thy spirit.” This choir was majestic and more sweetly melodious than any human choir. To each petition of the litanies, the invisible choir sang, “Lord, have mercy.” Attracted by the church singing, the people who lived nearby hastened towards it. As they got closer and closer to the church, the wondrous singing filled their ears and gladdened their hearts. But when they entered into the church, they saw no one but the bishop and several church servers, and they no longer heard the singing which had greatly astonished them.

Saint Simeon Metaphrastes (November 9), the author of his Life, likened Saint Spyridon to the Patriarch Abraham in his hospitality. Sozomen, in his Church History, offers an amazing example from the life of the saint of how he received strangers. One time, at the start of the Forty-day Fast, a stranger knocked at his door. Seeing that the traveller was very exhausted, Saint Spyridon said to his daughter, “Wash the feet of this man, so he may recline to dine.” But since it was Lent there were none of the necessary provisions, for the saint “partook of food only on certain days, and on other days he went without food.” His daughter replied that there was no bread or flour in the house. Then Saint Spyridon, apologizing to his guest, ordered his daughter to cook a salted ham from their larder. After seating the stranger at table, he began to eat, urging that man to do the same. When the latter refused, calling himself a Christian, the saint rejoined, “It is not proper to refuse this, for the Word of God proclaims, ‘Unto the pure all things are pure’” (Titus 1:15).

Another historical detail reported by Sozomen, was characteristic of the saint. It was his custom to distribute one part of the gathered harvest to the destitute, and another portion to those having need while in debt. He did not take a portion for himself, but simply showed them the entrance to his storeroom, where each could take as much as was needed, and could later pay it back in the same way, without records or accountings.

There is also the tale by Socrates Scholasticus about how robbers planned to steal the sheep of Saint Spyridon. They broke into the sheepfold at night, but here they found themselves all tied up by some invisible power. When morning came the saint went to his flock, and seeing the tied-up robbers, he prayed and released them. For a long while he advised them to leave their path of iniquity and earn their livelihood by respectable work. Then he made them a gift of a sheep and sending them off, the saint said kindly, “Take this for your trouble, so that you did not spend a sleepless night in vain.”

All the Lives of the saint speak of the amazing simplicity and the gift of wonderworking granted him by God. Through a word of the saint the dead were awakened, the elements of nature tamed, the idols smashed. At one point, a Council had been convened at Alexandria by the Patriarch to discuss what to do about the idols and pagan temples there. Through the prayers of the Fathers of the Council all the idols fell down except one, which was very much revered. It was revealed to the Patriarch in a vision that this idol had to be shattered by Saint Spyridon of Tremithus. Invited by the Council, the saint set sail on a ship, and at the moment the ship touched shore and the saint stepped out on land, the idol in Alexandria with all its offerings turned to dust, which then was reported to the Patriarch and all the bishops.

Saint Spyridon lived his earthly life in righteousness and sanctity, and prayerfully surrendered his soul to the Lord. His relics repose on the island of Corfu (Kerkyra), in a church named after him (His right hand, however, is located in Rome).

Canon to the saint, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone II.

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

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Having attained unto the land of the meek, being thyself meek, merciful and pure, O father, calm thou the present tempest of my heart, that, in divine tranquillity, I may hymn thee.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Having cleared thy soul of the overgrowth of the passions through godly cultivation, O father Spyridon, thou didst become god-like and wast enriched by the most radiant splendour of the divine Spirit. Wherefore, thou dost illumine those who sincerely bless thee.

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

Taking thee from a flock as He had David, the Creator appointed thee as a most eminent shepherd of the rational sheep, shining forth in simplicity and meekness, and adorned with guilelessness, O venerable pastor.

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

O most holy and pure Virgin, enlighten and hallow my thoughts and soul, I pray thee, dispelling the clouds of mine ignorance, and removing the darkness of sin, that I may bless thee as is meet.

