The Feast of the Glorification of St John of Kronstadt

Today is the feast of the glorification of St John of Kronstadt, canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church, Outside of Russia, in 1964 – though the Moscow Patriarchate would not do so until 1990. 

Please endeavour to offer a canon or akathist hymn to the great wonderworker on this feast, or honour him in some other way!

Saint John of Kronstadt was born in the village of Sura in Archangel province on October 19, 1829, and was called John in honor of Saint John of Rila (August 18). His parents were very poor but were very devoted to the Church. Even though he was poor, as a young boy John learned to feel compassion for others in their misfortune. His neighbors frequently asked him to pray for them, as they noticed this special grace-endowed gift in him. When John was ten, his parents were able to raise some money and send him to the local school which was attached to the church. At first, the boy had an extremely difficult time with his studies. He worked for days on end, but still failed to keep up.

Writing about his life he once recalled an evening when everyone had already gone to bed. “I could not sleep, and I still failed to understand anything I was taught. I still read poorly and could not remember anything I was told. I became so depressed I fell to my knees and began to pray. I don’t know whether I had spent a long time in that position or not, but suddenly something shook my whole being. It was as if a veil had fallen from my eyes, and my mind had been opened, and I remembered clearly my teacher of that day and his lesson. I also recalled the topic and the examples he had given. I felt so light and joyous inside.” After this experience he did so well he became one of the first in his class to be chosen to go to seminary, and after seminary to the Theological Academy in Saint Petersburg (a great honor at that time).

Throughout his studies, John thought about the importance of forgiveness, meekness, and love, and came to believe that these were the very center and power of Christianity, and that only one path—the path of humble love—leads to God and the triumph of His righteousness. He also thought a great deal about the Savior’s death on the Cross at Golgotha, and pitied those who did not know Jesus Christ. He wished to preach to them about His death and Resurrection. He dreamed about becoming a missionary to distant China, but saw that there was a great deal of work for a genuine pastor of Christ’s flock both in his own city and the surrounding towns.

When John graduated from the Academy he met Elizabeth Nesvitsky who lived in the town of Kronstadt. They dated, he proposed, and they were married. After his studies, John still desired to learn more about his faith and his Church.

It was in this frame of mind that he prepared to be a priest and to enter public ministry. He was ordained a deacon on December 10, 1855, and then priest on December 12. He was assigned to Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in the city of Kronstadt. He said, “I made myself a rule to be as sincere as possible in my work, and of strictly watching myself and my inner life.”

Father John wanted most of all to earn the love of the people in his care, because only a loving attitude could provide the firm support and help he needed as he faced the difficult work of the priesthood. His constant thought was how he would come before the Last Judgment and have to give an account, not only for his own deeds, but also the deeds of his flock, for whose education and salvation he was responsible. To him no one was a stranger; everyone who came to him for help became a friend and relative. He would tell people “The Church is the best heavenly friend of every sincere Christian.” He conducted divine services daily and offered the prayers of the faithful. He called all who rarely receive Holy Communion to prepare themselves and live their lives in a Christian way so that they could receive more often. Listening to Father John, many people changed their lifestyle, repented sincerely, and joyfully received Holy Communion on a regular basis.

At that time the government exiled murderers, thieves and other criminals to Kronstadt. Life was horrible for the exiles. Even children of exiles would become thieves and criminals. He would go to their dugouts, hovels and shacks to visit with them. Not satisfied with staying for five or ten minutes to administer some rite and then leave, Father John believed he was coming to visit a priceless soul, his brothers and sisters. He would stay for hours, talking, encouraging, comforting, crying, and rejoicing together with them.

From the beginning he also concerned himself with the material needs of the poor. He would shop for food, go to the pharmacy for prescriptions, to the doctor for help, many times giving the poor his last few coins. The inhabitants of Kronstadt would see him returning home barefoot and without his cassock. Often parishioners would bring shoes to his wife, saying to her, “Your husband has given away his shoes to someone, and will come home barefoot.” He would also write articles for the newspaper exhorting the people of Kronstadt to “support the poor morally and materially.” These appeals touched the hearts of many and Father John organized many charitable efforts. Realizing that his individual charity was insufficient for aiding the needy, he founded the Orthodox Christian House Parish Trusteeship of Saint Andrew the First-Called. This brotherhood coordinated many charitable efforts throughout the city and helped many needy people.

In 1857, he began teaching in the local city schools. He would tell people, “If children cannot listen to the Gospel, it is only because it is taught like any other subject, with boredom and indifference. Such teaching defeats the purpose of the Gospel. It fails because it forces students only to read words and memorize them instead of making them live in their lives.” To Father John there were no incapable students. He taught in such a way that poor pupils as well as good ones were able to understand. His attention was aimed not so much at forcing students to memorize as to fill their souls with the joy of living according to Christian values, sharing with them the holy thoughts which filled his soul.

When speaking to other priests about their vocation he would say, “You are a representative of the faith of the Church, O priest; you are a representative of Christ the Lord Himself. You should be a model of meekness, purity, courage, perseverance, patience, and lofty spirit. You are doing the work of God and must not let anything discourage you.”

Saint John has performed more miracles than almost any other saint, with the possible exception of Saint Nicholas. Through his prayers he healed the sick, gave hope to the hopeless, and brought sinners to repentance.

Father John labored endlessly in his work for the Lord preaching, teaching, and helping those in need. Having spent his entire life serving God and His people, Father John fell ill and died on December 20, 1908. Almost immediately, people from near and far began to make pilgrimages to the monastery where he was buried. Even today millions of Orthodox Christians in Russia and around the world pray to him to intercede for them as he had always done from his childhood.

Source: Orthodox Church in America

The Canon to St Varus

Canon of the Holy Great-Martyr Varus, the acrostic whereof is: ”I praise the sufferings of Varus and his great glory”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VI

Ode 1, Irmos: When Israel crossed the deep on foot as though it were dry land, beholding the tyrant Pharaoh drowned, he cried aloud: Let us sing to God a hymn of victory!

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thou hast appeared in the heights of the Church of Christ as a radiant sun, illumining the fullness of the earth with the brilliance of thy battles, O blessed Varus.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Embraced by the sweet ardour of divine love, O most blessed one, thou didst deny thyself and didst hasten wisely to all the tortures of the flesh, struggling mightily.

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

Having sensibly bound thyself with the bonds of godly strugglers, O athlete, thou didst break asunder the bonds of falsehood by thy mighty endurance of many torments.

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

The transcendent Word made His abode within thy womb in manner past recounting, O pure one, and, having been born in godly manner, He hath led to Him the choirs of martyrs. With them we praise thee in hymnody.

Ode 3, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thou, O Lord my God, Who hast exalted the horn of Thy faithful, O Good One, and hast established us upon the rock of Thy confession.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst enter upon valiant struggles with mighty resolve, having made thyself steadfast by hope in the good things which are to come and by the most-wise teachings of the martyrs of Christ, O blessed one.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Beholding the army of the holy athletes suffering lawfully, thou didst show forth their courageous strength, entering upon multifarious torments, O Varus.

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

As a valiant warrior, O Varus, thou didst find thyself in the sacred regiment, and didst cut down multitudes with the battle-sword of courage, O wise one, being glorified with victories.

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

O Virgin Mother of God, I beseech thee: By the effulgence of grace which is in thee, drive away the most profound darkness of my despair and the clouds of the passions.

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

Sedalion, Tone I, “Thy tomb, O Saviour…”: Beholding the honoured sufferings of the martyrs, and venerating their fetters with love, thou didst hasten to ascend to the summit of witness, O most wondrous one; for, suspended upon a tree, thou didst endure wounds, until thou didst commit thy spirit into the hands of the Lord.

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

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

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): Beholding Thee stretched out, dead, upon the Cross, O Christ, Thy most immaculate Mother cried aloud: “O my Son Who art equally unoriginate with the Father and the Spirit, what is this, Thine ineffable dispensation, whereby Thou hast saved the creation of Thine own all-pure hands, O Compassionate One?”

Ode 4, Irmos: Christ is my power, my God and Lord, the honoured Church doth chant in godly manner, crying out with a pure mind, keeping festival in the Lord.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Adorned with holy wounds, thou didst show thyself to be most comely and the beloved of God Who crowned thy head, O right wondrous Varus.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Stretched out on a cross and again upon the ground; O glorious one, thou didst endure cruel pangs. Wherefore, in gladness thou hast inherited the life which is devoid of pain.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The godly martyrs, seeing thee suffering lawfully, strengthened thee with words of patience, O blessed one; and having completed thy valiant sufferings with them, thou hast attained blessedness.

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

With praises we crown the divine martyrs, for with divine wreaths the grace of God hath crowned them who cast down the overweening thoughts of the enemy.

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

O Mistress, from the mire of the passions and the passionate thoughts which alienate me from the one pure God lead me up, that I may bless thee with faith.

Ode 5, Irmos: With Thy divine light, O Good One, illumine the souls of those who rise early unto Thee with love, that they may know Thee, O Word of God, to be the true God Who calleth them forth from the darkness of sin.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by divine inclinations, O Varus, with valiant mind thou didst endure unremitting laceration, rending apart the heart of the prideful one, the author of evil.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The glorious martyr, seeing pieces of his flesh falling to the ground, rejoiced, looking toward eternal and divine rewards with splendour of mind.

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

“I hymn, glorify and worship Thee, O Lord God, having been vouchsafed the good things prepared for those who love Thee!” the martyr cried out fervently amid his suffering.

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

In that thou hast truly been shown to be more holy than the cherubim and seraphim, O most immaculate one, do thou now sanctify all who with faith call thee sacred, and save them by thy mediation.

Ode 6, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the storm of temptations, fleeing to Thy calm haven I cry unto Thee: Lead up my life from corruption, O greatly Merciful One!

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst disdain the words of the all-iniquitous enemy and didst patiently endure unbearable pain of the flames, O much suffering Varus, who prayest for those who praise thee with faith.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The most mindless tyrant did not cease inflicting wounds upon thee without pity, until thou didst commit thy sacred soul into the hands of God, made radiant with the beauties of thy struggles.

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

Emulating Christ, thou wast uplifted upon a tree, and hanging thereon, thou didst surrender thy soul to God, Who crowned thee, having suffered valiantly, O athlete.

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

O Mistress, ever direct my lowly soul which is tempest-tossed on the deep of evils, and guide it to the calm haven, for with unfaltering understanding it calleth thee blessed.

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 4: Following Christ, O martyr Varus, and draining His cup, thou wast crowned with the wreath of martyrdom and joinest chorus with the angels. Pray thou without ceasing for our souls.

