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.