Ode III, Irmos: Thou hast established me on the rock of faith, * and my mouth hath been emboldened against mine enemies. * For my spirit rejoiceth when I sing: * There is none as holy as our God * and none more righteous than Thee, O Lord.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Having illumined thy mind with dispassion and adorned thyself with divine humility, thou didst receive the gifts of the Spirit to cast out evil spirits and to loose the infirmities of those who faithfully honour thee, O most sacred one.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Having slain the serpent, the author of evil, and trampled down the inclination towards avarice, O holy hierarch, taking pity on him who was in need, thou didst transform a serpent into a golden ornament by thy sacred prayers, O venerable father.

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

Thou didst ascend the mountain of dispassion; thou didst enter the darkness of the vision of God, and didst receive the law of salvation on the tablets of thy heart, in that thou art the most sacred and faithful favoured one of thy Master.

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

Heal thou the wounds of my soul, O Bride of God, and illumine my mind which hath been darkened by neglect, that I may chant: There is none blameless save thee, O immaculate one, and none pure, but thee, O Lady!

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

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: Thou didst shine forth as a divinely appointed pastor, O Spyridon, raised from the tending of sheep by God, Who entrusted thee to preside over the Church of Christ. Thou didst drive away the wolves of false teaching by thy words, grazing thy flock on the pasture of piety. Wherefore, thou didst affirm the Faith by the wisdom of the Spirit in the midst of the God-bearing fathers, O blessed hierarch. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who celebrate thy holy memory with love.

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

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Set afire by the burning coal of the honoured Spirit, thou didst burn up all the readily kindled fuel of the passions, O all-blessed one, enlightening the world with the fiery rays of thy virtues.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Having slain the movements of thy flesh, O divinely inspired one, thou didst raise up the dead by thy life-imparting call. Wherefore, I beseech thee: Enliven my slain soul, O father!

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

O father, the dead woman, obeying thee, spake, and by thy commands the raging of the river was restrained. For thou wast revealed as a worker of wonders endowed with divine grace, O blessed one.

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

The prophets foretold the incomprehensible abyss of thy mystery, for thou alone, O pure one, didst give birth unto the Unknowable One, Who, in His unutterable tender compassion, became incarnate.

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

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

The river of the gifts which are within thee doth water every heart, O venerable one, and richly granteth health unto all, moving all to glorify God, Who hath glorified thee and honoured thee with all manner of wonders.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

The earthly emperor clearly recognized thee as a true servant of the heavenly King, full of divine gifts, O blessed one, when thou didst come to him, proclaiming the great Physician, Who is God.

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

Emulating the hospitable character of Abraham, thou didst open the doors of thy house unto all, and wast all things to all people, mindful of those who were in evil straits, O blessed Spyridon.

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

For us hast thou given birth unto a new-born Babe, Who before the ages was begotten of the unoriginate Father, O Maiden. Him do thou entreat as thy Son and God, that He spare those who, with a pure soul, proclaim thee to be the 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.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Gold was as mire to thee who shone forth in dispassion more brightly than gold, and wast enriched by thy most golden gifts of the Spirit, O venerable one.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Serving thy Master in purity, O venerable one, thou didst have a multitude of the angelic hosts serving thee with unseen voices, O most sacred one.

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

O most glorious and all-wise father, thy life hath made thee most glorious to the world. Wherefore, rejoicing, we that hymn thee celebrate thy divine memory.

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

More spacious than the heavens was thy womb, which contained God Whom no place can contain, O all-holy virgin Bride of God, who knewest not a man.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “Seeking the Highest …”: O most sacred one, wounded with love for Christ, * and giving wings to thy mind through the radiance of the Spirit, * thou didst find thy work fulfilled in the activity of divine vision. * O thou who art pleasing to God, thou divine oblation, ** beseech Him that divine illumination be granted unto all.

Ikos: Let us now praise Spyridon, the hierarch of the Lord, sanctified from his mother’s womb, who received the tablets of the grace of divine glory, as one most glorious in miracles from all of creation, as a fervent witness of the divine radiance, intercessor for the poor, and spiritual guide for the sinful; for he hath become a divine oblation for the throne of Christ, asking divine illumination for all.

