Sunday, August 30, 2015

"You were made beautiful, O Virgin..."

The Most-holy Theotokos, holding her Precious Belt (source)
  
You were made beautiful*, O Virgin, by giving birth to the most-beautiful Word, and you were well-pleased to place within your beautiful house, the beautiful Belt, which you beautifully wore in life, O Theotokos, on your beautiful body.
 -From Ode V of the Second Canon for the Feast of the Deposition of the Belt of the Theotokos
  
 
*Note: First and foremost, when the hymnographer speaks of "beauty", he is speaking of the great spiritual beauty and purity of the Theotokos.
  
Most-holy Theotokos, save us!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"John, who outran Your birth and Your passion..."

St. John the Precious Forerunner and Baptist of Christ (source)
  
John, who outran Your birth and Your passion, came through a sword to the lowest parts of the earth as Prophet and Messenger of Your entrance also there, crying as voice of the Word, you dead, highly exalt the Giver of life, you blind, the Giver of light, you prisoners, the Deliverer Christ.
-from Ode VIII of the First Canon of the Saint
  
(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Akathist to St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed

St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed (source)
   
Note: The following is an amateur translation from the Greek text, offered for the many who love the Saint and who benefit from his speedy help. I request reviewing this translation if possible before any public / liturgical use. Also note that the meter of this translation is not set to match the original music.
  
Akathist to St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Wonderworker, the Newly-revealed
written by Nun Isidora Agierotheitissa
  
Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
The hoplite of Christ of great name, who manfully deposed the enemies through formerly enduring blows and harsh tortures, and in latter years was wondrously revealed, and who works a multitude of wonders through the power of God, as born witness to by the people who honor him, crying out with odes of praise: Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
The perfect adornment of Christ, the unassailable protecting wall of the Church, the treasure and great pride of Rhodes. As you are the namesake of illumination from heaven, and you show forth divine wonders, we honor you crying out: Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
Let all blood that loves God, praise the great hoplite Phanourios (3), for having been arrayed with the armor of the Cross, you glorified the Almighty God through your sacred victories, magnifying His holy and great name. Therefore we chant of his glorious grandeur, and ceaselessly cry out like this:
Rejoice, the Martyr of the truth,
Rejoice, the pillar of steadfastness.
Rejoice, the brave general of the King of all,
Rejoice, the faithful servant of the Master of all.
Rejoice, you who humbled the demonic ranks,
Rejoice, you who conquered the ranks of enemies.
Rejoice, you who dissolved the deep darkness of atheism,
Rejoice, light of Christ for those on the earth.
Rejoice, you who drive away the bitter winter of ignorance,
Rejoice, spring, which brings the knowledge of the all-holy faith.
Rejoice, the all-radiant light of the Church,
Rejoice, the adornment and unassailable haven of Rhodes.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
All the arrows of evil of the ancient foe, you quenched through your steadfastness and manliness, O Champion. Therefore, you ever refresh our souls with the dew of the All-working Spirit, for those who praise you with fervor, and chant unto God: Alleluia.
  
The serpent was stripped naked of his ancient beauty, through giving men guileful counsel. You showed the power of God and the might of the people against him, O Martyr, through your wondrous struggles, and you clearly proclaimed His greatness. Therefore, in fervor we tell of your exquisite wonders, and out of duty with cry out to you from the heart:
Rejoice, the lamp of piety,
Rejoice, you who showed forth manliness.
Rejoice, the radiance of the faith,
Rejoice, the beauty of the Martyrs.
Rejoice, soldier who put his trust in Him Who sets the contests,
Rejoice, the all-magnanimous friend of the Giver of good things.
Rejoice, the precious lamp of the spotless faith,
Rejoice, the honored icon of the love of Christ.
Rejoice, you who endured the fire of the furnace,
Rejoice, you who inherited the joyous rejoicing.
Rejoice, the beautiful laughter of the Angelic ranks,
Rejoice, the glory and uplifted inheritance of the people of Rhodes.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
Having continuously the divine thirst for martyrdom, you hastened to the stadium, to confess Christ with boldness, and you endured tortures in your bravely-minded soul. As Paul you cried out: “It is Christ alone that I love, and it is the eternal Kingdom that I thirst for.” Therefore, having struggled perfectly, O famed Phanourios, you call all to hymn the true God, and to chant together with the Angels this new hymn: Alleluia.
  
