Day 27 – Advent With the Saints: St Daniel the Stylite

11/24 December

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.

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.

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

Theotokion: O all-holy Virgin, thou hope of Christians, unceasingly beseech God, to Whom thou gavest birth in manner past understanding and recounting, in behalf of us who hymn thee, that He grant remission of all our sins, and correction of life to us who ever glorify thee with faith and love.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): 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.

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.

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.

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

Kontakion, 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!

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!

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.

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

O Thou that wast born of her whom Thou didst preserve incorrupt even after birth-giving, 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, 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!

Day 26 – Advent With the Saints: the Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus of Alexandria

10/23 December

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.

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.

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, 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, 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 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.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): The ewe-lamb, beholding her Lamb, Shepherd and Redeemer upon the Cross, exclaimed, weeping, and bitterly lamenting, cried out: The world rejoiceth, receiving deliverance through Thee; but my womb burneth, beholding Thy crucifixion, which Thou endurest in the loving-kindness of Thy mercy. O long-suffering Lord, Thou abyss and inexhaustible wellspring of compassion, take pity and grant remission of sins unto those who with faith hymn Thy divine Passion.

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 demeanour 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.

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.

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.

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

Kontakion, 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 never-waning Light on thy blood, as upon a chariot.

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!

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.

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

The effulgence of the splendour of thy birth-giving 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, 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!

Day 25 – Advent With the Saints: the Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos by Saint Anna

9/22 December

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!”

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!”

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, 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; 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.

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?”

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!”

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

Kontakion, 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!

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!”

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.

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, 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!

Day 24 – Advent With the Saints: St Patapios of Thebes

8/21 December

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, 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.

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.

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, 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; 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.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): 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 Who 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: 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.

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.

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.

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

Kontakion, 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!

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.

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.

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, 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.

Day 22 – Advent With the Saints: the Canons to St Nicholas

Canon I of the hierarch, the acrostic whereof is: “I chant divine hymnody unto thee, O Nicholas”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone II

Ode I, Irmos: Overwhelming power once laid low the whole army of Pharaoh in the deep, and the incarnate Word hath destroyed pernicious sin. All-glorious is the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified.

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

Standing, crowned, before the throne of Christ with the angelic armies, O all-wise Nicholas, grant me the enlightenment which illumineth the darkness of my soul, that, rejoicing, I may praise thy memory, O most blessed one.

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

The Lord Who glorifieth all who glorify Him hath given thee to the faithful as a refuge delivering from perils those who have recourse to thy protection, who call upon thee with faith and love, O Nicholas.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

The most wicked serpent, instilling in me the desire to make myself equal with the Creator, took me captive; but through thee, O most pure one, I have been restored and truly deified, for thou gavest birth to Him Who hath deified me, O Mother of God.

Canon II of the hierarch, the acrostic whereof, excluding the triadica and theotokia, is the [Greek] alphabet, in Tone I

Irmos: Christ is born, give ye glory! Christ cometh from heaven, meet ye Him! Christ is on earth, be ye exalted! O all the earth, sing ye unto the Lord, and chant with gladness, ye people, for He hath been glorified!

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

Though my tongue and lips are at a loss, O Nicholas, I have come to bring this meagre praise and entreaty to thy godly excellence; but, as thou art a bestower of riches, render God the Saviour merciful to me.

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

As a heavenly man thou wast shown to be angelic upon the earth, a ready defender of widows, an avenger of the oppressed, and a helper amid misfortunes for all who are sorrowful, O father Nicholas.

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

All who are under the sun tell forth the abyss of the wonders of thy virtues, O thrice blessed Nicholas: the poor call thee their intercessor, the orphans and widows their nurturer, the blind their guide, and all men their champion.

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

I honour the uncreated Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Spirit – the simple Being, the Godhead, the indivisible Essence, which existeth naturally in three Hypostases, distinguished as to Person and Hypostasis.

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

Without seed didst thou conceive the Word Who is One of the Trinity, O most immaculate one, and thou gavest birth to Him in the flesh, remaining a virgin after birth-giving, as thou wast before. Ever entreat Him in our behalf, in that He is thy Son and God.