Ode VII, 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.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Having acquired the guilelessness of Moses, the meekness of David and the blamelessness of Job of Uz, thou didst become a dwelling-place of the Spirit, chanting most sacredly: Blessed and supremely glorious art Thou!

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

The showers of heaven rained down upon thy head during the harvest and prefigured the future; for, as thou didst say, God glorified thy divine memory, sanctifying the faithful by thy mediation.

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

In the council of the fathers God glorified thee, who guarded thy words in judgment, O blessed one. Thou didst bring them forth with faith, openly disclosing the follies of the most irrational Arius and destroying his opposition.

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

Through the ineffable Word, O Virgin, thou didst put forth the Cluster of grapes as the Branch which alone was uncultivated and which poureth forth the wine gladdening all mankind, sanctifying mortals and dispelling all the drunkenness of the wicked.

Ode VIII, 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!

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst extinguish the furnace of the passions with divine outpourings of the divine Spirit, O father, pouring forth a dew which taketh away the fever of the ailing who ever have recourse unto thee in faith, O blessed Spyridon, thou who art most noetically rich.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Guileless, upright, meek, merciful, not mindful of the wrongs done thee, loving and hospitable wast thou, O most sacred hierarch, adorned with the wisdom of Orthodoxy, O venerable one. Wherefore, we honour thee with faith.

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

Of old the dead woman when questioned by thee O father, replied as though alive. Oh what a most marvellous wonder! Oh, what a most glorious mystery! Oh, the grace which thou hast received, having adorned thyself with an angelic life, O right wondrous one!

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

Heal thou the passions of my heart with thy mercy, O all-hymned one; calm thou my mind, enlighten my soul, and guide me to walk the paths of salvation, that I may ever hymn thee, O all-hymned one.

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

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

Exalted among the God-bearing fathers, thou didst openly proclaim the Son of the unoriginate Father to be of one essence and equally everlasting with the Father, and didst stop the mouths of the iniquitous, O all-blessed and holy hierarch.

Hierarch of Christ, Spyridon, pray to God for us.

O all-radiant sun, adornment of the fathers, glory of priests, converser with angels: By thy prayers grant the unwaning Light unto those who now joyously celebrate thy light-bearing memory.

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

With a voice of rejoicing have the divine mansions, the heavenly city and the beauteous choir of those who hold festival received thy soul, which hath been hallowed and adorned with the virtues, O all-blessed one.

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

The great mystery of thy birthgiving, which passeth understanding doth astound the angels, O divinely joyous one, delighting the assembly of the venerable and making glad the sacred fathers who hymn thee, the hope of our souls, in a godly manner.

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

 

 

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Saint Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople

Friday 11/24 December: Saint Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople

Saint Daniel the Stylite was born in the village of Bethara, near the city of Samosata in Mesopotamia. His mother Martha was childless for a long while and in her prayers she vowed that if she had a child, she would dedicate him to the Lord. Her prayers were heard, and Martha soon gave birth to a son, who was without a name until he was five years of age.

The boy’s parents desired that since he was born through the good-will of God, he should also receive his name from God. They took their son to a monastery located nearby and approached the igumen. The igumen gave orders to take down one of the service books, and unrolled it at random. He found the Prophet Daniel (December 17) mentioned in it. Thus did the boy receive his name. The parents asked that he might remain at the monastery, but the igumen would not accept him, since he was still only a small boy. At twelve years of age, saying nothing to no one, the child left home for the monastery.

His parents were happy when they learned where their son was, and they went to the monastery. Seeing that he was still going about in his worldly clothes, they besought that the igumen should clothe him in the angelic garb. That Sunday the igumen fulfilled their request, but permitted them often to visit their son. The brethren of the monastery were astonished at the saint’s ascetical efforts.

