Saturday, May 9, 2015
Service for the Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas, by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
The Translation of the Holy Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Service for the Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas,
by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain
Introduction of the Translator
In 1081 AD, the Holy Body of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker was taken from the Church of his See in Myra, to the city of Bari on the west coast of Italy. Some have looked at this event, and see it as a theft from, and a great loss for, the Greeks of Asia Minor, to the benefit of the Italians. Other see even in this event, God's love and providence. St.Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain takes the latter point of view, as he relates that the transfer of the Saint's Relic was by the will of God: “on the one hand, that his Relic not remain without honor and glory, and on the other, that the West might partake of his wonders, as [the Christians of Bari at that time] had not yet fallen into heresies and false beliefs, but was Orthodox, and united with the Church of the East.” (source)
Likely because some mourn the loss of St. Nicholas' Body to the East, the memory of the translation of his Relic is generally not as widely celebrated in Orthodox Greece as it is in Russia and other countries. However, St. Nikodemos did feel strong enough that this event deserves memory that he composed a service for this feast, as he relates: “For this feast, my weakness has composed a Service for St. Nicholas, and whoever desires to celebrate the Saint, let him seek it, for it is found in the Cell of St. Nicholas, called Barberadon, near Karyes.” (source)
It should also be noted, that areas in the Peloponese, Zakynthos and other Ionian Islands, etc. that the Italian ships would have passed have maintained that this “passing-by” of the Relics of St. Nicholas was a great blessing for them, and many places celebrate this festally. St. Nikodemos refers to this in his service, where he hymns the “passing” of the Relic of the Saint, through which he sanctified not just these areas of Greece and Italy, but “everything under the sun”. Because various areas had greeted the Relics on different days, the custom arose to variously celebrate the translation of St. Nicholas May 9th, May 10th, May 20th, or other days during that period. The service by St. Nikodemos was written, however, to be celebrated on May 10th.
On the feast of St. Nicholas, according to St. Nikodemos, fragrant and wonderworking myrrh poured forth from the feet of his Holy Relics like two flowing springs during the duration of the Divine Liturgy. Another source mentions that when the Latin people of Bari later lost Orthodoxy, that the fragrant myrrh of St. Nicholas would no longer flow in this way, but they would need to call an Orthodox priest to serve the Divine Liturgy on the feast. Behold how St. Nicholas continues to emphasize the Divine Liturgy, and defends Orthodoxy as strongly after his repose as he did in life!
In order to honor this great Wonderworker, my weakness has translated this beautiful service that is attributed to St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain, as I I found it online. If there have been changes or alterations to the texts through the passage of time, I apologize. Please note that this service is not yet complete, as I don't have the time currently to translate the two Canons to the Saint in the Orthros. I hope to do so soon. Please note that nothing is set to the meter of the original melody. And I ask that you try to review the text before any public or liturgical use, as it is my amateur translation, without an editor.
Truly, there are many who need the Lord's help in our troubled world. I pray that Saint Nicholas might protect and guide everyone, healing all those who suffer in body or soul throughout the whole world.
Service for the Translation of the Holy Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myria in Lycia - May 10th
Written by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain
After the Psalm, “Bless the Lord, O my soul…”, the “Blessed is the man…”, then at the “Lord I have cried…”, six verses (of the Prosomoia of the Saint), and two of the present feast.
Stichera in the Fourth Tone. As the brave one among the Martyrs.
The Church rejoices at your precious Relic, through which you have sanctified everything under the sun, and she magnifies the Lord, Who showed you forth to be the adornment of Hierarchs, and the deliverer of the faithful, therefore intercede, that deliverance from offenses be granted to those who hymn you in faith, O thrice-blessed Archbishop Nicholas.
The leader of the people of Myra, the pride of the Fathers, the boast and support of the whole world, the guide towards piety, he who demonstrates dogmas, and the chosen vessel. We know you to be the fragrance of the Spirit, the treasure of the poor, and the savior and deliverer of the storm-tossed, O Nicholas, the Father of the Fathers.
