Canons for the Translation of the Relics of St Nicholas the Wonderworker

The Canon of the Saint, 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 in our behalf.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

The heathen nations formerly far removed have drawn nigh unto God through thy birth-giving, 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, 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.

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, in 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 in our behalf to Him Who alone loveth mankind.

Most Holy Mother of God, 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.

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.

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. 

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

Repeat the foregoing hymn.

Ode IV, 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 in our behalf, O Nicholas.

Most Holy Mother of God, 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.

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.

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, 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 Mother of God, 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.

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.

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 rumor and report, wondrous place of rest for the Master of all creation!

Ode VI, 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 favorite 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 Mother of God, 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.

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.

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, 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, 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 Mother of God, 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.

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 savor 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 savor 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!

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, Irmos: O ye angels and heavens, bless, hymn and exalt supremely 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 Mother of God, 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.

Irmos: The birth-giving 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!

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, 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 faith, O Nicholas.

Most Holy Mother of God, 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.

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.

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!

Translation of the Relics of St Nicholas the Wonderworker

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 honors his memory in particular.

Numerous churches and monasteries were built in honor 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.”

SOURCE: https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2023/05/09/101336-translation-of-the-relics-of-saint-nicholas-the-wonderworker-fro

The Canons to St John the Theologian & St Arsenius

Canon of the Apostle, in 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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

In that thou wast pure and beloved of the incorruptible light, thou didst recline, resting against His breast, and with thy bold soul didst draw forth from the Abyss of wisdom the light of understanding, O blessed Apostle John.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

In that thou wast pure and beloved of the incorruptible light, thou didst recline, resting against His breast, and with thy bold soul didst draw forth from the Abyss of wisdom the light of understanding, O blessed Apostle John.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Theologising supernaturally, thou didst thunder forth, O beloved of Christ: “In the beginning was the Word, as alive and hypostatic as His Father; and the Word was God; and the Word became flesh, and remained God immutable.”

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Fleeing beneath thy protection, O pure one, we are buried beneath all the perils which befall us, O all-pure one. Wherefore, we now beseech thee: From the depths of transgressions raise up the fallen by thy divine entreaties, O pure one.

Canon of the venerable one, in the same tone

Irmos: The staff of Moses…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Submitting to the divine precept of the Master, thou didst abandon the glory of royal wealth, as did Moses the law-giver; and fleeing from men, thou becamest a dweller with the angels, rejoicing with them.

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Submitting to the divine precept of the Master, thou didst abandon the glory of royal wealth, as did Moses the law-giver; and fleeing from men, thou becamest a dweller with the angels, rejoicing with them.

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

Fleeing from turmoil, O Arsenius, thou didst restrain thy tongue with silence as it were a spring of sin; wherefore, in stillness thou didst preserve thy mind untroubled, becoming a right magnificent house of rest for the divine Spirit.

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

All-glorious things have been said of thee among generations of generations, O Mary Theotokos who contained God the Word in thy womb, and remained pure. Wherefore, we all honour thee as our help after 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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Among fishermen thou becamest a fisher of men and a theologian, O wise John, setting aside the love of thy father and that of the world, and following the Word and Master with divine desire.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Among fishermen thou becamest a fisher of men and a theologian, O wise John, setting aside the love of thy father and that of the world, and following the Word and Master with divine desire.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Having purified the eyes of thy soul, O theologian, thou didst behold the ineffable glory which doth emanate from the Word, the only-begotten Son of the Father, through Whom all things are wisely accomplished by the divine Spirit.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

We flee beneath thy saving refuge, O Virgin Theotokos, and find salvation from the assaults of the enemy by thy supplications; and we are delivered from the torment which is to come, O pure one.

Irmos: O Christ, Who in the beginning…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

O father Arsenius, the torn and exceedingly tattered rags of thy poverty, assumed in emulation of Christ, replaced the splendour of thy former robes, winning for thee vesture of ineffable glory.

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

O father Arsenius, the torn and exceedingly tattered rags of thy poverty, assumed in emulation of Christ, replaced the splendour of thy former robes, winning for thee vesture of ineffable glory.

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

Receiving help from God through contrition of heart, O father Arsenius, thou didst cast down the offences of the enemy and the boastful spirit, becoming a victor through humility.

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 within 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.

Kontakion of the Venerable One, Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Today the Virgin…”: From Rome thou didst shine forth like the great sun, and thou didst reach the imperial city, O all-blessed one, illumining it with thy words and deeds and dispelling all the darkness of ignorance. Wherefore, we honor thee, O venerable Arsenius, thou glory of the fathers.

Ikos: Hearkening to the voice of the Lord, and forsaking the beauties of this world, O divinely wise one, thou didst enter upon the monastic life, emulating the life of the angels. Wherefore, thou wast shown to be wholly transformed, an angel in the body, offering to Christ fasting and tears, blameless prayer and standing all night. Thus thou becamest a temple of the Trinity, a model for monks, an instructor in the virtues and a fervent advocate for those who ever honor thee. Therefore, we honor thee, O venerable Arsenius, thou glory of the fathers.

Sessional hymn, Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “Of the Wisdom…”: Having reclined against the breast of Wisdom and learned an understanding of things, thou didst thunder forth divinely: “In the beginning was the Word!”, being the first to record the unoriginate begetting; and thou hast proclaimed to all the incarnation of the Word. Wherefore, fishing for the nations, using thy tongue as a net, thou teachest the ends of the earth by the grace of the Spirit, and dost enlighten them with miracles. O theologian and apostle, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love celebrate thy holy memory.

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

Sessional Hymn of the Venerable One, the same tone & melody: Fleeing the tumults of the world and perfecting thy life in stillness, thou didst mortify the passions and furnish thy mind with wings to soar aloft to God; and thou wast shown to be a pillar of fire and a luminary for all the faithful who honour thee. And thou didst show thyself to be a fruitful tree watered by showers of tears. O God-bearing Arsenius, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of offences unto those who honour thy holy memory with love.

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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

The Lord called thee the son of thunder and vouchsafed through the Spirit that thou thunder forth that He was ineffably begotten of the Father divinely and unapproachably; wherefore, with hymns we glorify as is meet thy most festive memory, O theologian.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

The Lord called thee the son of thunder and vouchsafed through the Spirit that thou thunder forth that He was ineffably begotten of the Father divinely and unapproachably; wherefore, with hymns we glorify as is meet thy most festive memory, O theologian.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Thou didst mount to the heights by the virtues, O apostle, and didst behold the only-begotten Word shining forth with glory in the flesh, Who sitteth eternally in the bosom of the Father; and thou wast vouchsafed to hear the voice of the Father, Who bore witness that He was His Son.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

As I now flee to thine aid, O most immaculate one, let me not, thy useless servant, be put to shame; for thee do I have as an intercessor before God and an impregnable bulwark. In thee may I enjoy the tranquility and divine life which is to come, I pray.

Irmos: Thou art my strength, O Lord…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Thou hast shown thyself to be a constrainer of nature, O father Arsenius, for thou didst make the passions subject to the dominion of thy mind, commanding sleep as though it were a servant. Wherefore, thou didst cry out amid thine all-night vigils: Glory to Thy power, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Thou hast shown thyself to be a constrainer of nature, O father Arsenius, for thou didst make the passions subject to the dominion of thy mind, commanding sleep as though it were a servant. Wherefore, thou didst cry out amid thine all-night vigils: Glory to Thy power, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

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

Thou didst seek after God with all thy desire, O venerable one. Thou didst greatly desire Him Who had revealed Himself, and having become wholly godly in appearance through purity, thou didst converse with Him Whom thou didst desire, gaining understanding through a union past all attainment, O father Arsenius.