Once, Saint Simeon the Stylite (September 1), visited the monastery. He foretold to the young monk, that he too would undertake the feat of pillar-dwelling. Saint Daniel continued with his ascetic life in seclusion. When the place of a new exploit was revealed to him in a vision, he withdrew into the Thracian wilderness together with two disciples. They set up a pillar, upon which Saint Daniel dwelt for 33 years. People thronged to the pillar, the unfortunate and those who were sick, and all received help and healing from Saint Daniel. Byzantine emperors also sought the prayers of the holy ascetic. The most notable of the saint’s predictions was about a great fire in Constantinople. Saint Daniel possessed also the gift of gracious words. He guided many onto the path of correcting their lives. The monk reposed in his eightieth year.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the venerable one, the acrostic whereof is: “With hymns I honour Daniel the Stylite,” the composition of Joseph, in Tone VIII.

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

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

O blessed Daniel, send down a luminous ray of light from heaven upon me who with hymns desire to praise thy memory.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

As a truly great sun, O father, thou didst shine forth to the ends of the earth, illumining the assemblies of the faithful with the splendour of thy virtues.

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

Submitting to the laws of the Master, O father, thou didst mortify the flesh with abstinence, and subject it to the Spirit.

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

The immutable Lord Who was born from thee, O Theotokos, appeared as a whole man, even though after incarnation He remained as He had been.

Ode III, Irmos: O Lord, Creator of the vault of Heaven * and Builder of the Church, * do Thou strengthen me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, * O Support of the faithful, * O only Lover of mankind.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Having parted the sea of the passions with the rod of abstinence, O father, thou didst traverse it without drowning, and attained unto the mountain of true dispassion, conversing with God in purity of mind.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Having ascended to the heights of the virtues, thou didst become known to the world; for thou didst stand lifted aloft upon thy pillar, illumining those who came to thee with faith with the splendour of most glorious wonders.

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

Founded upon the rock of the knowledge of God, thou wast revealed to be unmoved by all the wiles of the demons; wherefore, thou didst raise up thy body on a pillar above the earth, and didst let thy soul soar to the heavens.

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

Deliver me from the assault of the passions, O Lady, and do thou now vanquish the enemies that war against me; establish me upon the rock of the will of God, and enlighten my soul, O portal of the Light divine.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone I, Spec. Mel: “Thy tomb, O Saviour …”: Having lifted thyself up upon a pillar, thou didst lay waste to thy flesh through abstinence, O father Daniel. Wherefore, thou wast deemed worthy to become a vessel of the Spirit, and having received divine grace, O thrice-blessed one, thou dost drive away every ailment from those who with faith honour thy memory.

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

Stavrotheotokion: Upon seeing the Lamb and Shepherd hanging dead upon the Tree, * the unblemished ewe-lamb, cried aloud, weeping * and exclaiming maternally: * “How is it that Thou dost willingly endure abasement and sufferings * which surpass all telling, ** O my Son, and supremely good God?”

Ode IV, 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, Daniel, pray to God for us.

O ever-memorable father, thou didst behold Simeon, the servant of God, shining forth like the radiant sun upon his pillar; and divinely illumined by the divine splendours which issued forth from him, O Daniel, thou didst follow his manner of life.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Thou didst vanquish the demonic legions with the sword of faith and drown them in the torrents of thy prayers, causing the destruction they wrought upon those at sea to cease; and thereby save those who chanted with faith unto God: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

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

Having ascended thy pillar, O all-blessed father, thou didst stand whole nights like one of the bodiless ones, having acquired an humble spiritual eye; and, as a shining mirror of the Spirit, received radiance and divine manifestations with a pure mind.

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

The laws of nature are renewed in thee, O most pure one, for thou hast given birth, in a manner truly beyond cause and telling, unto the Word, the Giver of the Law, Who hath delivered from ignorance the race of mankind which faithfully chants: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

Ode V, 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. T

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

That thou O father mightest receive immortal glory, thou didst slay the desires of thy flesh, and bridle the urgings of the passions with the labours of abstinence; and hast thereby been revealed to be a river of miracles and a wellspring of healings.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

O ever-memorable one. The wondrous Simeon appeared to thee who wast struck with fear, O blessed father, and with two angels he pointed out the path which thou wast to tread upon the earth, crying aloud: Come and stand by me, borne aloft to God by grace!

