St Varus – Intercessor for Those Who Have Died Outside the Church

The Life of the Holy Marytyr Varus and the Seven Christian Teachers Who Were with Him
From Orthodox Life Vol. 44, No5 – October 1994

During the reign of the impious Maximian, the Emperor of the Romans, there lived in Egypt a brave soldier named Varus, who secretly served the King of Heaven. Out of fear he hid his faith in the true God for a time, but later, he revealed it before both heaven and earth and became a spectacle before angels and men.

At that time Maximian raised up a persecution against the Christians and issued a decree in every province of his empire commanding that those Christians who would not sacrifice to the gods be put to death. When this ordinance was published in the land of Egypt, the blood of Christians was shed mercilessly; all who worshipped the Creator and not things created were subjected to various torments. Varus, a secret Christian, visited by night the faithful who were held in prison for their confession of Christ, bribing the guards with gold to permit him to enter the cells in which they were held. He bound up the wounds of the holy martyrs and washed their blood, gave them to eat, kissed their stripes, and prayed them to beseech Christ to have mercy on him.

It happened that there were seven teachers of the Christians, desert-dwellers, that were brought before the Prince of Egypt.

When the Prince questioned them, he found them to be firm in the faith. Having subjected them to flogging, he had them cast bound into prison.

When Varus learned of this, he hastened by night to the dungeon where the saints were being held. After he had given much gold to the guards, he was permitted to visit the saints. Varus loosed their hands and removed their feet from the stocks that held them and then placed food before them. He besought them to eat, for they had remained hungry for eight days since they had been left in prison with no food. He fell at their feet and kissed them, and he praised them for their sufferings, saying, “Blessed are you, O good and faithful servants of the Lord! You shall enter into the joy of your Lord, for you have resisted unto blood (Heb. 12:4). Blessed are you, O good strugglers; the right hand of the Most High has woven crowns for you in Heaven. You have run with patience the race that is set before you (Heb. 12:1), and I know for certain that tomorrow your sufferings shall come to an end. Blessed are you, O passion-bearers of Christ; the Kingdom of Heaven is open unto you, for you suffer with Christ, Who suffered for our sake, as the Apostle says, If so be that we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified with him(Rom. 8:17). I beseech you, O holy servants of God, pray for me to Christ that He have mercy upon me, for it is my desire to suffer for Him, but I have not the strength to do so. I fear the cruel torments I see you have undergone.”

The saints replied, “Beloved, no one who is fearful can attain perfection, nor can he who does not sow reap. Likewise, a man who is unwilling to suffer receives no crown. Remember the words written in the Gospel: Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before My Father which is inHeaven (Matt. 10:33). If you fear passing torments, you shall not escape those which are eternal. If you fear to confess Christ on earth, you shall not be sated with the vision of His countenance in Heaven. Therefore, come, O brother, and tread with us the path of martyrdom, which leads to theMaster Who looks down upon our struggles. Suffer together with us, for you will not soon find again a company like ours.

When he heard these things, Varus’ heart was set afire with love for God, and he wished to endure torment for Jesus Christ. He passed the entire night at prayer with the holy martyrs and hearkened unto their teaching gladly.

When the morning was come, the Prince’s servants came to the prison to bring the holy martyrs before the tribunal. As they entered the dungeon, they saw Varus seated with the prisoners, hearing their words with compunction of heart. They were astonished, and they asked, “What is your business here, Varus? Have you lost your mind, giving heed to the myths of which these wicked men tell? Have you no fear that someone will speak of this to the Prince or one of the nobles? You shall lose both your military rank and your life!”

Varus replied, “He who tells the Prince of me is my benefactor. Know that if you choose to make accusation against me, I am ready to die for Christ with the other Christians here.”

The servants were thus put to silence. They took six of the martyrs from the prison, but the seventh they left, for he had weakened so from his wounds that he died and departed unto the Lord, leaving his place to be filled by Varus, who was to complete his suffering. The saints were led bound before the Prince, who sat proudly upon his tribunal and sought to compel them to sacrifice to the idols.