Ode 7, Irmos: The Angel caused the furnace to pour forth dew upon the venerable children, and the command of God which consumed the Chaldeans prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

O Varus, the all-good Cleopatra helped to bury thee, who wast illumined with gifts of thy struggles, finding through thee the glory of faith manifestly fitting, which thou didst fervently show forth in thine end.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Shedding tears over thee and embalming thee with precious unguents, the most honoured woman buried in the earth thee who hast buried wicked falsehood and hast illumined us with rays of brilliance from thy grave.

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

The ever-memorable one did not cease pleasing thee, the favourite of Christ, O wise and venerable one, until thou didst show thyself to be a mediator for her of the kingdom of heaven which she and her beloved son were vouchsafed through thee.

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

By thy mediation, O Virgin, restore me, who am crushed by my countless offences, healing my soul and granting me the words to cry out: Blessed art thou who gavest birth to God in the flesh!

Ode 8, Irmos: Out of the flame didst Thou pour forth dew upon the venerable ones, and didst consume the sacrifice of the righteous man with water; for Thou, O Christ, doest all things whatsoever Thou desirest. Thee do we exalt supremely for all ages.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Hearkening to a mother’s entreaties, O martyr, and splendidly enrolling her son in the army of heaven, with ineffable loving-kindness thou didst show that thy glory and that of the honoured youth cannot be taken away.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Cleopatra bore thee out of Egypt like riches beyond price, O martyr, lavishing precious gifts of healings upon all of Palestine, which honoureth thee with love.

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

In gladness thou didst complete thy struggles, O valiant warrior of the Almighty, and thou hast been crowned by Him as a victor, O most blessed Varus, thou great glory of the martyrs.

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

Sins upon sins do I add, yet I do not fear the coming dread judgment. O pure one, overcome the blindness of my soul, and converting me, save me by thine entreaty.

Ode 9, Irmos: It is not possible for men to see God, upon Whom the ranks of angels dare not gaze; for through thee, O most pure one, the Word appeared, incarnate, to men. And, magnifying Him, with the armies of heaven we call thee blessed.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Manifestly girded about with divine power, O valiant athlete Varus, thou didst cast down the might of the adversary; wherefore, we, the faithful, praise thee, drawing forth abundant healing from thy relics.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thy memory hath spread forth upon the ends of the earth like light, like the dawn, like the great sun, O all-praised one, illumining all with the radiant effulgence of thine honoured struggles and driving darkness away from men’s hearts.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The loving mother, beholding her son shining with thee in great glory, magnified the God of all, O martyr, and most earnestly glorified thee as an intercessor most great, having been manifestly enriched by thee.

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

The land on which thy most patient body lieth, O wise one, hath been divinely sanctified. By thy supplications, O Varus, grant us remission of sins, amendment of life and deliverance from all difficulties.

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

The Lord, manifesting Himself through thee, the light cloud, O Virgin, wrought utter destruction upon the graven images of Egypt; and He hath vouchsafed the multitude of His athletes to endure, becoming emulators of His honoured sufferings.

Troparion of St Varus the Martyr, Tone 5: Thou didst follow in the steps of the martyrs/ and contend for the glory of Christ./ Thou wast tied to a beam and restored by the Tree of Life,/ and thine intercessions gladden our souls.

October 7/20: the Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus

The Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Envious people informed Maximian that his two trusted counsellors did not honor the pagan gods. This was considered to be a crime against the state.

The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the truth of the accusation, ordered Sergius and Bacchus to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they replied that they honored the One God and worshiped only Him.

Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank (their belts, gold pendants, and rings), and then dressed them in feminine clothing. They were led through the city with an iron chains around their necks, and the people mocked them. Then he summoned Sergius and Bacchus to him again and in a friendly manner advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables, but to return to the Roman gods. The saints refuted the emperor’s words, and demonstrated the folly of worshiping the pagan gods.

The emperor commanded that they be sent to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergius and Bacchus. “My fathers and benefactors!” he said. “Have pity on yourselves, and also on me. I do not want to condemn my benefactors to cruel tortures.” The holy martyrs replied, “For us life is Christ, and to die is gain.” The enraged Antiochus ordered Bacchus to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr surrendered his soul to the Lord. They shod Sergius with iron sandals with nails in their soles and sent him to another city, where he was beheaded with the sword.

The Orthodox Church in America

10/17/2017

Canon of the martyrs, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn Sergius the athlete and the ever-memorable Bacchus”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone I

Ode I, Irmos: Thy victorious right arm hath in godly manner been glorified in strength; for as almighty, O Immortal One, it smote the adversary, fashioning anew the path of the deep for the Israelites.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

O Sergius, thou favorite of Christ, taking the ever-memorable Bacchus as thy fellow intercessor and helper, with him thou didst with godly wisdom endure your agonies to the end. Grant a wise discourse unto me who hymn you.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Having set yourselves steadfastly upon the immovable rock of the Christian Faith, O holy martyrs, ye were shown to be a rampart and towers of piety established firmly upon a firm foundation.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Believing the words of Christ and looking toward Him with unwavering gaze, ye spat upon all transitory glory, O holy ones, and were wounded with the love of everlasting glory.

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

Having divested yourselves of family, homeland and honor for Christ’s sake, ye were filled with gladness; and when ye were clad in women’s garments ye put on the robe of incorruption with splendor and manly wisdom.

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

O Mother of God, entreat the Word, to Whom thou gavest birth and Who came to us in the flesh, that He be merciful and well-disposed towards the faithful; for thee have we acquired as our intercessor and salvation.

Ode III, Irmos: O Thou Who alone hast known the weakness of human nature, having in Thy mercy formed Thyself therein: Gird me about with power from on high, that I may chant to Thee: Holy is the living temple of Thine ineffable glory, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

He Who, as God, alone knew all things before they came into being, seeing now your offerings to Him, hath filled you abundantly with the wisdom of discourse, divine knowledge and steadfast thought, for ye are His warriors, O blessed ones.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

O martyred athletes, favorites of Christ, desiring to suffer lawfully, with love for the Creator and divinely wise understanding ye spurned corruptible and transitory glory, this world and the prince thereof.

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

Standing before the Lord in the all-pure thoughts of your mind, and filled thence with splendor, and manifestly delighting in ineffable blessedness, deliver from dangers those who honor you, O athletes.

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

Adam, the first to come under the dominion of death, hath now been delivered by thy birthgiving, O only Bride of God; for in manner transcending nature thou gavest birth to the truly hypostatic Life united to the flesh hypostatically, O pure one.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom…”: Come, ye who love the martyrs, and let us honor the holy athletes Sergius and Bacchus, the noetic pearls of the Lord, for they manfully trampled the falsehood of the enemy underfoot and destroyed all the might of the idols; wherefore, having received crowns of victory from heaven, as is meet, they join chorus with the angels. With them let us all cry out: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of transgressions unto those who with love honor your holy memory. (Twice)

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

Theotokion: Having fallen into greatly tangled perils from enemies visible and invisible, and been beset by the tempest of my countless offenses, O pure one, I flee to the haven of thy goodness as to my fervent help and protection; wherefore, O all-pure one, earnestly entreat Him Who became incarnate of thee without seed, in behalf of all thy servants who unceasingly praise thee, ever beseeching Him, O all-pure Theotokos, to grant remission of offenses unto those who fittingly hymn thy glory.

Stavrotheotokion (in place of the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): The Ewe-lamb, beholding the Lamb, Shepherd and Deliverer upon the Cross, exclaimed, weeping, and bitterly lamenting, cried out: “The world rejoiceth, receiving deliverance through Thee, but my womb doth burn, beholding Thy crucifixion, which Thou endurest in the loving-kindness of Thy mercy. O long-suffering Lord, Abyss and inexhaustible Wellspring of mercy, take pity and grant remission of offenses unto those who hymn Thy divine sufferings with faith.

Ode IV, Irmos: Habbakuk, gazing with the eyes of foresight upon thee, the mountain overshadowed by the grace of God, prophesied that the Holy One of Israel would come forth from thee, for our salvation and restoration.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Two beacons shining forth from the West, holding the land against the ungodly and undertaking a journey, have arrived at Thee, the radiant East of salvation, O Christ.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Neither fire, nor sword, nor persecution, nor wounds were able to separate you from the pious thought of God; for, for His sake, ye despised this life which endeth, O right glorious ones, and have received blessed and imperishable delight.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

The truly unwavering luminaries enlighten the firmament of the Church of Christ with the light of divine effulgence and gladden the souls of the pious, emitting rays of miracles.

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

The godly Bacchus and the excellent Sergius in yearly cycle spiritually summon the lovers of piety and of the martyrs to a feast, offering them their valiant deeds.

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

The sword which guardeth the portal of Eden now withdraweth before the faithful; and it receiveth them with splendor, beholding them marked with the precious Blood of Him Who was born of thy womb, and with grace.

Ode V, Irmos: O Christ Who hast enlightened the ends of the world with the radiance of Thy coming and hast illumined them with Thy Cross: with the light of Thy divine knowledge enlighten the hearts of those who hymn Thee in Orthodox manner.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Driving away falsehood with the sword of truth and mightily enduring the tyrants’ wounds, ye became victors; and, crowned by Christ, ye now rejoice, as is meet.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by the invincible power and grace of the Trinity, the two martyrs cast down the prince of darkness and those in thrall to him; wherefore, with honor they are called blessed.

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

With endurance, spiritual courage and resolute intent, the two glorious martyrs transcended all the bitter fury of the tormenters and make their abode with the angels.

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

O Mother of God, like the dawn thou hast shone forth the never-setting Sun of true righteousness, bearing Him in thine arms united hypostatically to the flesh; wherefore, we all glorify thee.

Ode VI, Irmos: The uttermost abyss hath surrounded us, and there is none to deliver us. We are accounted as lambs for the slaughter. Save Thy people, O our God, for Thou art the strength and correction of the weak!

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

The relics of the martyrs pour forth streams of healings in abundance. O ye faithful, let us therefore fervently draw forth therefrom and bless the athletes, the glorious Sergius and the ever-eloquent Bacchus.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Hating the abodes of the iniquitous and setting at nought their deception, Sergius and Bacchus made the journey to heaven in right orderly fashion and have reached the calm haven of Christ.

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

The portals of heaven are thrown open to the martyred athletes, rendering homage to their honorable suffering, which was like unto the grace-bearing passion of our God, and which driveth away legions of the demons.

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

With wisdom we proclaim thee truly to be the Mother of God, O all-pure one; for thou, O Virgin, didst ineffably give birth to the only-begotten Son Who is without beginning and Who shone forth from the Father before time began.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Seeking the highest…”: Manfully arming your mind against the enemy, O most lauded martyrs, ye destroyed all their falsehood, receiving the trophy of victory from on high, and crying out with oneness of mind: How good and joyous it is to be with God!

