Thursday, May 23, 2019

"Christ God has brought us from death to life, and from earth to heaven..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Moses praying and striking the waters of the Red Sea, while the Lord divided the waters and saved the Israelites (source)
1And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2Speak to the children of Israel, and let them turn and encamp before the village, between Magdol and the sea, opposite Beel-sepphon: before them shalt thou encamp by the sea. 3And Pharao will say to his people, As for these children of Israel, they are wandering in the land, for the wilderness has shut them in. 4And I will harden the heart of Pharao, and he shall pursue after them; and I will be glorified in Pharao, and in all his host, and all the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
5And it was reported to the king of the Egyptians that the people had fled: and the heart of Pharao was turned, and that of his servants against the people; and they said, What is this that we have done, to let the children of Israel go, so that they should not serve us? 6So Pharao yoked his chariots, and led off all his people with himself: 7having also taken six hundred chosen chariots, and all the cavalry of the Egyptians, and rulers over all. 8And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharao king of Egypt, and of his servants, and he pursued after the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went forth with a high hand. 9And the Egyptians pursued after them, and found them encamped by the sea; and all the cavalry and the chariots of Pharao, and the horsemen, and his host were before the village, over against Beel-sepphon.
10And Pharao approached, and the children of Israel having looked up, beheld, and the Egyptians encamped behind them: and they were very greatly terrified, and the children of Israel cried to the Lord; 11and said to Moses, Because there were no graves in the land of Egypt, hast thou brought us forth to slay us in the wilderness? What is this that thou hast done to us, having brought us out of Egypt? 12Is not this the word which we spoke to thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? for it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this wilderness.
13And Moses said to the people, Be of good courage: stand and see the salvation which is from the Lord, which he will work for us this day; for as ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses parting the Red Sea (Source)
15and the Lord said to Moses, Why criest thou to me? speak to the children of Israel, and let them proceed. 16And do thou lift up thy rod, and stretch forth thy hand over the sea, and divide it, and let the children of Israel enter into the midst of the sea on the dry land. 17And lo! I will harden the heart of Pharao and of all the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them; and I will be glorified upon Pharao, and on all his host, and on his chariots and his horses. 18And all the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I am glorified upon Pharao and upon his chariots and his horses.
19And the angel of God that went before the camp of the children of Israel removed and went behind, and the pillar of the cloud also removed from before them and stood behind them. 20And it went between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and stood; and there was darkness and blackness; and the night passed, and they came not near to one another during the whole night.
21And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the Lord carried back the sea with a strong south wind all the night, and made the sea dry, and the water was divided. 22And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the water of it was a wall on the right hand and a wall on the left. 23And the Egyptians pursued them and went in after them, and every horse of Pharao, and his chariots, and his horsemen, into the midst of the sea. 24And it came to pass in the morning watch that the Lord looked forth on the camp of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and troubled the camp of the Egyptians, 25and bound the axle-trees of their chariots, and caused them to go with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.
Moses and the Israelites being led by the pillar of fire (source)
26And the Lord said to Moses, Stretch forth tine hand over the sea, and let the water be turned back to its place, and let it cover the Egyptians coming both upon the chariots and the riders. 27And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the water returned to its place toward day; and the Egyptians fled from the water, and the Lord shook off the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28and the water returned and covered the chariots and the riders, and all the forces of Pharao, who entered after them into the sea: and there was not left of them even one. 29But the children of Israel went along dry land in the midst of the sea, and the water was to them a wall on the right hand, and a wall on the left.
30So the Lord delivered Israel in that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead by the shore of the sea. 31And Israel saw the mighty hand, the things which the Lord did to the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and they believed God and Moses his servant.
Moses parting the Red Sea through the power of God (source)
1Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to God, and spoke, saying, Let us sing to the Lord, for he is very greatly glorified: horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
2He was to me a helper and protector for salvation: this is my God and I will glorify him; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
3The Lord bringing wars to nought, the Lord is his name.
4He has cast the chariots of Pharao and his host into the sea, the chosen mounted captains: they were swallowed up in the Red Sea.
5He covered them with the sea: they sank to the depth like a stone.
6Thy right hand, O God, has been glorified in strength; thy right hand, O God, has broken the enemies.
7And in the abundance of thy glory thou hast broken the adversaries to pieces: thou sentest forth thy wrath, it devoured them as stubble.
8And by the breath of thine anger the water parted asunder; the waters were congealed as a wall, the waves were congealed in the midst of the sea.
9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils; I will satisfy my soul, I will destroy with my sword, my hand shall have dominion.
10Thou sentest forth thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty water.
11Who is like to thee among the gods, O Lord? who is like to thee? glorified in holiness, marvellous in glories, doing wonders.