When they would not consent, they were stripped and beaten mercilessly upon the wounds they had already received. Thus were wounds added to their wounds and stripes to their stripes, but they endured their suffering as though it were nothing and said only, “We are Christians.”

Then the Prince asked, “Were there not seven of these men? Now there are but six. Where is the seventh?”

At that very moment Saint Varus entered and said, “I am the seventh. He of whom you spoke has already finished his course and gone to Christ, leaving me to complete his sufferings. I am prepared to render to you whatever he owed you. I wish to take his place among these noble martyrs who suffer for Christ, for I am a Christian.”

When the Prince heard this, he asked his attendants, “Who is this man?”

They replied, “It is the soldier Varus, the commander of the band of Tyanis.”

The Prince was perplexed and said to Varus, “What demon has led you to surrender yourself to perdition? Why do you choose to forsake your military rank and the honours that await you and bring evil upon yourself?”

The blessed Varus answered, “I prefer the Bread which is come down from heaven and the chalice of the divine and most precious blood of my Lord to your honours and esteem. I count nothing more dear than my Christ: not your regard, my rank, great honours, nor yet life itself. To suffer for Christ I count as the greatest honour and to lose all things for His sake as gain.”

The Prince then cast his angry glance upon the six holy martyrs and said, “This is your work, you impious deceivers! It is you who have beguiled this soldier of the Emperor, depriving him of his senses by your sorcery! I swear to you by my great gods that I shall put you to death even before I do the same to him and thus revenge the dishonour you have shown our gods. You are unworthy to remain among the living, for you blaspheme the gods and lead others into wicked error.”

The saints replied, “We have not beguiled Varus but have rather delivered him from deception. We have not caused him to lose his mind but have restored him to his senses. God has vouchsafed him strength and boldness for the struggle, that together with us he might prevail over your feeble might and that of your gods. In but a short time you shall behold his soldierly courage, for we have enrolled him in the host of the angels. Is it your boast that you shall destroy us? Know that it is our desire to lay down our lives for the Lord of all.”

The Prince said, “I will immediately have you cut in pieces if you do not fall down and worship the gods of Egypt!”

The saints answered, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish (Jer. 10:11).

Wishing to move the Prince to yet greater anger, the blessed Varus said, “The fool shall speak foolish things, says the Prophet Isaiah. Lo, our bodies lie stretched out before you. Do with them as you would.”

Greatly angered, the Prince commanded that Varus be suspended from a tree, that he might put him to torture. To the six saints he said, “We shall see who will prevail over whom: you over us as you suffer torment or we over you as we inflict our tortures. Of a truth I say to you that if you by your patience prevail over me, I will renounce my gods and believe in your Christ.”

The saints replied, “Try your strength against one of us, and if you can overcome him, you may hope to prevail over the others.”

As they began to torment Varus, he said to the holy martyrs, “O holy passion-bearers! Bless me, who am your servant, that I may share your lot. Entreat the Master Christ for me that He grant me patience, for He knows that our flesh is infirm. The spirit indeed is willing, it is written, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).”

The saints lifted up their eyes unto Heaven and prayed fervently for Varus as the servants began to beat his whole body with rods and staves. As the saint was being beaten, the Prince said, “Now tell us, Varus, what profit your Christ brings you.”

Varus bravely replied, “More than you receive from your gods.”

The saints cried out to Varus, “Take courage, Varus, and may your heart be strengthened, for Christ invisibly stands before you and strengthens you!”

Answered Varus, “Truly, I perceive the help of my Christ, for these torments seem as nothing to me.”

Then they scraped his sides with iron claws, after which he was hung upside-down from the tree. They tore the skin from his back, cut his flesh with razors, and thrashed him with switches until he burst open and his bowels fell to the ground. When the holy martyrs saw his inward parts fall out, they wept. The persecutor beheld the martyrs weeping, and he cried out with a great voice, “Lo, you are defeated! You have been brought low, and you weep from fear of torment! What more is necessary for you to acknowledge that Christ cannot deliver you out of our hands and for you to forsake Him and worship our gods?”

