Day 15 – Advent With the Saints:

29  November / 12 December 

The Holy Martyr Paramon and the 370 Martyrs with him suffered for their faith in Christ in the year 250 during the rule of the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of the Eastern regions, Aquianus, had locked up 370 Christians in prison, urging them to abjure Christ and instead offer sacrifice to idols.

They subjected the captives to beatings, hoping by torture and the threat of death to persuade them to renounce Christ and worship the pagan gods. One of the local inhabitants, Paramon by name, openly denounced the cruel governor and confessed his faith in the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ. They beheaded Saint Paramon after fierce tortures, together with the other 370 martyrs.

The canon of the martyr, the acrostic whereof is: “Grant now that I may hymn thy grace, O martyr”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone IV.

Ode, 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, Paramon, pray to God for us.

With the illumining rays of the Spirit enlighten the heart of me who hymn thy radiant memory, O martyr Paramon, and strengthen me to abide in the laws of God.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Thou wast radiantly enriched with martyric glory, having shone forth in the beauties of martyrdom and been adorned with beauteous wounds, O Paramon. Wherefore, with faith we call thee blessed.

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

Full of the life-creating waters of the Spirit, thou didst shed dew upon those grievously withering under the burning heat of ungodliness, O glorious one, and didst lead them to the water of peace.

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

Thou hast given birth in time to the Timeless One Who became a man, O pure one. Him do thou earnestly beseech as thy Son and Lord, that He heal the temporal sufferings of my soul, O all-immaculate one.

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

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Having humbled the uprising of the enemy for Christ’s sake, thou didst destroy him and cut down his legions with the sword of patience.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst destroy the counsel of the evil one against our Faith, and suffered mightily, O martyred spiritual athlete Paramon.

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

As a powerful warrior thou wast strengthened by divine grace, O martyr, reckoning cruel tortures to be like a dream.

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

Strengthen my mind which is beset by many passions, O most pure Mother of God, that I may glorify thee as is meet.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone IV. Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up …”: With the patience called for by the divine precepts thou didst cleanse thy soul of defilement and attain to the perfection of spiritual athletes; for thou didst renounce sacrifice to false graven images and, emulating Christ, wast slain with a spear. Him do thou earnestly entreat on behalf of the world, O all-blessed Paramon.

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

Theotokion, Tone IV: O Theotokos, fleeing to thy divine protection after God, * I humbly fall down and beseech thee: * Have mercy, O most pure one, * for my sins have submerged my being, * and trembling O Lady, I fear the torments to come, * O pure one, entreat thy Son, ** that I may be delivered from them.

Stavrotheotokion (in place of the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): She who in the latter days * gave birth in the flesh unto Thee O Christ, * Who wast begotten of the beginningless 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: 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 martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Thy heart, protected by courage and set afire with boldness, O glorious one, considered the many and cunning tortures to be like the darts of children, O valiant minded martyr.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Seeing the sufferers slain at the command of the tyrant, the martyr Paramon received divine zeal like unto theirs, and went forth to suffering. O blessed Paramon, Christ, the Judge of the contest, crowned thee who wast mightily lacerated, mercilessly pierced with spears, and who vanquished the wiles of the enemy.

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

Marveling at the endurance of the martyrs and amazed by their perfection, O glorious one, thou didst share in their zeal of faith and their all-honorable suffering.

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

O Virgin Mary, by thy Life-bearing birthgiving thou hast brought life to all mankind slain by disobedience; wherefore, we glorify and in godliness call thee blessed.

Ode V, Irmos: Thou hast come, O my Lord, * as a light into the world, * a holy light turning from the gloom of ignorance * those who hymn Thee with faith.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst offer thyself to thy Creator as a precious gift, having suffered and vanquished falsehood, O thou adornment of the martyrs.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst demolish graven images and the temples of demons, O wise Paramon, having acquired a steadfast resolve on the rock of divine faith.

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

Thou didst manfully wound a multitude of the demons with the wounding of thy flesh, O valiant-minded spiritual athlete. Wherefore, we call thee blessed.

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

The Lord Who is equal in honor with the Father and the Spirit became incarnate from thy pure blood, O pure one, becoming a man.

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

Thou wast not slothful during thy struggles, but wast surpassingly diligent and valiant amid thy divine suffering; wherefore, thou hast received a crown of glory.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Thou didst join the assembly of the martyrs who reached the end of their lives with zeal before thy contest, O ever-memorable one, and with them thou hast been deemed worthy to enter the heavenly bridal-chamber.