Ikos: In that Sergius and Bacchus dwell in the heavens and are filled with divine light by Thee, O Christ, go Thou quickly before me who walk in the darkness of ignorance, and rescue me from the passions, O only Immortal One, sending down upon me the vesture of repentance, that with radiant mind I may hymn their splendid feast and cry out, rejoicing: How good and joyous it is to be with God!

Ode VII, Irmos: O Theotokos, we, the faithful, perceive thee to be a noetic furnace; for, as the supremely Exalted One saved the three youths, in thy womb the praised and most glorious God of our fathers wholly renewed the world.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Rejoice, ye two glorious athletes! Rejoice, ye who splendidly overcame the threat of the tyrants! Rejoice, ye who finished the good race! Rejoice, food that remaineth ever within us! Rejoice, O blessed of God, who manifestly intercede before God!

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Walking upon the earth, O most radiant martyrs, ye darkened the eyes of the demons and the faces of the persecutors with the light of grace and the rays of your suffering, hymning our praised and all-glorious God.

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

Being animate and living temples of the living God, O most blessed athletes, truly strengthened by the power of God ye vanquished hordes of the enemy, in hymns praising God Who is mighty in battles.

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

O blessed and most pure Mistress, thou wast an all-pure temple and an all-holy ark, having received the infinite Creator, God, the only-begotten Word, in thy womb, containing the Unapproachable One.

Ode VIII, Irmos: The children of Israel in the furnace, shining more brightly than gold in a crucible in the beauty of their piety, said: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

O Thou Who of old didst cool the flame with dew for the youths, Thou didst strengthen Thy martyrs, who stood firm amid struggles and sang: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Wisely did the athletes reject the poisonous and spiritually harmful blandishments of the tyrants, crying out to Christ and saying: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Christ hath shown Sergius and Bacchus, who are truly crowned, to be our true preservers, who protect us and chant: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Through the prayers of the martyrs, O Christ our Master, guide my steps to the virtues and vouchsafe that I may readily cry to Thee: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

I bless thee, the true Mother of our God, O pure and most immaculate Mistress, offering thee “Rejoice!” with the angel; for thee do all the works of the Lord unceasingly chant and exalt supremely for all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: The bush which burnt with fire yet was not consumed showed forth an image of thy pure birthgiving. And now we pray that the furnace of temptations which rageth against us may be extinguished, that we may magnify thee unceasingly, O Theotokos.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Ye have wholly acquired Christ, for ye forsook the whole world for His sake; and now ye dwell in the heavens with the choirs of the heavenly hosts, beholding the splendors of the blessed.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

O excellent twain, from on high ye impart grace and remission of transgressions unto those who with love offer you praises. Entreating Him Who alone is merciful, and hastening to Him, ye paid no heed to those things which drag men down.

Holy Martyrs Sergius & Bacchus, pray to God for us.

Illumined with the splendor of the thrice-radiant Godhead, O invincible martyrs, ye rejected the deluding ungodliness of polytheism and fear of the tormenters; and ye now delight in the incorruptible delight of paradise.

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

Having finished your good race, striving to preserve the Faith of piety, O all-glorious martyrs, ye have been vouchsafed to receive the immovable kingdom, crowned with wreaths of beauty and majesty.

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

O Thy wonders which pass understanding! For thou alone, O Virgin Mother, in manner transcending nature, gavest birth to God the Word become flesh, Who wisely sustaineth and nurtureth all things by His will.

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

Another troparion, Tone V: O much-suffering Sergius and all-glorious Bacchus, ye adornment of Christian athletes and eye of the Church of Christ, enlighten the eyes of our souls. Entreat the Lord, that we may escape the darkness of sin and may be shown to share in the never-waning light, through your supplications, O saints.

St Vyacheslav (Wenceslaus): Life and Canon

28 SEPTEMBER (11 OCTOBER CIVIL CALENDAR)

The Holy Prince Wenceslaus (Vyacheslav) of the Czechs was a grandson of the holy Martyr and Princess Ludmilla (September 16), and he was raised by her in deep piety. He began to rule at age eighteen after the death of his father Prince Bratislav (+ 920).

In spite of his youthful age, he ruled wisely and justly and concerned himself much about the Christian enlightenment of the people. The holy prince was a widely educated man, and he studied in the Latin and Greek languages.

Saint Wenceslaus was peace-loving. He built and embellished churches, and in Prague, the Czech capital, he raised up a magnificent church in the name of Saint Vitus, and he had respect for the clergy. Envious nobles decided to murder the saint and, at first, to incite his mother against him, and later to urge his younger brother, Boleslav, to occupy the princely throne.

Boleslav invited his brother to the dedication of a church, and then asked him to stay another day. In spite of the warnings of his servants, the holy prince refused to believe in a conspiracy and exposed his life to the will of God. On the following day, September 28, 935, when Wenceslaus went to Matins, he was wickedly murdered at the doors of the church by his own brother and his brother’s servants. His body was stabbed and discarded without burial.

The mother, hearing of the murder of her son, found and placed his body in a recently consecrated church at the princely court. They were not able to wash off the blood splashed on the church doors, but after three days it disappeared by itself.

After repenting of his sin, the murderer transferred the relics of Saint Wenceslaus to Prague, where they were placed in the church of Saint Vitus, which the martyr himself had constructed (the transfer of the relics of Saint Wenceslaus is celebrated on March 4). The memory of Prince Wenceslaus has been honored from of old in the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church in America
3/2/2017

Canon of the saint, Tone VI

Ode I, Irmos: Traversing the deep on foot, as though it were dry land, and seeing the tyrant Pharaoh drowned, Israel cried aloud: Let us chant unto God a hymn of victory!

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

O ye faithful, with joy let us join chorus, hymning the Savior with radiant souls, on the all-wondrous memorial of Vyacheslav, the servant of Christ!

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Slain unjustly like an innocent lamb, thou didst emulate the sufferings of the Master, O glorious one; wherefore, thou dost now rejoice with the choirs of the martyrs, O thou who art blessed of God.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Receiving a death which won thee life, thou standest now in glory before the Master of all. Pray thou that we who keep thine all-wondrous memory may also obtain it, O holy one.

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

Who can tell of the countless wonders which thou workest in the world, O glorious one? For thou dost continually grant healing in abundance unto all the faithful.

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

O Lady, raise me up who have fallen among thieves through my soul-destroying deeds and am drowning in death. I pray thee: Entreat thy Son and God for me.

Ode III, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thee, O Lord my God, Who hast uplifted the horn of Thy faithful and established us on the rock of the confession of Thee, O Good One.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Thou didst ever burn with Christian love for the Holy Church, O all-blessed one, where, like an innocent lamb, thou didst look forward to thine unjust slaughter.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Adorned with thine all-splendid blood, thy Church emitteth the radiant beams of miracles, hymning thy memory, O right glorious one.

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

Enlightened from childhood by the rays of the Trinity, O venerable one, thou becamest an heir of Christ. Him do thou entreat, that He send peace unto our souls.

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

Thy divine birthgiving surpasseth every other miracle, O pure one; for, having conceived in thy womb and given birth unto the transcendent God, thou remainest Ever-virgin.

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

Sessional hymn, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom…”: Seeking to prevent thee from ascending thy throne, the enemies of the Orthodox Faith murdered thy pious grandmother, the saintly Ludmilla, that she might no longer guide thee with Christian counsel; yet so well grounded wast thou by her in reverence for things divine and in love for Christ, that her martyrdom in nowise moved thee from thy sacred purpose, and the wiles of thine enemies served only to strengthen thee in thy resolve, and to gain for the Holy Church another martyr in heaven.

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

Ode IV, Irmos: Christ is my power, my God and my Lord, the honored Church doth sing, crying out in godly manner with a pure mind, keeping festival in the Lord.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Lovingly raised in the pure Faith from childhood, by thy pure works thou didst lovingly follow the Master and didst put His false enemy to shame by thy hope.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Shining with radiance, O holy Vyacheslav, by thy supplications enlighten those who are benighted by sins, for with the choirs of the martyrs thou hast boldness to pray for us.

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

Cut down by the sword, O invincible saint, thou didst cut down the wicked foe with the sword of patience; wherefore, thou hast received a crown from the hand of the Almighty.

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

Truly the mysteries of thy divine birthgiving are ineffable and unattainable for those on earth and those in heaven, O Ever-virgin Theotokos.

Ode V, Irmos: With Thy divine light illumine the souls of those who with love rise at dawn unto Thee, O Good One, that they may know Thee, O Word of God, to be the true God Who calleth all forth from the darkness of sin.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Having received through thy sufferings the life which is devoid of pain, O all-praised and holy Vyacheslav, thou hast been shown to be a help for all who suffer and with faith call upon thee for aid.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

With the all-radiant beams of thy miracles thou hast enlightened the north, the south and the west more than the sun, O blessed one; wherefore, illumine us who celebrate thy memory, O saint.

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

Thou wast a helper of those amid misfortunes, the sustainer of the poor, and the comfort of the grieving; wherefore, even after thy death, O holy one, thou deliverest all who with faith call upon thee for help.

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

O good Mistress of the world, save those who with all their soul confess thee to be the Theotokos; for we have thee, who art truly the Theotokos, as our help, O immaculate one.

Ode VI, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the tempest of temptations, fleeing to Thy calm haven I cry unto Thee: Lead up my life from corruption, O greatly Merciful One!

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Having acquired a pure life through fasting, O all-wondrous Vyacheslav, thou hast been shown to be a fellow citizen with the angels. With them pray thou for the salvation of our souls.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Forsaking a transitory earthly princedom, and receiving a royal adornment from the right hand of the Master, through corruptible things thou didst acquire what is eternal, in that thou art wise.

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

O holy one, accept praise from the accursed lips of one who is unable to fashion worthy praises for thee, and entreat the merciful God, that He grant us great mercy.

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

O all-pure Mistress who for mortals gavest birth to the Helmsman and Lord, confound my wicked lusts, and grant serenity unto my heart.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone I, Spec. Mel. “The choir of the angels…”: Standing with the choirs of the angels, O blessed Prince Vyacheslav, thou delightest in divine and ineffable goodness; and drawing thence the goodly gifts of miracles, thou pourest forth the boon of cures upon all who with faith flee to thy holiness.

Ikos: Great is the consternation of the enemy of men’s salvation! For, seeking to destroy the Christian Faith which was planted in Bohemia by the pious Borivoy and the holy Ludmilla, he instilled within the accursed Prince Boleslaus the perfidious intention to murder his godly brother, the holy Prince Vyacheslav, and thus unjustly to usurp his throne. Yet the Savior bestowed upon His martyr so great an abundance of the grace of miracles that the people of Bohemia were amazed and hastened to be enlightened. Thus were the machinations of the devil utterly foiled, and the Holy Orthodox Church grew and throve. And even to this day the precious relics of the martyr pour forth the boon of cures upon all who with faith flee to his holiness.