The saints answered, “You are a beast and not a man! We are not defeated but shall yet prevail by the power of Jesus, Who strengthens us. We do not weep because we fear torment but out of natural love for our brother, whom you wish to slay in a beastly manner. In spirit we rejoice for him, for a crown has already been prepared for the noble sufferer.”

The Prince then commanded that they be led back to prison. As Varus saw the saints being returned to the dungeon, he cried out to them from the tree from which he was suspended and was being tortured, saying, “My teachers! Pray for me one last time unto Christ, for I am about to depart from my body. I thank you for you have made me to inherit life eternal.”

Saint Varus endured torture for five hours and then in suffering surrendered his honorable and holy soul into the hands of the Lord. Thinking that he was yet alive, the torturers continued to beat and torment his corpse. When they saw that he was already dead, they were amazed, and in accordance with the persecutor’s command, they cast him out of the city in the place where the carcasses of beasts were left to be devoured by dogs.

There was a widow living in that city named Cleopatra, who was born in Palestine. Her husband, an officer, had died in Egypt, and she had a son named John, who was still a little boy. When Saint Varus was tortured, she looked on from afar upon his sufferings, sighing and beating her breast, for she was a Christian. When the martyr’s corpse was cast out of the city, she arose by night, took certain of her servants, and went to remove the long-suffering body of Saint Varus. She brought it to her home, where she dug a grave for it in her room.

The next morning, the Prince had the other martyrs brought forth from the prison, and after he had tortured them for a long time, they were beheaded. They were also cast out of the city without burial, but their corpses were taken by night and committed to the earth by secret Christians.

Every day Cleopatra censed and lit candles before the grave of Saint Varus, whom she regarded as her great intercessor and mediator before God. When, after some years, the persecution died down, she began to consider how she might return to the land of her birth, and she wondered how it would be possible for her to take with her the relics of Saint Varus.

She decided to send a gift to the Prince, which was taken to him by a messenger, who said to him on her behalf, “My husband was an officer and died here in the Emperor’s service. He has still not received final burial, for it is not seemly that an officer and man of rank be buried in a foreign land. I, who am a widow and a stranger in this country, wish to return to my homeland to live with my kindred. Therefore, my lord, permit me to take the remains of my beloved husband to the land of my birth, that I may give them a fitting burial together with my forebears, for I wish to remain with my spouse even after I die.”

The woman sent this message that the Christians might not think that it was the relics of the holy martyr she was removing from the city, for she was afraid that they would prevent her from taking that sacred treasure. The Prince accepted her gift and granted her request, but she took the remains of Saint Varus rather than those of her husband. Like a vine she brought them out of Egypt (cf. Ps. 79:8) into Palestine to her village of Edras, which was near Tabor, and she buried them there with her fathers.

Every day she went to his grave, censed it, and lit candles there. When the other Christians who lived there saw this, they began to go with her to where the saint lay. They brought with them their sick, who received healing at Saint Varus’ grave through his prayers. Soon all the Christians in the parts that lay round about learned of Saint Varus, and they began to come with faith to his tomb.

When Cleopatra saw how the Christians gathered to pray at the grave of the saint, she determined to build a church dedicated to him. Soon its erection was begun. By that time her son had reached manhood, and Cleopatra desired that he receive a position in the imperial army. Through the intercession of certain mediators she requested that her son be commissioned an officer, and her entreaty was granted.

Her son received from the Emperor his appointment to the army and the emblems of his rank while the church was being constructed, but Cleopatra said, “My son shall not begin to serve the Emperor in the army until the house of God is completed. It is my intention that he be here to help transfer the saint’s relics to the church. After this is done, he may depart to serve the Emperor.”

