Canons to the Holy, All-Praised Chiefs of the Apostles, Peter and Paul

Two canons, the composition of John of Damascus: the first to the holy Peter, and the second for the holy Paul, with 6 troparia.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter, in Tone IV

Ode I, Irmos: There is none like unto Thee, O all-glorious Lord; for with Thy mighty hand Thou didst deliver the people whom Thou hadst acquired, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

With divinely inspired songs let us hymn today the preëminent of the apostles as the first called of Christ.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Having foreknown thee, O most blessed Peter, the Preëternal One ordained thee from of old as the leader of His Church, the first-enthroned.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Neither flesh nor blood, but the Father inspired thee to theologize Christ as the true Son of God Most High, O apostle.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

We hymn thee, the holy mountain, the most exalted chariot, the Mother of God and true Virgin.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul, Tone VIII

Irmos: That which had been hewn down cut through the undivided, and the sun saw land which it had not seen before; the water engulfed the cruel enemy, and Israel traversed the impassable, and chanted the hymn: Let us sing to the Lord, for gloriously is He glorified!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

When Christ called things into being out of non-existence, O most blessed Paul, He chose thee from thy mother’s womb to carry before the nations His divine name, which is above every name; for gloriously hath He been glorified.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Declaring to thee the imminent outpouring of piety and the cleansing away of falsehood, O Paul, Christ, Who showed Himself to be as bright as lightning on the mountain, dimmed thy bodily eyes while enlightening the eyes of thy soul with the understanding of the Trinity: for gloriously hath He been glorified.

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

Performing circumcision on the eighth day, as a zealot of the traditions of thy fathers, O Paul, and showing thyself to be a law-bound pharisee, a Jew by birth, of the tribe of Benjamin, thou didst come to consider all such things as but dung, and didst acquire Christ: for gloriously hath He been glorified.

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

O Mistress, pure Mother of almighty God, who sprang forth from royal stock and gavest birth in the flesh, in manner transcending nature, to God Who alone reigneth over all: Save me from misfortunes, who chant unto thy Son: For gloriously hast Thou been glorified!

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Ode III, Irmos: Neither in wisdom, nor in power, nor yet in riches do we boast, but in Thee, O Christ, the hypostatic Wisdom of the Father; for none is holy save Thee, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

The sweet mouth of Christ God showed thee to be blessed and a sure treasure of the kingdom; wherefore, we hymn thee, O Apostle Peter.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

On the rock of thy theology hath Jesus the Master established the Church unshakably, and therein we glorify thee, O Apostle Peter.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

How greater than the angels was Peter in the body! For Christ God said that at His radiant coming he would be a judge and would be equally enthroned.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O thou who knewest not wedlock, who gavest birth unto God in the flesh: Render me steadfast and unshaken by the assaults of the passions, for we have none other helper than thee, O pure one.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: Thou art the confirmation of those who have recourse to Thee, O Lord; Thou art the light of the benighted; and my spirit doth hymn Thee.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been set as a precious foundation stone for the souls of the faithful, a corner-stone of the Savior and Lord.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

O most blessed Paul, pray thou that on thy foundations the splendors of most laudable virtues may be set firmly.

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

Ever perfectly bearing the mortality of Jesus on thy body, O Paul, thou wast vouchsafed true life.

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

Thee have we all of us Christians acquired as our rampart and refuge, and glorify thee without ceasing, O thou who knewest not wedlock.

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.

Hypacoï, Tone VIII: What dungeon held thee not prisoner? What Church had thee not as an orator? Damascus extolleth thee, O Paul, for it knew thee blinded by the light; and Rome, which received thy blood, boasteth in thee; but Tarsus rejoiceth yet more and loveth thee, honoring thine infancy. O Peter, rock of the Faith, and Paul, boast of the whole world, coming together from Rome make us steadfast.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Irmos: This is our God, Who became incarnate of the Virgin and hath deified our nature! And, hymning Him, we cry aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

As He promised, Christ made thee a divine fisher of men for His Church, entrusting its helm to thee first.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Entreated by thee, O Peter, may Jesus, the Bestower of life, Who gaveth thee the authority to bind and to loose, be merciful unto me.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Pray thou earnestly, O Peter, that the kingdom of Christ be opened unto those who honor thy divine memory with unwavering faith.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most hymned Lady Theotokos, having cleansed away mine evil thoughts by thy supplications, show me forth as fruitful, O Mother of the God of all.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: Thou didst mount Thy steeds, Thine apostles, O Lord, and didst take their bridles in Thy hands; and Thy chariot hath become salvation for those who chant with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Once Saul crouched like a lion, wrathfully destroying the Church of Christ; but he was seized by the divine voice of the Lamb of God, Whom he had persecuted, and Who entrusted His flock to him as shepherd.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

He who would enlighten the whole world was struck blind; but Ananias was sent to him, imparting unto him enlightenment of soul and body through divine revelation, and showing him to be a chosen vessel.

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

As is meet, Damascus is given drink by Paul; for from him, as from the garden of paradise, a great well-spring of divine waters once issued forth and irrigated the whole earth abundantly with knowledge divine.

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

The Lord hath cast down the mighty from their thrones, as the Virgin Mother said, and with divine good things hath filled the hungry, who cry aloud with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Ode V, Irmos: O Lord Who acquired us, the chosen people, by Thy Blood, grant us Thy peace, preserving Thy flock in oneness of mind.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

He Who through love received boldness before God hath fittingly become wondrous, though he was an ignorant fisherman, and he now worketh all-glorious wonders through grace.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thy godly apostle, O Christ, having acquired neither gold nor silver for Thy sake, but rather virtue, hath been enriched by the power of miracles.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

By thine effective word the feet and joints of the lame were set aright, for all-glorious things were accomplished by the divine Spirit.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

God became incarnate, O pure one, hypostatically united to the flesh He received from thee, yet remaining immutable, incorporeal in His divine nature.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: Enlighten us with Thy commandments, O Lord, and with Thine upraised arm grant us Thy peace, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Thou didst choose true praise, O Apostle Paul, ever bearing the Cross of Christ the King as a trophy.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

For thee to live is Christ, and to die is an excellent acquisition; for through love thou wast crucified with Him Who was crucified for our sake, O all-glorious Paul.

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

Thou truly rejoicest in the Lord, O honorable Paul, having departed from the body and passed over to Christ God, the Bestower of life.

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

Ever beseech thy Son and our God, O pure Mary who knewest not wedlock, that He send forth His mercy upon us, the faithful.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Ode VI, Irmos: Jonah, who was three days in the sea monster, prefigured Thee, the Immortal One, O Christ, for Thou didst die of Thine own will and wast three days in the heart of the earth.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

As of old with Thy right hand Thou didst save Peter who walked on foot upon the waters, O Christ, so do Thou save me, who am drowning amid the storm of cruel perils, in that Thou art full of loving-kindness.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thou didst forsake things which were not essential, O Peter, and didst attain unto those things which are essential; and as a certain merchant thou didst manifestly search for Christ: the Pearl beyond price.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

O Peter, thou didst slay those who mindlessly strove to tempt the all-holy Spirit, Whom before thou hadst theologized, openly confessing Him as God, O most blessed one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou gavest birth for us to the incarnate Word of God Who transcendeth all nature; wherefore, with lips and soul we profess thee to be the Theotokos.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: I pour forth my prayer unto the Lord, and to Him do I declare my grief; for my soul is full of evil and my life hath drawn nigh unto hell, and like Jonah I pray: Lead me up from corruption, O God!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Spurning all the beautiful things of the world, thou wast wounded by the love of the Master and by desire for the common salvation of man, wishing to bear witness unto Him, O blessed Paul. Pray thou now in behalf of the whole world.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

As an excellent emulator of the Master, clothed in Him, O Paul, thou wast truly all things to all men, that thou mightest acquire and save all the people; and pursuing the ends of the world for Christ, thou didst truly save them.

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

As is meet Christ hath given thee life in the heavens, O Apostle Paul; for thou didst not desire a city which abideth here, O blessed one, but wast a faithful minister and celebrant of His mysteries.

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

The Lord looked down upon thee, restoring my nature, in that He is mighty; and doing mighty works, O most immaculate one, through thee my God hath saved me from corruption, in that He is full of loving-kindness.

Lord, have mercy.

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

Kontakion, Tone II: The steadfast and divinely eloquent preachers, the foremost of Thine apostles, O Lord, hast Thou received into the delight of Thy good things and into rest; for Thou hast accepted their pangs and death as greater than any wholeburnt offering, O Thou Who alone knowest the hearts of men.

Ikos: Fill my tongue with light, O my Savior, and having expanded my mouth and filled it, have pity on my heart, that I may speak, follow, and teach that which I first do: for Thou didst say that he who doeth and teacheth is great. For if I speak only, and do not act, I am accounted as sounding brass. Wherefore, grant that I may speak fitting things and do that which is profitable, O Thou Who alone knowest the hearts of men.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Ode VII, Irmos: O unoriginate Word, only-begotten Son, Who existed in the beginning with the Father and the Spirit: blessed and supremely exalted art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Chastised by the divine providence of Christ, thou wast permitted to emulate the Merciful One, O Peter, that thy distress over denying Him before His suffering might be assuaged.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Having risen from the dead, Christ appeared to thee, the first-called and exceeding beloved, as the right glorious one who was first to preside over the apostles.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

The Master, healing thy threefold denial before His suffering, O Peter, confirmed His love by a threefold divinely uttered question.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thou didst call the all-seeing God the Word as witness to thy love for Christ, O Peter; wherefore, He entrusted the beloved flock to thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

We all bless thee as the Mother of the God of all, who conceived in the flesh of thy womb the preëternal Word Who shone forth from God the Father.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: On the plain of Dura the tyrant once built a furnace to torment the God-bearers; and therein the three youths chanted hymns unto the one God, and sang, all three together, saying: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

He who in latter times was called and surpassed all others in zeal became the seal and crown of Thine apostles, O Christ. With him the people of the Church chant unto thee: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Even though Paul the prisoner first persecuted Thy Church, O Christ, yet did he later replace his former ferocity with zeal for Thee; and he hath gathered together the nations, who chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Having from Jerusalem preached the Gospel unto all, thou didst take it round about the whole world, O Paul, and, teaching even unto the far ends of Illyricum, thou didst cry: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Caught up in awe, thou didst attain unto the third heaven, O thou who art all-rich; and hearing ineffable words, thou didst cry aloud: Glory to the transcendent Father and the Son, and to the equally-enthroned effulgence of the Spirit of God Who trieth the depths!

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

Like rain upon the fleece did Christ God descend upon thee, O Virgin, and He issued forth from thee in the flesh, uniting those things that before were separate, and granting peace on earth and in heaven. O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Ode VIII, Irmos: O Christ Who bearest all things by Thine unapproachable power, Thou didst bedew Thy venerable children who cried out amid the flame: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

“They shall stretch forth thine arms and bind thee to a cross,” the Master foretold, commanding thee to follow Him; and thou criest aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Working wonders, by the word of grace thou didst heal Æneus who was grievously paralyzed, and didst raise up Tabitha from the dead; and they cried: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

O Christ Who announced unto Peter that the nations were cleansed, by spiritual radiance purify my thoughts, for I cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most holy Virgin who gavest birth to God the Word in the flesh, driving the darkness away from my soul by thy supplications, illumine me who cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: The Lord Who was glorified on the holy mountain, and by the fire in the bush revealed to Moses the mystery of the Ever-virgin, hymn ye and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Paul was bound to thee by Thy love and underwent a goodly change; for the glorious one lived not for himself, O Compassionate One, but had Thee living within him forever.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Thou didst betroth the Church unto Christ, presenting it to Him as a bride; for thou wast shown to be its wedding-escort, O God-bearing Paul. Wherefore, it glorifieth thee for all ages.

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

Thou didst fight the good fight, and finishing thy race lawfully, thou didst preserve the treasure of the Faith. Wherefore, thou hast been vouchsafed crowns of righteousness, O Paul.

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

Rejoice, O fiery throne of the Lord! Rejoice, O Virgin, unwedded Bride! Rejoice, cloud who shone forth the Sun of righteousness, Whom we exalt supremely for all ages!

Canon of the Holy Apostle Peter

Ode IX, Irmos: Thee, the all-glorious Bride and most holy Theotokos, who gavest birth to the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, do we magnify with hymns.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Thine excellent grace is rightly glorified, for thy very shadow dispelleth the sufferings of the sick, O Peter; wherefore, we magnify thee.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

Blessed is Peter, who with ineffable divine power cast down Simon Magus, who through sorcery had soared aloft into the air.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications grant remission of offenses, enlightenment of heart and gladness of spirit unto those who hymn thy memory, O apostle.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Peter, pray to God for us.

O Peter, all thy words, relics and dust are full of glory, sanctity and miracles for those who with faith bow down with love before thy divine chains.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Fruit of thy womb caused the heavenly chorister, who announced “Rejoice!” with a loud voice unto thee who gavest birth to joy, to hymn thy name.

Canon of the Holy Apostle Paul

Irmos: Thou didst transcend the laws of nature, conceiving the Creator and Lord, and didst become a portal of salvation for the world. Wherefore, we magnify thee unceasingly, O Theotokos.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

We bow down before thy chains, which thou didst bear for Christ like a malefactor, O Paul, and we kiss the wounds which thou didst bear on thy glorious and victorious body.