Ode VII, Irmos: The Angel caused the furnace to pour forth dew upon the pious youths, and the command of God, which consumed the Chaldæans, prevailed upon the tyrant to cry out: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

The ancient malefactor envied thy sacred life and incited the mindless band to slay thee; but with a pure conscience thou didst unceasingly cry out to thy Creator: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Prague, thine all-glorious city, danceth with gladness today, honoring thy memory, and, radiantly emitting thy miracles, it calleth the whole land to cry aloud: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Through the deception of the all-wicked one, of old the ground was stained by the hand of Cain, who slew his own brother; but sprinkled now with blood, it offereth sacrifices of sweet savor unto Christ, crying: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Through thee, O Virgin, hath Light shone forth upon those in darkness, for thou hast given birth to the Creator and God of all. Him do thou beseech, O all-pure one, that He ever send down great mercy upon us, the faithful.

Ode VIII, Irmos: From the flame didst Thou pour forth dew upon the venerable ones, and didst consume the sacrifice of the righteous one with water; for Thou, O Christ, dost do all things soever Thou desirest. Thee do we exalt supremely for all ages!

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Sanctified from on high by rays of grace, O all-glorious one, thou didst shine forth more brightly than the sun in the land of Bohemia with the beauties of gladness, exalting Christ supremely forever.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Receiving thy holy body today, O blessed one, Prague, thine all-praised city, proclaimeth thine all-wondrous miracles unto the world, exalting Christ supremely forever.

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

Adorned with meekness and illumined with the understanding of Orthodoxy, O all-wondrous one, thou wast truly shown to be a herald of the all-holy Trinity, exalting Christ supremely forever.

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

Thou didst ineffably conceive and give birth unto the Transcendent One, the Word, the Bestower of light, Who is begotten of Light, O Virgin, for the Spirit of God made His abode within thee. Wherefore, we hymn thee, O pure one, for all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: It is not possible for men to behold God, upon Whom the ranks of angels dare not gaze; but through thee, O most pure one, hath the Word appeared incarnate unto men; and magnifying Him with the armies of heaven, we call thee blessed.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Thou wast accounted worthy of great grace, O glorious one, and hast illumined the whole world, granting healings in abundance unto all.

Holy Passion-Bearer, Vyacheslav, pray to God for us.

Accept the joy of the angels, O holy one, and, standing before thy Creator, pray for us who magnify thee.

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

Thou hast now received blessed repose, O all-glorious one. Cease thou never to pray that those who magnify thee may continually share in holy blessedness.

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

O Virgin Theotokos, who after the word of the archangel gavest birth to thy Creator in manner past recounting, entreat Him, that our souls be saved.

Troparion, Tone IV: Today angels and men share a common joy. Heaven and earth join together in splendid chorus for thy memorial, O holy one. And we sinners earnestly cry aloud unto thee: Pray thou to the Master in our behalf, that from dangers and from visible and invisible foes, He may deliver us who honor thine all-honored memory.

Canon to St Sophia of Rome and Her Three Daughters

Canon of the Martyrs, the acrostic whereof is: “I hymn the children of Sophia, who are manifest as exceeding splendid,” the composition of Theophanes, in Tone I

Ode I, Irmos: Thy victorious right arm hath in godly manner been glorified in strength; for as almighty, O Immortal One, it smote the adversary, fashioning anew the path of the deep for the Israelites.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

O Master Christ, grant me the effulgence of Thy transcendent and ineffable wisdom, that I may hymn Thy magnificent and right glorious martyrs, the offspring of Sophia.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Thy name was manifestly adorned by thy manner of life, O divinely wise and glorious Sophia; for, illumined with the grace of wisdom, thou didst spend thy whole life in desiring wisdom.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Thy most blessed fruit, adorned with the number of the all-divine Trinity, struggled like athletes for Him, O most wise Sophia, thou namesake of the divine Wisdom.

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

The three virgin maidens, Faith, Hope and glorious Charity, having cleansed body and soul with the virtues, were brought in martyrdom to Thee, O Christ, the noetic Bridegroom.

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

He Who made His abode as God in thy womb, O all-pure one, Who took upon Him my whole form and was seen before in the form of God, hath renewed all. Wherefore, all we, the faithful, glorify thee as the Theotokos.

Ode III, Irmos: O Thou Who alone hast known the weakness of human nature, having in Thy mercy formed Thyself therein: Thou dost gird me about with power from on high, that I may chant to Thee: Holy is the living temple of Thine ineffable glory, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Hearkening to the voice of Christ calling them to a life devoid of death and suffering, the crowned virgin martyrs followed Thee, crying out to Thee, O Holy One: O Thou Who lovest mankind, holy is the animate temple of Thy pure glory!

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

As He promised, Christ gave you strength as ye stood before the tribunal as martyrs; and He filled you with divinely inspired wisdom and showed you forth as radiant, O victorious martyrs, resplendent in the grace of virginity.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Ye dulled the greatly arrogant mind of the enemy and cast down his pride, contending with great wisdom; and with the streams of your blood ye drowned him who of old boasted that he would destroy the sea.

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

Filled to abundance with the exalted wisdom of Christ, with elect and sage wisdom the three daughters of Sophia put to shame the savagery of the torturers and their unbearable cruelty, giving utterance to divine teachings.

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

In holy manner thou gavest birth to Christ, the Holy of Holies, the holy tabernacle of sanctity, Who resteth in the saints; and to Him do we cry out: Holy is the animate temple of Thine ineffable glory, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

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

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

Sessional hymn, Tone I, Spec. Mel:.“The choir of the angels…”: O reason-endowed ewe-lambs of the Lamb and Shepherd, ye were given over to cruel torments and have been shown to be equal in honour with the angels. Wherefore, in gladness of heart we all celebrate your sacred memory, O divinely wise maidens.

Ode IV, Irmos: Habbakuk, gazing with the eyes of foresight upon thee, the mountain overshadowed by the grace of God, prophesied that the Holy One of Israel would come forth from thee, for our salvation and restoration.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by divine grace, the right victorious Faith, Charity and Hope manfully put to shame the threats of the tyrant; and burnt by the fire, the most wise ones were led to Christ the Bridegroom.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Protected by the armour of the Cross, the holy Faith, Charity and Hope were able to endure the wounds of their torturers with fortitude, opposing sin most mightily even to the shedding of their blood.

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

Faith, Charity and Hope, the three radiant lamps of the wisdom of the Trinity, illumined and manifestly shining, enlighten the Church most splendidly, for our salvation and defence.

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

O most lauded Theotokos, thou holy of holies, from thee shone forth the Deliverer, the expectation of the nations and the salvation of the faithful, the Lord and Bestower of life, unto the salvation of us who hymn thee.

Ode V, Irmos: O Christ Who hast enlightened the ends of the world with the radiance of Thy coming and hast illumined them with Thy Cross: with the light of Thy divine knowledge enlighten the hearts of those who hymn Thee in Orthodox manner.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

The three God-bearing virgins, bound by faith and nature, endured tortures with patience of will, and they put to shame the audacious one, uttering mysteries of wisdom which are in God.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Our first mother rejoiceth, seeing the deceiver, who of old drove her from Eden, vanquished by Hope, Faith and Charity, the divinely wise women born of Sophia.

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

Wounded by Thy love and Thy divine ardor, O Christ, the honoured maidens spurned the venomous flattery of the tyrant and willingly endured the wounds of tortures.

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

Beholding thee, the hosts of heaven rejoice, and with them the assemblies of men make merry; for they have been united by thy nativity, O Virgin Theotokos, which we glorify as is meet.

Ode VI, Irmos: The uttermost abyss hath surrounded us, and there is none to deliver us. We are accounted as lambs for the slaughter. Save Thy people, O our God, for Thou art the strength and correction of the weak!

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Rejoicing, O Master, the three honoured and laudable maidens, equal in number to the Trinity, placed their hope in Thine all-pure hands.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Resplendent with the beauties of virginity, they adorned themselves with the wounds of martyrdom, and have received from on high a twofold crown from Christ, the most compassionate Bestower of life.

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

Into the temple of Thee, Who reignest over all, were the precious treasures of virginity brought, O Master, to share in Thy kingdom; for Thou art their light and gladness.

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

The forefathers of our race rejoice in thee, O all-pure Virgin, receiving Eden through thee which they had lost through their transgression; for thou wast pure before giving birth and art pure even after thy birth-giving.

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

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

Kontakion of the Martyrs, Tone I, Spec. Mel. “Thy tomb, O Saviour…”: Faith, Hope and Charity, revealed as most sacred branches of the honoured Sophia, through grace made foolish the wisdom of the Hellenes; and having suffered and been shown to be victorious, they were crowned with an incorruptible crown by Christ the Master of all.

Ode VII, Irmos: O Theotokos, we, the faithful, perceive thee to be a noetic furnace; for, as the supremely Exalted One saved the three youths, in thy womb the praised and most glorious God of our fathers wholly renewed the world.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Manifestly illumined with the thrice-radiant grace of unity, the virgins destroyed the utter darkness of the demons, theologising concerning the Light in three Hypostases, and chanting: Praised and all-glorious is the God of our fathers!

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Possessing mansions in the heavens, O light-bearing souls, with gladness ye now join chorus with the angels, gazing upon eternal glory and saying: Praised and all-glorious is the God of our fathers!

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

Showing steadfast opposition like the three youths, the maidens manfully trampled upon the fire; for, being equal in number with them, the God-bearing virgins acquired the same understanding of the praised and all-glorious God of our fathers.

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

O pure one, thou givest remission of transgressions unto those who hymn thee with faith, delivering them from temptations and every evil circumstance; for we have now acquired thee as a refuge, O Bride of God, in that thou didst bear the praised God of our fathers in thine arms.

Ode VIII, Irmos: The children of Israel in the furnace, shining more brightly than gold in a crucible in the beauty of their piety, said: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

The divinely radiant virgins Faith, Hope and Charity, were more lustrous than gold in the beauty of their piety, saying: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

The virgins who are radiant and were manifestly splendid amid their torment let us hymn, O ye faithful, saying: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

The shrines of the athletes ever pour forth a stream of healing abundantly, copiously and richly upon those who with faith cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Holy ground wast thou, O pure one, giving birth to the life-bearing Ear of grain: Christ, the Mediator of everlasting life, to Whom we all cry out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord; hymn and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: The bush which burnt with fire yet was not consumed showed forth an image of thy pure birth-giving. And now we pray that the furnace of temptations which rageth against us may be extinguished, that we may magnify thee unceasingly, O Theotokos.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Filled with thrice-radiant light, and delighting now in the divine radiance, O ye who are equal in number to the virtues and bear their names: love, hope and faith, make us steadfast by hope, love and faith.