When the church was completed, Cleopatra summoned bishops, priests, and monks, removed the precious relics of the holy martyr from their grave, and had them placed on a very costly bier. She laid her son’s military belt and uniform upon the relics, that they might be sanctified by the saint’s remains. She prayed to Saint Varus fervently that he be her son’s protector, and all the bishops and priests present bestowed their blessing upon the young man. A multitude of Christian people without number had gathered there as well, and accompanied by them, Cleopatra and her son carried the bier and the relics to the church. The church was consecrated, and the remains of thesaint were placed beneath the altar. Then the Divine Liturgy was served.

Cleopatra fell down before the relics of Saint Varus and prayed thus: “I beseech thee, 0 passion-bearer of Christ: Ask God for that which is profitable for me and for mine only son. I do not dare ask for anything more than what the Lord Himself wisheth, for He knoweth what is needful for us. May His good and perfect will be done in us!”

After the service was completed, a great banquet was set before those present at which Cleopatra and her son served the guests.

Cleopatra instructed her son to eat nothing until the evening, when the meal was finished and only then to partake of that which remained. As the youth was serving, he suddenly took ill, and he went to lie down upon his bed.

When all the guests had arisen from the meal, Cleopatra called for her son, that he might share with her what food remained. But John was unable even to reply, for he was burning with a great fever. When Cleopatra saw how ill her son was, she said, “As the Lord lives, I will not put food into my mouth until I learn what is to become of my child!”

She sat down beside him and sought to cool the fire of his fever; but her own womb burned still more than did his body, and her heart ached for her only son. At midnight the youth died, leaving his mother to weep inconsolably. As she lamented bitterly, she hastened to the Church of Saint Varus, and she fell down before his sepulchre and cried out, “O servant of God! Is this how thou hast rewarded me for the great labours I endured on thy behalf? Is this the succour which thou providest me, who forsook my husband on thine account and have placed my hope in thee? Thou hast permitted mine only son to die; thou hast deprived me of mine only consolation and hast taken from me the light of mine eyes! Who shall now feed me in mine old age? Who shall close mine eyes when I die? Who shall commit my body to the grave? It had been better for me to die than to behold my beloved son perish in his youth like a flower before its time. Either give me back my son as once Elisha returned the son of the Shunamite woman (cf. IV Kings, ch. 4) or take me hence without delay, for I can endure this bitter sorrow no longer.”

Cleopatra remained weeping by the grave of the saint and then fell asleep for a short while from weariness and grief. As she slept, she beheld Saint Varus in a dream. He held her son by the hand, and they both shone like the sun. Their vesture was whiter than snow, and they were girded with golden belts; upon their heads were crowns of unspeakable beauty.

Seeing this, the blessed Cleopatra fell down before them, but Saint Varus lifted her up and said, “O woman, why do you cry unto me? Do you imagine that I have forgotten the good works you did on my behalf in Egypt and along the way to this place? Do you suppose that I felt nothing when you removed my body from amid the carcasses of beasts, placing it in a coffin? Have I not always hearkened to your prayers? I make entreaty for you at all times unto God. I have prayed first of all for your relatives, with whom you buried me, that their sins be remitted them, and now I have enrolled your son in the army of the King of Heaven. Did you not beseech me here at my grave that I ask God to grant you and your son whatever is in accordance with His will and is to your benefit? Therefore, I have prayed unto the good God, and in His ineffable kindness He has deigned to number your son among the host of Heaven. Lo, you see that your son now stands near the Lord’s throne. If you wish, take him and send him to serve a mortal and earthly king since you do not desire that he should serve the heavenly and eternal King.”

The youth, who sat beside Varus and embraced him, exclaimed, “No, my lord! Pay no heed to my mother, neither permit me to be returned to the world, which is full of falsehood and every iniquity, and from which you delivered me when you came to me. Do not deprive me, O father, of a portion with the saints and a dwelling place among them.”

Then the youth turned to his mother and said, “Why do you lament for me thus, mother? I have been enrolled in the host of Christ the King and have been permitted to stand before Him with the angels. Why do you now ask that I be removed from the kingdom and brought to abasement?”

When the blessed Cleopatra saw that her son’s appearance was like that of an angel, she said, “Take me with you that we may be together.”