Holy all-praised Apostle, Paul, pray to God for us.

Now thou hast departed unto Him Whom thou didst unceasingly desire, O apostle; and dwelling with him as a servant, with unceasing entreaties draw thou thy servants to thyself.

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

No longer is Christ visible to thee in shadows or in a reflection, but thou dost gaze upon Him face to face, and He perfectly revealeth to thee the understanding of the Godhead.

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

O all-holy Mother of God, thou wast the boast of the apostles of Christ, the glory of the martyrs and the foundation of the prophets; wherefore, we all magnify thee as is meet.

Troparion of the apostles, Tone IV: O first-enthroned among the apostles and teachers of the whole world: Entreat the Master of all, that He grant peace to the world and great mercy to our souls.

The Canon to St Maximos the Greek

Today is the anniversary of the finding of the precious relics of St Maximos the Greek – the New-Confessor – in the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in 1997. 

The Canon from his feast day service, in January, is posted below, for anyone who wishes to honour St Maximos, by chanting it today. 

The Canon to the Venerable Maximos the Greek, in Tone I 

Ode I, Irmos:O ye people, let us all chant a hymn of victory unto Him Who delivered Israel from the bitter bondage of Pharaoh, and led them dry-shod in the depths of the sea, for He hath been glorified. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

What tongue, O all-wondrous father, is able fittingly to hymn thy great corrections, sublime teaching, thy martyric suffering and long-suffering in prison and bonds? 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

What tongue, O all-wondrous father, is able fittingly to hymn thy great corrections, sublime teaching, thy martyric suffering and long-suffering in prison and bonds? 

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

How shall we hymn and what shall we call thee, O all-valiant father? Prophet, in that thou didst easily foretell what we have come to know and recognise? Apostle, for by the teachings of divine Scriptures thou didst make steadfast the Christian Faith, which was shaken by contrary winds? Or teacher, for truly thou art an instructor no less than or inferior to the great œcumenical teachers. 

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

O ye people, let us all hymn the holiness and glory of the all-pure and most hymned Mother of God, who is higher than the heavens and all the noetic hosts, and who bore Emmanuel in her all-pure womb, for she is holy and all-glorious! 

Ode III, Irmos: Establish me, O Christ, upon the immovable rock of Thy commandments, and illumine me with the light of Thy countenance, for there is none as holy as Thee, Who lovest mankind. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

In thy heart, O venerable Maximos, thou didst establish divine fear, having hated all carnal lusts; wherefore, as a simple child thou wast made wise, and thou didst hasten after the Lord. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Having the Lord Jesus Christ as thy confirmation, O venerable Maximos, to thy kinsmen, friends and acquaintance thou didst become like an unknown stranger, homeless, bereft of homeland and possessions, and misunderstood. 

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

Anchoring thyself to the commandments of the Lord, through the bitterness of imprisonment thou didst become as one dead for a long time; yet thou didst make supplication in behalf of those of evil ways, saying: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, hold not to account for this sin those who slander me with lies!” 

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

Render us steadfast for thy laudation, O Virgin, and preserve us from harm and every wile of the evil one; and vouchsafe that we may stand at the right hand of thine only-begotten Son, to Whom is due all glory, honor and worship, unto the ages of ages. 

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

Sessional hymn, Tone IV: Having adorned thy mind with the divinely inspired Scriptures, with watchful prayer and God-pleasing vigils thou didst confirm thy heart in the Lord by keeping His salvific commandments; wherefore, Athos and the people of Russia continually glorify thee, and the Monastery of Vatopedi crieth out with us: O all-wise Maximos, forsake us not who pray to thee! 

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

Theotokion: I beseech thee, O all-pure Mother of God Most High, only consolation of my soul, my hope, delight, divine protection, light, help and salvation: By thy supplications vouchsafe that I may hear the voice which calleth the blessed to enter the bridal-chamber of the Master. 

Ode IV, Irmos:Great is the mystery of Thy dispensation, O Christ! For, foreseeing it with divine vision from above, Habbakuk cried out to Thee: Thou hast come for the salvation of Thy people, O Thou Who lovest mankind! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

No secret false heretical teaching could stay concealed from thee, O venerable Maximos; but through the grace of the worshipful Holy Spirit they were all unmasked by thee. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou not only showed thyself to be a true and faithful champion of the mystical dogmas of the Orthodox Faith, but thou wast shown to be a finely honed scythe for the mowing down of all heresies under the sun. 

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

Thou wast truly shown to be an initiate of the mysteries of the Holy Spirit, a lover of the life of heaven and a teacher of the law of the Lord, O all-wise Maximos. 

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

Moses, who beheld God, was taught a great mystery when he saw the unburnt bush: the bush is the weakness of human nature, and the fire is the divinity of the only-begotten Son of God; for our God is a Fire which devoureth our sins, as the divine apostle saith. 

Ode V, Irmos: Waking at dawn out of the night, we chant to Thee, O Christ, Who art consubstantial with the Father and art the Saviour of our souls: Grant peace to the world, O Thou Who lovest mankind! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

The moon at night and the sun during the day enlighten and gladden all visible creation; and the manner of life and the wisdom of the saints enlighten and gladden the souls of all men who desire to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. Thus also do the writings of the venerable Maximos the Greek sound forth like divinely blown trumpets. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

When thou didst pray at night in thy prison-cell, by the providence of the divine and all-good Trinity the angel of the Lord heard thee, and said: “O elder, thanks to these torments thou shalt avoid eternal torments.” 

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

At night, O all-wise Maximos, thou didst sing like a sweet-voiced and melodious nightingale: “Be not grieved, neither sorrowful nor downcast, O my beloved soul! Thou sufferest unjustly, yet thy reward will be great in the heavens!” 

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

Rising at dawn, we hymn thee, O Virgin, the daughter of the King, arrayed in golden vesture inwrought with many colors, the ladder which Jacob beheld, the mountain whereon God was well-pleased to dwell, for the Lord made His abode there to the end. 

Ode VI, Irmos: Thou didst save the prophet from the sea monster, O Thou Who lovest mankind. Lead me up from the abyss of transgressions, I pray. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Like a prophet thou didst rebuke the people, O venerable Maximos, leading them to repentance, saying: “We have strayed, we strayed from the straight and unerring way of life which holy monks lead, and we mindlessly run after the honours of high positions.” 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou wast shown to be a prophet of repentance, O venerable Maximos, acquiring watchfulness of soul through divine discourse, and leading up from the pit of the passions those benighted by sins. 

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

The writings of the prophets, which were uttered in secret, didst thou make plain, O all-wise Maximos; wherefore, all men ever pay great heed to thee. 

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

The prophets proclaimed thee beforehand, O pure Virgin, the apostles preached thee, all the saints called thee blessed, and we cry out with the archangel: Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! The Lord is with thee!” 

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: With divinely inspired writings and the preaching of theology didst thou denounce the vanity of the heretics, O thou who art most rich; and establishing them firmly in Orthodoxy, thou didst guide them to the path of true understanding. And like a divinely melodious harp thou didst delight and unceasingly gladden the minds of those who hearkened unto thee, O right wondrous Maximos. Wherefore, we beseech thee: Entreat Christ God, that He send down remission of sins upon those who with faith hymn thy most holy dormition, O Maximos our father. 

Ikos: How can we hymn the all-valiant Maximos, the namesake of greatness, the beauteous crown of the venerable, the firm rule of athletes, the true humiliation of heretics, the unshakable pillar of the Church, the renowned instructor of the virginal and champion of honourable marriage, the all-wise sage of philosophers, the ever-flowing fountain of Truth, the boast of monks and true adornment of all men? Wherefore, we beseech thee, O right wondrous Maximos: Entreat Christ God, that He send down remission of sins upon those who with faith hymn thy most holy dormition, O Maximos our father. 

Ode VII, Irmos: When the people were summoned with the sound of music to worship the image, the children of David, chanting the songs of Sion like their fathers, rejected the wicked edict of the tyrant and transformed the flame into dew, singing the hymn: O supremely exalted God of our fathers, blessed art Thou! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Giving utterance to a hymn of thanksgiving to the image of the providence of the all-holy Trinity, O venerable Maximos, thou didst summon us all to bless in purity the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one God in three Hypostases. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

O holy Maximos, thou wast shown to be a model of the endurance of evils, and of patience and prayer, and even more of hope, for God the Judge is just, mighty and long-suffering, and He will render unto each according to his deeds. 

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

Thou didst acquire the image of sublime theology, O all-wise Maximos, that is the dogmas of the divine apostles and fathers, poured forth by the Holy Paraclete, whereby thou teachest us with thy divine wise writings. 

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

The image of thine all-pure birthgiving is ineffable and incomprehensible, O Virgin Mother; for thou didst become the dwelling-place of the preëternal and only-begotten Son of the Father, without being consumed by Him. 

Ode VIII, Irmos: Hymn the Lord, Who preserved the children in the burning fiery furnace and descended unto them in the guise of an angel, and exalt Him supremely forever! 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou didst desire the radiance of the flame of the divine Paraclete, O venerable Maximos; wherefore, with the most sweet light of doctrine and the fire of miracles thou didst drive away all the darkness of the demons. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou didst teach men to flee the flame of Gehenna, O venerable Maximos, calling upon them to embody the commandments of Christ in deed, and to shun malice, fornication, lying, pride, falsehood and the unjust theft of things which belong to others. 

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

As with flame thou didst burn up the ungodliness of heretics, O all-wise Maximos, making brilliant the divine confession of the unblemished Christian Faith. 

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

Moses the God-seer beheld thee in the fiery flame of the burning bush, O all-pure Virgin, and proclaimed thy seedless birthgiving; wherefore, free us from the carnal passions. 

Ode IX, Irmos: Thee, the Mother of God, the radiant lamp, the all-wondrous glory more exalted than all creatures, do we magnify with hymns. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

We know thee to be a radiant lamp, an excellent mind and an unshakable pillar; and we proclaim thee an instructor of monks and a denouncer of heresies. 

Venerable Father, Maximos, pray to God for us. 

Thou didst shine forth brilliantly from the noonday lands, O venerable Maximos, exhibiting a splendid manner of life, dispelling the darkness of evil, and shining forth in right pleasing supplication. 

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

As a torch of divine understanding, thou didst attain unto the knowledge of the Son of God, becoming a perfect man according to the measure of the stature of Christ; wherefore, we cry out to thee: Truly blessed art thou in all things, through the struggles, glory and grace which thou didst receive from on high! 

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

In hymns we magnify aloud thee who art a radiant beacon amid the night of the passions, a shelter of goodness, and an unassailable defence against the assaults of the enemy. 

Troparion, Tone VIII: Made brilliant by the radiance of the Spirit, through divine wisdom thou wast vouchsafed the intelligence of the rhetors, enlightening with the light of piety the hearts of men, which were darkened by ignorance; and thou wast shown to be a most splendid lamp of Orthodoxy, O venerable Maximus. Wherefore, having become a stranger and wanderer in thy zeal for Him Who seeth all things, thou wast a sojourner in the land of Russia, suffering imprisonment and incarceration at the command of the sovereign; yet thou art crowned by the right hand of the Most High, and workest all-glorious miracles. Be thou also a true mediator for us who honour thy holy memory with love. 

 

 

Celebrating St Calogero the Wonderworker

What an immense joy it was to return to Llanelli buoyed by our celebration of the memory of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco and St Calogero the Wonderworker of Sicily. We were very happy to welcome Elijah, Eleanor and Domenico from the cathedral, who will no doubt be sharing the news of the celebration with Sicilian family members in London.

After the homily, we chanted a moleben to St Calogero, including the whole ancient canon, by Sergios the Monk, telling the story of st Calogero’s life and miracles, blessing the bread ex votos baked by the children.

As I explained in the homily, our parish’s relationship with St Calogero is rooted in the family-holidays of our churchwarden, Norman, his wife Georgina and his then young children – memories which prompted our first celebration of the feast three or four years ago, complete with baked ex votos offered on behalf of the sick.

This simple first celebration, in the refectory of the much-missed Newman Hall, prompted iconographer Efraim Augello (now happily Father Efraim) and his wife Olympia to offer the parish the gift of a painted icon to replace the little printed santino, which was all we had.

The wonderful icon of St Calogero from father and matushka was at the centre of our Sunday festivities in Nazareth House, complete with the usual bread offerings baked by the children – which was poignant, given our prayers to St Calogero for the sick and infirm. Metropolitn Pavel and the brotherhood of the Kiev Caves Dormition Lavra also held a special place in our prayers to St Calogero, as we asked his protection for the Lavra and brotherhood.

As I observed in conversations, after the Liturgy, we sometimes find that the saints push their way into our lives, with the power and authority that the All-Merciful Lord gives them, and this seems the case with st Calogero.

How was it that matushka Olympia picked up on news of the first Cardiff celebration just hours after we had gathered in Newman Hall?

It seems that St Calogero remembered the devotions of a Cardiff family decades before, responding to the fondness with which his feast and its local traditions were remembered and shared at home.

Like our beloved St John the Wonderworker, St Calogero was forced from his homeland by persecution, and wasted no time in preaching the Gospel in the place of his refuge – not mourning or moping, but springing to action and taking hold of his situation – with its challenges and uncertainties – to serve the Lord and bring the Light of Christ and Orthodox teaching to his newly-found neighbour, given him by God. Living a life of prayer, asceticism and holiness, those around him were touched by God’s Grace and cherished the wonderful teacher God had given them.

