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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the feast and two canons of the saints.

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Peter, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church of America

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Amphilochius,  pray to God for us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

Holy father, Gregory,  pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nameday and Birthday Greetings

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

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

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

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

Многая и Благая лѣта!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church of America

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Canon of the Saints, Irmos: O Lord, who didst slay sin upon the tree, * firmly establish us in Thee, * and in the hearts of us who hymn Thee * plant the fear of Thee.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Canon of the Saints, Irmos: O Lord, Bestower of light and Creator of the ages: * guide us in the light of Thy commandments, * for we know none other God than Thee.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Canon of the Saints, Irmos: God Who descended into the fiery furnace * with the Hebrew children,* and transformed the flame into dew, * do ye works hymn, * and supremely exalt as Lord throughout all ages.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

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

Canon of the Saints, Irmos: God the Word, God of God, * Who by ineffable wisdom came to create Adam anew * after his grievous fall to corruption through eating * and Who took flesh beyond all telling from the Holy Virgin for our sake, * Him we faithful with one accord magnify in song.

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

Holy Apostles, pray to God for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Gregory Decapolites & St. Proclus

Friday November 20/ December 3: Saint Gregory Decapolites & Saint Proclus of Constantinople

Saint Gregory the Decapolite was born in the Isaurian city of Decapolis (ten cities) in the eighth century. From his childhood he loved the temple of God and church services. He read the Holy Scripture constantly and with reverence.

In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he lived as an ascetic on Olympus for a while. Saint Gregory preached the Word of God everywhere, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times oppressed, tortured and imprisoned.

Through his ascetic effort and prayer, Saint Gregory attained the gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. After overcoming the passions and reaching the height of virtue, he was permitted to hear angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. Saint Gregory left the monastery of Saint Menas near Thessalonica, where he had labored for a long time, and he went again to Constantinople in order to combat the Iconoclast heresy. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he departed to the Lord in the year 816.

Saint Gregory was buried at a monastery in Constantinople, and many miracles took place at his tomb. As a result, the monks removed the holy relics of Saint Gregory and enshrined them in the church where people could venerate them.

When Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the relics of Saint Gregory were carried to the region of the Danube by a Turkish official. In 1498 Barbu Craiovescu, the Ban of the Romanian Land (Wallachia) heard of the miracles performed by the holy relics and bought them for a considerable sum of money. Barbu Craiovescu placed the relics in the main church of Bistritsa Monastery which he founded in Rimnicu Vilcea, where they remain to the present day.

 

Saint Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople, from his early years devoted all his time to prayer and the study of Holy Scripture. The Lord granted him the great good fortune to be a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom (November 13), who at first ordained him as a deacon, and then to the holy priesthood. He witnessed the appearance of the Apostle Paul to Saint John Chrysostom. Saint Proclus received from his teacher a profound understanding of Holy Scripture, and learned to elucidate his thoughts in a polished form.

After the exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom, the holy Patriarch of Constantinople Sisinius (426-427) consecrated Saint Proclus as bishop of the city of Kyzikos, but under the influence of Nestorian heretics he was expelled by his flock there.

Saint Proclus then returned to the capital and preached the Word of God in the churches of Constantinople, strengthening listeners in the Orthodox Faith and denouncing the impiety of the heretics. He once preached a sermon before Nestorius in which he fearlessly defended the title “Theotokos” in speaking of the holy Virgin. Upon the death of the Patriarch Saint Sisinius, Saint Proclus was chosen to take his place. Having thus been made Patriarch of Constantinople, he guided the Church over the course of twelve years (434-447). By the efforts of Saint Proclus, the relics of Saint John Chrysostom were transferred from Comana to Constantinople in the time of the holy emperor Saint Theodosius II (408-450).

When Saint Proclus was Patriarch, the Empire suffered destructive earthquakes, lasting for several months. At Bithynia, in the Hellespont, and in Phrygia cities were devastated, rivers disappeared from the face of the earth, and terrible flooding occurred in previously dry places. The people of Constantinople came out of the city with the patriarch and emperor at their head and offered prayers for an end to the unprecedented calamities.

During one prayer service, a boy from the crowd was snatched up into the air by an unseen force and carried up to such a height that he was no longer to be seen by human eyes. Then, whole and unharmed, the child was lowered to the ground and he reported that he heard and he saw the angels glorifying God singing: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.” All the people began to sing this Trisagion Prayer, adding to it the refrain, “Have mercy on us!” Then the earthquakes stopped. The Orthodox Church sings still this prayer at divine services to this very day.

The Constantinople flock esteemed their Patriarch for his ascetic life, for his concern about the downtrodden, and for his preaching. Many works of the saint have survived to the present day. Best known are his discourses against the Nestorians, two tracts of the Saint in praise of the Mother of God, and four tracts on the Nativity of Christ, setting forth the Orthodox teaching about the Incarnation of the Son of God. The activity of the holy patriarch in establishing decorum in all the church affairs gained him universal esteem. Surrounded by love and respect, Saint Proclus departed to the Lord after serving as Patriarch for twenty years.

Canon of the Venerable Gregory, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VIII.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications, O blessed Gregory, enliven my lowly soul, which hath been slain by the passions; for thou hast now received the life which ageth not, having mortified thy members on earth with the struggles of asceticism, O venerable one.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Abstaining from the pleasures of the body with purity of mind, O father, from childhood thou wast an instrument of the Spirit, splendidly receiving His powers and being recognized as godly of visage.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With divine desire thou didst cause the desires of the flesh to wither away, O blessed one, espousing to thyself purity as a bride, from whom thou didst beget all the virtues as children for thyself, and who made thee a child of God, O ever memorable one.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O most pure and blessed one, thou heavenly ladder stretching from earth unto the heavens, ineffable is the wonder and incomprehensible the vision, for God the Word hath come down to mortal mankind! Do thou save those who have recourse unto thee.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch Proclus, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone I.

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

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

The peer of the noetic archangels in activity and true discourse, O God-receiver, thou standest with them before the throne of the adored Trinity, O Proclus, Whom do thou beseech, that we be saved.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Manifestly following in the footsteps of Chrysostom, O all-blessed and ever-memorable one, thou didst receive his divine priestly vestments as a paternal inheritance, O right glorious father.

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

In that Isaiah of old cried out in the Spirit that God would come to earth, Nestorius, who blasphemously slandered the incarnation, was deposed in council by thee, O thrice blessed one.

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

With divinely inspired discourses thou didst explain the awesome incarnation of the Word of God from the Virgin, proclaiming her to be the Theotokos, following the all-wise dogmas of the apostles.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Having ascended the mountain of the virtues, O venerable father, thou didst enter into the darkness of vision and, comprehending, thou didst contain, as far as thou wast able, Him Who is unapproachable in essence, O father, being filled with enlightenment.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With heavenly light He Who was born in a cave for the deliverance of mortal mankind illumined thee like Paul, O all-blessed one, who of old wast dwelling in a cave, showing thee to be luminous, O father Gregory.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

The heavenly portal, the most pure Mother of Christ, furnished thee with wings, O father, who wast beset by the assaults of the demons, and through the grace of the Spirit rendered thee able to soar above them with strength.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Rejoice, O thou who alone hast given birth to the Lord of all! Rejoice, thou who hast mediated life for all! Rejoice, thou mountain overshadowed and unquarried, confirmation of the faithful! Rejoice, O all-immaculate one!

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

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Receiving light from Light in a most godly manner, O all-blessed one, thou didst become a light for the Church. Wherefore, the divine Light shone upon thee noetically, as is written, and, illumined thereby, thou dost enlighten those who hymn thy memory.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Sounding forth the thunder of thy dogmas, and as the walls of Jericho were cast down so were all the audacities and armies of heresy, and thou hast won the trophy of victory, manifestly proclaiming the incarnation of God from the Virgin.

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

Setting thy mouth to the well-spring of wisdom, O Proclus in that thou art pleasing to God, thou didst draw forth divine waters of spiritual wisdom, drowning the turbid rivers, and ungodly opinions of Nestorius, O all-blessed one.

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

The only-begotten Son who is ineffably understood to be with the Father on high, was the only-begotten born of thee below in a supra-natural manner past understanding, O most pure one; and hath deified mankind, O most pure Lady Theotokos. Wherefore, we call thee blessed.

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

Kontakion of Saint Proclus, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Thou hast appeared …”: Today the most honoured of all cities * doth truly celebrate as is meet on the feast of thine honoured repose, ** O wise Proclus, father of fathers.

Sessional Hymn of Saint Gregory, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before …”: Illumined with divine splendour, thou hast driven away the darkness of the soul-destroying passions, O most wise Gregory; and caught up to the most-pure heights of dispassion, thou hast most gloriously shone forth rays of healings, having made thine abode in the never-waning light of the Kingdom of Christ.

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

Sessional Hymn of Saint Proclus, in Tone III – Spec. Mel. “Of the divine Faith …”: Being a divine and sacred preacher, O all-praised teacher of the mysteries, enriching the Church with divine doctrine, thou didst proclaim the most pure Virgin to be the Theotokos and didst thereby put Nestorius to shame. Wherefore, we all faithfully honour thy memory, asking that we be granted great mercy.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

He Who in His goodness for our sake became a stranger by a strange descent, O Gregory, seeing thee a stranger for His sake, received thee who wast far from thy homeland and made thee a divine heir of His Kingdom, adorned with the virtues.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

For Christ Who for our sake became a babe and a child, O venerable one, didst thou give thyself over to a school of children, being as innocent as a babe, O divinely wise and venerable father; and with divine humility thou didst humble the malice of the enemy, O blessed Gregory.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Watered with the showers of thy tears as with divine dew, O father Gregory, thou didst cause every virtue to grow bringing forth the blossoming of fruitfulness from the tree of perfect fasting planted by the springs of water.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O blessed and all-immaculate Mother of God, heal thou the wounds of my soul, still the pleasures of the flesh, illumine my darkened heart, bring peace to my mind and deliver me from all the harm and assaults of the enemy.

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

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

The resounding thunder of the words of thy proclamation and the teachings of thy doctrines gladden the Church of God with wisdom, dispelling the audacity of heresy, O all-glorious and sacred Proclus.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having purified thine honoured body by abstinence like gold by fire, O most sacred and wise one, didst thou present it to the Creator as beautiful. Wherefore, He hath forever bestowed the vesture of the priesthood upon thee.