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

Illumined by unwaning radiance and divine effulgence, O father, thou didst dispel the gloom of the passions and wast revealed to be a pillar of light and a stairway truly leading the faithful up to God.

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

O Maiden Bride of God, who hast given birth unto the Master, thou hast been revealed to be more exalted than the heavenly hosts, and hast deified the nature of the earthly; wherefore, with soul and tongue, O Virgin, we the faithful glorify thee as her who is most truly the Theotokos.

Ode VI, 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, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Thy mind, O father, illumined through drawing nigh unto God, remained unconsumed by the fire of pleasures and above the passions, and higher than passionate attachments to the flesh.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Thy mind, O father, illumined through drawing nigh unto God, remained unconsumed by the fire of pleasures and above the passions, and higher than passionate attachments to the flesh.

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

Thy soul was filled with the Spirit’s gifts of life-creating waters, O divinely wise and all-blessed one; and thou didst truly pour forth rivers of healing which quench the torrents of the passions.

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

All we, the faithful, have acquired thee as an intercessor and a helper in the deep of evil and the billows and waves of tribulation which ever pass over us, O Theotokos, for thou alone art the refuge of mortals.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel: “As first fruits …”: Having ascended thy pillar like a star of great radiance, * thou didst illumine the world with thy venerable deeds, * and didst dispel the gloom of deception O father, * wherefore, we beseech thee: Shine forth even now in the hearts of thy servants ** the unwaning light of knowledge.

Ikos: Flawed is the hymn which I now offer in praise of thy struggles, O father; for my heart is impure, in that I have shamefully defiled it. But grant me the words, O holy one, to hymn in a pure manner thy life at which even the angels marvelled, for thou wast like an incorporeal one, having received the unwaning light of knowledge.

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

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

The ranks of angels marvelled at thy standing upon thy pillar, O all-blessed Godbearer; for having assumed their manner of life while yet in the body, thou didst cry aloud: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Luminous with the loftiness of an immaterial way of life and with the splendour of prophecy, thou hast shone forth rays of healing upon us who piously honour thee, O wondrous Daniel.

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

With the radiance of thy prayers disperse thou the gloom of my passions, O all-blessed one, and guide me to the path of life who chant: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout the ages!

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

Be thou merciful unto me, O Virgin, and with the healing power of thy prayers cure me who have been wounded by the sting of sin and who cry aloud: Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb!

Ode VIII, 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, Daniel, pray to God for us.

O God-bearing father, in renowned manner thou didst attain unto the ultimate desire, the greatest good, soaring aloft on the wings of thy virtuous deeds; and with the bodiless ones, O Daniel, thou dost cry aloud: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

The power of God manifestly strengthened thee and enabled thee to endure the bitter cold of winter, the burning heat of the sun, the decay of thy flesh and the discomfort caused by the worms which issued forth therefrom; and thou didst cry: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

Thou wast revealed to be a new Job, O right wondrous Daniel, beset by a multitude of temptations and tribulations; and emulating the meekness of David, the guilelessness of Jacob and the chastity of Joseph, thou didst cry aloud in thanksgiving: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

O all-hymned and all-holy Lady, fulfilling thy words by acknowledging thee to be the Theotokos, we now bless thee, in that thou hast given birth unto God for us. And hymning Him in two natures and one Hypostasis, we cry aloud: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Lo! when thou didst repose, having finished thy course, the gates of heaven were opened unto thee, and the ranks of angels received thee; and Christ, the Bestower of crowns, crowned thee with the glory of righteousness.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

We, the faithful, magnify Him in song. Like a lily of the valley didst thou blossom in the paradise of abstinence, and like a cypress didst thou rise to the heights of perfection; like the olive tree of the Psalms hast thou been shown to be, anointing our faces and hearts with the oil of thine asceticism.

Venerable father, Daniel, pray to God for us.

