St Isaac the Syrian On The Humble Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saints Ephraim and Isaac the Syrians

Dear brothers and sisters,

This day brings a double-joy, as we celebrate two great Syrian saints, Ephraim and Isaac, who testify to the spiritual glory of the Christian Tradition in which Syriac, rather than Greek, was the language of theology, and where poetry and hymnography were used to explore the Faith.

Their prayers hymns and homilies have had a profound affect on various members of our ROCOR parish in Cardiff, who have found great sustenance in the works of each of these fathers, and not a week goes by without reference to them by our parishioners and clergy.

The lives of these Syriac fathers are at the fingertips of anyone reading these words, and I will leave anyone wishing to read them to find their own way, but below are the canons to St Ephraim and St Isaac for anyone who would like to celebrate their feast by chanting them.

May their words guide us on the path to Heaven, and may their prayers be for our succour and encouragement on our journey towards the age to come.

The icons were painted for my cell in 2021, by Old Believer iconogropher Konstantin Antonov in Eysk: https://drev-obraz.ru/

Canon of the venerable one, the acrostic whereof is: “I honour Ephraim, the noetic Euphrates”, the composition of Theophanes, in Tone VI:

Ode 1, Irmos: When Israel walked on foot in the sea as on dry land, * on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, * they cried: * Let us sing to God * a song of victory.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

With the Euphrates-like flood of thy supplications water thou my soul, which hath become dry with the burning heat of the passions, and inspire discourse within me who praise thy festival, O all-blessed one.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Shining forth noetic light, thou didst show thyself to be a radiant sun, O Ephraim, illumining all the fullness of the faithful with brilliant virtues and teachings.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Extinguishing the flame of the passions with the streams of tears, O divinely blessed Ephraim, thou wast a precious vessel of the Holy Spirit, pouring forth wellsprings of doctrines.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Having received the incorrupt Word in thy womb, thou hast given birth to Him Who delivereth from corruption those who ever worship Him, O pure Mother and Virgin, who art truly the portal of Life.

Canon of the venerable one, the composition of Gerasimus of the Little Skete of Saint Anna, in Tone VIII:

Another Irmos: The wonderworking staff of Moses, * striking and dividing the sea in the figure of a cross, * once drowned Pharaoh the pursuing charioteer, * while it saved the fleeing people of Israel * as they fled on foot, * chanting a hymn unto God.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Give strength and words to my lips, O Word of God and God, that I may hymn the venerable Isaac, who hath radiantly glorified Thee with a perfect life and instructed the ranks of monastics with divinely inspired discourse.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Having from thy youth hated all carnal luxury, O blessed Isaac, and been wounded by divine love, thou didst take the Cross of the Lord upon thy shoulders, and with thy brother choose a life of asceticism.

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

Borne aloft by the love of Christ the Bestower of life, O venerable one, thou didst soar to the heavenly life, and through ascetic labours wast shown to be a stranger and sojourner on the earth, O most blessed father Isaac.

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

Without knowing wedlock, thou didst conceive God Who for our sake became immutably incarnate as we are, through thy pure blood, O most pure Mary Theotokos. Wherefore, deliver us from changing to the worse.

Ode 3, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thou, * O Lord my God, * who hast exalted the horn of The faithful O good One, * and strengthened us upon the rock * of Thy confession.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Having purified thyself of the mire of the passions, thou didst reveal thyself to be a true receptacle of the virtues and a vessel containing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

In nowise giving slumber to thine eyes, thou didst show thyself to be a temple of the Holy Trinity and a treasury of wisdom, enriching the world with the golden rays of teachings, O blessed one.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

The honoured Church of Christ doth recognize thee as a golden-streamed Euphrates, flowing with torrents of wise doctrines and watering all creation.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

 Incarnate of thy precious blood, One of the Holy Trinity divinely issued forth in two natures, saving by grace the children of Adam, O all-pure one.

