Thursday, February 21, 2019

Elder Symeon Kragiopoulos: Are we recipients of God’s compassion?

Icon of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (source)
Are we recipients of God’s compassion?

The prodigal son from the first moment realised his mistake, his failure, but he did not immediately return to his father. Instead, he tried managing to live far away from him. Stubbornly, he tried to justify himself. But when he ends up in dire need, this causes him to come back to himself, to think correctly, to repent, and to take courage, the courage to go to his father and to confess everything he feels he did against him. There is always a tendency in man to want to appear honourable before God, having the conviction that he is something. Man must be hit hard, to feel that he is unworthy of salvation.  Man ought to rely οn God, οn the Father’s compassion. Every sinner is saved by the sacrifice of Christ and not by any human virtue of his.
When someone passes through the misfortune of the prodigal, when he is vanquished like this and is later found in the arms of God and enjoying his love, he will never leave no matter what. He is happy, because he has found the Father. He stays and tastes of his mercifulness.
No matter how much we have fallen, God is waiting for us to return without justifying ourselves, so as to give us all his goods. Today’s parable shows that he who fell greatly, very greatly, is saved, because he repented. He repented and was saved.
And so I wonder, are we the recipients of God’s compassion?
Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos
Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications
Icon of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Akathist to St. Catherine the Great Martyr

St. Catherine the Great Martyr and All-wise (source)
Akathist to St. Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandra, the All-wise
Kontakion 1
With songs of praise let us hymn Catherine, the bride of Christ, the virgin martyr chosen from the imperial house and crowned in heaven; for she is the most glorious vanquisher of the tyrant, the most wise instructor of philosophers, and a guide to Christ for many. As thou hast boldness before the Lord, O great martyr Catherine, mercifully incline Him to the right needful petitions of those who cry out to thee:
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Ikos 1
Having preserved a purity equal to that of the angels, O holy virgin Catherine, thou didst hasten to the choirs of the angels, and with the angels thou hast been accounted worthy of divine illumination; and whilst chanting with them a hymn to the Trinity in the heavens, hearken unto us on earth who chant these things:
Rejoice, thou who from infancy wast set aside as a vessel of grace by the election of God the Father;
Rejoice, thou who through the wondrous economy of God wast instructed in the understanding of the greatness and glory of Christ the Son of God!
Rejoice, wondrous sign of the foreknowledge of God, which was made manifest in thee;
Rejoice, for when the Holy Spirit called thee, thou thyself didst earnestly hasten to His sanctity
Rejoice, thou who wast illumined by the light of pious faith;
Rrejoice, thou who wast reborn in the holy font!
Rejoice, honored dwelling-place of the sanctity of the Spirit;
Rejoice, fulfillment of the sufferings of Christ!
Rejoice, thou who on earth didst wash thy garments in the blood of the Lamb;
Rejoice, thou who didst join chorus with the holy virgins in heaven!
Rejoice, most radiant star, shining with the glory of miracles in the firmament of the Church;
Rejoice, thou who like a dove art also resplendent with meekness in the blessed kingdom of Christ!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 2
Seeing herself found worthy to receive a vision, the blessed Catherine hastened to the holy elder who had before entrusted the icon of the Mother of God to her; and she recounted to him how Christ, Who had appeared to her with His all-holy Mother, had hid His face from her, calling her foolish, poor and of mean birth, until such time as she forsook the infamy of idolatry. And hearing this, the venerable one instructed her in the mysteries of the Faith and baptized her; and in the renewal of the Spirit, she chanted to God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!
Ikos 2
Having acquired in her spiritual rebirth a good intellect, true nobility and imperishable riches, the holy Catherine was shown to be worthy of Christ the heavenly Bridegroom Who, appearing again to her, loved her and betrothed her to Himself with the ring He gave her; and recognizing the magnitude of God's good pleasure, she was so stricken with love for Him that she no longer pondered earthly things, but thought unceasingly of her Beloved. Having been accounted worthy of such grace, hearken thou unto these things from us:
Rejoice, for in the natural wisdom given thee, thou didst seek from God spiritual gifts which transcend nature;
Rejoice, for thou didst make foolish the wisdom, glory and riches of the world!
Rejoice, for thou didst not wish to take to thee a bridegroom from among the men of the world;
Rejoice, thou who in a vision wast betrothed by the Lord Christ Himself as His unblemished bride
Rejoice, for thou didst have the all-pure Mother of God herself as guarantor for thee and mediator with God the Son of God;
Rejoice, for thou didst truly receive from Christ a most marvelous ring for thy right hand, as a token of thy betrothal to thy heavenly Bridegroom!
Rejoice, for having been transformed by a wondrous transformation, thou didst put aside all thought of worldly things; rejoice, for thou didst diligently pursue the fragrance of the myrrh of Christ
Rejoice, good lover of the immortal Bridegroom;
Rejoice, receptacle of the fragrance of the Most High!
Rejoice, olive tree planted in the house of God;
Rejoice, cedar of Lebanon growing to a great height!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 3
The power of the Most High then gave to the holy Catherine the boldness fearlessly to denounce the impious Emperor Maximinus for offering sacrifices unto idols; and he was struck mute for many hours, unable to gainsay her words; and she chanted unto God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!
Ikos 3
Possessed of wisdom imparted to her from on high, when the impious Emperor set her before himself the holy Catherine confessed herself to be an emperor's daughter, and one who had mastered well the sciences of philosophy and rhetoric; and furthermore, as an open rejection of the worship of idols, she declared herself to be the bride of Christ. Mindful therefore of this thy bold confession, we offer up to thee such things as these:
Rejoice, bee who didst escape by flight the reek of idolatry;
Rejoice, dove who didst ever strive earnestly to preserve the purity of thy soul and body!
