URGENT PRAYER REQUEST

 

Dear brothers and sisters,  

As Kharkov is being bombed/shelled, we urgently ask your prayers for the servants of God: 

Julia, Oleg, Xenia, Vladimir, Raisa, Alexandra, Viktoria, Valery, Peter, Larissa, Vyacheslav, and Xenia. 

We fervently pray for them to the Lord, and commend them to the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God.

Storm Eunice – Tomorrow’s Activities Cancelled

Dear brothers and sisters,

Given the severity of tomorrow’s weather forecast and the cancellation of train services, our catechesis session and confessions are cancelled.

Deacon Mark would face an hour-long drive in each direction in dangerous weather, and my journey to Cardiff would be made difficult, if not impossible.

Confessions will now be heard at Fr Deacon Mark’s office on Saturday, beginning at 16:30, and I will contact those who have emailed requests, giving times.

We do not want parishioners to take unecessary risk, and look forward to returning to St Mary Butetown to resume our catechesis and discussion on Friday 25th February at 19:00, having heard confessions in church from 18:00.

May God bless you.

In Christ – Fr Mark

The Quietness of the Meeting of the Lord

“Let the gates of heaven be opened today; for the unoriginate Word of the Father, receiving a beginning under time, without abandoning His divinity, is of His own will borne by His Virgin Mother into the temple of the law as a babe forty days old. And Symeon taketh Him in his arms, crying: ‘Let Thy servant depart, O Master, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation! O Lord Who hast come into the world to save the human race, glory be to Thee!”

(Doxasticon of the feast on “Lord, I have cried…”)

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Dear brothers and sisters, Greetings as we celebrate the feast of the Meeting of the Lord, and the Synaxis of St Symeon the God-Receiver and the Righteous Prophetess, Anna.

As we celebrate the Meeting, we are struck by the quietness, we might even say the outward ordinariness of the background events of this feast.

A husband and wife of rather different ages, take their child to the Temple where the required purification rituals are performed for the mother, and where the child, as the first-born, is redeemed with the prescribed sacrificial offerings for those of poor means.

There would have been countless other families that day, performing these rituals after the birth of children, and amidst the solemnity of Temple-worship with its liturgical prayer and sacrifices, there would be little to draw the eyes of anyone to these parents, including the Virgin-Mother, her spouse and their Divine-Child.

The priests and Levites went about their liturgical business, totally ignorant that Christ who is Yahweh, the Eternal-Logos and their Creator had been carried into the precincts of the Temple. There was no triumphant greeting with the sounding of trumpets, and the Temple choirs chanting alleluias with the accompaniment of cymbals. No. The Messiah entered the Temple unnoticed and unknown.

And yet, the eyes of the righteous Symeon were drawn straight to this baby, for Whom he had waited decade after decade of his long life – awaiting the moment in which he could finally say that his eyes had seen salvation in the fragility of a baby only forty days old.

He knew that this salvation had been long prepared by Almighty God, and that the child he took in his arms was not only the glory of the Lord’s chosen people, Israel, but was born as the Light to enlighten the nations of the world outside the Abrahamic Covenant and the Law of Moses.

The prophetess Anna, having encountered the Messiah, “spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

How many baby boys had Symeon encountered and looked upon in the Temple during his long life, awaiting the prompting of the Holy Spirit to open the luminous eye of his heart, so that he finally could say, “At last… I have seen the Christ” ?

But – without the God-inspired testimony of St Luke, this theophany in which the two elderly righteous-ones recognised Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, the witness and testimony of Symeon and Anna could have been lost – such is its quietness, at odds with  the prophetic fulfilment, forestalling the testimony of the Forerunner and the self-revelation of the Lord’s ministry before His Passion and Resurrection.

The quietness of this theophany, is one that should prompt us to look into our own hearts, recognising that knowledge of theological facts is meaningless without understanding and illumination by the Holy Spirit, which make it possible for us to penetrate the depth of God’s love revealed in Christ, and the spiritual reality of our discipleship as His children and heirs of His promise; and, for each of us, the sanctuary of our heart should be the place where the divine-encounter of Syneon is mirrored.

Luke’s narrative of the Meeting of the Lord is a Gospel of true gnosis, but that knowledge can only come through living in prayer and contemplation.

This is how illiterate and totally uneducated men and women have, through the centuries, declared the deepest eternal theological truths, revealed to them by the Spirit of Truth, whom we ask to “come and enlighten us” each time we pray.

We may read volume after volume of theological writings, dogmatics, apologetics or canons, but the real encounter with Christ as the living Truth, only comes through understanding and illumination, and that very understanding and illumination ordinarily comes only through active spiritual living, in prayer, fasting and realising the Gospel in our lives – and above all through the Grace of God.

Though we are – of necessity – in the world, we must endeavour not to be chained and defined by what is worldly. We must rather be constantly seeking the heavenly, the holy, and eternal, placing our search for the face of Christ (in the Gospels, in the life of the Church, in our neighbours) above the entertainments and distractions of the world, which we have been called to put aside in the waters of baptism, where we should have died to the world and put on Christ.

Symeon and Anna had already abandoned their ties to the world, to externally commune with the Lord in the precincts of the Temple, and to internally commune with Him in the temple of the heart. From this communion came their recognition of the Lord, and in this feast we encounter them as true theologians, who prayerfully contemplated Truth, and were made complete by physically and spiritually gazing upon the face of the Incarnate-God.

Upon seeing the Saviour, St Symeon was ready to ask the Lord to let him depart this life, as he had received everything he desiredand needed in the momentary encounter with Christ.

If only this was true of us, and that knowing the Lord and being joined to Him through Baptism, being healed by Him in the Mystery of Repentance, and partaking of Him in the Mystical Supper was enough for us: for in these Holy Mysteries, each of us can say to the Lord, “mine eyes have seen Thy salvation…”

Inspired by Symeon and Anna, let us strive to struggle to live spiritually, as though we were already citizens of heaven, so that our spiritual eyes may be opened, that we may humbly and quietly struggle for the true knowledge and true understanding of inner-revelation.

Though the responsibilities and pressures of our lives may not retreat, their place in our lives may be radically changed as we seek the face of our Lord, who is our salvation and life; whose light may lead us through every uncertainty and sorrow, because He is all we need in the profound simplicity and quietness of Christian-living.

Amen.

Sretenie: the Meeting of the Lord in St John’s Church

Dear brothers and sisters,

On this coming Tuesday, we will observe the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple with the celebration of the Hours and the Divine Liturgy in the Lady Chapel of St John’s Church, Canton.

Since the recent reordering, the Lady Chapel has reflected our parish presence in St John’s, with icons in situ throughout the week, and in its dimensions remind us of the Little Oratory at Newman Hall, where Orthodox services were celebrated until the end of last summer.

I hope that we may begin to celebrate weekday feasts in the Lady Chapel, and then enjoy social time together.

The Hours will be chanted at 9:30, followed by the Divine Liturgy and the traditional Blessing of Candles, should parishioners wish to take advantage of this ancient tradition of the feast, remembered as Candlemas in the British Isles.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

THE CANON OF THE PUBLICAN AND THE PHARISEE

Luke 18:9-14.And He spoke also this parable unto certain men who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others. “Two men went up unto the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. And the Pharisee stood and prayed thus to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of mankind, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or as this publican. I fast twice in the week. I pay tithe of all that I gain.’ But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up even his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful unto me the sinner.’ I tell you that this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. For every one that exalts himself shall be abased, and he that abases himself shall be exalted.”

This weekend, we begin the season of the Lenten Triodion with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, with the canon of the Sunday posted here for praying outside the service of the Temple.

THE CANON OF THE PUBLICAN AND THE PHARISEE, FROM THE TRIODION:

Ode I, Irmos: When Israel walked on foot in the sea as on dry land, * on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, * they cried: * Let us sing to God * a song of victory.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

By parables Christ hath led all mankind to a life of amendment: Raising up the Publican from humbleness, he showed the Pharisee who exalted himself to be humbled.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

From humility cometh an exalted honour, but from pride we see a grievous fall; let us, then, strive to emulate the good actions of the Publican, and hate the evil ones of the Pharisee.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Every good deed is rendered useless through pride, while every evil is cleansed by humility. Wherefore, let us in faith embrace humility, and utterly abhor the ways of vainglory.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The King of all, wishing His own disciples to be humble-minded, taught them to emulate the sighing of the Publican and his humility.

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

I groan as did the Publican, and with never-silent lamentations O Lord I now draw near to Thy loving compassion, do Thou be merciful to me who doth now pass through life in humility.

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

O lady, I dedicate to thee my understanding and my counsel, my expectation, my body, soul and spirit. From grievous adversaries and temptations, and from every threat to come, do thou deliver and save me.

Ode III, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thou, * O Lord my God, * who hast exalted the horn of The faithful O good One, * and strengthened us upon the rock * of Thy confession.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

From the dung-hill of the passions the humble are lifted up on high, while from the height of the virtues the high-minded suffer a grievous fall: let us flee such an image of wickedness.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Vainglory doth nullify the riches of righteousness, whereas humility scattereth a multitude of passions; bestowing this upon us, show us to be like the Publican O Saviour.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Like the Publican let us also beat our breasts and cry out in compunction, “O God cleanse us sinners,” that like him we may receive forgiveness.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Zealously, O ye faithful, let us increase in meekness, and with humility let us live out the days of our lives in suffering of the heart, weeping and prayer, that we may receive forgiveness from God.

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

Let us cast away, ye faithful, the high-minded boasting and hurtful pride of the Pharisee, and his most wicked, repugnant to God, malice.

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

In thee, my only refuge, have I set my trust: let me not fall away from my good hope, but grant me thy protection, O pure One, and deliver me from every evil snare of my wicked enemies.

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

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

Sessional Hymns, Tone IV: Humility exalted the Publican who was overcome with shame at his evil deeds, * when he cried to the Creator, “Be merciful:” * but exaltation brought down from righteousness the wretched Pharisee who spoke boastfully. * Therefore, let us earnestly desire that which is good ** and avoid that which is evil.

