Rescheduling Confessions

Due to road closures around Bute Town, due to tomorrow’s royal visit, confessions and catechesis group have been cancelled.

Confessions will now be heard in St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon, and those confessing are asked to be mindful of the fact that due to the large number of requests confessions will take in excess of four hours, and they need to be mindful of the time they take.

A list of times will be sent out tomorrow morning, when I have received confirmation from those attending.

Those requiring confessions on Sunday morning are also asked to prepare and be succinct. Whilst the number of Sunday confessions (and the number of commemorations for proskomedia) is growing, the amount of time we have before Liturgy is not.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Today and the Coming Week

Dear brothers and sisters,

St John’s was certainly a very joyful place today, with so many children in church, and the blessing of hearing confessions of those old enough to do so and to commune them with the Holy Mysteries. It was also young Vanya’s nameday, though we didn’t realise this until we had gone to trapeza.

We wish Vanya, as well as all of our Natalias ‘Many Years’.

Your prayers are asked for the newly arrived children from Ukraine, as some of them have just started school here in Wales, with so much that is new unfamiliar – especially language! We especially ask your prayers for Vanya, Misha and Denys, asking God to bless them – and all of our children – in their studies, through the prayers of St Nicholas and all the saints.

Our congregation also had plenty of new faces today, including the two young Ukrainian sopranos on the kliros, and the newly arrived Ukrainian faithful who are now part of our parish family.

The greatest surprise was to have unexpected visitors from London, and to be able to welcome them to the Liturgy and community.

Before I joined parishioners for trapeza, I celebrated a memorial for the newly-departed Larissa, and ask you to remember her in your prayers, together with the newly-departed Metropolitan Kallistos, Ioann, Valentina, Valentina, and Alexander.

We also pray for the soul of the newly-departed Queen Elizabeth, and for the new King, as he ascends the throne.

On Monday 19th September, the royal funeral will be broadcast on a big screen in St John’s Church, and any Orthodox parishioners who would like to join the Canton parish on this occasion are most welcome. A book of condolence may be found before the votive candle stand on the altar-step, and parishioners are welcome to add their condolences to those of the local community.

Next Sunday will be the feast of the Uncovering of the Relics of the Holy Wonder-Workers Peter and Febronia of Murom, with the variables to be found at Orthodoxaustin:

Confessions will be heard on Friday afternoon and in the early evening before our 19:00 catechesis session in St Mary Butetown. May I please have requests for confession before 22:00 on Wednesday.

The New Church Year begins on Wednesday this week, and we will pray for God’s blessing of the New Indiction with an evening service in the Chapel of St David and St Nicholas, in Llanelli.

Thank you to all who made today such a joyful celebration of Faith, especially those who looked after our new visitors so warmly, and congratulations to all who communed of the Holy Mysteries. Поздравления с причастием!

May God bless you, and the week ahead.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Death of Her Majesty the Queen

With the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, we pray for the soul of the departed Sovereign and for her family, that the Lord may comfort them at this time of sadness and loss.

Regardless of our views of the institution of monarchy and of our individual political persuasions, we must surely agree that her late Majesty’s example was selfless and inspirational.

Her life was one of service, dedicated to the nation and commonwealth, and her death will be mourned throughout the world.

In times when we have seen such poor political leadership, Queen Elizabeth showed how leadership should operate, with a profound sense of duty, of moral and spiritual strength, and responsibility before God, having made her coronation vows as a woman shaped by duty and faith.

For many of us, Queen Elizabeth has been a symbol of the nation for our whole lives, but we now pass into the reign of His Majesty, King Charles III, and pray for the Lord to give him strength for the duties that now fall upon his shoulders.

May our All-Merciful God remember Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in His Kingdom.

The Vladimir Icon and Sts Adrian and Natalia

This evening, we chanted vespers for the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God in the little chapel of St David and St Nicholas, at Father Luke’s home, in Llanelli.

The feast commemorates the meeting of the icon on its journey from Vladimir to Moscow, and the salvation of Muscovy from the Islamic army of Khan Tamurlane in 1395.

The icon left the ancient capital after the celebration of the feast of the Dormition and the chronicles relate that as the icon was received at the gates of Moscow the Mother of God appeared to the Khan in a dream, after which the superstitious and frightened ruler ordered the retreat of the Tatar armies.

The feast also coincides with the celebration of the Holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalia, and whilst we may have no Adrians, we have our Nataliya’s to congratulate – in Penarth, Llanishen, Wenvoe, Cheltenham, Newquay, Bristol and Melbourne!

We congratulate all of our sisters on their nameday, and pray that God may grant them ‘Many, Blessed Years!

Многая и благая лтѣа!

In the fourth century, the pagan Roman Emperor Maximian cruelly persecuted those who believed in Christ. He came together with his soldiers to the city of Nicomedia in Asia Minor. There it was reported that in a certain cave Christians were hiding, and that they sang and prayed the whole night to their God. Immediately Maximian sent his soldiers to seize these Christians. The soldiers did as they were commanded and the Christians were beaten and brought in iron chains to the place of judgment.