Rejoice, thou who, having strained thy whole mind to comprehend the mysteries of salvation in the Lord Christ, wast enriched with spiritual treasures;
Rejoice, for, exceeding zealous for the glory of Christ thy heavenly Bridegroom, thou didst strive in every way to lure erring people into the net of the Faith of Christ!
Rejoice, for, guided by the mighty arm of Christ, thou didst escape the tempest of idolatry;
Rejoice, for, directed by the divine commandments of the Master and afire with love for Him, thou didst earnestly hasten to the struggles that awaited thee!
Rejoice, for, invested with divine help, thou didst courageously make thy stand before the godless tribunal;
Rejoice, for by thy mighty boldness thou didst daunt the tyrannical emperor himself! Rejoice, fortress of faith erected by Christ to set unbelief at naught;
Rejoice, most radiant morning-star, heralding the dawn of salvation for those who through thee came to believe on Christ!
Rejoice, athlete who overcame the ruler of this world as a beacon overcometh darkness;
Rejoice, sanctified wall of the fold, guarding the sheep of Christ against the ravenings of the noetic wolf!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 4
Stirring up a tempest of wrath against the holy virgin, the emperor said to her: "Speak not evilly to me against our gods!" But the holy Catherine replied: "If thou desirest to shake the darkness of delusion from the eyes of thy soul, understand that thy gods are evil, and accept the true God Whose name, when merely uttered, or Whose Cross, when traced in the air, driveth away and destroyeth thy gods. If thou commandest, I shall disclose to thee the Truth, chanting unto God: Alleluia!"
St. Catherine the Great Martyr (source)
Ikos 4
Hearing thy wise and generous reply concerning the Faith of Christ, and fearing lest he be bested by thee, O most splendid maiden, the impious Emperor assembled wise men, fifty in number, from the far-flung regions of his realm, to argue with thee. But strengthened and assured of victory by the Archangel Michael, thou didst rejoice greatly and didst resolutely enter into debate with them. Wherefore, accept from us this praise:
Rejoice, for thou wast informed by the archangel concerning thy victorious triumph over thine opponents;
Rejoice, for, possessed of divine knowledge from heaven, thou didst right boldly and courageously put to shame the proponents of knowledge falsely so called!
Rejoice, for with a purified heart thou didst receive the grace of the Spirit of truth;
Rejoice, for, having made thyself steadfast by thy manner of life and constant reasoning, thou didst trample the falsehoods of the noetic foe underfoot!
Rejoice, melodious organ of the Spirit; rejoice, revealer of the mind of Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst acquire the cherubim's knowledge of God;
Rejoice, thou who wast enflamed with the seraphim's love for God!
Rejoice, most wise of the wise; rejoice, thou who didst sharpen the sword of the Spirit against unbelief!
Rejoice, dispeller of impiety; rejoice, instructor of the faithful!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 5
Thou wast like unto a divinely radiant star, O Catherine, having by thy wise words prevailed in argument over the fifty rhetoricians and guided them to the Christian path that leadeth to Christ God, the Sun of righteousness, Who shone forth from the Virgin; but, condemned for Christ's sake to immolation and accompanied on their way by thy prayers, they joyously entered the fire, chanting: Alleluia!
Ikos 5
Seeing his edicts spurned and his exhortations ignored, the emperor turned to deceit, that he might seduce thee with blandishments, O blessed Catherine, promising to give thee half of his kingdom. But, preferring the Faith to earthly treasures, and loving Christ thy Bridegroom more than an earthly kingdom, and the vesture of martyrdom more than royal purple, thou didst reject his vain words. Wherefore, we offer up to thee these praises:
Rejoice, O virgin who didst denounce falsehood;
Rejoice, thou who didst trample the perfidious serpent underfoot!
Rejoice, for thou didst turn the pernicious doctrine of the infidels into a weapon for their destruction;
Rejoice, for, having stripped the gods they worshipped of their veneration, thou didst hold them up to mockery!
Rejoice, for the fifty member council of those who boasted themselves to be wise thou didst most wisely set at naught;
Rejoice, for thou didst unmask the foolishness of their earthly wisdom before the whole multitude
Rejoice, clarion of the Spirit, emitting the sound of true theology;
Rejoice, good confession of the Faith!
Rejoice, splendor of the light of the Gospel;
Rejoice, keeper of eternal laws!
Rejoice, thou who didst ascend the mountain of divine vision;
Rejoice, for the light of Christ having illumined those who disputed with thee with faith, received them unto salvation!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 6
Zealous to imitate the preachers and God-bearing apostles, thou didst boldly proclaim Christ the true God in the tyrant's presence, and throughout thy floggings and imprisonment thou didst chant to Him: Alleluia!
Ikos 6
He Who shone the effulgence of true knowledge into thy heart drove away the gloom of tribulations and did not leave thee to starve, sending food to thee by means of a dove; neither did He permit thee to be afflicted by thy pangs, for in prison He visited thee Himself, giving thee strength and promising thee many crowns. And thou wast strengthened all the more by Him, O thou who art patient of heart, and the Empress Augusta, the General Porphyrius and the soldiers who came to thee, thou didst convert to the light of the Christian Faith, teaching them to chant these things to thee:
Rejoice, phial of love divine;
Rejoice, for, imitating Chris, thou didst willingly go forth to suffer!
Rejoice, hard adamant;
Rejoice, all-honorable source of ineffable miracles!
Rejoice, thou who didst slay the enemy by thine endurance;
Rejoice, thou who didst bear the wounds of the Lord upon thy body!
Rejoice, thou who to the Empress Augusta and those who accompanied her didst show the way to the feat of martyrdom;
Rejoice, for thou wast a light amid the darkness!
Rejoice, for the Lord Himself, the Light of the world, revealed Himself to thee when thou wast in prison;
Rejoice, speedy liberator from the bonds of sin!