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

Being a sacred hierarch, and accustomed to divine knowledge, thou didst generously grant the divine radiance of enlightenment unto all, for the salvation of souls, O right glorious one.

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

Having in a manner past understanding received the divine Ember in thy womb, O all-immaculate one, thou wast truly not consumed; for the bush of old prefigured thy birth-giving, for our salvation and restoration.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

By thine actions thou didst show thyself to be a fertile vine of the Word, O venerable father, bearing the magnificent ripe grapes of the virtues which exude the spiritual wine of salvation, making glad the hearts of the faithful.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Glorious Rome, receiving thee from the East with faith, O father, as a never-waning lamp, became enlightened by thy precious gifts; for thou didst have Christ within thy soul like a light illumining those who beheld thee, O father.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Walking the paths of life with godly vigilance as a favourite of God, as a husbandman of the commandments of Christ with the power of the Spirit, thou didst slay the serpent who lay in wait to bruise thy heel.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Ever-Virgin Mother, intercessor for the world, pilot me and guide me to the right path, and direct my thoughts along the straight paths of righteousness, setting aright the steps of my soul.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, Irmos: Thou hast shone upon us with the radiance * of Thy coming O Christ, * and illumined the ends of the world with Thy Cross, * enlighten with the light of thine understanding * the hearts of those who with right worship hymn Thee.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Radiant as a beacon, O all-blessed one, thou wast shown to be a champion of the Church of God, clearly explaining the nativity of the Immutable One from the divine and all-holy Virgin, O glorious one.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Placing the dogmas of the glorious incarnation of God from the Virgin in thy sling, like the godly David of old didst thou fell the audacious character of Nestorius as did Goliath the Philistine.

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

Full of the teachings of Paul, and having beheld a vision of him, O most elect one, thou wast shown to be another Elisha, mystically anointed with the priesthood as with divine unction.

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

God took upon Himself neither confusion nor co-mingling in the womb of the Virgin, issuing forth in the flesh; but what He had been, that He remained: revealed immutably to be both God and man in His activities.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Deified by mystic visions and divine splendours, and by thy yearning for God, O most sacred one, as a divine prophet, as a favourite of God thou hast been deemed worthy of the grace of God.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thou didst perfect thy life in silence, O divinely inspired one, and wast revealed to be greater than the tumults of this life, higher than the passions, and a strange wanderer throughout all the earth.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Like a clear mirror thou wast enriched with divine radiance; like a sacred vessel thou hast adorned the temple, O Gregory, illumining the heavenly Church of the firstborn.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Mary, pure palace of the King, having cleansed me who have become the impure den of thieves by thy supplications, show me to be a holy temple for Him Who was born from thee.

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

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

With the noetic staff of thy teachings didst thou thou drive the proponents of heresy from the flock of Christ like marauding wild beasts, O blessed Proclus, leading thy flock into the fold of Orthodoxy.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Like another ark, through thine exhortations, O Proclus, thou didst present the body of the all-blessed Chrysostom to the Church of Christ, gladdening the choirs of the Orthodox by its arrival.

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

Ascending the great cathedra, O venerable one, with magnificent instructions didst thou adorn it in a most godly manner. Wherefore, assembling, we praise thee, O greatly wise and glorious hierarch Proclus.

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

Thou hast been revealed to surpass the cherubim, O Virgin full of the grace of God; for He Who is borne upon their shoulders, O pure one, was borne also in thine arms. Wherefore, we all ever glorify thee, O Theotokos.

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

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

Kontakion of the Venerable Gregory, in Tone III: The Church knoweth thee to be a sun radiant with the beauties of the virtues, * illumining all with rays of healings, O favourite of Christ. * Wherefore, we celebrate thine honoured memory * and honour thy struggles, ** O all-blessed and most wise father Gregory.

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With the outpourings of thy tears didst thou quench the fire, O Gregory, pouring forth the water of dispassion and the pure beverage of healings upon those who chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Borne up by the perfection of honourable love as in a chariot of fire, didst thou mount to the summit, upon which thou didst acquire thy life, O divinely wise one, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With thy standing in all-night vigils thou didst still the threefold billows of the passions, and having fallen into the sleep of the righteous, thou hast passed over into the never-waning light, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O pure virgin, thou who hast given birth to Light, enliven me who am perishing and dying through sin; save me and rescue me from Gehenna, who chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having purified body, mind and soul by removing the passions, O wise hierarch Proclus, from thence thou didst declare the dogmas of God Who was born and received a body, soul and mind from the Virgin, without undergoing change, that He might save us.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having acquired boldness before Christ, O holy one, pray thou that those who with hymnody praise thy glorious memory on earth, hymning the praised and supremely glorious God, may be delivered from all manner of dangers.

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

Having kindled a noetic fire in thy thoughts, thou didst utterly consume the vile heresy of the abominable Nestorius; wherefore, we beseech thee: having burned up the fuel of our pleasures by thy supplications to God, O glorious one, do thou cleanse us.

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

O pure one, like the throne of the cherubim thou didst bear in thine embrace God Who became wrapped in the flesh, and Who beareth up all things by the word of His power. To Him do we chant in gladness: O all-hymned and supremely glorious God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Patiently sending up thy supplications to God, thou didst receive that for which thou didst ask with faith, O all-blessed one; for when thou didst sleep at night, an angel appeared to thee, who gave thee a fiery sword which cutteth down the passions of thy heart, cleanseth thee with immaterial fire and illumining thee with ineffable glory.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Like the most radiant sun hast thou shone noetically with the brilliant light of the virtues, O Gregory, illumining all the earth with the effulgence of thy miracles and enlightening those who piously chant: Ye children bless; ye priests chant; ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Hearing the hymnody of the angels while still in thy mortal body, from which the senses of thy soul were manifestly delighted, O Gregory, thou wast shown to be godly and radiant of visage, crying out to the Master: Ye children bless; ye priests chant; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O all-pure one who hast given birth to the Judge and Lord, Him do thou entreat as thy Son, at the hour of judgment, condemnation and fire, of darkness devoid of light and the gnashing of teeth, to deliver those who piously chant with faith: Ye priests chant; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Having cleansed the carnal passions like gold through purity in the glowing crucible, O all-glorious one, thou didst shine forth upon all, chanting: All ye works, hymn the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Adorned by the sound of the instrument of thine honourable tongue, the Church of God: hymned the descent of the Saviour to earth, manifestly singing for all to hear and crying: Thee do we supremely exalt, O Christ, throughout all ages!

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

Thou hast truly been shown to be a divine harp whose music soundeth for all who with faith accept the saving incarnation of God for us, O blessed father Proclus, who chantest with faith: Hymn the Lord, ye works, and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

God the Master, preserving the tokens of thy virginity intact, O Virgin, passed through thee in a manner past understanding, that He might save those who cry: Hymn the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With the sweat of thy fasting didst thou quench the burning ember of sin, O wise one, and manifestly receive graced from heaven in the guise of fire which burneth not, but rather bedewed and showed thee to be one mighty in strength over the passions.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thou didst blossom like a rose, like a fragrant lily, amid the vales of fasting, O father Gregory. Wherefore, thou pourest forth fragrant myrrh, and thy bones abundantly perfume our life; for thy cheeks have been shown to be full, like a cup, of sweet fragrance.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Today, the council of fasters and the venerable, the patriarchs and prophets, rejoice with us on thy memorial, O blessed one, and the apostles and martyrs celebrate with us. With them be thou mindful of those who honour thee with faith, O right wondrous one.

Venerable father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

The shrine wherein thy precious and much suffering body lieth, poureth forth the grace of miracles upon us, O father Gregory, sanctifying the souls and bodies of us who have been enriched by thee and have thee as an intercessor and fervent helper.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

We, the faithful, with the cry of Gabriel joyfully cry aloud to thee: Rejoice, O garden of paradise who put forth the Tree of Life! Rejoice, thou lifting of the curse, crown of martyrs, boast of the venerable and confirmation of the pious.

Canon of the Holy Hierarch, Irmos: The Bush, which burnt without being consumed, * prefigured thy pure birth-giving, O Theotokos. * Wherefore we now entreat Thee: * quench the raging furnace of temptations that beset us, * that we may unceasingly magnify Thee.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Holy father, passing by images and shadows, and truly understanding Christ, having been reborn in the baptismal font, thou wast anointed a most sacred priest. Wherefore, thou didst proclaim as Theotokos her who gave Him birth.

Holy father, Proclus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst embrace the sacred character and dogmas of Chrysostom, O blessed one, and with his sacred zeal for the Faith, thou didst raise up from the noetic depths thy dogmas, which dry up the torrents of heresies with grace.

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

By thy sacred prayers bring an end to the turmoil which riseth up against us, and dispel the darkness of the passions and the afflictions of all mankind, in that thou hast boldness before our Master and God.

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

O thy wonders which pass understanding! For thou alone hast given birth supra-naturally to the Word of God, Who became flesh and wisely sustaineth, nurtureth, and preserveth all things by His divine will.

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: the Prophet Obadiah and the Martyr Barlaam

Thursday November 19/ December 2: the Holy Prophet Obadiah and the Holy Martyr Barlaam.

The Holy Prophet Obadiah [or Abdia] is the fourth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and he lived during the ninth century B.C. He was from the village of Betharam, near Sichem, and he served as steward of the impious Israelite King Ahab. In those days the whole of Israel had turned away from the true God and had begun to offer sacrifice to Baal, but Obadiah faithfully served the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in secret.

When Ahab’s wife, the impious and dissolute Jezebel, hunted down all the prophets of the Lord (because of her quarrel with the Prophet Elias), Obadiah gave them shelter and food (3/1 Kgs 18:3 ff). Ahab’s successor King Okhoziah [Ahaziah] sent three detachments of soldiers to arrest the holy Prophet Elias (July 20). One of these detachments was headed by The Holy Prophet Obadiah. Through the prayer of the Prophet Elias, two of the detachments were consumed by heavenly fire, but Obadiah and his detachment were spared by the Lord 4/2 Kgs 1).

From that moment Obadiah resigned from military service and became a follower of the Prophet Elias. Afterward, he himself received the gift of prophecy. The God-inspired work of The Prophet Obadiah is the fourth of the Books of the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Bible, and contains predictions about the future salvation of the Gentiles (Ch. 15) and that the Savior would come forth from Sion (Ch. 17). The holy Prophet Obadiah, whose name means servant (or worshipper) of the Lord, was buried in Samaria.