Holy Martyrs Sophia, Vera, Nadezhda and Liubov, pray to God for us.

Let the might of heaven now subdue the tempest of heresy which besetteth us, O invincible athletes. We entreat you, O good virgins: pray ye unceasingly, that God grant oneness of mind to the faithful.

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

Having passed through the night of this life, O most wise ones, ye have reached the unwaning day, making merry as martyrs and boasting in grace as virgins, being counted worthy of the divine and incorruptible kingdom.

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

O, how hath the Virgin given birth unto the eternal and hypostatic Word, the effulgence of the hypostasis of the Father, our Benefactor and Lord, Who became incarnate of her, whom we magnify as is meet.

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

2/15 September: The Holy Martyr Mamas

Dear brothers and sisters, greetings for the feast of the Holy Martyr Mamas, a truly inspirational example of the sanctity of youth and steadfast witness to the Truth of Faith.

Despite his tender years, his unshakeable courage in the Faith is a great example and inspiration for us, as the Church and Faith face renewed hostility, but in a more subtle and insidious, though even more dangerous way. 

For St Mamas and his parents there was no grey area of compromise: Faith or death, all or nothing, confession or apostasy.

The danger for us is that by casuistry and self-delusion we fool ourselves into not recognising that we compromise the Faith, betray the Lord, and deny Christ in so many subtle ways that we may not even notice – such is the danger.

The passion and witness of this young, but fearless martyr need to make us take a long hard look at ourselves, asking uncomfortable questions about who resolute we are in confessing Christ, and how far we would go to preserve our Faith, as we behold St Mamas mounted on the lion of courage and journeying independently and willingly to his own death in martyrdom for Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Troparion, Tone IV: In his suffering, O Lord,/ Thy martyr Mamas received an imperishable crown from Thee our God;/ for, possessed of Thy might,/ he set at nought the tormentors and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons.// By his supplications save Thou our souls.

Kontakion, Tone III: With the staff given thee by God, O holy one,/ thou didst shepherd thy people in life-bearing pastures;/ and thou didst crush the invisible and untamed wild beasts/ beneath the feet of those who hymn thee.// For all who find themselves amid misfortunes have thee as their fervent intercessor, O Mamas.

The Holy Great Martyr Mamas was born in Paphlagonia, Asia Minor in the third century of pious and illustrious parents, the Christians Theodotus and Rufina. The parents of the saint were arrested by the pagans for their open confession of their faith and locked up in prison in Caesarea in Cappadocia.

Knowing his own bodily weakness, Theodotus prayed that the Lord would take him before being subjected to tortures. The Lord heard his prayer and he died in prison. Saint Rufina died also after him, after giving birth to a premature son. She entrusted him to God, beseeching Him to be the Protector and Defender of the orphaned infant.

God heard the dying prayer of Saint Rufina: a rich Christian widow named Ammia reverently buried the bodies of Saints Theodotus and Rufina, and she took the boy into her own home and raised him as her own son. Saint Mamas grew up in the Christian Faith. His foster mother concerned herself with the developing of his natural abilities, and early on she sent him off to study his grammar.

The boy learned easily and willingly. He was not of an age of mature judgment but distinguished himself by maturity of mind and of heart. By means of prudent conversations and personal example young Mamas converted many of his own peers to Christianity.

The governor, Democritus, was informed of this, and the fifteen-year-old Mamas was arrested and brought to trial. In deference to his illustrious parentage, Democritus decided not to subject him to torture, but instead sent him off to the emperor Aurelian (270-275). The emperor tried at first kindly, but then with threats to turn Saint Mamas back to the pagan faith, but all in vain. The saint bravely confessed himself a Christian and pointed out the madness of the pagans in their worship of lifeless idols.

Infuriated, the emperor subjected the youth to cruel tortures. They tried to drown the saint, but an angel of the Lord saved Saint Mamas and bade him live on a high mountain in the wilderness, not far from Caesarea. Bowing to the will of God, the saint built a small church there and began to lead a life of strict temperance, in exploits of fasting and prayer.

Soon he received a remarkable power over the forces of nature: wild beasts inhabiting the surrounding wilderness gathered at his abode and listened to the reading of the Holy Gospel. Saint Mamas nourished himself on the milk of wild goats and deer.

The saint did not ignore the needs of his neighbours. Preparing cheese from this milk, he gave it away freely to the poor. Soon the fame of Saint Mamas’s life spread throughout all of Caesarea.

The governor sent a detachment of soldiers to arrest him. When they encountered Saint Mamas on the mountain, the soldiers did not recognize him, and mistook him for a simple shepherd. The saint then invited them to his dwelling, gave them a drink of milk and then told them his name, knowing that death for Christ awaited him. The servant of God told the servant of the Emperor to go on ahead of him into Caesaria, promising that he would soon follow. The soldiers waited for him at the gates of the city, and Saint Mamas, accompanied by a lion, met them there.

Surrendering himself into the hands of the torturers, Saint Mamas was brought to trial under a deputy governor named Alexander, who subjected him to intense and prolonged tortures. They did not break the saint’s will, however. He was strengthened by the words addressed to him from above: “Be strong and take courage, Mamas.”

When they threw Saint Mamas to the wild beasts, these creatures would not touch him. Finally, one of the pagan priests struck him with a trident. Mortally wounded, Saint Mamas went out beyond the city limits. There, in a small stone cave, he gave up his spirit to God, Who in the hearing of all summoned the holy Martyr Mamas into His heavenly habitation. He was buried by believers at the place of his death.

Christians soon began to receive help from him in their afflictions and sorrows. Saint Basil the Great speaks thus about the holy Martyr Mamas in a sermon to the people: “Remember the holy martyr, you who live here and have him as a helper. You who call on his name have been helped by him. Those in error he has guided into life. Those whom he has healed of infirmity, those whose children were dead he has restored to life, those whose life he has prolonged: let us all come together as one, and praise the martyr!”

 

The Canon to St Tikhon of Zadonsk

Ode I, Irmos: Having traversed the water as though it were dry land, and escaped the evil of Egypt, the Israelite cried aloud: Let us chant unto our Deliverer and God!

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

O Tikhon, holy hierarch of Christ: do thou thyself grant me understanding and speech, that I may worthily hymn the glory wherewith Christ the Lord hath glorified thee.

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

A ray of divine light hast thou shone upon us. Come, ye children of the light, that we may be illumined thereby, that, magnifying the holy hierarch with hymns, we may become warmed by the Spirit.

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

Let us glorify the blessed Tikhon, the successor to the apostles, enthroned with the holy hierarchs, dweller with the venerable, by whose intercession we obtain salvation.

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

The Master of all, having taken flesh of thee ineffably, O Mary Theotokos, became perfect man; and when thou gavest birth, He kept thee as pure as thou hadst been before giving birth. Him do thou entreat, that He save our souls from misfortune.

Ode III, Irmos: O Lord, Fashioner of the vault of heaven and Creator of the Church: establish me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, confirmation of the faithful, Who alone lovest mankind.

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

Wounded with the love of Christ, O blessed one, from thy youth didst thou follow Him with unwavering desire, disdaining every carnal pleasure.

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

The passions of youth which vex the flesh didst thou cut down with the sword of the love of wisdom, offering thyself as a sacrifice to Christ the Master.

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

O Tikhon, with greater love didst thou cleave unto wisdom, made steadfast in the fear of God, for it is the beginning of wisdom.

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

Let us hymn the divine temple of God! Let us bless the holy Virgin, deified and delivered from misfortunes by her!

Sessional Hymn of the saint, Tone VIII: From thy youth wast thou a temple of the Holy Spirit; for, having cleansed thy soul of passions through thy faith, the grace of the Comforter doth dwell therein. Wherefore, even after thy repose, thy body hath been preserved incorrupt. Entreat Christ God that those who honor thee be delivered from corrupting passions.

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

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

Sessional Hymn of the feast, Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Joseph marvelled…”: Thou wast transfigured on Mount Tabor, O God, in the midst of the all-wise Elijah and Moses, with James, Simon and John. And Peter, who was there, said to Thee: “It is good for us to make here three booths: one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Thee, Christ our Master!” O Thou Who then shone forth Thy light upon them, illumine our souls!

Ode IV, Irmos: Thou art my strength, O Lord, Thou art my power; Thou art my God, Thou art my joy, Who, without leaving the bosom of the Father, hast visited our lowliness. Wherefore, with the Prophet Habbakuk I cry unto Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

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

Like a lamb wast thou tended by Christ; like a shepherd didst thou tend thy flock, leading them to the pasture of thy life-bearing teachings.

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

An initiate of the mysteries of the doctrine of Christ, thou didst illumine the people with the knowledge of Him, showing forth His truth by word and deed.

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

A true and faithful guard wast thou over the house of God, watching over it in deed, giving an example by thy life, and by word, for thou didst diligently instruct, and by thought, for thou didst take thought for its well-being.

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

Finding thee to be a haven and rampart, a refuge and hope, a protection and a fervent intercessor, the faithful have recourse to thee and earnestly cry out to thee, as the blessed Tikhon hath taught us: O all-holy Theotokos, save us!

Ode V, Irmos: Wherefore hast Thou turned Thy face from me, O Light never-waning? And why hath a strange darkness covered me, wretch that I am? But turn me, and guide my steps to the light of Thy commandments, I pray.

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

O holy hierarch, Christ, Whom thou didst love, Whom thou didst desire, for Whose sake thou didst struggle, do thou now beseech in behalf of thy servants, that, being merciful, He may grant a peaceful life to all of us that honor thy memory.

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

Filled with faith and the love of Christ, thou didst show thyself to be as a river, abundantly watering all the land of Russia with the word of thy teachings, O blessed Tikhon.

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

Like a bee gathering sweet honey from quickly fading blossoms, O father, thou didst gather spiritual treasure from the corruptible world, and thereby thou dost satisfy us all.

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

Fill thou our hearts with gladness, O most pure and divine Maiden, who gavest birth to the Cause of joy, destroying all the grief of sin.

Ode VI, Irmos: Cleanse me, O Savior, for many are my transgressions; and lead me up from the abyss of evils, I pray, for to Thee have I cried, and Thou hast hearkened to me, O God of my salvation.

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

Being pure of heart, thou didst cleave unto the pure Christ; being holy, unto the Holy One; being loving, unto Him Who loveth; being meek, unto the Meek One, crying unceasingly: It is good for me to cleave unto God!

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

The comfort, pleasure, honor, wealth, glory and all the treasures of the world didst thou despise, soaring aloft to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the home of thy Father, where there are many mansions.