We should emulate the examples of both St Calogero and St John, whatever our circumstances and the challenges of our lives – accepting whatever God has allowed, and refusing to let it be an obstacle or distraction for serving Him to the best of our abilities.

We are far from being wonderworkers, but we can all be the hands of the Saviour, helping our neighbours in His world; giving them an ear when they need somebody to listen; being a voice when they need an advocate; feeding, tending, defending all, in the Name of Christ. We can all be the voice of true Faith – defending Orthodox dogmatic Truths from heresy and schism. We can all love, care, show compassion and generosity.

The great wonderworkers, St John and St Efraim, did not waste time or opportunity. The same should be true of our lives.

Stichera, Tone 4: As a true ascetic of Christ, O Blessed One, wast thou crowned; verily, with mortifications thou didst purify the eye of the soul, and wast therefore made worthy to see the God whom thou didst love and whom Moses had once seen; thou also receivest from him, O Calogero, the grace of thy miracles, through which thou hast made thyself known to us, and thee we celebrate with hymns.

Holy, Venerable Father, Calogero, pray to God for us.

Thou wast made truly worthy to receive the gifts of the Spirit, O Father, and dost reward the faithful who celebrate thy holy memory by bestowing upon them peace and mercy; also, freeing them from all dangers, O glorious Calogero, thou leadest them by thy thy prayers to the never-waning light, O Blessed One.

Holy, Venerable Father, Calogero, pray to God for us.

O Holy Father Calogero, taking the yoke of Christ upon thy shoulders, thou didst come into the cave, having no fear of the assaults the enemy launched with beatings and vain noises, O holy one; but thou didst refute them with thy prayers, O mighty soul, pride of ascetics; therefore, constantly beseech Christ to have mercy upon us.

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. 

O unwedded Virgin, bulwark and boast of those who praise thee, save the faithful who beseech thee, and free them from all misery, O thou who didst didst give birth to God who of his good pleasure wast made incarnate.

Troparion, Tone 8. By the streams of thy tears, thou didst make the soil of the desert fertile / and with thy deep groans didst make thy labours to bear fruit an hundredfold; / and thou didst became a beacon for the whole world, /radiating light by miracles, O Calogero, our Father; / intercede with Christ-God to save our souls.  

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

Kontakion. Tone IV: Celebrating today the sacred memory of Calogero with songs,/ we give glory to Christ /, Who grants him the grace of miracles to heal infirmities. 

St Columba: 9/22 June

Saint Columba (or Colum Cille, “the dove of the Church”) was of noble birth, a member of the powerful Ui Néill clan, which traced its descent to Niall of the Nine Hostages, who died around the year 450. His parents were Fedelmid mac Ferguso and Eithne. Although it is difficult to determine the date of Saint Columba’s birth with any degree of certainty, it is believed that he was born in County Donegal on December 7, 521.

His parents may have been pagans, and named their son Crimthann. He was brought up by a foster-father, according to the custom of that time, a priest named Cruithnechan. We do not know what happened in Saint Columba’s life from the time he completed his studies until his departure from Ireland in 563. He may have been baptized with the name Colum, which later became Columba (dove). Some sources state that after being ordained as a priest, Saint Columba preached in Ireland, and established monasteries at Derry and Durrow. It is said that he also founded one hundred churches.

Adomnan says (I: 7) that the Saint left Ireland two years after the Battle of Cúl Dreimhne (561), supposedly for causing the deaths of so many men. Adomnan does not explain why the Saint blamed himself. However, in a different Life of Saint Columba it is stated that there was a dispute between Saints Columba and Finnian of Moville (September 10), concerning the ownership of a copy of Saint Jerome’s Latin Vulgate version of the Bible (some sources say it was a Psalter). The dispute involved the ownership of the copy. Saint Finnian claimed that the copy was his, since he owned the original manuscript. Saint Columba maintained that the copy was his, since he had copied the original. The High King Diarmait mac Cerbaill, who was a pagan, decided in favor of Finnian. He said, “To every cow belongs her calf, therefore to every book belongs its copy.”

The Saint is said to have been so angry that he stirred up his relatives of the Uí Néill clan to make war against the High King. The Battle of Cúl Dreimhne led to the loss of many Christian lives. In his remorse, Saint Columba decided that he must gain as many souls for Christ as had been slain on the battlefield.

Adomnan also mentions the Synod of Teltown in County Meath (III:3) which met in 562, one year after the battle, and one year before Saint Columba left Ireland. He declares that “Saint Columba was excommunicated for some trivial and quite excusable offenses by a Synod which, as eventually became known, had acted wrongly. The Saint himself came to the assembly that had been convoked against him.”

When Saint Brendan of Birr (November 29) saw Saint Columba approaching at a distance, after the Synod had excommunicated him in absentia, he ran out to meet him, kissing him with reverence. When the members of the Synod saw this they criticized him, saying, “Why did you get up to kiss a man who has been excommunicated?” Saint Brendan replied, “If you had seen what the Lord has deigned to reveal to me today, concerning this chosen one whom you refuse to honor, you would never have excommunicated him. For God does not excommunicate in accordance with your erroneous judgement, but instead, He glorifies him more and more.”

Then they became incensed and said that they should like to know just how God had glorified Saint Columba, whom they had excommunicated, as they asserted, with good reason. Saint Brendan replied, “I saw a very bright column of light going before the man of God, whom you despise, and holy angels as his companions traveling over the plain.” After hearing this, the Synod dropped the charges and honored Saint Columba with much reverence.

In 563, Saint Columba left Ireland, saying that he wished to be a pilgrim for Christ. Taking twelve companions with him, the Saint settled on the island of Iona, off the southwestern coast of Mull. He prayed that God would permit him to live there for thirty years more, and then call him to the heavenly Kingdom. It is not known whether the island was inhabited when they arrived, but there is archaeological evidence of prehistoric occupation.

After building cells and a chapel, the monks began a period of missionary activity, proclaiming the Gospel, making converts, and founding churches. They sailed to other islands, and even went inland in their labors to bring people to Christ. As a result, Iona became an important center of Christianity for northern England and Scotland. By 574, Abbot Columba had at least one dependency on the island of Hinba. There were others on the various islands, all under the authority of Iona. Saint Columba also maintained ties with his churches in Ireland and people in other places.

There is an account of Saint Columba anointing Aedan mac Gabrain in 574 to succeed King Conall as the King of Dalriada, just as King Saul and King David had been anointed by Samuel. Some regard this as the first time in European history that Christian ritual was used to consecrate a King. There is much debate on the significance of this event, although Saint Columba did have a special relationship with the ruling dynasty of Dalriada.

Adomnan has not written a Saint’s Life according to the traditional pattern. Rather than presenting a continuous narrative from birth to death, he describes Saint Columba’s prophetic revelations in Book I; his miracles of power in Book II; and his visions of angels in Book III.

In Book III:22, Adomnan relates how Saint Columba beheld the angels who had come to receive his soul in the thirtieth year after his arrival on Iona. Suddenly he raised his eyes to Heaven, and he was filled with great joy and gladness. Then, a moment later, his joy had turned to sorrow. Two monks stood outside his hut when this occurred, and they asked him about it. He told them to go in peace, and not to ask him to tell them the cause of his gladness, nor of his sorrow. They fell to the ground with profuse tears and begged him to reveal what he had been told.

Seeing their distress, the holy Elder said, “Because I love you, I do not wish to grieve you. First, you must promise not to betray to anyone, as long as I am alive, the mystery that you seek to know.”

After they had given their word, Saint Columba said that day was exactly thirty years since he had begun to live “in pilgrimage in Britain.” He had asked God to call him to Heaven at the end of thirty years. That is why he seemed so glad. He had seen the angels who had been sent to separate his soul from his body, but now they seemed to be delayed. They were waiting on a rock across the Sound from Iona. It was as if they wished to accomplish their task, but they were not permitted to come any closer. Soon they would return to Heaven. Even though he desired to go with them, the prayers of many churches had caused this change in plans. “Even though I do not wish it, I must remain in this flesh four years longer. This sorrowful delay is the cause of my great distress today.”

Then the holy Abbot predicted that at the end of four years, he would die suddenly, and without pain, when the angels would come for him again, and he would depart to the Lord. That is precisely what happened.

In April of 597, on the radiant Feast of Christ’s Resurrection, Saint Columba was longing to depart from this life in order to be with Him. God would have granted his wish right then, but he did not want to turn the paschal joy of his disciples into sorrow, and so his death was delayed for the sake of the monks.

In May, as the brethren were working on the western side of Iona, Saint Columba was taken there in a cart, for he was then an old man of seventy-five. He began to speak to them of his approaching death, so that they would be prepared. When he told them how his death had been merely postponed in April, they became very sorrowful. The Saint tried to console them as much as he could. Then he looked toward the east and blessed the island, and those who dwelt there. A few days later, during the Sunday liturgy, Saint Columba looked up and his face became suffused with joy and exultation. Only he could see the angel hovering over them inside the church. Then the angel passed right through the roof of the church, leaving no trace of his passing.

When the monks noticed the Elder looking upward they asked him why he seemed so happy. He told them that an angel had been sent to recover a loan, and had been watching and blessing them during the service.

None of the monks understood what sort of loan the angel had been sent to recover, but Saint Columba was referring to his soul, which the angel would take sometime between the following Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

At the end of the week, on Saturday, Saint Columba and his servant Diarmait went to bless the nearest barn. The venerable Elder said that he was glad to know that the monks would have enough bread to last for a year, in case he had to “go away somewhere.” Diarmait was saddened by his words and said, “Father, this year you have made us sad too often by speaking frequently about your passing.”

Saint Columba said that he would speak more plainly about his departure if Diarmait promised not to tell anyone until after he had reposed. When Diarmait had given his word, the Saint explained that the Sabbath is a day of rest, and on this Saturday he would go the way of his fathers. “I shall go to the Lord when He calls me, in the middle of this night. The Lord Himself has revealed this to me.”

At these words, Diarmait began to weep. Then they started back to the monastery, but Saint Columba had to stop and rest when they reached the halfway point. Later, a cross was set up on that spot and set in a millstone. Then a white horse, which used to carry pails of milk to the monastery, came and placed its head on the Saint’s bosom. Tears fell from its eyes, and the horse mourned like a person. Diarmait would have driven the horse away, but the Elder stopped him saying, “Leave him alone! Let him who loves us pour out the tears of bitterest mourning here at my breast. Behold, though you have a man’s rational soul, you would not know of my departure if I hadn’t told you just now. According to His will, the Creator has revealed to this brute and unreasoning animal that his master is going away.” Then he blessed the horse as it turned away.

When he returned to the monastery, Saint Columba went to his hut to copy some Psalms. He copied as far as Psalm 33/34:10: “The rich have become poor and hungry; but those who seek the Lord diligently shall not want any good thing.” Then he said, “Here at the end of the page I must stop. Let Baithene write what follows.”

When he finished writing, Saint Columba went to church for Vespers, and then he returned to his lodging and rested on his bed. Instead of a bed of straw, he always slept upon bare rock, with a stone for his pillow. Then he gave his last instructions to Diarmait, commanding the brethren to love one another, and to follow the example of the Holy Fathers. He continued, “God, Who strengthens the good, will help you, and I, dwelling with Him, shall intercede for you.”

When the bell rang for the Midnight Office, Saint Columba hastened to the church before the others, and then he knelt before the altar in prayer. Diarmait, following at a distance, saw the church filled with angelic light around the Saint. As he reached the door, the light vanished, although some of the brethren had seen it as well. Diarmait entered the church and called out in a tearful voice, “Father, where are you?”

The lamps carried by the brethren had not yet been brought into the church. Feeling his way in the dark, Diarmait found the Elder lying before the altar. Raising him a little, he sat by his side and cradled his head on his bosom. The other monks related that before Saint Cuthbert’s soul had left his body, he opened his eyes and looked about with joy and gladness upon his face, for he saw angels coming to meet him. Diarmait held up the Saint’s right hand to bless the monks. The venerable Father, as much as he could, also moved his hand to bless the brethren, though he was unable to speak. Then at once his soul departed.

Two men had separate visions of the Saint’s soul being carried to Heaven by angels. Lugaid mac Tailchain, “a just man and a sage,” told a man named Fergnae of his vision. Although Lugaid had never been to Iona, he saw it, in the Spirit, bathed in a bright light. He beheld the radiance of countless angels who had been sent to carry the Saint’s soul to Heaven, accompanied by the sweetest songs of the angelic hosts.

Another soldier of Christ, Ernene moccu Fir Roide had a vision at the same hour. When he was an old man, he related it to Adomnan, who was then a young man. Ernene and some other men were fishing in the River Finn, when suddenly, the entire sky lit up. Looking toward the east, they saw a fiery pillar rising upwards and lighting the area like the summer sun at Noon. When the pillar passed out of sight, the darkness returned once more.

After Saint Columba’s blessed repose, the Matins hymns were chanted, and his body was carried from the church to his lodging. For three days and nights, the funeral rites were performed in a manner befitting one of his honor and rank. His holy relics were wrapped in linen and placed in the grave with due reverence, from which he shall rise in bright, and everlasting light.