In iconography, the Prophet Obadiah is depicted as a grey-haired old man with a rounded beard. His scroll reads: “In that day, saith the Lord, I shall destroy the wise men out of Idumea.”(Obadiah1:8).

The Holy Martyr Barlaam lived in Antioch of Syria. During Diocletian’s persecution against Christians, the aged Saint Barlaam was arrested and brought to trial, where he confessed himself a Christian.

The judge, wanting to compel the saint to renounce Christ, ordered that Saint Barlaam be brought to the pagan altar. His right hand was placed over it, and a red-hot censer burning with incense was put into his hand. The torturer thought that a physically weak old man could not endure the pain and would drop it on the altar. In this way he would involuntarily be offering sacrifice to the idol. However, the saint held on to the censer until his hand fell off. After this, the holy Martyr Barlaam surrendered his soul to the Lord.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

 

Canon of the prophet, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn the glory of the clairvoyant Obadiah,” the composition of Theophanes, Tone V.

Ode 1, Irmos: Unto God the Saviour * Who made His people pass dryshod through the sea, * but drowned Pharaoh with all his host, * unto Him alone let us sing: * For He hath been glorified.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Standing now as a prophet before God the Saviour, entreat Him with boldness, that He enlighten with rays of light those who with faith call thee blessed, O divinely inspired one.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

He who manifestly foreknoweth all things, beholding the untroubled and radiant purity of thy heart, O blessed one, appointed thee a God-pleasing prophet.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Truly beholding visions revealed to thee by God, thou didst proclaim the impiety and cruel perniciousness of thy brethren and their just destruction, O blessed one.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Saved by thy seedless birthgiving, O pure Theotokos, we beseech thee: from the temptations of the world do thou deliver us, who together offer a hymn of victory unto thee.

Canon of the martyr, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn thy pangs of endurance, O Barlaam,”  the composition of Theophanes, in Tone IV.

Ode 1, 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 martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Rendered luminous by the splendours of thy contest, O Barlaam, do thou preserve us by thy supplications, for with faith we honour thy sacred memory.

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

With hymnody let the wondrous Barlaam be honoured, who, with fame, quenched the fire of impiety by the divinely inspired fire of his reverence for God.

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Having contended for piety, O crown-bearer Barlaam, thou hast now been honoured at the right hand of the Almighty with a crown of glory, as is meet.

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

The Master gave thee strength against divers wounds, O all-blessed martyr; wherefore, thou didst vanquish the savagery of the godless.

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

The ladder leading to heaven, which Jacob, thine ancestor, foresaw of old, hast thou truly been revealed to be, whereby the Word hath descended to us, O Virgin.

Ode III, canon of the prophet, Irmos: By the power of Thy Cross, O Christ, * do Thou make steadfast mine understanding, * that I may hymn and glorify ** Thy saving Ascension.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Like the waters of a mystic river didst thou appear, issuing forth from the abyss of the gifts of the Spirit, O herald of God.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Thou wast put forth by the will and providence of God to proclaim things to come, O right glorious one.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Illumined by the divine and heavenly light, O all-blessed one, thou didst proclaim the future salvation of the Gentiles.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

The Word made His abode within thee, O Virgin Mother, and by thy mediation He doth save those who know thee to be the Theotokos, O all-immaculate one.

Canon of the Martyr, 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 martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

The whole bond of thy body and the cohesion of thy members were broken; yet the strength of thy soul was preserved intact.

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Mightily showing forth the endurance of youth, O all-blessed one, thou didst right mightily endure the assaults of those who lacerated thy sides.

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

Who can rightly praise the mighty, powerful and tranquil understanding of thy thought, as is meet, O all-blessed one?

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

Theotokion: In the hypostatic Life which appeared unto us through thy womb, O most pure Bride of God, hath the corruption of death been brought to an end.

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

Sessional Hymn of the prophet, in Tone I – Spec. Mel. “Thy tomb, O Saviour …”: The great Obadiah, having acquired a mind luminous with divine splendour, spoke through the Holy Spirit, proclaiming things to come. Honouring him today with pious mind, we celebrate his sacred memory which enlightened men’s hearts.

Glory …, Sessional Hymn of the martyr, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: Let the glorious Barlaam, who quenched the flame of impiety and set the hearts of the faithful afire with the dew of the knowledge of God, now be faithfully honoured with divine hymns; for he put to shame the deception of idolatry and, having taken the crown of victory, asketh remission of sins for all.

Now & ever …, Theotokion, in Tone IV: He that sitteth upon the throne of the cherubim * and abideth in the bosom of the Father * sat in thy womb as upon a throne, O Lady; * for, being truly God incarnate, * He reigneth over all nations, * and with understanding we now chant to Him. * Him do thou also entreat, ** that thy servants be saved.

Stavrotheotokion: She who in the latter days * gave birth in the flesh unto Thee O Christ, * Who wast begotten of the unoriginate Father, * upon seeing Thee hanging upon the Cross, cried aloud: * “Woe is me, O Jesus, most beloved Christ! * How is it that Thou Who art glorified as God by the angels * dost now consent to be crucified by iniquitous men O my Son? ** I hymn Thee, O Thou Long-suffering One!”

ODE IV, Canon of the Prophet, Irmos: I have heard report of the mighty deed * of Thy Cross, O Lord, * how Paradise was opened thereby, and I cried: * Glory to Thy power, O Lord.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Having cleansed thy soul of the passions beforehand, receiving the grace of prophecy through the Holy Spirit, thou didst cry out: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

The prophet Obadiah, illumined by the brilliance of the lightning of the Bestower of light, hath enlightened us to cry to Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Thou wast revealed to be like a wedding attendant of the Church, the Bride of Christ, O all-blessed one, proclaiming that the Saviour would come forth from Zion, to Whom we cry aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In a divine manner thou hast given birth, O pure one, unto the co-unoriginate and everlasting Word of the Father, to Whom we cry: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Canon of the Martyr, 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 martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Spurning the foolish speech of the rhetors and accepting the true teaching of the apostles, O glorious one, thou wast a true witness.

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Thou didst withstand the fire and torments even unto death for Christ, O patient-hearted one, chanting aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

Constrained by the most powerful fervour, O all-blessed one, thou didst trample deception underfoot with godly wisdom, chanting: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

The Incorporeal One, incarnate of the Virgin, hath come to us on earth; wherefore, with faith we cry aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

ODE V, Canon to the Prophet, Irmos: Waking at dawn, * we cry unto Thee, O Lord: * Save us, for Thou art our God; * we know none other besides Thee.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Rising early unto the Lord, O all-praised one, thou didst receive the gift of the most holy Spirit from heaven.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Having acquired the godly life of Him Who helped thee, thou wast deemed worthy to behold Him Who is understood to be invisible.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Light shone upon thee, in that thou art a prophet, O all-blessed one, and gladness was given thee as a bride.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

The supremely divine One, Who created all things by His will, was formed from thee after our kind, O most pure one.

Canon of the Martyr, 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 martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Christ hath shown us a witness to His own sufferings, who crieth out: Glory to Thee! Glory to Thee, O Jesus, Thou Son of God! For thy great endurance is a reward given, and a wreath of victory woven for thee who criest: Glory to Thee!

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Christ hath shown us a witness to His own sufferings, who crieth out: Glory to Thee! Glory to Thee, O Jesus, Thou Son of God! For thy great endurance is a reward given, and a wreath of victory woven for thee who criest: Glory to Thee!

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

Glory to Thee, O Jesus, Thou Son of God! With the darts of thy words thou didst penetrate the hearts of the foe, crying: Glory to Thee! Glory to Thee, O Jesus, Thou Son of God!

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

Understanding thee to be a holy mountain and the tabernacle of the Most High, O Virgin, we cry aloud: Glory to thee, O Theotokos, our hope!

ODE VI, Canon of the Prophet, Irmos: The abyss hath encompassed me, * the sea monster hath become my grave; * but I cried unto Thee, * the Lover of mankind, * and Thy right hand saved me, O Lord.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

By the power of the divine Spirit thou didst behold things to come, receiving images of divine revelations as in a mirror through the splendour of thy soul.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications entreat the Lord, O all-blessed prophet, asking that He grant forgiveness of sins unto those who with faith keep thy memory.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Take pity on Thy servants and grant them forgiveness of transgressions, O Lover of mankind, for Thy prophet who proclaimed Thee beforehand to the world doth entreat Thee.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

He Who beareth up all things by His word and divine power was borne in thine embrace, O thou who knewest not wedlock. Him do thou now beseech, that our souls be saved.

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

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Let the faces of the demons be smitten with the martyr’s burned right hand; let the hearts of the faithful leap up, and let the choirs of the incorporeal ones be radiantly glad!

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

The conquests and victories of thy good struggles and the athletic contests of those who watched are adorned, O chosen and radiant triumph of the firstborn.

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

Arise now, ye good artists! Adorn ye the image of the martyr with your goodly skills, manifestly depicting therein the Judge of the contest.

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

Delivered by thy birthgiving from the ancient curse and the bitter condemnation of death, our first mother rejoiceth in thee, O all-praised Mother of God.

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 martyr, in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast appeared …”: Thou wast shown to be most amazing * in the fortitude whereby thou didst endure immolation, * offering thyself in sacrifice unto Christ as incense of sweet savour. * Having received a crown of honour, O Barlaam, ** do thou ever pray for us, O spiritual athlete.

ODE VII, Canon of the Prophet, Irmos: The children were saved * in the burning furnace, * chanting: Blessed art Thou * O God of our fathers.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Truly supra-natural is the glory of Thy prophets, O blessed God of our fathers!

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Having been deemed worthy to dwell with God, thou dost chant: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Thou revealest Thy divine grace in Thy prophets, O blessed God of our fathers.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Delivered by thy birth-giving, O most pure Virgin, we chant: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Canon of the Martyr, Irmos: O God of our fathers, put us not to shame, * but grant that with boldness we may sing to Thee: * ‘O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou’.

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

As an invincible martyr hast thou been deemed worthy to cry aloud to Christ with the choirs of the martyrs: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

With radiant lamps thou didst enter into the divine bridal chamber, O great martyr, crying out to Christ: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Having acquired a right hand stronger than fire, as an intercessor at the right hand of thy Master thou criest out: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Delivered by thy most pure birth-giving, we, the faithful, hymn thee, crying out unceasingly: Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, O most pure one!