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

Of old humility exalted the Publican * who cried aloud with tears, * “Be merciful,” and he was justified. * Let us all follow his example, * for we have fallen into the depths of evil. * Let us cry to the Saviour from the depths of our hearts: ** We have sinned, be merciful, O Thou Who alone lovest mankind.

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

Be swift to receive our prayers, O Lady, * and bring them to thy Son and God, all-immaculate Sovereign Lady. * Deliver from tribulations those who flee to thee. * Destroy the wiles and subdue the arrogance ** of those who godlessly war against thy servants, O most pure One.

Ode IV, Irmos: Christ is my power, * my God and my Lord, * the holy Church divinely singeth, * crying with a pure mind, * keeping festival in the Lord.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The Word, set an example showing that the path to exaltation is humility, having humbled Himself even unto taking the form of a servant, thereby instructing all, that he who humbleth himself shall be exalted on high.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The righteous Pharisee exalted himself and fell, wickedly rejecting humility, but through humility the Publican was exalted and justified.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

He who was without need of virtue was deprived of them, and shown to be foolish. Yet the riches of humility justified him who was in most need of them, whose humility let us emulate.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O Lord, Thou didst forewarn all that Thou dost resist the high-minded, but grantest Thy grace to the humble. O Saviour send down now Thy grace upon us, for we have humbled ourselves.

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

The Saviour and Master, ever leading us to blessed exaltation, hath shown us that it is humility that raises one on high, for with His own hands He didst wash the feet of the disciples.

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

O Virgin, who hast given birth to the unapproachable Light, by thy light-giving effulgence disperse the darkness of my soul, and taking me by the hand, guide my life into the path of salvation.

Ode V, Irmos: Illumine with Thy divine light, I pray, O Good One, * the souls of those who with love rise early to pray to Thee, * that they may know Thee, O Word of God, * as the true God, * Who recalleth us from the darkness of sin.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Let us make haste to follow the Pharisee in his virtues and to emulate the Publican in his humility, and let us hate what is wrong in each of them: foolish opinion and the fall into self-destruction.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The righteousness of the Pharisee proved to be vain and was condemned, for it was yoked to prideful opinion; However the Publican became a co-companion of humility, the virtue which exalts one on high.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The Pharisee thought to drive swiftly in the chariot of the virtues; but the Publican outran him on foot, for he had yoked humility to compassion.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Pondering with our minds the parable of the Publican, let us all emulate him with tears, offering to God a contrite spirit, seeking the remission of our sins.

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

Let us cast far away the wicked haughtiness and boasting of the Pharisee, that we may not be stripped of divine grace.

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

A staff of strength grant unto all, O good one, who flee unto thee, grant them victory in the midst of all enemies and deliver them from every evil circumstance.

Ode VI, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the tempest of temptations, *

I run to Thy calm haven, and cry to Thee: * Raise up my life from corruption, * O Most Merciful One.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The Publican along with the Pharisee ran the race of life, but the one was overcome by high-mindedness and shipwrecked, while the other was saved by humility.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Changing to a humble course of life, let us emulate the fervent wisdom of the Publican and flee the deadening conceit of the Pharisee; and we shall live.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Let us fervently follow the ways of Jesus the Saviour and His humility, if we desire to reach the tabernacle of everlasting joy and to dwell in the land of the living.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O Master, Thou hast shown to Thy disciples the humility that raiseth men on high, for girding Thy loins with a towel, and washing their feet Thou didst prepare them to follow Thine example.

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

The Pharisee passed his life in virtue and the Publican in sin; but the former was brought low by his pride, while the latter was raised on high by his humble-mindedness.

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

I was formed naked in innocence and simplicity; but the enemy hath clothed me in the raiment of transgressions and the grossness of the flesh. But by thine intercessions, O Maiden, I have been saved.

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

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

Kontakion Triodion, Tone IV Let us flee from the proud-speaking of the Pharisee * and learn from the Publican the loftiness of words of humility, * and with penitential lamentation let us cry aloud: “O Saviour of the world ** be merciful to us, and cleanse us Thy servants’.

Ikos: Let us all humble ourselves, brethren; sighing and lamenting, beating our conscience, that at the eternal judgment we may be numbered with the faithful and the righteous, and receive forgiveness. Let us pray that we behold the place truly peaceful, where there is neither pain, nor sorrow, nor sighing from the soul, in the wondrous Eden fashioned by Christ, for He is God coeternal with the Father.

Ode VII, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace bedew the holy Children. * But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans * and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Exalted by the works of self-justification, the Pharisee was grievously snared in the nets of vainglory, boasting madly; but the Publican was lifted on high on the light wings of humility, and drew near to God.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Using humility as a ladder, the Publican was raised on high to the heights of heaven; but by the putrid foolishness of pride the wretched Pharisee fell into the abyss of Hades.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The enemy doth catch the righteous and despoil them through vainglory, blinding sinners in the nets of despair. But let us emulate the Publican and hasten to escape from both these evils.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

In our prayer before God, let us fall down with tears and fervent sighs, emulating the Publican in his lofty humility; and singing in faith: “O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou”.

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

Thou hast forewarned Thy disciples, O Master, teaching them not to be lofty of wisdom, but to be numbered with those who are humble-minded. Therefore, O Saviour, in faith we cry aloud to Thee: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.

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

O thou beauty of Jacob, divine Ladder which of old he beheld stretching from earth to heaven, thou holy Virgin, who hath brought down from on high God made flesh, and doth bring mortal man up to heaven.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Thou didst make flame bedew the holy children, * and didst burn the sacrifice of a righteous man with water. * For Thou alone, O Christ, dost do all as Thou willest, * Thee do we exalt throughout all ages.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

The humble-minded sighing of the Publican found the mercy of the Lord, and he was saved; but by the evil tongue of boasting, the Pharisee fell from righteousness.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O ye faithful, let us avoid the self-will of the Pharisee; who called himself pure, rather let us strive to emulate the Publican’s goodness, who gained forgiveness with humility.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O ye faithful, let us utter the words of the Publican in the holy temple, “God be merciful,” that with him we may obtain forgiveness, and be delivered from the vile boasting of the Pharisee.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Let us all emulate the sighing of the Publican and, speaking to God with warm tears, let us cry out: “O Lover of mankind, we have sinned, but in Thy merciful compassion, do Thou cleanse and save us.”

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

God accepted the groaning of the Publican and having justified him, hath shown unto us all, that He is quickly turned to compassion by the sighings and tears of those who ask for the forgiveness of sins.

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

I know of no other intercessor save thee, I offer thee, O pure and all-immaculate One, as my mediator before Him Whom thou didst bear. Do thou show me to be free from all that doth grieve me.

Ode IX, Irmos: It is impossible for mankind to see God * upon Whom the orders of Angels dare not gaze; * but through thee, O all-pure one, * did the Word Incarnate become a man * and with the Heavenly Hosts * Him we magnify and thee we call blessed.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Christ hath set before us as a path to exaltation and an image of salvation, the humility of the Publican: which, let us strive after by rejecting disdainful pride and gaining God’s mercy through humble-mindedness.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Let us cast away pride and learn the righteousness of the humble-minded; let us not seek to justify ourselves, but rather let us abhor the delusion of vainglory, and with the Publican let us pray to God.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Let us offer the Creator entreaties for mercy, as did the Publican,. Let us avoid the ungrateful prayers of the Pharisee and the boastful words with which he judged his neighbor, that we may gain God’s mercy and light.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Weighed down by a great multitude of sins, I have surpassed the Publican in an excess of evil, having embraced the self-adulating madness of the Pharisee, wherefore I am utterly devoid of all that is good: O Lord, spare me.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O Lord, grant blessedness to those who for Thy sake are poor in spirit, and who follow Thy teachings, bringing unto Thee a contrite heart. Receive and save them who worship Thee.

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

ay we never pray unto Thee as did the Pharisee, may we enter the Temple justified by sighing and tears, with a heart that is broken and humbled, laying aside the heavy yoke of sin and thus be cleansed.

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

Grant us to hymn, glorify, and bless thee, to worthily honour thee, O most pure one; glorifying thy birth-giving, O only-blessed one, for thou art the praise of Orthodox Christians, and their divinely-acceptable intercessor before God

 

 

9/22 January: St Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow & All Russia

9/22 January: Our Holy Father Among the Saints, Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow & All Russia, the New Confessor.

Dear brothers and sisters, greetings to you, as we celebrate the feast of the Holy New-Hieromartyr, Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, a great and inspiring model of Christian life, who put Truth and faithfulness to the Saviour and the Gospel above all earthly comforts, reputation, security and even life itself.

He is not only a model for all true hierarchs, but for all Christian people in new times of uncertainty – when injustice, inequality and tyranny rear their heads, and the prophetic voice of the Church is needed, but little heard.

May he pray for us, and may his example give us the courage to live the Christian life with all of the risks and dangers that professing the Gospel and swimming against the political, sociological and ideological tide pose for us – and may we have the courage to do so heedless of the threats of governments, societies, and even those in the Church who oppose the Gospel with agendas that betray the Orthodox Faith of the Holy Fathers, of the Sacred Councils, and of the Saints, among whom St Philip is glorified, having received his crown and the reward of shedding his blood in the name of Truth, justice and righteousness!

We commend our Bishop, clergy and faithful to the intercessions of St Philip, rejoicing in his radiant memory, and confident in his prayers.

Holy Hieromartyr and Wonderworker Philip, pray to God for us!

 

Saint Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, in the world Theodore, was descended from the illustrious noble lineage of the Kolichevi, occupying a prominent place in the Boyar duma at the court of the Moscow sovereigns. He was born in the year 1507. His father, Stephen Ivanovich, “a man enlightened and filled with military spirit,” attentively prepared his son for government service.