The following miracle is mentioned in Book I:1. In the year 634, at Heavenfield in Northumbria, on the eve of a battle, Saint Columba appeared to Saint Oswald (August 5), revealing his name to the King. He promised to help Saint Oswald, ordering him to march on his enemy Cadwallon that night. He said that the enemy would be pu to flight, and that Cadwallon would be delivered into King Oswald’s hands. Abbot Failbe, Adomnan’s predecessor, told him of this vision, swearing that he had the story from the lips of Saint Oswald himself.

Source: https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2023/06/09/101679-saint-columba-of-iona-enlightener-of-scotland

 

 

St Cyril of Alexandria: Life and Canon

Saint Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, a distinguished champion of Orthodoxy and a great teacher of the Church, came from an illustrious and pious Christian family. He studied the secular sciences, including philosophy, but most of all he strove to acquire knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the truths of the Christian Faith. In his youth Cyril entered the monastery of Macarius in the Nitreia hills, where he stayed for six years. Theophilus (385-412), the Patriarch of Alexandria, ordained him as a deacon, numbered him among the clergy and entrusted him to preach.

Upon the death of Patriarch Theophilus, Cyril was unanimously chosen to the patriarchal throne of the Alexandrian Church. He led the struggle against the spread of the Novatian heresy in Alexandria, which taught that any Christian who had fallen away from the Church during a time of persecution, could not be received back into it.

Cyril, seeing the futility of admonishing the heretics, sought their expulsion from Alexandria. The Jews appeared a greater danger for the Church, repeatedly causing riots, accompanied by the brutal killing of Christians. The saint long contended with them. In order to wipe out the remnants of paganism, the saint cast out devils from an ancient pagan temple and built a church on the spot, and the relics of the Holy Unmercenaries Cyrus and John were transferred into it. A more difficult struggle awaited the saint with the emergence of the Nestorian heresy.

Nestorius, a presbyter of the Antiochian Church, was chosen in 428 to the see of Constantinople and there he was able to spread his heretical teaching against the dogma about the uncommingled union of two natures in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nestorius called the Mother of God not the Theotokos, but rather Christotokos or “Birth-giver of Christ,” implying that she gave birth not to God, but only to the man Christ. The holy Patriarch Cyril repeatedly wrote to Nestorius and pointed out his error, but Nestorius continued to persevere in it. Then the saint sent out epistles against Nestorianism to the clergy of Constantinople and to the holy emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450), denouncing the heresy. Cyril wrote also to other Churches, to Pope Celestine and to the other Patriarchs, and even to monks of several monasteries, warning of the emergence of a dangerous heresy.

Nestorius started an open persecution against the Orthodox. In his presence one of his partisans, Bishop Dorotheus, pronounced an anathema against anyone who would call the Most Holy Virgin Mary the Theotokos.

Nestorius hated Cyril and brought out against him every kind of slander and fabrication, calling him a heretic. The saint continued to defend Orthodoxy with all his powers. The situation became so aggravated, that it became necessary to call an Ecumenical Council, which convened in the city of Ephesus in the year 431. At the Council 200 bishops arrived from all the Christian Churches. Nestorius, awaiting the arrival of Bishop John of Antioch and other Syrian bishops, did not agree to the opening of the Council. But the Fathers of the Council began the sessions with Cyril presiding. Having examined the teaching of Nestorius, the Council condemned him as a heretic. Nestorius did not submit to the Council, and Bishop John opened a “robber council”, which decreed Cyril a heretic. The unrest increased. By order of the emperor, Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and Archbishop Memnon of Ephesus were locked in prison, and Nestorius was deposed.

Soon Saints Cyril and Memnon were freed, and the sessions of the Council continued. Nestorius, not submitting himself to the determinations of the Council, was deprived of priestly rank. By order of the emperor he was sent to the faraway place Sasim in the Libyan wilderness, where he died in grievous torments. His tongue, having blasphemed the Mother of God, was overtaken by punishment — in it there developed worms. Even Bishop John of Antioch and the remaining Syrian bishops signed the decrees of the Council of Ephesus.

Cyril guided the Alexandrian Church for 32 years, and towards the end of his life the flock was cleansed of heretics. Gently and cautiously Cyril approached anyone, who by their own simpleness and lack of knowledge, fell into false wisdom. There was a certain Elder, an ascetic of profound life, who incorrectly considered the Old Testament Priest Melchizedek to be the Son of God. Cyril prayed for the Lord to reveal to the Elder the correct way to view the righteous one. After three days the Elder came to Cyril and said that the Lord had revealed to him that Melchizedek was a mere man.

Cyril learned to overcome his prejudice against the memory of the great John Chrysostom (November 13). Theophilus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and uncle of Cyril, was an antagonist of John, and presided in a council in judgment of him. Cyril thus found himself in a circle antagonistic to John Chrysostom, and involuntarily acquired a prejudice against him. Isidore of Pelusium (February 4) repeatedly wrote to Cyril and urged him to include the name of the great Father of the Church into the diptychs of the saints, but Cyril would not agree.

Once in a dream he saw a wondrous temple, in which the Mother of God was surrounded by a host of angels and saints, in whose number was John Chrysostom. When Cyril wanted to approach the All-Holy Lady and venerate her, John Chrysostom would not let him. The Theotokos asked John to forgive Cyril for having sinned against him through ignorance. Seeing that John hesitated, the Mother of God said, “Forgive him for my sake, since he has labored much for my honor, and has glorified me among the people calling me Theotokos.” John answered, “By your intercession, Lady, I do forgive him,” and then he embraced Cyril with love.

Cyril repented that he had maintained anger against the great saint of God. Having convened all the Egyptian bishops, he celebrated a solemn feast in honor of John Chrysostom.

Cyril died in the year 444, leaving behind many works. In particular, the following ought to be mentioned: commentaries On the Gospel of Luke, On the Gospel of John, On the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians and to the Hebrews; also an Apologia in Defense of Christianity against the Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). Of vast significance are his Five Books against Nestorius; a work on the Most Holy Trinity under the title Thesaurus, written against Arius and Eunomios. Also two dogmatic compositions on the Most Holy Trinity, distinguished by a precise exposition of the Orthodox teaching on the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Cyril wrote Against Anthropomorphism for several Egyptians, who through ignorance depicted God in human form. Among Cyril’s works are also the Discussions, among which is the moving and edifying Discourse on the Exodus of the Soul, inserted in the Slavonic “Following Psalter”.

Today we commemorate the repose of this great Father of the Church. He is also remembered on January 18, the date of his flight from Alexandria.

Source: www.oca.org

The canon of the saint, the acrostic whereof is: “Cyril is the harp of divine visions”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone IV.

Ode I, Irmos: Having traversed the depths of the Red Sea with dryshod feet, Israel of old vanquished the might of Amalek in the wilderness by Moses’ arms stretched out in the form of the Cross.

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

Receiving light-giving grace from God, O Cyril, and revealed as a radiant beacon, thou hast shone forth upon the rays of the Word by thy commemoration, that we may hymn thee as is meet.

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

As a keeper of the commandments of Christ thou wast full of the effulgence of the Spirit, O all-wise Cyril, having been cleansed of the passions; and thou truly becamest a dwelling-place of the all-divine Trinity.

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

As one full of zeal and boldness, O glorious Cyril, contending for the right Faith thou hast truly denounced the God-opposing blasphemies of ungodly heresies.

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

Theotokion: In giving birth to the Creator of all Who hath lifted us up who have been laid low by the fall of our first father, O most immaculate Bride of God, thou hast healed the broken state of mankind.

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

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

Strengthened in Christ, O Cyril, with steadfast mind thou didst destroy the wiles of the evil serpent like a spider’s web.

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

Thou didst shake off the mire of the passions from thy soul, O Cyril, and cast down the uprising of every thought which exalteth itself against Christ.

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

As a successful athlete, O father, thou didst steadily turn away from every carnal pleasure as harmful and detrimental.

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

With joy we all splendidly glorify thee as the only blessed one among women who became the habitation of God.

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

Sessional hymn, Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Awed by the beauty of thy virginity…”: As a pillar and sacrifice of the Church of Christ, O father, thou didst preserve it unshaken by the temptations of the evil one, and all-wise; for thou didst destroy all the evil works of Nestorius and didst proclaim the Mother of God to be the ­Theotokos. Wherefore, assembling, we honor thee, O divinely blessed Cyril.

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: As an uncultivated vine, O Virgin, thou didst put forth the most comely Cluster Who poureth forth upon us the wine of salvation which maketh glad men’s souls and bodies. Wherefore, ever blessing thee as the cause of good things, we cry out to thee with the angels: Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace!

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): Thy pure Mother who knew not wedlock, beholding Thee, O Christ, hanging dead upon the Cross, said, lamenting maternally: “How hath the iniquitous and ungrateful assembly of the Jews rewarded Thee, which enjoyed Thy many and great gifts, O my Son? I hymn Thy divine condescension.”

Ode IV, Irmos: Beholding Thee lifted up upon the Cross, O Sun of righteousness, the Church stood rooted in place, crying out as is meet: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

Seeing thee, O God-bearing father Cyril, who vanquished the soul-corrupting passions and restrained carnal thoughts, Christ set thee as a primate of His divine Church.

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

Inheriting the paternal virtue of Mark as a beloved son, thou wast an inheritor of his divine throne, following in the footsteps of the evangelist.

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

Tended by Christ like a lamb, O father, like a shepherd thou didst pasture thy flock on thy spiritually nourishing discourses, feeding them grace as though it were grass and flowers.

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

Giving birth to the incarnate Word of God Who before was incorporeal, O most hymned and joyous one, thou hast restored the world. Wherefore, O Bride of God, with Orthodox faith we proclaim thee.

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

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

Thy discourse, O Cyril, was like unto a mighty torrent which floodeth rivers, scouring away the craftiness of the heretics.

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

The vile division of Arius and the abominable confusion of Sabellius didst thou equally consign to the abyss, O Cyril.

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

O Cyril, thou hast left to the Church of Christ thine enriching discourses like gold and thy treasuries like precious stones.

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

Let heaven drop down gladness and grace upon the earth, for it now sendeth up gladness on high, the only Mother of God.

Ode VI, Irmos: I will sacrifice to Thee with a voice of praise, O Lord, the Church crieth unto Thee, cleansed of the blood of demons by the blood which, for mercy’s sake, flowed from Thy side.

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

With tongs the seraph gave the prophet a burning coal, and by thy hands, O initiate of sacred mysteries, thou givest to the Church of Christ a purifying coal from the divine Fire.

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

Thou didst not destroy Philistines like Samson, but didst cast down all the alien doctrines of the heterodox and hast given might to the Orthodox, O Cyril.

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

Manifestly heading the divinely elect council, O father, thou didst cast down the ungodliness of Nestorius and his Christ-opposing audacity, O father, breathing forth with zeal for the true Mother of God.

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

Thou didst bud forth the Fruit of incorrupt understanding, O Theotokos, being shown forth to the world as an ever-living mediator of incorruption for those who hymn thee with faith and love.

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 VI, Spec. Mel. “Fulfilling the dispensation concerning us…” : Thou hast manifestly poured forth upon us an abyss of doctrines of theology from the wellsprings of the Savior, drowning heresies and saving thy flock unharmed by threefold waves, O blessed Cyril; for thou art shown to be a guide for all lands, O venerable one, revealing things divine.

Ikos: When the great, beauteous and radiant sun showeth itself at dawn, darkness is driven away and the moon retreateth, for night cannot abide it: it shineth forth with the light of day, illumineth the air, showeth forth the sky as beautiful for us, adorning the earth and causing plants to grow; it maketh bright the sea and also adorneth the whole world. Alike in all is the most radiant Cyril, whose wise teachings save the world. For he illumineth the souls of the faithful therewith and ever vanquisheth heresies with piety; for he is the guide for all lands, revealing things divine.

Ode VII, Irmos: The children of Abraham in the Persian furnace, afire with love of piety more than with the flame, cried out: Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy glory, O Lord!

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

Moses of old, entering the darkness on Mount Sinai, received the law which slayeth by the letter; but thou, O blessed Cyril, hast disclosed the hidden beauty of the Spirit.

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

As revelation was made to the children of old in the indistinct images of the law, O father, thou didst lift the lid from the cup given thee, opening it like a rose of understanding, most manifestly speaking in images.

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

Theologizing the three Hypostases in unconfused divine unity and manifestly indivisible distinction, O father Cyril, thou didst utter immutable truths concerning the one Essence and Godhead.

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

The angels beheld strange things in thy birthgiving, O Mother of God: the corrupt nature of the earthly race hastening toward the life of incorruption and the glory of heaven.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Stretching forth his hands, Daniel shut the lions’ mouths in the pit; and the young lovers of piety, girded about with virtue, quenched the power of the fire, crying out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

Like a wave of the sea did the wellspring of wisdom truly flow forth in thee; for ever-flowing rivers of the doctrines of piety issued forth from within thee, as Christ foretold, O father; for thy divinely chosen words surpass the sands.

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

Thou wast a wise pastor and teacher of the Church, O venerable Cyril, manifestly interpreting both covenants; for, possessing thy discourses as an anchor and a paternal inheritance, it crieth out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

Thou teachest the ineffable union of the Word, the Fashioner of all, Who became incarnate for our sake, which is indivisible and unconfused, O Cyril, and didst incline towards an individual will for each nature, crying: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

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

The Son and Word of God Who is wholly unapproachable in His essence, made His abode within thee, O pure, all-pure one, and, ­clothing Himself in our essence, in that He is merciful, He appeared accessible in the flesh and dwelt with us who cry aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Ode IX, Irmos: Eve, through weakness, abode under the curse of disobedience; but thou, O Virgin Theotokos, hast put forth blessing for the world through the Offspring of thy child-bearing. Wherefore, we all magnify thee.