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

Thou art the boast of the faithful, O unwedded one; thou art the intercessor and refuge of Christians, their rampart and haven: for thou bearest supplications to thy Son, O most immaculate one, and savest from misfortunes those who with faith and love acknowledge thee to be the pure Theotokos.

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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Beholding the all-pure Light Who shone forth amid the darkness of the world, thou wast transformed by love; and as a beacon of piety, O John, thou didst illumine with the light of theology the generations of populous nations.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Beholding the all-pure Light Who shone forth amid the darkness of the world, thou wast transformed by love; and as a beacon of piety, O John, thou didst illumine with the light of theology the generations of populous nations.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Having learned that the shadowy law was given by Moses, but that divine grace came about through Christ our God, O beloved son of thunder, thou didst proclaim His divinity with the language of theology.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Thou art my protection and might, my confirmation and indestructible rampart, O all-pure one, and I call upon thee: Night and day preserve me from all the harm wrought by Belial, that I may glorify thee with faith and love.

Irmos: Wherefore hast Thou turned Thy face from me…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Perceiving well the wiles of the enemy, O father, thou didst piously reject the instigator of the primeval disobedience of Adam the first created; wherefore, dancing in the immaculate haven of sustenance, entreat Christ the Master.

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Perceiving well the wiles of the enemy, O father, thou didst piously reject the instigator of the primeval disobedience of Adam the first created; wherefore, dancing in the immaculate haven of sustenance, entreat Christ the Master.

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

Denying thyself, thou didst reject all luxury; and bearing thy cross upon thy shoulder and desiring Christ, O Arsenius, thou wast fittingly shown to be a fellow heir in the heavens.

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

As thou hast maternal boldness before thy Son, O most pure one, disdain not thought of thy kinship with us, we pray; for thee alone do we set before the Master as our cleansing, seeking mercy.

Ode VI, Irmos: The abyss of my sins and the tempest of my transgressions discomfit me and thrust me down into the depths of violent despondency; but stretch forth Thy mighty arm unto me, as Thou didst to Peter, and save my, O my Guide.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Isaiah beheld in an image the burning Coal of the divine fire which purified his lips, and He was vouchsafed prophecy; and thou, O blessed John, wast shown to recline against the breast of God the Word incarnate.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Isaiah beheld in an image the burning Coal of the divine fire which purified his lips, and He was vouchsafed prophecy; and thou, O blessed John, wast shown to recline against the breast of God the Word incarnate.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

The only-begotten Word Who sitteth in the bosom of the Father was seen incarnate, O blessed John, and told thee, as the beloved initiate of His mysteries, that thou wouldst see the incorporeal God Whom no-one can behold.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Illumine my soul, O most hymned Virgin Theotokos who gavest birth to the Effulgence of the Father’s glory; for, having thy true grace, we abstain from blasphemous speech.

Irmos: The abyss of my sins…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Through dispassion thou didst piously mortify thy carnal understanding, not loving an earthly inheritance, O venerable father Arsenius, but desiring to receive from Christ an inheritance in the highest.

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Through dispassion thou didst piously mortify thy carnal understanding, not loving an earthly inheritance, O venerable father Arsenius, but desiring to receive from Christ an inheritance in the highest.

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

The sun which appeared interrupted thine all-night standing, but the incomparable effulgence of the noetic Sun shone forth amid the night of thy life of labors, to enlighten thee, O Arsenius.

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

As thou hast compassion, in that thou gavest birth to the Word Who loveth man, save us from bitter and cruel peril; for thee alone, O all-pure Mistress, have we, the faithful, acquired as an invincible help.

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

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

Kontakion of the apostle, Tone II: Who can recount thy mighty works, O virgin apostle? For thou pourest out miracles and dost cause healings to flow forth; and thou prayest for our souls, in that thou art a theologian and the friend of Christ.

Ikos: It is a bold and unattainable thing to study the heights of heaven and to plumb the depths of the sea; for as it is impossible to calculate the number of the stars and the sands of the shore, so is it impossible to speak sufficiently of the theologian, whom Christ loved and hath crowned with so many crowns. For, reclining against His breast, he ate with Him at the mystical supper, in that he is a theologian and friend of Christ.

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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Thou didst diligently depart from the bonds of matter, O most blessed one, as an intercessor before God, and as a herald of divinely inspired theology thou hast taught all to cry: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Thou didst consider gold and riches to be like the grass, O most blessed one, and by the action of God thou didst transform hay into gold when thou didst theologise concerning the Creator and Lord, crying: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

The Holy Spirit Who proceedeth from the unoriginate Father do we accept as indivisible from Thee, O only-begotten Word of God; and Thou didst call upon the apostles to cry: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Thou wast the temple and palace of Christ the King; thou alone wast the couch of Solomon, which, as saith the Scriptures, sixty of the mighty surround. And with thee, O Virgin do they cry out and chant: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Irmos: Once, in Babylon, the fire stood in awe…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Mindful of the perniciousness of thy former ointments, and enduring fœtor for their sake, O father Arsenius, through partaking of grace thou didst become a sweet fragrance, and didst cry out: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Entering into the divine darkness in the body, O father Arsenius, and having learned to recognise the unoriginate Father and the Spirit in Christ , thou didst hymn the Unity in Trinity, crying: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

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

Theologising in Orthodox fashion the only Father of the one only-begotten Son, we declare Thee the Lord of all, acknowledging Thine only upright Spirit, Who proceedeth from Him, shareth the same essence and is equally everlasting.

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

Without knowing wedlock thou gavest birth in time to the Timeless One, O pure one, and didst bear the Word Who before was incorporeal, giving Him flesh. To Him do we chant together, crying: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Ode VIII, Irmos: Madly did the Chaldæan tyrant heat the furnace sevenfold for thepious 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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

As thine all-glorious memory is magnificent and right well renowned, O herald of the divinity of Christ, it hath shone forth upon the Church, perfuming it with godliness. Wherefore, rejoicing, we cry out, O ye faithful: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

As thine all-glorious memory is magnificent and right well renowned, O herald of the divinity of Christ, it hath shone forth upon the Church, perfuming it with godliness. Wherefore, rejoicing, we cry out, O ye faithful: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Having the theologian as the leader of our choir, O Christ, We declare Thee, Who wast theologised by him, and the Father and the Spirit, to be God, and hymning the monarchy thereof, we cry: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O most immaculate one, thou gavest birth to God the Word incarnate. Him do thou beseech, that He deliver me from fire; for, lo! my whole life hath become a burden and I have become wholly enslaved to cruel sins. Wherefore, I flee to thee, O Virgin, and call upon thee, the joyous one.

Irmos: Madly did the Chaldæan tyrant…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

With the springs of thy tears thou didst prudently quench the tormenting conflagration of soul-destroying lusts and the burning of Gehenna, O Arsenius; wherefore, that thou mightest rescue us from them both, cease thou never to entreat Christ, the Savior of the world, Whom we bless for all ages.

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

With the springs of thy tears thou didst prudently quench the tormenting conflagration of soul-destroying lusts and the burning of Gehenna, O Arsenius; wherefore, that thou mightest rescue us from them both, cease thou never to entreat Christ, the Savior of the world, Whom we bless for all ages.