Rejoice, swift healer of the sick; rejoice, aid of our salvation!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 7
The godless Emperor, wishing to lure thee into idolatrous worship abominable to God, again set snares for thee, O all-wise one, seeking to distract thee by falsely praising thy beauty; but thou didst call beauty a transient thing and one that quickly passeth, and confessing Christ to be the living and true God thou didst chant unto Him: Alleluia!
St. Catherine the Great Martyr (source)
Ikos 7
The emperor displayed his wrath and inhumanity anew when he commanded the governor to break thy pure, virginal and holy body upon the wheel; but by the wondrous hand of the angel thou wast straightway loosed without having sustained any harm, the wheel suddenly broke apart, and in its breaking many unbelievers were slain. Seeing this, the emperor was stricken with terror, and the multitude of the people who were there present cried aloud: "Great is the God of the Christians!" And marveling at this, we cry out to thee:
Rejoice, for having embraced the immaterial life, thou didst bravely surrender the beauty of thy body to be laid waste;
Rejoice, for on thy body thou didst cause the radiance of God to blossom forth!
Rejoice, for thou didst give thine unblemished body over to divers grievous torments out of love for thy Creator;
Rejoice, for in the strength of that love thou wast shown to be victorious, uncowed by fear or the cruelty of torture!
Rejoice, for in divinely wise manner thou didst prefer to receive grievous beatings on thy body, for the sake of the superiority of spiritual comeliness;
Rejoice, for through the wounds thou didst suffer for Christ's sake thou didst desire to be adorned in vesture of truly royal purple!
Rejoice, for thou didst prevail over the sly words and temptations of the tyrant;
Rejoice, for thou didst cut down the cruel one's hopes of weakening the strength of thy resolve!
Rejoice, O martyr, sight precious and marvelous to the angels;
Rejoice, glory of companies of athletes!
Rejoice, splendid victory over the foe;
Rejoice, fear of the infidels!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 8
Beholding the strange renunciation of glory and the suffering for Christ of the empress, the general and his soldiers, let us betake ourselves far away from the world and the flesh, and soar aloft to the knowledge of God. For He is the beauty, the glory and crown of us who sing: Alleluia!
Ikos 8
Jesus became for thee thy whole delight and desire, O holy Catherine; for thou didst sweetly endure bitter torment for His sake, and didst trample underfoot the scepter offered thee, preferring the recompense that is to come. Wherefore, accept from us these praises:
Rejoice, for through thy divinely wise teachings the empress, believing, made haste to piety;
Rejoice, for, having endured the painful tearing away of her breasts and decapitation by the sword, through thee she was manifestly deemed worthy of the everlasting kingdom of heaven!
Rejoice, most radiant moon, driving away the gloom of unbelief from those who walk by night;
Rejoice, thou who didst illumine the companies of soldiers, benighted by idolatry, with thy virtues as with the rays of the sun!
Rejoice, dove of the comely Bridegroom that sang in the wilderness of this world below;
Rejoice, thou who didst gladden the Master of the heavenly hosts with the sweet song of thy confession!
Rejoice, thou who didst perfume the garments of Christ with sweet fragrance;
Rejoice, thou who didst seek Him Who was begotten before the everlasting hills like a hart upon the mountains of spices!
Rejoice, for thou didst sail easily and swiftly over the tumult of the sea of this world;
Rejoice, for thou didst arrive at the calm haven of ever-blessed life!
Rejoice, for by the salvation of those who were close to thee didst thou send great and divers riches before thee unto Christ;
Rejoice, for thou didst undertake the struggle of suffering out of love for Christ!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 9
Every angelic being was gladdened with joy, beholding thee, O most glorious Catherine, victorious over the dark prince of this world; and it welcomed thee into the heavens as a triumphant commander preceded by a company of martyrs, and chanted hymns of victory, crying aloud to God: Alleluia!
Ikos 9
The lips of the most eloquent of orators were stopped, for they were unable to gainsay thy words, and in silence they rendered honor to thy gifts. And although we are weak, yet do we dare to open our lips in thy praise, offering to thee this hymn:
Rejoice, melodious instrument of the Holy Spirit;
Rejoice, thou who didst acquire the mind of Christ!
Rejoice, ray of ineffable splendor;
Rejoice, thou who didst make plain divine dogmas!
Rejoice, adornment and confirmation of the city of Alexandria; rejoice, beauty and boast of Mount Sinai!
Rejoice, thou who didst imitate the zeal of Elijah;
Rejoice, thou who by the purity of thy soul and body didst reveal the unburnt bush!
Rejoice, thou who didst in purity love Him Who is pure;
Rejoice, O most glorious one who dost release those held captive by the dark foe!
Rejoice, thou who art resplendent with the comeliness of virginity and dost perfume martyrdom with the graces;
Rejoice, boast of martyrs and teacher of piety!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 10
Desiring to save thy soul, thou didst disdain thy body, O Catherine, and having given the tyrant thy consent to be beheaded, thou didst joyously depart hence, chanting to Christ God, thine immortal Bridegroom: Alleluia!
St. Catherine the Great Martyr (source)
Ikos 10  
A firm and unassailable bulwark didst thou show thyself to the women who accompanied thee and with lamentation called thee hard-hearted and indifferent to thyself, O bride of Christ, for thou didst not spare thy tender life in the bloom of its youth, in that thou didst spurn the earthly kingdom and goods offered thee. But thou didst forbid their unprofitable wailing and vain words, hastening all the more swiftly to unite thyself to thy Beloved through death; and for His sake thou hearest such things as these cried aloud:
Rejoice, thou who didst gladly bow thy head beneath the sword for the sake of Christ, the Head of the Church;
Rejoice, thou who with patience didst bring to a goodly end the course of thy struggle!