Theodore’s pious mother Barbara, who ended her days as a nun with the name Barsanouphia, implanted in the soul of her son a sincere faith and deep piety. Young Theodore Kolichev applied himself diligently to the Holy Scripture and to the writings of the holy Fathers. The Moscow Great Prince Basil III, the father of Ivan the Terrible, brought young Theodore into the court, but he was not attracted to court life. Conscious of its vanity and sinfulness, Theodore all the more deeply immersed himself in the reading of books and visiting the churches of God. Life in Moscow repelled the young ascetic. The young Prince Ivan’s sincere devotion to him, promising him a great future in government service, could not deter him from seeking the Heavenly City.

On Sunday, June 5, 1537, in church for Divine Liturgy, Theodore felt intensely in his soul the words of the Savior: “No man can serve two masters” (Mt.6:24), which determined his ultimate destiny. Praying fervently to the Moscow wonderworkers, and without bidding farewell to his relatives, he secretly left Moscow in the attire of a peasant, and for a while he hid himself away from the world in the village of Khizna, near Lake Onega, earning his livelihood as a shepherd.

His thirst for ascetic deeds led him to the renowned Solovki monastery on the White Sea. There he fulfilled very difficult obediences: he chopped firewood, dug the ground, and worked in the mill. After a year and a half of testing, the igumen Alexis tonsured him, giving him the monastic name Philip and entrusting him in obedience to the Elder Jonah Shamina, a converser with Saint Alexander of Svir (August 30).

Under the guidance of experienced elders Philip grew spiritually, and progressed in fasting and prayer. Igumen Alexis sent him to work at the monastery forge, where Saint Philip combined the activity of unceasing prayer with his work with a heavy hammer.

He was always the first one in church for the services, and was the last to leave. He toiled also in the bakery, where the humble ascetic was comforted with a heavenly sign. In the monastery afterwards they displayed the “Bakery” image of the Mother of God, through which the heavenly Mediatrix bestowed Her blessing upon the humble baker Philip. With the blessing of the igumen, Saint Philip spent a certain while in wilderness solitude, attending to himself and to God.

In 1546 at Novgorod the Great, Archbishop Theodosius made Philip igumen of the Solovki monastery. The new igumen strove with all his might to exalt the spiritual significance of the monastery and its founders, Saints Sabbatius and Zosimus of Solovki (September 27, April 17). He searched for the Hodigitria icon of the Mother of God brought to the island by the first head of Solovki, Saint Sabbatius. He located the stone cross which once stood before the saint’s cell. The Psalter belonging to Saint Zosimus (+1478), the first igumen of Solovki, was also found. His robe, in which igumens would vest during the service on the days when Saint Zosimus was commemorated, was also discovered.

The monastery experienced a spiritual revival. A new monastic Rule was adopted to regulate life at the monastery. Saint Philip built majestic temples: a church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, consecrated in the year 1557, and a church of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The igumen himself worked as a simple laborer, helping to build the walls of the Transfiguration church. Beneath the north portico he dug himself a grave beside that of his guide, the Elder Jonah. Spiritual life in these years flourished at the monastery: struggling with the brethren with the disciples of Igumen Philip were Saints John and Longinus of Yarenga (July 3) and Bassian and Jonah of Pertominsk (July 12).

Saint Philip often withdrew to a desolate wilderness spot for quiet prayer, two versts from the monastery, which was later known as the Philippov wilderness.

But the Lord was preparing the saint for other work. In Moscow, Tsar Ivan the Terrible fondly remembered the Solovki hermit from his childhood. The Tsar hoped to find in Saint Philip a true companion, confessor and counsellor, who in his exalted monastic life had nothing in common with the sedition of the nobles. The Metropolitan of Moscow, in Ivan’s opinion, ought to have a certain spiritual meekness to quell the treachery and malice within the Boyar soul. The choice of Saint Philip as archpastor of the Russian Church seemed to him the best possible.

For a long time the saint refused to assume the great burden of the primacy of the Russian Church. He did not sense any spiritual affinity with Ivan. He attempted to get the Tsar to abolish the Oprichniki [secret police]. Ivan the Terrible attempted to argue its civil necessity. Finally, the dread Tsar and the holy Metropolitan came to an agreement: Saint Philip would not meddle in the affairs of the Oprichniki and the running of the government, he would not resign as Metropolitan in case the Tsar could not fulfill his wishes, and that he would be a support and counsellor of the Tsar, just as former Metropolitans supported the Moscow sovereigns. On July 25, 1566 Saint Philip was consecrated for the cathedra of Moscow’s hierarch saints, whose number he was soon to join.

Ivan the Terrible, one of the greatest and most contradictory figures in Russian history, lived an intensely busy life. He was a talented writer and bibliophile , he was involved in compiling the Chronicles (and himself suddenly cut the thread of the Moscow chronicle writing), he examined the intricacies of the monastic Rule, and more than once he thought about abdicating the throne for the monastic life.

Every aspect of governmental service, all the measures undertaken to restructure civil and social life, Ivan the Terrible tried to rationalize as a manifestation of Divine Providence, as God acting in history. His beloved spiritual heroes were Saint Michael of Chernigov (September 20) and Saint Theodore the Black (September 19), military men active with complex contradictory destinies, moving toward their ends through whatever the obstacles before them, and fulfilling their duties to the nation and to the Church.

The more the darkness thickened around Ivan, the more resolutely he demanded cleansing and redemption of his soul. Journeying on pilgrimage to the Saint Cyril of White Lake monastery, he declared his wish to become a monk to the igumen and the brethren. The haughty autocrat fell on his knees before the igumen, who blessed his intent. Ivan wrote, “it seems to me, an accursed sinner, that I am already robed in black.”

Ivan imagined the Oprichnina in the form of a monastic brotherhood, serving God with weapons and military deeds. The Oprichniki were required to dress in monastic garb and attend long and tiring church services, lasting from 4 to 10 o’clock in the morning. “Brethren” not in church at 4 o’clock in the morning, were given a penance by the Tsar. Ivan and his sons fervently wished to pray and sing in the church choir. From church they went to the trapeza, and while the Oprichniki ate, the Tsar stood beside them. The Oprichniki gathered leftover food from the table and distributed it to the poor at the doorway of the trapeza.

Ivan, with tears of repentance and wanting to be an esteemer of the holy ascetics, the teachers of repentance, wanted to wash and burn away his own sins and those of his companions, cherishing the assurance that even his terribly cruel actions would prove to be for the welfare of Russia and the triumph of Orthodoxy. The most clearly spiritual action and monastic sobriety of Ivan the Terrible is revealed in his “Synodikon.” Shortly before his death, he ordered full lists compiled of the people murdered by him and his Oprichniki. These were then distributed to all the Russian monasteries. Ivan acknowledged all his sins against the nation, and besought the holy monks to pray to God for the forgiveness of his tormented soul.

The pseudo-monasticism of Ivan the Terrible, a dark most grievous oppression over Russia, tormented Saint Philip, who considered it impossible to mix the earthly and the heavenly, serving the Cross and serving the sword. Saint Philip saw how much unrepentant malice and envy was concealed beneath the black cowls of the Oprichniki. There were outright murderers among them, hardened in lawless bloodletting, and profiteers seeking gain, rooted in sin and transgressions. By the sufferance of God, history is often made by the hands of the impious, and Ivan the Terrible wanted to whiten his black brotherhood before God. The blood spilled by its thugs and fanatics cried out to Heaven.

Saint Philip decided to oppose Ivan. This was prompted by a new wave of executions in the years 1567-1568. In the autumn of 1567, just as the Tsar was setting out on a campaign against Livonia, he learned about a boyar conspiracy. The plotters intended to seize the Tsar and deliver him to the Polish king, who already was on the move with an army towards Russian territory.

Ivan dealt severely with the conspirators, and again he shed much blood. It was bitter for Saint Philip, and the conscience of the saint compelled him boldly to enter into defense of the executed. The final rift occurred in the spring of 1568. On the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, March 2, 1568, when the Tsar with his Oprichniki entered the Dormition cathedral in monastic garb, as was their custom, Saint Philip refused to bless him, and began openly to denounce the lawless acts committed by the Oprichniki. The accusations of the hierarch shattered the harmony of the church service. In a rage Ivan retorted, “Would you oppose us? We shall see your firmness! I have been too soft on you.”

The Tsar began to show ever greater cruelty in persecuting all those who opposed him. Executions followed one after the other. The fate of the saintly confessor was sealed. But Ivan wanted to preserve a semblance of canonical propriety. The Boyar Duma obediently carried out his decision to place the Primate of the Russian Church on trial. A cathedral court was set up to try Metropolitan Philip in the presence of a diminished Boyar Duma, and false witnesses were found. To the deep sorrow of the saint, these were monks of the Solovki monastery, his former disciples and novices whom he loved. They accused Saint Philip of a multitude of transgressions, including sorcery.

“Like all my ancestors,” the saint declared, “I came into this world prepared to suffer for truth.” Having refuted all the accusations, the holy sufferer attempted to halt the trial by volunteering to resign his office. His resignation was not accepted, however, and new abuse awaited the martyr.

Even after a sentence of life imprisonment had been handed down, they compelled Saint Philip to serve Liturgy in the Dormition cathedral. This was on November 8, 1568. In the middle of the service, the Oprichniki burst into the temple, they publicly read the council’s sentence of condemnation, and then abused the saint. Tearing his vestments off, they dressed him in rags, dragged him out of the church and drove him off to the Theophany monastery on a simple peasant’s sledge.

For a long while they held the martyr in the cellars of the Moscow monasteries. They placed his feet into stocks, they held him in chains, and put a heavy chain around his neck. Finally, they drove him off to the Tver Otroch monastery. And there a year later, on December 23,1569, the saint was put to death at the hands of Maliuta Skuratov. Only three days before this the saint foresaw the end of his earthly life and received the Holy Mysteries. At first, his relics were committed to earth there at the monastery, beyond the church altar. Later, they were transferred to the Solovki monastery (August 11, 1591) and from there to Moscow (July 3, 1652).

Initially, the memory of Saint Philip was celebrated by the Russian Church on December 23, the day of his martyric death. In 1660, the celebration was transferred to January 9.

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

Canon of the holy hierarch, in Tone VIII.