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

O Cyril, thou didst cast down the disdain directed against the understanding of Christ and His divine Mother, and all the might of the ungodly Nestorius, the dual sonship, and the mingling of essences of the Acephaloi.

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

With the power of understanding and the enlightenment of grace, O blessed one, thou didst theologize concerning the consubstantial Trinity and the incarnate Word of God; and showing thyself to be champion of the Theotokos, thou art now glorified in the highest.

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

O ever-memorable father, thou dost mercifully look down from on high upon us who hymn thee, granting victory over all heresies to our right-­believing hierarchs, by thy supplications lifting up the horn of the Orthodox, and illumining those who magnify thy memory.

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

Beset by many falls and the cruelty of misfortunes, O all-hymned one, I now offer thee a sacrifice of praise and earnestly cry out to thee: O holy Theotokos, help me, for I finish my hymnody glorifying thee.

Troparion, Tone VIII: O instructor of Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and purity, beacon of all the world, divinely inspired adornment of hierarchs: O all-wise Cyril, by thy doctrines thou hast enlightened all. O harp of the Spirit, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

The Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena

21 May / 3 June

On this feast of the Holy Equals of the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, we greet and congratulate the  Elenas, Helenas, Jelenas, Alyonas, Olyenas, Elenis and Helens among our parishioners in Cardiff and Cheltenham, our many friends in London, in Walsingham and across our Orthodox communities in Britain. May God grant them all many, blessed years!

We also remember our departed Llanelli sister, Eleni, on this coincidence of her nameday and the soul-sabbath. Memory Eternal!

Canon of the saints, Tone VIII.

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

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

O Thou Who alone art the King of heaven, through the entreaties of Thy favoured ones, free Thou my lowly soul from sin, which now reigneth within me.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

As one who loved the kingdom on high, O blessed Constantine, believing with a pure mind, thou didst worship the King and Master of all.

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

Illumined with divine light, O divinely wise Helena, thou didst truly forsake the darkness of ignorance and most sincerely enslave thyself to the King of the ages.

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

O Lady, thou portal of the divine East, open unto me the door of repentance, and by thine intercession deliver me from the gates of deadly sin.

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

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Thou didst strive to receive heavenly rewards; wherefore, O divinely wise father, thou didst follow Him Who called thee, forsaking the darkness of the falsehood bequeathed to thee, and didst become a luminary through the divine Spirit.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Having cleaved unto Christ and set all thy hope on Him, O most honoured one, thou didst attain unto His sacred places, wherein the Supremely good One, having become incarnate, endured His most pure sufferings.

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

Burning with divine desire, O divinely blessed one, thou didst uncover the precious Cross, the weapon of salvation, the insuperable victory, the hope of Christians, which had been hidden in malice.

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

Having fallen away from my sacred citizenship, O most pure one, I have become like a beast and am wholly condemned. O thou who hast given birth to the Judge, deliver and save me from all condemnation.

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

Sessional Hymn of the saints, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: Having stretched forth thy senses toward heaven and acquired the beauty of the stars, thou wast taught by them the mysteries of the Lord of all; and the weapon of the Cross shone forth in their midst, signifying that in which thou shouldest conquer and achieve dominion. Wherefore, opening the eyes of thy soul, thou didst read the writings and learn about the image. O most honored Constantine, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who celebrate thy holy memory with love. (Twice)

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

Theotokion, Tone VIII: Having conceived the Wisdom and Word in thy womb without being consumed, O Mother of God, thou hast given birth for the world unto the Nourisher of all and Fashioner of creation; and thou didst bear in thine arms Him Who holdeth all things. Wherefore, I beseech thee, O all-holy Virgin, and glorify thee with faith: May I be delivered from transgressions, and, on the day of judgment when I shall stand before the face of my Creator, O pure Virgin Sovereign Lady, grant me thine aid; for thou canst do all things whatsoever thou dost will, O thou who art all-hymned.

Ode IV, Irmos: O Lord, I have heard the mystery of Thy dispensation; * I have considered Thy works, * and I have glorified Thy Divinity.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Christ the Lord pursued thee from heaven, as He had Paul of old, O Constantine, teaching thee to worship Him as the only King.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

With a most radiant sign of stars, O blessed one, Christ the Sun illumined thee, showing thee to be a luminary for the darkened.

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

O blessed one, thou wast God-loving in nature and right wondrous in thy divine works; wherefore, we glorify thee with faith.

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

O Ever-virgin who hast given birth to the Sun of righteousness, illumine my soul, which hath been darkened by sins.

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

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Having risen at dawn unto the never-waning Sun and Master, O divinely wise emperor, thou wast filled with light.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Wearing love and perfect loving-kindness like a robe of royal purple, thou hast now made thine abode in the kingdom on high.

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

O Helena, thou hast joined the choirs of the incorporeal ones, having pleased God by thy virtuous works.

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

Cleanse thou my soul, which hath been defiled by carnal pleasures through the treachery of the serpent, O Virgin.

Ode VI, Irmos: I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, * and to Him will I proclaim my grief; * for my soul is filled with evils, * and my life unto Hades hath drawn nigh, * and like Jonah I pray unto Thee: * Raise me up from corruption, O God. Most gloriously didst thou assemble the divine choir of the God-bearing fathers,

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

O Constantine, and through them make steadfast the storm-tossed hearts of all, that they might glorify the Word as equal in honor and co-enthroned with the One Who begat Him.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Having believed on the living Lord Who giveth life unto all, O Helena, thou didst spurn the abominable worship of vain idols and joyously received the kingdom of heaven.

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

Guided by Thy hand, O Word, through Thee the sovereigns thrust aside the most profound darkness of ignorance and the tempest of cruel godlessness, and arrived, rejoicing, at the calm havens of piety.

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

Heal thou my heart, which hath grown incurably sick and hath been grievously wounded by the sting of the evil one, O Maiden, and by thine entreaties grant healing unto me, and save me who trust in thee, O most pure one.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Today the Virgin …”: Today Constantine and his mother Helena * have revealed the Cross, the most precious Tree, * which putteth to shame all the Jews * and is the weapon of faithful kings against the adversary. ** For our sake the great standard hath appeared, terrible in battle.

Ikos: Let us honor Constantine, and Helena his mother; for, hearing the words of David, they recognized the three parts of the Cross in the cedar, the pine and the cypress, upon which the suffering of the Savior was accomplished. And having found it, in preparation to display it before the people, they set it before all the Jews, hidden because of their hatred and jealousy; revealing it to be the great justification. Wherefore, they have been revealed to all as victors, bearing the invincible trophy, the great standard, terrible in battle.

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

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Keeping Thy precepts, Constantine submitted to Thy law. Wherefore, he hath cast down hordes of the iniquitous, crying out to Thee: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God!

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

The Tree which hath drawn all from the pit of destruction, O right wondrous one, and which was buried out of malice, thou didst disclose unto us, burying the most pernicious demons forever.

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

By godly works thou didst make thy heart a temple of God, O Helena, and didst likewise build sacred churches for Him, where for our sake He endured His most pure sufferings for our sake.

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

Willingly committing sins, and enslaved by unseemly habits, I flee now to thy tender compassion. O most holy Sovereign Lady, save me who am in despair!

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

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Arrayed in loving-kindness as in a robe and in goodly meekness as in cloak, O glorious one, thou wast adorned with a mind perfect in the virtues as with a crown; and having been translated from earth to the kingdom on high, thou dost cry aloud: O ye priests bless; O ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout all ages!

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Beholding thee rejoicing with thy divinely wise son, in the kingdom of God, O glorious Helena, we magnify Christ Who hath shown us your honoured festival, which illumineth us more brightly than the rays of the sun, wherefore we chant with faith: O ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout all ages!

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

Wondrous is thy desire and godly thy character, O glorious Helena, thou boast of women! For having attained unto the places where the precious sufferings took place, thou didst adorn them with all-beauteous temples of the Master of all, crying: O ye people supremely exalt Christ throughout all ages!

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

O Theotokos, enlighten the eyes of my soul, which have been blinded by many crimes; grant peace to my mind and heart, which have been vexed by multifarious pleasures, I pray, and save me who cry: O ye priests bless; ye people supremely exalt the pure one throughout all ages!

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

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

The tomb wherein thy sacred and precious body doth lie, O Constantine, doth ever pour forth the radiance of divine healings upon those whoever approach it in purity, driving away the darkness of divers passions and illumining those who praise thee with never-waning light.

Holy Equals to the Apostles, Constantine and Helena, pray to God for us.

Having finished thy life in holiness, thou hast now made thine abode with the saints, full of sanctity and enlightenment. Wherefore, ever pouring forth rivers of healings, thou dost burn up our sufferings, giving drink to our souls, O blessed Helena.

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

O unoriginate and immortal King, Thou hast vouchsafed Thy heavenly kingdom to the holy Helena and the great Constantine, whom of old thou didst grant to reign piously on earth, and who loved Thee in purity, O Lord. By their supplications have pity on us all.

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

Having conceived, thou hast given birth to the King and Creator of all, O Virgin. And, lo! as a Queen thou standest forth now at His right hand. Wherefore, I beseech thee: at the hour of judgment deliver me from the left side, and number me with the sheep on the right.

Troparion, Tone VIII: Beholding the image of Thy Cross in the sky, * and like Paul receiving a call not from men, * Thine apostle among kings placed the imperial city in Thy hands, O Lord. * Do Thou ever preserve it in peace, ** through the supplications of the Theotokos, O Thou Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

The Translation of the Relics of St Nicholas

Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen!

Greetings in the feast of the translation of the relics of St Nicholas from Lycea to Bari.

S prazdnikom!

In the eleventh century the Byzantine Empire was going through some terrible times. The Turks put an end to its influence in Asia Minor, they destroyed cities and villages, they murdered the inhabitants, and they accompanied their cruel outrage with the desecration of churches, holy relics, icons and books. The Mussulmen also attempted to destroy the relics of Saint Nicholas, deeply venerated by the whole Christian world.

In the year 792 the caliph Aaron Al’-Rashid sent Khumeid at the head of a fleet to pillage the island of Rhodes. Having lain waste this island, Khumeid set off to Myra in Lycia with the intent to rob the tomb of Saint Nicholas. But instead he robbed another tomb standing alongside the crypt of the saint. Just as they succeeded in committing this sacrilege, a terrible storm lifted upon the sea and almost all the ships were shattered into pieces.

The desecration of holy things shocked not only Eastern, but also Western Christians. Christians in Italy were particularly apprehensive for the relics of Saint Nicholas, and among them were many Greeks. The inhabitants of the city of Bari, located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, decided to save the relics of Saint Nicholas.

In the year 1087 merchants from Bari and Venice went to Antioch to trade. Both these and others also proposed to take up the relics of Saint Nicholas and transport them to Italy on the return trip. In this plan the men of Bari commissioned the Venetians to land them at Myra. At first two men were sent in, who in returning reported that in the city all was quiet. In the church where the glorified relics rested, they encountered only four monks. Immediately forty-seven men, having armed themselves, set out for the church of Saint Nicholas. The guards, suspecting nothing, showed them the raised platform, beneath which the tomb of the saint was concealed, and where they anointed foreigners with myrrh from the relics of the saint.

At this time the monks told them about an appearance of Saint Nicholas that evening to a certain Elder. In this vision Saint Nicholas ordered the careful preservation of his relics. This account encouraged the barons, they saw an avowal for them in this vision and, as it were, a decree from the saint. In order to facilitate their activity, they revealed their intent to the monks and offered them money, 300 gold coins. The guards refused the money and wanted to warn the inhabitants about the misfortune threatening them. But the newcomers bound them and put their own guards at the doorway.

They took apart the church platform above the tomb with the relics. In this effort the youth Matthew was excessive in his zeal, wanting to find the relics of Saint Nicholas as quickly as possible. In his impatience he broke the cover and the barons saw that the sarcophagus was filled with fragrant holy myrrh. The compatriots of the barons, the priests Luppus and Drogus, offered a litany, after which the break made by Matthew began to flow with myrrh from the saint’s sarcophagus. This occurred on April 20, 1087.

Seeing the absence of a container chest, the priest Drogus wrapped the relics in the cloth, and in the company of the barons he carried them to the ship. The monks, having been set free, alerted the city with the sad news about the abduction of the relics of the Wonderworker Nicholas by foreigners. A crowd of people gathered at the shore, but it was too late.

On May 8 the ships arrived in Bari, and soon the joyous news made the rounds of all the city. On the following day, May 9, 1087, they solemnly transported the relics of Saint Nicholas into the church of Saint Stephen, not far from the sea. The solemn bearing of the relics was accompanied by numerous healings of the sick, which inspired still greater reverence for God’s saint. A year afterwards, a church was built in the name of Saint Nicholas and consecrated by Pope Urban II.