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

Insults, sorrows and abuse didst thou joyfully endure, mindful that there is no crown without a victory, no victory without a contest, no contest without battle, and no battle without a foe.

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

O Virgin Lady, Mother of the Creator: thou art the joy of the heavenly hosts, the blessed helper of the human race. Pray thou that our souls be saved!

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: Successor to the apostles, adornment of holy hierarchs, teacher of the Orthodox Church: beseech the Master of all to grant peace to the world and great mercy to our souls!

Ikos: Having adorned thy soul with virtue and enlightened thy mind with love of wisdom, thou didst show thyself to be a good shepherd of the flock of Christ, teaching it by word and writing, admonishing and instructing, giving an example of what thou didst say by thy life. Wherefore, by Christ, the Chief Shepherd, hast thou been adorned with a crown of glory in heaven, shining forth on earth in the incorruption of thy relics and pouring forth abundant streams of wonders upon those who call upon thee in faith, O divinely wise Tikhon. Pray to the Lord, that He grant our souls great mercy!

Ode VII, Irmos: Once, in Babylon, the fire stood in awe of the condescension of God; wherefore, the youths, dancing with joyous step in the furnace, as in a meadow, chanted: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

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

In patience didst thou possess thy soul, O blessed one, and thou didst traverse the narrow path which alone leadeth to everlasting life, ever directing thy gaze toward the way of the Cross of Christ, the Judge of the contest, and setting an image thereof as a model for thy life.

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

Thy whole self didst thou surrender to the love of God: soul and body, heart and mind, memory and will, purpose, ambition, word, deed and thought didst thou consecrate out of love for God.

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

O blessed Tikhon, thou didst show thyself to be a father of orphans, a defender of widows, the wealth of the poor, the consolation of the sick and admonition of the wealthy, a staff for the aged, the instructor of the young, and a model of virtue for monastics.

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

Rejoice, O Mary! Rejoice, thou who gavest birth to the Savior of the world! Be thou a haven for us who are tempest-tossed by the storm of life, a calm harbor amid the deep of sorrows, and guidance to the heavenly mansions.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Madly did the Chaldæan tyrant heat the furnace sevenfold for the pious ones; but, beholding them saved by a higher Power, he cried out to the Creator and Deliverer: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

A son of the Kingdom while yet on earth, thou didst ever yearn for the Son of God, crying out to Him: Be Thou my food and drink; be Thou the light of my soul; be Thou my surcease amid sorrows; be Thou life everlasting according to the resurrection, that I may supremely exalt Thee unto the ages!

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

Ever mindful of the fall of Adam, the redemption through the sufferings of Christ, the hour of death, the dread Judgment, the torment of sinners and the blessed state of the righteous, thou didst lament, setting us an example of compunction and purifying thyself aforetime for eternal glory.

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

Having undertaken travails in this life out of faith and piety, thou didst sweetly rest from thy labors and wast granted repose; for thou didst descend into the grave, ripening like wheat for the harvest of God at the time of the reaping.

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

With the hyssop of the life-creating Blood of the Lamb, Who was slain for the salvation of the world, and Who took flesh of thy most pure blood, do thou sprinkle and cleanse me, who am defiled, O Mistress, that I may be made whiter than snow by thy maternal assistance.

Ode IX, Irmos: Heaven was stricken with awe, and the ends of the earth were amazed, that God hath appeared in the flesh, and that thy womb became more spacious than the heavens. Wherefore, the ranks of men and angels magnify thee as the Theotokos.

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

A mediator and fervent intercessor for us before God hast thou been shown to be, O hierarch, making supplication to the Master through thy prayers. Ask thou remission of transgressions, O father, for those who faithfully celebrate thy sacred memory and magnify thee with heartfelt love.

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

O thou who hast been illumined with the radiance of God the Light, enlighten us who are benighted by the passions of life; and, having received of Him the authority to loose and to bind, loose thou our transgressions and vouchsafe the kingdom of heaven unto those who celebrate thy memory and magnify thee as is meet.

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

Mercifully accept this, our hymn of praise, which is offered up to thee with abundant fervor, from our unworthy and wretched souls, O holy hierarch, granting us withal grace abounding in compassion.

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

Thou didst raise up fallen Adam, O Mother of God, who gavest birth to the new Adam. Do thou also raise us up, who are fallen like Adam of old, but who fervently believe in the grace of the New.

Troparion, Tone VIII: From thy youth thou didst love Christ, O blessed one; and thou wast an example unto all by word, life, love, spirit, faith, purity and humility. Wherefore, thou hast made thine abode in the heavenly mansions, where, standing before the throne of the all-holy Trinity, do thou pray that our souls be saved, O holy hierarch Tikhon.

Troparion, Tone IV: O guide of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety, preacher of repentance, emulator of Chrysostom, most excellent pastor, new beacon and wonderworker of Russia: well didst thou shepherd thy flock, and by thy writings thou hast instructed us all. Wherefore, adorned with a crown of incorruption by the Chief Shepherd, do thou entreat Him that our souls be saved.

 

10/23 August – The Feast of St Laurence of Rome

The Martyrs Archdeacon Laurence, Pope Sixtus, Deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus, and the soldier Romanus were citizens of Rome, and suffered in the year 258 during the reign of Emperor Valerian (253-260). Saint Sixtus was born in the city of Athens, and at first he was a philosopher, but later he became a follower of Christ. When he arrived in Rome, he showed himself to be a wise and devout member of the Church. Over a period of time, he passed through the various ranks of the clergy, and became the Bishop of Rome following the martyric death of Saint Stephen (August 2). Several Roman Hierarchs preferred to die rather than offer sacrifice to idols. Soon, Saint Sixtus was also arrested and imprisoned together with his deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus.

When Archdeacon Laurence visited Saint Sixtus in prison, he cried out with tears, “Where are you going, Father, without your son? Where do you hasten without your Archdeacon? Never have you offered the Bloodless Sacrifice without me. Take me with you, so that I may join you in shedding our blood for Christ!”

Saint Sixtus replied, “I am not forsaking you, my son. I am old and I accept the lesser battle, but greater suffering awaits you. You must achieve the greater victory and triumph over your tormentors. Three days after my death, you shall follow after me.”

Then he entrusted Archdeacon Laurence with the Church’s treasures and sacred vessels, telling him to distribute these to the poor. He gathered them up and went around the city on foot, to the clergy and impoverished Christians who were in hiding, helping them according to their needs.

When he heard that Saint Sixtus had been brought to trial with his deacons, Saint Laurence went there in order to witness the outcome. Seeing that the martyrs were obstinate in their refusal to offer sacrifice to the idols, Valerian ordered them to be taken to the temple of Mars outside the city walls, and put to death if they did not offer incense to the idols. When he saw the pagan temple, Saint Sixtus prayed for it to be destroyed. There was an earthquake which caused part of the temple to collapse, and the statue of Mars was shattered to pieces. Saint Laurence cried out, “Father, I have fulfilled your command, and have distributed the treasures of the Church which you entrusted to me.”

After hearing about treasure, the soldiers placed him under guard. Saint Sixtus and the other martyrs were beheaded in front of the temple on August 6, 258. Afterward, the soldiers brought Saint Laurence to the Emperor, informing him that they had heard the Archdeacon mention something about the Church’s hidden treasures. The Emperor ordered him to reveal where the treasures were, and the Archdeacon asked for three days in order to collect them. Then Saint Laurence gathered all the poor and the needy, and brought them to the Prefect, saying, “Behold the treasures of the Church.”

The ruler became very angry at this and ordered Hippolytos (Iππόλυτος) who was in charge of the prison, to throw the Archdeacon into the dungeon with other prisoners. There the Saint restored the sight of a man named Lucillus. Hippolytos was amazed at this, and asked to see the Church’s treasures. Saint Laurence told him that if he believed in Christ and was baptized, he would find true wealth and everlasting life. Hippolytos said that if this was true, he would do as he asked.

Hippolytos took Saint Laurence to his home, where he instructed and baptized the jailer and all his household, consisting of nineteen persons. Soon afterward, Hippolytos was ordered to bring the Archdeacon to Emperor Valerian. Seeing that the Saint had not agreed to offer sacrifice, he ordered that Saint Laurence be tortured. Still, the Archdeacon refused to sacrifice to the idols. As the Martyr endured these torments, a soldier named Romanus cried, “Laurence, I see a radiant youth standing by you, and wiping your wounds. Entreat Christ, Who has sent His Angel to you, not to abandon me.”

Then Valerian commanded Hippolytos to return the Saint to prison. Romanus brought a pitcher of water and asked the Martyr to baptize him. Immediately after the soldier was baptized, he was seized by other soldiers and taken to the Emperor. Before anyone could question him, Romanus shouted, “I am a Christian.”

The Emperor ordered him to be taken outside the city and beheaded on August 9.

The next day, Saint Laurence was placed on a rack, scourged with whips with sharp iron points attached to them, and then was stretched out naked on a red-hot iron gridiron with burning coals underneath it. The Holy Martyr glanced at the ruler and said, “You have already roasted one side of my body, now turn me over to the other side so you may taste what you have roasted.”

Then he glorified God, saying, “I thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that You have found me worthy to enter Your gates.”

Saint Laurence received the unfading crown of martyrdom on August 10, 258.

That night, Saint Hippolytos took the Saint’s body he wrapped it in a shroud with spices. Then he and the priest Justin brought the relics to the home of a widow named Kyriake, where it remained until evening. Later, many Christians escorted the Saint’s body to a cave on the widow’s property. After praying all night, they buried the Martyr there with honor. Then Father Justin served the Divine Liturgy, and everyone partook of the Holy Mysteries.

Saint Hippolytos and the other Christians suffered martyrdom three days after the death of Saint Laurence, on August 13.

Source: https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2022/08/10/102258-martyr-and-archdeacon-laurence-and-those-with-him-of-rome

The canon of the saint, the acrostic whereof is: “Most wisely do I hymn the mighty Laurence”, in Tone IV:

Ode 1, Irmos: O Thou who wast born of the Virgin, * drown I implore Thee, in the depth of dispassion * the triune nature of my soul, * as Thou didst the mighty strongholds of the warriors, * that in the mortality of my flesh * as on a timbrel * I may chant a hymn of victory.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Taking delight in the garden of sweetness and joining chorus with the angelic hosts as is meet, as a warrior of Christ, pray thou that He grant effulgent radiance unto me who hymn thee, O blessed Laurence.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Entering upon the feats of honoured torment, O Laurence, in steadfastness of soul thou didst show thyself to be a victorious spiritual athlete, magnificently arrayed in the crown of righteousness and a diadem of victory.

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

As thou wast a child of the light and of the day, thou hast shone forth upon us sensibly like the sun from the west, illumining the ends of the earth with a most splendid radiance, O all-glorious martyr Laurence.