Ode I, Irmos: That which had been hewn down divided the undivided, * and land unseen was seen by the sun; * water engulfed the cruel enemy, * and Israel traversed the impassable, chanting a hymn: * Let us sing unto the Lord, * for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

O Lamb and Word of God, through the effulgence of Thy Holy Spirit send down upon my mind a brilliant ray of light, and inspire within me the words to praise him whom Thou hast chosen and taken to Thyself: the sacred passion-bearer Philip.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

O holy one, ask of God divine grace for thy servant, and fill my soul with understanding, that I may praise thy life, O holy hierarch Philip, wherein, by thy struggles, thou didst astonish all, chanting unto the Lord: For gloriously hast Thou been glorified!

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

Kings marvelled at thy mighty courage and the effulgence of the great virtues which illumined thy works, O venerable one, for thy tongue never ceased to admonish them, and thou didst chant unto the Lord: For gloriously hast Thou been glorified!

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

The words of the divinely eloquent preachers’ have been fulfilled in thee, O Mother of God; for, lo! thou hast given birth, O Virgin, to a little Babe Who is older than ancient Adam and is co-enthroned with the Father, unto the salvation of the whole world and the abolition of corruption.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thou didst hasten to ascend the mountain of the virtues, and enter the darkness of vision, O holy hierarch Philip, and didst come to know, as far as it is possible, the nature of the Unapproachable One; and full of light, O father, thou didst receive divine grace.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Seeking the one God of goodness, and desiring to receive His glory alone, O blessed one, thou didst forsake the honour of thine earthly sojourn as something fleeting, and didst shine forth as a favoured  one of Christ, the Master of all.

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

With desire for the Spirit, thou didst cause the desire of the flesh to wither away, O blessed one, and within thyself thou didst wed purity as thy bride; and through purity were all the virtues begotten in thee, O ever glorious one, making thee a child of the immaterial Light.

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

Thou didst slay the noetic serpent who brought death upon Adam in paradise and grief upon Eve, our first mother. And having caused Life to spring forth, O pure Virgin, thou hast freed us from corruption, for God ineffably issued forth from thy womb.

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

Sessional Hymn of the saint, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …”: As the namesake and emulator of a chosen apostle, O father, thou didst endure tribulation and persecution. And emulating the zeal of the Prophet Elijah and the Baptist, thou didst manfully denounce the iniquitous, and didst govern well the see entrusted to thee, running the good race until the end. And thou hast left thy body behind like a mantle, emitting myrrh redolent of perfumes, and pourest forth the grace of the Spirit like rain, mystically watering the furrows of our hearts. O holy hierarch Philip, entreat Christ God, that He grant forgiveness of sins unto those who with love honour thy holy memory.

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

Repeat…

Ode IV, Irmos: With noetic eyes the Prophet Habbakuk * foresaw Thy coming, O Lord; * wherefore he cried aloud: * ‘God shall come out of Theman!’ Glory to Thy power! * Glory to Thy condescension!

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Those moved by malice against thee, the innocent lamb, rose up like wild beasts against thee, and, unable to bear being pierced by thy words as with a pike, they were provoked to rage, O divinely wise and holy hierarch.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

The whole world hath thee as its ally and help amid perils, for, as a faithful champion and a speedy intercessor, by thy sacred supplications thou dost rescue from dangers and misfortunes those who have recourse to thy care.

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

Having carried out the goodly struggles of Him Whom thou didst desire, O divinely wise namesake, thou hast been granted immortality, where, rejoicing, thou hast received the crown of victory, and criest aloud: Glory to Thine advent, O Christ!

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

Cast down the might of all the enemies who bring grief to those who hymn thee as her who gave birth to the Lord of glory, O Mother of God, and preserve thy flock, unharmed by the assaults of the wicked, that we may bless thee as is meet.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thine intercession hath been shown to be like a ray of the Sun of righteousness, shining with the splendours of the virtues, O holy hierarch Philip, dispelling the cloud of the misfortunes which assail us. Preserve now in peace those who hymn thee, glorify and illumine them with beauty.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thy tongue was shown to be a two-edged sword, O blessed one, for, armed with the fear of Christ, thou didst wisely denounce rulers, calling upon Christ, the King of all, as witness, and His divine apostles.

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

Thou wast shown to be a new man of zeal, like a second Moses, causing us to wonder not by performing awesome signs, but instructing us with the teachings of godly discourses, and leading us forth from the passions of Egypt to the calm haven of the new Israel.

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

We call thee the noetic cloud, for from thee did Christ shine forth, O all-immaculate one, and show thee to be more spacious than the heavens: for without knowing a man, O pure one, thou hast given birth to Him Who became incarnate in His indescribable loving-kindness.

Ode VI, Irmos: Thou O Lord, didst place Jonah alone within the sea monster. * Do Thou save me, * who am ensnared in the nets of the enemy, * as thou didst save him from corruption.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thou didst make thy general concern that those cared for by thee be one in soul and heart, O glorious one, abiding in the one Faith of Christ; thou didst uproot heathen customs, O wise one, and didst teach them to avoid divisions.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Moved by zeal for Christ, thou didst try to turn the rage of the ruler into meekness, and wast in nowise daunted by the threats of the tsar, for, in that thou art a doer of the commandments of Christ, thou didst show thyself to be a mighty and brave warrior, suffering for thy flock even unto death with rejoicing.

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

We see thee, O holy hierarch Philip, as a light-bearing ray shining upon those in the darkness of life, and as an inextinguishable lamp burning with the immaterial Light, illumining all the ends of the earth and removing the gloom of ignorance.

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

In a godly manner Moses, among the prophets, once prefigured thee, O all-immaculate one, as a tablet of the law, the lampstand of the Light, the tabernacle, the rod which budded forth, the jar containing the Manna, and the ladder whereby we are led up from earth to the heights of heaven.

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

Kontakion of the holy hierarch, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Today the Virgin …”: Let us praise the most wise Philip, * the instructor of Orthodoxy, * the proclaimer of the Truth, the luminary of Russia, * who noetically feedeth his children with the food of his words; * for with his tongue he sang praise, * and with his lips he chanted hymnody, ** as an initiate of the mysteries of the grace of God.

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

Ikos: Come, ye who love the martyrs, and, celebrating the memory of the hieromartyr with hymnody and spiritual songs, let us rejoice in a godly manner. The time of our gladness and reward hath arrived, wherein we shall receive the gift of release from sufferings; for the pillar of fire hath appeared, consuming the heads of the iniquitous, but illumining the souls of the faithful with teachings of divine knowledge, and leading us, the New Israel, to the divine city, the heavenly Jerusalem, in that he is a disciple of the grace of God.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thou didst stand before the Lord, adorned with the struggles of virtue and wearing a crown inlaid with drops of thy blood, O holy hierarch Philip. Wherefore, be thou ever mindful of those who celebrate thy radiant memorial, and chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Having fled the hordes of the noetic Pharaoh, O blessed one, thou didst easily pass over to the heavens, making thine abode there, receiving the honour of glory in the light of the righteous for thy patience, chanting in joy with the saints: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Those who have recourse to thy shrine praise thee, blessing thee with love, O blessed one, for, kissing thy relics which lie therein, they receive abundant grace: for by thy touch thou hast healed diseases of the eyes and cured pain of the teeth for those who chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

From the love of my soul I cry to thee, O Lady: O cloud of the supremely radiant Sun, portal of salvation, gate of heaven, noetic ladder, accept the entreaty of all Christians who bless thee, the hope of our souls, and who cry aloud to thy Son: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thou dost freely heal those who call upon thee with faith, as, appearing to the paralytic, thou didst straightway raise him up, didst heal one suffering from a complaint of the liver by the touch of thy hand, and by thine appearance didst move to joy one suffering from despondency, O blessed one, ever doing these things for all, throughout the ages.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

In that thou wast a victor, O all-blessed one, with His life-bearing right hand the Creator hath set upon thy head the crown of suffering, an honour beyond price; and He hath preserved thy body unharmed by earthly wolves, emitting the sweet savour of perfumes. And thus, hath the Judge of the contest glorified thee throughout the ages.

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

As a true pastor, O blessed one, do thou subdue arrogance and civil strife; drive away the wolves which rage against thy flock with the staff of thy supplications; make mighty the rule of our civil authorities, and put down the uprisings of the heathen, that we may hymn thee as our intercessor throughout the ages.

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

With the shield of the Faith do thou preserve thy holy temple, O Virgin Theotokos; vouchsafe thy glory unto those who together glorify thee therein, and deliver us from the assault and retribution of the barbarians; and still thou the raging waves of our mind by thy supplication, O all-hymned one.

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

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

Thou didst theologize concerning the one essence of the Trinity, and boldly denouncing those who taught vain things, O all-wise one, and exhorting the faithful with thy godly instructions, thou didst wisely strengthen them. O holy hierarch Philip, dweller with the angels, preserve in peace those who celebrate thy memory.

Holy Hieromartyr, Philip, pray to God for us.

For youths silence is a relative attainment, yet for fathers is it truly wondrous; wherefore, do thou accept this our thanksgiving, O father, not as truly worthy to serve for thy praise, but as offered unto thee with fervour; for we are unable to praise and magnify thee as is meet.

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

As one co-enthroned with the apostles, equally enrolled in the choir of the martyrs, and equal in honour with the holy hierarchs, O passion-bearer Philip, by thine intercession preserve those who hymn thee in peace, lift up the horn of our civil authorities, and set at naught the savagery of the barbarians, that, rejoicing, we may hymn and magnify thee.

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

O receptacle of the Light, divinely joyous Lady, true confirmation of holy hierarchs and boast of all the venerable: save us who hymn thee, the all-hymned one, from misfortunes and evil circumstances, and from the invasion of the heathen.

Troparion, in Tone VIII: O successor of the primates of Russia, pillar of orthodoxy, * champion of the truth, new confessor, holy hierarch Philip, * thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock. * Wherefore, as thou hast boldness before Christ, pray thou for this city, ** and the people who honour thy holy memory as is meet.