One of the chiefs of the judgment place, a young man by the name of Adrian, seeing how patiently and how willingly the Christians suffered for their faith, asked what reward they expected to receive from their God for such tortures. The holy martyrs replied: “It is written in Scripture that eye hath not seen, nor hath ear heard, nor hath it entered the heart of man those things which God hath prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor. 2:9). Hearing these words, Adrian declared that he too wished to be a Christian and was willing to die together with them for Christ. For this he was also thrown into prison.

When Adrian’ s young wife Natalia was told of her husband’s conversion to Christ and of his imprisonment, instead of being sad, she greatly rejoiced for she was secretly a Christian herself and she knew the joy which now filled her husband’s heart. She ran to the prison and, falling down at the feet of her husband, she kissed his chains and said, “Blessed are you, my Adrian; you have found such a treasure.” When Adrian was brought before the Emperor and threatened with torture if he did not worship the pagan gods, his godly-minded wife Natalia and the other martyrs encouraged him saying: “Having been found worthy to carry your own cross and to follow Christ, take care that you do not turn back and lose your eternal reward.”

Adrian had always faithfully served his earthly king, but now he was to serve the King of Heaven. He courageously endured the tortures and was returned to the prison. There Natalia, together with other pious women, would come and help the prisoners, cleaning and bandaging their wounded bodies. When the cruel Emperor found out about this, he forbade them to visit the prison. But the blessed Natalia had such love for the sufferers that she cut her hair and put on men’s clothing. In this disguise she was able to enter the prison.

Day after day the holy martyrs endured such cruel and severe tortures that they were barely alive. The Emperor became angry that even under such tortures they would not deny their God. Finally he ordered for them a violent death. Their arms and legs were cut off and their bodies were thrown into a fire to be burned so that none of the Christians might gather their precious remains. But just at that moment, there burst forth thunder and lightning and a powerful rain which put out the fire. Natalia, together with other Christians took the bodies of the holy martyrs from the fire and rejoiced to see that God had preserved them from harm. A faithful Christian man and his wife then took the holy relics to Constantinople where they could be safely kept until the death of the impious Emperor.

After a certain time, a pagan nobleman desired to marry Natalia who was still young and beautiful. She cried and begged God to save her from this union with an unbeliever. Having prayed fervently, St. Natalia fell from exhaustion and sorrow into a light sleep during which the holy martyrs appeared to her in a vision and said, “Peace be unto you. God has not forgotten your labours. We shall pray that you will come to us soon. Get on a ship and go to the place where our bodies are and the Lord will make Himself known to you.”

Following their directions, the blessed Natalia reached Constantinople and going to the church where the bodies of the holy martyrs lay, she fell down before them and prayed. She was so tired from the journey that she fell asleep and saw in a dream her husband St. Adrian, who said to her, “Come my beloved, and enjoy the reward of your labours.” Very soon after this St. Natalia died peacefully in her sleep. Although she did not shed her own blood, she is numbered among the martyrs for having co-suffered with them, serving and encouraging them in their heroic struggles for the sake of Christ.

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

Looking back over the past year… and lots of photos!

Dear brothers and sisters,

With the hot days of summer behind us, the darkening nights, the yellowing trees laden with berries and fruit, and the blessing of honey, fruit, herbs and flowers during the Great Feasts of August completed, we come to the end of the Church year.

Each year the development of the parish seems to gather pace and, as we reflect on parish life since last September, this year has certainly been different to past years in many respects, particularly in terms of the new faithful in Cardiff – whether converts to Holy Orthodoxy, present catechumens, those fleeing conflict in Ukraine, or those who commute from England and have made their spiritual home in Cardiff.

The parish has proved itself to be a place where everyone can feel safe and secure, and where people of all nations and cultures can share and celebrate their Faith.

In addition to our local parishioners, our weekly congregation usually includes parishioners from Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, showing the seriousness of people’s spiritual life, when the need for a traditionalist and maximalist parish is worth a journey of a hundred to a hundred and fifty miles for Liturgy. Praise God for such resolute firmness of Faith!

On a few occasions, I’ve been able to be the one making the journey to serve in the west of England in addition to our Gloucestershire activities.

I have been overjoyed by the selfless offering of our singers and altar-servers during the year. Even when there have only been several singers, or even a lone chanter, the Liturgy has been chanted with prayerfulness and devotion. Having Aleksandra with us whilst she completed her studies was a great blessing, and she is sorely missed!

Apart from the period of my last covidious imprisonment, and the Sunday when we supported Father Luke’s first Liturgy in Mumbles, we have celebrated the Liturgy every remaining weekend of the year, and even on the weekend of my self-isolation the parish came together for a sung typika and trapeza, even sending home-cooked Russian food to Llanelli with Deacon Mark and matushka Alla.

The same love and care is reflected in the generosity of our parishioners and spiritual children from other communities, week by week, as we are nourished with food cooked with great love and generosity, as well as by the spiritual food God gives us.

Our Deacon continues to do so much in addition to his liturgical role, acting as parish administrator for both Cardiff and Cheltenham, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. We are also blessed to have such a dedicated starosta and trustees, who are an incredible support to the clergy and everyone in the parish, ensuring that a warm welcome is offered to all who come through the doors of St John’s or St Mary’s.

Our oltarniky have served with great competence and care, impressing visitors with the dignity and devotion with which they fulfil their obedience.

Though we took it for granted that we would have returned to Nazareth House by now, we remain in St John’s, and though financially challenging (costing £100 every Sunday) it has been popular with many of our families, especially given the ample space for children and for us to enjoy trapeza without moving buildings.

We have come to find how to use it best for Orthodox worship, and the Anglican parish has been happy for us to leave the Lady Chapel looking very much an Orthodox chapel after each Sunday’s worship. With Ukrainians using the vestry for language lessons each week, this allows somewhere for them to visit and pray, whilst in St John’s.

The greatest challenge with St John’s is that of time, with such a short time to set up, say the entrance prayers, hear confessions and perform the proskomedia. Every Sunday is a challenge, and sometimes only Father Luke’s presence has made it possible to celebrate Liturgy without turning people away from confession.

I know I keep repeating this, but I still suspect that many people do not appreciate the difficulties and the seriousness of the situation. We need a place of worship that offers sufficient time to prepare for worship without either rushing or having to continue priestly ministrations whilst the community shares trapeza without the priest, who is not interested in the food, but does want to spend time with the faithful and welcome new faces.

We have also been greatly blessed in having the constant use of St Mary Butetown for feast-day and Lenten services, confessions and catechism (where we struggle to get Father Dean to accept any money). Equally, the Oratorians regularly welcome us to use St Alban’s for day-time confessions.

Our profound thanks go to Fathers Dean and Sebastian and the Congregation of the Oratory in Cardiff. Like number 62 Park Place (when an Oratorian household) and Newman Hall under Father Sebastian’s custody, the Oratory remains a peaceful and hospitable refuge for an ever-walking, tea-seeking and foot-weary hieromonk.

A great challenge this year has been the loss of Newman Hall, where the Little Oratory was dearly loved, and saw its last Orthodox service just before the beginning of the new Church Year. It always seemed that Orthodox services were the time when his humble little sanctuary took on a new significance and really became the foot of Jacob’s Ladder. It evidently seems that our presence also kept it clean, cared for and loved.

The loss of the facilities of Newman has been a particular challenge since my full-time employment by the parish, as I no longer have a personal base in Cardiff.

It is wonderful to be able to be employed by the parish, and to not have to juggle secular employment with ever-expanding parish needs, but commuting to and from Cardiff, from home in Llanelli has been a major challenge, with in excess of twenty-four hours a week sometimes spent on public transport. The equivalent of one day in seven on buses and trains is not sustainable in the long term – physically above all – and continued full-time ministry will come to depend on the establishment of a priestly-base in the city, and this needs to be under our own roof, not reliant on the generosity and charity of other good souls.

To return the passing year… One of our greatest joys has been the baptism of our adult converts, most of them having been prepared for baptism through our Butetown catechism sessions.

Early Advent saw Aldhelm’s baptism in the waters of the River Ewenny at Ogmore Castle, with the brave young man being plunged into the icy waters on a beautiful December afternoon.

April and Lazarus Saturday saw George’s baptism in the sea at Watch House Bay, in Barry, in rather warmer circumstances, so that he was able to commune on Palm Sunday and was sacramentally prepared for his Pascha holiday in Greece.

Saturday of the Ascension, in June, took us to St Nicholas-in-the-Vale, where Melangell was baptised in the garden of the Old Church Hall.

We returned on the eve of the Dormition to baptise Mary before vespers for the feast, which was also her first nameday. We are very grateful to Melangell for making the garden available for adult baptisms and for expressing willingness to do so in the future.

James would have been baptised last month, had family illness not prevented it, and we look forward to doing so in the next few weeks, on his return from Seattle.

We also look forward to the baptism of our student catechumen, Thomas, who will be baptised and named in honour of St Vasily the Blessed around the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God. This is no coincidence, as St Vasily – the Blessed Basil – was buried in the cathedral of the Protecting Veil, on Red Square, where his shrine is still a place of pilgrimage.

During the Church Year, pilgrimages have seen small groups of us head to Llancarfan, Llandaff, Bradford on Avon, Glastonbury, with parishioners also visiting Penrhys, and Pennant Melangell.

We have also made several local pilgrimages to the shrine of St Alban in the Cardiff Oratory, praying before his relics and icon.

I had rather hoped that we would have regular pilgrimages, but – for various reasons – this has not happened, this year.

I have also been blessed to serve in Walsingham in February, April and July, and look forward to hopefully returning in November, possibly with a parish group. ROCOR has been part of the life of the shrine since the 1930’s, and it is a great joy to continue the diocesan presence. It is a place where the Mother of God feels extremely near, and pilgrimage to this little corner of North Norfolk is special time spent with Our Lady.

House blessings have taken the clergy to Wiltshire and Somerset, as well as visiting parish homes in Cardiff and its environs, and the greatest blessing of all was the visit of the Kursk-Root Icon, which visited some parish homes in Chippenham, Cardiff and the Vale, in addition to services in Cardiff and Cheltenham, and the clergy’s journey taking the icon to Telford.

After previous visits of the Kursk-Root Icon, most parish homes have been visited, though there are several exceptions which are our priority next time the Mother of God blesses us with a visit of her wonderworking-icon.

Deacon Mark and I have also served in the cathedral during the year, concelebrating at some of the great feasts, including the altar-feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God and being part of a parish group who celebrated Theophany in the cathedral, where – for once – I had the pleasure of blessing the faithful with copious amounts of holy water. Following the ROCOR tradition, I also concelebrated the Mystery of Holy Unction (Soborovanie) and the Liturgy of Holy and Great Thursday with Bishop Irenei and the clergy of the diocese during Holy Week, with the beautiful rite of the washing of the feet.

The Cheltenham parish continues to be served from Cardiff, and after internal problems last summer (and despite the loss of the use of All Saints, Pittville), parish life has settled down.

We sometimes struggle musically, and lack the beauty of All Saints, but the little community overflows with love and is so incredibly prayerful and spiritual that every visit to the little nonconformist chapel we use in Prestbury is a wonderful blessing.

The arrival of our greatly loved ‘extended parishioners’ from Ukraine has brought great joy, and we have parishioners travelling from as far as Exeter each month. This Saturday, in fact, will see our last Cheltenham Liturgy of the Church Year, when we shall celebrate the Saints of the Far Caves, in Kiev.

With a reduction of the number of Liturgies in Llanelli, we are benefitting from having Father Luke with us, and are very happy to have some of the faithful from further west joining us every few weeks, with Nicholas and Silouana assisting with reading the Hours and thanksgiving prayers, and Isaiah taking photographs for our local Facebook pages.

On the theme of readers, it is good that we now have a small band of very capable readers from the Cardiff and Llanelli parishes, and look forward to advancing several of our men towards being tonsured by Vladika Irenei in the not-too-distant future.

I am planning some practical workshops for the autumn, and hope that we can spend time looking at the structure of the services and how they ‘fit together’ in terms of variables and the sources of texts. Several parishioners have asked for something of this sort since buying the recently published Anthologion. As a start, I will talk about the Hours and the Psalter after compline this Friday. We will also undertake formal training of readers.

Having already mentioned our Friday catechism / discussion group in St Mary Butetown, I should say that this has not only been for the benefit of catechumens, but also for other parishioners who have attended and deepened their knowledge of the Faith. Our Friday evenings in St Mary’s have also been a social time of great joy and fellowship.

We recently observed that such joyful community celebration seems to be the character of every gathering at St Mary’s, where parishioners clearly feel at home. This is why it was such a joy to celebrate Holy Week and Pascha in the great Victorian sanctuary, gathering in the choir-stalls and celebrating at the high-altar. Following this great success, our weekday Liturgies for feasts have been celebrated at St Mary’s, with a festive trapeza following each Liturgy in the parish room.

There are no doubt things that I’ve forgotten – and I AM so forgetful, these days – but I’m sure that there will be be gentle reminders pointing out things to add to our round up!

Many thanks to everyone who had been so positive, so supportive and so generous during the last year. The parish only operates so well because its brothers and sisters work together, and give so much, as do our benefactors.

Parish life and priestly life is still a challenge, given the lack of our own temple, but the Lord knows far more than us, and such is His will that this is our lot until He sees fit to grant us our heart’s desire.

In the meantime we struggle forward in Faith and prayer: for one another; for our parish and other diocesan communities; for the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; for our bishop, Vladyka Irenei, and for all of our bishops as they approach the procedure to elect our next First-Hierarch.

We remember those who have gone before us in Faith, particularly our recently departed and beloved First-Hierarch Metropolitan Hilarion, of Blessed Memory.

And – soon we will invoke God’s blessing for the new Church year, knowing that it will bring blessings and challenges, and that with God’s help, we will have more to celebrate at this time next year, when – as now – we will say, “Glory to God for all things! Слава Богу за всё!”

With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The past weekend and the weekend to come…

As with every weekend, we must thank all who contributed to Sunday’s Liturgy and all who have been such a help and source of support whilst Deacon Mark has been away for a few weeks.

Despite a much-reduced kliros, we celebrated a prayerful and well-attended Liturgy, welcoming new Ukrainian faithful, parishioners from Swansea and other new faces – having over forty worshippers. It was also a great joy to have several of our students back after time away.

Our thanks are also due to our parish sisters for feeding everyone so well, with food still remaining for the enjoyment of our ever-hungry young people!

I was very pleased that parishioners were able attend Saturday’s ‘March For Life’, in London, making the Orthodox voice audible among other Christians. Our parishioners reported that Cardiff sent the largest parish group, and it was good that ROCOR Cardiff parishioners were able to be part of this defence of the unborn.

Having heard some confessions on Thursday, I was glad to be able to hear confessions yesterday, thanking Father Dean for his hospitality, and I was grateful for the kindness represented by the food brought to church, enjoying this with parishioners in the evening.

This week sees the resumption of our study sessions in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, North Church Street, Butetown, starting at 19:00.

Having started as catechesis sessions for those we have baptised over the last Church Year, we have very much enjoyed the sessions and the conversations and fellowship that has grown out of these meetings.

Over the coming months, we would like to combine the sessions with common-prayer, chanting compline some weeks, when a shorter talk will follow the liturgical night-prayer of the Church.

As usual, I will hear confessions before our 19:00 start-time, and would welcome emails requesting confessions by Wednesday 22:00. Once I know how many people there are for confessions, I will communicate times. Email:

Looking forward to September and the New Church Year, we have three child baptisms and an adult baptism, and another adult baptism in October.

Next Sunday we will celebrate the Beheading of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John. This day is a fast, and food for trapeza should be vegan, with wine and oil permitted.

The variables for the Liturgy may be found here:…/1FE1yIgZvhlWi6Mc2SOErHV…/view

Thursday will see the feast of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon, and I hope that Wednesday evening’s service in Llanelli will be Great Vespers for the feast, at 19:00 in the Chapel of St David and St Nicholas, in the garden of Father Luke’s home.

May God bless you all – Hieromonk Mark

St Isaac the Syrian On The Humble Man

“A humble man is never rash, hasty or perturbed, never has any hot and volatile thoughts, but at all times remains calm.

Even if heaven were to fall and cleave to the earth, the humble man would not be dismayed.

Not every quiet man is humble, but every humble man is quiet.

There is no humble man who is not self-constrained; but you will find many who are self-constrained without being humble. This is also what the meek humble Lord meant when He said, ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ [Matt 11:29] 

For the humble man is always at rest, because there is nothing which can agitate or shake his mind.

Just as no one can frighten a mountain, so the mind of a humble man cannot be frightened.

If it be permissible and not incongruous, I should say that the humble man is not of this world. For he is not troubled and altered by sorrows, nor amazed and enthused by joys, but all his gladness and his real rejoicing are in the things of his Master.

Humility is accompanied by modesty and self-collectedness: that is, chastity of the senses; a moderate voice; mean speech; self-belittlement; poor raiment; a gait that is not pompous; a gaze directed towards the earth; superabundant mercy; easily flowing tears; a solitary soul; a contrite heart; imperturbability to anger; undistributed senses; few possessions; moderation in every need; endurance; patience; fearlessness; manliness of heart born of a hatred of this temporal life; patient endurance of trials; deliberations that are ponderous, not light, extinction of thoughts; guarding of the mysteries of chastity; modesty, reverence; and above all, continually to be still and always to claim ignorance.”

Our Dormition Weekend

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings for the Dormition of the Mother of God and the feast of the icon of the Saviour ‘Not made by human hands’: the Holy Mandylion.

Many thanks to all who made the weekend’s services so joyful – the latest of our summer festal celebrations, which unlike the previous ones also included a baptism.

We congratulate the newly-enlightened handmaiden of God, Mary, named to honour the Mother of God and her Dormition.

Saturday afternoon’s baptism and celebratory tea preceded the celebration of vespers of the feast, and the beginning of the nameday for our newly-baptised sister.

We pray that the Lord will grant Mary and her sponsors, Melangell and Peter, many, blessed years!

Our Sunday Liturgy was blessed with the presence of Father Luke, who heard many confessions, and when we counted we reckoned that we had heard at least thirty confessions between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Our Dormition Liturgy was very joyful, with around forty adults, plus the children, with most staying for the lovely festal lunch at which we broke the Dormition Fast.


Many thanks to our singers and servers, to the sisters who cooked and catered and to all who brought flowers and herbs for blessing – including the Marsh children who – with Grandma Georgina – made lavender bags to be blessed and distributed  as evlogia from the feast.

The feast will continue until its octave, next Sunday, when we will celebrate the icon of the Mother of God, the ‘Giver of Reason’: Pribavlenie Uma.

Wishing you a joyful ongoing celebration of the feast!

In Christ – Fr Mark

Friday Evening Compline: Canon in Tone I

On Friday evening of Tone I, at Compline: Canon of Supplication to the Most Holy Theotokos.

Ode 1, Irmos: Let us all chant a triumphant hymn unto God * Who wrought wondrous miracles * with His upraised arm, * and saved Israel, * for He hath been glorified.

 Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou art a haven of salvation and protection for those who call upon thee, О most pure Theotokos. Wherefore, I fervently cry out to thee from the depths of my soul: О Lady, save me!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

O most pure Mary, Mother of the Creator, in that thou art good and easy to reconcile, heal thou my lowly soul which hath been corrupted by the passions and transgressions.

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

О Lady unwedded, cease thou never to entreat my Creator and God on behalf of one who ever flees to thy protection, that I may receive mercy.

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

О animate palace and fiery throne of the King, with the holy martyrs and apostles do thou ever entreat Christ, that He deliver us from perils.

Ode III, Irmos: The stone which the builders have rejected, * the same hath become the cornerstone: * this is the rock upon which Christ hath established the Church, * which He hath redeemed from among the nations.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The darkness of transgressions surroundeth my heart, О Lady, and I dare not lift up mine eyes to heaven. Wherefore, I cry: Enlighten my mind, soul and heart with the precepts of Christ!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

I gaze upon thy divine image, and I honor thee, the seal of the Master, the most pure Mother, as the prototype. And I kiss it, and bow down, and praise it, knowing thine honor and His alone.

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

Halt the cruel assaults of the body, and quench thou the flame of the passions, О Virgin, wherewith the cruel serpent weaves greatly tangled bonds offenses round about me, desiring to drag me down to destruction.

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

Issuing forth bodily, the Word clothed Himself wholly in Adam through thee. Him do thou therefore beseech, that He deliver us from the passions, from divers perils and everlasting fire.

Ode IV, Irmos: Foreseeing in the Spirit O Prophet Habbakuk, * the incarnation of the Word, * thou didst proclaim, crying aloud: * When the years draw nigh, Thou shalt be known; * when the season cometh, Thou shalt be shown forth! * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Having given birth to the Creator and Fashioner of all, О Virgin, thou hast ineffable power and invincible might, and savest those who approach thee with faith. Wherefore, I cry to thee: О Sovereign Lady of the world, help me!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Set at naught the battles of the invisible and noetic foe who assail in vain my wretched heart, О Lady, and grant me divine serenity and peace, that I may hymn thee in gladness.

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

Thou art the hope of the hopeless, helper of the poor, consolation of those who weep, cleansing of the sinful, guide of the lost, healer of the sick and righting of the fallen.

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

О pure and blessed Virgin Mary, who alone hast done away with the curse of all; with the apostles, martyrs and prophets entreat Him Who issued forth from thy womb, that He save the souls of those who hymn thee.

Ode V, Irmos: Grant us Thy peace, O Son of God, * for we know no other God than Thee, * and we call upon Thy Name, * for Thou art the God of the living and the dead.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Save me from the abyss of perils, tribulations, griefs and bodily passions, О Lady, and preserve my soul in divine tranquility.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou art my fervent and steadfast preservation all throughout my life, О most immaculate one. Wherefore, I beseech thee; even after my death, extend unto me thy rich loving-kindness.

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

О thou who hast given birth to the Creator and Redeemer of all, deliver me from the bodily passions which consume my heart and drag me into unseemly deeds.

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

In that thou hast been revealed to be a place of noetic sanctity, О Virgin Lady, wholly sanctify me, and with the holy and wise apostles pray that I be saved.

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

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou preservest me alive, delivering me from dangers. In thy loving-kindness do thou also stand before me when I depart this earth for life everlasting, О Virgin Mother.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou art an indestructible rampart, thou art a firm wall of protection, thou art a mighty intercessor for thy servant, О good Theotokos; wherefore, I ever call upon thee.

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

Having acquired powerful supplications before God, О good Theotokos, disdain not me who fervently flee to thy protection and cry aloud: Have mercy on me, О Mother of the God of all!

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

Reject me not, neither spurn me, О Savior, for the ewe-lamb who gave Thee birth in the flesh entreateth Thee with Thine apostles, prophets
and passion-bearers.

Lord, have mercy, (Thrice).

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

Sessional hymn, Tone I: О most pure Maiden, the prophets foretold thee as the cloud of the eternal light of God, the ark, the candlestand and jar, and the unquarried mountain; for in the latter times Christ our God came forth from thee without seed, as was the Father’s good pleasure.

Ode VII, Irmos: Thy children who were in the furnace O Savior, * were neither touched nor troubled by The fire. * Whereupon the three sang, as with a single mouth * Thy praises and blessed Thee, saying: * ‘O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou.’

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Hastening in thy loving-kindness, О most pure Lady, deliver me, who am brought to despondency by transgressions and the pleasures of the flesh and who am thrust into the abyss of destruction, О pure one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

О Theotokos, thou art the refuge and mighty protection of all the faithful. Be thou for me a guide to the Creator, granting me deliverance from transgressions in thy compassion.

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

Thou hast destroyed the curse, О pure one who hast given birth to Christ our joy. By thy power, О most immaculate one, break thou also the curse which I have incurred through sin, and grant me joy.

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

О most holy and pure one, thy servants ever entreat thee day and night, praying with contrite thoughts. Grant us deliverance from our offences by thy supplications.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Him of whom the angels and all the hosts of heaven are in awe * as their Lord and Creator, * ye priests hymn, ye children praise, * ye peoples bless and supremely exalt * throughout all ages.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Arise, go forth and do battle against the enemies who trouble and oppress us in vain, delivering us by thy power, О holy virgin, thou helper of the world!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thou hast saved the world from death and corruption by thy divine birthgiving, О good Virgin; and now, by thy supplications, rescue from the passions and save us who praise thee.

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

Great and ineffable is thy might, О Virgin, and many and invincible are thy divine compassions and loving-kindness. Wherefore, save us who call upon thee in truth.

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

As an animate vine, О Virgin, thou didst put forth for us the ripe Cluster, Who hath poured forth the wine of remission and dried up the
drunkenness of sin.

Ode IX, Irmos: The light-bearing cloud upon whom * the beginningless Master of all descended from heaven, * like the dew upon the fleece, * and of whom He was incarnate, * becoming a man for our sake, * let us all magnify as the pure Mother of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Greatly tempest-tossed upon the sea of life by carnal pleasures, I fall down before thee and cry aloud: Have mercy on me, who flee unto thee, О Lady, and extend to me a hand of salvation, delivering me from the abyss of destruction!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

To thee do I confess my sins, О Virgin; before thy face do I disclose my shame; and I cry to thee from the depths of my soul “Have mercy and take pity, О most pure one, for on thee and God have I set my firm hope”!

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

With all my soul I call upon thee who hast given birth without seed to the Creator and Master, and I cry out earnestly: Save me from the corruption of manifold transgressions, and deliver me from the unquenchable fire, О most holy and good Theotokos!

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

О pure one, thou impassable door, gate of paradise, path of the saved, way of salvation: with the martyrs and prophets, the righteous and venerable, and the divine apostles, pray thou, that our souls be saved.

Saturday Evening Compline : Canon in Tone I

With this evening’s services, the Church returns to tone 1 of the Octoechos, starting the eight tone cycle again.

The core daily variables of services for the week will be drawn from the tone 1 texts, until we change tones with the first services for the Lord’s Day, starting with next Saturday’s vespers.

On Saturday evening of Tone I, at Compline: Canon of Supplication to the Most Holy Theotokos

Ode1, Irmos: Having been delivered from bitter slavery, * Israel traversed the impassable as though dry land; * and beholding the enemy drowned, * they chanted unto God as to their Redeemer, * Who worketh wonders with His upraised arm, * for He hath been glorified.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Praising thee, О Queen of all, the captains of the angelic ranks were filled with awe and fear, and every mind, because of thy goodness, hymneth thee as the Mother of the Creator; for thou hast surpassed every form of laudation, having given birth to Christ.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Troubled by grievous temptations and afflicted by mine enemies, wretch that I am, I cry out, weeping: Stretch forth thy hand to me from on high, О thou who art exceeding rich, delivering me; and by thy supplications grant that I may live free from danger.

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

With the balm of thy tender compassion heal thou the secret transgressions of my soul, and calm the assaults of my flesh, О Theotokos; and, turning back the spears and darts of the enemy upon them, do thou mightily pierce their hearts.

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

Thy virginal womb which gave birth to Christ hath destroyed the ancient pasture of the slayer of mankind; wherefore, all creation now rejoiceth, О most pure one, having been restored to life, with one accord hymning thy Son and God.

Ode III, Irmos: Let no mortal boast in his wisdom or wealth, * but rather in his faith in the Lord, * crying out to Christ God in an Orthodox manner, * ever chanting: do Thou Establish me O Master, * upon the rock of Thy commandments!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Once, the great Jacob, sleeping on the way, and beholding angels descending from on high to the earth by a ladder, marvelled, О Virgin; and, having awakened, he clearly described thee beforehand as the portal of heaven.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Cast into misfortune by temporal restraint, wretch that I am, and beset by perilous tempests, I cry aloud: Woe is me! О thou who gavest birth to God and hast lifted up our horn, save me by thy supplications!

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

Stretching forth thy mighty hand from heaven, О Christ, King of all, put Thou the heads of the enemies, perceptible and noetic, under the feet of those who with faith proclaim Thy Mother to be the Theotokos, О my Jesus.

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

Isaiah, of old, purified by the burning coal of the Spirit, cried out that a Son would manifestly be born of thy womb, О Virgin who art exceeding rich, and to Whom in latter times thou hast given birth without a man for my sake.

Ode IV, Irmos: Of old, Habbakuk heard wondrous report of Thee O Christ, * and cried aloud in fear: * God shall come forth from Theman, * the Holy One from the mountain overshadowed and densely wooded, * to save His anointed ones! * Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thee, О Mother of God, hath the ruler of the world described beforehand as comely and all-honoured among women, as coming up from the wilderness, and bearing Christ, thine Offspring, in thine arms; and he cried: Glory to Thy power, О Lord!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Incline thine ear unto me, О good one, behold mine oppression and the increase of my tribulations! For, lifting up the eyes of my soul to thee, О Lady, and bending my knees as I weep, I now pray, crying: Bring an end to the turmoil of my temptations!

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

Knowing thee to be an unassailable rampart, moved to entreaty, I, thy servant, now flee to thee, and I reckon the missiles of the enemy as impotent as the darts of children, О thou who art exceeding rich. Wherefore, rejoicing, I cry: Glory to thy birthgiving, О Mother of God!

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

The power of the Most High overshadowed thee with the visitation of the divine Spirit, О Virgin, and then, beyond nature, the Lord of all, having endowed flesh and soul with life, united them to Himself, bringing life thereto and remaining in the same nature.

Ode V, Irmos: Do Thou shine forth O Christ Thy never-waning light * upon the hearts of those who hymn Thee with faith, * granting us peace beyond understanding; * Wherefore by Thy light we flee the night of ignorance * coming unto the day, * glorifying Thee O Lover of mankind.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Once, foreseeing thee, О all-hymned one, as a divine, unquarried mountain, Daniel manifestly cried aloud: From thee let the Stone of divine generation be cut: Christ, the Saviour of the world! Honouring Him now, we the faithful praise thee, О Bride of God.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

I have fallen under many dangers, wretch that I am, and, praying with pain of heart and weeping, I, thy servant, cry out unashamedly: О Birthgiver of God, deliver my lowliness from besetting pains, and fill me with gladness!

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

Calm the raging sea of my passions by thy mighty supplication, О good one who hast given birth to Christ without suffering, that, living now in tranquillity of soul, I may praise thee in hymns for the rest of my life.

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

Tell me: how bearest thou God in thine arms; and how dost thou give suck to Him Who holdeth all things in His hand, О all-blessed Virgin? And she said: “Having given birth unto Christ God, I remain pure, taking away the debt of Adam and our first mother!”

Ode VI, Irmos: I am held fast in boundless passions, * and have fallen into the sea-monster of evil; * but do Thou lead me up from corruption O God, * as once Thou didst Jonah, * and by faith grant me dispassion, * that I may offer a noetic sacrifice of praise and salvation * unto Thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Without departing from His place in the bosom of the Father, the pre-eternal Son rested in the bosom of His Mother. He, Who with the Father is before the ages, hath in latter times issued forth from the womb of the Virgin, leading all up to life immortal in His ineffable goodness.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Bound through malice by the chains of the enemy, I have been cast down to the bars of hell. Woe is me! Yet, appearing from heaven, О pure divine Maiden, stand thou before me, thy servant, raising me up by thy supplications, and grant a helping hand to me who hymn thy divine birthgiving.

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

Wretch that I am, I have fallen into the pit of destruction, and many wild beasts surround me; yet, deflect their assaults by thy supplications, as with stones, О Lady, and keep thy servant unharmed; for thou didst bear in thy womb Christ, the Chief Cornerstone.

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

Of old, the choir of the divine prophets proclaimed the images of thy birthgiving, О Virgin, calling thee the radiant cloud, the lampstand, the jar, the table, the dew of heaven, the bread, the manna and the door, the throne and the palace, the rod and paradise, in that thou hast given birth to Christ.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice).

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

Sessional hymn, Tone I: Fleeing with love for thy goodness, we all know thee to be the Mother of God, who wast truly revealed as a virgin even after giving birth; for we sinners have thee as our intercessor, and we have acquired thee as our salvation amid misfortunes, the only all-immaculate one.

Ode VII, Irmos: Having passed through the unbearable flame of the furnace * as though it were a bridal-chamber, * the children who for the sake of piety, * were revealed as holy * chanted together, singing the hymn: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The Pre-eternal One, passing through thine impassable doors, О Queen of all, preserved the tokens of thy virginity pure and intact, even after giving birth. Wherefore, we cry aloud: О God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Cast into the furnace, I am consumed by the sevenfold flames of soul-slaying perils; yet do thou thyself rain down dew upon me by thine entreaties, О good Lady, that I may cry: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

Having grown old through the passions, through unremitting misfortunes and tribulations, and having reached the sunset of my life devoid of the virtues and devoured by slothfulness, I cry to thee, О Lady: О consolation of mortals, have mercy on me!

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

Worshipping the Trinity in Unity in an Orthodox manner, and proclaiming thee, О pure Virgin Mother, to be the one who gave birth to God in the flesh, in a godly manner we mortals chant: О God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII, Irmos: The furnace moist with dew * was an image and prefiguring of a wonder past nature, * burning not the Children whom it had received, * so the fire of the Godhead consumed not the Virgin’s womb * into which it had descended. * Therefore in song let us sing: * Let the whole creation bless the Lord * and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The supremely true word of the priest prefigured thy birthgiving, О Virgin; for thou didst truly give birth to the Word of God, and thy womb, through which God passed, He did not rend apart. Wherefore, rejoicing as is meet, with one accord we hymn thee, the Theotokos, as is due, and exalt thee, the pure one, throughout all ages.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

With divine fire burn up the uncultivated thorns which have grown up in my soul, О most pure one, and by thy supplications raise me up to the virtues, that I may bear fruit for Christ; for the ever-living Flower, having sprung forth from thee, hath adorned all creation. Wherefore, we honour thee, the pure Theotokos, throughout all ages.

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

Quickly and painlessly grant me healing amid evils, О Birthgiver of God; for, having fallen into afflictions and perils, wretch that I am, I invoke thy quickness to help, lamenting. Wherefore, О most pure one, hasten thou to rescue me and save me from every torment, that, blessing thee, I may hymn thy birthgiving.

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

Of old, the rod of Aaron that budded forth prefigured thee, О Virgin; for, budding forth, thou alone hast given birth without a man, having now received the Rain of heaven in thy womb. Wherefore, in gladness we hymn thee, the Theotokos, as is due, and supremely exalt thee throughout all ages.

Ode IX, Irmos: Ineffable is the mystery of the Virgin: * for she is heaven and the throne of the cherubim, * and hath been revealed as the radiant bridal-chamber * of Christ God Almighty. * Wherefore we piously magnify her as the Theotokos.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Most glorious is the mystery of the Virgin! For Him Whom the vast spaces above the heavens could not contain was contained within her womb. Wherefore, assembling, we call her blessed, and in gladness we magnify her with faith.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Seeing thee alone as higher than the heavens, the radiance of God, the throne of the cherubim and the bridal chamber, the holy couch, О undefiled one, we mortals, praising Christ our God, magnify Him to Whom thou hast given birth through thy pure loins.

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

Round about me are many afflictions; and evil misfortunes, sickness and grievous sins, now assailing me, have cast me into the pit. Wherefore, in the bitterness of my soul, I pray: О most holy Theotokos, find deliverance for me!

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

Through the entreaties of the pure divine Maiden, О Christ, bring peace to the world, casting the power of the enemy down beneath the feet of the faithful and, establishing unutterable tranquillity thereby, preserve it throughout all ages.