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

Within thyself thou didst kindle a furnace of compunction seven times more intense than that of Babylon, which was heated sevenfold; and bedewed therein by the enlightenment of grace, thou didst cry out to the Creator and Saviour: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

The thrice radiant Godhead Which shineth forth a single radiance from a single Essence in three Hypostases—the unoriginate Father, the Word Who is of the same essence as the Father, and the consubstantial Spirit Who reigneth with them—do ye children bless, ye priests hymn, ye people exalt supremely 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 All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Standing before the Cross of the Master and the pure Virgin Theotokos, the beloved disciple, the pure instrument of theology, in that he himself was virginal, accepted the commission to care for her; and, becoming the guardian of the immaculate Theotokos, he is now blessed as is meet.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

Standing before the Cross of the Master and the pure Virgin Theotokos, the beloved disciple, the pure instrument of theology, in that he himself was virginal, accepted the commission to care for her; and, becoming the guardian of the immaculate Theotokos, he is now blessed as is meet.

Holy All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist, John the Theologian, pray to God for us.

The All-pure One, loving thine honoured and blameless life as is meet, accepted thee, who lived angelically on earth, together with thy brother, O blessed John, and declared thee the son of His own Mother, the Theotokos. With her we all call thee blessed.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Be thou a pillar of salvation for me, O pure one; render the hordes of the demons impotent, cutting off the tumult of temptations and misfortunes, granting me pure freedom, and bestowing upon me divine gifts in abundance.

Irmos: Heaven was stricken with awe…

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Moses marvelled, being vouchsafed to behold the birth-giving of the Virgin in the image formed by the fiery bush; and thou, having wholly united thyself to the divine Spirit in ecstasy, becamest fiery of visage. Wherefore, we bless thee as is meet, O Arsenius.

Venerable Father, Arsenius, pray to God for us.

Moses marvelled, being vouchsafed to behold the birth-giving of the Virgin in the image formed by the fiery bush; and thou, having wholly united thyself to the divine Spirit in ecstasy, becamest fiery of visage. Wherefore, we bless thee as is meet, O Arsenius.

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

Christ, the never-waning Light, shone forth upon thee, and joy bore thee up to the heavens; for through constant memory of death, thou didst diligently bring thyself to an undefiled life. Wherefore, thou hast received the fruits of thy labours as is meet, O most blessed one.

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

O Virgin Mother of God, thou hast been shown supernaturally to have given birth in the flesh to the Word of God, Whom the Father put forth from His own heart before time began, in that He is good. Him do we now understand as transcending the body, even though He was clothed in a body.

Troparion of the Apostle, Tone II: O beloved apostle of Christ God, haste thou to deliver a defenceless people. He Who permitted thee to recline against His breast receiveth thee, prostrate in supplication. Him do thou beseech, O theologian, that He dispel the gloom of the nations which doth beset us, asking for us peace and great mercy. 

Troparion of the Venerable One, Tone VIII: With the streams of thy tears thou didst irrigate the desert, and with sighs from the depths of thy soul thou didst render thy labours fruitful an hundredfold, and becamest a beacon for the whole world, resplendent with miracles. O Arsenius our father, entreat Christ God, that our souls be saved.

Parish Newsletter – the Week of the Myrrh-Bearing Women

The godly-wise women with myrrh followed after Thee in haste; but Him Whom they sought with tears as dead, they worshipped joyfully as the living God, and they brought unto Thy disciples, O Christ, the good tidings of the mystical Pascha.

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Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христосъ воскресе!

In greeting you all with the continuing Paschal season, our greetings go beyond South Wales and the west of England, to our parishioners who are abroad at the moment – in Morocco, Russia, Montenegro and wherever else our faithful are in these Paschal days.

The joy and triumph of the resurrection continues to resound through our services, with the recurring words of Christ is Risen echoing as we approach the victory of the resurrection from different perspectives… from that of the apostles and St Thomas, the late comer; then through the experience of the Myrrh-Bearing women, whom we remembered yesterday, together with the Noble Joseph and the Righteous Nicodemus.

What a perfect example of Christian discipleship and devotion we see in their enduring witness: supporting the Lord and the twelve during His earthly ministry; following Christ as He carried the Cross; standing by the Cross as all but one of the disciples fled; and then coming to the garden Tomb at the break of day bearing sweet-smelling ointments. Such was their love, devotion and sense of duty to the Lord, that despite the darkness, confusion and fear that had descended on them as they saw the Light go out in their lives. They never gave up on the Lord, despite seeing His death on the Cross and His lifeless body laid in the Tomb.

Their enduring devotion led them through their darkness, and in the dawn of the first Pascha their faithfulness led them to the rising of the Sun Who never sets. Despite the confusion and fear that must have gripped their lives in that short time after the Saviour’s death on the Cross, they did not hide behind locked door like the twelve, and as a result discovered that Christ their hope had trampled down death by death and was risen. Devotion and faithfulness led them from darkness to light, and in the place of death and corruption they discovered the Unwaning Light.

Let us all emulate their devotion and fulfilment of duty in their unwavering love for the Saviour, and trust that this will lead us through the uncertainties and fears of life, for with them, we know that “from the tomb today, as from a bridal chamber, Christ hath shone forth…”.

Thanks to all who contributed to our Liturgy, and thanks also to our Cheltenham faithful who gathered in Prestbury for Liturgy and a panikhida on Saturday. As we celebrate the Myrrh-Bearing Women, our thanks especially go to our devoted parish-sisters, who work tirelessly for our communities.

Tomorrow, will see the ninth hour and vespers chanted at the shrine of St Alban, in Swinton Street, marking the eve of the feast of the translation of the relics of St Nicholas the Wonderworker from Myra to Bari. The office will be chanted at 14:30, and I will be very happy if any of you are able to join me, but remind you that services are celebrated on behalf of the whole community, wherever the faithful are at times of worship.

Vespers will also be celebrated in St Alban’s at the same time on Thursday, and I will be available to hear confessions before and immediately after the service. If anyone requires a later confession, which will need to be in Nazareth House, please contact me immediately, so that I can arrange to visit in the evening. Requests for confessions in St Alban’s by Wednesday at 18:00, please.

Saturday, being the fourth in the month will see a quite informal local pilgrimage-visit to the holy well at Penrhys, in the Rhondda, with midday prayers at the statue on the site of the former Cistercian monastic grange, and a moleben at the holy well, which sadly sounds like it is in need of some tlc and attention. This may be a prompt for a follow-up visit, in which we offer the Mother of God our time and energy in caring for a place that was so important in the spiritual consciousness of Welsh Christianity in the Middle-Ages.

For information regarding the location, please see: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Our+Lady+of+Penrhys/@51.6414181,-3.4433783,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x47805798f145f061?sa=X&ved=1t:2428&ictx=111

The nearest station is Ystrad, with trains from Queen St. The walk from there to Penrhys takes around thirty minutes, and should in itself be part of the pilgrimage-experience for anyone availing themselves of this route.

I hope that at least a few souls will join me in honouring the Mother of God at the site of her ancient shrine.

Those of you who were at Liturgy will have heard the now official news, after Vladyka’s edict, that Deacon Mark will be ordained to the sacred priesthood in our cathedral on Wednesday 17 July, the feast of Royal Martyrs, the altar-feast of the lower church.

We very much hope that as many parishioners as possible will be able to be in the cathedral that day, supporting their devoted deacon as he submits to our need for a second priest, and offers himself to serve our Great-High priest in ministering to His flock. A bus will carry those wishing to make the journey to London for this very special day, and we would appreciate indications of those who wish to attend the feast as soon as possible, so that the size of bus can be confirmed. Once the bus is booked we will not be able to change plans. So… so please communicate your interest.