The Coming Weekend

Sunday 13/26 December:

Confessions: 10:15

Divine Liturgy & Moleben to St Spyridon the Wonderworker: 11:00

Dear brothers and sisters,

Western holiday celebrations and family obligations complicate the confessional front this coming weekend, and we know that family duties also overshadow fasting for those with loved ones with new-calendar celebrations. As a result, I anticipate that the number of communicants will be lower, with the expectation that those who relax the fast for family celebrations on Saturday, will not commune on Sunday.

We remind those respecting western seasonal celebrations with their families to be circumspect and moderate!

There will be limited time for confession in Cardiff this weekend – between entering St John’s at 10:15 and the Hours at 11:00. Thus, anyone confessing will be bound by time and the needs of others.

I would still like anyone confessing to email in advance, so that the clergy are aware of numbers, and confessions may be heard by arrangement on any day in the chapel in Llanelli. Email: otetzmark@hotmail.com

Finally, I would like to give advance warning that from 27 December, refreshments will not be permitted to be served in places of worship of the Anglican Diocese of Llandaff, so those coming from afar will need to be prepared, with packed lunches.

This week’s Advent Moleben will be held on Wednesday at 19:00 in the parish room, Church of St Mary the Virgin. Bute Street / North Church Street, Cardiff, CF10 5HB. Due to changing covid regulations, we may zoom the Moleben the following week.

The variables for Sunday Liturgy may be found here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cPB7oucNEohnYb6eI0MHae516Ch96FLp/view

May God bless and protect you and give you good strength in these days of the Nativity Fast.

In Christ – Fr Mark

Акафист святителю Амвросию, епископу Медиоланскому

Конда́к 1: Избра́ннаго чудотво́рца и свети́льника це́ркве Медиола́нския свята́го Амвро́сия, прииди́те, ве́рнии, почти́м по достоя́нию усе́рдною хвало́ю. Ты́ же, уго́дниче Бо́жий ми́лостивый, приими́ с любо́вию сие́ приноше́ние на́ше, да зове́м ти́: Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

И́кос 1: А́нгельских си́л и всея́ тва́ри Соде́тель, еще́ от младе́нческих пеле́н твои́х предуказа́вый добро́ту души́ твоея́, свя́те Амвро́сие, подаде́ тя́, в во́зраст прише́дша, а́нгела це́ркви Медиола́нстей, па́стыря и учи́теля слове́сному ста́ду Своему́, и си́м научи́ на́с зва́ти тебе́ си́це:

Ра́дуйся, от колыбе́ли младе́нческия на служе́ние Це́ркви ро́ем пче́л предуказа́нный; ра́дуйся, ко святи́тельству чрез немо́тствующаго младе́нца Бо́гом при́званный.

Ра́дуйся, бога́тство, сла́ву и по́чести ми́ра презре́вый; ра́дуйся, еди́ному Го́споду служи́ти восхоте́вый.

Ра́дуйся, апо́столов Христо́вых досто́йных прее́мниче; ра́дуйся, архиере́ев святы́х преподо́бный сопресто́льниче.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 2: Ви́дя небе́сное промышле́ние, соверши́вшееся в чу́днем призва́нии твое́м ко служе́нию Це́ркви, прему́дре, посвяти́л еси́ про́чее вре́мя жития́ твоего́ на угожде́ние во́ли Боже́ственней, и прине́сл еси́ всего́ себе́ и вся́ своя́ в же́ртву призва́вшему тя́ Го́споду, поя́ ему́: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 2: Ра́зумом богопросвеще́нным, напое́нным же от сло́ва Бо́жия, уразуме́в я́ко основа́ние все́х доброде́телей и сою́з соверше́нства духо́внаго любы́ к Бо́гу и бли́жнему е́сть, благоче́стне, потща́лся яви́ти ю́ в себе́ не сло́вом то́кмо, но де́лом и и́стиною. Те́мже бе́дствующим ру́ку ско́рыя по́мощи простира́л еси́, име́ния своя́ вся́ убо́гим расточи́л еси́, и та́ко наста́вил еси́ на́с зва́ти тебе́ си́це:

Ра́дуйся, я́ко путе́м нестяжа́ния апо́стольскаго ше́ствовати возлюби́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко все́ свое́ попече́ние на Про́мысл Бо́жий возложи́л еси́.

Ра́дуйся, милосе́рдия я́же во Христе́ подража́телю; ра́дуйся, нищеты́ его́ до́льния доброво́льный после́дователю.

Ра́дуйся, ме́ньших бра́тий Христо́вых дру́же и благоде́телю; ра́дуйся, скорбя́щих и озло́бленных ско́рый уте́шителю.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 3: Си́лою Вы́шняго укрепля́емь, преподо́бне, труды́ и ско́рби вели́каго служе́ния святи́тельскаго на по́льзу це́ркве Медиола́нския, во сла́ву же Го́спода Иису́са, благоду́шно поне́сл еси́, о все́х же благословля́л еси́ Бо́га, поя́ Ему́: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 3: Име́я же́зл си́лы, кре́пость ева́нгельскую, по́сланную ти́ от Сио́на Небе́снаго, святи́телю, госпо́дствовал еси́ посреде́ враго́в твои́х и не да́л еси́ волко́м ходя́щим во о́вчих ко́жах, в се́рдце же нося́щим я́д па́губы, расхи́тити ста́до твое́. Те́мже похва́льная воспису́ем ти́ сия́:

Ра́дуйся, слуго́ Спа́са ве́рнейший; ра́дуйся, стра́же до́му Бо́жия бди́тельнейший.

Ра́дуйся, па́стырю Христо́в честне́йший;  ра́дуйся, побо́рниче ве́ры, во пре́ниих с ересеучи́тельми мудре́йший.

Ра́дуйся, злоче́стия ариа́нскаго потреби́телю; ра́дуйся, пра́вых догма́тов насади́телю.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 4: Бу́рю крамолы́, воздви́гшуюся на це́рковь Медиола́нскую, зря́, Амвро́сие, сладкоглаго́ливою бесе́дою твое́ю, соде́йствием же Бо́жиим утиши́л еси́ мяте́ж людски́й, и та́ко научи́л еси́ ча́д ми́ра пе́ти Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 4: Слы́ша Феодо́сий ца́рь преще́ние твое́, и́мже возбраня́шеся ему́ я́ко уби́йце вни́ти в це́рковь Бо́жию, во е́же приобщи́тися Та́йн святы́х, повинова́ся ти́, я́ко гре́шник смире́нно ка́ющийся и примире́ния с Го́сподом жа́ждущий. Того́ ра́ди по достоя́нию возглаша́ем ти́:

Ра́дуйся, Та́ин Бо́жиих му́дрый строи́телю; ра́дуйся, постановле́ний оте́ческих ве́рный храни́телю.

Ра́дуйся, Нафа́ну и Предте́чи соревни́телю; ра́дуйся, законопресту́пных нелицеме́рный обличи́телю.

Ра́дуйся, наста́вниче покая́ния и исправле́ния; ра́дуйся, Це́ркве Медиола́нския неумира́ющая сла́во и украше́ние.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 5: Боготе́чная звезда́ на тве́рди церко́вней бы́л еси́, о́тче Амвро́сие, све́тлостию уче́ния и жития́ твоего́ мглу́ ересе́й разгоня́ющая и мра́к безбо́жия потребля́ющая, неве́рных от тьмы́ неве́рия к све́ту невече́рнему привлача́ющая и все́х ко спасе́нию путеводя́щая, пою́щим Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 5: Ви́девше тя́ медиола́нстии лю́дие му́драго пе́стуна и любвеоби́льнаго отца́ па́стве свое́й, святи́телю, притека́ху к милосе́рдию твоему́ во все́х ско́рбех и ну́ждах свои́х. Ты́ же, ми́лостиве, никого́же отри́нул еси́, но все́м вся́к помо́щник бы́л еси́, досто́йный сицевы́х похва́л:

Ра́дуйся, си́рых покрови́телю; ра́дуйся, оби́димых защи́тителю.

Ра́дуйся, плене́нных от ва́рвар искупи́телю; ра́дуйся, от ко́зней сатани́нских свободи́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко досто́йно сла́достное и́мя носи́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко вои́стину сла́достен наста́вник и пособи́тель все́м бы́л еси́.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 6: Пропове́дник веща́емых ти́ от А́нгел к у́ху глаго́лов Бо́жиих бы́л еси́, святи́телю Амвро́сие, те́мже словеса́ у́ст твои́х па́че ме́да и со́та услажда́ху все́х послу́шающих тебе́ и Бо́гу вопию́щих: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 6: Возсия́ а́ки со́лнце све́т доброде́тельнаго жития́ твоего́ на земли́, богому́дре о́тче, в тебе́ бо зри́м вся́ ели́ка честна́, ели́ка пра́ведна, ели́ка пречи́ста. Си́х ра́ди сла́вяще Свята́го Ду́ха, вино́вника благи́х, от си́лы в си́лу священнота́йне ве́дшаго тя́, зове́м:

Ра́дуйся, доброде́телей ева́нгельских пребога́тое сокро́вище; ра́дуйся, всегда́шних воздыха́ний и моли́тв я́же к Бо́гу пречестно́е святи́лище.

Ра́дуйся, кро́тости и смире́ния боголе́пное жили́ще; ра́дуйся, терпе́ния тве́рдое храни́лище.

Ра́дуйся, церкве́й Бо́жиих украси́телю и пречу́дный побо́рниче; ра́дуйся, чистоты́ де́вственный учи́телю и неоску́дный сле́з исто́чниче.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 7: Хотя́ улучи́ти спасе́ние во мно́зе сове́те, смиренному́дре, име́л еси́ дру́га души́ твоея́ пресви́тера состаре́вшася и му́дра, почита́я его́ я́ко отца́ и с ни́м совеща́лся о де́лех свои́х; вразуми́ и на́с твори́ти вся́ с сове́том богому́дрых отце́в, да окормле́нием и́х спаса́еми, пое́м Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 7: Зна́мение ева́нгельския любве́ к бли́жнему яви́л еси́, о́тче Амвро́сие, егда́ враго́м свои́м благотвори́л еси́ и со гре́шники ка́ющимися го́рько пла́кал еси́. Те́мже ти́ я́ко непамятозло́бному па́стырю и отцу́, боле́зновавшу о спасе́нии духо́вных ча́д твои́х, вопие́м:

Ра́дуйся, незло́бия Христо́ва подража́телю; ра́дуйся, ка́ющимся гре́шником те́плый сострада́телю.