Ode VIII, Canon of the Prophet, Irmos: Unto God the Son, Who was begotten of the Father before the ages * and was incarnate of a Virgin Mother in these last times, * give praise, O ye priests, ** and supremely exalt Him, O ye people, throughout all ages.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Enlightened by God, the prophets proclaim beforehand knowledge of things to come, crying aloud with divine wisdom: Ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt God throughout all ages!

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Enlightened by God, the prophets proclaim beforehand knowledge of things to come, crying aloud with divine wisdom: Ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt God throughout all ages!

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Illumined with divine beams of light, thou didst enlighten those who were in darkness like a ray in the deep, O herald of God, crying: Ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt God throughout all ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Thou hast revealed Thyself as of one nature with us, O Thou Who art consubstantial with Thy Father in the divine Essence, having become incarnate of the Mother, who kneweth not man. Wherefore, we hymn Thee, O Christ, and bless Thee throughout all ages.

Canon of the Martyr, 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 martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Thou didst destroy all the armour of the enemy, O right glorious Barlaam, utterly consuming the deception of idolatry, crying aloud: Thee do we supremely exalt, O Christ, throughout all ages!

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Adorned with magnificence, thou didst stand before Christ, O ever-memorable spiritual athlete, arrayed in fine linen empurpled with thy martyr’s blood and hymning the Master throughout all ages.

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

Enkindled with the fire of piety, thou didst utterly consume all the illusions of the demons as if they were thorns, crying aloud: Thee do we exalt supremely, O Christ, throughout all ages!

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

Those who with faith call thee blessed, O all-immaculate one, are blessed by the Lord; for thou hast given birth unto the Master Who blesseth creation, Whom we supremely exalt, O pure one, throughout all ages.

Ode IX, Canon of the Prophet, Irmos: O thou who art God’s Mother transcending mind and word, * who ineffably in time hast given birth unto the Timeless One, * thee do we the faithful * with one accord magnify.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Adorned with divine discourse and activity, and having taken wing in the Spirit, O wondrous prophet, thou wast deemed worthy to behold things to come.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

O glorious one, who dwellest where the choirs of the prophets and the splendours of the saints are, entreat the Lord to save those who praise thee with faith.

Holy prophet, Obadiah, pray to God for us.

Cleaving wholly unto God with fervour, thou didst converse in a pure manner through divine revelations, wherein thou dost now delight, O all-blessed one.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

We hymn thee, the candle-stand of the Light and the tablet of grace, O pure one, and we magnify thee, who received the incarnate Word.

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

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

The law of praise is overturned by the magnificence of thy struggles. Christ, the only Master, knoweth to glorify thee with divine radiance. Him do thou earnestly entreat on behalf of those who hymn thee.

Holy martyr, Barlaam, pray to God for us.

Having brought thy whole self to the Lord as a living sacrifice, thou wast revealed to be a fellow heir and sharer in His kingdom; and, rejoicing, thou now reignest with Him, O ever-memorable one.

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

The godly martyr, having arrayed himself against sword, fire and torments, shedding his blood for the love of Thee, even unto death, O Saviour, doth delight, receiving immortality from Thee, O Lover of mankind.

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

Rejoicing, I set thee forth as the helper of the world, the Virgin Mother of God, the intercessor and salvation of all my life; for having given birth unto God, thou art able to save those who hymn thee.

Troparion of the martyr, in Tone IV: In his sufferings, Thy martyr Barlaam O Lord, * received an imperishable crown from Thee, our God; * for, possessed of Thy might, * he set at naught the tyrants and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. ** By his supplications save Thou our souls.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Martyrs Platon, Romanus & Barulas

Wednesday November 18/ December 1: The Martyrs Platon of Ancyra, Romanus the Deacon of Caesarea, & Varulas the Youth of Caesarea

The Holy Martyr Platon, brother of the holy Martyr Antiochus the Physician (July 16), was born at the city of Ancyra in Galatia. While still a youth he left home and went through the cities, preaching the Word of God to pagans, amazing his audience with the persuasiveness and beauty of his speech, and his profound knowledge of Greek learning.

Because of his preaching he was arrested and brought for trial to the temple of Zeus before the governor Agrippinus. At first, the judge attempted to persuade the saint to turn away from Christ by flattery. He assured the youth that he might be on a par of intellect with the greatest of the philosophers Plato, if only he worshipped also the pagan gods. To this Saint Platon answered, that the wisdom of the philosopher, although great, was but ephemeral and limited, whereas the true, eternal and unbounded wisdom comprised the Gospel teachings. Then the judge promised to give him his beautiful niece for his wife if he would deny Christ. He also threatened him with torture and death if he refused. Saint Platon replied that he chose a temporal death for the sake of eternal life. The patience of the governor was exhausted, and he gave orders to mercilessly beat the martyr, and then send him off to prison.

When they led Saint Platon off to prison, he turned to the people gathered about the temple, and he called on them not to forsake the Christian Faith. Seven days later they again led the Martyr Platon for trial before Agrippinus in the temple of Zeus, where they had the implements of torture already prepared: boiling cauldrons, red-hot iron and sharp hooks. The judge offered the martyr a choice: either to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, or to feel the effects of these implements of torture on his body. Again the saint steadfastly refused to worship idols, and after his tortures they threw him in prison for eighteen more days without bread or water. But seeing that this did not shake the martyr, they offered him his life and freedom if he would only say, “Great is the god Apollo.” The martyr refused to deny Christ or to sacrifice to the idols. Therefore, Agrippinus ordered the holy Martyr Platon to be beheaded.

Information concerning Saint Romanus is found in Books 3 and 12 of the CHURCH HISTORY of Eusebius. Saint Romanus was born in Palestine, and served as a deacon in Caesarea. At the time of the persecution against Christians, he was living in Antioch. Through his preaching, he encouraged the faithful to stand firm in their confession of Christ when the Eparch Asclypiades wanted to raze the church to its foundations. Saint Romanus told the people that they must fight to prevent the destruction of the house of God, assuring them that even if they died in their efforts they would sing a hymn of victory in heaven.

At that time there a festival was being celebrated in honor of the idols, and Saint Romanus went to the pagan temple to upbraid the Eparch and the unbelievers for their impiety. As Asclypiades was about to enter the temple, Saint Romanus fearlessly proclaimed that the idols were not gods, and that only Jesus Christ was truly God.

Asclypiades ordered the saint to be beaten, and even tried to persuade him to deny Christ. When this failed, the Eparch ordered that Saint Romanus be tortured. He was suspended and beaten, and his sides were scraped with metal blades. Bravely enduring these torments, Saint Romanus confessed Christ, and chastised Asclypiades for his obstinate refusal to see the truth.

Then Saint Romanus was condemned to death by fire. As soon as the fire was lit, however, a rain fell and put it out. Then the Eparch ordered the saint’s tongue to be cut out, because he still confessed Christ and reviled the idolaters. Even after his tongue was cut out, the saint continued to speak as before.

Finally, Saint Romanus was nailed to a keg, and he was strangled in his prison cell. Having completed his contest for Christ, he was found worthy of the heavenly Kingdom, where he continuously glorifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit throughout all ages.

Saint Varulas was a child in the crowd of people who witnessed the torture of Saint Romanus. Christ’s holy martyr told the Eparch Asclypiades that the young child was wiser than he was, because he knew the true God, while the Eparch did not.

Asclypiades asked the boy what gods he worshiped, and he replied that he worshiped Christ. “Your gods are demons,” the child stated, “and they have not created anything.”

With these and other words, the young child put the idolaters to shame. Seeing that he could not convince Saint Varulas to worship the false gods, he had the boy tortured. His mother stood by, encouraging him to remain faithful to the Savior Christ.” Do not be afraid of death, my son,” she told him. You shall not die, but shall live forever. When you are beheaded, you will behold Christ’s glory, and you will dwell with Him in unspeakable joy.”

After the child was executed, his mother took his body and buried it, rejoicing because he had shed his blood for Christ.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the martyr Platon, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn the expanse of thy praises, O Platon”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VIII.

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

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Traversing the most pure expanse of the eternal kingdom, O glorious one, from all tribulation and the dangers of imprisonment save those who hymn thee, leading to the path to heaven those who walk without turning back.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Protected by the armour of piety, and having shown thyself to be an unshakable pillar, O Platon, thou didst endure all the savagery of wounds and accepted the pangs of imprisonment, exalted by divine grace.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Showing forth the mettle of youth, in thy suffering thou didst cast off mortal and corruptible coarseness, O all-wise one, and, arrayed in the garment of incorruption, thou standest, rejoicing, before the Master.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In a manner surpassing understanding thou hast given birth to the incarnate and Only-Begotten Word, Who is co-unoriginate and everlasting with the Father, O blessed and most pure Theotokos. Wherefore, reasoning correctly, we proclaim and honourably glorify thee.

Canon of the martyr Romanus, the acrostic whereof is: “With spiritual athletes’ wreaths I crown thee, O Romanus”, in Tone IV.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Shining brightly with the never-waning radiance of the Trinity, and enlightened with the choirs of spiritual athletes, O Romanus, send down enlightenment upon me, and drive away the darkness of the passions by thy supplications, which are acceptable to God.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Unmoved by the raging waves of the sea of idolatry, in that thou wast set firmly upon Christ the rock, thou didst destroy the threefold billows of most seditious ungodliness with the calm of the divine Spirit.

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

The Church of Christ, which aboundeth in every good thing, O Romanus, didst thou preserve untouched by the wolves, like a right-glorious and right-fruitful meadow, making it steadfast by thy teaching.

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

Truly, human nature hath found mercy through thee, O all-immaculate one; for the Creator, having become incarnate from thee in a manner past all telling and understanding, was led to death for us, delivering us from Hades.

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

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Manifestly aflame with the zeal of piety, and enlightened by the divine fire of the Faith, O all-blessed one, with endurance thou didst enter into the cruel flame like a spark of incorruption.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Having supra-naturally vanquished the servants of the demons, and borne with patience the pain of mighty tortures, O blessed and divinely wise Platon, thou wast shown to be a dweller with the angels and a crown-bearer.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Having struggled for Christ on earth, O all-blessed one, receiving from Him heavenly gifts and crowns which abide forever, thou dwellest in the pure land of paradise.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Mother of God, thou art the portal of the Light, adorned with the rays of the light of the Spirit; for through thee descended unto us the Word Who illumineth with divine light all who hymn thee.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Having slain the spiritual beast with the sling of thy words, O Romanus, thou didst preserve the flock of Christ uncorrupted by the evil of idolatry.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Rendered mighty by the armour of the Cross, thou didst turn back the assaults of the enemy and denounced their impotence, O wise and right blessed Romanus.