As you know, we will hold our General Meeting the Sunday after next, 2nd June, and in the course of the meeting will elect parishioners to the office of starosta and senior-sister. We have had nominations for both positions, with several individuals actually having been nominated for both posts.

Any further nominations should be received by next Sunday. Thanks to those who have taken the time to do so, and for having spoken with those whom they consider to be worthy, and capable candidates for these obediences. We would also welcome items for the agenda.

Before we know it, the summer will have passed and the March for Life will be held in London. An increasing number of parishioners have attended over the last few years, and the considerable Orthodox presence was clearly valued and appreciated last year.

This year’s march is on Saturday 7th September. I hope Karen doesn’t mind me directing those interested in her direction without having checked with her. Last year’s Cardiff attendees travelled with our friends from St Alban’s, in Splott, and it would be good if this could be repeated.

Please endeavour to keep the Pascal season and the feasts, wherever you are in the wide diaspora of our parish, and if you are able to gather together for prayer, this is a great blessing and sign of community in the Risen Lord.

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Canon to St Nilus of Sora

Канон преподобному Нилу Сорскому: https://azbyka.ru/molitvoslov/kanon-prepodobnomu-nilu-sorskomu.html

Ode I, 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.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Covered over by the darkness of sin, I am unable to gaze clearly toward the height of thy corrections, O father; but as thou art compassionate and merciful, help me, shining the light of salvation into my soul, that, rejoicing, I may hymn thy splendid corrections and all-glorious miracles.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been shown to be a noetic garden of paradise, O father, producing divers flowers of the virtues; and thou didst offer beautiful fruits to thy Master, Who hath adorned thee with miracles.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Having broken but a single commandment, the first-created man was driven from paradise; but thou, O venerable one, hast by the keeping of the commandments of the Master been shown to be the inheritor thereof, delighting ever in the tree of life; and, gazing upon the Lord in the gladness of thy pure heart, thou sharest in His divine light.

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

Following the paths of the commandments without wavering, and holding the Cross of Christ in thy hand as a staff of power, thou didst attain unto the haven of dispassion, O father; wherefore, thou didst also receive the grace to heal the infirmities of men and to work all-glorious miracles.

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

Now is the time for thee to help us, O Mistress! Mercifully regard the affliction of thy servant, O pure one, granting me consolation, that, rejoicing, I may hymn thy divine wonders.

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

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Without being prideful, I have dared to offer hymnody to thy sacred memory, O father. Therefore, moved by thy love, O thou who art beloved of God, accept it from thy servant, and by thy mediations before the Lord vouchsafe unto me salvation.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

O father, from misfortunes and evil circumstances save those who honour thee with love, ­forming themselves into a choir for thine honoured memorial; by thine entreaties make us firm who have been shaken by the tempest of the passions, and vouchsafe that we may reach the harbour of salvation.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Who can describe thy struggles, O father; who can recount the height of thy humility? Truly thou wast a disciple of Christ, O thou who art beloved of God, and a fellow heir to His kingdom. Wherefore, be thou mindful of thy children, O father, praying to Christ, that He vouchsafe unto us also the portion of the saved.

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

Useless am I and altogether unprofitable; and I am at a loss how fittingly to hymn thy directions toward God. Yet accept thou my love and faith, O kind-hearted father, and by thy sacred mediations vouchsafe unto me salvation.

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

Truly every human tongue is at a loss how to glorify thee as is meet, O Mistress. What then shall I, who am beset by ignorance and many sins, offer unto thee, O good one? Yet accept thou the love and faith of thy servant, and vouchsafe unto me salvation.

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

Sessional hymn, Tone VIII: Thou didst mount from action to the summit of divine vision, O father, and, having embraced utter stillness, thou didst ever converse with God with a mind untroubled; wherefore, thou wast enriched by divine understandings therefrom, O blessed one, and hast become a pastor and guide for those who follow thine angelic way of life. Therefore, O Nilus our God-bearing father, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love celebrate thy holy memory.

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

Repeat the foregoing sessional hymn.

Ode IV, Irmos: Seated in glory upon the throne of the Godhead, Jesus most divine hath come on a light cloud, and with His incorrupt arm hath saved those who cry: Glory to Thy power, O Christ!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Standing vigilantly on attentive watch, and foreseeing the insidious snares of the enemy, O father, thou didst bring down all their hordes, and soaring aloft unharmed, through prayer and fasting, thou didst chant victoriously: Glory to Thy power, O Christ!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Having the sufferings of our Saviour and His voluntary crucifixion on the Cross ever in thy mind, thou wast crucified with Him in the mortification of thy flesh, O venerable one; and thy heart, wounded by divine love, O thou who art beloved of God, was shown to be a wellspring of compunction, ever pouring forth tears and chanting: Glory to Thy compassionate condescension, O Christ!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Wounded by the love of Christ, thou didst unceasingly shed torrents of tears from thine eyes, O Nilus our ever-memorable father; and, dwelling in the wilderness as in the garden of paradise, thou didst offer up incessant supplications, ever chanting: Glory to Thy power, O Christ!

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

Alas! with what insensitivity am I plagued! Guilty as I am of every evil, I neither fear death nor tremble before the dread judgment! Yet do thou henceforth come to thy senses in repentance, O most passionate soul, crying aloud unto Christ: Have pity on me, O Saviour, for the sake of Nilus Thy favoured one, and guide my steps aright with Thine omnipotent power, O Master!

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

O Virgin Theotokos, true hope of all Christians, who gavest birth to the Life of all: grant life unto me who am dead in soul. O Life-bearing wellspring, give me to drink the waters of compunction, for I am cruelly consumed by the burning heat of the passions, that, cooled by tears of repentance, I may cry out in thanksgiving: Glory to thine almighty power, O Mistress!

Ode V, 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.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Emulating the way of life of the ancient fathers of the Holy Mountain, O ever-memorable Nilus our God-bearing father, thou didst hasten, rejoicing, to the tranquility of the stillness of the wilderness; and there, bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit in humility, thou wast exceeding well-pleasing to Him Who enriched thee with the glory of miracles.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Fulfilling the commandments of the Lord, O father, thou wast meek and guileless, humble and simple, and right skilful in all the virtues; wherefore, thou wast shown to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit, O all-wise one, teaching and instructing thy children to walk worthily in the steps of Christ, Who granteth salvation unto those who serve Him in humility.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

O venerable Nilus, receiving the reward of thy labours in the heavens, forget us not who joyously celebrate thy feast, but ask for us the remission of sins, entreating Christ Who granteth salvation unto those who glorify those who have glorified Him.

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

Thou didst clothe thyself in Christ, O divinely wise one, adorning thyself with the vesture of dispassion; and thou wast compassionate and merciful unto those who sinned, O father, teaching them with humility of mind, urging them on to repentance and leading them to Christ, Who granteth salvation unto all who ask it in humility.

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

Wretch that I am, I have clothed myself in garments of shame, having shed the divinely woven raiment I received at baptism, O most immaculate Virgin, Yet do I beseech thee, O most merciful one: Clothe me again in the vesture of salvation, that I may be worthy to attend the wedding-banquet of the Lamb, for Whom thou didst weave a royal robe of thy pure blood, and Who granteth salvation unto all who hymn thee.

Ode VI, 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.