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

Delivered from the bonds of Hades and corruption, and from the condemnation of the law, by thine honoured birth giving, O most holy Virgin, we cry to thee in thanksgiving: Rejoice, O thou who art full of joy, thou saving portal of grace!

Ode 3, 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 and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

With the Cross as thy standard, thou didst valiantly array thyself against the enemy, and wast shown to be crowned with victory, O right-wondrous one.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Protected by the law of Christ, as one invincible thou didst oppose the laws of the impious with courageous endurance, O all-blessed one.

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

Strengthened by the power of God, thou didst destroy the feebleness of polytheism and didst elucidate the pre-eternal divinity of Christ.

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

Equal to the Father and the Spirit in nature, essence and divinity, and to men also, was the Word Who didst become incarnate of thee, O all-immaculate one.

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

Sessional Hymn, in Tone 8, Spec. Mel – “Of the Wisdom …”: Having amassed heavenly riches and brought them to the poor, thou didst distribute them, and gave thy bread also to the hungry, and thereby having acquired life incorruptible, thou didst shine forth in thy confession of Christ, O glorious one. Wherefore, having courageously suffered under the law, thou didst receive from God a crown for thy labours, O spiritual athlete Laurence. Entreat Christ God, that He grant forgiveness of sins unto those who with love honour thy holy memory.

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

Repeat sessional hymn.

Ode 4, Irmos: He who sitteth in glory upon the throne of the Godhead, * Jesus the true God, * is come in a swift cloud * and with His sinless hands he hath saved those who cry: * Glory to Thy power, O Christ.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

For love of the Word, the servant of the Word, adorned with eloquence and spirituality, hath been slaughtered, and now reigneth in righteousness with the Word, enjoying gladness and His glory.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Piously fighting off the slumber of impiety with divine vigilance, O sacred martyr of Christ, by thy martyr’s stand thou didst cut off from thine eyes the sleep which is unto death.

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

Protected by the true armour of piety against the proponents of the impious opposition, for the sake of the Faith thou didst utterly cast down the memory of them by thy love of morality.

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

Having put aside all the defilement of the primeval food, we are nurtured with the Grain of Life from heaven, Which arose from the earth from the Virgin. Let us hymn her as the mediatress of good things.

Ode 5, Irmos: The wicked will not behold Thy glory, O Christ, * but we who rise early to hymn Thee shall behold Thee, * the Only-Begotten effulgence of Thy Father’s divinity, * O Lover of mankind.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Thine eyes fixed with unwavering vision upon divine beauties, O right wondrous Laurence, Thou didst spurn all the beautiful things on earth and the cruel pangs of thy body.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Having recognized Christ, Who became a servant for us, through gifts received from the Father, and having become His servant, thou didst depart unto Him through the shedding of thy blood, O most blessed one.

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

O blessed one, thou didst offer thyself unto Christ as a sacred oblation and a magnificent adornment; and having adorned the tabernacle of heaven, thou dost now abide there delighting in radiance.

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

The only-begotten Son, of the same essence and like unto the Father, of His own will becameth akin to mankind, the Most High being incarnate from thy womb, O Virgin Mother.

Ode 6, Irmos: I have reached the depths of the sea * and the tempest of my many sins hath engulfed me; * but do Thou raise up my life from the abyss * O Greatly-Merciful One.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Kindling a material fire, thou didst prepare thyself as sweet food for the King of all, Who loveth and craveth our salvation, O all-glorious one.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Thou didst draw nigh wholly to the light of the ruling Trinity, and being radiant, as God’s servant, thou dost illumine those who hymn thee, O spiritual athlete.

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

Strengthened with divine power, lying on the heated grill thou didst endure torment for the love of Christ, enkindling thy soul with fire and spiritual dew.

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

O Virgin Mother, thou wast the place of God’s lodging, an animate throne, the holy mountain, the ark, the divinely wrought tabernacle, and the golden candle-stand.

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

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

Kontakion of the saint, in Tone 2, Spec. Mel – “Seeking the highest …”: Kindling thy heart with divine fire, * thou didst utterly reduce the fire of the passions to ashes, * O God-bearing martyr Laurence, * thou confirmation of spiritual athletes; * and in the midst of thy sufferings * thou didst cry aloud with faith: ** Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ!

Ikos: Assembling, O ye faithful, with hymns let us all honour the spiritual athlete Laurence, who shone forth in the world like a steady beacon, as an initiate of ineffable mysteries; for by his supplications we are delivered from grievous transgressions. And having cleansed our hearts, let us glorify Christ Who glorifieth him who is mighty amid sufferings and who saith: Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ!

Ode 7, Irmos: Thou didst save the children of Abraham in the fire * and slay the Chaldeans, * who unjustly entrapped the righteous ones. * O supremely hymned Lord, God of our fathers, * blessed art Thou.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Forechosen to celebrate the Mysteries and serve the Word, thou wast shown to be a sacred vessel and oblation of the temple of heaven, chanting unto the Creator: O supremely hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Covered by the law of the life which is in Christ, O most blessed Laurence, thou didst not bow thy mind to those who imposed laws of death and corruption, but chanted: O supremely hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Clad in a body as one who manifestly felt no pain, O most blessed one, with valorous mind, and as one most noetically rich, thou didst dare the all-devouring fire, crying aloud: O supremely hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Thou wast shown to be the noetic eastward portal of the Most High Who, in a manner beyond speech and understanding, appeared to mankind on earth through thee, O Bride of God: the blessed God of our fathers.

Ode 8, Irmos: O almighty Redeemer of all, * having descended and bedewed the children * in the midst of the flame, * Thou didst teach them to sing: * All ye works bless and hymn the Lord.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

In thy steadfastness of mind thou wast mightier than the unbearable flame, burning as if in another’s body, O blessed one, yet chanting with faith: All ye works bless and hymn the Lord!

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Like unto the three children, thou didst quench the burning embers of the fire with the dew of divine grace, crying aloud and chanting: All ye works bless and hymn the Lord!

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

As Christ was thine enlightenment, He girded thee about with His own might, and led thee up to Himself as thou didst piously chant: All ye works bless and hymn the Lord!

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

A rod sprung forth from the root of Jesse wast thou, and in a manner past nature thou gavest rise to Christ my God and Lord, the Flower of the Godhead. Let all works bless thy birthgiving, O Virgin!

Ode 9, Irmos: Eve dwelt under the curse of sin * because of the infirmity of disobedience; * but thou, O Virgin Theotokos, * hast through the Offspring of thy pregnancy * blossomed forth blessing upon the world. * Wherefore, we all magnify thee.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Thou didst offer thyself as a perfect sacrifice and incense pleasing unto the Master, being tried by the fire of suffering like gold in a crucible; whereby thou didst become a foremost adornment of the Church, O right wondrous one.

Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence, pray to God for us.

Deified by the direct sight of God and by a higher union, O Laurence, in word and by divine vision thou wast radiantly illumined by the uttermost Light. Wherefore, we all call thee blessed.

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

Thou didst shine forth from the West like the sun, O blessed one, O great and most glorious wonder; illumining all the Church with thy beams, O right wondrous one; and warming all with the fervor of faith. Wherefore, we all call thee blessed.

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

The prophets, beholding images of thy birthgiving, O all-immaculate one, were instructed thereby from afar by divine inspiration, loudly proclaiming it to the world, and we now marvel at their fulfilment.

Troparion, tone 4: In his sufferings, Thy martyr Laurence 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.

Prayers to the Seven Youths of Ephesus

Prayer from the Great Euchologion “For One Who Is Ill and Cannot Sleep”

O God, Great, Praised, Incomprehensible and Ineffable, Who didst fashion man with Thy hands, taking dust from the earth, and Who didst honour him with Thine Image, O Jesus Christ, Most-desired Name, together with Thy Father Who is without beginning, and Thy Most-Holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit: Do Thou manifest unto Thy servant, N., and visit him (her) in soul and body, being entreated by our most-glorious Sovereign Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary; by the holy Bodiless Powers of Heaven; by the honourable and glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John; by the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles; by the holy, glorious and right-victorious Martyrs; by our Fathers among the Saints and ecumenical Teachers: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom; by Athanasius and Cyril, Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, Cyril and Methodius, Teachers of the Slavs, Spyridon the Wonderworker, and all the holy Hierarchs; by the holy Apostle, Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen; by the holy, glorious Great-Martyrs: George the Trophy-bearer, Demetrius the Myrrhgusher, Theodore Stratelates, and all the holy Martyrs; by our Venerable and God-bearing Fathers: Anthony, Euthymius, Savvas the Sanctified, Theodosius (Founder of the Common Life), Onouphrius, Arsenius, Athanasius the Athonite, and all the Venerable Ones; by the holy Unmercenary Physicians: Cosmas and Damian, Cyrus and John, Panteleimon and Hermalaeus, Samson and Diomedes, Thalelaeus and Tryphon, and all the rest; by Saint(s), N. (of the Day); and by all Thy Saints; and grant unto him (her) a peaceful sleep, the sleep of bodily health and salvation, and life and strength of soul and body, as once Thou didst visit Abimelech, Thy favourite, in the house of Agrippa, and gavest him the consolation of sleep, that he not see the Fall of Jerusalem, and having nourished him with sleep, didst raise him up again in the twinkling of an eye, to the glory of Thy goodness; and as Thou didst make manifest Thy holy glorious Seven Youths, confessors and witnesses of Thine Appearance in the days of the Emperor Decius and the Apostate, having sustained them in the cave for 372 years, as infants kept warm in their own mother’s womb, none having endured corruption, to the praise and glory of Thy love for mankind, and for a testimony and confession of our regeneration and the resurrection of all. Do Thou Thyself, therefore, O Lover of Mankind and King, be present now also with the infusion of Thy Holy Spirit, and visit Thy servant, N., and grant unto him (her) health, strength and power, by Thy grace, for with Thee every action is good, and every gift is perfect. For Thou art the Physician of our souls and bodies, and unto Thee do we send up glory, thanksgiving and worship, together with Thy Father Who is without beginning, and Thy Most-Holy, Good, and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Holy Youths, the “Seven Sleepers of Ephesus”

Commemorated on August 4/17 

The Seven Youths of Ephesus: Maximilian, Iamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodianus (Constantine) and Antoninus, lived in the third century. Saint Maximilian was the son of the Ephesus city administrator, and the other six youths were sons of illustrious citizens of Ephesus. The youths were friends from childhood, and all were in military service together.

When the emperor Decius (249-251) arrived in Ephesus, he commanded all the citizens to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Torture and death awaited anyone who disobeyed. The seven youths were denounced by informants, and were summoned to reply to the charges. Appearing before the emperor, the young men confessed their faith in Christ.