Remaining as firm as a diamond, you were steadfast amidst the beatings, the scourges of your flesh, and the weight of stones, having ever the Passion of your Master in mind. Ceaselessly entreat Him, O Phanourios, that we be granted power to conquer the corrupting passions and to be crucified together with Him in the flesh, that we might live with Him, and ever cry out together out of need to you:
Rejoice, the arrow against him who wars against us,
Rejoice, the spear against the foreign enemy.
Rejoice, he who clearly showed the strength of our God,
Rejoice, he who laughed in the faces of tyrants.
Rejoice, weapon enriched by the invincible Cross,
Rejoice, you who scared away the army of demons.
Rejoice, you who endured the dark prison,
Rejoice, you who shown forth with your rays throughout the earth.
Rejoice, mighty defender of those who struggle,
Rejoice, the compassionate one who stands beside those in tribulations.
Rejoice, you who adorned the choir of the Martyrs,
Rejoice, you who make radiant the noetic heaven.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
You lived, O Martyr, with your waist girded with the strength of God, wearing the whole armor of the faith, and holding in your hands the All-holy Cross, you ultimately trampled upon the ranks of the enemies. Therefore, you gladdened the choirs of the Angels, O Phanourios, as you became their friend and you were seen to converse with them, chanting together with them the thrice-holy hymn: Alleluia.
  
St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed (source)
  
The grace of the Comforter dwelt in you, truly quenching all desire for earthly things, and making you worthy to love the good things to come. Therefore, counting all corruptions of the flesh to be senseless, you entered your struggles with steadfastness, O Phanourios, and you received the radiant diadem of victory. Because of this, we weave for you this crown of holy hymns, and without ceasing, with our lips cry out from our souls:
Rejoice, friend of the Giver-of-Life,
Rejoice, lamp of the Giver-of-Light.
Rejoice, the very precious joy of the Sion above,
Rejoice, unstoppable protector of those in dangers.
Rejoice, fragrant rose of the All-working Spirit,
Rejoice, beautiful flower of the perfect faith.
Rejoice, vessel of graces, exceedingly multiplied,
Rejoice, fountain of wonders and ever-flowing spring.
Rejoice, for you ever anticipate those who are in trials,
Rejoice, for you speedily hearken to those who call upon your name.
Rejoice, the most-radiant crown of the Martyrs of Christ,
Rejoice, the protecting wall of the faithful and unbeatable shield.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
Taking up the undiminishing shield of piety, and the spear of hope, and the helmet of the faith, and having been arrayed with the breastplate of the love of the Lord, you were not swayed by unbearable pains, O Athlete. But you remained steadfast as a diamond until the end, O Phanourios, hymning the powers of God. To Him you cry out the victory-bearing ode in all things: Alleluia.
  
The rotten covering of error you removed through fire, bringing forth the truth of the Lord, O Athlete, revealing the power of our God to the godless. Therefore we have gathered together in a new dance, praising your great deeds, O Phanourios, and fervently cry out to you these things from the soul:
Rejoice, the tower of the Church,
Rejoice the cornerstone of Holy Sion.
Rejoice, the steadfastness of brass and iron,
Rejoice, more radiant than geodes or gold.
Rejoice, the most-exalted fellow warrior of God,
Rejoice, you who reduced to nothing the ranks of the enemy.
Rejoice, the holy cluster of wheat granted by Christ,
Rejoice, the mystical wine of the trampling of the vineyard.
Rejoice, for you made yourself to be a sanctuary of God,
Rejoice, for you enlighten the hearts of the faithful.
Rejoice, the seed of Christ, and the shoot of the Church,
Rejoice the most-glorious fruit for the whole world.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
You became a proclaimer of God openly, and the word of your martyrdom has gone forth to the ends of the earth, and you have called the nations to hymn God, Who is glorified among His Saints, and Who granted the authority for us to trample upon the head of the guileful enemy and upon the strength of the serpent. We all have woven a new praise to God from our heart, praising the Creator of all with the victorious ode: Alleluia.
  
You have adorned the earth with the rays of your lamp of martyrdom, and your struggles have shown upon the choirs of the faithful. Therefore, you fill us with unspeakable light, as we praise the Giver-of-Light, the Beginning that surpassed the beginning, and we honor you with one voice, O famed Phanourios, and with one soul we chant the following to you in an unsatiated manner:
Rejoice, invincible panoply,
Rejoice, all-glorious crown-bearer.
Rejoice, mighty runner of the Lord,
Rejoice, you who shame the foreign enemy.
Rejoice, athlete of honorable struggles,
Rejoice, most-firm worker of godly feats.
Rejoice, for you were granted the eternal rewards,
Rejoice, for you partake of the incorruptible crowns.
Rejoice, most-compassionate healer of those in sicknesses,
Rejoice, the speedy deliver of those in trials,
Rejoice, light that reaches the ends of all creation,
Rejoice, the sanctity and surpassingly-bright star of Rhodes.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
You endured pains in your divine members, for you offered yourself up as a sacrifice, and your side was torn and burnt with torches, O Athlete, and you bore a heavy stone with your bravely-minded soul. Therefore, having been purified through these as purified gold, you ever paradoxically shine throughout the earth, O Phanourios, calling all to hymn your perfect deeds openly, and crying out to God the harmonious ode: Alleluia.
  