Dwelling now with the choirs of the saints in the mansions of heaven, O God-bearing Nilus, and standing with boldness before the all-holy Trinity, forget not us, thy children, O father, but ask remission of sins for those who celebrate thy feast with joy, that with thanksgiving we may glorify God Who hath glorified thee.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Thou wast shown to be a new and goodly wellspring flowing in the land of Russia, pouring forth streams of healing from thy holy grave upon those who with unwavering faith have recourse unto thee, O Nilus our father; and, full of gladness, we glorify God Who glorifieth thee.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

From thy youth even unto thine honoured repose thou didst earnestly serve Christ with a pure conscience, O venerable one, keeping His divine commandments; for, guarding thyself with poverty and non-acquisitiveness, O wise Nilus our father, thou didst set thy feet firmly upon the rock of patience.

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

O thy manifold corrections and thy labours and struggles for God, O father! Who can describe thy fasting and keeping of vigils, thy lying upon the ground and patient endurance of ill treatment? For thou didst truly show thyself to be a true monk, O thou who art beloved of God. Wherefore, lovingly honouring thy memory, we glorify God Who strengthened thee.

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

O all-immaculate Virgin, thy womb, which contained the uncontainable God, was shown to be far more spacious than the heavens! O the all-glorious things! O He Who in thee wrought a mystery beyond the comprehension of angels and men! Wherefore, truly confessing thee to be the Theotokos, we glorify God Who was born of 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, Spec. Mel. “To thee, the champion leader…”: Fleeing from the tumult of the world for the sake of Christ’s love, with joyous soul thou didst make thine abode in the wilderness, and struggling well therein, O father Nilus, thou didst live on earth like an angel; for thou didst lay waste to thy body through fasting and the keeping of vigils for the sake of everlasting life. And having been counted worthy thereof, standing with the saints before the all-holy Trinity in the light of ineffable joy, pray thou,—we, thy children, beseech thee, falling prostrate,—that we be preserved from every assault of enemies visible and invisible, and from evil circumstances, and that our souls be saved.

Ikos: Emulating the life of the angels and likening thyself to those who were great among the fathers, thou didst cut thyself off wholly from the turmoil of the world and, manfully arming thyself for the struggles of asceticism, thou didst carefully tread the path of the commandments of God, O blessed one. Wherefore, honouring thy sacred memory with faith, we bless thee with these praises: Rejoice, emulator of the life of the angels; rejoice, heir to the way of life of the great fathers of old! Rejoice, courageous vanquisher of invisible enemies; rejoice, diligent keeper of the commandments of God! Rejoice, ardent lover of the divinely inspired traditions of the fathers; rejoice, recorder of rules for the ascetic life of monastics! Rejoice, most clear mirror of the virtues; rejoice, melodious instrument of the Holy Spirit! Rejoice, paragon of profound humility; rejoice, zealous doer of godly works! Rejoice, for through thee have we learned to tread the way of life without wandering; rejoice, for through thy mediation for us do we hope to receive salvation! Rejoice, O wonder-working Nilus our father!

Ode VII, 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!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

O father, I earnestly offer thee simple hymnody; wherefore, accept it from me who am unworthy, and spurn me not who have sinned beyond all others, O all-blessed one; but, mercifully inclining thyself, vouchsafe that through thine intercession I may receive salvation, that, rejoicing, I may chant: O all-hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst unceasingly converse with God face to face, O father, offering pure supplications unto Him with a pure and untroubled mind and a clean conscience, O divinely wise one; for, hastening from action to vision, thou didst wholly attain the vision of God, O blessed one, ever chanting: O all-hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst show thyself to be a fertile garden producing the fruits of the Spirit, O father; for thou wast full to overflowing with love and joy, peace, long-suffering, meekness and temperance, and as one truly belonging to Christ, thou didst crucify the flesh with its passions and lusts, ever chanting: O all-hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Accept me who hymn thee not with wisdom, but with love, O father, and, driving away from me the darkness of oblivion and ignorance by thy luminous supplication, help me ever to cry: O all-hymned Lord God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

merciful, save thy poor servant, delivering me from my boundless offences, that, rejoicing, I may chant: O Mother of the all-hymned Lord and God of our fathers, blessed art thou forever!

Ode VIII, Irmos: The birth-giving 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!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

O ever-memorable Nilus our father, beloved of God, thou didst truly lead a good and beautiful life; for fleeing turmoil and withdrawing into the solitude of the wilderness, thou didst sow the tribulations of fasting with tears, but now, rejoicing, dost reap the grain of everlasting life.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst labor in secret for the one God Who knoweth things hidden, O father, passing through the ascetic contest in humility; and after thy repose thou wast revealed and illumined by miracles, moving the faithful to chant: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

By the divine grace within thee thou pourest forth healings and drivest away evil spirits from those who have recourse to thee with faith, O most blessed Nilus; wherefore, we lovingly honour thy most sacred memory, chanting with gladness: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

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

Hearken, O Mistress, to the pain-wracked sighing of thy servant, pulling asunder the chains of mine offences; change my grief into joy and quickly transform my pangs, that, rejoicing, I may hymn thee, O pure Virgin, and exalt thee supremely for all ages.

Ode IX, 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!

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been shown to be an all-radiant beacon for thy native land, O venerable and blessed one, illumining our habitations with thy brilliance and with the splendours of the miracles whereby thou hast been glorified since thy repose; wherefore, honouring thy radiant memory, we glorify Christ Who doth glorify thee with splendour.

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

When upon thy death bed thou didst stretch out thy beautiful feet which had trod well the path of salvation, O blessed one, thy disciples, shedding tears, said: “Whither goest thou, O our pastor? O father, to whom dost thou leave thy children, whom, having given birth to them in the Spirit, thou didst nurture with the milk of thy wise instruction?”

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

“Mingle not weeping with my joy, O my children,” thou didst say to them, O thou who art blessed of God, “for in gladness I am departing to receive the crown of righteousness which Christ hath promised to those who love Him, and which ye also must strive to attain, keeping His commandments as well as mine own.”

Venerable father, Nilus, pray to God for us.

Let thy wilderness also lament with us, O father; for even though it blossomed like a lily, adorned with Thy God-pleasing life, yet, bereft of a good husbandman after thy departure, thorns and thistles have grown rife in it. Fail not to visit thy flock, O father, and do thou thyself shepherd those who magnify thee.

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

Forget not those who now abide in the place of thine industrious life, O God-bearing Nilus our father, and mediate salvation for those who earnestly offer thee hymnody; for, having acquired thee as an advocate and intercessor before the Lord, O most blessed one, let not us who honour thee with faith, suffer the loss of hope.

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

Clothe me in the vesture of salvation, O most merciful Mother of God, thou full hope of my salvation, for I place my trust in thee; for thou art a treasury of mercy and savest all who have recourse unto thee. Wherefore, save even me, the accursed, that I may chant in thanksgiving: Rejoice, O most blessed Theotokos, pure Ever-virgin!

Troparion, Tone I: Having spurned the worldly life, O our venerable and God-bearing father Nilus, fleeing the tumult of life thou wast quick to gather the flowers of paradise from the writings of the fathers, and, having made thine abode in the wilderness, thou didst flourish like a lily of the field; wherefore, thou hast passed over to the mansions of heaven. Teach us also who honor thee to tread thy royal path, and pray thou for our souls

Holy Week Parish News

As the Lord went to His voluntary Passion, He said to His apostles on the way: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed, as it is written of Him.” Come, then, and let us also journey with Him, purified in mind; let us be crucified with Him and die for His sake to the pleasures of this life, that we may also live with Him and hear Him say: “No longer do I ascend to the earthly Jerusalem to suffer, but I ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God; and I shall raise you up to the Jerusalem on High in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Dear brothers and sisters, greetings as we begin Holy Week, after our Palm Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem, with many of the faithful confessing and communing.