This event, connected with the transfer of the relics of Saint Nicholas, evoked a particular veneration for the Wonderworker Nicholas and was marked by the establishment of a special Feast day on May 9. At first the Feast day of the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas was observed only by the people of the city of Bari. It was not adopted in the other lands of the Christian East and West, despite the fact that the transfer of the relics was widely known. This circumstance is explained by the custom in the Middle Ages of venerating primarily the relics of local saints. Moreover, the Greek Church did not establish the celebration of this remembrance, since they regarded the loss of the relics of Saint Nicholas as a sad event.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebration of the memory of the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra in Lycia to Bari in Italy on May 9 was established soon after the year 1087, on the basis of an already established veneration by the Russian people of the great saint of God, brought from Greece simultaneously with the acceptance of Christianity. The glorious accounts of the miracles performed by the saint on both land and sea, were widely known to the Russian people. Their boundless power and abundance testify to the help of the great saint of God for suffering mankind. The image of Saint Nicholas, a mighty wonderworker and benefactor, became especially dear to the heart of the Russian people, since it inspired deep faith and hope for his intercession. The faith of the Russian people in the abundant aid of God’s saint was marked by numerous miracles.

A significant body of literature was compiled about him very early in Russian writings. Accounts of the miracles of Saint Nicholas done in the Russian land were recorded at an early date. Soon after the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra to Bari, a Russian version of his Life and an account of the Transfer of his holy relics were written by a contemporary to this event. Earlier still, an encomium to the Wonderworker was written. Each week on Thursday, the Russian Orthodox Church honours his memory in particular.

Numerous churches and monasteries were built in honour of Saint Nicholas, and Russian people are wont to name their children after him at Baptism. In Russia are preserved numerous wonderworking icons of the saint. Most renowned among them are the icons of Mozhaisk, Zaraisk, Volokolamsk, Ugreshsk and Ratny. There was no house or temple in the Russian land in which there was not an icon of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.

The significance of the intercession of the great saint of God is expressed by the ancient compiler of the Life, in the words of whom Saint Nicholas “did work many glorious miracles both on land and on sea, aiding those downtrodden in misfortune and rescuing the drowning, carrying to dry land from the depths of the sea, raising up others from corruption and bringing them home, liberating from chains and imprisonment, averting felling by the sword and freeing from death, and granting healing to many; sight to the blind, walking to the lame, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the mute. He brought riches to many suffering in abject poverty and want, he provided the hungry food, and for each in their need he appeared a ready helper, an avid defender and speedy intercessor and protector, and such as appeal to him he doth help and deliver from adversity. Both the East and the West know of this great Wonderworker, and all the ends of the earth know his miracle-working.”

The Canon of the Saint, in Tone VIII

Ode I, Irmos: O ye people, let us send up a hymn unto our wondrous God, Who freed Israel from bondage, singing and crying out a hymn of victory unto Thee Who alone art Master.

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

Accept Thou the song of my lips, O Christ my Benefactor, and cleanse Thou my tongue, being not mindful of my manifold sins; that I may extol in song the honourable life of Thy hierarch, in memory of the translation of his relics.

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

Having received the gift of working miracles, and crowns of patience, and being adorned with thy hierarchal office, do thou beseech God, O our Father, that He grant remission of transgressions to us who glorify the translation of thy relics.

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

O Father, shepherd of the flock of Christ, thou art sent to other sheep, of the Latin tongue, that thou mayest astonish all with thy wonders and lead them to Christ. O blessed one, pray thou unceasingly on our behalf.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The heathen nations formerly far removed have drawn nigh unto God through thy birthgiving, O Theotokos; and, deified and set free from the ancient curse by thy blood, I have been given rebirth by thee.

Another Canon to the Holy Hierarch, in Tone IV—

Irmos: I will open my mouth, and with the Spirit will it be filled; and I shall utter discourse unto the Queen and Mother, and shall appear, keeping splendid festival; and, rejoicing, I will hymn her wonders.

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

Illumine my soul and heart, I pray thee, O Bestower of light and Fashioner of creation. Grant unto me the gift of praising in song Thy most honoured favourite, by whom do Thou deliver the world from misfortune.

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

Illumine my soul and heart, I pray thee, O Bestower of light and Fashioner of creation. Grant unto me the gift of praising in song Thy most honoured favourite, by whom do Thou deliver the world from misfortune.

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

Having acquired heavenly wisdom, thou didst invest it as a talent entrusted to thee; for, having set at nought the guile of those opposed to God, thou didst enlighten the people with divine instruction.

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

From a Maiden is the Infant born, pre-eternal of origin and preserved in perfection, Whom thou didst preach in two Natures and in one Hypostasis, O divinely blessed one.

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, Nicholas, pray to God for us.

Guileless in manner and meek in demeanour, possessed of an angelic life, O divinely blessed Nicholas: cease thou never to pray to Him Who loveth mankind, on behalf of us all.

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

What city doth not have thee as a helper, O blessed one? What soul uttereth not thy name? And what place dost thou not visit in spirit, astounding all with thy wonders, O Nicholas?

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

Though the city of Bari hath received thy body, yet thy spirit dwelleth in the heavenly Jerusalem, where thou exultest with the prophets, apostles and holy hierarchs, praying on our behalf to Him Who alone loveth mankind.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Beg thou enlightenment for me who am engulfed in darkness because of my many sins, O all-pure Lady who gavest birth to the Light of the whole world; and drive far from me the gloom of the passions, O divinely blessed one.

Canon II, Irmos: O Theotokos, thou living and abundant fountain: in thy divine glory establish those who hymn thee and spiritually form themselves into a choir; and vouchsafe unto them crowns of glory.

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

The grieving have found great consolation; they that are in darkness have acquired the light; and those assailed by sorrows have in thee received deliverance from evils, O most sacred father.

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

The grieving have found great consolation; they that are in darkness have acquired the light; and those assailed by sorrows have in thee received deliverance from evils, O most sacred father.

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

O holy hierarch Nicholas, who wast the mouth of God: thou hast delivered men from the maw of the diabolic wolf, O glorious one, and hast borne them to the Creator as a gift, granting healing unto all.

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

O most pure Mother of God: the Word Who chose for Himself a servant, the hierarch Nicholas, as a teacher of His people, did will to be born of thee alone in the flesh, in manner past all recounting.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone I: Spec. Mel. “Thy tomb, O Saviour…”: The translation of thy precious relics is for us an occasion of splendid celebration, O Nicholas, holy hierarch of the Lord whom we piously praise, joyously honouring thee, the light of the never-setting Sun, thou adornment of the faithful. (Twice)

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

Tone VIII: As the Master and Fashioner of all things passed by, * He encountered along the way a blind man who was seated there * and who mourned aloud, saying: * All my life I have beheld neither the sun shining forth * nor laid eyes on the bright luminescence of the moon. * Yet since Thou wast born of an immaculate Virgin so as to fill all with light, * do Thou now fill me with Thy light, in that Thou art compassionate. * And thus I shall adore Thee and cry: * Sovereign Master, Christ my God, forgive me my sins, ** in Thine abundant compassion, O Thou only Lover of mankind.

Ode IV, Canon I, Irmos: Thou didst mount Thy steeds, Thine apostles, O Lord, and didst take their bridles in Thy hands; and Thy chariot hath become salvation for those who chant with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

Enlighten my heart and dispel from it the gloom of sin, O holy hierarch who art illumined by the light of the Most High, that I may joyously hymn the holy translation of thy relics.

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

Having ascended the ladder of the virtues, O blessed one, thou wast revealed to all the world as a wonder-worker, O Nicholas; wherefore, the people of Bari removed thy holy relics from Myra.

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

Faithful priests rejoice in thee, and Christ-loving princes call upon thee as an ally in battle; and we, unworthy though we are, exhort thee to pray to God on our behalf, O Nicholas.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The depth of thy mystery doth astound the ranks of the angels, O Theotokos, and thine icon doth cast the demons into confusion; and honouring thee as the Mother of God, we bow down before it.

Canon II, Irmos: Perceiving the inscrutable counsel of God — the Incarnation of Thee, the Most High, from the Virgin — the Prophet Habbakuk cried aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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

O herald of God, through partaking of the primal light of God, thou wast shown to be a secondary luminary, enlightening with thy splendour them that are in darkness, in that thou art a lover of virtue, soaring aloft in glory.

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

O herald of God, through partaking of the primal light of God, thou wast shown to be a secondary luminary, enlightening with thy splendour them that are in darkness, in that thou art a lover of virtue, soaring aloft in glory.

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

Deliver thy flock from the tempests of sins, from waves of tribulation and hostility, guiding us ever to the calm haven by thy saving prayers.

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

He to Whom thou gavest birth in an ineffable manner is by nature the unutterable Light of the Most High, Who is rich in mercy, and hath enriched us, impoverished as we are, with the gifts of God.

Ode V, Canon I, Irmos: O Christ God, Bestower of light, Who didst dispel the primeval darkness of the abyss: disperse the gloom of my soul, and grant me the light of Thy commandments, O Word, that, rising early, I may glorify Thee.

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

Thy cathedra was in Myra, but thy body was transported to Bari; yet in spirit thou dwellest with the apostles in heaven, in that thou art their successor. With them pray for us who hymn the translation of thy relics.

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

O hope of all Christians and great defender of the oppressed, healer of the afflicted, consolation of the grieving and intercessor before the Lord for the human race: beg thou peace for our land, and save us from the incursions of the aliens.

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

Through thine intercessions, O Nicholas, do thou enliven my soul which hath drowned because of its many passions and hath been slain by the fall; and guide it to repentance, that I may glorify the translation of thy relics with all the faithful.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O Virgin, thou dost nourish as a babe Him Whom the myriads of angels and multitudes of the seraphim fear, and before Whom all reason-endowed creatures tremble; and, beholding Him in thine arms, we ever worship Him, as is meet.

Canon II, Irmos: All things are filled with awe at thy divine glory; for thou, O Virgin who hast not known wedlock, didst contain within thy womb Him Who is God over all, and gavest birth to the timeless Son, granting peace unto all who hymn thee.

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

Having acquired beautiful feet through the working of many wonders, thou didst bring glad tidings of good things to all. Freeing all from the ancient enmity by thy divine teaching, save us, O sacred hierarch.

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

Having acquired beautiful feet through the working of many wonders, thou didst bring glad tidings of good things to all. Freeing all from the ancient enmity by thy divine teaching, save us, O sacred hierarch.

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

Embarking upon the crest of the sea by God’s will, thou didst arrive at the city of Bari, having traversed the deep with many pious men, O blessed Nicholas.

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

We truly glorify thee, O Virgin Mother of God, as the shield of the faithful, crying out to thee as did the angel: Rejoice, thou who art blessed and full of grace, awesome rumour and report, wondrous place of rest for the Master of all creation!

Ode VI, Canon I, Irmos: As Thou didst deliver the prophet from the uttermost abyss, O Christ God, in that Thou lovest mankind deliver me from my sins, and direct my life, I beseech Thee.

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

Health of body and cleansing of soul do we receive abundantly from thy divine church as from a pool, O holy hierarch Nicholas; for through grace wonders pour forth upon them that trust in thee with faith unfeigned.

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

As thou art the most glorious favourite of Christ, O father, deliver thy servants, who honour the translation of thy holy relics, from all manner of danger, from grievous misfortunes and the sorrows that beset us.

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

Blighted by the frost of sin and driven by the wind of life, let me be warmed by thy prayers, gazing upon the likeness of thy divine image; for thou art a second sun, O father Nicholas, thou servant of Christ.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The earthly mind cannot comprehend heavenly mysteries; neither can a creature attain to knowledge of the Creator: for the birth of the Lord from the Virgin passeth man’s understanding. And entreating her with faith, we shall receive remission of sins.

Canon II, Irmos: Celebrating this divine and most honoured festival of the Mother of God, come, ye divinely wise, let us clap our hands and glorify God Who was born of her.

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

Save us by thy guidance, O Nicholas, preacher and teacher of the nations, who hast led to salvation the people of God Who appeared in the flesh for the benefit of many.

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

Save us by thy guidance, O Nicholas, preacher and teacher of the nations, who hast led to salvation the people of God Who appeared in the flesh for the benefit of many.

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

O thou who didst have the sea as thy way and the waters as thy paths: beseech the Lord, that we may navigate the sea of life unharmed, and may reach the heavenly kingdom by the waters of our tears.

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

Thou art the portal of the King of the heavens and the temple of His glory, O all-hymned Virgin. Open thou the gates of mercy, and lead us into the abode of heavenly glory by thy supplications.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Today the ­Virgin…”: Thy relics have moved like a star, from the East unto the West, O holy hierarch Nicholas; and the sea hath been sanctified by thy passage. The city of Bari receiveth grace through thee, for thou hast been shown forth for us as a wonder-worker: illustrious, most wondrous and merciful.

Ikos: Let us now praise with hymns the holy hierarch, pastor and teacher of the people of Myra, that by his entreaties we may be enlightened. For he is shown to be wholly pure, incorrupt of spirit, bringing unto Christ an unblemished sacrifice, pure and well-pleasing unto God, in that he is a hierarch pure of both body and soul. Wherefore, he is truly an intercessor and champion for the Church, and a wonder-worker: illustrious, most-wondrous and merciful.

Ode VII, Canon I, Irmos: On the plain of Dura the tyrant once built a furnace to torment the God-bearers; and therein the three youths chanted hymns unto the one God, and sang, all three together, saying: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Today the angels of God rejoice and a multitude of demons lamenteth; for He hath delivered the people from temptation and hath driven away the spirits of darkness. Wherefore, thou, O Nicholas, art worthily called victor; for which cause we chant unto the Lord: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

They that are taken with the grief of sickness, who are heavy laden with divers afflictions, hasten to thy shrine with faith, and, having received thy mercy, depart in haste, joyfully chanting unto the Lord: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

The assemblies of the people stand before thee, O blessed one, and the teachers of the Church rejoice in thee. Kings glorify thee as their defender; and we entreat thee, O Nicholas: Save us who chant unto the Lord: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O how can I chant unto my Saviour, Whom even the angels praise with trembling? But do thou, O Mother, direct me, and by thy compassion move the mercy of thy Son to have pity on us who set our hope on thee. As thou dost beseech Him in our behalf, deliver us from torment.