Creation knoweth thee to be a pillar firmly grounded upon the rock of the virtues, an unbreachable rampart, a foundation of miracles, a right calm haven, a treasury of healing and the dwelling place of the Spirit. Wherefore, we celebrate thy memory today, O Daniel.

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

Today thy divine memory hath shone forth upon us more brightly than the sun, illumining the hearts of the faithful with the light of righteousness, and dispelling the darkness of the soul-destroying passions. And celebrating it, we piously hymn thee.

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

O Thou that wast born of her whom Thou didst preserve incorrupt even after birthgiving, have pity upon me when Thou sittest to judge my deeds, and overlook mine iniquities and my sins; for Thou, Who only art without sin, a merciful God and the Lover of mankind.

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus of Alexandria

Thursday 10/23 December: Commemoration of the Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus of Alexandria

The Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes, and Eugraphus suffered for their faith in Christ under the emperor Maximian (305-313).

Saint Menas was sent by the emperor from Athens to Alexandria to suppress the riots that had arisen between the Christians and the pagans. Distinguished for his gift of eloquence, Menas instead openly began to preach the Christian Faith and he converted many pagans to Christ. Learning of this, Maximian sent Hermogenes to Alexandria to place the saints on trial. Moreover, he gave orders to purge the city of Christians.

Hermogenes, although he was a pagan, was distinguished by his reverent bearing. And struck by the endurance of Saint Menas under torture and by his miraculous healing after the cruel torments, he also came to believe in Christ. Maximian himself then arrived in Alexandria. Neither the astonishing stoic endurance of Saints Menas and Hermogenes under torture, nor even the miracles manifested by God in this city, mollified the emperor. Instead, they vexed him all the more. The emperor personally stabbed Saint Eugraphus, the secretary of Saint Menas, and then gave orders to behead the holy Martyrs Menas and Hermogenes.

The relics of the holy martyrs, cast into the sea in an iron chest, were afterwards found (see February 17) and transferred to Constantinople in the ninth century. The emperor Justinian built a church in the name of the holy Martyr Menas of Alexandria. Saint Joseph the Hymnographer (April 4) composed a Canon in honour of these holy martyrs.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon for the martyrs, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn the steadfast crown-bearing martyrs,” the composition of Joseph, in Tone I.

Ode I, Irmos: Having been delivered from bitter slavery, * Israel traversed the impassable as though dry land; * and beholding the enemy drowned, * they chanted unto God as to their Redeemer, * Who worketh wonders with His upraised arm, * for He hath been glorified.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O ye martyrs adorned with crowns of glory, who stand before the throne of God, filled with divine light: From the darkness of the passions deliver those who with love keep your splendid memory.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Loving divine glory and desiring the beauty of God, ye most manifestly spurned the beautiful things of life and all power, O martyrs, and by your death obtained never-ending life.

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

Burning with divine zeal, the exceeding wise Hermogenes and Menas quenched the fire of ungodliness; and shining the light of piety upon all, by faith they were all radiantly shown forth as beacons.

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

That thy servants may be delivered from possession by the passions, O all-immaculate Maiden, do thou earnestly entreat thy Lord and Master, to Whom thou gavest flesh from thy most pure blood, and Who hath entered into fellowship with us.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Clearly illumined with heavenly light, the martyrs dispersed the darkness of the delusion of idolatry, and have emitted the radiance of healings for us who chant unto the God of all: Holy art Thou, O Lord!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Following the living Master of mortality, O wondrous Menas, thou wast broken underfoot and thus broke the head of the tyrannical enemy, setting thy feet firmly upon the hard path of torment, O most manly martyr.

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

His hands cut off, Hermogenes hymneth the Saviour, having manifestly made the vesture of the priesthood most bright with the moistening of his blood, being revealed through grace as an emulator of Him Who suffered in the flesh.

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

Christ the comely, finding thee alone to be comely among women, issued forth incarnate from thy womb, O Maiden, enlightening our race with divine beauty. Wherefore, we honour thee.