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

Spears made thee an emulator of Christ, for, pierced thereby, O martyr, thou didst hasten to Him as one crowned, having slain the foolish with the sword of patience.

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

O most immaculate one, from the temptations of life deliver me who am held fast in the night of ignorance with unseemly thoughts and am ever darkened by the malice of the enemy.

Ode VII, 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, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Splendidly enriched by God with the grace of healings and miracles, O wise martyr, thou dost heal those who cry aloud: Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord!

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Placing all thy care in the heavens, O right glorious one, thou didst disdain the tortures inflicted upon thee, 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.

With the fire of thy blood thou didst consume all the wicked tinder of ungodliness, O glorious spiritual athlete; and with the dew of thy miracles bedewest those who are in the burning heat of evils, crying aloud, O right glorious one: Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord!

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

Rejoice, thou who alone hast given birth to the Joy of mankind! Rejoice, O heaven and throne of the cherubim, most glorious palace of Him Who reigneth throughout all ages, O all-immaculate Lady!

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

We all have been enriched, having acquired thee as a vigilant guardian of our souls, O much suffering one, ever lulling to sleep demonic fantasies and stilling the raging waves of the flesh and the storm of evil thoughts of those who cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

With the streams of thy sacred blood thou didst dye for thyself a purple robe which will never grow old, and, splendidly adorned, thou dwellest in the heavens, O blessed one, crying aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

As a pure lamb, as an unblemished sacrifice, as a whole-burnt offering consumed by the embers of suffering, O wise martyr, thou didst bring thyself to Christ, the Judge of the contest, chanting: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

The shadow of the law and the proclamations of the prophets foreordained thee, O pure one full of the grace of God, as her who would ineffably become the Mother of our God. To Him do we all chant: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Ode IX, 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, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Behold! the splendid memory of the radiant passion-bearer hath shone forth, illumining with the divine Spirit the hearts of all the faithful who joyfully join chorus and bless him with faith.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Having joined thyself to the three hundred and seventy invincible martyrs, thy body doth lie with them, O martyr of Christ. With them pray thou, that we be saved.

Holy martyr, Paramon, pray to God for us.

Having passed through the arena of pain which is full of many and varied torments, and overcoming them splendidly with Christ Who conquered the world, ye dwell now in the heavens, O crowned martyrs.

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

Thou wast taken up from the earth and received honors for thy struggles; and now pourest forth rivers of miracles upon us who honor thee and piously celebrate thy memory, O Paramon.

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

Enlighten the eyes of my soul which have been darkened by the blindness of corrupting sin, O most pure Lady, Birthgiver of God; for thou art the help and enlightenment of the faithful, O pure one.

Day 13 – Advent With the Saints: St James the Persian

27  November / 10 December 10

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

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

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

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

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

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

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

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

Standing now before the throne of Christ as one crowned, O glorious martyr James, by thy supplications grant me radiant illumination and grace from heaven.

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

Issuing forth from the east, O martyr James, thou hast shone upon us like a radiant dawn illumining the Church of Christ with the effulgence of thy sufferings.

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

Having shown youthful resistance, as a victor thou wast deemed worthy of the honours of a successful combat and eternal glory, O martyr James.

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

The trumpets of the prophets announced thee, proclaiming the mystery wrought within thee, O Virgin Theotokos, having beheld thy wonders from afar.

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

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

Thou wast like a choice vine of Christ, pruned with the sickle of torments, and which, bearing much fruit, is offered up in the winepress of the Saviour.

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

Thou didst sensibly perceive the corruption and instability of transitory things, O crown-bearer; and as one with a great intellect, preferred the stability of those things which abide forever.

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

Thy body, dismembered by the savagery of the torturers, won thee splendid crowns, O James, and the delight of the food of paradise.

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

Mankind, united hypostatically to the Master of all through thy divine birthgiving, O Virgin Bride of God, hath manifestly received mercy.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom …”: Christ hath caused the godly and ever-memorable martyr James to shine forth from Persia like a star newly-appeared; wherefore, he hath dispelled the darkness of deception and shone forth the grace of the Spirit upon the faithful. Therefore, let us keep his memory with faith and cry out, saying: O much suffering spiritual athlete, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins to those who with love celebrate his holy memorial. (Twice)

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

Theotokion: Having fallen into the mire of sins, I have no firm place for me to stand, and the storm of transgressions hath grievously engulfed me; but in that thou gavest birth to the Word Who alone loveth mankind, look upon me, thy servant, and deliver me from every sin, from the soul-corrupting passions and all the oppression of the evil murderer, O Theotokos who knewest not wedlock. Entreat Christ God, that He grant me remission of sins, for thee do I, thy servant, have as my hope.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): The Virgin, the Mother of the Redeemer, standing before the Cross, cried out maternally, groaning with pain and tears: “What is this strange and most glorious sight which I see, O my Son? Thou Who pourest forth dispassion upon all men hast been crucified on a Cross between two condemned thieves, pierced in the side, and given gall to eat, all by hands which Thou didst make! But arise and grant remission of transgressions unto those who with faith hymn thy divine sufferings!”