St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed (source)
  
Having fulfilled the law of the Master, Whom you desired from childhood, and Whom you followed as a handsome young man, eagerly desiring to drink the cup of martyrdom. Therefore, He called you to this new table in His heavenly Kingdom, to partake of His goodness unto the ages. And He calls us in glory, to enjoy the telling of your wonders with rejoicing, O Phanourios, and to cry out these fervently, and with one voice:
Rejoice, great one among the Champions,
Rejoice, greatly-suffering one among struggles.
Rejoice, most-faithful friend of the Master,
Rejoice, most-desired sin of the Most-high.
Rejoice, the pearl of the Church, shining like gold,
Rejoice, O awesome one, ever shining throughout the whole world.
Rejoice, for you intercede for us to God with boldness,
Rejoice, for you entreat acceptably on behalf of all.
Rejoice, the defender and deliver of all those held captive,
Rejoice, helper of those in deed, who works wondrous deeds.
Rejoice, the glory of the Martyrs, the beauty of the Athletes,
Rejoice, the pride of the Church, and the all-radiant protection.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
A strange wonder has been seen in the latter days, for on the island of Rhodes, as a divine treasure, your icon was found in the ruined church. Therefore, all of us, being astonished at your vision, chant to you with the honored Archpriest the God-rejoicing hymn, O honored Phanourios, saying from the depths the joyous ode: Alleluia.
  
The ranks of heaven were astonished by you, beholding your brave and great struggles, and your endless manliness of soul, O Athlete. Therefore, they place on your precious head a crown from the hand of the Giver-of-Life Who is ever worshiped. And we offer divine and rational veneration, O Phanourios, and cry out harmoniously these things:
Rejoice, invincible one among struggles,
Rejoice, surpassingly bright one in deeds.
Rejoice, joyous rejoicing of the Angels,
Rejoice, the unassailable foundation of the faithful.
Rejoice, for you cast down the uplifted idols,
Rejoice, for you adorn Orthodox churches.
Rejoice, you who fervently anticipate those in need,
Rejoice, you who speedily hearken to those who call upon you.
Rejoice, you who bring the knowledge of the Sun of glory to the ends of the earth,
Rejoice, light that gladly shines upon those in darkness.
Rejoice, for you sprung forth like a rose from the earth,
Rejoice, you who blessed the multitudes of the people of Rhodes.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
You have become a tower of strength and power of God, and you fortify the faithful in the true faith. Your heart was therefore founded upon the Rock of life, and your feet were strengthened by His divine commandments, while you radiantly reached your end through a tough and bitter martyrdom, O Phanourios. Therefore, we have woven for you crowns of odes, and we do not cease to offer in truth and fervor to you, the hymn: Alleluia.
  
The honored island of Rhodes rejoices and boasts incalculably in your sacred Church, for from her, as a radiant star, you have shined with your rays upon the whole world. Therefore, as our eyes and hearts are illumined, and radiant with your light, we ever cry out to you these things with one voice and in a fitting manner:
Rejoice, the beauty of the Martyrs,
Rejoice, the adornment of Athletes.
Rejoice, you who calm the seas for those who sail,
Rejoice, vessel led by God for those storm-tossed.
Rejoice, the all-radiant lamp of the Giver-of-Light,
Rejoice, most-bright dwelling-place of the Comforter.
Rejoice, for you enslaved the invisible enemies,
Rejoice, for you freed the enslaved priests.
Rejoice, you who preached the deeds of Mighty God,
Rejoice, you who shines throughout the world with the Giver-of-Light.
Rejoice, you who through your passion bore pains in your flesh,
Rejoice, for through your intercessions, you cease all passions of the soul.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
You were seen as a divine moon, and you stand before the throne of the Source of light, you stand together with the armies of the Angels, partaking of divine beauty in the court of Paradise. Do not cease to fervently entreat Him, O Phanourios, on behalf of those who honor your most-holy memory in faith, and cry out to God with joyous soul, he ceaseless ode: Alleluia.
  