Yesterday’s feast followed the joyful celebration of the Lazarus Saturday, celebrated in St Nicholas with the Liturgy and Ambrose’s baptism, with the Lazarus’s rising setting the scene for the Saviour’s entry into Jerusalem, to the acclaim of the crowds who had heard the wondrous news that he – already dead for four days – had been called forth from the tomb, and had risen from the dead, as we heard in the beautiful sequence “Rejoice, O Bethany”, chanted at the end of the Liturgy: 

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Bethany! On this day God came to thee, God came to thee; and in Him the dead are made alive, as is right for He is the Life!

When Martha went to receive Him, grieving loudly with bitter tears, bitter tears, she poured out the sorrow of her heart to Him, with great sadness, wailing her lament.

She at once cried out unto Him, “My most compassionate Lord! My Lord! At the great loss of my brother Lazarus my heart is broken, help me!

Jesus said to her, “Cease thy weeping, cease thy grieving and sad lament, sad lament; for thy brother, My most beloved friend Lazarus, very soon will live again! He will live again!

Then He, the faithful Redeemer, made His way unto the tomb, unto the tomb, where He cried unto him who was buried four days, calling him forth, saying, “Lazarus, arise! Lazarus, arise!

Come with haste, ye two sisters, and behold a wondrous thing, wondrous thing, for thy brother from the tomb has returned to life. To the beloved Redeemer now give thanks! Now give thanks!

To Thee, O Lord of creation, we kneel down in reverence profound, reverence profound; for all we who are dead in sin; in Thee, O Jesus, are made alive!

Rejoice, rejoice, O Bethany! On this day God came to thee, God came to thee; and in Him the dead are made alive, as is right for He is the Life! He is the Life!

Lazarus’s rising was, of course, a foretaste of the resurrection, as was the baptism, but the baptism was more than this, as the initiation into the Saviour’s death and resurrection, which – though only a few days on from the raising of Lazarus – was yet to be accomplished to seal the promise of the life of the age to come and the Paschal Mystery.

We now enter this week of solemn commemoration of the saving acts of the Saviour’s Passion, culminating in the Resurrection form the Life-Giving Tomb, through which we are called to follow the repentant thief into Paradise.

After our weekend in Cardiff, due to our ongoing lack of local worship space, the services of Great and Holy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Liturgy of Great and Holy Thursday are in Llanelli, where matins is celebrated at 19:00 each evening, and where the Holy Thursday Liturgy will be celebrated on Thursday morning at 10:00.

From Thursday evening the following services will be celebrated in Cardiff:

2nd May – Holy Thursday evening: Service of the Twelve Gospels, 19:00 in St Mary’s Butetown, NOT St John’s

3rd May – Holy Friday afternoon: Vespers and the bringing out of the winding-sheet, 16:00 in St John’s, Canton

3rd May – Holy Friday evening: Matins of Holy Saturday – Burial service of the Lord, 19:00 in St John’s, Canton

4th May – Holy Saturday: Midnight Office, 23:30, St John’s, Canton – immediately followed by…

5th May – Sunday of Pascha: midnight 00:00 Paschal matins and Divine Liturgy, followed by blessing of Paschal foods and Paschal Breakfast

5th May – Sunday of Pascha: Paschal Vespers, 12:30, St John’s, Canton

Food baskets will be blessed after the Paschal Liturgy and before/after the Paschal vespers, as required.

As we have some parishioners who are unable to travel to Cardiff during the night of Pascha, I will administer Holy Communion after the Paschal Hours in St John’s on Sunday morning, with the Hours at 11:00. This will allow a chance to sit and have a cup of tea before vespers.

As was blessed last year, those who confessed before last weekend’s services are blessed to receive Holy Communion at the Paschal Liturgy. I will hear confessions before Thursday evening’s services, between the Friday services and before the Paschal night services.

With regard to the service of Pascha night, even though we finish at a late hour, we still need to clear the church, even though we will return the next day, so may I please remind everyone able to help that your assistance is very much needed. We will all be tired, but we still have t pack away!

Those who are able to stay after the night Liturgy are invited to bring food to share as we break the fast and enjoy the Lord’s bounty, after more than forty days of abstinence. I know that this is not the norm in most places in Eastern or Balkan Europe, but it is most certainly is in parishes in western Europe, where parishioners often also share food after Paschal Vespers on Sunday afternoon – even if only kulich, paskha, eggs and cheese. Simplicity is good!

Kulichy, are still on sale before and after services, priced at £6, as a fund-raiser for our parish.

Lest us all remain steadfast in this week, and if we have been slack or negligent, use this week to prepare for the commemoration of the Lord’s Passion through fasting and prayer, immersing ourselves in the saving events of the last week of the Saviour’s pre-resurrectional earthly life.

Good strength!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Visitation of the Theotokos To Elizabeth and the Hidden Human-Divine Encounter

The feast of the Visitstion of the Most Holy Theotokos to St. Elizabeth, which falls today for Orthodox Christians, is a wonderful celebration of both spiritual and familial kinship and of the reality of unborn life and personhood.

The little icon, missed by many people, at the back of the Anglican  shrine-church in Walsingham, captures the joy of the encounter, which we know to also have been the meeting of the Saviour and the Forerunner within their mothers’ wombs, with the Forerunner leaping in recognition of his Saviour and Creator’s Presence.

Life-unborn lept for joy at the Presence of the Life of the God-Man, not yet born or incarnate in the world.

This great meeting of the Only-Begotten Son of God and the unborn Forerunner is one which we boldly need to thrust before those who insistently claim to be ‘Christians’, yet refuse to take a Christian stance on the sanctity or even the reality of life, personhood and individuality from conception.

The centre of the wondrous meeting in this feast of the Visitation is one hidden from our eyes in traditional icons: the unseen encounter of creation and creature with the Creator, within the new Holy of Holies: the sanctuary of the womb of the Mother of God.

The Canon to St Moses the Ethiopian

Ode I, Irmos: Let us chant unto the Lord, Who led His people through the Red Sea, for He alone hath gloriously been glorified.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

By thy supplications and showers of repentance, O father, wash clean my heart which hath been darkened by the sting of sin.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Having nailed thy flesh to the fear of the Master, O all-blessed God-bearer, thou didst dry up every passionate thought from thy heart.

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

Having hidden the seeds of the Word in the furrows of thy thoughts, O father, thou didst produce grain which is laid up in inexhaustible granaries.

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

Desiring to become incarnate through thy womb, O pure Virgin Mother, the all-divine Word saveth all of me in His goodness.

Ode III, 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.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Moved by the Spirit, O wise one, by endurance thou didst nullify the evil acts of the demons with spiritual acts.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Strengthened with godly power, O venerable Moses, like one of the incorporeal ones thou didst bring low the mighty serpent.

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

With the showers of thy tears thou didst extinguish the fiery conflagration of the passions, and wast shown to be a river of spiritual gifts, full to overflowing with the Spirit.

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

Possessed of thine aid, O pure one, I fear not the assaults of the enemy; for, having thee as mine intercessor, I vanquish their hosts.

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

Sessional hymn, Tone III: Spec. Mel. “Of the divine Faith…”: Made rich with divine radiance, thou didst destroy the darkness of the passions, O most blessed one; and by thy vigilant prayers thou didst cause the vaunted reasonings of the flesh to wither away, and hast passed over to the ultimate city on high. O venerable father, entreat Christ God, that He grant us great 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.