Ode III, Canon I, Irmos: The desert, the barren Church of the nations, blossomed like a lily at Thine advent, O Lord; and therein hath my heart been established.

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

O blessed Nicholas, as thou art the true disciple of the Master, thou savest those who have recourse to thee from grievous misfortunes and bitter death.

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

Cleanse thy servants, granting them remission of sins, in that Thou art good, through the mediations before Thee of Nicholas, Thy favourite, O greatly Merciful One.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Quell thou the turmoil of my soul, O all-pure one, and guide thou my life, O most holy one who gavest birth to God, in Whom my heart hath been established.

Canon II, Irmos: To Christ God, the Son Who was begotten of the Father without corruption before time began, and in latter times without seed became incarnate of the Virgin, let us cry aloud: O Lord Who liftest up our horn, holy art Thou!

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

Having acquired in thy heart tablets inscribed with many virtues by the immortal and all-pure finger of Christ God, O Nicholas, sweetness greater than that of honey or the honey-comb poureth forth from thy lips.

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

Grace all-gloriously showed forth miracles in thee, O Nicholas, for thy pure life, truly more lustrous than gold, illumineth benighted souls with the radiance of the divine Spirit.

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

Thou livest even after death, manifestly appearing in dreams, and thou didst all-gloriously deliver the young men from death, crying aloud to the emperor: “Do no harm to these men, who have been slandered by vainglorious jealousy!”

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

Be merciful, O most Holy Trinity our God, unto me who have defiled my life with immeasurable transgressions, O Father, Son and living Spirit, Who preservest me wholly and ever unwounded by sorrow.

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

O Theotokos, thou givest thy servants hope of salvation. Stand forth in thy speedy supplications to preserve and help us amid wants and perils, for thou art the boast of us, the faithful, O Ever-Virgin.

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

Sessional hymn, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom…”: Having ascended to the summit of the virtues and been illumined by the divine splendours of miracles therefrom, O father, thou wast truly shown to be an all-radiant pastor for the world, and an invincible intercessor for us amid perils. Wherefore, having all-gloriously vanquished the enemy, thou didst drive falsehood away and didst save men from sin. O Nicholas, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love honour thy holy memory.

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

Another sessional hymn, same tone & melody: The Abyss of mercy hath shown thee to be a river pouring forth healings in abundance and an inexhaustible wellspring of miracles, O Nicholas; for those who are bitterly afflicted with grievous ailments and cruelly tormented by the vexations of life truly find the curative healing of all suffering in thy fervent defence. Wherefore, we cry aloud to thee: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of transgressions unto those who with love celebrate thy holy memory.

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

Theotokion: All of us, the generations of men, bless thee as the Virgin who, alone among women, gavest birth without seed to God in the flesh; for the fire of the Godhead made His abode within thee, and thou didst nurture the Creator and Lord with milk as a babe. Wherefore, we, the race of angels and men, cry out to thee together: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of offences unto those who with faith worship thine all-holy birthgiving.

Ode IV, Canon I, Irmos: Thou didst come forth from the Virgin, neither a mediator nor an angel, but Thyself incarnate, O Lord, and hast saved me, the whole man; wherefore, I cry to thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

Having in purity drawn nigh to the rays of the Spirit, thou becamest a light-bearer, illumining the ends of the world, interceding for all, and saving all who have recourse to thee with faith.

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

As of old thou didst appear, delivering the young men from death, O venerable Nicholas, so now save me from every evil circumstance, from perils and misfortunes, O most blessed one.

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

Thou didst shine forth with the effulgence of the virtues, O most blessed one, as a most excellent emulator of thy Master; and, invoked, thou savest those who glorify thee with reverence and love.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Incarnate, the Master of creation came upon thee, saving me wholly, in that He is compassionate. Wherefore, we, the faithful, glorify thee as Theotokos.