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

When thy cheek was lacerated for Christ, O glorious, blessed and ever-memorable Romanus, thou didst cast down the enemy, breaking their jaws.

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

Clothed in the flesh He received from thee, He Who alone is God by nature, the Word of the Father, Who is one in essence with the Spirit, hath deified mortals, O Mother of God.

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

Sessional Hymn of the martyr Plato, in Tone VIII – Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Exalted in the breadth of thy struggles, O wise martyr, thou didst destroy the snares of the enemy, discomfiting them, O all-glorious one; and having run well the divine course, thou didst reach the expanse of heaven, rejoicing. Wherefore, the Church, resplendent today in an abundance of piety, doth celebrate thy memorial, O blessed one, and crieth out to thee: 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.

Sessional Hymn of the martyr Romanus, in Tone IV – Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: Having trampled underfoot the wicked one by fasting, thou wast glorified by suffering, O martyr of Christ, having endured manfully with a perfected mind. Wherefore, thou hast been numbered among the choirs of martyrs and reached the everlasting kingdom. Joining chorus therein, be thou mindful of us who celebrate thy holy memory with faith.

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

Stavrotheotokion: She who in the latter days * gave birth in the flesh unto Thee O Christ, * Who wast begotten of the unoriginate Father, * upon seeing Thee hanging upon the Cross, cried aloud: * “Woe is me, O Jesus, most beloved Christ! * How is it that Thou Who art glorified as God by the angels * dost now consent to be crucified by iniquitous men O my Son? ** I hymn Thee, O Thou Long-suffering One!”

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!’

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Wholly transformed by the love of thy Creator, thou didst not feel the pain of thy body, having shed the skin-garments of thy flesh from passions and mortality, and clothed thyself in the robe of chastity and salvation.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Thou wast revealed to be a true priest of God, offering thyself unto Christ the Redeemer Who was slain for all, as an unblemished lamb and a perfect sacrifice, O martyr; for, having set thy soul afire with love for the Master, thou didst pay no heed to thy burning flesh.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Emulating the three youths who were in Babylon, thou didst not fear the all-devouring fire, but mightily and youthfully endured the unbearable flame thereof. Wherefore, the Bestower of dew hath rightly taken thee with them into the chamber of glory.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In that thou art the royal root, thou hast given birth for us unto the Word of God Who reigneth over all, Who became flesh, yet remained unchanged. Wherefore, O all-holy Virgin, with truth and authority we glorify thee, the Theotokos.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

With ineffable beauty thou didst ascend the tree, mounting it like a stairway, O blessed one, and attained unto the everlasting choir, O right glorious martyr Romanus.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Having shed thy mortal garments amid thy tortures, O blessed one, thou didst array thyself splendidly in a garment of light, O all-glorious martyr Romanus.

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

Made wise by the inspiration of the Comforter, the tongue of the boy proclaimed Thee to be the Lord of glory, the Creator of all and God Who art able to save, O Lover of mankind.

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

Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, O Virgin, whereby all peoples of the world have been delivered from the curse of death; and blessed by thee, we hymn thee as the mediatress of Life.

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.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Thou gavest neither slumber to thine eyelids, nor sleep to thine eyes, O martyr, until, beheaded by the sword, thou didst sleep the sleep of the blessed like those who love God, O blessed one.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Suffering, thou didst struggle as in another’s body, O all-blessed one; thou didst suffer, viewing thy pangs as though another was experiencing them. For, set afire with divine zeal, thou didst not fear the future torments, O glorious one.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Thou hast discovered riches which cannot be taken away, and unfading glory, joining chorus with the angels in the mansions of heaven, partaking of incorruptible immortality, O most eminent one.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

By thy supplications grant remission of sins to thy servants, delivering them from temptations, misfortunes and sorrows, and from enslavement to blasphemous heretics, O all-praised Virgin Theotokos.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

With the martyric streams of thy blood thou didst engulf the sea of ungodliness; and thou hast poured forth rivers of healing, O Romanus.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

O Romanus, thou didst offer to the Master as a choice gift, an unblemished sacrifice, the slain boy Varulus who proclaimed theological things.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst wound the foolishness of the enemy with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, as he inflicted wounds upon thy body, O all-glorious Romanus.

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

In that thou hast given birth unto Joy, O Virgin Mary who knewest not wedlock, thou hast destroyed the curse and restored mankind through thy birthgiving.

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.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Transcending sufferings and tortures, thou didst endure the cutting away of thy flesh, O glorious one; for thou didst have Christ as thy Helper, Assistant and Companion.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Ever gazing upon the majesty of the Creator with spiritual understanding, and contemplating ineffable beauty, thou didst spurn the baseness of visible things.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

As an animate ark thou didst hold the Bestower of life, as a holy temple thou didst receive the Holy One Who had become a man, for the good of mankind, O all-blessed one.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Having with ease shed mortality and corruption and arrayed thyself in the beauty of life incorruptible, O Romanus, thou hast been adorned with never-diminishing spiritual splendours.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Thy tongue was severed and poured forth torrents of blood like teachings, O passion-bearer, and thou didst thereby inherit the imperishable blessedness which is ever-abiding.

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

Thirsting for a stream of wisdom, by the counsel of his mother thou didst pour drink into the mouth of the boy who uttered theology, and who entered into the endless life by means of the sword.

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

Be thou a ready refuge for me, O most pure Mother of God, delivering me from violence, taking from me the shame of the passions and guiding me to the godly path.

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 martyr Platon, in Tone III – Spec. Mel. “Today the Virgin …”: Thy holy memory doth gladden the whole world, * summoning all the faithful to thine all honourable temple, * where, assembled now with joy, we chant in hymns amid splendour. * Wherefore, O Platon, we cry out to thee: ** Deliver thy city from the invasion of the heathen, O holy one.

Ikos: Having abandoned all pagan superstition, the divinely wise Platon came to love the soul-saving teachings of the disciples of Christ. Wherefore, he appeared honourable to all, like an anchor of the Faith in his native land, and manifestly bore the title “Of Ancyra.” For, nurtured well, it found him to be an excellent protection against the enemy and a fervent helper in battle, crying aloud: Deliver thy city from the invasion of the heathen, O holy one!

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

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

He Who set down the law hath crowned with a wreath of victory thee who suffered lawfully and trampled underfoot thine enemies, and who cried aloud, saying: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst pass over, rejoicing, to Him Whom from of old thou didst desire, emulating His most pure sufferings, which were the cause of the salvation of mankind; and thou didst chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

All the hosts of heaven, and the people looking on, marvelled at thy patient endurance of suffering; for thy severed tongue supra-naturally cried aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Delivered from the bonds of death and the curse of the first-formed Adam by the divine Offspring of thy virginity, O most pure one, mindful that thou art the Theotokos, we cry aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

By being strangled, thou didst choke the serpent, O passion-bearer, and didst truly find life, O most glorious Romanus, ever crying aloud: Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord!

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Illumined with rays of never-waning light, O Romanus, thou didst quench the lofty flame, adorned with the gift of prophecy and numbered among the choirs of the martyrs, crying aloud: Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord!

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

A fragrant rose of tender growth, watered with his mother’s teachings and the blood of martyrdom, hath been incorruptibly offered to Christ as from a garden of many flowers.

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

O all-hymned one who hast alone given birth to God without seed, lead us forth who have fallen into the abyss of sin, but who hymn thee, saying: Blessed art Thou among women, O all-immaculate Lady.

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’.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst struggle in radiant feats, O all-praised one, and Christ bestowed upon thee the most splendid, blessed and ever-enduring fame, causing thee to dwell in the mansions of heaven, wherefore thou dost fervently chant: Ye priests hymn; ye people, supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

As a most faithful supplicant, as a most fervent intercessor for us, we now set thee before the King of all, the Author of creation. Pray thou for us, interceding in thy martyr’s boldness on behalf of those who praise thee and chant with faith: Ye people, supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Because of thine active faith thou wast deemed worthy to receive a kingship which cannot be taken away; for God, Who lieth not, promised to give it thee, and for Him thou didst commit thy body to fire and torture, crying aloud: Ye priests hymn; ye people, supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In a manner most divine thou didst give birth to the Word of God, Who is co-unoriginate and of equal honour with the Father, Who brought all things forth out of non-existence by the counsel of the Father, and assumed flesh for the sake of mankind. Wherefore, acknowledging thee, in an Orthodox fashion, to be the Theotokos, we supremely exalt Christ throughout the ages.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Thou wast obedient to the words of Christ, O glorious one, laying down thy life for thy flock, being strangled in thy zeal for it, tortured, lacerated and wounded; and thou didst cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

Thou wast obedient to the words of Christ, O glorious one, laying down thy life for thy flock, being strangled in thy zeal for it, tortured, lacerated and wounded; and thou didst cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

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

Truly thy mouth and tongue were full of joy and gladness, continually blessing God; for, cut out and dripping with blood, O Romanus, it setteth forth for us the law of faith, crying: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

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

Having given birth to the Word of the Father through the divine Spirit, thou didst remain a virgin, O Birthgiver of God, who knewest not a man, transcending the laws of nature in thy birthgiving. Wherefore, rejoicing, we chant: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

O ye who love the martyrs, come, let us hymn the martyr, crowned by God, who extended the piety of his birth; for, as an offshoot of the branch of life, he bringeth forth fruit which poureth forth the wine of compunction for us.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

Precious in the sight of the Lord was the death of the martyr, for he hath become the mediator of the true life which is everlasting and imperishable, giving abundant recompense, incorruption and immortal glory.

Holy martyr, Platon, pray to God for us.

All thy life didst thou consecrate to God almighty, O martyr, and, rejoicing, thou didst offer thyself as a well-pleasing and living sacrifice. Wherefore, thou hast manifestly been deemed worthy of the sweetness which passeth understanding. Pray thou that those who hymn thee be delivered from temptations.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Save me, O Mother of God who hast given birth to Christ my Saviour, Who is both God and man, in two natures, but not in two hypostases, the Only-Begotten of the Father and of thee, the first-born of all creation. Wherefore, all of us ever magnify thee.

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

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

All thy trust didst thou place in the Master, O glorious martyr Romanus, enduring many and varied wounds; wherefore thou hast received ineffable glory and divine delight.

Holy martyr, Romanus, pray to God for us.

All thy trust didst thou place in the Master, O glorious martyr Romanus, enduring many and varied wounds; wherefore thou hast received ineffable glory and divine delight.