Saint Varus said, “In this place you are with us. Go in peace, and after a time, when the Lord commands, we shall come and take you.

After saying this, the saint became invisible. When Cleopatra awoke, her heart was filled with ineffable happiness and joy, and she related her dream to the priests. They buried her son beside the sepulchre of Saint Varus, and Cleopatra wept no more but rather rejoiced in the Lord. Later she distributed her possessions among the needy and renounced the world. She lived beside the Church of Saint Varus, serving God in prayer and fasting by day and night.

Every Sunday as she prayed, Saint Varus appeared to her in great glory with her son. After she had lived in this God-pleasing manner for seven years, the blessed Cleopatra reposed. Her body was placed in the Church of Saint Varus near her son John, and her holy soul took up its abode in the heavens, together with Saint Varus and John. There it now stands in the presence of God, to Whom be glory unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Translated by Father Thomas Maretta

From the Slavonic Menologion of

St. Demetrius of Rostov


Through the Prayers of St Varus…

At this time of Paschal memorial services, as at other times, we turn to the intercessions of the Holy Great-Martyr Varus of Alexandria to intercede for our loved ones who have died outside the Holy Orthodox, Catholic, Apostolic Church, having great trust in his intercessions through the Lord’s great mercy.

O glorious Varus, in God thou art able by thy divinely acceptable supplications to obtain and pour forth mercies upon those who have been utterly separated therefrom. For there is but one Father of compassions and lovingkindness, and as Master all things are possible for Him. Unfailingly beseech Him, O athlete, that He forgive and have mercy on NN., whom we remember.


Sessional hymn, in Tone V: Pray thou for the whole world, O great-martyr, and cease not to ask mercy for all sinners who have in divers ways grievously offended the Master and continue to offend him, who by mortal works have utterly done themselves to death and acquired nought, since they have wrought evil. And intercede also, O passion-bearer, for our departed kinfolk, NN., beginning as is possible; and cease not to pray and fall down before the Lord Who hath mercy on all, that He forgive and have mercy on those who sit in darkness and are embittered with exceeding great bitterness.


Another sessional hymn, in Tone III: O great Varus, dweller in everlasting joy and namesake of heavenly rest: With boldness thou darest to remember before the Lord the redeeming qualities of our forebears; for even though we cannot place thee in their graves, yet do we beseech thee to add thy prayers to our earnest supplications that they be granted pity. Wherefore, fall down and pray, for the Master will not reject thine intercession, but, inclined by His infinite goodness, will send deliverance and great mercy upon those who are embittered with exceeding great bitterness.

Now and ever…,

Theotokion, in the same tone: O all-radiant Lady, who art hymned above all and art continually magnified by the heavenly hosts, Mother of the King of all: Since thy glory and greatness are increased where and when He desireth, when thou helpest sinners and coverest the whole world with thy supplications, O Mistress, increase the majesty of thy sublimity, and by thy fervent supplications deliver from grievous torments our unbelieving and unbaptized kinfolk and NN., who are commemorated with them; and grant them deliverance and great mercy.


Prayer to the Holy Martyr St. Varus for Those Who Have Died Outside the Faith
O Holy, wondrous Martyr Varus, who, burning with zeal for the Heavenly King, didst confess Him before thy torturers and didst greatly suffer for Him!
Now the Church doth venerate thee, as one glorified with the glory of heaven by Christ the Lord, Who granted thee the abundant grace to approach Him boldly.
And now, standing before Him together with the Angels, rejoicing on high, beholding the Most Holy Trinity clearly, and enjoying the Uncreated Light, remember the suffering of our relatives who have died outside the Faith, and accept our pleas, and as thou didst intercede for the unbelieving ancestors of Cleopatra and didst free them from eternal suffering, remember those who have died unbaptized and have been buried in an ungodly manner, and pray earnestly that they may be delivered from eternal darkness, that we may all, with one mouth and one heart, praise the Most Merciful Creator unto the ages of ages. Amen.