Canon II, Irmos: A rod from the root of Jesse and blossom therefrom, O Christ, Thou didst spring forth from the Virgin; from the mountain overshadowed and densely wooded hast Thou come, incarnate of her who knew not man, O Thou praised and immaterial God. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

At the mere invocation of thy name, those who call upon thee are truly delivered with all speed from all the counsels of the enemy, O sacred Nicholas. As of old thou didst deliver the soldiers, so also save us from every grievous circumstance.

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

Standing before the throne of God, cease thou never to make earnest supplication on behalf of all of us, thy faithful servants, O wise and wondrous Nicholas, that we may be delivered from everlasting fire, from the enemy, from the wicked tongue, and from affliction.

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

Thou dost everywhere pour forth healings upon those who have recourse to thee, and deliverest all from bondage. Wherefore, by thy supplications which are acceptable to God, transform our grief into joy, O all-radiant Nicholas, casting down the pridefulness of our enemies.

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

I honour and venerate the principality of the unoriginate Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the most Holy Spirit – which accomplisheth all things, is one, indivisible, ever distinguished in three characters and Persons: the single undivided Kingship.

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

Thou alone art truly more honourable than those on earth and those in heaven, O Theotokos, for thou didst conceive in thy womb the Creator of all, clothed in material flesh, giving birth to Him without seed. O what a new sight!

Ode V, Canon I, Irmos: O Christ my Saviour, enlightenment of those who lie in darkness and salvation of the despairing: rising early unto Thee, O King of the world, may I be enlightened by Thy radiance, for I know none other God than Thee.

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

Enlightened by a godly life, O thrice blessed one, standing forth thou didst deliver those condemned by an unjust sentence to death, who cried to Christ God: We know none other God than Thee!

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

Now beholding everlasting glory in the heavens, and delighting in the most splendid effulgence of ineffable and divine radiance, protect me by thine intercessions, O venerable and most honourable favourite of Christ.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

That Thou mightest seek out Thine image, which had been buried by the passions, O Saviour, hiding from the heavenly hosts, Thou didst appear, incarnate of the Virgin, to those who cry to Thee: We know none other God than Thee!

Canon II, Irmos: As God of peace and Father of compassion, Thou didst send Thine Angel of Great Counsel, Who granteth us peace. Therefore, guided to the light of knowledge divine, and waking at dawn out of the night, we glorify Thee, Who lovest mankind.

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

The great metropolis of Myra, the province of Lycia, and all the parts of thy homeland, proclaim thy wonders and miracles, whereby thou deliverest all from pain and sorrow, O divinely blessed father Nicholas.

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

As the feeder of wisdom and father of orphans, the most excellent help of those in sorrow, the consolation of the grieving, the shepherd and guide of all the lost, O Nicholas, by thy supplications deliver us from misfortunes.

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

Thou hast passed over from earth to the immaterial mansions, where thou dost gaze upon the ineffable beauty of Christ, and hast been shown to be a converser with the angelic armies. Wherefore, joining chorus with the apostles and martyrs, earnestly pray for us to the Master of all, O father Nicholas.

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

I manifestly glorify the three independent Persons of the one, indivisible Godhead, equally unoriginate and equally enthroned, by Whom I have been brought out of oblivion into existence; and with the angels I cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O Lord!

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

O pure one, who alone settest salvation and hope before all men and savest them, help us now who cry aloud to thee and ever call upon thee amid grievous circumstances; for we have none other intercessor than thee, after God.

Ode VI, Canon I, Irmos: Whirled about in the abyss of sin, I call upon the unfathomable abyss of Thy loving-kindness: Lead me up from corruption, O God!

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

The crown of victory hath fittingly been placed upon thy head, O Nicholas. As thou art a most excellent victor, save those who call upon thee.

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

Appearing, O blessed one, save me who am slain by transgressions and engulfed by the threefold billows of the passions, and lead me to the harbour of the will of God.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In thee, O Ever-Virgin Mother, have I placed my hope of salvation, and thee do I set forth as the steadfast and unshakable intercessor for my life.