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

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

Revived by the armour given thee by God, O glorious one, thou didst reduce to ashes all the deception of those who worship fire.

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

Ask thou cleansing for us who celebrate thy precious memory, O martyr James, in that thou dost possess boldness.

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

The torrents of blood gushing forth from thy members, O thrice blessed one, have quenched all the flames of delusion.

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

Direct my thoughts to the calm haven of thy dispassion and purity, O most pure one.

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

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

Thou wast truly like richly fertile earth, broken apart by the plough of bitter torments, O wise one, bringing a goodly harvest to the Creator.

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

With the blood of the severed limbs of thy body thou didst extinguish the burning arrows of the enemy, O thrice-blessed one; for thou wast shown to be protected by hope and faith.

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

As each of thy members was cruelly cut away, O most wise one, like a goodly lamb thou didst offer to Christ a hymn of victory and fitting praise.

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

Thou hast given me cleansing of the defilements of my soul, O glorious martyr of Christ, through thy pangs, bestowing deliverance through the streams of thy blood, O all-praised one.

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

Clearly offering a genuine cry to thine honored and awesome birthgiving with heart and tongue, we now call thee the pure Theotokos.

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

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

Having sensibly accepted the instruction of thy friends, O glorious one, rejoicing, thou didst hasten to the struggle and received a crown of victory.

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

Suffering as though in another’s body, O martyr James, thou didst endure dismemberment, sending up hymnody to the Master.

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

As a victorious martyr, O most wise one, thou didst manifestly array thyself in the robe of salvation and the vesture of gladness, which had been dyed in thy blood.

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

Having traversed the sea of martyrdom, thou didst receive a sacred crown of victory, and now joinest chorus with ranks of martyrs as is meet, O glorious James.

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

Thou hast given birth without knowing a man, O Virgin, remaining a virgin forever, showing forth the impress of thy Son and God, the true Divinity.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest…”: Persuaded by thy good spouse, O James who wast patient of soul, * and fearing rather the dread tribunal, * thou didst spit upon the Persians’ command and the fear of them, * showing thyself to be an honourable martyr ** whose body was pruned like a vine.

Ikos: Let us all sigh from the depths of our souls, pouring forth tears as we envisage the martyr cruelly dismembered by those who were like barking dogs, and who, gathering together, tore off the limbs of the wondrous martyr, who was valiant in his confession. What then shall I say? If ye desire, let me tell all with zeal, how one day death came to James, whose body was pruned like a vine.

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

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

When thy body was dismembered, O martyr James, strengthened by divine faith, noetic might and spiritual endurance, thou wast unmoved and unshaken, crying aloud: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Having set thy thoughts on the goal of a higher calling, thou wast not overwhelmed when torments were poured forth upon thee; but, enduring the wounds inflicted on thee by the iniquitous as is meet, dismembered, thou didst chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Blessed art Thou, and well is it for thee now, O most blessed one, who vanquished the savage cruelty of the wicked one and the wrath of the tyrant, saying with zeal: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

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

Thou hast been shown to be a candle-stand of golden lustre for the never-waning Light, the Candle of divine splendour, illumining all the world with the radiance of thine honourable virginity, and saving those who chant aloud: Blessed art thou who hast given birth to God in the flesh!

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

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

Strengthened by the power of God, O blessed one, thou didst drive off the assemblies and hordes of the wicked, and having mightily dispelled them, received a crown of victory, crying aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord! Hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout the ages!

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

Thou didst look upon the severing of thy members as goodly offerings, O martyr, ignoring the attendant pangs, but directing thy gaze rather to the beauteous crowning of the martyr’s which is to come, and which hath been prepared by the just Judge.

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

Having steadfastly acquired supra-natural endurance, thou didst remain like a pillar, O blessed one, fearlessly undergoing the assaults and receiving the darts of the enemy, crying aloud: Bless ye Christ throughout the ages!

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

The soul-corrupting enemy, the author of evil, assailing thee with great fury, and inspiring the torturers to break the strength of thy soul, was unable to accomplish his ends, O glorious one, for Thou didst array thyself in the armour of Christ.