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

Kontakion, in Tone I, Spec. Mel: “The choir of the angels …”: Together let us all honour with sacred and sweet hymnody * the wondrous Menas, the godly Hermogenes and Eugraphus, * as ones who rendered honour unto the Lord,* and who suffered for Him, * and attained unto the choirs of the incorporeal in the heavens, ** and pour forth miracles.

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel: “Of the Wisdom …”: Disdaining the glory of the world and furnishing themselves with wings through divine glory, Menas, Hermogenes and the glorious Eugraphus endured the weight of cruel tortures with zealous purpose, sparing not their flesh. Wherefore, cast into the depths of the sea after their end, they were guided to the will of God. To them let us cry aloud with faith: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love honour your holy memory.

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

Theotokion in Tone VIII: From the snares of enemies visible and invisible, * we have been overcome by the storms of our uncountable sins, * and fleeing unto the safe harbour of thy goodness O pure one, * we have thee as our rampart and sure protection. * Wherefore we thy servants beseech thee * to ceaselessly make fervent supplication, O most pure one, * unto Him who seedlessly became incarnate from thee, * that those who worthily hymn thee ** may be granted the remission of their sins.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Proclaiming the brilliant laws of God, O Menas, thou didst endure the putting out of thine eyes by the iniquitous, lifting up the eyes of thy heart unto the never-waning Light, and chanting with joy: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

When it was cut out, thy tongue was found to be honed by the fire of the Spirit, O most wise one; for it spake, hymning the wonders of God and manifestly brought to the glory of piety the tyrant who had caused thy muteness, O Menas.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Enduring great suffering, Hermogenes was deprived of his feet, yet he trampled upon the head of the serpent, preparing with unwavering demeanor the path of witness which leadeth to the life of heavenly splendour.

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

When thou wast preserving thy soul unwounded, O Menas, Christ appeared to thee, healing thy wounds and commanding thee to endure manfully, that for thy sake He Who desireth mercy might work salvation for all who beheld thy torment.

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

Thou didst put forth the Rod from the root of Jesse, O pure and all-hymned Virgin who budded forth the Husbandman of all creation, Who hath caused the gardens of fruitless knowledge to wither and hath piously rooted the most true Faith within us.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Why trouble ye yourselves in vain? The martyrs cried out together to the most iniquitous judge. He Who giveth power standeth before us, He Who alone is invincible in might, for Whose sake we most mightily endure wounds!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Sudden was the conversion of the wondrous Hermogenes to the Lord; for he was cleansed in the laver of baptism, and received the light of the hierarchal office by the judgment of God, illumining with his teachings those who were in the night of evil.

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

Abandoning the worthless mentality of the rhetors, ye were caught in the snares of the unlettered apostles when the Spirit rendered you truly wise as martyrs and through faith rendered you mighty in strength against every storm of torment.

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

Thou wast shown to surpass the holy angels, O pure Virgin who hast given birth unto the Angel of Great Counsel, Emmanuel, Who by His condescension united mankind to the heavenly, in His unutterable compassion, O Maiden.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O Almighty God, after three days Thou didst save from the monster Jonah, who foreshadowed Thy burial; and the bodies of the martyrs which were cast into the deep Thou didst guide to the most tranquil haven of burial, where Thy divine will is the safekeeping of us, the faithful.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O invincible martyrs, upon dry land and unharmed did the deep give up your bodies, which were guided by the angels of heaven who proclaimed to all your spiritual state, which poureth forth healings and delivereth all from the passions of the soul, O blessed ones.

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

The ranks of the angels marvelled at your endurance, and how in the body ye vanquished the incorporeal serpent, and were crowned with wreaths of victory, O martyrs, who stand before the throne of God, illumined with the effulgence of divine light.

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

Through thee, O Virgin, hath death ceased to be, for thou hast given birth unto those who believe in Him with pure faith. To Him do thou pray, O all-holy one, that He deliver thy servants from misfortune.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel: “Having been lifted up …”: The right harmonious sound of thy words, * leading Hermogenes up from the abyss of perdition, * set him on the rock of life; * and Eugraphus, having denounced the emperor, * hath his glorious head severed, rejoicing. * And do thou earnestly pray, O Menas, ** that all who honour thee with love be saved.