Ра́дуйся, Иусти́не, враждова́вшей ти́, благотвори́вый; ра́дуйся, злоде́ю твоему́ ру́ку усо́хшую исцели́вый.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко ве́сь кро́тость и любо́вь бы́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко высоты́ соверше́нства дости́гл еси́.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 8: Стра́нныя и ди́вныя си́лы пе́рст Бо́жий сотвори́ в житии́ твое́м, святи́телю, егда́ уме́рша о́трока воскреси́ тобо́ю, разсла́бленную исцели́, ариа́нина, почита́ния ра́ди святы́х моще́й хули́вшаго тя́, бе́су преда́, безсту́дную жену́ сирми́йску уничижи́вшую тя́, ка́рою порази́. И кто́ от слы́шащих вся́ сия́ не просла́вит ди́внаго в житии́ твое́м Бо́га пе́снию: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 8: Ве́сь испо́лнен бы́в ре́вности по Бо́зе, о́тче Амвро́сие, такову́ю вла́сть над де́моны стяжа́л еси́, я́ко ниже́ к две́рем до́му твоего́ прибли́зитися можа́ху: о́гнь бо исходя́й отту́ду гна́ше и́х, я́ко пра́х, его́же возмета́ет ве́тр от лица́ земли́. Толи́ко стра́шный де́моном уго́дниче Бо́жий, огради́ и на́шу не́мощь предста́тельством твои́м от губи́тельных стре́л и́х, да вопие́м ти́ сицева́я:

Ра́дуйся, от ко́зней лю́таго мироде́ржца кре́пкий ве́рных храни́телю; ра́дуйся, от зло́бных слу́г его́, зия́ющих пожре́ти ны́, ве́рный на́ш обличи́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко пла́мень лица́ бесо́в попаля́ющий; ра́дуйся, я́ко гро́м киче́ние па́дшаго денни́цы поража́ющий.

Ра́дуйся, всю́ си́лу его́ си́лою кре́стною попра́вый; ра́дуйся, нечи́стых духо́в от притека́ющих к тебе́ отгна́вый.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 9: Все́ житие́ на́ше во юдо́ли земна́го стра́нствования сего́ испо́лнено безчи́сленных искуше́ний и бе́д, грехо́в и страсте́й, вою́ющих на ны́: ка́ко у́бо избы́ти возмо́жем ве́чных му́к, окая́ннии, егда́ пости́гнет на́с сме́рть неумоли́мая, а́ще не ты́, о́тче, с наде́ждою на́шею Богома́терию, предста́тельствовати за ны́ бу́деши, поя́ Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 9: Вети́я многовеща́нныя ви́дим тобо́ю посра́мленныя, святи́телю: А́рия бо ху́льных после́дователей препре́л еси́, Симма́ха высокоу́мнаго низложи́л еси́, мудрецы́, и́же от восто́ка, глубино́ю богосло́вия своего́ удиви́л еси́, и вся́ ве́рныя уче́нием и́стинным просвети́л еси́. Те́мже мо́лим тя́: осия́й и на́с све́том богоразу́мия твоего́, да отбе́гше скве́рн тлетво́рнаго ду́ха вре́мене и собла́знов бори́теля, вопие́м ти́:

Ра́дуйся, ду́ш на́ших просвети́телю; ра́дуйся, ве́ры правосла́вныя побо́рниче.

Ра́дуйся, веле́ний Бо́жиих учи́телю; ра́дуйся, пле́вел вра́жиих, всева́емых в ду́ши спя́щих челове́к, искорени́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко мно́гих коле́блемых неве́рием в пра́вой ве́ре укрепи́л еси́; ра́дуйся, я́ко догма́т о единосу́щном и равноче́стном Отцу́ и Ду́хови Божестве́ Сы́на уясни́л еси́.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 10: Спасе́ние соверше́нное улучи́в от привре́менных бу́рь и бе́д, уго́дниче Бо́жий Амвро́сие, не забу́ди на́с, потопля́емых напа́стей бу́рею. Но в ни́хже са́м искуше́н бы́л еси́, и на́м искуша́емым помози́, да пое́м Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 10: Сте́ну тя́ тве́рдую и изве́стно утвержде́ние гра́ду твоему́ и все́м чту́щим па́мять твою́ испове́дающе, святи́телю, дерза́ем по достоя́нию воспе́ти тебе́ хвале́ние сие́:

Ра́дуйся, царе́й бранелюби́вых умиротвори́телю; ра́дуйся, благоде́нствия оте́чественнаго храни́телю.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю царю́ Гратиа́ну побе́да на го́ты дарова́ся; ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю мно́гим ми́р от Феодо́сия исхода́тайствовася.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю проще́ние грехо́в улуча́ем; ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю от бе́д спаса́еми, ми́р с Бо́гом обрета́ем.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 11: Пе́снь «Тебе́ Бо́га хва́лим, Тебе́ Го́спода испове́дуем…» па́че вся́каго возду́шнаго орга́на услажда́ющую ве́рных, воспе́л еси́ в че́сть Боже́ственней Тро́ице, святи́телю. Ны́не же в Це́ркви Небе́сней пое́ши со А́нгелы и́ну пе́снь то́йжде Тро́ице: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 11: Светопода́тельна свети́льника, еще́ на земли́ просия́вша невеще́ственным све́том, ве́дуще тя́, о́тче святы́й, ку́ю досто́йную похвалу́ принесе́м ти́ гре́шнии, ко́ею пе́снию ублажи́м тя́ недосто́йнии, о святи́телю Христо́в. Еди́н то́кмо све́дый глубины́ серде́чныя и реки́й: «А́з прославля́ющия Мя́ просла́влю», — еди́н О́н ве́сть, ка́ко по достоя́нию просла́вити тя́. Оба́че ве́дый, я́ко челове́к, на́шу не́мощь, не отри́ни, я́ко оте́ц ми́лостивый, и на́ша убо́гия, но от и́скренних серде́ц приноси́мыя ти́ хвалы́ сия́:

Ра́дуйся, а́нгеле земны́й, еще́ на земли́ све́том невеще́ственным озаре́нный; ра́дуйся, челове́че небе́сный, еще́ во пло́ти лицезре́нием сладча́йшаго Иису́са почте́нный.

Ра́дуйся, свети́льниче Боже́ственнаго све́та, уче́нием свои́м ми́ра концы́ озари́вый; ра́дуйся, луче́ мы́сленнаго Со́лнца, теплото́ю любве́ своея́ вертогра́д Его́ оживи́вый.

Ра́дуйся, звездо́, тве́рдь церко́вную све́тло украша́ющая; ра́дуйся, похвало́ и доны́не Медиола́н осиява́ющая.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 12: Благода́тию небе́снаго покро́ва твоего́ не лиши́ на́с никогда́, о ми́лостиве о́тче, но при́сно моли́ся о на́с к ще́дрому Го́споду, Ему́же с ли́ки святы́х немо́лчно пое́ши: Аллилу́иа.

И́кос 12: Пою́ще чудеса́ и по́двиги преподо́бнаго жития́ твоего́, святи́телю, сла́вим кончи́ну твою́, е́юже ми́рно отше́л еси́ на не́бо, и ублажа́ем соца́рствование твое́ та́мо с Бо́гом ве́чным. Ты́ же, уго́дниче святы́й, при́зри с высоты́ о́наго блаже́ннаго приста́нища твоего́ на на́с, пла́вающих в молве́ жите́йских попече́ний и к тебе́, неви́димому окорми́телю на́шему, из глубины́ души́ вопию́щих:

Ра́дуйся, пла́вание свое́ в жите́йском мо́ри до́бре сверши́вый и безце́нное сокро́вище ве́ры в бе́зднах его́ не потопи́вый; ра́дуйся, ко приста́нищу ра́йскому безбе́дно приплы́вый и вене́ц нетле́нный от Христа́ улучи́вый.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко та́мо ликовству́я, и на́с, до́лу су́щих, любо́вию твое́ю досяза́еши; ра́дуйся, я́ко ду́хом твои́м на́м вы́ну спребыва́еши.

Ра́дуйся, я́ко тобо́ю гне́ва Бо́жия избавля́емся; ра́дуйся, я́ко мольба́ми твои́ми к приста́нищу го́рнему направля́емся.

Ра́дуйся, Амвро́сие, святи́телю Христо́в и чудотво́рче.

Конда́к 13: О, святы́й и ми́лостивый уго́дниче Бо́жий Амвро́сие! Приими́ с любо́вию приноси́мое сие́ ма́лое, но от усе́рдия приноси́мое тебе́ хвале́ние на́ше, и потщи́ся изба́вити на́с от боле́зней душе́вных и теле́сных, от все́х бе́д и зо́л, да тобо́ю улучи́вше Ца́рство Небе́сное, во ве́ки пое́м Бо́гу: Аллилу́иа.

Этот конда́к читается трижды, затем и́кос 1-й и конда́к 1-й.