St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed (source)
  
You have set up trophies of divine victory and fame, as we magnify your radiant and perfect deeds which caused great rejoicing to God, O Trophy-bearing Athlete. And we truly and piously praise your many great deeds, O brave Phanourios, as we say from the heart all of these things wondrously:
Rejoice, all-glorious Champion,
Rejoice, O brave trophy-bearer.
Rejoice, you who were steadfast as bronze amidst wrestling,
Rejoice, the all-holy sanctification of the spotless faith.
Rejoice, for you speedily partook of the rewards of your struggles,
Rejoice, for you gained the heavenly robe of glory.
Rejoice, you who bore pains with bravery in your soul,
Rejoice, for you partook of divine rejoicing as nourishment.
Rejoice, for you adorned the earth through the furrows of your struggles,
Rejoice, for you decorated the heavens through your joyous presence.
Rejoice, the all-radiant lamp of the Source of light,
Rejoice, foundation of the Church, and greatly-radiant temple.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
The waters of piety watered your soul, and therefore you harvested the good things of the faith, and the divine cluster of Martyrdom, O Phanourios, and having thus been filled, you placed them in the treasuries of God. And we who praise the fruits of your pains, are nourished in the heart with the praises of God, and cry out to Him ceaselessly from the lips of our souls: Alleluia.
  
You endured the dark prison cell, having beheld the thrice-radiant Light with your eyes. And you preserved your senses unsoiled by the darkness, and conversed with the Source of light ineffably. Having approached that eternal beauty of heaven, your heart was made into a temple of the living God. And we who ever venerate you and your sacred icon, in your holy church, O Phanourios, ceaselessly cry out these with fervor:
Rejoice, the divine comeliness of Martyrs,
Rejoice, the adornment of all the Saints.
Rejoice, you who partake of the unwaning light,
Rejoice, the divine lens of the Comforter.
Rejoice, for you kept the commandments of the Law in your mind,
Rejoice, for who unflinchingly walked the path of Martyrdom.
Rejoice, for you gaze upon the glory of Christ, the Bestower of crowns,
Rejoice, for you visit the beauty of the mysteries of God.
Rejoice, for you bore on your flesh the marks of Martyrdom,
Rejoice, you who ineffably glorified God in your soul.
Rejoice, you who impart your fervent protection for the faithful,
Rejoice, you who gladden all with your joyous presence.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
You passed through the narrow road of struggles while rejoicing, and now dwell in the broad land of Eden, O sacred Phanourios. And you guide us, who have been afflicted by the passions, to be led towards strengthening without delusion through your help, where are the ranks of the Martyrs and the Saints. That we might joyously join in their ways and their chorus, we offer to God the hymn, and joyously cry out: Alleluia.
  
Chanting the hymn of Martyrdom on the lyre of your soul, without ceasing, you ever praise the greatly-hymned God, Who granted you the power to be martyred for Him. Therefore, the choirs of those who love the Martyrs and who love God, and the ranks and the choirs of the faithful bless Him from the depths, the merciful God, and we ceaselessly cry out to His healer:
Rejoice, the flower of piety,
Rejoice, the rose of truth.
Rejoice, the ray of the unspeakable light,
Rejoice, the surpassingly-bright lightning of the heavenly world.
Rejoice, the all-fitting icon of the perfect,
Rejoice, the exalted lamp of those who struggle well.
Rejoice, the deposer of darkness, and the guide towards the light,
Rejoice, guide towards all godly things.
Rejoice, fittingly strengthens the faithful through your prayers,
Rejoice, you who gladden all with the series of your wonders.
Rejoice, the glory and calm harbor of the people of Rhodes,
Rejoice, wealth of the Church, and dawn without evening.
Rejoice, O Martyr Phanourios.
  
O invincible Martyr, bravely-minded Athlete, Phanourios, the hoplite of the Lord (3), you who were wondrous through the strength of God, and through your endurance and steadfastness were granted sacred trophies of victory, make us worthy, who honor you in truth, to trample upon the enemy who greatly wars against us, and to be granted in the age to come, the crown of divine glory. That out of fervor, we might glorify the Lord, and eternally chant from a proper heart unto His holy name, worthily hymning His glory, with joyous voices, and ceaselessly cry out with the Angels: Alleluia.
  
And again the Kontakion.
Before the end of the service, the following hymn in the Third Tone.
You gladdened creation through the radiance of your struggles, and brought joy to the faithful through the gift of your wonders, and you astonished the army of the Angels, O Phanourios, for in these latter days, you shown forth from the earth as a precious rose, and as an all-radiant star, adorning the island of Rhodes. We cry out to you: Rejoice.
(source)
    
St. Phanourios the Great Martyr and Newly-revealed (source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"A great protector and defender..."