Another Irmos: O Lord, Creator of the vault of Heaven * and Builder of the Church, * do Thou strengthen me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, * O Support of the faithful, * O only Lover of mankind.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

In that thou didst rid thy heart of the bonds of the passions, thou wast shown to be a receptacle of dispassion and a vessel fit for the effulgence of spiritual life, O blessed Isaac, dweller with the angels.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Full of the graces of heaven, O venerable one, who emulated the angels in thy conduct, at all times pouring forth from thy mouth discourse of salvation, as it were the sweetness of incorruption.

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

Putting off the burden of the flesh, O father, thou didst elect to make thine abode in the wilderness, uniting thyself unto God with great stillness, prayer and fasting. Wherefore, thou didst become the dwelling-place of the divine Spirit.

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

O all-hymned Maiden who hast given birth unto God and destroyed the ancient sin, by thy grace do thou restore my mind, which hath been marred by the decadence of the passions which sorely afflict me.

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

Kontakion of St Ephraim, in Tone II, Spec. Mel “Seeking the highest …”: Ever looking forward to the hour of judgment, * thou didst bitterly lament, O Ephraim; * and though a lover of stillness * thou wast also a teacher of activity, O venerable one. ** Wherefore, O universal father, thou dost motivate the slothful to repentance.

Ikos: Do thou let but a drop of the waters of thy grace bedew my soul, purifying it of every unclean defilement, that cleansed, it may complete the remaining time of life zealous in all things profitable, and partake of the divine sweetness which thou didst enjoy, for thou dost quench the thirst of all who burn with passions, inspiring the slothful to repentance by thy discourses.

Sedalion of St Ephraim, in Tone V, Spec. Mel “The Word Who is co-beginningless …”: O ye faithful, on the day of his commemoration let us hymn the treasury of the wisdom of the mysteries of Christ, the cup of divine compunction, for in accordance with his name the godly Ephraim doth ever gladden the hearts of the faithful with divine discourses, as a performer and initiate of the mysteries of the revelations of the Lord.

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

Sedalion, in Tone IV, Spec. Mel., “Go thou quickly before …”: As a divinely radiant lamp of stillness thou shinest the never-waning light of a virtuous life upon the ends of the earth, O wise one; wherefore, we, the choirs of monastics, hymn thee as a divine luminary, O God-bearer Isaac, and we study thy radiant discourses with love.

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

Theotokion in Tone IV: O pure Virgin Mother, unceasingly beseech Christ our God, Who in His ineffable tender compassion became incarnate of thee, that He grant us forgiveness of sins, O Maiden, and deliverance from the grievous woes of life; for unto thee, O Mother of God, do we have recourse in faith.

Ode 4, Irmos: Christ is my power, * my God and my Lord, * the holy Church divinely singeth, * crying with a pure mind, * keeping festival in the Lord. The power of thy words hath passed through the whole world, O blessed one, driving away the blindness of men’s souls by the exalted radiance of humility.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou didst render thy life blameless, cleansing thyself with tears, O right wondrous and divinely revealed one, and by thy wise discourses hast described to all the coming of the Judge.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Having beheld the most glorious height of thy humility, the Lord gave thee exalted  discourse, whereby the grievous uprisings of heresies have been humbled.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by the grace of the Almighty, thou didst array thyself against the princes of the demons, O father, and having vanquished them, fervently pray on behalf of us who praise thee.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Let us bless the Virgin as a divine temple, as a holy mountain, as a wellspring of incorruption, as the one who alone was the chosen of God our Creator.

Another Irmos: Thou, O Lord, art my strength and Thou art my power, * Thou art my God and Thou art my joy, * Thou Who, while never leaving the bosom of Thy Father, * hast visited our poverty. * Therefore with the Prophet Habbakuk I cry unto Thee, * ‘Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!’

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Irrigated with the streams of thy sacred teachings, O wise Isaac, multitudes of monastics splendidly produce abundant fruit: the purity of abstinence, prayerful contemplation, and the grace of dispassion, chanting: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

With thy whole mind conversing and uniting thyself with the one God, the sight of Whom is beyond comprehension, O venerable one, thou wast filled past understanding with enlightenment, and wast shown to be a light-bearer, a tower of stillness and a most radiant beacon for monastics.