Having been aflame with divine zeal for Christ, O blessed one, you deposed the boldness of Arius the godless, and you preached the Son as being consubstantial with the Father, and truly equal in honor. Through His immeasurable compassion, He received our clay without confusion, and ineffably deified it, translating it to heaven.
You wholly desired Christ, O all-honored one, and you followed His paths, as an all-holy Hierarch, and an all-perfect mystic, and the boast of the faithful, the supporter of the poor. Therefore, the Lord truly showed you to be wondrous with a multitude of miracles, both while alive and after your repose.
Doxastikon of the Stichera in the Plagal of the Second Tone.
The great treasure among the Hierarchs, the unassailable surrounding wall of the Church, the boast of the whole world, and the glory and rejoicing of the Angels, let us gather to hymn him, and fervently cry out: Rejoice, you who proclaimed the Son and Word of God as consubstantial and equal in glory to the Father, God the Word, through your all-wise tongue, and through Whom you received all things. Rejoice, the protection of orphans and widows. Rejoice, the most-speedy helper of those who sail the seas. Rejoice, the most-radiant light, who sanctified everything under the sun with miracles. And now, be present with us, who with fervor hymn the honored passing of your divine Relic, O Hierarch Nicholas.
Both now. Of the Feast.
Then “O gladsome light...”, followed by the Prokeimenon of the Day, then the reading of the Hierarch.
The Reading is from the Wisdom of Solomon (3:1-9)
“The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God...”
The Reading is from the Wisdom of Solomon (5, 15-23, and 6:1-3)
“The righteous live unto the ages, and their reward is from the Lord...”
The Reading is from the Wisdom of Solomon (4: 7-15)
“The righteous man, even if he happens to die, is at rest...”
At the Litia
O Father Nicholas, from infancy, you desired the Lord, and abandoned the world, and counted its joys as refuse, as you distributed your wealth to the poor. You were zealous for the Angelic way, as you offered to the Master ceaseless hymns. Therefore, He Who beheld the hidden things of your soul, made you worthy of divine wonders, granting the ability to work them, and that unending blessedness of the age to come. Having reposed, you now dwell with the Angels. Do not cease to intercede on behalf of us, O Saint Nicholas.
O adornment of the Fathers, divine Nicholas, the all-perfect shepherd of the sheep of the Church of Christ God, for in a godly manner you led your people towards the heavenly sheepfold, as a perfect guide, and were shown to be a nourisher of orphans, and a savior and deliverer of those who sail. Intercede on behalf of us to the Lord, who with fervor hymn the translation of your sacred and divine Relic.
You were shown to be truly a shepherd of the Arch-shepherd, and a disciple of Christ, O Hierarch Nicholas. Therefore, you rightly condemned the Arians, and through your pastoral protection, you cast them out, and having been filled with divine zeal, you gave the godless Arius a slap, and you showed all those who were of like mind with him to be fools, giving pasture to your rational sheep. And now in the heavens, as you had laid down your life for your sheep, you receive the reward for your deeds from Christ God, and the Savior of our souls.
Who would not glorify, who would not rightly bless the Arch-priest and Teacher Nicholas, whom the Holy Trinity has blessed? For he was shown to be a famed teacher of the Holy Church, an unshakable pillar of piety, and a most-exacting canon of truth, the defender of the First Ecumenical Synod, he who uproots the tares of deception of the demons, the dissolver of heretics, the guide for the deluded, the common Father of orphans, the protector of Greece which calls upon him, and the rejoicing of the whole world.
Glory. Plagal of the Second Tone.
Come today, O you who dwell on earth, let us celebrate with hymns of praise, hymning the divine passing of the Holy Relic of the Great and thrice-blessed Nicholas, and in faith, let us cry out, saying: Rejoice, the surpassing helper of all those who call upon you in faith. Rejoice, the faith of the poor, and the deliver and protector of those on the seas. And now, entreat Christ God on behalf of us, O Hierarch Nicholas.
Both now. Of the feast.
Aposticha in the Second Tone. When You were taken down from the tree.