Their military belts and insignia were quickly taken from them. Decius permitted them to go free, however, hoping that they would change their minds while he was off on a military campaign. The youths fled from the city and hid in a cave on Mount Ochlon, where they passed their time in prayer, preparing for martyrdom.

The youngest of them, Saint Iamblicus, dressed as a beggar and went into the city to buy bread. On one of his excursions into the city, he heard that the emperor had returned and was looking for them. Saint Maximilian urged his companions to come out of the cave and present themselves for trial.

Learning where the young men were hidden, the emperor ordered that the entrance of the cave be sealed with stones so that the saints would perish from hunger and thirst. Two of the dignitaries at the blocked entrance to the cave were secret Christians. Desiring to preserve the memory of the saints, they placed in the cave a sealed container containing two metal plaques. On them were inscribed the names of the seven youths and the details of their suffering and death.

The Lord placed the youths into a miraculous sleep lasting almost two centuries. In the meantime, the persecutions against Christians had ceased. During the reign of the holy emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) there were heretics who denied that there would be a general resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them said, “How can there be a resurrection of the dead when there will be neither soul nor body, since they are disintegrated?” Others affirmed, “The souls alone will have a restoration, since it would be impossible for bodies to arise and live after a thousand years, when even their dust would not remain.” Therefore, the Lord revealed the mystery of the Resurrection of the Dead and of the future life through His seven saints.

The owner of the land on which Mount Ochlon was situated, discovered the stone construction, and his workers opened up the entrance to the cave. The Lord had kept the youths alive, and they awoke from their sleep, unaware that almost two hundred years had passed. Their bodies and clothing were completely undecayed.

Preparing to accept torture, the youths once again asked Saint Iamblicus to buy bread for them in the city. Going toward the city, the youth was astonished to see a cross on the gates. Hearing the name of Jesus Christ freely spoken, he began to doubt that he was approaching his own city.

When he paid for the bread, Iamblicus gave the merchant coins with the image of the emperor Decius on it. He was detained, as someone who might be concealing a horde of old money. They took Saint Iamblicus to the city administrator, who also happened to be the Bishop of Ephesus. Hearing the bewildering answers of the young man, the bishop perceived that God was revealing some sort of mystery through him, and went with other people to the cave.

At the entrance to the cave the bishop found the sealed container and opened it. He read upon the metal plaques the names of the seven youths and the details of the sealing of the cave on the orders of the emperor Decius. Going into the cave and seeing the saints alive, everyone rejoiced and perceived that the Lord, by waking them from their long sleep, was demonstrating to the Church the mystery of the Resurrection of the Dead.

Soon the emperor himself arrived in Ephesus and spoke with the young men in the cave. Then the holy youths, in sight of everyone, lay their heads upon the ground and fell asleep again, this time until the General Resurrection.

The emperor wanted to place each of the youths into a jeweled coffin, but they appeared to him in a dream and said that their bodies were to be left upon the ground in the cave. In the twelfth century the Russian pilgrim Igumen Daniel saw the holy relics of the seven youths in the cave.

The Orthodox Church in America

11/3/2017

Canon of the saints, Tone II

Ode I, Irmos: Come, ye people, let us chant a hymn to Christ God, Who divided the sea and guided the people whom He had led forth from the bondage of Egypt, for He hath been glorified.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Come ye, and with faith let us honor the youths who have shone forth, seven in number; for they shed greater light upon the Church of Christ than the seven lamps did upon the temple of the law.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

While alive of old, the seven youths were clothed in Christ’s mortality of flesh, and, most gloriously receiving death as a dream, they confirm the doctrine of the resurrection.

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

Jericho fell at the seventh sounding of the trumpets, and the uprising of falsehood hath now fallen down to hades and been destroyed through the sevenfold proclamation of the athletes’ faith.

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

Thou makest birthgiving new again, O thou who knewest not wedlock; for the everlasting Word, Who with the Father and the divine Spirit is equally without beginning, became incarnate of thee, without forsaking His union with Them.

Ode III, Irmos: Establish us in thee, O Lord Who hast slain sin by the Tree, and plant the fear of Thee in the hearts of us who hymn Thee.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Ye were shown to be seven fixed stars shining with faith, O athletes; and ye have guided to the haven of salvation those who are sinking in the abyss of falsehood.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Standing undaunted before the tribunal, O holy ones, as the Maccabees once did, having enrolled in the army of Christ, ye resigned from the army of corruptible life.

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

As is meet, O holy youths, ye showed yourselves to be a sacrifice of prayer pleasing unto God, firmly dispelling the foul stench of falsehood with a savor of sweet fragrance.

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

The bush on Sinai prefigured thine all-glorious birthgiving, O Virgin; for thou wast not consumed by the fire of the Godhead when thou didst receive it into thy womb with faith.

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

Sessional hymn, Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Go thou quickly before…”: As pillars of the Church of Christ, ye firmly overturned the ramparts of unbelief, O ye seven martyred brethren. Wherefore, having dispelled the wrath of the Greeks before your death, and the tempest of heresy again after your death, holding fast to your faith in the resurrection, pray ye that we be made steadfast in the Faith.

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

Theotokion: O most immaculate Virgin who gavest birth to the transcendent God, unceasingly entreat Him with the incorporeal ones, that, before the end, He grant remission of transgressions and correction of life to us who with faith and love hymn thee as is meet, O thou who alone art most hymned.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): As she beheld Thee, O Word of God, suspended upon the Cross, Thine all-pure Mother exclaimed, lamenting maternally: “What is this new and strange mystery, O my Son? How is it that Thou, the Life of all, dost taste of death, desiring to bring life to the dead, in that Thou art full of loving-kindness?”

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard, O Lord, of Thy glorious dispensation, and I have glorified Thine unapproachable power, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

We hymn the seven honored youths, the sacred company manifestly honorable in their number.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

The youths of Ephesus showed the ungodly emperor to be foolish, whose mind was filled with the vainglory of falsehood.

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

O holy youths, through your faith ye were truly shown to be all-immaculate offerings and sacrifices for the Lord.

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

O pure and ever blessed one, cease thou never to pray for us, that we may be delivered from all tribulation.

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 Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Dying first a common death on earth without feeling it, O youths of Ephesus, ye straightway arose in manner transcending nature, manifestly assuring all of the resurrection of the dead.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Consecrating yourselves to God through the confession of the true Faith, as lawful athletes of the Lord ye were delivered from prison and wounds, O wise ones, and have received crowns.

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

Having firmly vanquished the falsehood of idolatry and the teachings of impious heresies, O glorious martyrs, ever preserve those who confess the resurrection of the dead.

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

The Transcendent One, Who, without confusion, is perfect man and perfect God and was born of the holy Mother, existeth in two natures but one hypostasis.

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

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Let the seven holy youths, equal in number to the pillars of the wisdom of God, be praised, for with their words they crushed the ungodly command of the tyrants as with stones.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Preserved by the law of divine providence, ye received ready burial in the cave, O saints, wherein ye were revealed as both dead and incorrupt.

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

Ye arose as witnesses to incorruption, driving away a corrupt and moribund religion, and pray to God in behalf of those who set their hope on the resurrection.

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

Now hath women’s nature rejoiced! Now hath grief come to an end and joy blossomed forth! For Mary hath given birth to Joy: Christ, our Savior and 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, Tone IV, Spec. Mel. “Having been lifted up…”: Spurning the corrupt things of this world and accepting gifts of incorruption, though they died yet did they remain untouched by corruption. Wherefore, they arose after many years, burying all the unbelief of the wicked. O ye faithful, praising them today in laudation, let us hymn Christ!

Ode VII, Irmos: The all-wise children did not worship the golden body, but entered into the flame themselves and mocked the gods of the heathen. They cried aloud in the midst of the flame, and the Angel bedewed them, saying: The prayer of your mouths hath already been heard.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

The youths have been shown to be pure and chosen vessels of God. Through them the doctrines of heresy are driven from the Church and Orthodoxy shineth forth, for He is the resurrection of every soul and all flesh, in that He hath been born.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

Truly the holy youths were shown to be steadfast in their suffering immediately before death; and after death they were shown to be alive through divine glory, in themselves piously assuring the true resurrection.

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

“The resurrection will be for both souls and material bodies; for as it is not possible to come into the world without a body, so can the body not exist without a soul!” the all-praised ones said; “The soul is either glorified or put to shame.”

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

O Mary who gavest birth to God, the Savior of all, thou art the setting aright of the despairing, the restoration of sinners, the hope of the hopeless and the help of those who chant: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Ode VIII, Irmos: Thou didst once prefigure Thy Mother in the furnace of the children, O Lord; for her image drew from the fire those who entered it, without being consumed. We hymn and exalt her supremely for all ages, who through Thee hath been made manifest today to the ends of the earth.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

O divine youths, having severed the root of ungodly bitterness and the falsehood of heresy which grew malignantly, ye bring forth the fruit of faith; and, buried alive for your faith, ye rose from the dead.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

O ye seven holy youths and athletes, foremost among the Ephesians, ye have been shown to be the divine confirmation of the Church of Christ and the kingdom of the faithful, which we exalt supremely for all ages.

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

Showing themselves to be steadfast on the earth and equal in number to the stars making an unwavering transit of the divine faith, the youths cried out: We exalt Thee supremely, O Christ, forever!

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

No one hath perished, O pure Mother of God, who, in Orthodox manner, placeth his hope and faith in thee, but only they who out of envy refuse to venerate the image of thy countenance.

Ode IX, Irmos: Thee do we magnify, O blessed and most pure Theotokos, who through thy virginal womb ineffably didst make God incarnate, the Luminary Who shone forth before the sun and hath come to us in the flesh.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

The resurrection of the saints hath now been revealed as a wealth of wonders and a revelation of the mysteries of God; for though they once died a natural death, they have now risen devoid of corruption, arrayed as though they had never died.

Holy Seven Youths of Ephesus, pray to God for us.

A treasury of strength and a firm bulwark of faith hath the cave of the children been shown to be, proclaiming the coming resurrection of all; for it hath resurrected not Lazarus four days dead, but those dead for centuries.

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

O ye seven youths, pillars of the wisdom of God, having suffered lawfully, ye have been invested with the crown of martyrdom; and by your Orthodox teaching ye have revealed the resurrection, as champions of the Church who pray for those who hymn you.

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

Thou didst preserve thy soul and body undefiled, O pure one, and Christ the King desired thy beauty and showed thee forth as the Mother of His incarnation, O all-glorious Mary, ever bestowing salvation upon me.

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

Or this troparion, in the same tone: Great is the wonder of faith! The seven holy youths abode in the cave as in a royal chamber, and died without falling into corruption; and after much time they arose as from sleep, as an assurance of the resurrection of all men. Through their supplications, O Christ God, have mercy on us.