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

Living in the flesh like an incorporeal being, thou didst serve God in stillness, O God-bearer Isaac, and wast granted many graces by Christ, of which do thou grant, if only a small portion, unto me who doth cry aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lover of mankind!

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

O Theotokos, having given birth unto God in the flesh, without seed, without corruption, in a manner beyond understanding and comprehension, thou hast annulled the condemnation of Eve, at the hour of my judgment do thou also free me from the dread sentence.

Ode 5, Irmos: Illumine with Thy divine light, I pray, O Good One, * the souls of those who with love rise early to pray to Thee, * that they may know Thee, O Word of God, * as the true God, * Who recalleth us from the darkness of sin.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

With torrents of tears, O father, thou didst utterly dry up the depths of pleasures; and with the outpourings of thy doctrines thou hast staunched the torrents of heresies, O blessed one.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thy mind, illumined by seeking God, O father Ephraim, began to take pleasure in the full vision of God, receiving immaterial revelation as if a mirror of the divine Spirit.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou didst truly become a temple imbued with the Trinity, adorned with grace and the radiance of pure virtues, and the fullness of teaching, O father.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Eating of the tree in Eden through the wicked treachery of the serpent I was revealed to be mortal; but thou, having given birth to Christ, the Bestower of life, hast brought me to life, O thou who alone art full of God’s grace.

Another Irmos: O Light never-waning, * why hast Thou turned Thy face from me * and why has the alien darkness surrounded me, * wretched though I be? * But do Thou guide my steps I implore Thee * and turn me back towards the light of Thy commandments.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Lifting thy mind to the undefiled good, O saint of Christ, thou didst reveal thyself by thy way of life, to be alien to the things that are in the world, O Isaac, teaching all to disdain that which is corruptible, and in nowise to desire those things that are temporal.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Thou wast shown to be a scribe and model of the angelic life, O divinely wise Isaac; wherefore, the grace of the Spirit hath revealed thee to be a divine pastor and a God-bearing hierarch of the Church of Christ.

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

Having been inducted into the divine mysteries because of the purity of thy way of life, O God-bearer, thou didst attain to yet greater deeds, O divine Isaac, archpastor of Nineveh, explaining the words of the Gospel to all, and cleansing the wounds of their souls.

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

Slain by the deception and delusion of the serpent, O most pure one, I flee unto thee who hast given birth to eternal Life. Enliven my mind by thy vivifying help, and guide me to a blameless life.

Ode 6, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging the flood of temptations, * I run to calm haven, and cry to Thee: * Raise up my life from corruption, * O Most Merciful One.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Setting thy foundation not on sands, but on the inviolate Faith, O God-bearer, thou didst remain undaunted by all the assaults of the enemy, guided by the hand of the Invincible One.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thy tongue was truly like the pen of a swiftly-writing scribe, showing forth a most pious intellect and tracing the law of the Spirit upon the tablets of our hearts, O father.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Those who navigate the calm expanse of thy dogmas, O divinely wise Ephraim, are delivered from the soul-destroying billows of the abyss and, awakened, are saved by faith from the storm of heresies.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Incarnate, He Who as God is above all noetic beings and visible creatures, issued forth from thy womb, preserving thee incorrupt as thou wast before birthgiving, O Virgin Mother.

Another Irmos: Cleanse me, O Saviour, * for many are mine iniquities; * lead me up from the abyss of evils I pray Thee, * for unto Thee have I cried, * and Thou hast hearkened unto me, * O God of my salvation.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Thou didst brighten thy hierarchal vestments through strict observance of the commandments of God, O divinely-inspired Isaac; wherefore, the Saviour hath received thee as one of His own.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Directing thy life towards the uttermost Judge, thou didst show thyself to be a true and venerable hierarch, O Isaac, revealing the commandments of the laws of grace unto all.

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

Adorned with the spiritual wisdom which cometh from doing good works, thou wast revealed to be a pious teacher of monastics, O Isaac, guiding them to perfection by thine instructions and deeds.