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

Behold, instead of pain a torrent of sweetness hath been granted thee, O martyr Romanus, bearing a crown and wearing a robe dyed red in thine own blood. Like a fragrant and never-fading rose thou wast slain as a child for Christ’s sake.

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

O Virgin, thou hast delivered mortals from the primal curse of our ancestors, and opened unto us the life of Eden by thy birthgiving, which transcendeth nature. Wherefore, in gladness we magnify thee, O Theotokos.

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

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Gregory the Wonderworker

17/30 NOVEMBER

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neocaesarea, was born in the city of Neocaesarea (northern Asia Minor) into a prominent pagan family (between 210 – 215), and his original name was Theodore.

After his elementary education, Saint Gregory and his brother Gregory, or Athēnódoros1 (according to some hagiological sources) they went to Beirut to study law. The great thinkers of antiquity were not able to quench his thirst for knowledge, however. Truth was revealed to him only in the Holy Gospel, and the young man became a Christian.

In order to continue his studies, Saint Gregory went to Alexandria, known at that time as a center for pagan and Christian learning. Eager to acquire knowledge, Gregory went to the Alexandrian Catechetical School, where the presbyter Origen taught. Origen was a famous teacher, possessing a great strength of mind and profound knowledge. Saint Gregory became a pupil of Origen. Afterward, the Saint wrote of his mentor: “This man received from God a sublime gift, to be an interpreter of the Word of God for people, to apprehend the Word of God, as God Himself did use it, and to explain it to people, insofar as they could understand it.” Saint Gregory studied for eight years with Origen, who baptized him.

Saint Gregory’s ascetical life, his continence, purity, and lack of covetousness aroused the envy of his conceited and sin-loving peers, pagans that they were, and they decided to slander Saint Gregory. Once, when he was conversing with philosophers and teachers in the city square, a notorious harlot came up to him and demanded payment for a sin he had supposedly committed with her. At first Saint Gregory gently remonstrated with her, saying that perhaps she had mistaken him for someone else. But the profligate woman would not be silenced. Then he asked a friend to give her the money. Just as the woman took the unjustified payment, she fell to the ground in a demonic fit, and the fraud was revealed. Saint Gregory prayed over her, and the demon was expelled. This was the first of his miracles.

After returning to Neocaesarea, the Saint fled from worldly affairs, into which influential townsmen persistently sought to push him. He went into the desert, where by fasting and prayer he attained great spiritual heights, as well as the gifts of clairvoyance and prophecy. Saint Gregory loved his life in the wilderness and wanted to remain in solitude until the end of his days, but the Lord willed otherwise.

Learning of Saint Gregory’s ascetical life, Bishop Phaίdēmos of the Cappadocian city of Amaseia, decided to make him Bishop of Neocaesarea. But foreseeing in spirit the intention of Bishop Phaίdēmos, the Saint hid himself from the hierarch’s messengers who were sent to find him. Then Bishop Phaίdēmos consecrated Saint in absentia as Bishop of Neocaesarea, entreating the Lord to bless the unusual ordination. Saint Gregory regarded the extraordinary event as a manifestation of God’s will, and he did not dare to protest. This episode in the life of Saint Gregory was recorded by Saint Gregory of Nyssa (January 10). He relates that Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea received the episcopal rank only after Bishop Phaίdēmos had ordained him to all the canonical ranks.

During this time, the heresy of Sabellius and Paul of Samosata began to spread. They taught falsely concerning the Holy Trinity. Saint Gregory prayed fervently and diligently imploring God and His most pure Mother to reveal the truth to him. The Most Holy Theotokos appeared to him, as radiant as the sun, and with her was the Apostle John the Theologian dressed in hierarchal vestments.

By the command of the Mother of God, the Apostle John taught the Saint the correct way to speak of the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Saint Gregory wrote down all that Saint John revealed to him. The Symbol of the Faith, as written down by Saint Gregory, is a great divine revelation in the history of the Church. The teaching concerning the Holy Trinity in Orthodox Theology is based on it. Subsequently, it was accepted by the Holy Fathers of the Church: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and Gregory of Nyssa. Saint Gregory’s Symbol (Creed) was later examined and affirmed in the year 325 by the First Ecumenical Council, showing its enduring significance for Orthodoxy. Even those who disagreed with Saint Gregory regarded him as a second Moses.2

After becoming a hierarch, Saint Gregory journeyed to Neocaesarea. Along his way from Amaseia, he cast out the demons from a pagan temple, the priest of which he converted to Christ. That convert was a witness to yet another of the Saint’s miracles: at his word a large stone moved from its place.

The Saint’s sermons were direct, lively and fruitful. He taught and worked miracles in the name of Christ: he healed the sick, helped the needy, and settled disputes and complaints. Two brothers who shared an inheritance were unable to agree about their dead father’s property. A large lake was the cause of their dispute, for each brother wanted the lake for himself. Both of them gathered their friends together, and were ready to come to blows. Saint Gregory persuaded them to delay their fight until the following day, while he prayed all night long on the shore of the lake which had sparked the quarrel. When dawn came, everyone saw that the lake had dried up or gone underground. Now, by the Saint’s intense prayer, there was only a stream, and its course defined the boundary line. Another time, during the construction of a church, he commanded a hill to move and make room for the foundation to be dug.

When the persecution of Christians began under Emperor Decius (249-251), Saint Gregory led his flock to a faraway mountain. A certain pagan, who knew where the Christians were hiding, informed the persecutors, and soldiers surrounded the mountain. The Saint went out into an open place, raised his hands to heaven, and ordered his deacon to do the same. The soldiers searched the entire mountain, and several times they went right past those who were praying. Unable to see them, they gave up and went away. In the city they reported that there was nowhere to hide on the mountain. There were no people, just two trees standing next to each other. The informer was struck with amazement, he repented of his ways and became a devout Christian.

Saint Gregory returned to Neocaesarea after the end of the persecution. With his blessing, Church Feasts were established in honor of the martyrs who had suffered for Christ.

By the holiness of his life, his effective preaching, his miracles, and inspired guidance of his flock, the Saint increased the number of converts to Christ. When Saint Gregory first came to his See, there were only seventeen Christians in Neocaesarea. At the time of his repose, only seventeen pagans were left in the city.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the saint, the acrostic whereof is:

“I shall weave praise for Gregory the Wonderworker,” the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VIII.

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

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

O father Gregory, do thou now splendidly show forth the divine activity of thy wonders in me, delivering me from the abyss of my transgressions and enlightening me with thy radiance, that I may hymn thee as is meet, O blessed one.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

As one who is skilful, sensible and wise, thou didst prefer nobility of soul to the passions of the flesh, O blessed one, industriously assembling the dogmas of wisdom whereby the soul that draweth nigh to God is nourished, O Gregory.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

When thou hadst acquired chastity as a sister, as a good companion, O Gregory, the wicked serpent, beholding thee, raised up hatred against thee. But thou didst put him to shame, O father, by thy longsuffering, healing the woman who was held fast in the clutches of passion.

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

Residing in a strange land, O venerable one, in thy virtue thou wast manifest to all as honourable, pious and God-loving, having received the gift of working wonders from God, whereby thou hast been known, O divinely eloquent one, shining forth in the world like the sun.

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

Thou wast put forth as a shoot from a royal root, O pure one, and, in a manner surpassing comprehension and thought, thou didst give birth from thy pure blood unto Christ the King, the incarnate Word of God, Who is of two natures, yet a single hypostasis.

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

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Having cleansed thy mind of the turbulence of the passions, and being full of the love of wisdom and vision, thou wast shown to be magnificent, an abode of wisdom, enriched with the gift of prophecy, O Gregory.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Being conversant in the divinely inspired Scriptures, O all-blessed one, and having clearly chosen a different way of life, thou didst establish within thyself the single image of virtue, O divinely wise Gregory.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

O divinely revealed one, having obtained the mystery of theology through divine initiation, enlighten us, that we may honour the consubstantial Trinity, one in essence, uncreated and equally everlasting.

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

Instructed by God, in that thou didst seek Him with love, thou didst have the pure Theotokos Mary and the son of thunder as instructors in the mysteries, guiding thee to the light of the Trinity, O divinely eloquent one.

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

O pure Maiden, we all know thee to be the staff which budded forth Christ, the Flower of incorruption, and the golden censer who held in thine arms the Burning Coal of the divine Essence, O divinely blessed one.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Of the divine faith …”: Thou wast a new Moses in thy works, receiving the tablets of faith on the mountain of mystical divine revelation, setting down as law for the people the piety of the mystery of the Trinity, O Gregory. Wherefore, all we, the faithful, honor thy memory, asking for great mercy through thee.  

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 III: Thou wast the divine tabernacle of the Word, * O only most pure Virgin Mother * who surpassed the angels in purity. * By the divine waters of thy supplications * cleanse me who, more than all others, * have become dust, defiled by carnal transgressions; ** and grant me great mercy, O pure one.

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!’

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Having ploughed the good earth, O divinely wise father, and sown the seed of the Word, thou dost ever now evangelically increase thy yield an hundredfold, O Gregory, by thy teachings bringing to God those who chant: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thy life, shining forth like lightning, O father, hath dispelled the falsehood of the demons; for their darkness could not withstand the light of thy virtues. Wherefore, the minister of spiritually pernicious deception, moved like the stone he beheld, was enlightened.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Thou wast deemed worthy to behold the darkness of the most divine Light, O father, and, having received the divinely written law like Moses, thou didst obtain precision in theology. Hence, thou hast been shown to be a law-giver of the Church of Christ, O divinely wise Gregory.

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

Having turned away from the foolish talk of the rhetors and being enlightened by the word of grace, O father, thou didst truly receive the apostles’ power over the demons, for the prince of darkness fled before thy brilliant splendour.

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

From of old the ark prefigured thee, O all-immaculate one, who received within thy womb the divinely written Law, ineffably conceiving the life-creating Word, Who doth richly nourish the souls of those who cry aloud: 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.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Having loosened hardened hearts with the husbandry of thy words, thou didst cast upon them the divine seed, O hierarch, bringing forth an abundant harvest, the salvation of the faithful, unto the Redeemer, O divinely eloquent one.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Phaedimus, the servant of God, aflame with zeal, piously trusting in God, Who knoweth all things, and in thine honourable life, O divinely eloquent father Gregory, ordained thee even though thou hadst not come to him.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

With the streams of thy precepts thou didst quench idolatrous immolations, and established the faithful through thy teachings, O all-wise one, having, like Samuel, ascended the mountain through visions, and being also like an oak in thy steadfastness.