Canon II, Irmos: The divinely wise youths worshipped not a creation rather than the Creator, but, manfully trampling the threat of the fire underfoot, they rejoice, chanting: Blessed art Thou, the all-hymned God of our fathers!

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

By thy word grant healing to the whole human soul which, like salt, hath lost its savour through the vanity of things; and teach us to chant unto the Lord: O all-hymned Lord and God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

By thy word grant healing to the whole human soul which, like salt, hath lost its savour through the vanity of things; and teach us to chant unto the Lord: O all-hymned Lord and God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

O most glorious are the wonders thou hast wrought! For thou healest infirmities and deliverest from misfortunes, commanding all to chant unto the Lord: O all-hymned God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

O pure Theotokos, thou art the defender and rampart of our lowliness, and we, thy servants, ever cry unto the Lord: O all-hymned God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Canon I, Irmos: O ye angels and heavens, bless, hymn and exalt supremely praise Him Who sitteth upon the throne of glory and as God is glorified unceasingly forever!

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

The angels of the heavens accept thee as a minister, and the prophets greet thee as a fellow servant. The Lord Himself receiveth thee. And we sinners ask thee for mercy.

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

Great is the authority given thee by God, O Nicholas: the sea is subject to thee; the winds obey thee; and the nations, beholding thy most glorious wonders, submit themselves to thee.

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

O Saviour, Thou hast shown Thy holy hierarch Nicholas to be more glorious than Moses, delivering from all tribulation the New Israel, the Christian people.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

In that thou art the Mother of God, ask for us remission of sins, O Lady, and stretch forth thy hand unto me, who am sunk in the abyss of despair, that, raised up by hope, I may exalt thee supremely for all ages.

Canon II, Irmos: The birthgiving of the Theotokos saved the pious children in the furnace – then in figure, but now in deed – and it moveth all the world to chant to Thee: Hymn ye the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Thou didst grow as a sweet-smelling flower in the land of Myra, O glorious one, wafting gifts of healing like fragrant perfume upon all that praise thee and sing: O ye works, chant unto the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Thou didst grow as a sweet-smelling flower in the land of Myra, O glorious one, wafting gifts of healing like fragrant perfume upon all that praise thee and sing: O ye works, chant unto the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Having poured out the sweetness of God’s grace like oil from the Mount of Olives, thou didst have in the sea a path made safe by the grace of the Lord, to Whom we sweetly cry: O ye works, chant unto the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Thou gavest birth, yet remainest ever Virgin, to the astonishment of the choirs above; for thou didst bear the Word, Who was man unaltered by His divinity, and to Whom we sing: O ye works, chant unto the Lord and exalt Him ­supremely for all ages!

Ode IX, Canon I, Irmos: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, Who hath exalted the horn of salvation for us in the house of David His child, wherein the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, and directed us to the path of peace.

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

Blessed be the Lord our God, for He hath glorified His holy hierarch throughout all lands, who gusheth forth streams of wonders, who worketh healing in all the lands of Myra and of the Latins, who visiteth us with mercy.

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

Blessed be the Lord our God, for He hath glorified His holy hierarch throughout all lands, who gusheth forth streams of wonders, who worketh healing in all the lands of Myra and of the Latins, who visiteth us with mercy.

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

Thou didst fall into an honourable sleep and didst permit thy body to go to Bari for the good of all; for by thy supplications thou art an ever-vigilant defender for all that call upon thee with

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

At a loss for words, I am unable to praise thee fittingly, who art higher than the heavenly hosts and more honourable than all creation, who gavest birth to God the Creator in the flesh. Entreat Him, O Theotokos, to have mercy upon us on the day of judgment.

Canon II, Irmos: Let every mortal leap for joy, enlightened by the Spirit; and let the nature of the incorporeal intelligences keep festival, honouring the sacred feast of the Mother of God, and let them cry aloud: Rejoice, O most blessed Theotokos, pure Ever-virgin!

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

Thy memorial is for us an occasion of festivity this day. The choir of the apostles, the assembly of martyrs and the spirits of the righteous rejoice; and we, the faithful, glorify thee with hymns, crying aloud: O holy hierarch of Christ, deliver us from all sorrows!

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

Thy memorial is for us an occasion of festivity this day. The choir of the apostles, the assembly of martyrs and the spirits of the righteous rejoice; and we, the faithful, glorify thee with hymns, crying aloud: O holy hierarch of Christ, deliver us from all sorrows!

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

Thy most glorious memory hath shown forth upon us, illumining the faithful with splendour, O wise Nicholas, holy hierarch of Christ. Wherefore, we beseech thee: be thou mindful of us all, and deliver us from all the temptations of the adversary by thine intercessions.

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

Mortify our carnal passions and lusts, O pure Theotokos; still the tempest of our passions; calm the tumult of our thoughts; and strengthen the hearts of them that honour thee as their defender, O most pure and blessed one.

Troparion, Tone IV: The day of splendid solemnity is come; the city of Bari rejoiceth, and with it the whole world doth exult with hymns and spiritual songs. For today is the sacred feast of the translation of the precious and much-healing relics of the hierarch Nicholas the wonder-worker. For like the never-setting Sun, he shineth with brilliant beams of light, driving away the darkness of temptations and misfortunes from them that cry out with faith: Save us, O Nicholas, for thou art our intercessor!

The Canon to St Athanasius the Great

The Canon of the Holy Hierarch, the Acrostic Whereof  Is: “Athanasius was the boast of the Orthodox”, the Composition of Theophanes, Tone VIII

Ode I, Irmos: The staff of Moses, once working a wonder, striking the sea in the form of the Cross and dividing it, drowned the mounted tyrant Pharaoh, and saved Israel who fled on foot, chanting a hymn unto God.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

To Athanasius do I offer praise, lauding him as a doer of good; and I offer yet higher laudation unto God, by Whom men are given the right-praiseworthy gift of virtue, of which he became the animate image and seal.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Thou wast full of divine wisdom, O blessed one, and shining in thine angelic life more than the sun, thou hast surpassed the laws of our praise; yet accept praise from us, O venerable father, even though it is not worthy of thee.

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

We fittingly weave a hymn on the glorious day of thy commemoration, O Athanasius; yet, lacking greater hymns fit for thee, we ask that thou forgive us, and that the abundant grace of the Spirit be given us through thee.

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

Thou gavest birth to the divine Word of the Father, Him Who before was incorporeal yet became incarnate for our sake, O most immaculate one, thou boast of virgins, vessel of purity and temple of purity, O Mistress of the world, Bride of God.

Ode III, Irmos: O Christ, Who in the beginning established the heavens in wisdom and founded the earth upon the waters, make me steadfast upon the rock of Thy commandments; for none is holy as Thee, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Having purified thy soul and body of all defilement, O Athanasius, thou wast shown to be worthy of God; wherefore, the fullness of the Trinity rested within thee, O initiate of the sacred mysteries of God, who art most rich.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

As thou didst desire, the grace of the Comforter, finding thy soul cleansed of the passions, manifestly showed forth its actions therein, O father, and set thee before the world as an all-radiant lamp.

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

To hierarchs thou hast shown thyself to be a rule of hierarchy and a pattern of the active life; and thy lucid discourse was shown to be a model of vision, and doctrine to be the limit of thy theology, O all-wise one.

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

Thou wast shown to be more exalted than the cherubim and the seraphim, O Theotokos; for thou alone didst receive the infinite God in thy womb, O undefiled one. Wherefore, all of us, the faithful, bless thee with hymns, O pure one.

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the wisdom…”: Having learned the wisdom of the Word and cast down the deception of Arius, thou didst preach the Orthodox Faith to the world; for thou didst explain that Christ the Word, our life, is truly consubstantial with the Father. Wherefore, with oneness of mind the Church doth glorify the consubstantial Trinity in one Godhead, O God-bearing Athanasius. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of offenses unto those who with love honor thy holy memory. Twice

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

Sessional Hymn, Tone VIII: At Mid-Feast Thou didst stand in the Temple’s court * in a god-befitting manner * and didst cry aloud: * Let him who doth suffer thirst now draw nigh unto Me and drink. * He that drinketh of the sacred water that I shall give, * from within shall the springs of My teachings issue forth. * Whosoever doth believe that the Divine Father hath sent Me, * and that I came forth from Him, * with Me he shall be glorified. * Therefore, we cry unto Thee: * Glory be to Thee, O Christ God, * Who dost cause the streams of Thy great love for mankind, * to abundantly well forth unto us, Thy servants.

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!

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

From on high the Spirit of Christ breathed upon thee the life-bearing breath which of old divinely entered the upper chamber and filled the disciples; and it showed thee, O father, to be a thirteenth apostle proclaiming the Orthodox Faith.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Burning greatly with divine zeal, thou didst aid the council in Nicæa; and even before thou wast made a hierarch thou didst preach that Christ the Word is consubstantial with the Father. Wherefore, Christ made thee a chief shepherd and disciple.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Entrusted by divine providence with the task of nurturing the Church, O Athanasius, like a scythe thou didst cut down all the spiritually harmful blasphemies of the heretics, severing them at the root; and, watering the seed of the Word, thou didst cultivate it, O wise one.

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

Arius’ severing of Father from Son and Sabellius’ confusion between Them, which proceed from immeasurable evil unto the dishonor of God Who is equally worshipped, were utterly consumed by thy fiery tongue, O Athanasius, and all heretical blasphemies with them.

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

After the first Adam, Thou didst become the new Adam; coming after our first mother, Thou art the Deliverer and Savior of all; and after death, Thou art the true Life immortal. Wherefore, acknowledging her who gave thee birth to be the Theotokos, we call her, the pure one, blessed, as is meet.

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.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Having Christ speaking within the melodious instrument of thy tongue, O father Athanasius, with thy writing thou didst put to shame the heresy of idols, guiding the lost and turning them to the true God.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

All pernicious heresies didst thou denounce with thy discourses and writings, O blessed father, dispelling from the whole world all manner of falsehood with thy wise demonstrations, and indisputably making clear the Orthodox Faith.

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

The Church of Christ truly calleth thee a great teacher of wise teachers, O father Athanasius, and hath numbered with the apostles thee who dost elucidate the unsullied word of the Faith.

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

Having acquired maternal boldness before thy Son, O most pure one, disdain not to take thought for us as thy kin, we pray; for thee alone do we Christians set before the Master to obtain cleansing of His mercy.

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.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Apollinarius, showing himself to be the sower of alien seed, preaching that the incarnation of Christ was that of an earthly Word and mind, was strongly denounced by thee as mindless and perverted, O all-blessed one.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

The power of Thy divinely inspired words hath, like the voice of thunder, manifestly smote the ears of the heretics and made their faces dark, O thou who art pleasing to God.

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

Everyone doth marvel, as is meet, at thy wise writings, which suitably make reference to offshoots of heresy yet to be, which, foreseeing, thou dost refute prophetically.

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

The only-begotten Son, the God of my salvation, Who before time began was invisible, in latter times became the Firstborn of the day, becoming visible in the flesh through thee, O Mother of God.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone II, Spec. Mel. “Of thy blood…”: Planting Orthodox doctrines, thou didst cut down the thorns of heresy, increasing the seed of the Faith with the rain of the Spirit, O venerable one; wherefore, we hymn thee, O Athanasius.

Ikos: Pouring forth the torrents of the divine teaching of thy discourses upon the world, thou gavest drink to the souls of the faithful, O Athanasius, and didst drown the proponents of heresy like Egyptians of old, giving us the divinely inscribed law of Orthodoxy, that we may worship the Trinity in one Godhead. Therewith hast thou preserved us, delivering us from the invisible foe; wherefore, we hymn thee, O Athanasius.

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!

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Having preached in Orthodox manner that the Word, the only-begotten Son, is equally worshipped and equally enthroned with the Father, O father, namesake of immortality, thou didst likewise teach that He is equally enthroned and consubstantial with the Spirit.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

The father of ungodliness, seeing thee to be a sacred teacher and preacher of the three-Sunned Light, who proclaimed the Orthodox Faith even unto the ends of the earth, raised up persecutions against thee.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

The countless tribulations thou didst endure when contending for piety, O blessed one, were like radiant crowns; for thou wast as adamant to those who beat thee, and like a magnet didst thou draw all to thee.

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

Strange and alien dogmas didst thou drive from the Church of Christ, theologizing concerning the hypostases of the Trinity and the unity of the Godhead, whom thou didst hymn, chanting: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

As thou alone art the one who, without knowing wedlock, gave birth in time to the Timeless One, the Word Who before was incorporeal, O Virgin, we chant to Him together, crying: Blessed is the God of our ­fathers!

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!

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

O Athanasius, right glorious adornment of hierarchs, pillar of light, foundation of the Church, champion of the Trinity, golden clarion of theology, famed recorder of the laws of the monastic life, thou dost celebrate with us, bringing priests to perfection and leading the faithful to Christ forever.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Thou wast truly the namesake of immortality, for in thy discourse thou didst transcend active things; and overcoming tangible things in thy discourse and through the fame of thy life, in both thou didst pass all bounds. Wherefore, shining forth with immutable virtue, thou hast acquired an immortal memory forever.