Theotokion: While becoming man in thy womb, the one Lord remained God, unseparated from the divine nature, preserving thee, the Virgin Mother, most immaculate after giving birth, as thou wast before thy birth-giving. Him do thou earnestly beseech, that He grant us great mercy.

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

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

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

By unceasing entreaties and the endurance of pain, O father, thou didst drive from thy soul the demon which loveth carnality.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Directing thy thoughts to things which transcend the mind and speech, O venerable one, thou didst endure the burning heat of asceticism as though it were a divine dew.

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

Unfurling the sail of non-acquisition, thou didst sail easily across the sea of life, O father, guided to the calm haven.

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

O Bride of God, thou dwelling-place of virginity and habitation of the infinite Nature, illumine my darkened soul.

Ode V, Irmos: Waking at dawn, we cry to Thee: Save us, O Lord! For Thou art our God, and we know none other than Thee.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Set afire by the burning coal of dispassion, O blessed one, thou didst utterly consume the dry tinder of the passions.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been shown to be a star of abstinence, shining in the heights and illumining our souls, O all-glorious one.

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

Thou didst ascend to the summit of the virtues and didst attain unto the heavenly isle, O right wondrous father Moses.

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

We hymn thee who art still Virgin after giving birth, O Theotokos; for thou gavest birth in the flesh unto God the Word, for the world.

Ode VI, Irmos: Cleanse me, O Saviour, 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.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

With the spiritual radiance which is within thee, enlighten me who am surrounded by the night of sin and the darkness of pleasures, O father, and guide me wholly to the haven of salvation.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Storing up the sweetness of the flowers of the virtues in the honeycomb of thy mind, like an industrious bee, O father, thou didst pour forth the sweetness of immortality which dispelleth the bitterness of the demons.

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

Exercising thyself in endurance in the desert, thou didst inherit the city on high; and enslaving thy flesh through fasting, O wondrous one, thou didst depart to the food which is never exhausted and the mansions of paradise.

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

O Virgin, we, the faithful, call thee the noetic sanctuary and untouchable mercy-seat, the golden lamp-stand, and the animate table which beareth the Bread of life.

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

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

Kontakion, Tone IV: Having beaten the Moors and spat in the faces of the demons, thou didst shine forth noetically like the radiant sun, directing our lives by the light of thy life and thy teaching.

Ode VII, Irmos: In the furnace the Hebrew children boldly trod the flame underfoot and transformed the fire into dew, crying out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, forever!

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Cleansed of the mire of the passions, and shining with spiritual radiance, thou hast truly passed over to the immaterial Light, O blessed one, where the choirs of fasters dwell forever.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Thou didst flee all evil, and, embracing goodly change, thou didst immaterially espouse good desires, O blessed one, crying out: Blessed art Thou, O God!

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

By immeasurable pangs of abstinence thou didst cause the pain of sin to cease, O God-bearer. Wherefore, thou hast found delight in good things devoid of pain, blessing thy Master.

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

Behold the Virgin of whom the great Isaiah said that she would conceive God in her womb and give birth unto Him! To Him do we chant: 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!

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Enlivened by prayers, elevated by humility, illumining thy soul with righteousness, adorned with love, O father, thou didst make haste to the perfection of the virtues, to the manifest heights, crying to the Master: Ye priests, bless; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Though black of body, thou didst acquire a soul brighter than the rays of the sun, and didst blacken the dark countenances of the demons; and with thy divine likeness thou dost illumine the hearts of the faithful who fervently chant: Ye people, exalt God supremely forever!

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

Wholly protected by humility, O father, thou didst escape the darts of the noetic Moors, and in word and deed wast a model for monks in doing battle with the enemy, crying out with them: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Christ supremely for all ages!

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

In manner transcending nature thou didst conceive; in manner past recounting thou didst give birth to the Fashioner of human nature Who is inseparable from the Father, yet Who became a man, O pure Mistress. To Him doth all creation sing: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Christ supremely for all ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: Every ear trembleth to hear of the ineffable condescension of God, for the Most High willingly came down even to the flesh, becoming man through the Virgin’s womb. Wherefore we, the faithful, magnify the all-pure Theotokos.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

Having truly ended thy life in good deeds, thou didst reach the wellspring of good things and didst receive thine ultimate desire. Where the voice of those who keep festival is heard with laudation thou hast made thine abode, rejoicing, O right wondrous and venerable father Moses.

Venerable Father Moses, pray to God for us.

The drops of the sweat of thy pangs let fall drops of the sweetness of spiritual benefit and dispel the bitterness of our passions. Thy relics pour forth healings upon us and cleanse our souls of the mire and defilement of evils.

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

Christ hath crowned thy head with unfading wreaths, O wondrous one, who steadfastly vanquished the hordes of the prince of this world; and as befitteth one of thy holy thou hast been enrolled in the choirs of the venerable. With them pray thou, that those who honour thee be delivered from temptations.

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

Having given birth in the flesh to the Infinite One, Who thus became circumscribed, O Bride of God, thou, alone among women, didst abolish the curse of the first-created. Thou hast renewed the laws of nature, O undefiled one, which of old were violated, and hast unified them with thine all-glorious mediation.

Troparion, Tone I: A desert-dweller, an angel in the flesh and a wonderworker wast thou shown to be, O our God-bearing father Moses. For, having acquired heavenly gifts through fasting, vigilance and prayer, thou dost heal the infirm and the souls of those who have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him Who gave thee strength! Glory to Him Who crowned thee! Glory to Him Who worketh healings for all through thee!

Parish News: 5th February

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Our week begins after a characteristically busy Sunday, with a well attended Liturgy in St John’s, and a larger than usual number of the faithful confessing and communing, though the number of communicants has been significantly growing over the last five or six weeks. I am grateful for the patience of our parishioners as confessions were concluded during the preparation of the chalice with the Holy Gifts.

It was wonderful to look out of the altar at the beginning of the Liturgy and see all of our children assembled to join in the chanting of the litanies before the Gospel. It was equally wonderful to see so many flowers in vases and adorning the icons.

I was very happy to see so many people enjoying trapeza after Sunday Liturgy, and particularly to see so many young people enjoying one another’s company, with students from Cardiff, Bristol and Bath joining other young people from our South Wales parishes.

A thank you to all who have been helping in the setting up and rearrangement of the church before and after Liturgy, and remind all that everyone’s aid makes these movements considerably quicker and easier.

With the growing numbers of worshippers, with more people staying for this bring-and-share lunch, I hope that we may ensure that there is enough food to at least offer some simple refreshment to all who join us.

Again I would like to thank parishioners for their greetings and gifts for the feast of St Mark of Ephesus. Having a Torte Napoleon to share with our students was very much appreciated and made for a festive student gathering.

Intercessions 

As we begin our week, the news is dominated by the cancer-diagnosis of His Majesty the King, and we offer our prayers for his health and treatment during his illness, and for a swift and speedy recovery, turning to the Mother of God ‘the Queen of All’ before whose icon we pray for all of those – including our own loved ones and parishioners – affected by cancer.

Among those who are sick, we also pray for Ludmilla, Brigid, and for Steven, Martin, Nigel and Jacky among the friends a family members of our parishioners.

Having chanted a post-Liturgy memorial service for the newly-departed Alexey, we continue to pray for the repose of his soul, also remembering His Grace Archbishop Anatoly, Yulia and Barnabas. Memory Eternal!