Rejoice, thou who wast not dissuaded from the path of the confession of Christ by tribulation, wounds or the sword;
Rejoice, thou who didst preserve the flame of love unquenched amid the streams of thy blood
Rejoice, good virgin maiden, for didst thou magnificently adorn thyself with most sacred sufferings;
Rejoice, for as was meet thou didst enter into the heavenly bridal chamber of Christ!
Rejoice, most radiant maiden, for, having loved the One thou didst desire, thou didst follow after Him, completing a most difficult course;
Rejoice, for by thy blood thou didst manifestly cry out to Christ thy Bridegroom: "I flee to the fragrance of Thy noetic myrrh which hath flowed forth, O my Bridegroom"!
Rejoice, for thou didst retire to splendid mansions, arrayed in bridal vesture, holding a virgin's lamp in thy right hand, and thy decapitated head in thy left;
Rejoice, for thy divinely wise prayer was acceptable to God; for those who call upon thy name with faith doth the Master save from temptations, granting them good health and delivering them from afflictions of soul and body!
Rejoice, adornment of martyrs; rejoice, mighty refuge of Christians!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 11
We have dared to offer thee hymnody of praise, and if it be that discourse faileth, the mind is at a loss what to say; yet thy most wise discourse, which rescued many from ignorance and the infamy of idolatry, moves us to chant to God, Who rendered thy mighty deeds wondrous: Alleluia!
Ikos 11
Beholding thee to be a luminous candle extinguished by decapitation, yet set up radiant upon a heavenly candlestick before the throne of the Holy Trinity, the holy angels worshipped Him Who liveth forever; and having received a command from the Master, they buried thy virginal body on Mount Sinai, that, as thou thyself didst desire, it not be seen by the enemies of the Lord. And we joyously send up this hymn to thee:
Rejoice, sun-like virgin who ascended to the heavens in spirit;
Rejoice, thou who didst attain unto the heavenly Zion!
Rejoice, crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord;
Rejoice, cup drawing forth joy from the abundance of the house of God!
Rejoice, thou who didst draw nigh in spirit to the everlasting tabernacle not fashioned by the hands of men;
Rejoice, for in thine incorrupt body thou dost rest on the mountain of the law, where the movement of the God of Sinai had been seen!
Rejoice, O virgin who hast followed in the train of the ruling Virgin Queen who is arrayed in vesture of unwoven gold, adorned in varied colors;
Rejoice, for through thee is the Mother of Life worthily hymned in the midst of timbrel-playing maidens!
Rejoice, for on thee shineth the majesty of Christ God; rejoice, intercessor before the eternal throne
Rejoice, thou who from the temple of the universe dost watch over those who pray to thee;
Rejoice, incense of prayers, offered up in our behalf, being well-pleasing to the Master!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 12
Grace hath been given thee by God to guide men to the knowledge of His truth which is hidden in mystery, and to grant unto all those requests which are profitable. Wherefore, we entreat thee with compunction, O wise virgin: illumine the eyes of our minds and set forth for us a passable way to heaven, that with thee we may hymn the one Source of wisdom, now and for all ages, chanting: Alleluia!
Ikos 12
Hymning the mighty struggles of thy martyrdom, we praise thee as an animate vessel of the salvation of men; for through thy knowledge God, refuting the wisdom of the wise of this age, called the wise orators into the holy people, the people of the renewal, for they were to suffer for Christ. Wherefore, O good virgin, draw us also who are benighted into the light of Christ, that we may cry out to thee:
Rejoice, mirror of the wisdom of God;
Rejoice, thou who hast been arrayed with the power of the Most High!
Rejoice, athlete anointed with the oil of gladness;
Rejoice, commander who sent forth the company of God to eternal greatness!
Rejoice, thou who hast entered into the splendor of the saints;
Rejoice, thou who standest in the choir of fiery servants, before Him Who dwelleth in light unapproachable!
Rejoice, thou who with thy voice dost increase the thunder of the thrice-holy hymn;
Rejoice, thou who tastest of the ineffable sweetness of the good things of paradise!
Rejoice, for praise and joy are above thy head;
Rejoice, for everlasting glory illumineth thee!
Rejoice, thou who hast been crowned with the crown of the kingdom of heaven by the Godhead in Three Hypostases; rejoice, mediatress of grace and endless glory for us!
Rejoice, O Catherine, most wise bride of Christ!
Kontakion 13
O holy great martyr Catherine! Receiving this hymn of praise, never cease to pray to the Lord in our behalf, that He deliver us from our enemies, visible and invisible; and by thy right acceptable mediation vouchsafe unto us the everlasting kingdom, that with thee we may chant unto God: Alleluia!
St. Catherine the Great Martyr (source)
First Prayer to the Great Martyr Catherine
O holy Catherine, virgin and martyr, true bride of Christ! We beseech thee as one who received a special grace whereby sweetest Jesus, thy Bridegroom, appeared to thee, that having put to shame the tyrant's deceits by thy wisdom and vanquished the fifty rhetoricians, giving them heavenly doctrine whereof to partake and leading them to the light of the true Faith, thou mightest likewise ask for us that same wisdom of God, that we also, having rent asunder all the snares of the tyrant of hades, and spurned the temptations of the world and the flesh, may show ourselves to be worthy of divine glory, may be made vessels meet for the spread of our holy Orthodox Faith, and that in the tabernacle of heaven we may with thee praise and glorify our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, unto all ages. Amen.