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

O Theotokos, we know thee to be the clear well-spring of immortality, for thou hast given birth to the Word of the immortal Father, Who hast delivered from death all who supremely exalt Him throughout the ages.

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

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

Joining chorus with the martyrs, O thrice-blessed one, and standing as a martyr before the throne of Christ, by thy supplications deliver from cruel misfortunes those who celebrate thy memory today and with gladness honour thy radiant festival.

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

As a martyr, O James, thou hast now truly made thine abode in the heavens, where the assemblies of the martyrs are, where the holy multitude of all the saints rest, where the souls of the righteous and the Church of the firstborn are.

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

Thou hast taken thy place before the Saviour of all as a lamp-bearer, for Whom thou didst endure the severing of the members of thy body and with might ignored the fire and wounds of thy trials. Wherefore, with faith and love we all call thee blessed, O James.

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

Clad now in an embroidered purple robe dyed in thine own blood, thou dost reign with Christ, O James; for through sufferings thou didst find the well-spring of dispassion, in which thou hast been deemed worthy to delight eternally, O all-blessed one.

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

Manifestly ascribing to thee a title befitting the nature of things, and likewise offering up to thee a divine cry, we glorify thee, the Theotokos, as the one who conceived God and truly became the pure Mother of God.

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

Another Troparion, same tone: Thou hast astonished all by thy terrifying torments * and the valour of thine endurance, O much suffering one, * most wondrously uttering prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord * as each of thy members was severed from thy body. * Wherefore, receiving a crown amid thy suffering, * thou hast ascended to the throne of Christ God, the King of heaven. ** Entreat Him, O James, that He save our souls.

Day 12 – Advent With the Saints: Venerable Alypius the Stylite

Saint Alypius the Stylite was born in the city of Adrianopolis in Paphlagonia. His mother, a Christian, was widowed early, and she sent her son to be educated by Bishop Theodore. She distributed her substance to the poor, then began to live an ascetic life near the church as a deaconess.

Saint Alypius, from his early years, wanted to devote his life to God and yearned for the solitary life, although Bishop Theodore would not give him permission to do so. Once, when Saint Alypius was accompanying his bishop to Constantinople, the holy Martyr Euphemia (September 16) appeared to him in a vision, summoning Saint Alypius to return to Adrianopolis and found a church in her name.

With contributions offered by believers in Adrianopolis, Saint Alypius did build a church in the name of the holy Martyr Euphemia, on the site of a dilapidated pagan temple infested by legions of devils. Beside the church, under the open sky, the saint erected a pillar over a pagan tomb. For fifty-three years Saint Alypius struggled upon the pillar, praying to God and teaching those who came to him.

The demons which infested the pagan cemetery fell upon the ascetic by night and pelted him with stones. Saint Alypius, wanted nothing to stand in the way of the attacks of the spirits of darkness, then even took down the boards that served him as a roof, protecting him from the rain and wind. In the face of the saint’s conquering steadfastness, the demons fled the place forever, which had been sanctified by his deed of voluntary martyrdom.

Fourteen years before his death, Saint Alypius was no longer able to stand. He was compelled to lie on his side because of the weakness of his legs, and endured grievous sufferings with humble gratitude. Around the saint’s pillar two monasteries sprang up: a men’s monastery on the one side, and a women’s monastery on the other. Saint Alypius introduced strict monastic rules for both monasteries and he directed both monasteries until his death. Saint Alypius reposed in the year 640, at age 118. The body of the venerable stylite was buried in the church he founded in honour of the holy Martyr Euphemia. The relics of the saint of God healed many of those who came in faith.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

The canon of the venerable one, the acrostic whereof is: “Rejoicing, I praise the pangs of Alypius”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone V.

Ode I, Irmos: Christ, who with an upraised arm * bringeth wars to naught, * hath shaken horse and rider in the Red Sea; * but Israel hath He saved * as they chanted a song of victory.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Full of grace, O Alypius, do thou fill my soul with joy to praise thy life and manner of living, wherein struggling, thou didst fill all the angels with gladness.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

God consecrated thee like a second Samuel from thy mother’s womb, O blessed Alypius, causing thee, as a divine prophet, to see things to come, O right glorious one.

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

That God might reveal the splendour which thou didst possess in the latter times O venerable one, as one who would struggle well in a manner transcending understanding, He filled the house with divine light when thou wast born.

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

The saying of the honoured prophet hath come to pass; for, lo! the Virgin hath given birth in the flesh unto God, Who fashioned mankind anew who before was crushed by sins and transgressions.