Rejoice, the enricher of orphans, rejoice the benefactor of widows, and the savior of those who sail, rejoice the most-fervent deliverer of the innocent. The rejoicing of the faithful, the wonder of the Angels, the pillar and foundation of the Church of Christ, rejoice the pride of the Fathers, the true boast of the people of Myra, and the chaste adornment of the divine Venerable Saints.
Verse. My mouth will speak wisdom...
When the terrible and insane Arius moved his tongue against Christ impudently, then, at the holy Gathering, with the sling of the Spirit, you cast him out like another Goliath, from the community of the faithful. Then, being aflame with divine zeal in deed and word, you deposed him, O divine Nicholas.
Verse. The mouth of the righteous man meditates on wisdom...
You hearkened to the word of the Prophet, as a wise Hierarch, and built temples and raised altars to Christ God, O all-wise one, and offered bloodless sacrifices, as another Melchizedek, O Holy one, as a sacred Hierarch. Therefore, the Master of all glorifies your all-precious Body before all, O Nicholas.
Doxastikon of the Aposticha in the Plagal of the Second Tone.
When, O all-blessed one, you delivered your soul unto the hands of the Creator, then the whole multitude of the people of Myra, of every age, surrounded the bier, and wearily shed tears upon your spotless Body, and bitterly mourned, saying: “Why have you abandoned your children, O Saint? And how will we be able to pass through the rest of life without you?” And more than this was heard: “The orphans have been robbed of their Father, the poor of their treasure, those upon the seas of their guide, those in sicknesses of their free healer, captives of their deliverer, the Priests of their Shepherd.” But, O all-holy Nicholas, do not cease to visit us from the heavens, who celebrate the memory of the honored passing of your divine Relic with fervor.
Both now. Of the feast.
The “Lord, now let your servant...”, followed by the Trisagion, then the Apolytikia.
Apolytikion in the First Tone
Come, let us all praise with hymns the veneration of the divine Relic of our Blessed Shepherd, as we cry out to him in joy: Help us, who are in all kinds of dangers, and who hymn you with faith, O Hierarch Nicholas. Glory to Christ Who glorified you, magnifying you with praise, for you were shown to be our radiant pride, and an image of holiness.
Both now. Of the feast.
After the First Stichologia,
Kathisma in Tone One. Your tomb, O Savior.
Greatly has God glorified you, O Father, with all kinds of wonders during your life, for you shepherded the people of Myra with faith. After your repose, He showed your all-holy Body to be pouring-forth wonders, which we faithfully glorify.
The protector of the people of Myra, the pride of Greece, you shown forth, O thrice-blessed one, in the city of Bari, dissolving their bitterness, and bringing in joy for them, O all-wise one, through the holy case of your Relics, which we praise sacredly, O all-blessed Nicholas.
Both now. Of the feast.
After the Second Stichologia,
Kathisma in the Fourth Tone. You have appeared today.
Today, the whole world celebrates reverently, at the passing of your sacred Relic, O Hierarch Nicholas, hymning Christ, Who magnified you.
You appeared as a perfect worshiper of the Divine Trinity, and you served as a priest on earth in purity, O all-holy one. And now, O divine Nicholas, together with the Angels, you chant unto God with rejoicing.
Both now. Of the feast.
After the Polyeleos, then,
Kathisma in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone. The Wisdom and Word.
The all-working grace of the Spirit wholly dwelt within you, O blessed one, and showed you to be a God-inspired Hierarch, as you spiritually and divinely shepherded your flock to your holy sheepfold in holiness. Therefore, the Master, in return for your struggles, has glorified you with incomparable wonders, O Holy Hierarch Nicholas, intercede for Christ God that remission of offenses be granted, to those who celebrate the honored veneration of your Relic with fervor.
Glory. Of the same tone.
The defender and protector of rulers, the providence of widows and orphans, you were shown to be, O Father, and the deliverer of the innocent, and the savior and helper of all those upon the seas, the deliverer of the sick, the adornment of the Fathers. Therefore, we who have gathered in your Church in faith hymn you, O glorious Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God, that forgiveness of offenses be granted, and that we be made partakers of His heavenly Kingdom.
Both now. Of the feast.