Ikos: Thy life was godly, thy discourse sweet, thy boldness and teaching great, thy courage wondrous in the face of the iniquitous, O Menas, who showed thyself forth with steadfastness of mind to be in no wise afraid. And with instruction thou didst teach all to worship the one God in three Hypostases and to serve Him with unwavering intent. And confessing the Son of God Who for our sake assumed flesh in these latter days, thou didst pursue Hermogenes. Wherefore, with him do thou pray, that all who honour you with love be saved.

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

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

O spiritual athletes, ye have made your abode with the souls of the joyous, where the sound of the voices of those who keep festival in a pure manner is heard, full of gladness, and chanting: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Sweet to me is the death whereby I die, cried Hermogenes, for me to live is Christ, and to die is immeasurable gain. Let my members be cut off as I chant with love: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

With steadfast wisdom thou didst inscribe thyself in the Book of Life, O wise Eugraphus; for when thy head was severed, thou wast transported to the neverwaning Light on thy blood, as upon a chariot.

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

The incarnate Word issued forth from thee, O Maiden, without burning thy womb or disturbing the seal of thy virginity, granting incorruption and life to us who chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Irmos: The furnace moist with dew * was an image and prefiguring of a wonder past nature, * burning not the Children whom it had received, * so the fire of the Godhead consumed not the Virgin’s womb * into which it had descended. * Therefore in song let us sing: * Let the whole creation bless the Lord * and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

He whose wisdom was vain fell at thy feet, beaten, O divinely wise Menas; for, having deprived thee of eyes and tongue, he was yet unable to shake thy thought of the dwelling-place on high. Wherefore, thou didst cry out with joy: Let all creation bless the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

When the most irrational tyrant deprived thee of both thy hands and feet by his most savage will, then, O wise Hermogenes, desiring the prize, and rejoicing, thou didst chant unto Christ: Let all creation bless the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

I hymn thy divine suffering, O Menas; I honour the struggles of Hermogenes; I venerate your relics, sing of the wounds, bonds, persecutions and death whereby ye were taken up into life, crying: Let all creation bless the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

We have known thee to be the jar which contained the Manna of the Godhead, O Maiden, the ark, the table, the candlestick, the throne of God, the palace, and the bridge which doth lead to divine life those who chant: Let all creation bless the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Ode IX, 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 martyrs, pray to God for us.

Lo! the brilliant celebration of the radiant martyrs hath shone forth upon all, illumining the ends of the world and removing the blindness of men’s souls. Let us make haste with all diligence, and draw forth sanctity there-from.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

As ye ever stand before God, O great martyrs, we entreat you: Pray ye that those who honour your radiant memory with faith, may receive the blessings of heavenly glory whereof ye have been deemed worthy.

Holy martyrs, pray to God for us.

Immolated in the fire of torment, and illumined with the most pure light, O all-praised ones, ye brought body and soul to the Creator of all as an unblemished sacrifice, and have been numbered among the choirs of the martyrs.

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

The splendid and divine choir of the martyrs, the divinely wise Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus, were taken up to the mansions of heaven and stand before the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, manifestly delighting in deification.

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

The effulgence of the splendour of thy birthgiving hath our rejected nature seen, O all-immaculate one, and it hath been delivered from the night of unbelief and the dark tumult of the passions. Wherefore, we honour thee as the cause of our salvation.

Troparion, in Tone VIII: Having mortified the fiery movements of the passions by abstinence, O martyrs of Christ, * ye received the grace to dispel the ailments of the infirm, * and living even after your death, ye work miracles. * O truly most glorious wonder! Bare bones pour forth healing! ** Glory be to Thee the only God and Creator!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two canons of the holy and righteous Anna.

Canon I, composition of Andrew, in Tone I.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Patapios of Thebes

Tuesday December 8/21: St Patapios of Thebes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Metropolitan Dionysios of Servia and Kozani

Pemptousia

12/21/2016

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, Patapios, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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