Second Prayer to the Great Martyr Catherine
O holy great martyr Catherine, chosen vessel of purity, pillar of Orthodoxy, our intercessor of good cheer, struggler for the law, saint who sleepest a holy sleep on the holy mountain! Because thou thyself hast revealed to Christians that they should ever pray to thee, we earnestly entreat thee: looking down from on high, hearken unto the sound of our supplication, mercifully regard the misfortunes of us sinners, visit the gloom of our minds, cause us to think of heavenly things and not of those of earth. By thine intercessions make haste to overcome the lusts of our flesh, our passionate attachment to the world and the wiles of the evil spirits who with malice wage war against us; that by thine intercession we may be shown to be free of their malicious assaults in the days of this life and from their aerial interrogations after our departure. O all-wise virgin, grant us all that we ask which is profitable, for thou canst ask many things of thy beloved Bridegroom, Christ our God. We know that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much when it worketh with the goodness of the merciful God, to Whom be glory, honor and thanksgiving, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Troparion, tone 4
Your lamb Catherine, O Jesus, Calls out to You in a loud voice: I love You, O my bridegroom, And in seeking You, I endure suffering. In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, And died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, For I have offered myself in love. By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

St. Catherine's body being brought to Mount Sinai where it exists to this day (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Paraklesis to St. Philothei of Athens

St. Philothei of Athens (source)
Note: St. Philothei suffered abuse at the hands of her husband before his death, and the remainder of her life, she helped to support, protect and deliver women who were being enslaved, abused and taken advantage of in any way. May she ever protect, deliver and heal those who suffer such things throughout the world, along with helping the poor, orphans, widows, and all those in dangers and those sick in body and soul.
Paraklesis to St. Philothei of Athens, the Venerable Martyr
After the "Blessed is our God...", the Psalm "O Lord hear my prayer...", followed by "God is the Lord..." four times, with verses.
Troparion in the Fourth Tone.
O Venerable one, crowned with martyrdom, and dyed with streams of your sacred blood, you stand before the King like a spotless lamb, and are ever nourished in the heavenly mansions, calling all to imitate your struggles, and you ever intercede on behalf of those who celebrate your all-honored memory.
Glory. The Same, or the Apolytikion of the Church.
Both now.
"O Theotokos, we shall never be silent..."
Then the Psalm "Have mercy on me, O God...", followed by the Canon of the Saint in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
    Ode I.
O Saint of God, intercede in our behalf.
O faithful, let us entreat the Venerable Philothei, the protector of Athens. O Mother, make peaceful our lives through your fervent intercessions to God.
O Saint of God, intercede in our behalf.
Deliver from the terrible passions of the enemy, O Mother, your humble servants, and grant everyone deliverance of soul and body through your prayers.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
You were brave in mind, O chaste one, and taught all to disdain the cares of this life, and terrible thoughts. I pray that your virtues might shine upon me.
Both now and for ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
O Lady, enrich my darkened soul and body with your light, and deliver all from every danger, through divine prayers of Philothei.
Ode III.
As the beautiful and God-loving adornment of monastics, and the surpassing arrayment of nuns, you proceeded to the dwelling-places of heaven and to the eternal and all-joyous life.
You are the adornment of monastics, and the all-perfect glory of the Church, the fellow dweller with the Angels, for you shined forth in the city of Athens through your crown of martyrdom, O Saint worthy of honor.
You were shown to be the auspicious dwelling-place of the Spirit, and in you came to dwell the All-holy Trinity, therefore you struggled, and were made worthy of joyous things, and you ever rejoice in the heavens.
O Lady, deliver those who are truly in dangers, and who are storm-tossed by temptations, and deliver all of us through your intercessions and entreaties, O Virgin, for you are the Pure One, blessed of God.
Deliver your servants, O Venerable Martyr, and cast away from them sadness and dangers, for they have taken refuge in you, as one with fervent boldness.
Look down on me, in your good favor, all-hymned Theotokos, and do you behold my body's grievous infirmity, and heal the cause of my soul's sorrow.
St. Philothei of Athens (source)
And the petitions by the priest, followed by the Kathisma in the Second Tone.
You were shown to be an all-joyous feeder of the hungry, for you distributed your wealth, and gave yourself to a life of asceticism, O glorious Philothei. Enrich and deliver us who are in hunger, and speedily save us through your intercessions.
Ode IV.
You became the mother, and nourisher and refuge for all orphans, and to the calm haven you guide those who have taken refuge in you, O all-praised one.
You were shown to be the healing of the sick, and a good haven, for you deposed tyrants, and were strengthened by manliness of mind.
Deliver unscathed your city from the enemies that hate us, and show us forth to be almighty, O thrice-blessed Martyr Philothei.
You are our haven and wall, and have become our sure refuge, give peace to our souls, and deliver us from terrible passions.
Ode V.
Enlighten our hearts and strengthen us, and grant us your help, O chaste and grace-flowing one, and spring of all joys.
Illumine the minds of your monastics and consecrate them, through your fervent intercessions to God, for you are compassionate and understanding.
Guide our souls, O Pure One, to the haven of your compassion, and protect us, granting healing to this ailing.
Ode VI.
You disdained the things below,  and were exalted, being winged towards the things above, and you transformed your wounds and sadness into glory, and now you sing forever in the heavens, looking down upon those who long for you.
You are the deliverance of all those in sadness, O all-chaste one, and the protector of those wronged, for they take refuge in your intercessions, having drunk till full of your sweetness, and you are compassionate and the true shield of all those in dangers.
The city of Athens has found you to be her protector and fervent protecting wall, and she takes refuge in your divine Relics, and richly receives grace. Deliver from dangers, O Philothei, the pride of Martyrs.
We have you, Panagia, as our haven and our intercessor and our protection, and wall against the wiles of the enemy that wars against us. Lighten our hearts, O All-Spotless One, and deliver us all from dangers, through the divine intercessions of Philothei.
Deliver your servants, O Venerable Martyr, and cast away from them sadness and dangers, for they have taken refuge in you, as one with fervent boldness.