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

O most pure one, who hast given birth in the flesh to the transcendent God, from the fall hast thou raised the nature of mortals to the heights of their former nobility; wherefore, we glorify thee.

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

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

Kontakion of St Isaac, in Tone VIII, Spec. Mel, “To thee, the champion leader…”: By thine angelic way of life thou wast shown to be a divine instrument of the Comforter, * and a model for monastics in all things, O blessed Isaac. * As the habitation of divine grace, ask thou grace and heavenly light for us ** who cry out to thee: Rejoice, O divinely wise father!

Ikos: Thou wast revealed to be an angel in the flesh in thine ascetic labours, O Godbearing Isaac, and by thine angelic voice hast thou set before us the words of salvation, whereby guided to a higher life, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, star coming forth from Syria; rejoice, lamp of stillness! Rejoice, thou who art more sublime than earthly thoughts; Rejoice, partaker of heavenly enlightenment! Rejoice, divinely inscribed pillar of hesychasts; Rejoice, mouth flowing with the honey of spiritual teachings! Rejoice, for thou wast filled with God-given wisdom; Rejoice, for thou deliverest from the evil of the passions! Rejoice, most fervent of the servants of Christ; Rejoice, our godly teacher! Rejoice, wise God-bearer Isaac; Rejoice, our instructor, guided by God! Rejoice, O divinely wise father!

Ode 7, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace bedew the holy Children. * But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans * and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou wast shown to be a most excellent giver of laws for monastics, O most honoured one, rescuing them from all the machinations of the enemy. Wherefore, O blessed one, they honour thine honoured and sacred memory on earth.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou wast shown to be a most excellent giver of laws for monastics, O most honoured one, rescuing them from all the machinations of the enemy. Wherefore, O blessed one, they honour thine honoured and sacred memory on earth.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou wast an excellent instrument of the Spirit, ever sounding forth thine inspirations and playing the saving hymn of repentance for us who hymn thee, O ever-memorable one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Thy conception was beyond description, O Bride of God, for thou hast given birth to the Word of God Who hath delivered all mankind from irrationality granting them the words to cry: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Another Irmos: Once in Babylon the fire stood in awe * of God’s condescension; * for which sake the youths in the furnace, * dancing with joyous steps as in a meadow, chanted: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Having shone forth like a most radiant sun among the choirs of monastics, O father, thou dost illumine with the radiance of thine instructions, as with beams of light, all who cry out with faith: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

O father, the honourable choirs of monastics know thee to be a divinely-wise describer and guide to the higher life, and as is fitting, celebrate thy memory, O wise father Isaac, thou rule of hesychasts.

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

Caught up by the Spirit to the vision of the mystical mysteries of a higher glory, which passeth understanding, and deified by partaking thereof, thou didst cry aloud: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

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

With the rich streams of thy mercy purify my heart, which hath been defiled by the passions of the enemy, O Maiden; and dispel the darkness of my mind, that I may gaze upon the Light which shone forth from thee.

Ode 8, Irmos: Thou didst make flame bedew the holy children, * and didst burn the sacrifice of a righteous man with water. * For Thou alone, O Christ, dost do all as Thou willest, * Thee do we exalt throughout all ages.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou wast shown to be like another sun, O blessed one, and, emitting the beams of thy teachings upon the ends of the earth, thou hast driven away the lightless gloom of all sin with the light of repentance.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Surrounded by the streams of divine dogmas, thou didst flow forth like another river from Eden, watering the face of the earth, O wondrous one, inundating the tares of ungodliness.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

Confessing thee to be the true Theotokos, like the angel we cry out to thee with faith: Rejoice! For thou alone hast given birth to Joy on earth, O ever joyous and blessed one.