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

O divinely wise and holy hierarch, by thy prayers deliver me from evil and grievous circumstances, and rend asunder the handwriting of my transgressions, O father, for thou art a priest who hast received from God the power to loose transgressions.

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

O Virgin, thou wast adorned with the most-pure beauties of thy virginity, covering the misshapen shame of the first Eve, having given birth to Christ, Who bestoweth upon those who honour thee the garment of immortality.

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.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

The lake which was the cause of contention between two brethren didst thou dry up in a miraculous fashion; and thou didst cause the rushing of the river to cease, O all-wise one, and when thou didst plant thy staff, it took root and grew at thy divine command, O Gregory.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Godly zeal consumed thee, O thou who art most noetically rich in grace, for unable to endure the sight of an insult to God, O divinely eloquent one, thou didst destroy the vain-minded one by thy prayers.

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

The wretched and impious Jew, who wished to destroy thee, himself died, showing thee forth as a fulfiller of the dogmas of God, Who doth glorify thee, O divinely wise Gregory.

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

The Spirit, Who worketh all things, came down upon thee, O all-immaculate one, and the Word of God made His abode within thee, ineffably becoming flesh, yet remaining unchanged.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.“Seeking the highest …”: Receiving the power to work many miracles, * thou didst terrify the demons with awesome signs, * and dispelled the diseases of men, O all-wise Gregory. * And thou wast called the wonderworker, ** receiving this title from thy works.

Ikos: Where shall I, wretched as I am, begin to weave praises, beholding so many and most wondrous things? If I begin with the life of the venerable one, I will not in any way be able to proceed; for his divine life surpasseth comprehension. And if I begin with his miracles, I shall be ashamed to try to proceed any further, for they are more numerous than the sands of the sea. For this cause he is called the wonderworker, receiving this title because of his works.

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

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

The boast of the fathers and the pride of the holy instructors, the luminary of the Church and immovable pillar of piety hast thou been revealed to be, O Gregory, who dost cry aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Shining forth in miracles, thou didst enlighten the whole world, O divinely wise Gregory; wherefore, having assembled together, we bless thee, nurtured by thy words and chanting: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

O divinely wise one, thou hast poured forth healing upon all the infirm; for most abundant and wonderworking grace was poured forth through thy mouth, whereby thou didst cry: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Now all things are filled with divine light through thee, O most pure one; for thou hast been revealed to be the door through which God hath communed with the world, enlightening those who cry with faith: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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’.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Enriched by thee with the radiance of the consubstantial and honoured Trinity and celebrating now thy festival, O Gregory, we ask that we may be illumined with wonderworking grace, crying aloud to the Master: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Receiving the radiance of the sovereign Godhead like a newly revealed mirror, thou hast illumined the world with rays of light, beaming down Orthodoxy upon those who melodiously chant: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

Protected by God, O all-wise one, thou wast preserved in hiding on the mountain for those who honour God, as a source of piety, like another Moses the law-giver; and thou didst teach them to hymn the Creator and Redeemer, singing: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

Thou wast the abode of the unwaning Light, O most pure one, shining with the beauties of virginity and illumining all who from the depths of their souls confess thee to be the true Theotokos and who chant: Ye children bless; ye priests hymn; ye people supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

Shining with the light of thy most exemplary life, thou dost now stand before the great Light, crowned as a victor with divinely wrought miracles, O divinely wise wonderworker, venerable hierarch, father Gregory, thou beacon of the Church and adornment of the Orthodox.

Holy father, Gregory, pray to God for us.

In thy supplications do thou now ask that the royal elect and sanctified priesthood be guided aright, O wonderworker, and that those who now faithfully celebrate thy memory receive the Kingdom of heaven and be deemed worthy of divine gladness.

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

Having put down the attacks of the demons and subjected the reasoning of thy flesh, O wonderworker, as a venerable and guileless hierarch, arrayed in the garment of righteousness, thou dost stand before the throne of the King of all with boldness, O all-blessed one.

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

O Virgin Mother of God, thou art revealed as she who, in a manner transcending nature, gaveth birth in the flesh to the good Word, Whom the Father poured forth from His heart before all ages, in that He is good. Him do we now know as more exalted than all beings, even though He hath been clothed in a body.

Troparion, in Tone VIII: By vigilance in prayer and continuance in the working of miracles, * thou didst acquire the name of thy worthy deeds. * Yet pray thou to Christ God, O father Gregory, ** that He enlighten our souls, lest we sleep unto death.

THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST MATTHEW

Commemorated on November 16/29

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, was also named Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he was one of the Twelve Apostles (Mark 3:18; Luke 6:45; Acts 1:13), and was brother of the Apostle James Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). He was a publican, or tax-collector for Rome, in a time when the Jews were under the rule of the Roman Empire. He lived in the Galilean city of Capernaum. When Matthew heard the voice of Jesus Christ: “Come, follow Me” (Mt. 9:9), left everything and followed the Savior. Christ and His disciples did not refuse Matthew’s invitation and they visited his house, where they shared table with the publican’s friends and acquaintances. Like the host, they were also publicans and known sinners. This event disturbed the pharisees and scribes a great deal.
Publicans who collected taxes from their countrymen did this with great profit for themselves. Usually greedy and cruel people, the Jews considered them pernicious betrayers of their country and religion. The word “publican” for the Jews had the connotation of “public sinner” and “idol-worshipper.” To even speak with a tax-collector was considered a sin, and to associate with one was defilement. But the Jewish teachers were not able to comprehend that the Lord had “come to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mt. 9:13).

Matthew, acknowledging his sinfulness, repaid fourfold anyone he had cheated, and he distributed his remaining possessions to the poor, and he followed after Christ with the other apostles. St Matthew was attentive to the instructions of the Divine Teacher, he beheld His innumerable miracles, he went together with the Twelve Apostles preaching to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 10:6). He was a witness to the suffering, death, and Resurrection of the Savior, and of His glorious Ascension into Heaven.

Having received the grace of the Holy Spirit, which descended upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, St Matthew preached in Palestine for several years. At the request of the Jewish converts at Jerusalem, the holy Apostle Matthew wrote his Gospel describing the earthly life of the Savior, before leaving to preach the Gospel in faraway lands.

In the order of the books of the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew comes first. Palestine is said to be the place where the Gospel was written. St Matthew wrote in Aramaic, and then it was translated into Greek. The Aramaic text has not survived, but many of the linguistic and cultural-historical peculiarities of the Greek translation give indications of it.

The Apostle Matthew preached among people who were awaiting the Messiah. His Gospel manifests itself as a vivid proof that Jesus Christ is the Messiah foretold by the prophets, and that there would not be another (Mt. 11:3).

The preaching and deeds of the Savior are presented by the evangelist in three divisions, constituting three aspects of the service of the Messiah: as Prophet and Law-Giver (Ch. 5-7), Lord over the world both visible and invisible (Ch. 8-25), and finally as High Priest offered as Sacrifice for the sins of all mankind (Ch. 26-27).

The theological content of the Gospel, besides the Christological themes, includes also the teaching about the Kingdom of God and about the Church, which the Lord sets forth in parables about the inner preparation for entering into the Kingdom (Ch. 5-7), about the worthiness of servers of the Church in the world (Ch. 10-11), about the signs of the Kingdom and its growth in the souls of mankind (Ch. 13), about the humility and simplicity of the inheritors of the Kingdom (Mt. 18:1-35; 19 13-30; 20:1-16; 25-27; 23:1-28), and about the eschatological revelations of the Kingdom in the Second Coming of Christ within the daily spiritual life of the Church (Ch. 24-25).

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Church are closely interconnected in the spiritual experience of Christianity: the Church is the historical embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven in the world, and the Kingdom of Heaven is the Church of Christ in its eschatological perfection (Mt. 16:18-19; 28:18-20).

The holy Apostle brought the Gospel of Christ to Syria, Media, Persia, Parthia, and finishing his preaching in Ethiopia with a martyr’s death. This land was inhabited by tribes of cannibals with primitive customs and beliefs. The holy Apostle Matthew converted some of the idol-worshippers to faith in Christ. He founded the Church and built a temple in the city of Mirmena, establishing there his companion Platon as bishop.

When the holy apostle was fervently entreating God for the conversion of the Ethiopians the Lord Himself appeared to him in the form of a youth. He gave him a staff, and commanded him to plant it at the doors of the church. The Lord said that a tree would grow from this staff and it would bear fruit, and from its roots would flow a stream of water. When the Ethiopians washed themselves in the water and ate the fruit, they lost their wild ways and became gentle and good.

When the holy apostle carried the staff towards the church, he was met by the wife and son of the ruler of the land, Fulvian, who were afflicted by unclean spirits. In the Name of Christ the holy apostle healed them. This miracle converted a number of the pagans to the Lord. But the ruler did not want his subjects to become Christians and cease worshiping the pagan gods. He accused the apostle of sorcery and gave orders to execute him.

They put St Matthew head downwards, piled up brushwood and ignited it. When the fire flared up, everyone then saw that the fire did not harm St Matthew. Then Fulvian gave orders to add more wood to the fire, and frenzied with boldness, he commanded to set up twelve idols around the fire. But the flames melted the idols and flared up toward Fulvian. The frightened Ethiopian turned to the saint with an entreaty for mercy, and by the prayer of the martyr the flame went out. The body of the holy apostle remained unharmed, and he departed to the Lord.

The ruler Fulvian deeply repented of his deed, but still he had doubts. By his command, they put the body of St Matthew into an iron coffin and threw it into the sea. In doing this Fulvian said that if the God of Matthew would preserve the body of the apostle in the water as He preserved him in the fire, then this would be proper reason to worship this One True God.

That night the Apostle Matthew appeared to Bishop Platon in a dream, and commanded him to go with clergy to the shore of the sea and to find his body there. The righteous Fulvian and his retinue went with the bishop to the shore of the sea. The coffin carried by the waves was taken to the church built by the apostle. Then Fulvian begged forgiveness of the holy Apostle Matthew, after which Bishop Platon baptized him, giving him the name Matthew in obedience to a command of God.

Soon St Fulvian-Matthew abdicated his rule and became a presbyter. Upon the death of Bishop Platon, the Apostle Matthew appeared to him and exhorted him to head the Ethiopian Church. Having become a bishop, St Fulvian-Matthew toiled at preaching the Word of God, continuing the work of his heavenly patron.