Ode III, Irmos: By Thy command Thou didst establish the earth upon nothing * and suspended it unsupported; * do Thou establish Thy Church on the unshakeable rock of Thy commandments, O Christ, * who alone art good * and the Lover of mankind.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Set like a candle upon the candlestick of lofty activity, O father, with thy splendid virtues thou hast illumined with pious wisdom every soul which approacheth thee with faith, delivering it from the darkness of sin.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Directing the sacred movements of thy mind toward the keeping of the divine commandments of the Spirit, thou wast revealed to be an angel on earth, leading an angelic way of life in the flesh, O God-bearing father Alypius.

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

Thou didst wisely show thyself to be a recluse from the tumults of life, O venerable Alypius, eagerly undertaking the contests of the path of fasting, showing thy heart to be a dwelling-place of the Spirit.

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

O pure Virgin, thou palace of the Word, show my soul to be a habitation of the Spirit, and grant me to drink of the water of the life-creating Wellspring, for I am parched by the burning heat of sin, that I may glorify thee as is meet.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before …”: By the radiance of faith and the light of spiritual activity wast thou truly revealed to be an equal of the angels on earth, O venerable Alypius; and manfully showing the strength of thy mind, thou didst vanquish all the assaults of the passions through fasting. Wherefore, as thou livest even after thy repose, pray that we be saved.

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

Theotokion, Tone IV: O all-immaculate Virgin * who hast given birth to the transcendent God: * do thou unceasingly entreat Him with the incorporeal ones, * that He grant forgiveness of transgressions * and correction of life before the end, * to us who, as is meet, hymn thee with faith and love, ** O thou who alone art all-hymned.

Stavrotheotokion (in place of the Theotokoion on Wednesdays and Fridays): O most immaculate Virgin, * Mother of Christ God, * a sword pierced thy most holy soul * when thou didst behold thy Son and God * crucified of His own will. * Him do thou never cease to entreat, O blessed one, ** that He grant us the forgiveness of our transgressions.

Ode IV, Irmos: Habbakuk, prophetically apprehending * Thy divine self-emptying, O Christ, * cried out to Thee with trembling: * Thou hast come for the salvation of Thy people; * to save Thine anointed Ones.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Possessed of true love and compassion, steadfast faith and hope, and a guileless manner of life, O father, thou wast a favourite of Christ.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Standing upon thy pillar, unmoved by the assaults of the adversary, thou didst vanquish hordes of demons and wast an immovable foundation for the wavering, O all-blessed one.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Full of divine waters, thou didst bedew souls which were wasting away in the burning heat of grievous sin, O divinely wise and most noetically-rich Alypius.

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

Thou wast shown to be truly dreadful and unapproachable to all the demons, O Alypius, inflicting upon them wounds by thy sacred prayers, driving them far away.

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

Heal thou the sufferings of my soul and illumine my mind and heart, O Lady, who hast given birth unto the supremely good God, Christ the Bestower of light.

Ode V, Irmos: O Thou Who hast clothed Thyself in light as with a garment, * I rise early unto Thee and cry out to Thee: * Enlighten my darkened soul, O Christ, * in that Thou alone art compassionate!

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Placing thyself wholly in the hands of the Almighty, O father, and suffering greatly in thy standing without shelter for many years, through rain and the heat of day, thou didst earnestly endure.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Training thyself in hymnody and prayer, O venerable one, in thy purity of mind thou didst receive the grace of the radiance of the threefold Sun, emitting the brilliant light of healings.

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

Confining thy body to thy pillar, O father, full of light, thou didst permit thyself to pass unhindered to Him Whom thou didst desire.

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

Thou hast given birth, O holy Maiden, unto our holy God, Who, in His tender compassion, became a man and sanctified those who hallow Him with faith and fear.

Ode VI, Irmos: Calm the raging sea of the passions, * O Master Christ, * with its soul-destroying tempest, * and lead me up from corruption * in that Thou art compassionate.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

The spirits of wickedness, openly smiting with stones, thee who stood on the pillar like a steadfast stone, were in no wise able to shake thee.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

With patience didst thou endure for the Lord, Who gaveth thee true patience and delivered thee from all difficulties.

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

Most gloriously was a light seen above thy pillar every day, illumining thy spiritual senses, O venerable wonderworker.

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

All we who are in sorrow have thee as a mighty consolation, a refuge and a renowned helper, O Theotokos. Save thou thy servants from misfortunes.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “As the first-fruits …”: Today the Church doth glorify and hymn thee, O Alypius, * as a cause of virtues and the adornment of fasters. * In accordance with thy name thy supplications grant deliverance from grievous transgressions ** unto those who with love honour thy brave deeds and struggles.