Then, the first Antiphon of the Fourth Tone, followed by the Prokeimenon:
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His venerable one. (2)
Verse: What shall we offer to the Lord, for all that He has given us?
The Gospel of the Orthros. (see December 6th)
The 50th Psalm.
Glory. Through the intercessions of the Hierarch...
Both now. Through the intercessions of the Theotokos...
Idiomelon in the Plagal of the Second Tone
Have mercy on me, O God...
The foundation of the Fathers, O divine Nicholas, the worshiper of the Three-Sunned Godhead, the mystic of virtues, and the glory and rejoicing of the people of Myra, as you now stand before the Master's Throne, and dance with the Angels, intercede on behalf of us, O most-holy Father.
Then the Canons to the Saint [to be translated at a later date].
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
Though you descended into the grave.
Though you descended into the grave, O Nicholas, yet you still visit us who hymn you, and as our intercessor before God, you grant speedy help to those who faithfully entreat you, O Hierarch and leader of the people of Myra.
Open my mouth, O God my Savior, and fill it with divine wisdom, that I might be strengthened to worthily hymn the Great Teacher among Hierarchs, the Shepherd and Leader of the people of Myra, who was truly innocent, spotless, and in all ways blameless. The protector of widows, the Father of orphans, the entreator for sinners, the savior of the innocent, and the guide and helper of those who sail the seas. Through the passing of his Holy Relic, he sanctified everything until the sun. But being astonished by the multitude of his divine graces, I cry out to him with faith: Protect and keep the world, through your prayers, O Hierarch and leader of the people of Myra.
On this day, we celebrate the Passing of the Sacred and Holy Relic of our Father among the Saints, Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra of Lycia, the Wonderworker.
O rational flock that is present, now join chorus to entreat
Nicholas, hymning him whose Body is passing on the tenth.
Your dead body was found in the East, O Godly-minded one,
And now has been shown working awesome wonders in the West.
Exaposteilarion. O women, hearken.
The Church of Christ radiantly celebrates the radiant passing of your Relic, O all-holy one, and it praises you with rejoicing. Preserve her, O thrice-blessed one, from trials, and scandals of the foe, through your intercessions to God, O Hierarch Nicholas.
And of the feast.
At the Praises, we chant four verses, chanting the following Prosomoia
Tone One. The heavenly ranks.
Let us praise the pride of Arch-priests, the leader of the people of Myra, the protector of orphans, the staff of rulers, and the great deliverer of the faithful, the helper of those who are in danger upon the seas, the redeemer of the innocent.
The Shepherd of Priests, the nourishment for orphans, the deliverer of captives, the savior of those who sail, the giver to the poor, the unsleeping intercessor of the faithful, and the free healer of the sick, we hymn you, O Nicholas.
At the light-bearing and divine Passing of your Holy Relic, the divine Church sacredly celebrates a feast with honor, for through this, you sanctified the whole world, and we hymn Jesus with praise, Who glorified you with wonders.
The city of Myra knows you to be truly as another Joseph the Giver-of-grain, and a deliverer from all kinds of pains and calamities, a patron and defender. Therefore, we ceaselessly hymn you harmoniously, O most-holy Nicholas.
Doxastikon of the Praises in the Plagal of the First Tone.
O venerable Father, you hearkened to the voice of the Gospel, freely distributing your wealthy to the poor, and thereby inheriting from Him the heavenly share, O revered one. As you stand before the throne of the Trinity, and ever chant together with the Angels the thrice-holy hymn, entreat that He have mercy on us and save us, O Saint Nicholas.
Both now. Of the feast.
Great Doxology, and Apolysis.
The typika from the canon of the feast at the Third Ode, and of the Saint for the Sixth Ode.
The Epistle and Gospel from the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th.
The memory of the righteous is unto the ages. Alleluia.
In a fitting tongue, let us all hymn the holy passing of your Body with faith, therefore protect us from danger, and keep us all unharmed, for we call upon you, O divine Nicholas.
Having your sacred icon, O blessed Nicholas, as a strong surrounding wall, we take refuge in all dangers, and from every trial are we redeemed.
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly He is risen!