The Orthodox Church in America

11/28/2016

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Matthew

Monday 16/29 November: St Matthew

Dear brothers and sisters,

As we come to the first weekday of the Nativity Fast, I encourage as many of you as are able to make the journey of this Winter Lent with the companionship of the saints whose memories sanctify the days leading us to the Nativity of the Saviour, praying their canon in your daily prayers.

On this second day of the Fast, we celebrate the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, whose genealogy of Christ will tell us when we are drawing near to Bethlehem, and it will be his Nativity Gospel that will proclaim the good-tidings of the Incarnation in the services of Christmas night, when hear the words that the faithful have heard for two thousand years, as the magi lead us to the Infant Saviour to worship Him with them:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

May the Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us, and lead us to the new-born King.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Канон святому апостолу и евангелисту Матфею: https://azbyka.ru/days/caa/272

Canon of the Apostle, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone IV.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

O all-glorious Matthew, servant of Christ, richly bestow upon me the grace witch abideth within thee, that I may cry aloud, splendidly proclaiming, and, rejoicing hymn thy wonders.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst utterly abandon the tumult of earthly things; for, having hearkened to the voice of the incarnate Word, thou wast revealed to be a steward and God-pleasing herald of His grace.

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

 As an eye-witness and servant of the radiant Word of the pre-eternal Father, O apostle, thou didst go forth, proclaiming the glad tidings of His coming unto all the nations.

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

Thou didst announce the glad tidings of the destruction of death, the abolishment of corruption and the manifestation of life, O wise one; for, having conceived the Unapproachable One in her womb, the Virgin hath restored the world.

Ode III, Irmos: O Theotokos, thou living and plentiful fount, * establish in spiritual fellowship those who sing hymns to thee, * and in thy divine glory * grant them crowns of glory.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

O Word of God, thou hast shown forth Thine apostles as beacons of life which drive away the gloom of ungodliness, illumining the whole world with Thy divine glory, O Master.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Having armed the most valiant Matthew with Thine armour, O Saviour, thou hast made him mightier than the tormenters and revealed him to be the destroyer of the deception of idolatry, O Master and Lover of mankind.

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

The sound of thy fiery tongue consumed the temples of the demons, O divinely inspired Matthew, thou instrument of the Comforter, through whom Christ, the hypostatic Life of all, hath been proclaimed.

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

The trumpet of theology which soundeth forth mightily hath illumined the divinely wise Matthew to proclaim to the peoples, the Effulgence of the Trinity and the incarnation of the Word from thee, O most pure one, in a manner transcending understanding.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: Truly the sound of thy wise words hath gone forth to all the ends of the earth, O all-praised apostle of the Lord, for thou, manifestly preaching to all the vision of God, didst draw the nations from ignorance unto understanding. Wherefore, having dispelled the darkness of idolatry, thou hast shone forth the light of knowledge upon those who sit in darkness, O all-praised Matthew. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who honour thy holy memory with love.

Glory …, in Tone VIII & same melody: O apostle of the Lord, we all praise thee as the lamp and disciple of the Light, an eyewitness of the divine Word; for, spreading thy nets of grace, by thy command thou didst ensnare reason-endowed souls like fish. Wherefore having entrapped the nations through the power of the Spirit, they are now manifestly guided by faith, O all-praised initiate of the mysteries of heaven. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who honour thy holy memory with love.

Now & ever …, Theotokion in Tone VIII: In that thou art the most immaculate Bride of the Creator, the Mother of the Redeemer who knewest not wedlock, the receptacle of the Comforter, O all-hymned one, haste thou to deliver me, who am the vile abode of iniquity and in mind am the plaything of the demons, from their wickedness, and make of me a radiant dwelling place of the virtues, O luminous and incorrupt one. Drive from me the cloud of the passions and grant that I may partake of the never-waning light of the Most High, through thy supplications.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Taught by Thy hypostatic Word, O God, the God-seeing disciple destroyed worldly wisdom, crying aloud unto Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

What manner of praise can we offer unto thee who wast blessed by Christ, O divinely eloquent one? For no man is able to describe in words, the grace which hath blossomed forth in thee, O right wondrous one.

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

Looking upon thine undefiled and pure mind as a lamp placed on a lofty stand, shining upon those in darkness, O divinely manifest one, the Most High hath set thee before all.

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

O blessed and all-praised Maiden, thou hast elevated slain human nature, in that, in a manner surpassing nature, thou hast given birth to the might of the Most High, as Matthew hath taught.

Ode V, Irmos: All creation stands in awe of thy divine glory; * for thou, O Virgin who hast not known wedlock, * didst contain within thy womb the God of all, * and gave birth to the timeless Son, * bestowing peace, upon all who hymn thee.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Receiving the grace of the all-holy Spirit, thou wast shown to be a divine habitation, having taught the light of divine knowledge in a godly manner, wherefore thou wast entrusted with the task of committing to writing the dogmas of Christ, as a chosen eye-witness of God.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Thy tongue was the pen of the Paraclete, Who grants speedy deliverance unto those who acknowledge His dominion and breathes heavenly understanding into the souls of the wise, O most honoured Matthew.

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

Christ sent thee unto the world shining with miracles and the grace of healing, trampling upon the might of the demons and enlightening the souls of all the faithful who hymn thee, the preacher of the world.

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

O Virgin, thou hast given birth to the pre-eternal son Who clothed Himself in human nature and saved it from corruption in His absolute goodness, as the divinely eloquent one said in his teaching; thou didst remain a Virgin.

Ode VI, Irmos: I have reached the depths of the sea * and the tempest of my many sins hath engulfed me; * but do Thou raise up my life from the abyss * O Greatly Merciful One.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

By Thine omnipotent might, O Maker of all, the divinely eloquent and most excellent Matthew was transformed from a publican into an evangelist, in that he followed Thee.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

By the spiritually nourishing words of thy glad tidings, O all-blessed Matthew, a multitude of the gentiles have been lifted up and directed to the lofty summit of the virtues.

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

With the divinely woven nets of the disciple Matthew the assemblies of the faithful are ever drawn up, guided to the knowledge of Thee, O our Benefactor.

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

O all-immaculate one, the most excellent Matthew announceth glad tidings, describing thee as the Virgin who gaveth birth without seed and corruption unto Him Who fashioned all things.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel.: “Having been lifted up …”: Casting off the yoke of the office of a publican, * thou didst shoulder the yoke of righteousness * and wast shown to be a most excellent merchant, * bringing in the wisdom from on high as riches. * Wherefore, thou didst preach the Word of truth * uplifting the souls of the despondent, ** describing the hour of judgment.

Ikos: The tyranny of the enemy oppresseth me constantly and seizeth all the seed of my soul, O Matthew, friend of Christ; yet, providing me with the seed of thy prayers, render me fruitful to serve thee, and show me to be the least of those who hymn thee and a recounter of thy many and great corrections, for without hesitation, forsaking all things for the love of Christ, thou didst ardently follow after Him Who called thee, being the first evangelist in the world, describing the hour of judgment.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Thou wast a divine image of the primal effulgence, as a disciple set afire by His splendours; and, chanting to Him, thou didst say: Blessed and supremely praised art Thou, O Lord God of our Fathers!

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

As servant of the Word, O all-blessed one, thou hast made thine abode in the divine mansions where Christ abideth, as the one supremely divine Lord and God of all the fathers promised thee.

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

Infirmities are banished and a multitude of demons are forced to flee by the gifts of the divine Spirit which are in thee, wherein thou didst chant: Blessed and supremely praised art Thou, O Lord God of our Fathers!

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

With thy divine words, O apostle, thou didst describe the all-hymned Virgin who hath given birth to the Creator. To Him do we all chant: Blessed and supremely praised art Thou, O Lord God of our Fathers!

Ode VIII, Irmos: The Offspring of the Theotokos * saved the holy children in the furnace. * He who was then prefigured hath now been born on earth, * and He gathereth all creation to hymn thee: * all ye works praise ye the Lord * and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Deified by the mighty forces within Thee and by Thine ordination and nature, O Master, the most sacred Matthew prevailed upon the whole world to chant to Thee: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

The Word sent the theologian forth like lightning to the whole world, driving away the darkness and enlightening the nations with the dogmas of theology. Wherefore, he chanted: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

With pure discourse and mind God conversed with thee; for having rid thyself of mire, thou didst draw nigh and associate with Him, O glorious one. Wherefore, thou dost chant: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

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

The Word willed to become incarnate for the good of mankind; for the Lord passed through the portal of virginity and showed her forth as the Theotokos. Wherefore, we cry aloud: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: Let every mortal born on earth, * radiant with light, in spirit leap for joy; * and let the host of the angelic powers * celebrate and honor the holy feast of the Mother of God, * and let them cry aloud: * Rejoice! O Theotokos, thou pure Ever-Virgin.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst receive the divine diadem of noetic beauty, O apostle, and wast adorned with the most magnificent crown of the kingdom by the right hand of the Almighty, O wise one. And thou dost shine, standing with the angels before the throne of Christ the Master, O all-blessed one.

Holy, glorious, all-praised Apostle and Evangelist, Matthew, pray to God for us.

Thou didst receive the tree of life as is meet, O preacher of the living God, having spread the glad tidings of life, the visitation of God to the world; for thou didst not permit thy mind to become corrupt through the tree of knowledge, remaining an unshaken and immovable foundation of the Church, O all-blessed one.

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

In a godly manner thou didst adorn the Church, the Bride of Christ, with thy Gospel as with a diadem, O divinely blessed one, and now it splendidly celebrateth thy divine memory, pray thou, O Apostle Matthew, that it be delivered from every evil circumstance and cruel misfortune.

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

Without leaving the bosom of the unoriginate Father, the unoriginate Word became incarnate from thee, O pure and all-praised one, wholly clothing Himself in human nature and accepting its traits, as Matthew writeth, proclaiming the glad tidings.

Troparion, in Tone III: O holy Apostle and evangelist Matthew, * entreat the Merciful God * that He grant remission of sins ** unto our souls. 

Another troparion, in the same tone: Zealously following Christ the Master, * Who in His goodness appeared to mankind on the earth, and called thee from thy tax-booth, * thou wast shown to be a chosen apostle * and a trumpet-voiced proclaimer of the Gospel to the whole world. * Wherefore, we honor thy precious memory, O divinely eloquent Matthew. * Entreat the merciful God, ** that He granteth remission of sins unto our souls.