Another Irmos: In his wrath the Chaldean Tyrant made the furnace blaze, * with heat fanned sevenfold for the servants of God; * but when he perceived that they had been saved by a greater power * he cried aloud to the Creator and Redeemer; * ‘ye children bless, ye priests praise, * ye people, supremely exalt Him throughout all ages’.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Thou didst live an angelic life, O most blessed Isaac, and through stillness and the mortification of the passions didst bring forth the first-fruits of the life to come. And now thou dost cry aloud with the angels in the highest: Ye, children, bless! Ye priests, hymn! Ye people, supremely exalt Christ forever!

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Offering up most earnest prayers and supplications, thou didst unite thyself unto God through purity of mind, and wast shown to be blessed and full of divine grace while yet amid the threefold waves of the flesh. And now in the highest, freed from material things, thou dost manifestly enjoy things ineffable.

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

Having been sacredly arrayed in the vesture of a bishop, O God-bearer, by thy venerable labours and virtuous struggles thou rendered it yet more splendid. And now, O Isaac, with the holy hierarchs and the choirs of the venerable thou dost offer up the mystical sacrifice of immaterial praise unto the Lord.

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

Preserving the seal of thy virginity intact after birthgiving, thou gavest suck to the Lord to Whom thou hadst given birth, bearing him as a babe, O Virgin Sovereign Lady, Mary Theotokos. Him do thou beseech, that He grant the cleansing of offenses unto those who hymn thine ineffable glory.

Ode 9, Irmos: It is impossible for mankind to see God * upon Whom the orders of Angels dare not gaze; * but through thee, O all-pure one, * did the Word Incarnate become a man * and with the Heavenly Hosts * Him we magnify and thee we call blessed.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Wounded by the love of the Almighty O venerable one, thou didst reach the end of thy life, lamenting and crying out with fear: “Assuage my passing with the waves of thy grace, O Saviour, richly preserving me therewith in the life to come!”

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thy sweet discourse was replete with compunction and full of enlightenment for those who have recourse to thee, O right wondrous God-bearer Ephraim; and thy life was blameless, adorned and illumined with all manner of divinely radiant virtues.

Venerable Father, Ephraim, pray to God for us.

Thou wast a temple of the Spirit, a river full of life-giving waters, the unshakable foundation of the Church, the confirmation of monastics, and an ever-flowing stream of divine compunction, O right wondrous Ephraim.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

The mind of man cannot understand the mystery of thy birthgiving which passeth understanding, O Virgin; for, making His abode within thy womb, God did not violate the seal of thy virginity, as He, Who is unapproachable alone knoweth.

Another Irmos: Heaven was stricken with awe, * and the ends of the earth were filled with amazement, * for God hath appeared in the flesh, * and thy womb was rendered more spacious than the heavens. * Wherefore, the ranks of men and of angels * magnify thee as the Theotokos.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Let Isaac, great among the venerable ascetics, the scion of Syria, the God-bearing initiate of the life which is in Christ, the most excellent recorder of the mysteries and the enlightener of monastics, be worthily hymned as one who entreateth God, for he prayeth that great mercy be granted unto us.

Venerable Father, Isaac, pray to God for us.

Thou didst engage in the pious struggle of holy ascesis, O venerable one, and thereby piously learn the mysteries of all the wisdom of asceticism, that wisely teaching us to avoid the sophistries of the enemy, we may live virtuously, O Godbearer.

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

Thou hast passed over to the true glory, whose revelation thou didst acquire beforehand; and face to face thou dost gaze upon the effulgence of Christ which is beyond comprehension, O Isaac, adornment of the venerable. Cease not to pray for us who praise thee with love.

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

O unwedded Virgin Mother who ineffably gave birth to God in the flesh, deliver me from diseases of the flesh, redeem my greatly sinful soul from grievous insensitivity, and illumine my mind with the light of repentance, that I may hymn thee, O greatly hymned one.

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

Troparion of St Isaac, in Tone V: Illumined by rays of the virtues, * O God-bearer Isaac, * in spirit thou wast shown to be a most radiant beacon * of the life which is in Christ; * and by thy divinely inspired teachings, O father, * thou dost guide safely to the way of salvation * those who bless thee ** as a godly servant of Christ.