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

O God-pleasing initiate of the mysteries of heaven, thou didst show forth a most splendid episcopacy in thy valiant sufferings: thou didst dispel falsehood by thy frequent banishment for the Trinity, Whom preaching thou dost cry: Worship the Father, bless the Son, and hymn the Spirit for all ages!

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

Thou wast a vessel of the never-waning Light, O all-pure one, for He hath been a light to those in darkness and shadow, illumining all things with the grace of divine knowledge. Him do we unceasingly hymn, O ye faithful, for all ages.

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.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Thou didst shine forth like lightning, O father, and thy sound poured forth like thunder on all upon whom the sun doth look; for thou didst receive true inspiration from the heavens above. Wherefore, let not the grave cause thy memory to be extinguished, O Athanasius.

Holy Father Athanasius, pray to God for us.

Illumined now most brightly with the thrice radiant light of the threefold Sun, like a mirror thou dost reveal effulgence to those who hymn thee, shining from on high like the sun. O blessed one, do that which we beseech of thee, whether it be great or insignificant.

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

Chanting, we entreat thee earnestly: pray thou for the Church, that through the Cross victories may be granted to Orthodox Christians, strength given to the Orthodox Faith against the heresies of the enemy, salvation to us, and peace to the world on the day of thy commemoration, O Athanasius.

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

O intercessor for all Christians, all-immaculate Virgin Mother of God, in that thou art merciful deliver from tribulations and perils thine oppressed servants who have suffered the wounds of cruel scourgings, and heal thou those on whom painful stripes have been inflicted.

Troparion, Tone III: Thou wast a pillar of Orthodoxy, strengthening the Church with divine dogmas, O sacred hierarch Athanasius; for, preaching the Son as consubstantial with the Father, thou didst put Arius to shame. O venerable father, entreat Christ God, that He grant us great mercy.

St Athanasius the Great: 2/15 May

Saint Athanasius the Great, Archbishop of Alexandria, was a great Father of the Church and a pillar of Orthodoxy. He was born around the year 297 in the city of Alexandria into a family of pious Christians. He received a fine secular education, but he acquired more knowledge by diligent study of the Holy Scripture. In his childhood, the future hierarch Athanasius became known to Saint Alexander the Patriarch of Alexandria (May 29). A group of children, which included Athanasius, were playing at the seashore. The Christian children decided to baptize their pagan playmates.

The young Athanasius, whom the children designated as “bishop”, performed the Baptism, precisely repeating the words he heard in church during this sacrament. Patriarch Alexander observed all this from a window. He then commanded that the children and their parents be brought to him. He conversed with them for a long while, and determined that the Baptism performed by the children was done according to the Church order. He acknowledged the Baptism as real and sealed it with the sacrament of Chrismation. From this moment, the Patriarch looked after the spiritual upbringing of Athanasius and in time brought him into the clergy, at first as a reader, and then he ordained him as a deacon.

It was as a deacon that Saint Athanasius accompanied Patriarch Alexander to the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in the year 325. At the Council, Saint Athanasius refuted of the heresy of Arius. His speech met with the approval of the Orthodox Fathers of the Council, but the Arians, those openly and those secretly so, came to hate Athanasius and persecuted him for the rest of his life.

After the death of holy Patriarch Alexander, Saint Athanasius was unanimously chosen as his successor in the See of Alexandria. He refused, accounting himself unworthy, but at the insistence of all the Orthodox populace that it was in agreement, he was consecrated bishop when he was twenty-eight, and installed as the archpastor of the Alexandrian Church. Saint Athanasius guided the Church for forty-seven years, and during this time he endured persecution and grief from his antagonists. Several times he was expelled from Alexandria and hid himself from the Arians in desolate places, since they repeatedly tried to kill him. Saint Athanasius spent more than twenty years in exile, returned to his flock, and then was banished again.

There was a time when he remained as the only Orthodox bishop in the area, a moment when all the other bishops had fallen into heresy. At the false councils of Arian bishops he was deposed as bishop. Despite being persecuted for many years, the saint continued to defend the purity of the Orthodox Faith, and he wrote countless letters and tracts against the Arian heresy.

When Julian the Apostate (361-363) began a persecution against Christians, his wrath first fell upon Saint Athanasius, whom he considered a great pillar of Orthodoxy. Julian intended to kill the saint in order to strike Christianity a grievous blow, but he soon perished himself. Mortally wounded by an arrow during a battle, he cried out with despair: “You have conquered, O Galilean.” After Julian’s death, Saint Athanasius guided the Alexandrian Church for seven years and died in 373, at the age of seventy-six.

Numerous works of Saint Athanasius have been preserved; four Orations against the Arian heresy; also an Epistle to Epictetus, bishop of the Church of Corinth, on the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ; four Epistles to Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, about the Holy Spirit and His Equality with the Father and the Son, directed against the heresy of Macedonius.

Other apologetic works in defense of Orthodoxy have been preserved, among which is the Letter to the Emperor Constantius. Saint Athanasius wrote commentaries on Holy Scripture, and books of a moral and didactic character, as well as a biography of Saint Anthony the Great (January 17), with whom Saint Athanasius was very close. Saint John Chrysostom advised every Orthodox Christian to read this Life.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

The Canon to St Mark the Evangelist

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

O blessed one, who like a skilful fisherman hast drawn men forth from the deep of transgressions with thy net, illumine my soul with radiant splendours, and grant that I may praise thy memory as is meet, O divinely revealed evangelist Mark.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

The pre-eternal and supremely perfect God, Who with the Father is equally beginningless, appeared on earth incarnate as a man, and showed thee forth, O blessed one, as His fellow-labourer in grace and His most wise servant, who art strengthened by His power.

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

Thou wast a disciple of the most wise Peter, and was greatly enriched thereby, O all-glorious Mark, showing thyself to be an initiate of the divine mysteries, and one who followed in his glorious footsteps.

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

The Angel of Great Counsel, having assumed flesh, manifested Himself to the world through the Virgin Mother, and showed thee forth, O father Mark, as a disciple adorned with virtues, a divine herald proclaiming His words.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thy friend Mark, O Christ, proclaiming Thee, the hypostatic Wisdom, hath thereby enlightened the whole world O Lord, with thine abundantly splendid rays, O Lover of mankind.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

O Christ, Who lovest mankind, Thine eyewitness Mark, having received an ever- flowing stream of wisdom resounding like a river, hath watered the ends of the earth with the light of divine knowledge, truly revealing Thy prophecy.

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

Manifestly following Peter, O wise one, as his disciple thou didst copy the Gospel, receiving from him the light of theology and clearly proclaiming the coming of God in the flesh, O apostle.

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

Thou didst cause the temples of the demons to quake, O Thou Who wast aforetime borne to Egypt in the Virgin’s arms, and thither Thou didst send Mark, that all might know of Thy divine mystery and that Thou hadst become man.

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

Sessional Hymn of the evangelist, in Tone I: Spec. Mel.: “Thy tomb, O Saviour …”: Having ascended to the summit of virtue, O divine Mark, as a godly preacher thou hast thundered down upon us the great mysteries of the dogmas of salvation. Wherefore in faith we entreat thee, O most blessed one; free us from every sorrow, offence and misfortune.

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

Seedless was thy conception, and transcending understanding was thy childbirth, O immaculate Virgin Mother; an awesome deed, an exceeding great wonder, honoured by the angels and glorified by mortal men, O Lady and Maiden.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thy sound hath gone forth into all the earth, O most wise one, and the power of thy words manifestly extendeth to the ends of the world, like David splendidly preaching our salvation and renewal.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Like lightning Thy most wise apostle hath appeared to the world, O Saviour, announcing the joy of truth, illumined with the divine radiance of effulgence, unto our salvation and renewal.

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

Thy feet were adorned prophetically, for ineffably hast thou announced unto us the Peace that hath manifestly revealed Himself in the flesh to the ends of the world, unto our salvation and renewal.

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

The Word sat upon the cloud of the Virgin and, in that He is merciful, He made foolish the counsels of Egypt and hath destroyed thoughts adverse to God through the teachings of the divine Mark, unto our salvation and renewal.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou didst let fall the sweetness of piety, the shower of thy divine words, casting light over all in bright beams, clearly revealed by the grace of the noetic Sun, O all-blessed and God-pleasing Mark.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

From the house of the Lord thou didst pour forth a wellspring watering barren hearts abundantly with spiritual streams, teaching them to bring forth fruit instead of barrenness, O apostle.

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

Thou wast the son of the great Peter, and illumined by his teaching thou didst enlighten the souls who approached thee fervently, O blessed apostle, seer of God.

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

O Christ Who shone forth from the Father before all creation, and wast born of the Virgin as a man, Thou wast sent to the Egyptians. For them, O Wise One, Thou didst anoint Mark who hath taught them the mysteries of divine knowledge.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Thou didst set at naught the scorn of the wicked, O Lord, and didst put down their prideful arrogance, showing forth Thine apostle as a conqueror by Thy might, for Thou art the strength and restoration of the afflicted.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

By thy words, O wise Mark, thou didst preach the Fashioner of creation, the Crown of hope wherewith we are now crowned, and which, to our glory, hath been wrought of the nature of the flesh.

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

O glorious one, the pre-eminent Peter clearly instructed thee to mystically record the precious Gospel, showing thee to be a servant of divine grace, for thou didst shed the light of divine knowledge upon us.

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

Through the Virgin Mother of God didst Thou enlighten Egypt which aforetime was in darkness, entering it as an infant, O Lord; and Thou didst reprove its vanity through the teachings pf the divinely eloquent Mark, 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; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “Seeking the highest …”: Receiving from on high the grace of the Spirit, * thou didst destroy the snares of the orators, O apostle, * and, hunting all the nations, * thou didst lead them to thy Master, O all-glorious Mark, ** preaching the divine Gospel.

Ikos: A disciple of the pre-eminent apostle, with him thou didst preach Christ the Son of God, rendering steadfast upon the rock of truth those who were shaken by falsehood. Do thou also make me steadfast thereon, and set aright my steps, that, delivered from the snares of the enemy, I may glorify thee without faltering, for thou hast enlightened all, O wise Mark, preaching the divine Gospel.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Illumined with divine rays, thou dost mystically, by reflection, emit radiant beams, O most blessed Mark, for thou didst preach the Word incarnate, the Timeless One, the praised and supremely glorious God of our fathers.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

O Maker of all, having armed thy divinely eloquent disciple with divinely effective power, Thou didst make of him a wonderworker, for he hath dispelled affliction and healed wounds, preaching Thee, the supremely praised and supremely glorious God.

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

Having as teacher the divine Peter, the first in rank among the choir of the apostles, thou didst show thyself to be like unto him, for thou didst bring order to all the fullness of the Church of the supremely praised and supremely glorious God of our fathers.

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

Following the saying of Isaiah, O most glorious one, thou didst thyself set up a pillar in Egypt: the scripture of thy Gospel, for Him Who, without seed, was born of the Mother of God, proclaiming our supremely praised and supremely glorious God.

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Christ, the Word begotten of the Father before all ages, Who clothed Himself in human nature, didst thou preach, O glorious one; and thou didst cry aloud: O all ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt the Lord throughout all ages!

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

O glorious one, thou didst glorify Christ Who gaveth Himself as deliverance from our offence and passion and raised up the fallen; and thou didst cry: O all ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt the Lord throughout all ages!

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

Submitting to the most wise teaching of Peter, O Mark, thou didst most wisely commit to writing the precious Gospel for the faithful who cry aloud: O all ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt the Lord throughout all ages!

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

Bearing Emmanuel as an infant, the Virgin stood before the Egyptians, to whom Mark is set like a radiant star, crying aloud: O all ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt the Lord throughout all ages!

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

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

Having reached the ineffable wellspring of the three-sunned radiance O divinely revealed one, and most manifestly delighting in the divinity therein, which is beyond the mind of mortals, thou dost now unceasingly rejoice with the angels O most blessed one.

Holy, glorious, all-praised, Apostle and Evangelist, Mark, pray to God for us.

As one who was familiar with the teachings of Peter, and his godly preaching, thou dwellest now in the heavenly mansions with him, O most blessed and godly-spoken one, do thou pray for us O apostle Mark.

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

The Light, thrice-radiantly joined and strangely unified, didst thou piously preach, a right worthy one, illumined by a ray of grace. Wherefore, we entreat thee: Ever offer supplication on our behalf.

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

The honoured apostle Mark was given as a holy hierarch to the Egyptians, to whom the Lord of glory had also come, incarnate as a babe through the pure Virgin Mother of God; and Him do we magnify as is meet.

Troparion, in Tone III: O holy apostle and evangelist Mark, * entreat the Merciful God * that He grant remission of sins ** unto our souls.

Another Troparion, same tone: Thou wast an apostle of Christ who learned from the pre-eminent Peter, * and didst shine like the sun upon the lands of the Alexandrians, * being their adornment. * Through thee was Egypt freed from deception, O blessed one, * who as the Church’s pillar of fire dost illumine all with thy teaching of the Gospel. * Wherefore, honouring thy memory, we keep splendid festival, ** O divinely eloquent Mark, entreat God, that He grant unto our souls, remission of sins.