Spotless One, who by a word did bring to us the Word eternal, in the last days ineffably, do you now plead with Him, as the one with the motherly favor.
St. Philothei of Athens (source)
And the petitions by the priest, followed by the Kontakion in the Second Tone.
You were shown to be an unemptying spring of love, O chaste Philothei, and the deliverer of captives. Do not cease to pray for those who entreat you, but as you are good, lead those who piously venerate you to the peaceful haven. Deliver from dangers, and save from those who hate us, O you, the beauty of Martyrs and fellow dweller with the Angels.
I patiently waited upon the Lord, and He heard me, and He hearkened unto my prayer. (2)
He placed my feet upon to rock, and directed my steps.
I patiently waited upon the Lord, and He heard me, and He hearkened unto my prayer.
The Gospel according to St. Matthew (10:16-20)
"The Lord said to His Disciples: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Through the intercessions of the Champion, O merciful Lord, wash away my many personal offenses.
Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O merciful Lord, wash away my many personal offenses.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy, and according to the multitude of Your compassions, blot out my transgression.
You wholly shine with light from your soul, O all-honored Philothei, and became a most beautiful vessel breathing forth myrrh. I am not able to properly hymn the shady mountain of your many feats, which you endured for the love of Christ, the pains of asceticism and the struggle of martyrdom. You are the mother of virgins and the nourisher of orphans and widows, and you blossomed like a fragrant flower in the midst of winter.
St. Philothei of Athens (source)
And the priest says the "Save O Lord, Your people, and bless Your inheritance..."
Ode VII.
We praise your radiant way of life, for you sprouted forth as a rose in the midst of Athens, and you adorn her like a star and with the fragrance of your sacred Relic.
Open to all the gate of your mercy through your intercessions, pouring forth the streams of grace, and healing illnesses, and dissolving the ranks of the enemy, that we might ever honor your divine Relic.
You are seen to be a treasury of reverence, and a spring of compassion for those suffering, and the wall and protection of those persecuted, and their deliverer and defender, O wise Philothei, the beauty of Martyrs.
You, O Mother, have become the intercessor for all those in dangers, and shield and protection and deliverance against those who war against us, O Virgin, who ever shines upon the minds of the faithful.
Dissolve the darkness of ignorance, and shine forth on all with the light of Christ, and gladden our minds.
Make to disappear the schemes of the false believers, and trample upon the evil schemes, that your city of Athens might praise you.
Through your chaste confession of your Christ, and with manliness of mind, you have yourself to warring against boasting of the heathen.
Make us worthy, O Virgin, for those who take refuge in you in faith and seek you, of your fervent intercessions to your Son.
Ode IX.
Behold, O Philothei, the streams of my tears, and hasten to become my helper, I pray, and trample upon the cause of my sorrows.
Cleanse my heart and my lips, through your fervent intercessions, and dissolve the darkness of my soul, for you have great boldness before the Lord.
In the hour of danger from the evils of the serpent, deliver, O chaste one, from fearsome and terrible threats, and drive him far away from our souls.
Speedily drive away from all of us our pains and trials, O Pure Virgin, and grant our souls peace, through Philothei's intercessions.
St. Philothei of Athens (source)
And the "Truly it is right to call you blest...", followed by the Megalynaria.

Rejoice, O treasure of the Athenians, O Martyr Philothei, the beauty of the Venerable, the boast of Greece, and the pride of the Orthodox, we all hasten to honor you with hymns.
O sweetest and chaste swallow, you preached Christ with boldness, and were made worthy of the crown of martyrdom, and eternal glory, and we ever praise you.
You shown forth from the height of virtue, truly enflamed by divine fire. You were shown to be be a vessel of the Spirit, O Philothei, and you strengthen all of our hearts.
O venerable alabaster flask of myrrh, you richly pour forth fragrance, for those who with fervor and reverence approach your divine Relics, O ever-memorable one.
Groans and tears and dangers of sin, drive away from us, and protect through your tender love, the city of Athens, who entreats the Master through your divine intercessions.
With the ranks of Angels, God's messengers...
Then the Trisagion, followed by the Apolytikion of the Saint, and the petitions of the Priest, commemorating whichever names he wishes, and finally the Apolysis and the following Prosomoia in the Second Tone.
As a beautiful swallow, you appeared amidst tyrannical darkness, becoming a harbinger of the sweetest springtime to come to our people, and preached faith, love and sacrifice for Christ God, offering your body as a spotless sacrifice, and this plant of piety, in our greatly suffering land, you watered through your blood.
As the morning star drives away bitter darkness, and brings forth the light, so you shone forth, bringing light to our darkened minds, storm-tossed by terrible dangers. O Venerable Mother Philothei, deliver us from dangers through your fervent intercessions to the Lord.

Lady, O do you receive...
My numerous hopes are placed...
St. Philothei of Athens (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Akathist to St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia the Wonderworker

St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia the Wonderworker (Source)
May St. Gerasimos help all those who are sick and suffering throughout the whole world, especially those possessed by, under the influence of, or afflicted in any way by the demons, as he is a mighty protector of Orthodox Christians.
Akathist to St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia the Wonderworker

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As a deliverer and fervent protector, O glorious one, you ever hasten to help those in dangers, therefore we praise you in hymns, O God-bearer Gerasimos, and we praise you faithfully and ascribe you as the most-compassionate protector of your island, as we cry out: Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.

You were known to be an Angel of godly-mind in the world, O Gerasimos, as you lived like the Bodiless [Angels] (3), and your body has remained incorrupt, and pours forth heavenly fragrance for those who behold you, and compels them to cry out these things:
Rejoice, the glory of priests,
Rejoice, the boast of monastics.
Rejoice, the fellow-dweller with the Holy Angels,
Rejoice, the all-joyous home of the Trinity.