Ikos: Come, ye priests and princes, ye monastics and all ye divinely wise people, let us marvel at the godly life of Alypius, which equalled that of the angels, and let us emulate his deeds, that by his prayers we may be deemed worthy of his portion, O ye who love the feasts of the Church; for he happily chanteth a heavenly hymn unto God in accordance with his name.

Ode VII, Irmos: The supremely exalted Lord of our fathers * quenched the flame, * and bedewed the Youths * as they chanted in harmony: * O God, blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

The most patient and mighty Alypius, vexed by winter for many years, was most gloriously warmed by the fervour of the Spirit.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Possessed of a way of life which led thee toward the heights of heaven, thou didst disdain the body as something which was destined for corruption; and when it began to putrefy, thou didst pay no heed to thy pain.

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

Spurning all love of pleasure, O father, thou didst suffer, contending against winter and the heat of day, chanting whilst exposed to the elements: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

The Unapproachable One received noetic and animate flesh from thee, O Ever-Virgin, that He might save those who chant: O God, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Irmos: Unto Thee the Fashioner of all, * the children in the furnace chanted a hymn: * All ye works of the Lord, * supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Thou wast revealed to be like a new Samuel, O father Alypius, foreseeing the future with purity of mind and foretelling to all, as a prophet of God, the things revealed to thee by the Lord.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Let Alypius, the favourite of Christ, be honoured, the luminous pillar of the Church, the immovable bulwark, the indestructible rampart of all those who believe in God.

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

Thou didst sleep well the needful sleep of the just, O father, having first lulled to sleep the multifarious passions by prayers and vigils. Wherefore, we have become rich, having thee now as an ever-vigilant intercessor.

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

Thine Offspring hath now rendered fruitless the sin engendered by the malice of the serpent, O only Virgin, who hast abolished the curse. Wherefore, we honour thee throughout all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: O Isaiah, rejoice and be glad! * The Virgin hath conceived in her womb, * and hath borne a Son, Emmanuel, * who is both God and man; * and Orient is His name; * Him we magnify, and the Virgin we call blessed.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

From earliest infancy thy sacred life was revealed to Christ, shining with the light of the virtues, O blessed one; and thy death was precious in the sight of God, O father Alypius, instructor of monastics.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Like a most radiant beacon, thou dost illumine the whole earth, driving away the wicked passions, dispelling the darkness of sin, and enlightening those who hymn thee with the divine splendours of healings.

Venerable father, Alypius, pray to God for us.

Contending most diligently like a spiritual athlete, O wise father, thou didst unflaggingly make thy stand upon thy pillar for fifty-three years, vexed by winter, frost and the heat of day.

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

Thy holy commemoration sanctifieth by the Holy Spirit us who keep it in a sacred manner and hymn thee thereon with faith, O wise father, as the helper and intercessor of our souls.

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

Do thou grant unto me enlightenment, for I languish in the darkness of the passions, and am wretched and sinful; deliver me from my wicked deeds and from the flame which lieth before me, O most pure Lady, who ever intercedest for those who hymn thee.

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

Canons for the Leave-Taking of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple and the Holy Hieromartyrs Clement of Rome and Peter of Alexandria.

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

Sessional Hymn of Hieromartyr Peter, 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 and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Sessional Hymn of the feast, 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 birth-giving 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 splendour of the glory of Christ.

Holy Hieromartyr, Clement, pray to God for us.

Adorned with the splendours 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, 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.

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 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 birth-giving 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 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 savour 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 Birth-Giver 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 birth-giving 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.

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

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.

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!

Day 10 – Advent With the Saints: the Holy Great-Martyrs Catherine & Mercurius

The Holy Great-Martyr Catherine was the daughter of the governor of Alexandrian Egypt Constus during the reign of the emperor Maximian (305-313). Living in the capital – the centre of Hellenistic knowledge, and possessed of an uncommon beauty and intellect, Catherine received a most splendid of educations, having studied the works of the finest philosophers and teachers of antiquity. Young men from the most worthy families of the empire sought the hand of the beautiful Catherine, but none of them was chosen. She declared to her parents that she would be agreeable to enter into marriage only with someone who surpassed her in illustriousness, wealth, comeliness and wisdom.