Canon II, Irmos: The sea monster thrust forth, like a babe from the womb, Jonah whom it had swallowed; and the Word, Who dwelt within the Virgin and took flesh of her, issued forth, preserving her incorrupt. He kept her who gave Him birth unharmed, for He Himself was not subject to corruption.

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

Thou hast been shown to be a new Abraham, O Nicholas, for, ever offering up the unbloody sacrifice, thou didst bring thy mind to thy Master as if it were thine only-begotten son; wherefore, thou wast blessed as a lover of strangers, O father, and didst become the divine and immaculate habitation of the Trinity.

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

Thou workest strange and awesome miracles, O Nicholas, interceding in thy speedy supplications for those in peril throughout the earth and far out upon the sea, showing thyself to the faithful as a physician of the sick, a feeder of the poor, and the namesake of victory over the enemy.

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

Foreseeing things yet to come with the eye of thy mind, thou didst fill all the ends of the earth with right doctrines, and, declaring to us that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, thou didst set at nought the savagery of Arius, O pillar of the Orthodox Faith, setting forth thine honoured corrections.

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

I venerate and honour the indivisible Trinity, which is ever distinguished in three Persons, and united in essence and nature, as a single Principle: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Who with might hath dominion over all and preserveth all things as He desireth.

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

Wholly incarnate within thy womb, O all-pure one, Christ God was born without seed; for, unable to endure the sight of the work of His hands tormented by the deceiver, He came in the guise of a servant to deliver the human race.

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, Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Today the Virgin…”: In Myra thou wast shown to be a performer of the sacred mysteries, O holy one, for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, thou didst lay down thy life for thy people, O venerable one, and didst save the innocent from death. Wherefore, thou hast been sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God.

Ikos: With songs let us now hymn the holy hierarch, the pastor and teacher of the people of Myra, that we may be enlightened by his prayers. For, lo! he hath been shown to be wholly pure, incorrupt of spirit, offering to Christ the immaculate and pure sacrifice which is right acceptable to God, as a hierarch pure in soul and body. Wherefore, as a true intercessor of the Church and champion thereof, he is a great initiate of the grace of God.

Ode VII, Canon I, Irmos: When the golden image was worshipped on the plain of Dura, Thy three youths spurned the ungodly command, and, cast into the midst of the fire, bedewed, they sang: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

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

Into precipitous temptation have I fallen, and am grievously pierced; I have drawn nigh unto the gates of hell and am wounded by sorrows. Save me by thy supplications, O blessed one, and raise me up who chant: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

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

Illumined with the immaterial rays of the never-waning Light, rescue the afflicted who find themselves in the darkness of tribulations, and guide to the light of gladness those who chant: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Ask Christ, thy Son and God, O Virgin Theotokos, for those sold under grievous transgressions and the deceptions of the serpent, that they may be delivered by His precious Blood who chant: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Canon II, Irmos: The children raised together in piety, disdaining the ungodly command, feared not the threat of the fire, but, standing in the midst of the flame, they chanted: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Having been shown to be a most excellent physician of all manner of grievous ailments, and having healed the infirmity of my soul, O father Nicholas, grant me goodly health, that I may cry: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Having of old delivered the warriors from death, O holy one, thou didst raise them up to hymn and glorify Christ with ardent faith; and they cried aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Having mystically approached the cup of wisdom, O father Nicholas, from thy lips thou didst let fall rain-drops sweeter than honey or the honey-comb, commanding the people to cry aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

We hymn Thee, O Trinity, Thou thrice-effulgent consubstantial Unity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And having been baptised thereinto, we chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

As thou art more exalted than all other creatures, O Theotokos, entreat thy Son and God, that those who truly honour and glorify thee may be delivered from torments, crying: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Canon I, Irmos: God, Who descended into the fiery furnace for the Hebrew children and transformed the flame into dew, hymn ye as Lord, O ye works, and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

As thou art good and compassionate, O blessed Nicholas, free those who are grievously stuck in the abyss of perils, granting them release from the evils which hold them, by thy supplications to Christ the Saviour, O initiate of the sacred mysteries.