Rejoice, height of divine knowledge that cannot be searched by many,
Rejoice, depth of humility that cannot be perceived by mortals.
Rejoice, for you were seen as the pinnacle of theoria,
Rejoice, for you appear to be a guide in praxis.
Rejoice, the unassailable pillar of Cephalonia,
Rejoice, the closest friend of the Lord.
Rejoice, lamp-lighter of reverent truth,
Rejoice, seal of noetic work.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
The famed island of Cephalonia, beholding the wonder of your sacred Relic, with fervor praises the ineffable grace and healing granted by you, O Gerasimos, crying out to God the hymn: Alleluia.
Bearing godly knowledge, O pinnacle of Venerable Saints, you hastened towards the Promised Land, and having remained in the desert fasting for forty days, you received the grace to foresee the future and you hear from us:
Rejoice, you who cast away demons through your body,
Rejoice, you who bear zeal in your heart.
Rejoice, the pinnacle of sacred Venerable Saints,
Rejoice, the radiance of holy pure ones.
Rejoice, you who dwell with the choirs of the Angels,
Rejoice, you who partake of the food of Paradise.
Rejoice, you who are alive in your soul while dead in your body,
Rejoice, you who dwell in the mansions of heaven.
Rejoice, you who heal the passion of hemorrhage,
Rejoice, you who lifted up the woman from the well.
Rejoice, guide and protector of those upon the sea,
Rejoice, savior and deliverer of those in dangers.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Power from heaven was granted to you, O thrice-blessed Gerasimos, for you remained fasting with only a zucchini, and foreseeing through the Spirit, not seeking respite of the body, while saying: Alleluia.
Having you as its great patron and light, Cephalonia greatly boasts in you, and rejoicing in spirit, she cries out to you, chanting things such as these:
Rejoice, unending spring of wonders,
Rejoice, unsleeping protector of true dogmas.
Rejoice, the speedy consolation of those mourning,
Rejoice, the ready lifting up of the deluded.
Rejoice, light of discernment that shines clearly,
Rejoice, star of clairvoyance that radiates brightly.
Rejoice, unemptying source of miracles,
Rejoice, unhealable wound to the demons.
Rejoice, the wise advisor of chastity,
Rejoice, the speedy deposer of intemperance.
Rejoice, divine vessel of Christ,
Rejoice the great surrounding wall of the faithful.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Fleeing from the insanity of the world, O blessed one of God, you lived with hesychia on Mount Omalon, and you worked a multitude of wonders, saving and leading your Nuns towards the calm waters of the Kingdom, as they cry out: Alleluia.
St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia (source)
The ends of the earth have heard of your strange wonders, O Gerasimos, which you work daily, and those who are sick hasten to the sacred spring of your wonders, which we honor, saying:
Rejoice, you who traded corruptible things for those of heaven,
Rejoice, you who destroyed the ranks of the demons.
Rejoice, you who gather with the pastures of the Angels,
Rejoice, you who dance together with the Saints unto the ages.
Rejoice, the most-fervent fellow-servant of the wise Angels,
Rejoice, the most-wise guide of monastics.
Rejoice, the sacred adornment of the Venerable,
Rejoice, the radiant rejoicing of the Fathers.
Rejoice, the firm protector from passions,
Rejoice, you who bear the trophy of God.
Rejoice, you who surpassed the knowledge of the wise,
Rejoice, you who enlighten the minds of the faithful.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Perceiving Gerasimos to be a God-bearer, and beloved by the youth, many hasten in faith to be delivered from the demons, and having received their deliverance, they cry out to the Savior with godly fervor: Alleluia.
Your life shows us the heavenly road, O Gerasimos, and boast of the Venerable, through uplifted asceticism and godly struggle, which we are called to follow, as we cry out these things with fervor:
Rejoice, standard of self-control,
Rejoice, lamp of piety.
Rejoice, spiritual statue of asceticism,
Rejoice, imprint of the monastic life.
Rejoice, high mountain of true virginity,
Rejoice, the wise consolation of holiness.
Rejoice, canon of fasting equal-to-the-Angels,
Rejoice, icon of purity granted by God.
Rejoice, way of life of truth,
Rejoice, bearer of wise providence in mind.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Counting worldly passions and the flesh as nothing, O blessed Gerasimos, you had zucchini for your food and water to drink, and a poor garment, while you thought only of your soul, saying: Alleluia.
You nurtured your flock with your words and your life, leading them towards the life of green pasture, and watering them, as a loving and caring Father, strengthening them paradoxically with your wonders, and healing those who are suffering terribly, who therefore cry out:
Rejoice, radiant vessel of the Trinity,
Rejoice, joyous treasure of purity.
Rejoice, you who worked wonders before your repose,
Rejoice, who after your repose work awesome deeds.
Rejoice, you who were laid in the grave as one dead,
Rejoice, you who proceed throughout the earth as one alive.
Rejoice, you who are hymned by the multitudes of Cephalonians,
Rejoice, you who are praised by the ranks of Monastics.
Rejoice, lamp-lighter among the Venerable,
Rejoice, lightning of godly graces.
Rejoice, you who received the unfading crown,
Rejoice, you who inherited the eternal mansion.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
O thrice-blessed One, your proceeded to the life to come from this passing life, towards the heavenly mansions, and you bent your knee, fervently praying that your spirit might be delivered to the hand of God, as those who beheld you were astonished, crying out: Alleluia.
St. Gerasimos of Kefalonia (source)
A new song is offered to you loudly, O Gerasimos, as we cry out of your great feats that you work for the sick, healing demoniacs, and granting all requests, and we all therefore cry out in reverence:
Rejoice, you who trampled upon the worldly ideas,
Rejoice, you who deliver from the bitter things of life,
Rejoice, you whose body was shown to be a spring of wonders,
Rejoice, you whose soul has joined with the Angels.