St Varus: Life and Festal Canon

As well as celebrating the feast of St John of Kronstadt, we also commemorate the feast of the Holy Martyr Varus (Uar), to whom the Lord has given the grace to supplicate for the departed who have died without Holy Baptism.

From our friends at the Convent of St Elizabeth, in Minsk…

“On 1 November, the Church commemorates Saint Martyr Varus of Egypt. His life teaches us the power of unwavering faith. With it, we can withstand the gravest sorrows. He shows that our life in this world is only a fleeting moment of transition to eternity and that worldly honours and comforts are worthless compared to our everlasting salvation.

On icons, Saint Varus appears as a brave warrior in lustrous armour. He is a victorious commander, popular among the rank and file soldiers for his valour, bravery and talent. He is deeply respected among the rulers of Rome. The Emperor himself takes it as a great honour to welcome him in his palace.

With his deserts and spectacular feats, he could have earned himself an honourable place among the heroes of Rome. Yet he was a believer in Christ, and he knew well that worldly fame and glory are worthless in eternity, and the only way to have eternal salvation is by accumulating riches in heaven. In the years of bitter persecution of Christians, he did not hide his beliefs. Voluntarily, he suffered unimaginable torments. He withstood them to the end and gratefully accepted the fate of a Christian martyr, preferring it to a place of honour in the pantheon of Roman heroes.

Yet even after his departure, Saint Varus continued to reassure the tormented and the desperate, reminding them about the eternal joy and comfort waiting for them in their life to come. The pious widow Cleopatra who had assumed the care of Saint Varus’ remains, had a terrible loss. Her son died from an illness at a young age. With great love and dedication, she had been raising him for a brilliant career in the army. Her worldly life lost all meaning, her hopes received a crushing blow. She brought her son’s lifeless body to Saint Varus’ grave in the desperate hope that he would revive him.

Saint Varus came to her in a dream. He told the grieving mother that he would resurrect the boy if she held the glory that he would win in the empire’s wars to be more valuable than his eternal life in heaven. For his part, the boy assured his mother that nothing would make him go back to the world of sorrow. Cleopatra found closure. Praying for her son all the time, she gave away her estate to the poor and served at a church. Seven years later, she reunited with her son in haven.

In this part of the world, the faithful remember Saint Varus for his prayerful intercession for the unbaptised. They invoke his name in prayers for small children, unbaptised kin and stillborn infants. As we read the Canon of Saint Varus at Saint Elisabeth Convent, our sisters pray privately for people of other faiths and unbelievers. In every person, there is an image of God, and we all have a shared purpose – to grow in His likeness.

As we read the Creed at every liturgy, we express our hope for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. It gives us the strength to overcome our worst losses and pains, and to live through our most bitter sorrows. Yet so many people in our age of reason and enlightenment find it hard to embrace this hope with their hearts and souls. Habitually, we look to science for some confirmation but hear only silence. No one person who has departed to eternity can return to tell us about it. Even people who have had encountered eternity but returned to life cannot find the words to talk about it.

And so, like the righteous Cleopatra, we turn to Saint Varus for his assistance. We ask him to help us grow in our faith, build our confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

O Martyr Varus, you received the crown of martyrdom and now rejoice with the angels. Pray for our souls unceasingly!”

Canon of the martyr, the acrostic whereof is: ”I praise the sufferings of Varus and his great glory”, the composition of Joseph, in Tone VI:

Ode 1, Irmos: When Israel crossed the deep on foot as though it were dry land, beholding the tyrant Pharaoh drowned, he cried aloud: Let us sing to God a hymn of victory!

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thou hast appeared in the heights of the Church of Christ as a radiant sun, illumining the fullness of the earth with the brilliance of thy battles, O blessed Varus.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Embraced by the sweet ardour of divine love, O most blessed one, thou didst deny thyself and didst hasten wisely to all the tortures of the flesh, struggling mightily.

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

Having sensibly bound thyself with the bonds of godly strugglers, O athlete, thou didst break asunder the bonds of falsehood by thy mighty endurance of many torments.