Моли́тва: О, пресла́вный чудотво́рче, в ско́рбех ско́рый помо́щниче и усе́рдный о ми́ре к Бо́гу моли́твенниче, о́тче святы́й Амвро́сие! Ве́мы, я́ко ве́лие ко Спа́су и́маши дерзнове́ние, предстоя́ го́рнему Престо́лу Его́, и сего́ ра́ди смире́нно припа́даем ти́: моли́ся Ему́, уго́дниче Бо́жий, да пода́ст наро́ду Росси́йскому благоде́нственное и ми́рное житие́, да изба́вит от вра́г ви́димых и неви́димых, от наше́ствия иноплеме́нных, от неду́га и гла́да, от вся́кия ско́рби и смертоно́сныя я́звы и от вся́каго зла́; на́м же все́м, ве́рою пра́зднующим святу́ю па́мять твою́ и усе́рдно хода́тайства твоего́ ча́ющим, да ниспо́слет вся́ благопотре́бная ко вре́менному и ве́чному житию́ на́шему, па́че же оставле́ние грехо́в, ми́р по́мыслов, тишину́ серде́чную, здра́вие душа́м и телесе́м на́шим. Е́й, святи́телю Бо́жий, па́стырю Христо́в ми́лостивейший, покрови́телю на́ш гото́вейший! услы́ши на́с, еще́ еди́наго от тебе́ прося́щих: бу́ди те́плый моли́твенник и предста́тель ко Го́споду о духо́вных па́стырех и отце́х на́ших (имена́), и́же не́мощи на́ша но́сят и о на́с боле́знуют, до́ндеже вообрази́тся в на́с Христо́с, да сохрани́т О́н, всеблаги́й и вся́ могу́щий Влады́ка, дража́йшия дни́ жития́ и́х в неруши́мом ми́ре и кре́пости си́л духо́вных и теле́сных, да приведе́т на́с, недосто́йных рабо́в Свои́х, и́х окормле́нием и моли́твами, твои́м же хода́йтайством и заступле́нием ко приста́нищу жи́зни несконча́емыя, иде́же херуви́ми и серафи́ми, святи́и вси́ с Богоро́дицею и с тобо́ю, покрови́телем на́шим, непреста́нными гла́сы сла́вят Отца́, и Сы́на, и Свята́го Ду́ха, ны́не и при́сно и во ве́ки веко́в. Ами́нь.

Моли́тва ина́я

О, всесвяты́й Амвро́сие, уго́дниче Бо́жий изря́днейший, покрови́телю мо́й ми́лостивейший! При́зри с высоты́ го́рняго жили́ща твоего́ на мя́ недосто́йнаго, неради́ваго, уны́лаго в настоя́щем житии́ се́м. Ви́ждь мене́ гре́шнаго, в толи́цем обстоя́нии су́щаго, умо́м помраче́ннаго, во́лею ко злу́ преклоне́ннаго, и се́рдцем па́че к земли́, не́же к небеси́, прилепле́ннаго. Ви́ждь стра́стное обурева́ние души́ моея́ и не́мощь и небреже́ние мое́. Ви́ждь при се́м и кова́рство злонача́льника и губи́теля моего́, ви́ждь, о святи́телю Христо́в, и умилосе́рдися о мне́, такова́го ра́ди положе́ния моего́. Помози́ ми́, о засту́пниче мо́й, ско́рым предста́тельством твои́м. Исхода́тайствуй ми́ от Отца́ щедро́т бо́дрость и си́лу, во е́же твори́ти во́лю Его́, благу́ю, уго́дную и соверше́нную, стра́сти моя́ умертви́ти, де́мона низложи́ти, ми́р себе́ распя́ти и себе́ ми́ру, и та́ко дости́гнути христиа́нския кончи́ны живота́ своего́, безболе́зненны, непосты́дны, ми́рны. По исхо́де же притре́петныя души́ моея́ от окая́ннаго и бре́ннаго телесе́ сего́, бу́ди е́й а́нгел покрови́тель, до́бр спу́тник, ве́рен храни́тель и защи́тник от лю́тых нападе́ний нача́льника возду́шных мыта́рств, да безбе́дно преше́д о́ныя, си́лою предста́тельства твоего́, сподо́блюся про́чее и а́з, после́дний из все́х, и́же в ца́рстве благода́ти, узре́ти сладча́йшее лице́ Го́спода на́шего и сла́вити Его́ со Отце́м и Святы́м Ду́хом, и твое́ ми́лостивное о мне́ предста́тельство, во ве́ки веко́в. Ами́нь.

Nameday Greetings

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Though it’s rather late in the day, as I went out without my laptop and have only just returned home, this is the first chance to post nameday greetings to our brother and elder of the parish, Andrew (Allan).
We send him our congratulations and warmest regards, praying that God will grant him ‘Many blessed years!’

Многая и Благая лѣта!

The Advent Journey With the Saints: Venerable Martyr Stephen the New

Saturday, November 28 / December 11: Venerable Martyr Stephen the New

The Monk Martyr and Confessor Stephen the New was born in 715 at Constantinople into a pious Christian family. His parents, having two daughters, prayed the Lord for a son. The mother of the new-born Stephen took him to the Blachernae church of the Most Holy Theotokos and dedicated him to God.

During the reign of the emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-741) there was a persecution against the holy icons and against those venerating them. With the support of the emperor, the adherents of the Iconoclast heresy seized control of the supreme positions of authority in the Empire and in the Church. Persecuted by the powers of this world, Orthodoxy was preserved in monasteries far from the capital, in solitary cells, and in the brave and faithful hearts of its followers.

The Orthodox parents of Saint Stephen, grieved by the prevailing impiety, fled from Constantinople to Bithynia, and they gave over their sixteen-year-old son in obedience to the monk John, who labored in asceticism in a solitary place on the Mount of Saint Auxentius. Saint Stephen dwelt with the venerable monk John for more than fifteen years, devoting himself totally to this spirit-bearing Elder, and learning monastic activity from him. Here Stephen received the news that his father was dead, and his mother and sisters had been tonsured as nuns.

After a certain time his teacher John also died. With deep sorrow Saint Stephen buried his venerable body, and continued with monastic effort in his cave by himself. Soon monks began to come to the ascetic, desiring to learn from him the virtuous and salvific life, and a monastery was established, with Saint Stephen as the igumen. At forty-two years of age Stephen left the monastery he founded, and he went to another mountain, on whose summit he dwelt in deep seclusion in a solitary cell. But here also a community of monks soon gathered, seeking the spiritual guidance of Saint Stephen.

Leo the Isaurian was succeeded by Constantine Copronymos (741-775), a fiercer persecutor of the Orthodox, and an even more zealous iconoclast. The emperor convened an Iconoclast Council, attended by 358 bishops from the Eastern provinces. However, except for Constantine, the Archbishop of Constantinople, illegitimately raised to the patriarchal throne by the power of Copronymos, not one of the other patriarchs participated in the wicked doings of this Council, thus making it less likely to style itself as “ecumenical.” This council of heretics, at the instigation of the emperor and the archbishop, described icons as idols, and pronounced an anathema on all who venerated icons in the Orthodox manner, and it described icon veneration as heresy.

Meanwhile, the monastery of Mount Auxentius and its igumen became known in the capital. They told the emperor about the ascetic life of the monks, about their Orthodox piety, about the igumen Stephen’s gift of wonderworking, and of how Saint Stephen’s fame had spread far beyond the region of the monastery, and that the name of its head was accorded universal respect and love. The saint’s open encouragement of icon veneration and the implied rebuff to the persecutors of Orthodoxy within the monastery of Mount Auxentius especially angered the emperor. Archbishop Constantine realized that in the person of Saint Stephen he had a strong and implacable opponent of his iconoclastic intentions, and he plotted how he might draw him over to his side or else destroy him.

They tried to lure Saint Stephen into the Iconoclast camp, at first with flattery and bribery, then by threats, but in vain. Then they slandered the saint, accusing him of falling into sin with the nun Anna. But his guilt was not proven, since the nun courageously denied any guilt and died under torture and beatings. Finally, the emperor gave orders to lock up the saint in prison, and to destroy his monastery. Iconoclast bishops were sent to Saint Stephen in prison, trying to persuade him of the dogmatic correctness of the Iconoclast position. But the saint easily refuted all the arguments of the heretics and he remained true to Orthodoxy.

Then the emperor ordered that the saint be exiled on one of the islands in the Sea of Marmora. Saint Stephen settled into a cave, and there also his disciples soon gathered. After a certain while the saint left the brethren and took upon himself the exploit of living atop a pillar. News of the stylite Stephen, and the miracles worked by his prayers, spread throughout all the Empire and strengthened the faith and spirit of Orthodoxy in the people.

The emperor gave orders to transfer Saint Stephen to prison on the island of Pharos, and then to bring him to trial. At the trial, the saint refuted the arguments of the heretics sitting in judgment upon him. He explained the dogmatic essence of icon veneration, and he denounced the Iconoclasts because in blaspheming icons, they blasphemed Christ and the Mother of God. As proof, the saint pointed to a golden coin inscribed with the image of the emperor. He asked the judges what would happen to a man who threw the coin to the ground , and then trampled the emperor’s image under his feet. They replied that such a man would certainly be punished for dishonoring the image of the emperor. The saint said that an even greater punishment awaited anyone who would dishonor the image of the King of Heaven and His Saints, and with that he spat on the coin, threw it to the ground, and began to trample it underfoot.

The emperor gave orders to take the saint to prison, where already there were languishing 342 Elders, condemned for the veneration of icons. In this prison Saint Stephen spent eleven months, consoling the imprisoned. The prison became like a monastery, where the usual prayers and hymns were chanted according to the Typikon. The people came to the prison in crowds and asked Saint Stephen to pray for them.

When the emperor learned that the saint had organized a monastery in prison, where they prayed and venerated holy icons, he sent two of his own servants, twin-brothers, to beat the saint to death. When these brothers went to the prison and beheld the face of the monk shining with a divine light, they fell down on their knees before him, asking his forgiveness and prayers, then they told the emperor that his command had been carried out. But the emperor learned the truth and he resorted to yet another lie. Informing his soldiers that the saint was plotting to remove him from the throne, he sent them to the prison. The holy confessor himself came out to the furious soldiers, who seized him and dragged him through the streets of the city. They then threw the lacerated body of the martyr into a pit, where they were wont to bury criminals.

On the following morning a fiery cloud appeared over Mount Auxentius, and then a heavy darkness descended upon the capital, accompanied by hail, which killed many people.

The canon to the venerable one, with 6 Troparia, the acrostic whereof is: “Christ crowneth thee with the wreath of martyrdom, O blessed one”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VI.