St. Phanourios the Great Martyr (source)
  
A great protector and defender, you have been shown to be, O Martyr Phanourios, for wherever your sacred name is called upon, you speedily grant the gifts of your good will. Therefore, we joyously celebrate your holy memory, hymning you.
-Troparion of the 9th Ode of the Orthros Canon
  
(Source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

St. Kosmas Aitolos on Man as God's Creation

St. Kosmas Aitolos, the New Hieromartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles (source)
  
"The Most Gracious God made us, my brethren, human beings, and not animals. He made us more honorable than the whole world. The most gracious God gave us, my brethren, eyes to look at the sky, the sun, the moon, and the stars so we can say: "O my God, if the sun which is your creation is so bright, how much brighter are you, O Holy Name, you who are the creator of heaven and earth, the author and fashioner? O my God, find me worthy to enjoy you."
  
God, my brethren, put the mind in our heads. Our mind is like a dish in which we should put all the teachings of the Gospel and not myths and idle talk, which are the art of the devil. He gave us ears to hear the Divine Liturgy which is celebrated by the priest in the church. He gave us a mouth to glorify our Lord, for us to say: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son and Word of the living God, through the Theotokos and all the angels, have mercy on us and forgive us who are sinners and your unworthy servants." We should confess with pure faith and receive the holy Sacraments with pure faith and fear and awe. That is how God wants us, brethren, and not to swear, not for one to betray another, not to take oaths and lie, not to steal from one another, not to take something belonging to another, not to take the name of God in vain for the smallest reason. Do you want to say, my brother: "By God"? Why don't you say: 'By the truth" ? Instead of swearing so your brother will believe you, tell him the straight truth, and if he doesn't believe you, go on your way. We should refrain, my brother, from swearing in the name of God or from taking oaths, and citing our saints. Some insignificant people even swear by the name of the Holy Trinity. Woe to them; a flaming tire will burn them and enflame them.
  
Do you know, brother, how God wants you to be? Just as you don't want your wife to have anything to do with another man, so God doesn't want you to have anything to do with the devil. Do you enjoy having your wife fornicate with another? Of course not. For someone else to kiss her? Neither do you want this. That is what God wants of you too, not to have anything to do with the devil."
-St. Kosmas Aitolos, the New Hieromartyr and Equal-to-the-Apostles

(source)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

St. Paisios the Athonite on trust in God

St. Paisios the Athonite (epigraph also includes that his cell was under Koutloumousiou Monastery) (source)
  
"When we believe in God and have trust in His fatherly providence and concern, then we do not think of ourselves; instead we know that God is aware of our needs and looks after our problems, from the simplest to the most serious one. The only things we must want is to allow God’s love and providence to function for us. When we have this kind of faith and inner disposition, we are able to see God’s miracles––God himself––who is always close to us under all circumstances. In order to experience this we must reject any form of worldly assistance or human hope, and with a pure heart, unhesitatingly and trustfully devote our mind to God. Then the grace of Christ will fill our souls at once...We must totally rely on God’s providence as this is the only way to be relieved of our anxiety and worries... To trust divine providence one must free himself from all worldly concerns and wait for God to look after him.... He must overcome his love for money and trust in it and then rest all his hopes on God and he cannot do both at the same time."
-St. Paisios the Athonite
  
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

ISIS desecrates the Church and Holy Relics of St. Julian of Emesa

St. Julian (Elian) of Emesa (Homs), the Martyr and Unmercenary (source)
  
News sites are reporting that, among the many atrocities of ISIS throughout the Middle East, they have recently demolished the 1500 year old church built at the site of the martyrdom of St. Julian (Elian) of Emesa (Homs), and have desecrated the holy and wonderworking relics of this Martyr and Unmercenary of the Church. Let us mourn this great loss for our Church, and let us repent of our sins, as we cry out to the Lord in the words of the Psalmist:
  
"O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky, the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild."
Psalms 79:1-2
  
Στίχοι
Χριστὸς τέτρηται χεῖρας ἥλοις καὶ πόδας,
Ἰουλιανὸς προστίθησι καὶ κάραν.
 
Verses to St. Julian from the Synaxarion
Christ was pierced with nails in his hands and feet,
And Julian offered up his head.
 
Apolytikion of St. Julian in the Third Tone
Julian, saintly champion and healer, intercede with our merciful God to grant our souls remission of sins.
(The apolytikion of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr, substituted with the name of St. Julian, according to the above source, taken from: http://goarch.org/chapel/saints_view?contentid=143)
  
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!