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

As thou art a mystogogue of things which pass understanding, the minister of things holy and celestial, and a faithful hierarch, O divinely wise one, ask our Saviour for remission of transgressions, O thou who art manifest in sanctity.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

My mind now faileth, having fallen into the abyss of impiety, for I am beset on every side by divers evils; yet do thou heal me, O Virgin, clothing me in the light of dispassion.

Canon II, Irmos: The dew-bearing furnace showed forth the image of a supernatural wonder; for it burned not the youths whom it had received, just as the fire of the Godhead burned not the Virgin, whose womb it entered. Wherefore, chanting, let us sing: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

The ranks of the patriarchs and apostles, the assemblies of the hieromartyrs, the company of prophets and the whole council of fasters bless thy godly life; and with them we also cry aloud: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

O Most High, O Word, Thou King of all, great in might! Through the supplications of the venerable pastor grant peace to the life of all Christians, aiding our Orthodox hierarchs in the struggle against heresy, that with him we may cry out to Christ: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Illumined with light unapproachable, O father, thou shinest upon the souls of those in tribulation, dispelling all the gloomy darkness of perils, and enlightening our hearts with gladness. And illumined thereby from afar, we cry aloud: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Following the truly divine teachings of the fathers, with faith we hymn the Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – the Life and Lives, the One and Three Lights. And with them we piously chant: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Of old on Mount Sinai, the bush prefigured a strange mystery, O pure Maiden, burning without being consumed, depicting the mystery of thy birthgiving; for the fire of the Godhead which dwelt within thee preserved thee unharmed. Him do we magnify for all ages.

Ode IX, Canon I, Irmos: God the Lord, the Son of the unoriginate Father, hath revealed Himself to us incarnate of the Virgin, to enlighten those in darkness and to gather the dispersed. Wherefore, we magnify the all-hymned Theotokos.

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

Enlightened by lamps of grace, O divinely wise one, thou didst manifestly become a lamp of piety: thou savest those in danger, deliverest those who are out upon the deep of the sea, and all-gloriously feedest the hungry, O most blessed one.

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

Dwelling now in the sweetness of paradise, and clearly beholding ineffable glory, thou lookest down from the circles of heaven upon those who hymn thee, delivering them from sufferings, O most blessed God-bearer.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O pure Mother of God, thou gavest birth to the Wisdom, Power and hypostatic Word of the Father, Who built the temple of His body with thine all-pure blood, and joined Himself inseparably to it by unification.

Canon II, Irmos: A strange and most glorious mystery do I behold: the cave is heaven; the Virgin, the throne of the cherubim; the manger, the place wherein lay Christ God, Whom naught can contain, Whom praising, we magnify.

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

O ye who love the feasts of the Church, let us all join chorus in spirit. Ye heavens, ye mountains and hills, ye choirs of virgins and of the Church, ye splendour of fasters: rejoice at the memorial of the most blessed one; and, assembling together thereon, let us magnify the Saviour.

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

With hymns let all the ends of the earth chant unceasingly, manifestly adorning the head of Nicholas, the favourite of Christ God, with wreaths of praise. Through his supplications may we be delivered from sufferings and misfortunes.

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

O Nicholas, accept this meagre effort as fitting hymnody, as Christ accepted the widow’s two mites. Disdain not one accursed with passions, for it is not out of pride that I have presumed, O thrice-blessed one.

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

The Trinity is united in consubstantial will, yet it is indivisibly distinguished as to Persons – the Father, the Son and the living Spirit – the one God in three Hypostases, ever preserving the might of Him, Whom we magnify.

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

All grief hath been abolished by thy birth-giving, and the Lord hath taken away lamentation, weeping, and each tear from the face of every mortal, O pure Theotokos who knewest not wedlock. In thee do we also fulfil our debt.

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

Day 22 – Advent With the Saints: St Nicholas the Wonderworker

6/19 December

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ministry of Fr Nicholas

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

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

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

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

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

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

Consecration to the episcopate

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

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

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

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

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

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

The First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea 325

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

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

Nicholas the Wonderworker

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

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

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

The saint’s departure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 20 – Advent With the Saints: the Holy Great-Martyr Barbara & Venerable John Of Damascus

4/17 December

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the Great-Martyr, 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

Venerable father, John, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 19 – Advent With the Saints: the Prophet Zephaniah

3/16 December

The Prophet Zephaniah (Sophonias) was a contemporary of the Prophet Jeremiah and the Prophetess Oldama. He was from the tribe of Simeon, and was the ninth of the Twelve Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. The prophet lived at the royal court, where he preached repentance and helped King Josiah eliminate idol-worship.

He prophesied about the calamities that were to come for the people of Judea and the surrounding regions: Gaza, Ascalon, Crete, and against the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Ninevites.

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 Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

We beseech thee, O prophet, who standest before the throne of God, that thou earnestly entreat Him to grant enlightenment to us who with faith hymn thine honored memory.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

We beseech thee, O prophet, who standest before the throne of God, that thou earnestly entreat Him to grant enlightenment to us who with faith hymn thine honored memory.

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

Thou hast been shown to be a divine instrument containing enlightenment and the gifts of the divine Spirit, O all-wise Zephaniah; wherefore, rejoicing, we, the faithful, call thee blessed.

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

The Sun which shone forth from thy holy womb, O Lady, illumineth all the earth with most brilliant rays; and enlightened thereby, we honor thee as the Mother of God.

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 Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

He Who, as God, seeth all things, O blessed and right wondrous one, in a godly manner manifestly revealed and showed thee the knowledge of the future and what is to be.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

He Who, as God, seeth all things, O blessed and right wondrous one, in a godly manner manifestly revealed and showed thee the knowledge of the future and what is to be.

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

Having strengthened thy mind with the boldness of piety, O blessed one, thou didst bow thyself down before the divine Spirit and received divine inspirations.

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

Behold, with faith all generations call thee blessed who, in a manner transcending nature, hast given birth in the flesh within time unto the timeless Word, yet remained a virgin.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone VI, Spec. Mel. “The portals of compassion…”: Having cleansed thy mind of defilement, O all-wise one, thou didst make it a divine mirror reflecting the rays of the Spirit of God; and now, rejoicing, thou hast departed unto the Source of effulgence, O prophet Zephaniah.

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

Theotokion, Tone VI: Groaning from my heart and inmost parts do I offer thee, O all-immaculate one, asking thine aid, which is accompanied by good. Have mercy upon my greatly suffering soul. Move thou the most merciful God to pity, that He deliver me from damnation and the lake of fire, O thou who alone art blessed.

Stavrotheotokion, Tone VI (replaces the above on Wednesdays and Fridays): The ever-virgin Maiden who gaveth birth unto Thee, O Christ, beholding Thee suspended upon the Cross for our sake, was wounded heart and soul by the sword of grief, and wept, lamenting maternally. By her supplications have mercy upon us, O Merciful One.

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 Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

The Lord of all appeared to us in accordance with thy prophecy, O blessed one, calling all to knowledge of Him; and freeing us from slavery.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

The Lord of all appeared to us in accordance with thy prophecy, O blessed one, calling all to knowledge of Him; and freeing us from slavery.

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

Illumined by grace, thou didst make proclamation, speaking to those who bow low to labor beneath the one yoke, who follow the Faith and serve the Lord.

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

O all-pure Mary, still thou the tumult of the passions of my mind and the storm of temptations, as thou hast given birth unto the Wellspring of dispassion, O Virgin Mother.

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 Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

By thine entreaties, O blessed and glorious prophet, convert me from unrighteousness to virtue, and from the captivity of the passions lead me to the light of piety.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

By thine entreaties, O blessed and glorious prophet, convert me from unrighteousness to virtue, and from the captivity of the passions lead me to the light of piety.

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

Having enlightened thy soul with the comeliness of the virtues, thou didst show it to be pleasing to the splendors of the divine Spirit, by Whom thou hast been enriched by the grace of prophecy.

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

In many forms the words of the prophets proclaim thy birthgiving, O most pure one; and we, beholding now their fulfillment, truly declare thee to be thenTheotokos.

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 greatly Merciful One.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Receiving the rays of the Spirit through revelation, O glorious one, like a mirror thou didst reflect the splendors of divine prophecy upon the world, prophesying the things of the future as though they were present.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Receiving the rays of the Spirit through revelation, O glorious one, like a mirror thou didst reflect the splendors of divine prophecy upon the world, prophesying the things of the future as though they were present.

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

The King hath come! Rejoice and adorn thyself, O Zion, beholding Him! He hath enlightened the world with the brilliant rays of His divinity and hath put the delusion of the demons to shame!

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

In thy womb the Only-begotten of the Father united Himself to flesh of clay; He Who is One Person of two natures issued forth from thee without corruption, preserving thy pure virginity intact, O all-hymned one.

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, Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Thou hast appeared …”:
Thou wast shown to be brilliant by the divine Spirit, O prophet Zephaniah, * proclaiming the coming of God: * Rejoice exceedingly, O daughter of Zion! * Proclaim Him, O Jerusalem! ** Behold, thy King cometh to save mankind!

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

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Thy memory hath shone upon the world like the sun, illumining with the grace of thy prophecy those who with faith chant together: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Thy memory hath shone upon the world like the sun, illumining with the grace of thy prophecy those who with faith chant together: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Revealed to be like a cloud heavy laden with showers, thou didst let fall upon us a shower of divine knowledge from the springs of salvation, O blessed one, whereby we are enlightened to cry out: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Desiring in His divine will to restore mankind, the Word, Who of old gave existence to all things, made His abode within thy womb, O pure and blessed one, who hast given birth to God in the flesh.

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 Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Offered wholly to the Almighty, thou wast instructed in the mysteries by way of foreknowledge, teaching the Gentiles in accordance with God’s providence. Wherefore, we hymn thee, O divinely eloquent prophet.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Offered wholly to the Almighty, thou wast instructed in the mysteries by way of foreknowledge, teaching the Gentiles in accordance with God’s providence. Wherefore, we hymn thee, O divinely eloquent prophet.

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

Offer up a hymn of supplication on behalf of those who hymn thee, O divinely blessed one, and put an end to the turmoil of temptations, that we may hymn thee, O divinely eloquent prophet.

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

Giving birth to God, the Lord and Bestower of life, O most pure one, thou didst abolish the unrestrained tyranny of death, slaying it. Wherefore, we hymn thee throughout all ages.

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 Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Thou madest thine abode in the land of the meek, where, after thy repose, thou dost behold the splendors of the angels, O all-wise Zephaniah, thou prophet of God, shining with grace in that thou art meek. Wherefore, rejoicing, we, the faithful, call thee blessed.

Holy Prophet, Zephaniah, pray to God for us.

Thou madest thine abode in the land of the meek, where, after thy repose, thou dost behold the splendors of the angels, O all-wise Zephaniah, thou prophet of God, shining with grace in that thou art meek. Wherefore, rejoicing, we, the faithful, call thee blessed.

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

Radiantly beholding the fulfillment of thy prophecies, O most glorious one, we marvel at the grace given thee and the purity of thy mind, and we are struck with wonder at thy godly soul.

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

No other like thee hath ever been given to us from generations of old, O all-immaculate Mother of God; for thou, alone of all, hast incomparable sanctity and purity. Wherefore, thou didst receive within thyself God incarnate.

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

Day 18 – Advent With the Saints: the Prophet Habakkuk

2/15 December

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theotokion: After God, it is to thy divine protection that I, the lowly, flee, O Theotokos, and falling down I pray: Have mercy, O all-pure one, for my sins have gone over my head, and I fear torment and tremble, O Mistress. O pure one, make supplication to thy Son, that He deliver me therefrom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 16 – Advent With Saints: St Andrew the First-Called

30 November / 13 December

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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