Confessions in Nazareth House this week

Given the limited time we have before Liturgy, if you know that a confession lasting more than five minutes is required, we will need to hear such longer confessions and commune the faithful after Liturgy. We must be firm in starting the Hours and proskomedia at 11:00, but will find appropriate ways to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of the faithful.

Of course, we very much hope that those living in Cardiff will avail themselves of the opportunity to make their confession on Thursdays, when they may do so in the afternoon or evening, according to circumstance and need. Please email by 18:00 on Wednesday to arrange a Thursday confession, and by Saturday midday to notify us of Sunday confessions, purely to give me an idea of number.

Thursday confessions continue to be heard in Nazareth House!

Cheltenham Liturgy: 10 February

Next Saturday will be our February Liturgy in Cheltenham, when we will celebrate the feast of Saints Ephrem and Isaac the Syrian in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep St, Cheltenham GL52 3AN.

Due to the pastoral needs for confession, as well as setting up the church for Liturgy, from Saturday, the Hours and Liturgy will now start at 10:30: half an hour later than previously. However, confession will still begin around 9:20, and will end at 10:20. We will have our customary bring-and-share lunch after the Liturgy, and look forward to spending time with both parishioners and visitors.

Llanelli Liturgy for the Meeting of the Lord: 15 February

As the coming feast of the Meeting of the Lord on 2/15 February falls on a Thursday, we are unable to celebrate in St John’s, due to weekly use in the morning. Therefore, the Divine Liturgy of the feast will be celebrated in the chapel at Father Luke’s home in Llanelli, with the Hours and Liturgy commencing at 10:00.

Pilgrimage to the Oratory Church and Caerleon: 24 February

Looking forward to the coming months, we will recommence our pilgrimages on the fourth Sunday of each month, and will begin with a local pilgrimage in honour of the protomartyr of Britain, St Alban, and the protomartyrs of Wales, Julius and Aaron. Through the good offices of Father Sebastian and the Cardiff Oratory, we will head to the Oratory Church in Swinton Street, Splott, where we will offer a moleben before the sacred relics of St Alban at 10:30, before heading to Caerleon for lunch and a visit to the amphitheatre and Roman excavations, offering prayers to Saints Julius and Aaron,

Pilgrimage to Margam Abbey: 23 March

Our pilgrimage on Saturday 23 March, in honour of the Mother of God, will be to Margam Abbey, near Port Talbot, where we hope to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, share a picnic lunch and explore the church and neighbouring abbey ruins, returning to church for devotions to the Theotokos, whose shrine in the abbey was destroyed during the reformation. We will announce details after further discussions with the Margam clergy.

Food Bank

Thank you to all who contributed to St John’s Food Bank on Sunday. I hope that those parishioners who are able might make Sunday contributions of non-perishable foodstuffs part of their weekend routine.

Telephones

May we remind everyone to turn off their telephones before the beginning of Sunday worship, and stress that it is not appropriate for children to be using smart phones for entertainment/occupation during the Liturgy. We have some very young children who need occupying during the service, and recognise this, but ask that they play in the children’s corner, so that there is are no distractions for the clergy and faithful at the front of church during our worship.

I look forward to being with our Cheltenham parishioners on Saturday, and Cardiff parishioner on Sunday, which is the feast of the Translation of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer.

The variable of the day may be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HDV9a4R90dQWfAgp8DXETQnOP39NLCq0/view

May God bless you.

Hieromonk Mark

Parish News: 29 January

Dear brothers and sisters,

The obvious first comment in this week’s news is obviously our return to St John’s, Canton, with the setting bringing an instant change to the feel and dynamics of Liturgy.

I have to admit to missing the sanctuary/altar of Nazareth House, but the layout of St John’s brought an intimacy and warmth to Liturgy, in terms of the faithful being in proximity to one another rather than being scattered across a vast building, the gentler light, and – of course – the very welcome opportunity to share a relaxed and sociable trapeza, with a designated eating area and the kitchen.

Though our set-up (pre-unpacking!) was rather minimal, we shall make ourselves more at home next week, and I will ask some of our young people to help distribute icons and candles around the building.

It was good to have Father Luke and some of the Llanelli mission-parish with us, and a pleasure to welcome new parishioners, and especially for time to talk and get to know one another over our bring and share lunch.

We are very grateful to all at St John’s, especially given the surprise of our arrival with everything from Nazareth House, rather than the limited possessions we had us when we previously used St John’s.

I very much hope that after discussions with the church-warden, we may be able to celebrate more services when the building is quiet, and not in use. However, having just arrived we need to be patient on that front.

We are fortunate that the Sisters in Nazareth House are happy for us to continue hearing confessions in the chapel, and this week, I will hear confessions on Thursday, so requests by noon on Wednesday, please.

Sunday’s confessions were held up by numerous preliminary conversations regarding storage and sacristy use, but this Sunday, confessions should commence around 10:15. I was pleased to able to start proskomedia at the designated time of 11:00, when the blessing was given for the Hours, and this will be our pattern.

Please be aware that confessions will ordinarily end with the dismissal of the Hours in future, even with a second priest, as there should be no confessions during Liturgy.

Our first Liturgy back in St John’s came after an extremely busy week following the previous Sunday’s Liturgy, and our Wessex parishioners were happy to have house-blessings, a narrow-boat blessing, the blessing of the River Wylye at Hanging Langford, and a pilgrimage for a carload of us, with Whitchurch Canonicorum and the shrine of St Wite as our sacred destination.

We look forward to our Wessex prayer meeting on the last Monday of the month, and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on the second Saturday of the month. Through the good offices of the feoffees who hold the trust of the Chapel of St Laurence in Warminster, and the parish of St Laurence in Bradford on Avon, we hope to have liturgies in Wiltshire, with Warminster offering a little more warmth in the colder months of the year! St Laurence of Rome seems to be in charge here, which is wonderful, given what an inspiring martyr-saint he is.

Thanks you to all in Wessex for such a wonderful few days, and the foundation of what is to come.

My return to Cardiff was necessitated by our Wednesday move to Canton, and am grateful to Norman for organising things.

Sunday evening saw a student gathering for supper, and it really is good to know that our band of students enjoy one another’s company outside services, some of them shared a Burns Supper last week, as well as meeting socially and having musical events to look forward to attending, whether in the Royal College or venues in the city. 

Turning to even younger parishioners, we look forward to having the parish children contribute to Liturgy by singing the responses to some of our litanies, and working with members of our kliros and me to learn some chants. Also, as we look forward to festal processions, I hope to find ways in which the children may participate in liturgical life.

Thank you all who contributed to the collection for Leprosy Sunday. Together with previous donations we have £200 to pass on to the Commandery of the Knights of St Lazarus, for international leprosy projects. If anybody would like to contribute, we will be happy to receive donations next week.

As Deacon Mark requested, please endeavour to find parking in the area around St John’s, rather than on church grounds, leaving the very limited parking space for clergy, for those with limited mobility and small children. The Anglican parish breakfast will mean that parking around the church will not be available until considerably later than before.

When you are in St John’s, please not that there are collection baskets for the food-bank behind the main-door, and considering contributing something each week, even if it’s only a tin or packet. Now that parish-life has returned to St John’s, we really should be part of the mission area’s support of those in need.

On a final note, just a reminder that the service ends with the last amen of the thanksgiving prayers, and that thanking the Lord for His self-giving in the Holy Gifts, is an important part of our worship. So let’s listen to the prayers attentively, as they are offered on behalf of all who have partaken of the Holy Mysteries.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark