The Akathist to the Holy Great-Martyr Demetrios

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr St Demetrios the Myrrhstreamer, whose sacred relics continue to pour forth the sign of God’s mercy for the suffering world.

Let us turn to him, praying for a world plunged into darkness and confusion – in some ways so similar to the world of St Demetrios: full of godlessness, tyranny, idolatry, falsehood, lies and violence.

Having great confidence in his intercessions for the people of Christ, we take comfort in the prayers and miracles of the saints, whom God has given us as intercessors and helpers, proclaiming through them His love and mercy to the world.

Holy Great-Martyr Demetrios, pray to God for us!

The work of St. Athanasios Patelarios, of Crete, bishop of Thessaloniki.

Kontakion I: O ye faithful, let us praise with hymns and divine praises the Myrrhstreamer, who hast deposed the cruelty of the tyrant, and conquered the audacity of Lyaios, and preached Christ as God clearly, and let us cry out to him: Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Ikos I: Angels were astonished in heaven, beholding the godless rage of the tyrant and as thou wast put to death by his decree, O Demetrios, we cry out to you thus:

Rejoice, sacred pinnacle of the martyrs,

Rejoice, joyous radiance of the saints.

Rejoice, for thou wast placed in a pit as one condemned,

Rejoice, for thou didst ascend to Heaven as one without a body.

Rejoice, dweller in the ranks of the angels,

Rejoice thou who didst bear the tortures of the tyrant.

Rejoice, for thou despisest the wiles of the enemies,

Rejoice, for thy soul now dwellest in Heaven.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion II: The divine Nestor, beholding himself in manliness, approached the king with boldness: “Thine exceeding danger appears as an abomination to my soul. For I will put to death the godless Lyaios, crying out: Alleluia.

Ikos II: Having godly knowledge, O Demetrios the boast of martyrs, thou didst say to the tyrant: “From soulless matter [i.e. idols], how is possible to give birth to God? Speak to me.” To [the Martyr], the faithful who honour God cry out with fear:

Rejoice, most-radiant lamp of Thessaloniki,

Rejoice, for thou didst overcome Lyaios in victory.

Rejoice, thou who pourest forth divine myrrh from thy grave,

Rejoice, thou who bearest divine zeal in thy heart.

Rejoice, for thy blood was a purifying bath,

Rejoice, for through thee there is blotting out of sins.

Rejoice, thou who deposest the delusion of the idols,

Rejoice, thou who hast censured the mania of tyrants.

Rejoice, for thou healest the suffering of bleeding,

Rejoice, thou who hast offered thy soul from its depths.

Rejoice, for thou hast delivered Marinon from leprosy,

Rejoice, thou who didst send forth thy beloved Istron.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion III: Power from heaven then strengthened Nestor to fight, and he took up arms against the utterly strong Lyaios, and with swift hand, he struck him down as dead, and therefore cried out to the Saviour, chanting: Alleluia.

Ikos III: Having the divine desire to obtain the body of Demetrios, the pious Emperor [Justinian] went, but as he did not desire this, fire came forth from his grave threatening death. And he said to him such words in fear:

Rejoice, unemptying river of wonders,

Rejoice, irrevocable icon of traumas.

Rejoice, for thou didst not grant thy relic to him who didst seek,

Rejoice, for thou grantest sanctification to those who venerate thee.

Rejoice, for thou didst summon fire from thy divine grave,

Rejoice, for thou who didst censure the mania of the tyrant.

Rejoice, for thou deposest the worship of the idols,

Rejoice, for thy body was pierced with spears.

Rejoice, for thy blood was given as drink to the godless,

Rejoice, for thou sanctifieest the whole world with thy body.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion IV: Having godless confusion and evil thoughts, the senseless king was enraged, beholding the martyr not preaching the delusion of the idols. We, beholding the unjust slaughter of the saint at his hands, cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos IV: The ends of the world heard of the murder of Demetrios at the hands of the senseless tyrant, and beholding him dead, they hastened to him, seeing the sacred wonders that he pourest forth throughout the whole world, as they honour him, saying:

Rejoice, thou who tradest the corruptible things for the heavenly,

Rejoice, thou who hast deposed the counsels of the evil ones.

Rejoice, thou who joinest chorus with the bodiless angels,

Rejoice, thou who didst enter the land of the greatly-suffering saints.

Rejoice, thou who servest together with the spotless cherubim,

Rejoice, thou who walkest together with the pure seraphim.

Rejoice, for thou hast served the Lord of Lords,

Rejoice, for thou bearest within the seat of divine thrones.

Rejoice, most-fervent fellow servant with the angels,

Rejoice, most-wise fellow counsellor with the archangels.

Rejoice, sacred adornment of the venerable,

Rejoice, radiant rejoicing of the martyrs.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion V: Perceiving Demetrios to be a God-bearer, the most fervent man hastened to be delivered through him from the terrible demon. And having touched his deliverer, he rejoiced in the Lord, crying out: Alleluia.

Ikos V: Leontios, the son of the Orthodox, formerly saw the unspeakable might of the martyr, and desiring to come to him, he sought for Istron to hasten to pass by him with his robe, and cried out to him:

Rejoice, thou who through thy robe didst work awesome wonders,

Rejoice, thou who didst not bear stains of offences.

Rejoice, for thy streams have become our own.

Rejoice, for thou didst drive back the campaigns of barbarians,

Rejoice, for thou dwellest amongst the thrones of the Martyrs.

Rejoice, thou who didst drive away the plague from Thessaloniki,

Rejoice, our sun which shinest upon the faithful.

Rejoice, thou who deliverest from the love of idols,

Rejoice, thou who deliverst all from the bonds of slavery.

Rejoice, thou who grantest grace to all those who approach thee,

Rejoice for thou ever dwellest with those who praise thee.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion VI: The deluded became preachers of the corruption of souls, as they hastened through Thessaloniki, performing idolatrous acts and preaching godlessness everywhere, and as the martyr left the tyrant like a mule, he said: Alleluia.

Ikos VI: The divine Nestor, shining together with the sacred Demetrios, drove away the darkness of error, for they anathematised the idols steadfastly, and cast them down, whilst the faithful who were saved cried out to those strugglers:

Rejoice, Demetrios, O firm support,

Rejoice, Nestor, O splendid pride.

Rejoice, thou who didst grant strength to Nestor,

Rejoice, thou who didst grant corruption to Lyaios.

Rejoice, thou who didst firstly censure the blind tyrant,

Rejoice, thou who secondly didst keep St. Demetrios’s example.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive death by spears,

Rejoice, thou who receivest incorruptible life through the sword.

Rejoice, thou who wast murdered in prison like a convict,

Rejoice, thou who wast preached throughout the world as one immortal.

Rejoice, thou who before death didst work awesome deeds,

Rejoice, thou who after death workest wonders.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion VII: The holy twain of martyrs then passed from this world, as the sacred martyrs had greatly endured lawless murder. Therefore, those who behold this are astonished, and cry out to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos VII: A new song was found, as we bitterly sing the funeral hymn to Demetrios, for he was slaughtered by a godless tyrant, and did not sacrifice to the idols. We therefore hymn him and fervently cry out:

Rejoice, thou who wast placed dead in a grave,

Rejoice, thou who ridest throughout the world as one alive.

Rejoice, for thy blood wast shown to be a new cleansing bath,

Rejoice, for thy soul hast company with the Angels.

Rejoice, for thou art hymned from the ends of the earth,

Rejoice, for they draw forth from thy fragrant myrrh.

Rejoice, lamp amidst the martyrs,

Rejoice, ray of divine graces.

Rejoice, thou who wast dyed with your holy blood,

Rejoice, thou who wast sanctified in thy divine body.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive diamond crowns,

Rejoice, for thou now dwellest in the halls of the ever-memorable.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion VIII: Beholding a strange wonder, the idols were moved by the bravery of the martyrs. Therefore, he who now dwellest on high givest bravery to those who dwell on the earth to take courage, and aim their arrows at the idols. To him we now cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos VIII: Having his mind wholly on things above without departing from the earth, was the most-pure martyr, for he didst clearly conquer the delusion of the idols, and preached Christ with boldness, hearing thus:

Rejoice, for thou wast killed for the sake of Christ thy God,

Rejoice, for thou desirest the joyous things of Paradise.

Rejoice, for thou didst travel the upper road to Heaven,

Rejoice, for thou inhabitest the dwelling-places of the pure.

Rejoice, for thou dost now travel with the angels,

Rejoice, for thou hast come to dwell with the saints.

Rejoice, for thou didst preach thy Christ like a holy trumpet,

Rejoice, for thou dwellest in the spotless mansions of Paradise.

Rejoice, thou who dost put forth myrrh from thy godly body,

Rejoice, thou who dost scoff at the rubbish of the godless,

Rejoice, for thou didst break asunder the intrigues of rulers,

Rejoice, for thou didst trample upon the delusion of the idols.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion IX: Thou hast received every grace from heaven, O Martyr Demetrios, and preached, paradoxically, that the inaccessible God didst become man, being the Son of God. Therefore, to Him let us cry: Alleluia.

Ikos IX: O Martyr Demetrios, thou didst show the many words of the orators of the tyrants to be foolish, for they were astonished at how thou didst strongly condemn the delusion of the idols. We, being astonished at this paradox, cry out to thee:

Rejoice, rose of virginity,

Rejoice, pinnacle of continence.

Rejoice, thou who didst live purely before thou wast killed,

Rejoice, thou who after thou wast wast killed wast led towards God.

Rejoice, thou in whom the light of God was planted,

Rejoice, thou in whom the grace of the Trinity didst make its dwelling.

Rejoice, length and breadth of the pious,

Rejoice, sharp sword against the faithless.

Rejoice, thou who shinest with the rays of the sun,

Rejoice, thou who drivest away the mania of the tyrant.

Rejoice, tree bearing the fruits of many graces,

Rejoice, for thou didst bear the shoots of many victories.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion X: Saving the Orthodox from the delusion of the godless idols, thou didst come straightaway, O Martyr, and didst preach the Lord as perfect God to the deluded and idiotic tyrant, crying out to him: Alleluia.

Ikos X: Thou art the shelter of the Martyrs, O Champion and Martyr, and all those who take refuge in thee, for thou hast revealed the Maker of heaven and earth to all, and deposed the tyrant and the idols. Therefore, we cry to thee:

Rejoice, deliverance for those in sickness,

Rejoice, saviour of those continuously bleed.

Rejoice, thou who sowest grace among all those who hymn thee,

Rejoice, for thou art a pillar of grace.

Rejoice, divine power, the casting-down of idols.

Rejoice, pure dwelling-place of God,

Rejoice, chaste type of Christ.

Rejoice, for thy blood didst become as a new baptism,

Rejoice, thou whose body didst receive death.

Rejoice, bridge leading those who die from earth to heaven,

Rejoice, for thou art a guide to the faithful.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion XI: We thy servants all offer funeral hymns at thy grave, O Martyr, shedding tears and offering odes and psalms to thee, for we are not at all worthy of what has been accomplished through thee, as befittest thy grave, but we cry out to the Saviour: Alleluia.

Ikos XI: Thy grave, O martyr, hast been shown to be light-bearing, shining forth with grace like light. For all who approach are suddenly granted joy and health, whilst we who approach thee cry out:

Rejoice, thou who preservest thy Church unharmed,

Rejoice, thou who didst trample upon the wiles of the evil one.

Rejoice, for thou hast driven back the nation of the Slavs,

Rejoice, for thou hast trampled upon the rule of the idols.

Rejoice, thou who hast uprooted the pride of the barbarians,

Rejoice, thou who castest out the conceit of the tyrants.

Rejoice, thou who hast preserved thy city unharmed,

Rejoice, thou who didst shake the delusion of the godless one.

Rejoice, thou who didst punish Onesiphoros for his theft,

Rejoice thou who hast uprooted the danger of the idols from the earth.

Rejoice, sure consolation of those who take refuge in thee,

Rejoice, salvation of the souls of those who approach thee.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion XII: Bearing grace from above, O Demetrios, thou didst drive out all the campaigns of enemies. Thou hast preached Christ to the ranks as a steadfast foot-soldier of grace, and didst cast down the idols, chanting with everyone: Alleluia.

Ikos XII: We hymn the wonder thou hast worked, O Martyr, as thy city was preserved victorious, as thou didst appear like a god to the faithless, sending forth angels speedily, saying: “Drive them far away from the city”. Therefore, we cry out:

Rejoice, for by thy will thy city was saved,

Rejoice, for through thy strength the enemy wast cast down.

Rejoice, thou who didst meet Achilleos in thy flight,

Rejoice, thou who didst send out Nestor with thy strength.

Rejoice, thou who drownest Lyaios in blood,

Rejoice, thou who didst rage against the faithless in spirit.

Rejoice, thou who strengthenst thy city through thy presence,

Rejoice, for if thou wouldst leave her, thy city would be lost.

Rejoice, thou whose grave is beloved by the writers of hymns,

Rejoice, thou who puttest to death falsehood through thy might.

Rejoice, thou who dost grant us a sea of graces,

Rejoice, thou who sowest the mercy of thy myrrh within all.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion XIII: O twain of Martyrs, who didst preach Christ as the surpassing Word before all, receive these funeral hymns and odes, and through thy prayers deliver us from every danger, and from the coming trial those who cry out to the Lord: Alleluia. (Thrice)

Ikos I: Angels were astonished in heaven, beholding the godless rage of the tyrant and as thou wast put to death by his decree, O Demetrios, we cry out to you thus:

Rejoice, sacred pinnacle of the martyrs,

Rejoice, joyous radiance of the saints.

Rejoice, for thou wast placed in a pit as one condemned,

Rejoice, for thou didst ascend to Heaven as one without a body.

Rejoice, dweller in the ranks of the angels,

Rejoice thou who didst bear the tortures of the tyrant.

Rejoice, for thou despisest the wiles of the enemies,

Rejoice, for thy soul now dwellest in Heaven.

Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion I: O faithful, let us praise with hymns and divine praises the Myrrhstreamer, who hast deposed the cruelty of the tyrant, and conquered the audacity of Lyaios, and preached Christ as God clearly, and let us cry out to him: Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Drawing Closer to the Mother of God Through Prayer and Devotion

During last night’s talk, I spoke of prayers and devotions as the primary way in which we draw closer to the Mother of God, and how the kannonik and akafistnik had been so instrumental in shaping the relationship that our forebears had with her, forging an especialy valuable connection when the Faith was persecuted, churches and monastery closed and the clergy and monastics incarcerated or martyred.

Even though he lived centuries before the appearance of the Mother of God in the chuch of the Blachernae in Constantinople, St Romanos the Melodist appears on the amvon in our festal icon – the feast of Pokrov also being HIS feast. This superimposed cameo-appearance of the great hymnographer is not out of place, as his supreme work the Akathist Hymn, is the greatest hymnographic celebration of the Mother of God and the finest address to her that we have as Orthodox Christians.

However, just as we have so many canons to the Mother of God, we also have many other akathists: some very fine, some frankly mediocre… some very late ones, well-meant but not written with a blessing, unfortunately being the liturgical equivalent of  kitsch.

Though the great work of St Romanos is the only akathist appointed to be chanted in services by the Church’s typikon, and the only one accepted by Old Rite Orthodox and some purists in other Orthodox countries, we do however have a wealth of good akathist hymns with which to address the Mother of God; to draw close to her; to share our trials, sorrows and needs; to celebrate her feasts and venerate her icons.

With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, thousands of Orthodox Christians united in the daily praying of the akathist to the Mother of God, in honour of her icon ‘The Softener of Evil Hearts’, as this has akathist loved and valued with the icon for centurie become a shared offering of prayer to the Theotokos across countries, continents and battle-lines, uniting people with one another as well as to the blessed Mother.

In our own Cardiff community, we have new Orthodox Christians for whom the wealth of canons and akathists is a brand-new-discovery, and one that can bring immeasurable spiritual wealth and strength. So, over the next few weeks, between the feast of the Protecting Veil and the Kazan Icon, I will endeavour to highlight our wealth of prayers and hymns to the Mother of God, so that through their words, whether chanted, or prayed quietly and contemplatively, we may draw near to the Mother whom the Saviour gave us as He battled hell and death on the battle-field of Golgotha from the vantage point from His Life-Giving Cross.

As pastoral circumstances have highlighted the need to turn to the Mother of God as the ‘Giver of Reason – Прибавление ума’ and her wonder-working icon of that name (also now as Loretskaya/of Loreto), I will start by re-posting the akathist which so many people turn to for themselves and for others: to pray for wisdom, clarity of mind, for right decisions, for the mentally troubled and ill, for those slow of learning, for those with learning disabilities…  crying “Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.”

Romanian text: https://rugainimii.wordpress.com/acatistul-maicii-domnului-icoana-sporirea-mintii/

Slavonic text: https://akafistnik.ru/akafisty-ko-presvyatoj-bogoroditse/akafist-presvyatoj-bogoroditse-pred-ikonoj-pribavlenie-uma/

English below…

Kontakion 1: To the Mother of God, chosen from all generations, the Queen of Heaven and earth, who grantest a spiritual remedy to the whole world, we offer a hymn of thanksgiving for receiving the divine treasure, her wonder-working icon ‘The Giver of Reason’. Guarded by it we feel radiant joy and lovingly call: Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady who dost grant wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Oikos 1: The angelic messenger was sent to the town of Nazareth to the pure Virgin Mary to say to her, ‘Rejoice’, when the divine Word was made flesh in her womb. Having heard the annunciation, the Most Pure Virgin spoke from the humility of her heart, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.’ Wherefore, we sinful ones reverently honour the Mother of Christ our God, and taught by the Archangel we cry out with compunction: 

Rejoice, thou who art blessed among women. 

Rejoice, thou who art favoured by God. 

Rejoice, thou who art shielded by God’s strength. 

Rejoice, thou who art sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 

Rejoice, thou who art God’s faithful handmaiden. 

Rejoice, thou who art chosen by God. 

Rejoice, thou who hast given birth to the Saviour of the world. 

Rejoice, thou Mother of the Light, which illuminest all. 

Rejoice, thou who surpassest the wisdom of the wise. 

Rejoice, thou who grantest wisdom to thy faithful. 

Rejoice, Queen of heaven and earth. 

Rejoice, for all generations shall call thee blessed. 

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 2: Knowing the desire of the newly-enlightened, O Most Pure, thou hast blessed the herald of the Gospel’s mysteries, the Apostle Luke, to paint an image of thy Most Pure countenance. Looking upon this image, thou hast said regally: ‘My grace and strength will be with this image.’ Wherefore, reverently honouring thy holy icons, with which thou hast adorned the entire Christian commonwealth, we cry to God in thanksgiving for thee: alleluia. 

Oikos 2: Opening heavenly reason for us, O Most Pure Virgin, thou dost grant all of thy faithful to learn of God’s will, which is good, pleasing and perfect; excelling all reason. O All-Praised Theotokos, grant us thy care; vouchsafe us the light of truth; comfort us as a mother and teach us the path of truth, that we may cry to thee, in prayer: 

Rejoice, thou who hast given birth to Christ, God’s Power and Wisdom. 

Rejoice, thou who hast united God and Man. 

Rejoice, thou who hast enlightened our souls with the light of reason. 

Rejoice, thou who hast held the ineffable glory of God. 

Rejoice, thou who dost sanctify the honour given to the holy icons. 

Rejoice, giver of spiritual treasures. 

Rejoice, thou who hast granted grace to thy glorious icons. 

Rejoice, for looking upon thy icons, we venerate thee. 

Rejoice, thou who through thy holy icons grantest healing throughout the world. 

Rejoice, thou who liftest our minds and hearts to heaven. 

Rejoice, thou who hast enlightened the entire universe by thy rays of grace. 

Rejoice, thou who reignest eternally with thy Son and God. 

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 3: Shielded by the power of God’s grace, the pious came to the town of Nazareth, finding there the house of the Mother of God, wherein the Most Pure Virgin was born and received the glad tidings: translated thence to the Italian lands, to the town of Loreto, where, on high, is an icon of the Mother of God, painted upon wood and surrounded by the invisible angelic powers, praising it magnificently and joyfully singing to God: alleluia. 

Oikos 3: Having maternal mercy for Christians, O Most Pure, thou callest all lands on earth to salvation. Therefore, people of diverse nations visit thy house and confess their sins before thine icon, and its glory shineth in the East and in the West and people delivered from sicknesses, sorrow and misfortune give thee thanks, crying:  

Rejoice, House, created by God’s Wisdom for Himself.  

Rejoice, City of God, from the small town of Nazareth.  

Rejoice, thou who hast sanctified the house of God by thy presentation.  

Rejoice, thou who art greater than the Holy of the Holies.  

Rejoice, thou who hast come to Nazareth with the pre-eternal Infant.  

Rejoice, thou who hast served the mystery of salvation of mankind.  

Rejoice, thou ladder by which we ascend from earth to heaven.  

Rejoice, wondrous protecting veil for the whole world. 

Rejoice, for we faithfully honour the image of thy Most Pure countenance.  

Rejoice, for we receive from thee the blessed gifts for our salvation.  

Rejoice, thou who dost manifest miraculous signs through thine icons.  

Rejoice, powerful Protector of Christians.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 4: An iconographer seized by a storm of sorrow, whose reason was darkened, could find no help from earthly physicians. Then the Most Pure Mother of God appeared to him and commanded him to paint her icon, which sanctifies her house in Loreto. Having done this, the painter was healed and from thence he called the newly painted icon ‘The Giver of Reason’, singing before it God’s praise: alleluia. 

Oikos 4: When the people of Russia came to know that the most holy Theotokos gave them, for their joy and consolation, her icon, called ‘The Giver of Reason’ they adorned their temples and houses with many copies. A multitude of wondrous signs and miracles happen for those who faithfully come before them and sing to the most blessed one:  

Rejoice, thou who hast granted us thy glorious image to sanctify and comfort us.  

Rejoice, thou who quickly curest bodily and spiritual illnesses.  

Rejoice, thou who hast shielded the Russian land with the veil of thy favour. 

Rejoice, thou who hast delivered those who love and honour thine image, from all misfortunes. 

Rejoice, thou who dost enter invisibly our houses through thine intercession.  

Rejoice, thou who bringest us blessing and joy.  

Rejoice, thou who takest in thine all-mighty hands those abandoned by physicians.  

Rejoice, thou who healest those who lost their mind through illness. 

Rejoice, hope of the hopeless.  

Rejoice, enlightener of our minds.  

Rejoice, pure mirror which reflects the truth.  

Rejoice, thou whose name is praised in East and West.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 5: Thine icon, O Theotokos, hath appeared as a divine star, for it sanctifies our land and its cities; it enlightens those darkened by ignorance with the light of theology; illumining our reason, darkened by sin, it sets the lost on the path following the commandments of thy Son and God, and we cry to Him thankfully: alleluia. 

Oikos 5: Having seen the divine treasure, the wondrous icon of the Mother of God, we pray to her diligently, finding therein the cure of our ailments, relief from our sorrows and salvation from our misfortunes; wherefore we sing to our Lady and protector:  

Rejoice, thou who hast enlightened the faithful by the appearance of thine icon.  

Rejoice, thou through whom the Sun of Truth, Christ, our God, began to shine in the darkness.  

Rejoice, Mother of the Light of Reason, that enlightened by its grace the whole universe.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest us by thy blessing. 

Rejoice, thou who dispellest the gloom of our ignorance by thy light.  

Rejoice, O Virgin, for through thee the light of theology began to shine for all.  

Rejoice, inextinguishable candle, which kindlest the light of faith.  

Rejoice, thou who illuminest the path of virtue.  

Rejoice, thou who art the source of all that is holy.  

Rejoice, thou who powerfully guardest us from adversities and misfortune.  

Rejoice, inextinguishable light of divine love.  

Rejoice, thou who proclaimest to us the spring of salvation by the light of thy miracles.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 6: Thy favours are known in the entire world, O Mother of our Lord; for in many cities and villages of the Russian land, thy icon ‘The Giver of Reason’ shines with the rays of miracles; enlightening our souls by the light of God’s Grace and prompting us to sing to God, Who honoured thee: alleluia. 

Oikos 6: There appeared the light of salvation in thy glorious icon, O Theotokos, for all who stray in the darkness of sins and passions, and swift help is rendered to all who pray before it with reverence and faith. Remove the darkness from our minds, O all-praised, by thy light and show the True Light to all who lovingly cry to thee:  

Rejoice, inextinguishable star, that hast given to the world, the Sun of Truth.  

Rejoice, thou Mother of True Light, which enlightenest the souls of the faithful. 

Rejoice, mentor of blessed instruction.  

Rejoice, thou who dost shield our darkened mind with a light veil.  

Rejoice, thou who art the dawn which dispellest the fog of our sins.  

Rejoice, thou who dost deliver us from darkness and eternal torment.  

Rejoice, thou who dost free us from the snares of the enemy. 

Rejoice, thou who gainest a victory over the madness of the world.  

Rejoice, thou who expellest teachings harmful for the soul. 

Rejoice, giver of knowledge beneficial for the soul.  

Rejoice, thou who comfortest us with thine icon.  

Rejoice, thou who encouragest souls with the light of joy.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 7: Wishing all men to be saved and to realise the truth, our most merciful Lord and Creator hath granted us the image of His Most Pure Mother, called ‘The Giver of Reason’, that those praying before it, having received strength in word, reason and wisdom, freed from wandering thoughts, may sing to our King and God: alleluia. 

Oikos 7: O Mother of God, who dost manifest new and even more glorious wonders through thy holy icon; by the power of Christ’s grace thou enlightenest those with darkened minds, deterring men from madness, strengthening the weak, and swiftly helping all who turn to thy healing image, inspiring them to sing to thee:  

Rejoice, thou who pullest us from the depth of ignorance.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest many minds.  

Rejoice, thou who grantest wise words to those who ask.  

Rejoice, thou who makest fools to reason clearly.  

Rejoice, thou who drivest away sinful designs.  

Rejoice, thou who softenest embittered hearts.  

Rejoice, thou who raisest the mind to God.  

Rejoice, thou who makest the unwise to be wise.  

Rejoice, thou who encouragest us to strive for piety.  

Rejoice, thou who clothest us with eternal joy.  

Rejoice, thou who bringest the prayers of the faithful to thy Son and God.  

Rejoice, thou who prayest ceaselessly for all before the throne of the Almighty.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 8: It is wondrous to see, O Most Pure Theotokos, thine icon painted upon wood, drive away the spirits of darkness by thy divine power, giving reason to those seized by feebleness of mind and by trouble in learning. Therefore, we, perishing because of our sins, plead with thee tearfully: deliver us from our visible and invisible enemies, from the darkness of ignorance, so that we may always sing to our Saviour and God: alleluia. 

Oikos 8: The whole Russian land hath an abundance of thy wonder-working icons, O Virgin Theotokos, shining like God’s bright stars. Amongst them also the grace of thine icon ‘The Giver of Reason’ shines and warms our frozen hearts by the signs of thy favour to us sinful ones. Therefore, kneeling before thy holy countenance, we praise thee, our Most Pure Mother:  

Rejoice, thou who transformest our sorrows into joy.  

Rejoice, thou who defendest us from the burning arrows of the Evil One.  

Rejoice, thou who dost bring up children and shield them with thy grace.  

Rejoice, thou who art the wise protector and mentor of the young.  

Rejoice, thou who grantest reason to children poor of learning.  

Rejoice, thou who destroyest the traps of the enemy.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest the minds of the faithful.  

Rejoice, thou who dost disgrace those without faith.  

Rejoice, thou who healest those seized by madness.  

Rejoice, thou whose blessed icon drives away demons. 

Rejoice, Mother of mercy and benevolence. 

Rejoice, hope of our salvation.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 9: All the angels serve thee reverently, O Queen of heaven and earth, whilst mankind praises thee and honours thy holy icon that thou hast granted to comfort us and give us joy. Teach us, O most good Lady, to praise thee worthily and to sing to the Saviour of the world, who was born from thee: alleluia. 

Oikos 9: The eloquent orators of mankind can neither grasp the mystery of thy service to Christians nor explain the miraculous power of thine icons, which benefit in every way the soul and body of man. We, Orthodox, standing with tears of joy before thy holy icons praise thee, O grace-giving one, and say:  

Rejoice, thou who art the joy of the angels. 

Rejoice, thou who art adored by the archangels.  

Rejoice, thou whom the cherubim receive in the air.  

Rejoice, thou who art praised by the seraphim.  

Rejoice, bright adornment of both the Churches of heaven and earth.  

Rejoice, thou who art above all the powers of the heaven.  

Rejoice, thou who art honoured by the heavenly host.  

Rejoice, thou who art the glory of all who live on earth.  

Rejoice, thou who dost elevate our minds to the Highest by thine example.  

Rejoice, guide to our homeland in the heavens.  

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest the whole earth by the radiance of thy soul. 

Rejoice, thou who hast adopted us all at the cross of thy Son.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 10: Having wished to save the world from insanity and the delusions of the enemy, the Lord, the lover of mankind, has granted us thy wondrous icon, O Mother of God. Praying before it the insane are cured, the possessed are freed from demons, the sorrowful find joy and comfort. Praising God, Who is so merciful to us, with thanksgiving we cry to Him: alleluia. 

Oikos 10: Be for us an impregnable wall and protecting veil, all-pure Mother of God, from the armies of enemies, visible and invisible and guard us from misfortune and disease. Wherefore, kneeling before thine icon ‘The Giver of Reason’ and firmly believing in thy blessed help and cure from all spiritual and bodily illness, we joyfully cry to thee:  

Rejoice, thou who dost deter us from the ways of perdition.  

Rejoice, thou who guidest the faithful on the path of truth.  

Rejoice, thou who drivest away the spirit of sickness and despair. 

Rejoice, thou who helpest us to obtain the spirit of reason and strength.  

Rejoice, thou who dost disgrace the enemies by God’s might.  

Rejoice, thou who bringest to ruin the assemblies of the impious.  

Rejoice, thou cure of the possessed.  

Rejoice, thou who healest all aggressive diseases.  

Rejoice, thou who deliverest us from spiritual death.  

Rejoice, thou who washest away our sins with thy tears.  

Rejoice, thou who dost satisfy us miraculously with spiritual joy.  

Rejoice, thou who grantest us eternal joy, also in the age to come.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.  

Kontakion 11: We sing in thanksgiving before thy Most Pure image, O Most Pure, beseeching thine ineffable mercy, and we pray to thee who art full of divine grace: guard our minds and hearts against pernicious teaching, disbelief and superstitions; keep our land free from all manner of disorders, stirred up by the enemies of faith, and let us praise our Creator with a pure heart, singing: alleluia. 

Oikos 11: We see thine icon, O Theotokos, like a burning candle, which enlightenest our land with the light of thy miracles, sets us on the path of salvation and kindles our hearts with love for thee, Most Pure Mother of our God. Therefore, knowing the power of thy grace, we glorify thee with hymns of joy:  

Rejoice, thou whose wisdom is immeasurably higher than the wisdom of Solomon.  

Rejoice, thou who revealest God’s most secret mysteries to thy faithful.  

Rejoice, thou who transformest the dull-witted into lovers of wisdom.  

Rejoice, thou light which enlightenest our souls.  

Rejoice, thou who dost disgrace the vain wisdom of this age.  

Rejoice, thou who settest on the right path those blinded by vain wisdom.  

Rejoice, thou who renewest the minds of those who pray with conviction.  

Rejoice, thou who placest a joyful thought in the heart in times of confusion.  

Rejoice, thou who art the revelation of God’s Wisdom and Goodness. 

Rejoice, thou who art the beauty of the heavens.  

Rejoice, thou who hast given us a heavenly gift, thy wonder-working icon.  

Rejoice, source of incessant joy.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.  

Kontakion 12: Obtain for us divine grace from thy Son and God, O all-good one; extend to us thy helping hand, that we may not perish without repentance; shield us with thy love; cleanse our minds of sinful designs; clear the eyes of our heart that we may see the path of salvation and grant us to sing to our Creator and God in this life and in the Heavenly Kingdom: alleluia. 

Oikos 12: Singing the miracles, which have been manifested through thine icon, O Lady, we praise, glorify and honour thee, who art more honourable than the cherubim, and more glorious, beyond compare, than the seraphim. Look upon us, standing before thy holy icon, O Theotokos, who art now in the heavens, and send us thy blessing; deliver us from all misfortune and the enemy’s temptations, for we honour thee with songs as our protector and keeper:  

Rejoice, thou who dost save the entire universe by thy prayers.  

Rejoice, thou who art the comfort of this sorrowful age.  

Rejoice, Mother of Light, who enlightenest all with the light of thy purity.  

Rejoice, thou who revealest to us the mysteries of God’s will.  

Rejoice, thou who hast chosen Russia as thy portion and thy domain.  

Rejoice, thou who by thy wonder-working icons hast blessed this land.  

Rejoice, thou who raisest us to the Light of Truth through thine image.  

Rejoice, thou who shieldest us invisibly with its divine grace.  

Rejoice, thou who pourest blessed joy into God-loving hearts.  

Rejoice, thou who by thine entreaties openest the doors of God’s mercy.  

Rejoice, thou who helpest us to court the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Rejoice, thou who art the only pure and blessed one amongst women.  

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people.  

Kontakion 13: O all-praised Mother of the pre-eternal Light and Wisdom of the Father, who art the light of the darkened, the increase of intelligence and the joy of our hearts; hear and accept the pleading of us sinful ones; make us, who are unwise, wiser and teach us to sing and pray before thine icon, called ‘The Giver of Reason’. Cease not to pray for us, thine unworthy servants, who glorify thee and sing to thy Son and God: alleluia. (Thrice) 

Oikos 1: The angelic messenger was sent to the town of Nazareth to the pure Virgin Mary to say to her, ‘Rejoice’, when the divine Word was made flesh in her womb. Having heard the annunciation, the Most Pure Virgin spoke from the humility of her heart, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to Thy word.’ Wherefore, we sinful ones reverently honour the Mother of Christ our God, and taught by the Archangel we cry out with compunction: 

Rejoice, thou who art blessed among women. 

Rejoice, thou who art favoured by God. 

Rejoice, thou who art shielded by God’s strength. 

Rejoice, thou who art sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 

Rejoice, thou who art God’s faithful handmaiden. 

Rejoice, thou who art chosen by God. 

Rejoice, thou who hast given birth to the Saviour of the world. 

Rejoice, thou Mother of the Light, which illuminest all. 

Rejoice, thou who surpassest the wisdom of the wise. 

Rejoice, thou who grantest wisdom to thy faithful. 

Rejoice, Queen of heaven and earth. 

Rejoice, for all generations shall call thee blessed. 

Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady, who grantest wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Kontakion 1: To the Mother of God, chosen from all generations, the Queen of Heaven and earth, who grantest a spiritual remedy to the whole world, we offer a hymn of thanksgiving for receiving the divine treasure, her wonder-working icon ‘The Giver of Reason’. Guarded by it we feel radiant joy and lovingly call: Rejoice, All-Merciful Lady who dost grant wisdom and reason to all thy faithful people. 

Prayers to the Most Holy Theotokos before her icon, called ‘The Giver of Reason’ 

O most holy Virgin, thou art the Bride of God the Father and the Mother of His Divine Son Jesus Christ! Thou art the Queen of Angels and the salvation of mankind, thou who dost unmask sinners and punish apostates. Have mercy upon us, who have sinned greatly and not fulfilled God’s commandments; who have broken the vows of baptism and of the monastic life and many other vows that we had promised to keep.  When the Holy Spirit abandoned King Saul, fear and despondency seized him and the darkness of despair and a joyless soul tortured him. And now we also, because of our sins, are deprived of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Our mind is corrupted by idle thoughts, our soul is darkened since we have forgotten God, and now our hearts are crowded with all manner of sorrows, grievances, illnesses, hatred, malice, hostility, vindictiveness, pleasure at another’s misfortune, and other sins. And, having no joy or consolation, we call to thee, the Mother of our God Jesus Christ, to move thy Son by thine entreaties to forgive us our transgressions and to send us the Spirit the Comforter, as He sent Him to the apostles so that we, being comforted and enlightened by Him, would sing to thee a song of thanksgiving: rejoice, most holy Theotokos who hast increased our intelligence so that we may find our salvation. Amen. 

My good Queen, my holy hope, shelter of the lost and the protector of strangers, the helper of the poor and the protecting veil of those in temptations, see my misfortune, see my sorrow: I am surrounded by temptations and there is no one to guard me against them. Wherefore help me, thyself, as I am feeble, guide me as I am a stranger; instruct me as I have strayed; heal me and save me for I am hopeless. I have no other help, no other hope, besides thee, my Lady: help us, as we have placed our hope in thee and we glorify thee ceaselessly, as we are thy servants, let us not be disgraced. I kneel before thy mercy, O Virgin Theotokos, reject not mine entreaties as I am full of sorrows, but deliver me from my misfortunes, as thou only art pure and blessed. Amen.  

O Most Pure Theotokos, the House that God’s Wisdom has created for Himself, Giver of spiritual gifts, who dost elevate our minds from the world to the spiritual spheres and teach us reason! Accept the prayerful singing of thine unworthy servants, who venerate thee with faith and compunction before thy Most Pure image. Entreat thy Son and our God that He may grant our authorities wisdom and power; our judges truth and justice; our pastors spiritual wisdom, zeal and vigilant guarding of our souls; our mentors humble wisdom; our children obedience, and to all of us the spirit of reason and piety, the spirit of humility and meekness, the spirit of purity and truth. And now, our all-praised and all-loved Mother, increase our intelligence, pacify and unite those in hostility and separation, and give them an unbreakable bond of love; direct all those who have strayed through lack of reason, to the light of Christ’s truth and edify them in fear of God, abstention and love of work; give words of wisdom and knowledge, useful for the souls of those pleading with thee, who art more radiant than the cherubim and more honourable than the seraphim; that we, seeing God’s glorious works and His unfathomable wisdom, in the world and in our lives, shall abandon all earthly vanity and needless earthly concerns, raising our minds and our hearts to the heavens, and with thy protection and help shall glorify, thank and praise God, One in three and Creator of all, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen  

Troparion, tone 4:  O most glorious Mother of Christ, our God, who art the Giver of all good, preserve the universe by thy mercy; give us, thy servants, wisdom and reason; enlighten our souls with the light of thy Son, thou only all-praised, who art glorified by the cherubim and the seraphim.  

Kontakion, tone 2:  As thou enlightenest us by the reason of the one God, we praise thee, the Most Pure Mother of Reason which upholds the entire Universe. Thou art the beauty of the visible and the invisible world who enlightenest us by the rays of Life.  

AKATHIST HYMN TO ALMIGHTY GOD IN TIME OF TROUBLE

Dear brothers and sisters – I know that many members of our community regularly supplement their prayers with canons and akathist hymns, and share texts with one another.

Some of us first discovered the following akathist through Father Deacon Andrew’s SGOIS book service, and I would encourage you to buy a printed copy to have at hand, as this akathist is a great spiritual help when life is challenging and we are beset by troubles and temptations.

http://sgois.co.uk/index.php/store_test/item/akathist_to_almighty_god_for_help_in_trouble

KONTAKION I: O champion Leader and Lord, Thou joy and gladness of Thy servants! Wherever Thou art, all grief is set at nought; wherever Thou art not, all joy is in vain. Look down upon me, a sinner who am perishing in this misfortune, and with the revelation of Thy salvation visit me who cry out: O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!

IKOS I: O Creator of the angels and Lord of hosts, for the sake of the salvation of fallen man Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb; and afterwards, O Word of God, didst endure spitting, mockery and a disgraceful death, in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Mindful of this, I dare to approach Thee and to pray with tears:
O Lord, my Lord, my merciful Savior, save me who am perishing;
O Lord, my Lord, Who camest not to save the righteous, but sinners, deliver me from this temptation!
O Lord, my Lord, Who acceptest our infirmities and bearest our afflictions, send down Thy peace upon my troubled soul;
O Lord, my Lord, Who by Thy death hast abolished death, set at nought the wiles of the devil which are against me!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION II: Seeing the many manifestations of Thy love for mankind shown forth upon sinners before me, I also dare to lift up mine eyes to Thee Who dwellest in heaven. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak. Deliver me from this bitter grief and account me worthy of chanting to Thee with joy and gladness: Alleluia!
IKOS II: Thou didst create me a rational creature, O my Creator, but wretch that I am, I have allowed myself to become like unto irrational beasts and have likened myself to them, and have angered Thy goodness, O Savior. Wherefore, Thou hast justly afflicted me with this sorrow. This I acknowledge, and repenting I flee to Thee, praying thus:
O Lord, my Lord, Who preserved me in my youth, protect me from the enemies which assail me;
O Lord, my Lord, strengthening of my body in old age, strengthen me who am ailing in soul and body!
O Lord, my Lord, consolation of my soul, console me who am troubled;
O Lord, my Lord, my Guide, direct me to the path of salvation!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION III: O Lord Who art mighty in battle, come to the aid of mine
afflicted soul, and be Thou my helper against enemies visible and invisible, for my father and my mother have forsaken me, and my friends and neighbors have stood far away from me. But be Thou, O Father of orphans and Judge of widows, the helper of me who am helpless but who chant to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS III: O Thou Who hast heaven for Thy throne and earth for Thy footstool, O Dread One Who takest away the spirit of princes, reject me not who am dust and ashes, yet who dares say to Thee Who art everywhere present and knowest all things:
O Lord, my Lord, lift up Thy might and come to save me from the hands of the mighty who oppress me;
O Lord, my Lord, Whom all fear and before Whom all tremble, take pity on me, for the darkness of death hath covered me because of my sins!
O Lord, my Lord, Who clothest Thyself with light as with a garment, enlighten me who am benighted by the griefs of life;
O Lord, my Lord, Who stretchest out the heavens as a tent, extend to me the shelter of Thy help!
O Lord, my Lord, grant Thy peace to my lowly soul;
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION IV: Drowning in the tempest of this most turbulent life, I stretch out my hand to Thee, O Word of God. As Thou didst save drowning
Peter, so also stretch forth to me Thy mighty hand, and deliver me from this misfortune, that with joy and thankful heart I may cry to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS IV: O Lord, I have heard Thy most sweet voice, for Thou didst say Call upon me in the day of thy tribulation, and I will rescue thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. And from the depths of my despair, I dare to approach Thee with boldness, saying:
O Lord, my Lord, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee; accept me as Thou didst accept the prodigal son;
O Lord, my Lord, Who didst justify the publican rather than the pharisee, enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for there is none living who is justified before Thee!
O Lord, my Lord, Instructor of wisdom, instruct me Thy servant;
O Lord, my Lord, Bestower of understanding, grant me understanding, that I may be able to escape the cunning wiles and wicked treachery of them that hate me!
O Lord, my Lord, Who lookest down upon the humble, behold also my tribulation and my difficulty, and reveal Thy mercy to me;
O Lord, my Lord, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION V: Through the divinely flowing blood of Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ have we been reconciled to Thee, O heavenly Father; yet, lo! I have returned again to sin, like a dog to its vomit, for which cause Thou art justly chastising me with this grievous misfortune. But hearken unto me, O Lord my God, on this day of my grief; show forth Thy mercy and salvation upon me, and grant me ever to cry out to Thee amid chastisement: Alleluia!
IKOS V: The prophet David, seeing the prophet Nathan denouncing him
for what he had done, came to his senses and confessed his sin, and said: I have sinned before the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto me, and took away mine offenses. But wretch that I am, I have sinned more than he, and have in no-wise acquired the fruit of repentance. Wherefore, these evil things have come upon me. But be merciful unto me who pray thus: O Lord, my Lord, strengthen me with power from on high, that I may not fall under the weight of this tribulation;
O Lord, my Lord, Who mercifully regarded the tears of Hezekiah, look with the eye of Thy kindness also upon the shedding of my tears before Thee!
O Lord, my Lord, Who hearkened unto the sighs of Mannasseh, hearken unto the sighing of my heart;
O Lord, my Lord, Who dwellest in the highest and lookest down upon the lowly, look upon me a sinner!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION VI: Thy Forerunner, the preacher of repentance, O Word of God, crieth repeatedly to my conscience, that I repent of my evil deeds. But, wretch that I am, I have paid him no heed. Wherefore, Thy righteous wrath hath overtaken me, for misfortunes and sorrows have befallen me, a sinner. But before Thou visitest me, O Lord God my Savior, grant me time, that I
may lament my evil deeds and cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS VI: O my Savior, amid my sorrow Thy comforting words have shone forth, which Thou didst utter, saying: Forgive, and it shall be forgiven you. And straightway escaping the snares of despair, with trust in Thy love for mankind I have fled to Thee, praying:
O Lord, my Lord, my consolation, comfort me who am grieved;
O Lord, my Lord, my helper, help me against them that rise up against me!
O Lord, my Lord, mine aid, help me for my soul hath grow weak because of this sorrow;
O Lord, my Lord, pre-eternal memory, grant that I may ever have Thy benefactions in mind and may never despair of Thy mercy!
O Lord, my Lord, my strength, strengthen me that without temerity I may ask help of Thee;
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION VII: The infamous King Nebuchadnezzar, desiring to destroy the three children, once commanded that they be cast into the fiery furnace. But Thou, O heavenly Father, didst send Thine Angel, that He might cool the burning flame. And do Thou now also, O Lord, send consolation to Thy servant, and save me for the sake of Thy mercy. For even though I have sinned, yet have I not departed from Thee, and I worship Thee, the one true God,
chanting: Alleluia!
IKOS VII: Wondrously wast Thou glorified before Pharaoh and all his host,
O God of Israel, for Thou didst not disdain the misery of Thy people, but hearkened to their cry. Wherefore, hearken also to my supplication and save me who cry to Thee thus: O Lord, my Lord, Who delivered Thy people out of the hands of their enemies, rescue me also from the hands of them that hate me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who led Thy chosen ones out of the land of Egypt, lead my soul out of this sorrow!
O Lord, my Lord, Who bringest warfare to nought, bring to nought the assaults of them that devise evils against me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who drowned Pharaoh’s chosen riders in the Red Sea, drown the multitude of my misdeeds in the sea of Thy lovingkindness!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION VIII: I have made myself a stranger to Thy mercy, O heavenly Father; by mine evil deeds I have estranged myself from Thee and have
enslaved myself to this vain world. Wherefore, I am aflame with grievous sorrow, I am drowning in the profound depths of despair. But as Thou art merciful and the Lover of mankind, accept me, who am perishing, and from this tribulation save me who cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS VIII: Wholly polluted with the impurity of sin, plunged in the depths
of evil, I lift up mine eyes unto Thee Who dwellest in heaven. Hearken unto my cry of lamentation: O Lord, my Lord, Who hast illumined the day with the light
of the sun, illumine my soul which hath been benighted with the darkness of the vanities of this world;
O Lord, my Lord, All-good Comforter, fill my sinful soul with divine consolation!
O Lord, my Lord, by Whose word the heavens have been established, confirm me in the confession of Thy holy name;
O Lord, my Lord, Who art upborne upon the cherubim and art hymned by the seraphim, accept from me, a sinner, this entreaty which I offer unto Thee!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION IX: O source of all mercy and Bestower of understanding, O All-Good Comforter, teach me to say worthy things in Thy presence, and with Thy divine consolation fill Thou my soul, which hath been darkened by the passions, and my mind, which is troubled by the grief of this world, that with gladness I may chant unto Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS IX: The most eloquent of orators cannot recount the extent of Thy
goodness and Thy love for mankind, O Son of God; for Thou didst humble Thyself even to take on the guise of a servant. Wherefore, do not reject even me who have committed sins without number, yet who stand before Thee with fear and pray thus:
O Lord, my Lord, good Shepherd Who layest down Thy life for Thy sheep, deliver me, Thy lost sheep, from the jaws of the soul-destroying wolf which raveneth to devour me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who for our sake wast mocked, slain and nailed to the Cross, keep me from the mockery of mine, enemies, visible and invisible, for the sake of Thy sufferings!
O Lord, my Lord, Thou sinless One Who wast numbered among transgressors, rescue me from the hands of them that hate me;
O Lord, my Lord, by Whose stripes all are healed, heal my heart which hath been afflicted with bitterness!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION X: Wishing to save Israel Thy chosen from the oppression of
Egypt, Thou didst call Moses Thy servant from the burning bush, and didst say to him: I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and have hearkened to their cry. Wherefore look now upon mine affliction, O Lord, and heal the pangs of my heart, that I may cry to Thee in thanksgiving: Alleluia!
IKOS X: O heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of truth, show forth Thy
lovingkindness upon me, Thy servant, and visit my soul which is plunged in grief and strengthen me who pray to Thee: O Lord, my Lord, Who taughtest Thine apostles to speak in different tongues, teach me the fear of Thee;
O Lord, my Lord, Who filled the martyrs with boldness when they stood before the tribunals, grant me boldly to stand against sin, the world and the devil!
O Lord, my Lord, holy Sanctifier of Thy faithful, hallow my soul, that it may be worthy to be called Thy habitation;
O Lord, my Lord, Light and Bestower of light, illumine me who am benighted in the darkness of sorrow!
O Lord, my Lord, Treasury of good things, do not deprive me of the gifts of Thy goodness!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION XI: O All-Good Master, do not disdain one who offereth most
compunctionate hymnody unto Thee, and prayeth to Thee with contrite heart. Rather, turn Thy face away from my sins, but do not avert Thy countenance from Thy servant, for I am afflicted. Quickly hearken unto me who chant unto Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS XI: O Christ God, true Light, illumine with the light of Thy grace my soul which hath been benighted by the passions, that with reverence I may pray to Thee, saying:
O Lord, my Lord, do not destroy me, wretch that I am, who am bereft of correction of life, yet dare to stand before Thee;
O Lord, my Lord, Fervor which createst life, warm me who am withering away amid this sorrow!
O Lord, my Lord, Splendor of the glory of the Father, shine the light of Thine aid upon me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who makest Thine angels spirits and Thy minsters a flame of fire, send Thine angel to keep me from all evil!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION XII: For the sake of Thy love for the human race, O heavenly Father, Thou didst send Thine only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who appeared on earth and dwelt among men; and afterwards, though He is sinless, He was numbered among transgressors and by His blood renewed our nature which had become corrupted by sin, and He taught the whole world to chant: Alleluia!
IKOS XII: Hymning Thine ineffable love for mankind, O Christ God, in
that for our salvation Thou didst will to endure the Cross and death, I confess also Thy just judgment, for in truth and justice Thou hast brought this sorrow upon me for the sake of my sins. But, O Thou Who camest not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, hearken unto me, who have sinned more than the most sinful of men, for I pray to Thee thus:
O Lord, my Lord, Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, take from me the heavy burden of my sins;
O Lord, my Lord, Who like a lamb led to the slaughter opened not Thy mouth, teach me to endure the evils which befall me without murmuring!
O Lord, my Lord, Who rent asunder the handwriting of Adam, rend asunder the handwriting of my countless sins;
O Lord, my Lord, Who accepted the repentance of the thief, accept also the repentance of me a sinner!
O Lord, my Lord, Who raised up the dead, resurrect my soul which hath been mortified by sins;
O Lord, my Lord, upraising of the fallen, raise me up who have also fallen!
O Lord, my Lord, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION XIII: O most loving and all-good Lord my God, Helper of the
oppressed and hope of the hopeless: look Thou with the eye of Thy compassion upon mine affliction and sorrow, and for the sake of Thy mercy, save me who chant to Thee: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Thrice.
IKOS I: O Creator of the angels and Lord of hosts, for the sake of the
salvation of fallen man Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb; and afterwards, O Word of God, didst endure spitting, mockery and a disgraceful death, in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Mindful of this, I dare to approach Thee and to pray with tears:
O Lord, my Lord, my merciful Savior, save me who am perishing;
O Lord, my Lord, Who camest not to save the righteous, but sinners, deliver me from this temptation!
O Lord, my Lord, Who acceptest our infirmities and bearest our afflictions, send down Thy peace upon my troubled soul;
O Lord, my Lord, Who by Thy death hast abolished death, set at nought the wiles of the devil which are against me!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION I: O champion Leader and Lord, Thou joy and gladness of Thy
servants! Wherever Thou art, all grief is set at nought; wherever Thou art not, all joy is in vain. Look down upon me, a sinner who am perishing in this misfortune, and with the revelation of Thy salvation visit me who cry out: O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
FIRST PRAYER: Save me, O Lord, for I am perishing! Behold, my ship is endangered by the battering of the waves of life and is nigh unto sinking! But as Thou art full of loving kindness and sympathetic to our weakness, do Thou with Thine almighty authority rebuke the turbulence of tribulations which threaten to inundate me and drag me down into the depths of evil. And let there be calm, for even the winds and the sea are obedient to Thee. Amen.
SECOND PRAYER:  Save me, O my Savior, according to Thy mercy, not according to my deeds. It is Thy wish that I be saved. Thou knowest how
to accomplish my salvation. Wherefore, save me as Thou desirest, as Thou canst, as Thou knowest. Save me by the judgements which Thou knowest. I trust in Thee, my Lord, and entrust myself to Thy holy will. Deal with me as Thou wishest: if Thou desirest to have me in light, be Thou blessed; if Thou
desirest to have me in darkness, be Thou likewise blessed. If Thou openest unto me the portals of Thy lovingkindness, be Thou blessed, O Lord, Who hast opened unto me in accordance with Thy righteousness. If Thou destroyest me not with mine iniquities, glory to Thy righteous judgment. Deal with me as
Thou wishest. Amen.

The Advent Journey With the Saints: St Nicholas the Wonderworker

Sunday December 6/19: St Nicholas the WonderworkerThe truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.’

So reads the troparion of St Nicholas, hierarch of the Church of Myra in Lycia (now Demra in Turkey), known as ‘wonderworker’ and ‘father’ throughout the Christian world. He is beloved in the Orthodox Church, and indeed far beyond, for his kindness, almsgiving and aid, meted out both during his earthly life and after. As one of the multitude of English lives of the saint joyously proclaims, ‘he is one of the best known and best loved saints of all time.’ And in another: ‘The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to his honour.’Childhood and early life

St Nicholas was born (c. 270) in the the region of Lycia (southern Asia Minor), in the city of Patara. His parents, Theophanes and Nonna, were both pious Christians, and being childless until his arrival, consecrated Nicholas to God at his birth (the name Nicholas meaning ‘Conqueror of nations’). His birth considered by both an answer to their prayer, and especially the prayer issued during Nonna’s illness, his mother was said to have been healed immediately after giving birth. Nicholas would always remember his parents’ love and devotion to God, and in his later years promised to come to the aid of those who remembered them in their prayers.

Various traditions recount signs of Nicholas’ future glory as ‘wonderworker’ (Gr. thaumatourgos), apparent already in his earliest childhood. One recalls that as an infant in the baptismal font, Nicholas stood on his feet for three hours in honour of the Trinity. Another proclaims him a childhood faster, not accepting milk from his mother until after the conclusion of evening prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays.

His later life revealed that Nicholas had from a young age been absorbed in the study of the Church’s sacred scriptures. He thrived on reading divine texts, and earned a reputation as a devoted youth who often would not leave the church, reading the sacred texts late into the night.

Such activity soon came to the attention of the local bishop, Nicholas’ uncle (his father’s brother), also called Nicholas. Seeing his nephew’s fervour for the Christian life, this elder Bishop Nicholas of Patara tonsured him reader, and later ordained him priest. At Fr Nicholas’ ordination, the elder Bishop Nicholas remarked:

‘I see, brethren, a new sun rising above the earth and manifesting in himself a gracious consolation for the afflicted. Blessed is the flock that will be worthy to have him as its pastor, because this one will shepherd well the souls of those who have gone astray, will nourish them on the pasturage of piety, and will be a merciful helper in misfortune and tribulation.’

The newly-ordained Fr Nicholas’ special charge as assistant to the bishop of Patara was the instruction of the faithful—a unique and uncommon role, given his young age.

The ministry of Fr Nicholas

Nicholas approached his duties as priest and teacher of the faith with the same fervour his uncle had witnessed in him during his childhood. Despite his youthfulness, many of the faithful considered him an elder, and his ability to respond to questions of the faith in love and wisdom earned him the deep respect of those in the city. He was noted in particular for the fervency of his prayer and kind-hearted nature, and the attention to charitable work that characterised his priestly ministry. Following the injunction of Christ, Fr Nicholas sold his possessions and, following his parents deaths a few years after his ordination, distributed his inheritance to the poor and afflicted, who would often seek him out for assistance.

In one of his most well-known acts of selflessness as a young priest, Fr Nicholas reacted to the intention of a wealthy businessman of Patara who had fallen on hard times and lost his fortune. Desparate, the man had determined to sell the bodies of his three daughters in order to raise funds for the family. Hearing of the plan (in some accounts, through a divine revelation), Fr Nicholas called by his home in secret during the night and threw an offering of gold—three hundred coins wrapped in a handkercheif[1]—through the man’s window. Convinced of the goodness of the gesture, though unaware of the identity of his benefactor, the man used the funds to arrange for his eldest daughter to be married honourably to a nobleman. Later the man arose to find the act had been repeated; and eventually, a third time. In each instance, the priest made his offering secretly, attempting to conceal his works of charity.[2]

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Following the example of his bishop, who had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few months before, Fr Nicholas requested to travel to Jerusalem himself, to visit the holy places of the city. Icons today continue to recount the miraculous nature of his voyage there by ship, during which a great storm arose (Nicholas having earlier predicted that it would). Seeing in a vision the devil climbing aboard the ship, Nicholas warned the crew and prayed for the salvation of the craft and its occupants, and the sea shortly calmed.

Arriving in the Holy Land, Nicholas made his pilgrimage of the holy places in Jerusalem, especially Golgotha where Christ was crucified.[3] Overcome by the reality of these places where the incarnate Son of the Father had walked and acted, Nicholas determined to retreat into the desert to live a life of solitude. But he was stopped by a divine voice, which forbad this course and urged him to return home. This he did, though still longing for quiet and the solitary life. Having been moved by his experiences on Mount Sion in Jerusalem, he entered the monastic community of Holy Sion in Lycia (which had earlier been founded by his uncle); but again, the Lord made known to him that this was not to be his path. The voice of the Lord is said to have come to him: ‘Nicholas, if you desire to be vouchsafed a crown from me, go and struggle for the good of the world. This [monastery] is not the vineyard in which you shall bring forth the fruit I expect of you; but turn back, go into the world, and let my Name be glorified in you.'[4]

Desirous above all to follow the command of God, Nicholas departed the brotherhood of Holy Sion and moved to Myra.

Consecration to the episcopate

Shortly after his arrival in Myra, the elder Archbishop of that city, a certain John, died. There was some discussion as to who should succeed him as the chief bishop of the region, the local synod of bishops desirous that the new archbishop should not be an individual chosen by men for the office, but one revealed by God. One of their eldest number beheld a vision of the illumined Christ, who indicated that the old bishop should go into the church, for the one who was first to enter it that night—who would be called Nicholas—was he who should become the new archbishop.

The elder bishop went to the church to await Nicholas’ arrival, in obedience to the vision. When Fr Nicholas arrived, the bishop stopped him.

God’s chosen one replied, ‘My name is Nicholas, Master, and I am your servant.’

The bishop took St Nicholas immediately to the other bishops and exclaimed, ‘Brethren, receive your shepherd whom the Holy Spirit himself anointed and to whom he entrusted the care of your souls. He was not appointed by an assembly of men but by God himself. Now we have the one that we desired, and have found and accepted the one we sought. Under his rule and instruction we will not lack the hope that we will stand before God in the day of his appearing and revelation.'[5]

Nicholas was consecrated to the episcopacy during a tumultuous time in the life of the Church in Lycia. The persecutions under the emperor Diocletian (284-305) effected that region deeply, and for a time, Bishop Nicholas was imprisoned with other Christians for refusing to bow down and worship the idols of the imperial cult. He was remembered later for the exhortations he delivered to his fellow prisoners, urging them to endure with joy all that the Lord lay before them, whether chains, bonds, torture or even death.

Bishop Nicholas’ imprisonment came to an end with the ascension of Constantine to the throne in the early fourth century. He returned to his flock in Myra, which received him with joy, and resumed his episcopal work. He was known as a great ascetic, as he had been since his childhood, and for his gentleness and love. But his kind-hearted spirit was also one of zeal, and with the new freedoms offered under the peace of Constantine (following the ‘Edict of Milan’ in 312), he was known to travel through his city, visiting pagan temples and overthrowing their shrines and idols.

The First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea 325

In the year 325, a great council of bishops—the largest in the history of the Church—was held in the city of Nicaea under the patronage of Emperor Constantine, who had, since his miraculous vision of the cross at Milvian bridge, himself converted to Christianity. This synod, which in later years would come to be known as the First Ecumenical Council (commemorated on the seventh Sunday after Pascha), was attended by over three hundred bishops from throughout the Christian world, to establish various canons of order for the growing Church, affirm the faith, and combat heresy. In particular, the teachings of Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria, were addressed and condemned by the council, which formulated a statement of faith that, with later refinements at Constantinople in 381, became the Creed of the Church.

St Nicholas was a participant at this council, and is particularly remembered for his zeal against Arius. Having openly combatted him with words, Bishop Nicholas, in a fit of fervour (some accounts indicate he was displeased with Arius’ monopolisation of the meeting with his ‘constant arguing’), went so far as to strike Arius on the face. Shocked by this behaviour, especially given that the canons forbid clergy from striking any one at all, yet uncertain of how to react to such actions by a hierarch they knew and respected, the fathers of the council determined to deprive Nicholas of his episcopal emblems (traditionally his omophorion and the Gospel book), and placed him under guard. However, a short time later, several of the assembled fathers reported having a common vision: the Lord and His Mother returning to Nicholas his episcopal items, instructing that he was not to be punished, for he had acted ‘not out of passion, but extreme love and piety’.[6] This was taken as a sign that the extreme behaviour of Nicholas was nonetheless pleasing to God, who was thus restored to the fulness of his episcopal office. [7]

Nicholas the Wonderworker

St Nicholas’ title ‘wonderworker’ comes from the multitude of reports of miracles that issued forth at his intercession, both during his life and after. The renown of his miraculous acts was widespread in his own lifetime. As he had secretly delivered gold, many years before, to the father of three destitute daughters, so he secretly delivered gold to an Italian merchent (by some accounts, this gold was left miraculously by an apparition of the saint appearing to the merchant in Italy), convincing him to sail to Myra with a shipment of grain. And so by his prayers and deeds, his city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine.

One miracle, particularly widely known, was Bishop Nicholas’ conversion of the local governor, who had been bribed into unjustly condeming three men to death. The saint approached the executioner, who had already raised his sword to issue the death-blow, and swiftly removed it from his hands. He then approached the governor and denounced his unjust action. This latter, convicted by St Nicholas’ words, repented and asked the saint’s forgiveness. This episode is remembered as connected directly to another: for three officers of the imperial military were present to see St Nicholas stay this execution, who were later slanderously accused before the emperor, who condemned them to death. St Nicholas appeared to Emperor Constantine in a dream and urged him to reverse this sentence, which the emperor did.

Many times, the saint’s prayers were said to have saved those drowning in the sea (just a his prayers had calmed the sea on his own journey, as a young priest, to Jerusalem). Prisoners unjustly condemned prayed to him and were delivered. The poor prayed to him and were provided for. And so Nicholas’ reputation as thaumatourgos was established during his life. It continues to this day.

The saint’s departure

Living his life in ascetic labour and zealous ministry, St Nicholas fell asleep in the Lord at an old age (d. 6th December 343), by some accounts quite ill. A church was built in his honour by the residents of Myra, in which his relics were kept for many centuries.

Alexei Cominos ascended the throne of the Byzantine Empire in 1081, in which year Asia Minor suffered various attacks and threats of barbarian invasion. St Nicholas’ relics at this time remained in his city of Myra. However, a priest in the Italian city of Bari soon beheld a vision in which Nicholas appeared and informed him that he did not wish to remain in a city as barren as the defeated Myra. He instructed the priest to remove his body from the city. After informing the residents of Bari of his vision, three ships were sent to Myra to retrieve the saint’s relics.

On their arrival in the city in 1087, the travellers from Bari found the Church of St Nicholas in Myra abandoned, save for the presence of four devoted monks. These led the men to the coffin of the saint, which they had hid to keep it safe from invaders. On opening the coffin, the men found St Nicholas’ relics flowing with myrrh which they collected in vials, before securing the coffin and placing it on one of the ships for the return voyage to Bari, accompanied by two of the Myran monks.

Some time later, the ships arrived in Bari, and were met at the port by throngs of the local faithful. A great festal Liturgy was held in in the Church of St John the Forerunner and Baptist, to which the saint’s relics were taken in procession. Craftsmen had fashioned an ornate silver box, into which St Nicholas’ head and hands were placed, while the remainder of his relics remained in their original coffin from Myra.

A short time later, a large church was built and dedicated to St Nicholas, and the two boxes containing his relics were transferred to it from the Church of St John, where they remain to this day (this event is commemorated on 20th May / 2nd June).[8] Chrism continues to flow from the saint’s relics, as it has for centuries.

Source: Parish of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker,
Oxford, England  5/21/2012

AKATHIST

Kontakion 1: O champion wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, thou who pourest out for all the world the most precious myrrh of mercy and an inexhaustible sea of miracles, I praise thee with love, O Saint Nicholas; and as thou art one having boldness toward the Lord, from all dangers do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Ekos 1: An angel in manner though earthly by nature did the Creator reveal thee to be; for, foreseeing the fruitful beauty of thy soul, O most blessed Nicholas, He taught all to cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who wast purified from thy mother’s womb!
Rejoice, thou who wast sanctified even unto the end!
Rejoice, thou who didst amaze thy parents by thy birth!
Rejoice, thou who didst manifest power of soul straightway after birth!
Rejoice, plant of the land of promise!
Rejoice, flower of divine planting!
Rejoice, virtuous vine of Christ’s vineyard!
Rejoice, wonderworking tree of the paradise of Jesus!
Rejoice, lily of paradisaical growth!
Rejoice, myrrh of the fragrance of Christ!
Rejoice, for through thee lamentation is banished!
Rejoice, for through thee rejoicing is brought to pass!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 2: Seeing the effusion of thy myrrh, O divinely wise one, our souls and bodies are enlightened, understanding thee to be a wonderful, living source of unction, O Nicholas; for with miracles like waters poured out through the grace of God thou fillest them that faithfully cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 2: Teaching incomprehensible knowledge about the Holy Trinity, thou wast with the holy fathers in Nicea a champion of the confession of the Orthodox Faith; for thou didst confess the Son equal to the Father, co-everlasting and co-enthroned, and thou didst convict the foolish Arius. Therefore the faithful have learned to sing to thee:

Rejoice, great pillar of piety!
Rejoice, city of refuge for the faithful!
Rejoice, firm stronghold of Orthodoxy!
Rejoice, venerable vessel and praise of the Holy Trinity!
Rejoice, thou who didst preach the Son of equal honour with the Father!
Rejoice, thou who didst expel the demonized Arius from the council of the saints!
Rejoice, father, glorious beauty of the fathers!
Rejoice, wise goodness of all the divinely wise!
Rejoice, thou who utterest fiery words!
Rejoice, thou who guidest so well thy flock!
Rejoice, for through thee faith is strengthened!
Rejoice, for through thee heresy is overthrown!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 3: Through power given thee from on high, thou didst wipe away every tear from the face of those in cruel suffering, O God-bearing Father Nicholas; for thou wast shown to be a feeder of the hungry, a superb pilot of those on the high seas, a healer of the ailing, and thou hast proved to be a helper to all that cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 3: Truly, Father Nicholas, a song should be sung to thee from heaven, and not from earth; for how can a mere man proclaim the greatness of thy holiness? But we, conquered by thy love, cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, model of lambs and shepherds!
Rejoice, holy purification of morals!
Rejoice, container of great virtues!
Rejoice, pure and honorable abode of holiness!
Rejoice, all-luminous lamp, beloved by all!
Rejoice, light golden-rayed and blameless!
Rejoice, worthy converser with angels!
Rejoice, good guide of men!
Rejoice, pious rule of faith!
Rejoice, model of spiritual meekness!
Rejoice, for through thee we are delivered from bodily passions!
Rejoice, for through thee we are filled with spiritual delights!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 4: A storm of bewilderment confuseth our minds: How can we worthily hymn thy wonders, O blessed Nicholas? For no one could count them, even though he had many tongues and willed to tell them; but we make bold to sing to God Who is wonderfully glorified in thee: Alleluia!

Ekos 4: People near and far heard of the greatness of thy miracles, O divinely-wise Nicholas, for in the air with the delicate wings of grace thou art accustomed to forestall those in misfortune, quickly delivering all who cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, deliverance from sorrow!
Rejoice, channel of grace!
Rejoice, dispeller of unexpected evils!
Rejoice, planter of good desires!
Rejoice, quick comforter of those in misfortune!
Rejoice, dread punisher of wrongdoers!
Rejoice, abyss of miracles poured out by God!
Rejoice, tablets of the law of Christ written by God!
Rejoice, strong uplifting of the fallen!
Rejoice, support of them that stand aright!
Rejoice, for through thee all deception is exposed!
Rejoice, for through thee all truth is realized!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 5: Thou didst appear as a divinely-moving star, guiding those who sailed upon the cruel sea who were once threatened with imminent death, if thou hadst not come to the help of those who called upon thee, O wonderworking Saint Nicholas; for, having forbidden the flying demons who shamelessly wanted to sink the ship, thou didst drive them away, and didst teach the faithful whom God saveth through thee to cry: Alleluia!

Ekos 5: The maidens, prepared for a dishonourable marriage because of their poverty, saw thy great compassion to the poor, O most-blessed Father Nicholas, when by night thou secretly gavest their aged father three bundles of gold, hereby saving him and his daughters from falling into sin. Wherefore, thou hearest from all thus:
Rejoice, treasury of greatest mercy!

Rejoice, depository of provision for people!
Rejoice, food and consolation of those that flee unto thee!
Rejoice, inexhaustible bread of the hungry!
Rejoice, God-given wealth of those living in poverty on earth!
Rejoice, speedy uplifting of paupers!
Rejoice, quick hearing of the needy!
Rejoice, acceptable care of the sorrowful!
Rejoice, blameless provider for the three maidens!
Rejoice, fervent guardian of purity!
Rejoice, hope of the hopeless!
Rejoice, delight of all the world!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 6: The whole world proclaimeth thee, O most blessed Nicholas, as a quick intercessor in adversities; for, oftentimes preceding those that travel by land and sail upon the sea, thou helpest them in a single hour, at the same time keeping from evils all that cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 6: Thou didst shine as a living light, bringing deliverance to the generals who received sentence to an unjust death, who called upon thee, O good shepherd Nicholas, when thou didst quickly appear in a dream to the emperor, and didst terrify him and didst order him to release them unharmed. Therefore, together with them we also gratefully cry unto thee:

Rejoice, thou who helpest them that fervently call upon thee!
Rejoice, thou who deliverest from unjust death!
Rejoice, thou who preservest from false accusation!
Rejoice, thou who destroyest the counsels of the unrighteous!
Rejoice, thou who tearest lies to shreds like cobwebs!
Rejoice, thou who gloriously exaltest truth!
Rejoice, release of the innocent from their fetters!
Rejoice, revival of the dead!
Rejoice, revealer of righteousness!
Rejoice, exposer of unrighteousness!
Rejoice, for through thee the innocent were saved from the sword!
Rejoice, for through thee they enjoyed the light!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 7: Desiring to dispel the blasphemous stench of heresy, thou didst appear as a truly fragrant, mystical myrrh, O Nicholas; by shepherding the people of Myra, thou hast filled the whole world with thy gracious myrrh. And so, dispel from us the stench of abominable sin, that we may acceptably cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 7: We understand thee to be a new Noah, a guide of the ark of salvation, O Holy Father Nicholas, who drivest away the storm of all evils by thy direction, and bringest divine calm to those that cry thus:

Rejoice, calm harbour of the storm-tossed!
Rejoice, sure preservation of those that are drowning!
Rejoice, good pilot of those that sail upon the deeps!
Rejoice, thou who rulest the raging of the sea!
Rejoice, guidance of those in whirlwinds!
Rejoice, warmth of those in frosts!
Rejoice, radiance that dispellest the gloom of sorrow!
Rejoice, light that illuminest all the ends of the earth!
Rejoice, thou who deliverest people from the abyss of sin!
Rejoice, thou who castest Satan into the abyss of Hades!
Rejoice, for through thee we boldly invoke the abyss of God’s compassion!
Rejoice, for as ones rescued through thee from the flood of wrath, we find peace with God!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 8: A strange wonder is thy sacred church shown to be to those that flock to thee, O blessed Nicholas; for, by offering in it even a small supplication, we receive healing from great illnesses, if only, after God, we place our hope in thee, faithfully crying aloud: Alleluia!

Ekos 8: Thou art truly a helper to all, O God-bearing Nicholas, and thou hast gathered together all that flee unto thee, for thou art a deliverer, a nourisher, and a quick healer to all on earth, moving all to cry out in praise to thee thus:

Rejoice, source of all kinds of healing!
Rejoice, helper of those that suffer cruelly!
Rejoice, dawn shining for prodigals in the night of sin!
Rejoice, heaven-sent dew for those in the heat of labours!
Rejoice, thou who givest prosperity to those that need it!
Rejoice, thou who preparest an abundance for those that ask!
Rejoice, thou who often forestallest requests!
Rejoice, thou who restorest strength to the aged and gray-headed!
Rejoice, convicter of many who have strayed from the true way!
Rejoice, faithful steward of the mysteries of God!
Rejoice, for through thee we conquer envy!
Rejoice, for through thee we lead a moral life!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 9: Assuage all our pains, O Nicholas, our great intercessor, dispensing gracious healings, delighting our souls, and gladdening the hearts of all that fervently hasten to thee for help and cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 9: The falsely theorizing orators of the ungodly, we see, were put to shame by thee, O divinely-wise Father Nicholas; for thou didst confute Arius the blasphemer who divided the Godhead, and Sabellius who mingled the persons of the Holy Trinity, but thou hast strengthened us in Orthodoxy. Therefore, we cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, shield that defendest piety!
Rejoice, sword that cuttest down impiety!
Rejoice, teacher of the divine commandments!
Rejoice, destroyer of impious doctrines!
Rejoice, ladder set up by God, by which we mount to heaven!
Rejoice, God-given protection, by which many are sheltered!
Rejoice, thou who makest wise the unwise by thy sayings!
Rejoice, thou who movest the slothful by thine example!
Rejoice, inextinguishable brightness of God’s commandments!
Rejoice, most luminous ray of the Lord’s statutes!
Rejoice, for through thy teaching the heads of heretics are broken!
Rejoice, for through thee the faithful are counted worthy of glory!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 10
: Desiring to save thy soul, thou didst truly subject thy body to the spirit, O our Father Nicholas; for by silence first and by wrestling with thoughts, thou didst add contemplation to activity, and by contemplation thou didst acquire perfect knowledge with which thou didst boldly converse with God and angels, always crying: Alleluia!

Ekos 10: Thou art a rampart, O most-blessed one, to those that praise thy miracles, and to all that have recourse to thine intercession; wherefore, free also us who are poor in virtue from poverty, temptations, illness, and needs of various kinds, as we cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who rescuest from eternal wretchedness!
Rejoice, thou who bestowest incorruptible riches!
Rejoice, imperishable food for those that hunger after righteousness!
Rejoice, inexhaustible drink for those that thirst for life!
Rejoice, thou who preservest from revolution and war!
Rejoice, thou who freest us from chains and imprisonment!
Rejoice, most-glorious intercessor in misfortunes!
Rejoice, great defender in temptations!
Rejoice, thou who hast snatched many from destruction!
Rejoice, thou who hast kept countless numbers unharmed!
Rejoice, for through thee sinners escape a frightful death!
Rejoice, for through thee those that repent obtain eternal life!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 11: A song to the Most Holy Trinity didst thou bring, surpassing others in thought, word, and deed, O most-blessed Nicholas; for with much searching thou didst explain the precepts of the true Faith, guiding us to sing with faith, hope, and love to the one God in Trinity: Alleluia!

Ekos 11: We see thee as a brilliant and inextinguishable ray for those in the darkness of this life, O God-chosen Father Nicholas; for with the immaterial angelic lights thou conversest concerning the uncreated Light of the Trinity, and thou enlightenest the souls of the faithful who cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, radiance of the Three-sunned Light!
Rejoice, daystar of the unsetting Sun!
Rejoice, lamp kindled by the Divine Flame!
Rejoice, for thou hast quenched the demonic flame of impiety!
Rejoice, bright preaching of the Orthodox Faith!
Rejoice, luminous radiance of the light of the Gospel!
Rejoice, lightning that consumest heresy!
Rejoice, thunder that terrifiest tempters!
Rejoice, teacher of true knowledge!
Rejoice, revealer of the secret mind!
Rejoice, for through thee the worship of creatures hath been abolished!
Rejoice, for through thee we have learned to worship the Creator in the Trinity!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 12: Knowing the grace that hath been given thee by God, dutifully and joyfully we celebrate thy memory, O most-glorious Father Nicholas, and with all fervency we hasten to thy wonderful intercession; unable to count thy glorious deeds which are like the sands of the seashore and the multitude of the stars, being at a loss to understand, we cry unto God: Alleluia!

Ekos 12: While we sing of thy wonders, we praise thee, O all-praised Nicholas; for in thee God Who is glorified in the Trinity is wondrously glorified. But even if we were to offer thee a multitude of psalms and hymns composed from the soul, O holy wonderworker, we should do nothing to equal the gift of thy miracles, and amazed by them we cry unto thee thus:

Rejoice, servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords!
Rejoice, co-dweller with His heavenly servants!
Rejoice, support of faithful kings!
Rejoice, exaltation of the race of Christians!
Rejoice, namesake of victory!
Rejoice, eminent victor!
Rejoice, mirror of all the virtues!
Rejoice, strong buttress of all who flee unto thee!
Rejoice, after God and the Theotokos, all our hope!
Rejoice, health of our bodies and salvation of our souls!
Rejoice, for through thee we are delivered from eternal death!
Rejoice, for through thee we are deemed worthy of endless life!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 13: O most-holy and most-wonderful Father Nicholas, consolation of all that sorrow, accept our present offering, and entreat the Lord that we be delivered from Gehenna through thy God-pleasing intercession, that with thee we may sing: Alleluia!

Ekos 1: An angel in manner though earthly by nature did the Creator reveal thee to be; for, foreseeing the fruitful beauty of thy soul, O most blessed Nicholas, He taught all to cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who wast purified from thy mother’s womb!
Rejoice, thou who wast sanctified even unto the end!
Rejoice, thou who didst amaze thy parents by thy birth!
Rejoice, thou who didst manifest power of soul straightway after birth!
Rejoice, plant of the land of promise!
Rejoice, flower of divine planting!
Rejoice, virtuous vine of Christ’s vineyard!
Rejoice, wonderworking tree of the paradise of Jesus!
Rejoice, lily of paradisaical growth!
Rejoice, myrrh of the fragrance of Christ!
Rejoice, for through thee lamentation is banished!
Rejoice, for through thee rejoicing is brought to pass!
Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Kontakion 1: O champion wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, thou who pourest out for all the world the most precious myrrh of mercy and an inexhaustible sea of miracles, I praise thee with love, O Saint Nicholas; and as thou art one having boldness toward the Lord, from all dangers do thou deliver us, that we may cry to thee: Rejoice, O Nicholas, Great Wonderworker!

Hierarch and father, O most holy Nicholas, thou extraordinary Saint of the Lord, our loving defender and ready helper in sorrows everywhere: help us sinners and hapless ones in the present life: entreat the Lord God to grant us remission of all of our sins, that we have committed from our youth and all our life, by deed, word, though and all our senses; and in the passing of our souls, help us wretched ones; entreat the Lord God and Maker of all creation, to deliver us from trials in the air and eternal torment: that we may always glorify the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and thy merciful intercession, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O most good father Nicholas, pastor and teacher of all who in faith call upon thy protection and warm prayer, make haste to deliver Christ’s flock from the wolves that attack it; and guard every Christian land, and keep it by thy holy prayers from worldly unrest, upheaval, the assault of enemies and civil strife; from famine, flood, fire, the axe and sudden mortality. And as thou didst take pity on the three men who were imprisoned, and didst deliver them from royal anger and death by the sword, so have mercy also on us, who are in the darkness of sins of mind, word and deed, and deliver us from the wrath of God and eternal punishment, so that, by thine intercession and help, and by His mercy and grace, Christ our God may grant us to lead a quiet life without sin in this age and deliver us in the next from standing at the left side,  but rather grant us to be at His right hand with all the Saints. Amen.

The Feast of St Demetrios

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings to you, as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr, Demetrios, whose relics still stream myron in the city of Thessaloniki, and are visited and venerated by the faithful from all corners of the world.

St Demetrios is one of those saints who is loved and venerated not only by Orthodox Christians, but even by Muslim Turks. During the Ottoman centuries, the Muslims of Thessaloniki visited his church (turned into a mosque) to venerate his relics, knowing the generosity of the Great-Martyr in hearing the prayers of all who sought his intercession, and Muslims in Turkey still venerate him and visit his holy spring/ayazma in Istanbul.

Below his life, from the Orthodox Church of America, the akathist to the Great-Martyr is appended.

Happy Feast!

The Great Martyr Demetrios the Myrrh-gusher of Thessaloniki was the son of a Roman proconsul in Thessaloniki. Three centuries had elapsed and Roman paganism, spiritually shattered and defeated by the multitude of martyrs and confessors of the Savior, intensified its persecutions. The parents of Saint Demetrios were secret Christians, and he was baptized and raised in the Christian Faith in a secret church in his father’s home.

By the time Demetrios had reached maturity and his father had died, Emperor Galerius Maximian had ascended the throne (305). Maximian, confident in Demetrios’s education as well as his administrative and military abilities, appointed him to his father’s position as proconsul of the Thessaloniki district. The young commander’s principal duties were to defend the city from barbarians and to eradicate Christianity. The Emperor’s policy regarding Christians was expressed simply: “Put to death anyone who calls on the name of Christ.” The Emperor did not suspect that by appointing Demetrios he had provided him with the opportunity to bring many people to Christ.

Accepting the appointment, Demetrios returned to Thessaloniki and confessed and glorified our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of persecuting and executing Christians, he began to teach the Christian Faith openly to the inhabitants of the city and to overthrow pagan customs and the worship of idols. The compiler of his Life, Saint Simeon Metaphrastes (November 9), says that because of his teaching zeal he became “a second Apostle Paul” for Thessaloniki, particularly since “the Apostle to the Gentiles” founded the first community of believers in the city (1 Thess. and 2 Thess.).

The Lord also destined Saint Demetrios to follow Saint Paul on the path to martyrdom. When Maximian learned that the newly-appointed proconsul was a Christian, and that he had converted many Roman subjects to Christianity, the Emperor’s rage knew no bounds. Returning from a campaign in the area of the Black Sea, the Emperor decided to lead his army through Thessaloniki, determined to massacre the Christians.

Learning of this, Saint Demetrios ordered his faithful servant Lupus to give his wealth to the poor saying, “Distribute my earthly riches among them, for we shall seek heavenly riches for ourselves.” He began to pray and fast, preparing himself for martyrdom.

When the Emperor came into the city, he summoned Demetrios, who boldly confessed himself a Christian and denounced the falsehood and futility of Roman polytheism. Maximian ordered Demetrios to be thrown into prison. An Angel appeared to him, comforting and encouraging him.

Meanwhile the Emperor amused himself by staging games in the circus. His champion was a German by the name of Lyaeos. He challenged Christians to wrestle with him on a platform built over the upturned spears of the victorious soldiers. A brave Christian named Nestor went to the prison to Saint Demetrios, his instructor in the Faith, asking for his blessing to fight the barbarian. With the blessing and prayers of Saint Demetrios, Nestor defeated the fierce German and hurled him from the platform onto the spears of the soldiers, just as the murderous pagan would have done with the Christian. The enraged commander ordered the execution of the holy Martyr Nestor (October 27) and sent a guard to the prison to kill Saint Demetrios. At dawn on October 26, 306 soldiers appeared in the Saint’s underground prison and ran him through with lances. His faithful servant, Saint Lupus, gathered up the blood-soaked garment of Saint Demetrios he took the imperial ring from his finger, a symbol of his high status, and dipped it in the blood. With the ring and other holy things sanctified the blood of Saint Demetrios, Saint Lupus began to heal the infirm. The Emperor ordered his soldiers to arrest and kill him.

The body of the holy Great Martyr Demetrios was cast out for wild animals to devour, but the Christians took it and secretly buried it in the earth.

During the reign of Saint Constantine (306-337), a church was built over the grave of Saint Demetrios. A hundred years later, during the construction of a majestic new church on the old spot, the incorrupt relics of the holy martyr were uncovered. Since the seventh century a miraculous flow of fragrant myrrh has been found beneath the crypt of the Great Martyr Demetrios, so he is called “the Myrrh-gusher.”


Akathist to St. Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrh-streamer
written by the former bishop of Thessaloniki, St. Athanasios Patelarios, of Crete

In the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Kontakion 1: O faithful, let us praise with hymns and divine praises the Myrrhstreamer, who deposed the cruelty of the tyrant, and conquered the audacity of Lyaios, and preached Christ as God clearly, and let us cry out to him: Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Ikos 1: Angels were astonished in heaven, beholding the godless rage of the tyrant (3), and as you were put to death by his decree, O Demetrios, we cry out to you thus:

Rejoice, the sacred pinnacle of martyrs,
Rejoice, the joyous radiance of Saints.
Rejoice, for you were placed in a pit as one condemned,
Rejoice, for you ascended to Heaven as one without a body.
Rejoice, dweller in the ranks of the Angels,
Rejoice you who bore the tortures of the tyrant.
Rejoice, for you despised the wiles of the enemies,
Rejoice, for your soul now dwells in Heaven.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 2: The divine Nestor, beholding himself in manliness, approached the king with boldness: “Your exceeding danger appears as an abomination to my soul. For I will put to death the godless Lyaios, crying out: Alleluia.

Ikos 2: Having godly knowledge, O Demetrios the boast of martyrs, you said to the tyrant: “From soulless matter [i.e. idols], how is possible to give birth to God? Speak to me.” To [the Martyr], the faithful who honor God cry out with fear:

Rejoice, the most-radiant lamp of Thessaloniki,
Rejoice, for you overcame Lyaios in victory.
Rejoice, you who pours forth divine myrrh from your grave,
Rejoice, you who bears divine zeal in your heart.
Rejoice, for your blood was a purifying bath,
Rejoice, for through you there is blotting out of sins.
Rejoice, you who deposed the delusion of the idols,
Rejoice, you who censured the mania of tyrants.
Rejoice, for you healed the passion of hemorrhage,
Rejoice, you who offered your soul from its depths.
Rejoice, for you delivered Marinon from leprosy,
Rejoice, for your beloved Istron you sent.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 3: Power from heaven then strengthened Nestor to fight, and he took up arms against the utterly strong Lyaios, and with swift hand, he struck him down as dead, and therefore cried out to the Savior, chanting: Alleluia.

Ikos 3: Having the divine desire to obtain the body of Demetrios, the pious Emperor [Justinian] went., but as [St. Demetrios] did not desire this, fire came forth from his grave threatening death. And he said to him such words in fear:

Rejoice, the unemptying river of wonders,
Rejoice, the irrevocable icon of traumas.
Rejoice, for you did not offer your Relic to him who sought it,
Rejoice, for you grant sanctification to those who venerate you.
Rejoice, for you summoned fire from your divine grave,
Rejoice, for you censured the mania of the tyrant.
Rejoice, for you deposed the worship of the idols,
Rejoice, for your body was pierced with spears.
Rejoice, for your blood was given as drink to the godless,
Rejoice, for you sanctified the whole world with your body.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 4: Having godless confusion and evil thoughts, the senseless king was enraged, beholding the Martyr not preaching the delusion of the idols. We, beholding the unjust slaughter of the Saint at his hands, cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos 4: The ends of the world heard of the murder of Demetrios at the hands of the senseless tyrant, and beholding him dead, they hastened to him, seeing the sacred wonders that he pours forth throughout the whole world, as they honor him, saying:

Rejoice, he who traded the corruptible things for the heavenly,
Rejoice he who deposed the counsels of the evil ones.
Rejoice, you who joined chorus with the bodiless Angels,
Rejoice, you who entered the land of the greatly-suffering Saints.
Rejoice, you who serve together with the spotless Cherubim,
Rejoice, you who walk together with the pure Seraphim.
Rejoice, for you served the Lord of lords,
Rejoice, for you bore within the seat of divine thrones.
Rejoice, the most-fervent fellow servant with the Angels,
Rejoice, the most-wise fellow counselor with the Archangels.
Rejoice, the sacred adornment of the Venerable,
Rejoice, the radiant rejoicing of the Martyrs.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 5: Perceiving Demetrios to be a God-bearer, the most fervent man hastened to be delivered through him from the terrible demon. And having touched his deliverance, he rejoiced in the Lord, crying out: Alleluia.

Ikos 5: Leontios, the son of the Orthodox, formerly saw the unspeakable might of the Martyr, and desiring to come to him, he sought for Istron to hasten to pass by him with his robe, and cried out to him:

Rejoice, he who through his robe worked awesome wonders,
Rejoice, he who did not bear stains of offenses.
Rejoice, for your streams have become our own.
Rejoice, for you drove back the campaigns of barbarians,
Rejoice, for you dwell in the thrones of the Martyrs.
Rejoice, you who drove away the plague from Thessaloniki,
Rejoice, our sun which shines upon the faithful.
Rejoice, he who delivered from idol-mania,
Rejoice, he who delivers all from the bonds of slavery.
Rejoice, he who grants grace to all those who approach him,
Rejoice for you ever dwell with those who praise you.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 6: The deluded became preachers of corruption of souls, as they hastened through Thessaloniki, performing idolatry and preaching atheism everywhere, as the Martyr left the tyrant like a mule, as he said: Alleluia.

Ikos 6: The divine Nestor, shining together with the sacred Demetrios, drove away the darkness of error, for they anathematized the idols steadfastly, and cast them down, while the faithful who were saved cries out to those strugglers:

Rejoice, O Demetrios, the firm support,
Rejoice, O Nestor, the splendid pride.
Rejoice, you who granted strength to Nestor,
Rejoice, you who granted corruption to Lyaios.
Rejoice, you who firstly censured the blind tyrant,
Rejoice, you who secondly kept [St. Demetrios’] example.
Rejoice, he who received death by spears,
Rejoice, he who received incorruptible life through the sword.
Rejoice, he who was murdered in prison like a convict,
Rejoice, he who was preached throughout the world as one immortal.
Rejoice, he who before death worked awesome deeds,
Rejoice, he who after death works wonders.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 7: The holy dyad of Martyrs then passed on from this world, as the sacred Martyrs had greatly endured lawless murder. Therefore, those who behold this are astonished, and cry out to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos 7: A new song was found, as we bitterly sing the funeral hymn to Demetrios, for he was slaughtered by a godless tyrant, and did not sacrifice to the idols. We therefore hymn him and fervently cry out:

Rejoice, you who were placed dead in a grave,
Rejoice, you who ride throughout the world as one alive.
Rejoice, for your blood was shown to be a new cleansing bath,
Rejoice, for your soul is mixing with the Angels.
Rejoice, for you are hymned from the ends of the earth,
Rejoice for they draw forth from your fragrant myrrh.
Rejoice, lamp amidst the Martyrs,
Rejoice, ray of godly graces.
Rejoice, you who were dyed with your holy blood,
Rejoice, you who were sanctified in your divine body.
Rejoice, you who received diamond crowns,
Rejoice, for you now dwell in the halls of the ever-memorable.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 8: Beholding a strange wonder, the idols were moved by the bravery of the martyrs. Therefore, he who now dwells on high gives bravery to those who dwell on the earth to take courage, and aim their arrows at the idols. To him we now cry out: Alleluia.

Ikos 8: Having his mind wholly on things above without departing from earth, was the most-pure Martyr, for he clearly conquered the delusion of the idols, and preached Christ with boldness, hearing thus:

Rejoice, for you were killed on behalf of Christ your God,
Rejoice, for you desired the joyous things of Paradise.
Rejoice, for you traveled the upper road to Heaven,
Rejoice, for you inhabit the dwelling-places of the pure.
Rejoice, for you now travel with the Angels,
Rejoice, for you have come to dwell with the Saints.
Rejoice, for you preached your Christ like a holy trumpet,
Rejoice, for you dwell in the spotless mansions of Paradise.
Rejoice, you who put forth myrrh from your godly body,
Rejoice, you who scoffed and the rubbish of the godless,
Rejoice, for you broke asunder the intrigues of rulers,
Rejoice, for you trampled upon the delusion of the idols.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 9: You received every grace from heaven, O Martyr Demetrios, and preached paradoxically that the inaccessible God became man, being the Son of God. Therefore, to Him let us cry: Alleluia.

Ikos 9: O Martyr Demetrios, you showed the many words of the orators of the tyrants to be foolish, for they were astonished at how you strongly condemned the delusion of the idols. We, being astonished at this paradox, cry out to you:

Rejoice, the rose of virginity,
Rejoice, the pinnacle of continence.
Rejoice, you who lived purely before you were killed,
Rejoice, you who after you were killed were led towards God.
Rejoice, in whom the light of God was planted,
Rejoice, in whom the grace of the Trinity made its dwelling.
Rejoice, the length and breadth of the pious,
Rejoice, the sharp sword against the faithless.
Rejoice, you who shine with the rays of the sun,
Rejoice, you who drive away the mania of the tyrant.
Rejoice, tree bearing the fruits of many graces,
Rejoice, for you bore the shoots of many victories.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 10: Saving the Orthodox from the delusion of the godless idols, you came straightaway, O Martyr, and you preached the Lord as perfect God to the deluded and idiotic tyrant, crying out to him: Alleluia.

Ikos 10: You are the shelter of the Martyrs, O Champion and Martyr, and all those who take refuge in you, for you revealed the Maker of heaven and earth to all, and deposed the tyrant and the idols. We therefore cry out to you:

Rejoice, the deliverance for those in sickness,
Rejoice the savior of the continuously hemorrhaged.
Rejoice, you who sow grace among all those who hymn you,
Rejoice, for you are a pillar of graces.
Rejoice, divine power, the casting-down of idols.
Rejoice, pure dwelling-place of God,
Rejoice, chaste type of Christ.
Rejoice, for your blood became as a new baptism,
Rejoice, for your body received death.
Rejoice, bridge leaving those who die from earth to heaven,
Rejoice, for you are a guide to the faithful.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 11: We your servants all offer funeral hymns at your grave, O Martyr, shedding tears and offering odes and psalms to you, for we are not at all worthy of what has been accomplished through, as befits your grave, but we cry out to the Savior: Alleluia.

Ikos 11: Your grave, O Martyr, has been shown to be light-bearing, shining forth with grace like light. For all those who approach are suddenly granted joy and health, while we who approach you cry out these:

Rejoice, you who preserved your Church unharmed,
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the wiles of the evil one.
Rejoice, for you drove back the nation of the Slavs,
Rejoice, for you trampled upon the rule of the idols.
Rejoice, you who uprooted the pride of the barbarians,
Rejoice, you who cast out the conceit of the tyrants.
Rejoice, you who preserved your city unharmed,
Rejoice, you who shook up the delusion of the godless one.
Rejoice, you who punished Onesiphoros for his theft,
Rejoice you who uprooted the danger of the idols from the earth.
Rejoice, the sure consolation of those who take refuge in you,
Rejoice, the salvation of the souls of those who approach you.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 12: Bearing grace from above, O Demetrios, you drove out all the campaigns of the enemies. You preached Christ upon the heard as a steadfast hoplite of grace, and you cast down the idols, as you chant along with everyone: Alleluia.

Ikos 12: We hymn the wonder that you worked, O Martyr, as your city was preserved victorious, as you appeared as a god to the faithless, sending forth Angels speedily, saying: “Drive them far away from the city”, therefore we cry out:

Rejoice, for at your will your city was saved,
Rejoice, for through your strength the enemy was cast down.
Rejoice, you who met Achilleos in your flight,
Rejoice, you who sent out Nestor with your strength.
Rejoice, you who drown Lyaios in blood,
Rejoice, you who raged against the faithless in spirit.
Rejoice, you who strengthens your city through your presence,
Rejoice, for if you left her, your city would be lost.
Rejoice, you whose grave is beloved by hymnologists,
Rejoice, you who put to death falsehood through your might.
Rejoice, you who grants to us a sea of graces,
Rejoice, you who sows the mercy of your myrrh within all.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 13: O pair of Martyrs, who preached Christ as the surpassing Word before all, (3) receive these funeral hymn and odes, and deliver us from every danger, and the coming trial through your prayers, those who cry out to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos 1: Angels were astonished in heaven, beholding the godless rage of the tyrant (3), and as you were put to death by his decree, O Demetrios, we cry out to you thus:

Rejoice, the sacred pinnacle of martyrs,
Rejoice, the joyous radiance of Saints.
Rejoice, for you were placed in a pit as one condemned,
Rejoice, for you ascended to Heaven as one without a body.
Rejoice, dweller in the ranks of the Angels,
Rejoice you who bore the tortures of the tyrant.
Rejoice, for you despised the wiles of the enemies,
Rejoice, for your soul now dwells in Heaven.
Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

Kontakion 1: O faithful, let us praise with hymns and divine praises the Myrrhstreamer, who deposed the cruelty of the tyrant, and conquered the audacity of Lyaios, and preached Christ as God clearly, and let us cry out to him: Rejoice, O Martyr Demetrios.

An Akathist to Matushka Olga of Alaska

An Akathist to Matushka Olga Michael

by Archpriest Lawrence R Farley

Kontakion 1 (Tone 4): Our God who makes the moving curtain of the northern lights made you as a living light, shining in the far north and lighting up the desolate with His great beauty. Beholding this radiance, we your children lift up our voices and sing:  Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Ikos 1: You laboured in the far north as a new Tabitha, making clothes to shelter the poor from the cold and warming their souls with your love.  We who endure the icy winds of this age also find shelter in your heavenly intercession and offer you these praises:

Rejoice, you that provided boots and parkas for the bodies of those in need!

Rejoice, you that still provide God’s grace for the souls of the afflicted!

Rejoice, for your ceaseless labour clothed many throughout your village!

Rejoice, for your glorious praises are sung by many throughout the world!

Rejoice, strong consolation of peace for widows and orphans!

Rejoice, invincible tower of defence for the crushed and despairing!

Rejoice, haven of peace in the tumultuous world!

Rejoice, silent witness to the eternal Word!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 2: Born in the humble Yup’ik village of Kwethluk, you walked humbly with your God, doing justice and loving kindness, and were manifested to all as a real person.  Now that your God has exalted you to the heavenly heights, you hear from your earthly Church the song:  Alleluia!

Ikos 2: In your youth you married the village post-master and manager of the general store, supporting him by your prayers so that he became an archpriest.  As a matushka, you were a true mother to all you met, and we your children delight to run to you with these songs:

Rejoice, you whose maternal embrace comforts us in our pain!

Rejoice, you whose unfailing strength fills us with new hope!

Rejoice, for you dry our tears as a loving mother!

Rejoice, for you come to us with the strength of the heavenly Father!

Rejoice, you that sewed the priestly vestments of your husband that he might stand in beauty before God!

Rejoice, you that clothe us also in true holiness that we might stand unashamed in the Kingdom!

Rejoice, open door to the mercy of the Lord!

Rejoice, high wall of protection against the assaults of the enemy!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 3: As the handmaid of the Lord, you obeyed His first command and fruitfully multiplied, bearing thirteen children, loving each one and sorrowing over the ones who died.  Now that you stand with them in heaven, you hear from us your children still on earth the hymn:  Alleluia!

Ikos 3: Even during your earthly sojourn you were life-giving, bearing many children and filling their lives with the love of God.  Now that your sojourn has ended and you sing in the heavenly choir of the saints, you continue to give life to us your spiritual children, who thankfully offer these words:

Rejoice, you that taught your earthly family the ways of the Lord!

Rejoice, you that watch over your spiritual family with the love of Christ!

Rejoice, you that received each of your children as the gift of God!

Rejoice, you that welcome all of us who come to you as your own children!

Rejoice, healing maternal embrace for the wounded!

Rejoice, victorious divine defense against the demons!

Rejoice, consolation of all your troubled children!

Rejoice, joy of all who seek your help!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 4: During your life you gave away your children’s clothing to the poor and taught them to preserve the dignity of the poor by not saying anything when they saw others wearing their clothes.  Now that you stand before God clothed in the vestments of glory, you cry aloud to Him:  Alleluia!

Ikos 4: You toiled ceaselessly, Matushka Olga, making traditional fur boots and parkas to raise funds for the needy throughout Alaska, so that your maternal care was felt by those far distant from you.  We needy ones also cry to you from the ends of the earth, taking refuge in your maternal intercession and offering you these hymns:

Rejoice, for the Lord has covered you with the robe of gladness!

Rejoice, for the Bridegroom adorns you with the jewels of His Kingdom!

Rejoice, you that clothe the poor children with the love of God!

Rejoice, you that restore their dignity before the eyes of men!

Rejoice, shining garment of our earthly vindication!

Rejoice, radiant vestment of our heavenly triumph!

Rejoice, boast of the widows!

Rejoice, song of the orphans!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 5: Like your Lord who wanted to gather Jerusalem’s children together the way a hen gathers her brood, so you also, Matushka Olga, sheltered the broken children who needed your care.  Now that you stand in glory as their strong intercessor, you hear from them the cry:  Alleluia!

Ikos 5: Those defenseless ones who suffered abuse at the hands of men looked to you for healing, O blessed Matushka, and you never disappointed them, but comforted their hearts and filled them with hope.  We your children who also suffer our own wounds in the world turn to you with confidence and say:

Rejoice, you that give rest to the weary and heavy-laden!

Rejoice, you that fill the fallen with new strength!

Rejoice, for your counsel empowered the battered and despairing!

Rejoice, for your wisdom delivered them from all their fears!

Rejoice, for they looked to you and were made radiant!

Rejoice, for you took from them their guilt and shame!

Rejoice, ceaseless advocate before God for those molested and injured!

Rejoice, unconqueable stronghold for all needing refuge!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 6: Even when your children and their playmates were noisy and made a mess in your house, you never scolded them or raised your voice in anger to them, but your silence showed them your love and understanding.  Marveling in your divine patience and maternal compassion, we your children also cry:  Alleluia!

Ikos 6: None who suffered neglect could fail to find their help in you, O blessed Olga, for in your wisdom you knew how to feed the hungry as you preserved their failing self-esteem.  We who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of the Kingdom look up to you for aid, calling aloud:

Rejoice, for you fill the hungry with the good things of the Kingdom!

Rejoice, for you satisfy the poor with the bread of God!

Rejoice, for your prayers scatter the proud and end their oppression!

Rejoice, for your love exalts those of low degree and sets them on high!

Rejoice, you that lift up the heads of the ashamed and beaten!

Rejoice, you that heal of the hearts of the broken and weary!

Rejoice, inexhaustible abundance!

Rejoice, eternal banquet!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 7: You laboured as a midwife, O blessed Matushka, caring for the women of your village, and in your prophetic insight you knew when a woman was pregnant in her first weeks, even before she did.  Marveling at how God is wonderful in His saints, we give thanks to Him with the hymn:  Alleluia!

Ikos 7: The weak and vulnerable came to you for strength, O Matushka Olga, and you guided them through the sorrow of childbirth into joy.  We who walk through this life of sorrow and who seek the joy of the life to come offer you these songs:

Rejoice, gentle healer, working to bring many newborn children into the world!

Rejoice, spiritual midwife, labouring through your prayers until Christ is formed in us!

Rejoice, for your heart knew when God had formed a child in the womb!

Rejoice, for your hands brought many children to the light!

Rejoice, hidden prophetess, deep in the counsels of God!

Rejoice, manifest sanctity, revealing the goodness of the Lord!

Rejoice, you whose patient labours filled many with joy!

Rejoice, you whose constant intercession bring many to the Kingdom!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 8: The old and ill found cause to praise God for you, O Matushka Olga, for you visited them in their infirmity and did their housework when they could not, quietly serving the Lord through His people.  Knowing that you continue to serve the Lord through your heavenly intercession, we lift up our prayers to you, singing aloud:  Alleluia!

Ikos 8: Like your Lord before you, O blessed one, you girded yourself in the radiant garments of humility and washed the feet of your fellow-servants, and inherited the blessing He promised for those who follow Him in humble service.  Now that He has exalted you on high, you hear our fervent praises:

Rejoice, you that visited orphans and widows in their affliction!

Rejoice, you that kept yourself unstained from the world!

Rejoice, you whose labours refreshed the hearts of the lowly!

Rejoice, you whose prayers lifted them up to God’s throne!

Rejoice, never-flagging zeal, aglow with the Spirit!

Rejoice, never-failing intercession, serving the Lord!

Rejoice, for you never ceased in your work of love!

Rejoice, for your toil always gave the weary new hope!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 9: God formed you for Himself to declare His praise, O blessed matushka, and you knew by heart all the words of the services for many feast days, Holy Week and Pascha, that you might lift up a ceaseless song to your Lord.  Joining you in singing His matchless praise, we also cry aloud:  Alleluia!

Ikos 9: God opened your lips that your mouth might declare His praise, and your lips poured forth His praise, since by His Spirit He taught you His statutes.  Like the Mother of God before you, your soul magnified the Lord, and we who have heard your song also rejoice in God our Saviour, saying to you:

Rejoice, you that dwell in the courts of the Lord!

Rejoice, you that sing for joy to the living God!

Rejoice, song of triumph, silencing the din of the demons!

Rejoice, eternal melody, joining with the heavenly choir!

Rejoice, for the words of the Church’s praises were written on your heart!

Rejoice, for the pure words of adoration came pouring from your lips!

Rejoice, you whose heart overflowed with good Word of God!

Rejoice, you who addressed your verses to the King!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 10: God, who sends forth His word and melts the ice, cared for you even in death, for even though you died in the frozen month of November, a warm wind blew in and melted the river, enabling many of your friends to come to your funeral unexpectedly and allowing your grave to be easily dug.  Then, after they departed, the cold returned, the river froze and the ground hardened.  Observing the care the Creator lavishes on His saints, we sinners lift up the cry:  Alleluia!

Ikos 10: When the mourners at your funeral escorted your holy body to the graveyard, they saw that a flock of summer birds flew overhead, as if joining in the sacred procession, though after the funeral feast the unseasonable birds were seen no more.  As the created order joins in honouring God’s saint, we too hasten to add our praises:

Rejoice, for your whole life was a witness to God’s healing love!

Rejoice, for in even your death you testified to His sovereignty over creation!

Rejoice, you that gathered all to the Lord by your humble acts of service!

Rejoice, you that assembled all to worship Him at your final appearance on earth!

Rejoice, for your prayers bring God’s warmth to our souls!

Rejoice, for your presence banishes icy fear from our hearts!

Rejoice, fire of love in the bitter Arctic snows!

Rejoice, pillar of light in the long night of the north!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 11: The villagers who sang hymns from house to house at Christmas-time and who sang “Memory Eternal” at the homes of those who died the past year refused to let you die from their hearts, O blessed Olga, for even twenty years after your repose, they still come to sing “Memory Eternal” before your empty house.  We who love you also join them in their ceaseless devotion, singing to you the hymn:  Alleluia!

Ikos 11: Those who carried the Christmas star from house to house, illuminating the night with their carols, still carry you in their heart, Matushka Olga, as they stand in song before the home you vacated when your soul left us for the mansions of heaven.  As the north star shines brightly among the stars in heaven, so you stand among the choir of the saints, and hear from us these songs:

Rejoice, you whose healing love binds us to you with the cords of devotion!

Rejoice, you whose gentle touch looses us from the bonds of pain!

Rejoice, for you never forsake your people!

Rejoice, for your people ever turn to you for aid!

Rejoice, ever-present bulwark in the midst of your church!

Rejoice, never-failing intercessor before the throne of God!

Rejoice, song of joy in the night!

Rejoice, flame of hope in the morning!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 12: In your maternal love you continue to care for us, Matushka Olga, praying for our souls and granting peace through your holy icon.  Thankful to God for your miracles among us, we offer up the doxology:  Alleluia!

Ikos 12: Those abused from childhood know you as a mighty healer, O blessed matushka.  You appeared in a dream to one undergoing counseling for abuse, leading her through a forest, massaging her like a midwife so that all her years of painful trauma poured out from her, leaving her restored and joyful in spirit.  Exulting in your healing love, we offer you these praises:

Rejoice, companion of the Theotokos, granting us maternal protection!

Rejoice, heir of St. Herman, shining forth from Alaska!

Rejoice, you that straighten the tangled cords of the darkened past!

Rejoice, you that give to the hurt and fallen a radiant future!

Rejoice, for you dry the tears of children!

Rejoice, for you drench us with the joy of Christ!

Rejoice, peace for the traumatized!

Rejoice, wholeness for the wounded!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Kontakion 13: O blessed Matushka Olga, accept these songs of us who trust in you, and in the compassion which you have always shown us, rescue us from distress, pain and despair. Fill us up with the light of Christ, so that we may sing with you to God the eternal hymn of victory:  Alleluia!

(thrice; then:)

Then: Ikos 1: You laboured in the far north as a new Tabitha, making clothes to shelter the poor from the cold and warming their souls with your love.  We who endure the icy winds of this age also find shelter in your heavenly intercession and offer you these praises:

Rejoice, you that provided boots and parkas for the bodies of those in need!

Rejoice, you that still provide God’s grace for the souls of the afflicted!

Rejoice, for your ceaseless labour clothed many throughout your village!

Rejoice, for your glorious praises are sung by many throughout the world!

Rejoice, strong consolation of peace for widows and orphans!

Rejoice, invincible tower of defence for the crushed and despairing!

Rejoice, haven of peace in the tumultuous world!

Rejoice, silent witness to the eternal Word!

Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

And again: Kontakion 1: Our God who makes the moving curtain of the northern lights made you as a living light, shining in the far north and lighting up the desolate with His great beauty. Beholding this radiance, we your children lift up our voices and sing:  Rejoice, Matushka Olga, healer of the abused and broken!

Prayer to Matushka Olga

O blessed Matushka Olga, hear our prayer as we lift up our hearts to you, trusting in the power of your ceaseless intercession.  Even as you spread the warmth of your maternal love over the souls of the needy, abused and broken, so warm our souls also, healing our pain and bringing us the love of Christ.  Through your prayers, may we walk in the paths of peace, pleasing our Lord and glorifying His Name, and so finally fail not to enter into the joy of His eternal Kingdom, praising our God forever before His throne:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.