Ode I, Irmos: When Israel walked on foot in the sea as on dry land, * on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, * they cried: * Let us sing to God * a song of victory.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Joyfully treading the narrow path of fasting, O blessed one, thou didst scorch the assaults of the enemy on the griddle of martyrdom and inherited spacious life.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

She who before was barren, the namesake of Hannah, brought thee forth as a root, like Samuel of old, and gave thee to God Who gave thee to her, O wise one, signifying the grace of thy life.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Arriving at the most sacred and divine rank of monastics, O venerable Stephen, thou didst shine forth like a most brilliant star in thy virtues, mystically illumining the faithful.

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

Confining thy body in a narrow dwelling, thou didst furnish thy mind with wings to fly to the heavens, O wise one, freeing thyself to soar well through the expanse of the heavens.

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

With sacred voices let us glorify the holy Lady, O sacred people: the impassable portal, the pure temple of purity, her who is most comely among women.

Ode III, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thou, * O Lord my God, * who hast exalted the horn of The faithful O good One, * and strengthened us upon the rock * of Thy confession.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thy mind, made beautiful through the vision of God, O father, was revealed to be most comely, truly filled with every grace, and partaking of divine splendor.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Venerating the precious icon of Christ and her who gave birth to Him, O blessed one, by the power of the divine Spirit thou didst despise the vile command of the impious emperor.

The most foolish one, binding with iron fetters thee who dost possess a heart of iron, sent thee to prison, O all-blessed Stephen, as a preserver of the dogmas of Christ.

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

Thou didst manifestly possess beautiful feet which tread radiantly the paths of martyrdom, O venerable one, and crushed the heads of the enemy, O much-suffering Stephen.

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

From thee, the only pure one, did the supremely divine Word become incarnate, as is known; and He hath saved from corruption us who worship His divine condescension, in that He is full of loving-kindness.

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

Kontakion, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel. “To thee, the chosen leader …”: With all our heart, O ye who love the feasts of the Church, * let us faithfully praise with hymns the godly Stephen, the lover of the Trinity, * as one who venerated the beauteous image of the Master and His Mother; * and together let us now cry out to him, rejoicing with love: ** Rejoice, O ever-glorious father!

Sessional Hymn, in Tone I, Spec. Mel.: “Thy tomb, O Saviour …”: Thy blood, O divinely wise one, mystically crieth out to God from the earth like that of Abel; for thou didst clearly preach that Christ was both God and man. Wherefore, thou didst put to shame the delusion of the iconoclasts and hast passed over to the mansions of heaven. Pray thou that Christ save us.

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

Tone I, same melody: Luminous in fasting, thou didst shine in lawful suffering like gold in the crucible, O wise one; and received a crown which befitteth thy calling. Wherefore, rejoicing, we celebrate thy most holy memory, honoring thy feats, O ever-memorable Stephen.

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

Theotokion in Tone I: O pure Virgin Theotokos who knewest not wedlock, thou sole intercessor and protection of the faithful: from tribulations, sorrows and cruel circumstances deliver all who place their trust in thee, O Maiden, and save our souls by thy divine supplications.

Ode IV, Irmos: Christ is my power, * my God and my Lord, * the holy Church divinely singeth, * crying with a pure mind, * keeping festival in the Lord.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Illumined with the light of the Spirit, O father, thou didst impart light to the blind by thy supplications, emulating thy Master and God, O divinely inspired one.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been seen by those sailing afar off at sea, by divine grace piloting to a calm harbour those who with faith invoke thy name, O blessed father Stephen.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

As a sacred minister, thou didst offer thyself as a sacred immolation unto Him Who was slain for thy sake, O Stephen, and, rejoicing, thou hast found rest in the mansions of the first-born.

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

The dry field wast shown to be wholly healthy by thy precious word, O martyr, and we marvel at the grace given thee abundantly from on high for the correction of all mankind.

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

On thee, O all-immaculate one, have I set all hope of my salvation, and I have fled to thy protection. Be thou my helper, O Maiden, delivering me from evil things.

Ode V, Irmos: Illumine with Thy divine light, I pray, O Good One, * the souls of those who with love rise early to pray to Thee, * that they may know Thee, O Word of God, * as the true God, * Who recalleth us from the darkness of sin.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Our God, Who alone is the Judge of the contest, strengthened thee against the murderers, O venerable Stephen, and truly crowned thy labors of fasting with the honors of martyrdom.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Struggling right gloriously, thou wast found, O martyr, sharing fellowship with a multitude of martyrs in prison; for, surrounding thee like stars around a never-waning sun, they shone all the more greatly.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

O sacred confessors with divine words as emulators of the divine sufferings, we bless you, the three hundred and forty-two who contended against the ungodly.

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

For the icon of Christ the most virtuously glorious multitude of the venerable endured the mockery of having their hair shorn off, their ears and hands severed, and their divine members burned away.

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

O most pure one, who alone hast truly given birth to the Most holy One on earth; sanctify those who ceaselessly profess thee to be the Theotokos, and save us by thy mediation.

Ode VI, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the tempest of temptations, * I run to Thy calm haven, and cry to Thee: * Raise up my life from corruption, * O Most Merciful One.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

The author of evil was unable to endure the power of thy words; wherefore, O Stephen, the deceiver savagely gave thee over to bonds, wounds and a violent death.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou wast burned like bread baked by fire, suspended pitilessly by thy feet, O Paul; thus offering thyself as a sacrifice to God, and been deemed worthy to dwell with the martyrs. With faith and love we bless you, O ye thirty-eight venerable monks who suffered lawfully in Ephesus, imprisoned and deprived of life by suffocation.

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

Thou didst mightily oppose the judge, O right glorious Peter of great renown, and, with thy body lacerated by stripes, thou didst desire to die for Christ, the only Immortal One.

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

O Theotokos, with steadfast heart we bless thee, who alone among women art all-hymned and comely, the invincible rampart of Christians, the most pure Lady.

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

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

Kontakion, in Tone III, Spec. Mel. “Today the Virgin …”: From a barren woman didst thou, the offshoot of a root, grow forth, * O venerable father, * namesake of the protomartyr; * and thou wast shown to be a great instructor of monks, * unafraid of the wrath of the emperor * who did not wish to venerate the image of Christ. * Wherefore, in dying thou didst receive ** the crown of martyrdom, O Stephen.

Ikos: He who is the father of hatred and a stranger to God raised many temptations and threefold waves against thee; yet he could not bear to look upon thy godly life and the straight and undeviating steps of thy path. The vile one devised evils against thee, feigning to be thy disciple, like Judas of old; and made haste to place thee in the hands of the iniquitous, O father, who splendidly confessed Christ and venerated His image with love. Wherefore, thou hast received the crown of martyrdom, O Stephen.

Ode VII, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace bedew the holy Children. * But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans * and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thine end was announced to thee by the all-accomplishing will of God, O blessed one; wherefore, thou didst give thyself over to yet greater fasting, and now, having been slain for Christ Who is God over all, thou hast gone from glory to glory.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou wast glorified with the protomartyr of the same name as thee; for, stoned, dragged and beaten mercilessly, thou didst fill the earth with blood and, rejoicing, surrendered thy soul to the Lord.

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

Dragged through the streets of the city, O martyr Stephen, thou didst smooth the way of martyrdom for all the faithful; and stepping forth upon it confidently, they have manifestly reached the city of heaven.

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

The most sacred prophets announced beforehand the supremely revealed mystery of thine honoured birthgiving, O pure one. And we, splendidly contemplating the fulfilment thereof, now piously call thee blessed.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Thou didst make flame bedew the holy children, * and didst burn the sacrifice of a righteous man with water. * For Thou alone, O Christ, dost do all as Thou willest, * Thee do we supremely exalt throughout all ages.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Most savagely, like wild beasts, the murderous ones seized the lamb of Christ, beating him, and they who live iniquitously buried him with the malefactors.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Pitilessly the enemy crushed thy head which God hath crowned with the wreath of victory in the highest, O crowned sufferer, glory of martyrs and all the venerable.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

The divinely wise and righteous Andrew, steadfastly opposing the tyrant, was broken by blows and mercilessly slain, chanting to Christ God throughout all ages.

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

As a most holy habitation of Him Who resteth in all the saints, O much-suffering Stephen, thou dost bear Him in thy heart throughout all ages.

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

With the sprinkling of the divine blood which flowed from the side of thy Son and God, O Virgin who art blessed of God, wash away, I pray thee, the defilement which hath come upon me through wicked sin.

Ode IX, Irmos: It is impossible for mankind to see God * upon Whom the orders of Angels dare not gaze; * but through thee, O all-pure one, * did the Word Incarnate become a man * and with the Heavenly Hosts * Him we magnify and thee we call blessed.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Beholding the ranks of angels, patriarchs, the venerable, prophets, martyrs, apostles and all the righteous, O divinely inspired one, thou didst rejoice; and as thou hast now joined them, be thou mindful of, and help those of us on earth, who in a pure manner call thee blessed.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Thou wast like a light, like the dawning, like the great sun, like the star-spangled sky replete with the splendours of miracles and holy wounds, O Stephen, truly adorning the thoughts of all who praise thee, O much-suffering martyr.

Venerable Martyr, Stephen, pray to God for us.

Having first destroyed the princes of darkness with the steadfast feats of asceticism, O father, thou didst later suffer mightily, giving them over to utter destruction, O Stephen, beauty of the martyrs and boast of the venerable.

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

Thy most glorious memory doth today illumine the multitudes of the earthborn with the most radiant beams of the gifts of the Spirit, O divinely blessed Stephen. Illumine and sanctify us who now joyfully celebrate it.

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

O divinely joyous one, abode of the Light, true confirmation of hieromartyrs and boast of all the venerable: from misfortunes, evil circumstances and the invasion of enemies save us who hymn thee.

Troparion, in Tone IV: Struggling in fasting upon the mountain, * thou didst slay the noetic hordes of the enemy * with the weapon of the Cross, O all-blessed one, * manfully arming thyself again for martyrdom, * slaying Copronymus with the sword of the Faith. * And for both hast thou been crowned by God, ** O ever-memorable venerable martyr Stephen.