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

The transcendent Word made His abode within thy womb in manner past recounting, O pure one, and, having been born in godly manner, He hath led to Him the choirs of martyrs. With them we praise thee in hymnody.

Ode 3, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thou, O Lord my God, Who hast exalted the horn of Thy faithful, O Good One, and hast established us upon the rock of Thy confession.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst enter upon valiant struggles with mighty resolve, having made thyself steadfast by hope in the good things which are to come and by the most-wise teachings of the martyrs of Christ, O blessed one.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Beholding the army of the holy athletes suffering lawfully, thou didst show forth their courageous strength, entering upon multifarious torments, O Varus.

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

As a valiant warrior, O Varus, thou didst find thyself in the sacred regiment, and didst cut down multitudes with the battle-sword of courage, O wise one, being glorified with victories.

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

O Virgin Mother of God, I beseech thee: By the effulgence of grace which is in thee, drive away the most profound darkness of my despair and the clouds of the passions.

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

Sedalion, Tone I, “Thy tomb, O Saviour…”: Beholding the honoured sufferings of the martyrs, and venerating their fetters with love, thou didst hasten to ascend to the summit of witness, O most wondrous one; for, suspended upon a tree, thou didst endure wounds, until thou didst commit thy spirit into the hands of the Lord.

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

Theotokion: O all-pure Virgin, thou hope of Christians, unceasingly entreat God to Whom thou gavest birth in manner past understanding and recounting, on behalf of those who hymn thee, that He grant remission of all our sins and correction of life unto those who ever glorify thee with faith and love.

Stavrotheotokion (replaces the Theotokion on Wednesdays and Fridays): Beholding Thee stretched out, dead, upon the Cross, O Christ, Thy most immaculate Mother cried aloud: “O my Son Who art equally unoriginate with the Father and the Spirit, what is this, Thine ineffable dispensation, whereby Thou hast saved the creation of Thine own all-pure hands, O Compassionate One?”

Ode 4, Irmos: Christ is my power, my God and Lord, the honoured Church doth chant in godly manner, crying out with a pure mind, keeping festival in the Lord.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Adorned with holy wounds, thou didst show thyself to be most comely and the beloved of God Who crowned thy head, O right wondrous Varus.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Stretched out on a cross and again upon the ground; O glorious one, thou didst endure cruel pangs. Wherefore, in gladness thou hast inherited the life which is devoid of pain.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The godly martyrs, seeing thee suffering lawfully, strengthened thee with words of patience, O blessed one; and having completed thy valiant sufferings with them, thou hast attained blessedness.

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

With praises we crown the divine martyrs, for with divine wreaths the grace of God hath crowned them who cast down the overweening thoughts of the enemy.

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

O Mistress, from the mire of the passions and the passionate thoughts which alienate me from the one pure God lead me up, that I may bless thee with faith.

Ode 5, Irmos: With Thy divine light, O Good One, illumine the souls of those who rise early unto Thee with love, that they may know Thee, O Word of God, to be the true God Who calleth them forth from the darkness of sin.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Strengthened by divine inclinations, O Varus, with valiant mind thou didst endure unremitting laceration, rending apart the heart of the prideful one, the author of evil.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The glorious martyr, seeing pieces of his flesh falling to the ground, rejoiced, looking toward eternal and divine rewards with splendour of mind.

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

“I hymn, glorify and worship Thee, O Lord God, having been vouchsafed the good things prepared for those who love Thee!” the martyr cried out fervently amid his suffering.

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

In that thou hast truly been shown to be more holy than the cherubim and seraphim, O most immaculate one, do thou now sanctify all who with faith call thee sacred, and save them by thy mediation.

Ode 6, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the storm of temptations, fleeing to Thy calm haven I cry unto Thee: Lead up my life from corruption, O greatly Merciful One!

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thou didst disdain the words of the all-iniquitous enemy and didst patiently endure unbearable pain of the flames, O much suffering Varus, who prayest for those who praise thee with faith.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The most mindless tyrant did not cease inflicting wounds upon thee without pity, until thou didst commit thy sacred soul into the hands of God, made radiant with the beauties of thy struggles.