Rejoice, for you bore Christ your God in your mind,
Rejoice, for you desired the joys of Paradise.
Rejoice, you who studied the uplifted way to heaven,
Rejoice, you who dwell in the pure mansions on high.
Rejoice, for you ever have the Angels as your compatriots,
Rejoice, for you have inherited the Saints as your friends.
Rejoice, through whom light has shined upon the faithful,
Rejoice, through whom the faithless are inflamed.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.

We behold a strange wonder, as your long-dead body appears alive in your reliquary, and through this the uplifted God has given to those upon the earth the power to cast out the demons, and to God we cry out: Alleluia.
While being wholly in the flesh below, your soul has not left the things above, O Gerasimos. You work wonders that astonish every mind and ear, and therefore we are astonished and cry out things like this:
Rejoice, he who is full of the wisdom of God,
Rejoice, mystic of His providence,
Rejoice, rhetor taught by God, teaching towards Christ,
Rejoice, spring of healings welling up for the faithful.
Rejoice, you who lived in purity before your death,
Rejoice, you who after your repose proceeded towards God.
Rejoice, you in whom the light of God has been founded,
Rejoice, you in whom His grace has come to dwell.
Rejoice, oasis for the pious Orthodox,
Rejoice, sharp sword against the faithless.
Rejoice, you who drive away the madness of the demons,
Rejoice, you who shine forth with the rays of wonders.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
You have received every grace from heaven, O thrice-blessed Gerasimos, working wondrous things and living well in asceticism like the bodiless ones, overcoming the laws of nature while your body has remained incorrupt, healing those who cry out: Alleluia.
You have been shown to be a mighty protector of the Church of Christ, O blessed Gerasimos, and a great defender of the faithful people, for they know of the many dangers that they have been delivered from and ever take refuge in you, and are moved to cry out to you:
Rejoice, protecting wall of the pious faithful,
Rejoice, pride of the nations bearing the name of Christ.
Rejoice, firm strength of monastics,
Rejoice, radiant boast of priests.
Rejoice, you who grant every grace to those who hymn you,
Rejoice, you who grant every healing to the faithful.
Rejoice, for you are a godly pillar of graces,
Rejoice, destroyer of the demons through divine power.
Rejoice, pure dwelling-place of God,
Rejoice, chaste chosen one of Christ.
Rejoice, fragrance of Christ,
Rejoice, delectable nourishment of the faithful.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Save all of those who honor your memory with fervor, and who honor your divine icon, and deliver them from every danger and distress, and save those who call upon you, crying out to God: Alleluia.
St. Gerasimos of Kephalonia (source)
You have become a protecting wall for Cephalonia, O Father, and for all those who take refuge in you, therefore deliver from famine and earthquake, and hasten to everyone in need, while they cry out to you these things in thanksgiving:
Rejoice, eternal nectar of mortals,
Rejoice, flower-bearing springtime of men.
Rejoice, the ready consolation of those saddened,
Rejoice, the speedy lifting up of those deluded.
Rejoice, you who entreat towards the good disposition of God,
Rejoice, the compassionate deliverer from depression.
Rejoice, health for those ailing among the faithful,
Rejoice, purity for those amidst corruption.
Rejoice, great savior of those cast down,
Rejoice, divine entreaty for sinners.
Rejoice, you who grant to us from the sea of your graces,
Rejoice, for you show the mercy of your wonders to all.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
We all offer hymns, O blessed one, at the treasure of your Relic, O God-bearer Gerasimos, offering tears with our odes in response to the graces which you have granted to us the faithful, and who cry along with you: Alleluia.
The treasure of your sacred Relic has been shown to be light-bearing, O Father Gerasimos, and it shines with grace like rays of light upon those who approach, granting joy and health that you speedily send forth, as we who embrace them cry out these things:
Rejoice, you who called forth hymnologists at your burial,
Rejoice, you who put to death those who speak false things through your might.
Rejoice, for you grant us grace from the sea of your graces,
Rejoice, for you grant to all the myrrh of your mercy.
Rejoice, the sure consolation of those who take refuge in you,
Rejoice, the salvation of those who approach you in soul.
Rejoice, you who drive out the dangers of the demons from your island,
Rejoice, you who trample upon their evil assaults.
Rejoice, you who depose the boldness of barbarians,
Rejoice, you who put to naught to darkness of the demons.
Rejoice, tower that reaches the heights of heaven,
Rejoice, wall raised up against the battle of the enemies.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
Bearing grace from above, O Gerasimos, you drive out every assault of the enemies, and your preserved your island from famine, hastening and walking upon the sea to those who call upon you, delivering everyone from dangers who cry out to God: Alleluia.
As we chant this hymn to your, O ever-memorable Father, we encircle your holy reliquary, which pours forth the grace of wonders for those who approach it with faith, and you therefore protect those who cry out to you:
Rejoice, you who extended your soul towards God,
Rejoice, who drove away the assaults of the flesh.
Rejoice, you who grant to those present as ones without any help,
Rejoice, you who care for the abiding things to come.
Rejoice, you who deliver from famine and drought,
Rejoice, you who deliver many from hunger.
Rejoice, unsleeping shepherd of the Monastery of Omalon,
Rejoice, free physician and protector of many.
Rejoice, for you pour forth myrrh from your Relic freely,
Rejoice, for your Church pours forth a multitudes of graces.
Rejoice, through whom the sick are healed,
Rejoice, through whom the passions are cast out.
Rejoice, O Father Gerasimos.
O thrice-joyous Father, the protector of your island and of the unassailable intercessor for all, (3) receive these proper odes from us, your entreators, and deliver from eternal hell, through your intercessions to God, those who cry out to you: Alleluia.
And again, the Kontakion.
St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!