Catherine’s mother, a secret Christian, sent her for advice to her own spiritual father – a saintly elder pursuing prayerful deeds in solitude in a cave not far from the city. Having listened to Catherine, the elder said that he knew of a Youth, who surpassed her in everything, such that “His beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, His wisdom governed all creation, His riches were spread throughout all the world – this however did not diminish but rather added to the inexpressible loftiness of His lineage”. The image of the Heavenly Bridegroom produced in the soul of the holy maiden an ardent desire to see Him. Truth, to which her soul yearned, revealed it to her. In parting, the elder handed Catherine an icon of the Mother of God with the God-Child Jesus on Her arm and bid her to pray with faith to the Queen of Heaven – the Mother of the Heavenly Bridegroom – for the bestowing of the vision of Her Son.

Catherine prayed all night and was given to see the Most Holy Virgin, Who sent Her Divine Son to look upon the kneeling of Catherine before Them. But the Child turned His face away from her saying, that He was not able to look at her because she was ugly, of shabby lineage, beggarly and mindless like every person – not washed with the waters of holy Baptism and not sealed with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Catherine returned again to the elder deeply saddened. He lovingly received her, instructed her in the faith of Christ, admonished her to preserve her purity and integrity and to pray unceasingly; he then performed over her the mystery / sacrament of holy Baptism. And again Saint Catherine had a vision of the Most Holy Mother of God with Her Child. Now the Lord looked tenderly at her and gave her a ring – a wondrous gift of the Heavenly Bridegroom.

At this time the emperor Maximian was himself in Alexandria for a pagan feastday. Because of this, the feast was especially splendid and crowded. The cries of the sacrificial animals, the smoke and the smell of the sacrifices, the endless blazing of fires, and the bustling crowds at the arenas filled Alexandria. Human victims also were brought – because they consigned to death in the fire the confessors in Christ, those not recanting from Him under torture. The Saint’s love for the Christian martyrs and her fervent desire to lighten their fate impelled Catherine to go to the pagan head-priest and ruler of the empire, the emperor-persecutor Maximian.

Introducing herself, the saint confessed her faith in the One True God and with wisdom denounced the errors of the pagans. The beauty of the maiden captivated the emperor. In order to convince her and show the superiourity of pagan wisdom, the emperor gave orders to gather 50 of the most learned men (rhetoricians) of the empire, but the Saint got the better of the wise men, such that they themselves came to believe in Christ. Saint Catherine shielded the martyrs with the sign of the cross, and they bravely accepted death for Christ and were burnt by order of the emperor.

 Maximian, no longer hoping to convince the saint, tried to entice her with the promise of riches and fame. Having received an angry refusal, the emperor gave orders to subject the saint to terrible tortures and then throw her in prison. The Empress Augusta, who had heard much about the saint, wanted to see her. Having prevailed upon the military-commander Porphyry to accompany her with a detachment of soldiers, Augusta went to the prison. The empress was impressed by the strong spirit of Saint Catherine, whose face glowed with Divine grace. The holy martyress explained the Christian teaching to the newly-arrived, and they in believing were converted to Christ.

On the following day they again brought the martyress to the judgement court where, under the threat of being broken on the wheel, they urged that she recant from the Christian faith and offer sacrifice to the gods. The saint steadfastly confessed Christ and she herself approached the wheels; but an Angel smashed the instruments of execution, which broke up into pieces with many pagans passing nearby. Having beheld this wonder, the empress Augusta and the imperial courtier Porphyry with 200 soldiers confessed their faith in Christ in front of everyone, and they were beheaded. Maximian again tried to entice the holy martyress, proposing marriage to her, and again he received a refusal. Saint Catherine firmly confessed her fidelity to the Heavenly Bridegroom – Christ, and with a prayer to Him she herself put her head on the block under the sword of the executioner. The relics of Saint Catherine were taken by the Angels to Mount Sinai. In the VI Century, through a revelation, the venerable head and left hand of the holy martyress were found and transferred with honour to a newly-constructed church of the Sinai monastery, built by the holy emperor Justinian (527-565; Comm. 14 November).

The Holy GreatMartyr Mercurius (Mercury), a Scythian by descent, served as a soldier in the Roman army. The impious emperors Decius (249-251) and Valerian (253-259) issued a law, ordering all Roman citizens to worship the pagan gods and condemning Christians to death.

During these times barbarians attacked the Roman empire, and the emperor Decius went on campaign with a large army. In one of the battles an Angel of the Lord appeared to Mercurius and presented him a sword with the words: “Fear not. Go forth bravely against the enemy. And when thou art victorious, forget not the Lord thy God”. With this sword the holy warrior broke through the ranks of the barbarian horde; he destroyed an hoste of the enemy and killed the leader of the barbarians, winning victory for the Romans. The grateful emperor rewarded Saint Mercurius for his bravery, and made him a military commander.