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

Emulating Christ, thou wast uplifted upon a tree, and hanging thereon, thou didst surrender thy soul to God, Who crowned thee, having suffered valiantly, O athlete.

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

O Mistress, ever direct my lowly soul which is tempest-tossed on the deep of evils, and guide it to the calm haven, for with unfaltering understanding it calleth thee blessed.

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, Tone 4: Following Christ, O martyr Varus, and draining His cup, thou wast crowned with the wreath of martyrdom and joinest chorus with the angels. Pray thou without ceasing for our souls.

Ode 7, Irmos: The Angel caused the furnace to pour forth dew upon the venerable children, and the command of God which consumed the Chaldeans prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

O Varus, the all-good Cleopatra helped to bury thee, who wast illumined with gifts of thy struggles, finding through thee the glory of faith manifestly fitting, which thou didst fervently show forth in thine end.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Shedding tears over thee and embalming thee with precious unguents, the most honoured woman buried in the earth thee who hast buried wicked falsehood and hast illumined us with rays of brilliance from thy grave.

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

The ever-memorable one did not cease pleasing thee, the favourite of Christ, O wise and venerable one, until thou didst show thyself to be a mediator for her of the kingdom of heaven which she and her beloved son were vouchsafed through thee.

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

By thy mediation, O Virgin, restore me, who am crushed by my countless offences, healing my soul and granting me the words to cry out: Blessed art thou who gavest birth to God in the flesh!

Ode 8, Irmos: Out of the flame didst Thou pour forth dew upon the venerable ones, and didst consume the sacrifice of the righteous man with water; for Thou, O Christ, doest all things whatsoever Thou desirest. Thee do we exalt supremely for all ages.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Hearkening to a mother’s entreaties, O martyr, and splendidly enrolling her son in the army of heaven, with ineffable loving-kindness thou didst show that thy glory and that of the honoured youth cannot be taken away.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Cleopatra bore thee out of Egypt like riches beyond price, O martyr, lavishing precious gifts of healings upon all of Palestine, which honoureth thee with love.

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

In gladness thou didst complete thy struggles, O valiant warrior of the Almighty, and thou hast been crowned by Him as a victor, O most blessed Varus, thou great glory of the martyrs.

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

Sins upon sins do I add, yet I do not fear the coming dread judgment. O pure one, overcome the blindness of my soul, and converting me, save me by thine entreaty.

Ode 9, Irmos: It is not possible for men to see God, upon Whom the ranks of angels dare not gaze; for through thee, O most pure one, the Word appeared, incarnate, to men. And, magnifying Him, with the armies of heaven we call thee blessed.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Manifestly girded about with divine power, O valiant athlete Varus, thou didst cast down the might of the adversary; wherefore, we, the faithful, praise thee, drawing forth abundant healing from thy relics.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

Thy memory hath spread forth upon the ends of the earth like light, like the dawn, like the great sun, O all-praised one, illumining all with the radiant effulgence of thine honoured struggles and driving darkness away from men’s hearts.

Holy Great Martyr Varus, pray to God for us.

The loving mother, beholding her son shining with thee in great glory, magnified the God of all, O martyr, and most earnestly glorified thee as an intercessor most great, having been manifestly enriched by thee.

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

The land on which thy most patient body lieth, O wise one, hath been divinely sanctified. By thy supplications, O Varus, grant us remission of sins, amendment of life and deliverance from all difficulties.

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

The Lord, manifesting Himself through thee, the light cloud, O Virgin, wrought utter destruction upon the graven images of Egypt; and He hath vouchsafed the multitude of His athletes to endure, becoming emulators of His honoured sufferings.

Troparion of St Varus the Martyr, Tone 5: Thou didst follow in the steps of the martyrs/ and contend for the glory of Christ./ Thou wast tied to a beam and restored by the Tree of Life,/ and thine intercessions gladden our souls.