 The Angel of the Lord appeared again to the holy warrior, who had received great honours and riches, and reminded him by Whom the victory had been given, and bidding him to serve the Lord. Saint Mercurius recalled that his father Gordian had also confessed the Christian faith; – he himself had been baptised and with all his soul he yearned for Christ. He refused to participate in the solemn offering of sacrifice to the pagan gods and was summoned before the dread emperor. Openly declaring himself a Christian, Mercurius threw down at the feet of the emperor his soldier’s belt and mantle and he repudiated all the honours. The Angel of the Lord again appeared to Saint Mercurius in the prison, encouraging him and inspiring him to bravely endure all the suffering for Christ.

They stretched the holy martyr over fire; they cut at him with knives, and lashed at him so much, that the blood from his wounds extinguished the fire. But each time, when they threw him back into the prison nearly dying from his wounds, Saint Mercurius received complete healing from the Lord, manifesting before the impious the great power of faith in Christ. Condemned to a sentence of death, the saint was deemed worthy of a vision of the Lord Himself, promising him a quick release from his sufferings. The GreatMartyr Mercurius was beheaded at Caesarea Cappadocia. His holy body exuded fragrant myrh and incense, bestowing healing on many of the sick.

Even after his death the warrior of Christ, united unto the Heavenly Church, served a soldier’s service for the good of the earthly Church. Through the prayer of Sainted Basil the Great (Comm. 1 January) in front of an icon of the Most Holy Mother of God for deliverance of Christians under persecution of the Christian faith by the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), the Mediatrix for Christians dispatched the holy Warrior Mercurius in assist from the Church Triumphant unto the Church Militant. The image of the holy GreatMartyr Mercurius, depicted on the icon alongside the image of the Most Holy Mother of God, became invisible. It reappeared again later with a bloodied spear.

 At this very moment Julian the Apostate on his Persian campaign was pierced by the spear of an unknown assailant, who disappeared immediately. The mortally wounded Julian, as he lay dying, cried out: “Thou hast conquered, Galileian!”  

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

 

 

Day 9 – Advent With the Saints: Saints Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, & Gregory, Bishop of Agrigentum

23 November / 6 December

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Orthodox Church in America

12/5/2017

Ode I, Canon of the feast, the composition of Basil, in Tone I: 

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

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 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 honour 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-unoriginate 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, 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.

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 splendour 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.

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 labours 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, 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!

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

Sessional Hymn of St. Amphilochius, 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 honoured temple. For this cause, pray thou now, that we be saved.

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

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

Sessional Hymn of the feast, 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, 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.

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 honour, 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.

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, favourite 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, 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.

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 throne.

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.

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 all-blessed 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 honour thee, O Virgin Bride of God.

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

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.

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!

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 paralysed 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 remain 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, 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 favourite of the Trinity, * standing ever with the angels, ** pray thou unceasingly on behalf of us all.

Ikos: Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the all-wise 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, 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.

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-unoriginate 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 all-immaculate one.

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 Saviour, 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 yet greater 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, 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.

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 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.

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 theologised concerning the uncreated, unoriginate, 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 honour, O most wise one, when thou didst piously theologise, 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 chanteth 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!

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 didst shine 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 birthgiving 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, Irmos: The light-bearing cloud upon whom * the unoriginate 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 savour 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.

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 theologising concerning the one Essence in three Hypostases, the most holy, divine and unapproachable Trinity, thou hast been honoured 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.

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.

Day 8 – Advent With the Saints: the Holy Apostles Archippus & Philemon & Those With Them

22 November / 5 December 

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 splendours 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 honoured 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 all-pure 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, 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, 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 marvellous, 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 harbour 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 all-hymned 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 honoured Church of Christ in Colossae doth sing the splendid festival of the godly Archippus, honouring 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 fulfilment 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, 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: 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 Saviour 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 labours, 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, marvelling, 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 temple 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 Saviour, 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!

Day 6 – Advent With the Saints: Venerable Gregory Decapolites & St Proclus

20 November / 3 December 

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, 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, 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, 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, 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.

Day 5 – Advent With the Saints: the Holy Prophet Obadiah and the Holy Martyr Barlaam.

19 November / 2 December

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.

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

Sessional Hymn of the martyr, 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 and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion, 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 (replaces the theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): 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 Sion, 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, 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.

Day 4 – Advent With the Saints: Martyr Platon of Ancyra

18 November / 1 December 

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.