Moses leading out the Israelites (source)
12Thou stretchedst forth thy right hand, the earth swallowed them up.
13Thou hast guided in thy righteousness this thy people whom thou hast redeemed, by thy strength thou hast called them into thy holy resting-place.
14The nations heard and were angry, pangs have seized on the dwellers among the Phylistines.
15Then the princes of Edom, and the chiefs of the Moabites hasted; trembling took hold upon them, all the inhabitants of Chanaan melted away.
16Let trembling and fear fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm, let them become as stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till this thy people pass over, whom thou hast purchased.
17Bring them in and plant them in the mountain of their inheritance, in thy prepared habitation, which thou, O Lord, hast prepared; the sanctuary, O Lord, which thine hands have made ready.
18The Lord reigns for ever and ever and ever.
19For the horse of Pharao went in with the chariots and horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought upon them the water of the sea, but the children of Israel walked through dry land in the midst of the sea.
20And Mariam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, having taken a timbrel in her hand—then there went forth all the women after her with timbrels and dances.
21And Mariam led them, saying, Let us sing to the Lord, for he has been very greatly glorified: the horse and rider has he cast into the sea.
-Exodus 14-15,
read during the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Great Saturday

The Resurrection of Christ, foreshadowed by the passing of Israel through the Red Sea, which brought humanity not out of physical bondage, but "from death to life, and from earth to heaven" (source)
The day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O peoples! Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha; for Christ God has brought us from death to life, and from earth to heaven, as we sing the triumphal song.
Christ has risen from the dead, by death he has trampled on death, and to those in the graves given life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"He who thirsts, let him come to me and drink..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ preaching in the Temple (source)
When the middle of the feast arrived, Christ ascended to the Temple, and preached, saying to those Jews who had come to Him: He who thirsts, let him come to me and drink of the water of eternal life, that he might never thirst unto the ages, for he who believes in me, from his belly will flow rivers [of living water], and will have the light of life.
-Idiomelon of the Aposticha from the Feast of Mid-Pentecost, by St. John of Damascus

Christ has risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Akathist to Sts. Constantine and Helen the Equals-to-the-Apostles

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Sts. Constantine and Helen the Equals-to-the-Apostles (source)
Akathist to Sts. Constantine and Helen the Equals-to-the-Apostles

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
O multitude bearing the name of Christ, come let us gather and praise with harmonious hymns the God-crowned Constantine and Helen, who clearly preached the faith of Christ, and uncovered the Precious Cross, and let us cry out to them: Rejoice, O ever-memorable ones.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Open my mouth, O Jesus my God, that I might hymn Constantine the Great (3), for he is the joy of all bearing the name of Christ, and a most-radiant proclaimer of the faith. Strengthen also my tongue to cry out to him things such as these:
Rejoice, he who was preordained by God,
Rejoice, he who was sanctified by Him.
Rejoice, he who was descended from royal lineage,
Rejoice, he who was filled with wisdom and counsel.
Rejoice, for in deed you proved God's calling,
Rejoice, for you fled from the darkness of faithlessness.
Rejoice, for you received the call from Heaven in faith,
Rejoice, you who were baptized by Sylvester in Rome.
Rejoice, the chaste joy of the faithful,
Rejoice, the corruption and wailing of the faithless.
Rejoice, through whom the priests take boast,
Rejoice, through whom kings are crowned.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Beholding Maxentios and Maximian trampling upon the pasture of Christ, you took boldness in God, O Constantine, and having arrayed yourself in the weapon of the Cross, and having overcome tyrants, you cried out to the Lord: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Having been enriched with divine blessedness, O Helen, you approached the Lord in faith. And having your son as a sacred fellow worker, the ever-memorable Constantine, you filled the world with incomparable joy, as we cry out to you:
Rejoice, foundation of piety,
Rejoice, glory of the Church.
Rejoice, the boast of all those bearing the name of Christ,
Rejoice, the adornment of all rulers.
Rejoice, for you gave to us the Cross of the Lord,
Rejoice, for from you has the wondrous Weapon shone forth.
Rejoice, you who uncovered the life-giving Tomb [of Christ],
Rejoice, you who revealed it to the whole world.
Rejoice, the joy and famed one of the world,
Rejoice, the corrupting and wailing of the idols.
Rejoice, through whom Christ was glorified,
Rejoice, through whom the divine faith was exalted.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.

The power of the Most-high truly descended upon you from on high, O blessed Helen, as you venerated the Holy Lands in reverence, and because of this, you raised up a divine temple that was greatly beautified, crying out to Christ the Savior: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Having Christ dwelling within your soul, and having been filled with divine illumination, you gathered the 318 God-bearing Fathers, and you strengthened the faithful, who cry out these things with fervor:
Rejoice, Christ-bearing King,
Rejoice, God-bearing Ruler.
Rejoice, equal in honor to the Apostles of Christ,
Rejoice, equal in number to the divine Fathers.
Rejoice, for you proclaimed the sacred Trinity,
Rejoice, for you drew everyone towards the true faith.
Rejoice, founder of the City that bears your name,
Rejoice, adorner of the Church of Christ.
Rejoice, for the Angels wondered at you,
Rejoice, for men were pleased in you.
Rejoice, protector of your famed Church,
Rejoice, deliverer of us who honor you.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Breathing forth with godly zeal on behalf of you, O Theotokos, the great King Constantine dedicated his city to you, having you as his sustainer and protector, which may you protect unto the ages, crying out to your Son: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
All the nations, through you, O all-joyous one, heard the preaching of the Gospel: Armenians, Indians, Iberians and all the rest, O Lady, therefore the tribes and tongues [of the earth] praise you, crying out these things:
Rejoice, she who was ordained by God,
Rejoice, she who was elected by Him.
Rejoice, equal in honor to the former Prophetesses,
Rejoice, equal in station to the Myrrhbearers of Christ.
Rejoice, for you were zealous for Mariam of Moses,
Rejoice, for you were anointed more divinely that Oldas.
Rejoice, you who poured myrrh upon the Tomb of Christ,
Rejoice, another Magdalene and Joanna.
Rejoice, you who conquered the manliness of Judith,
Rejoice, you who surpassed Queen Esther.
Rejoice, you who desired Christ as Salome,
Rejoice, you who loved Him like Susannah.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
Performing a God-led journey, O godly-minded one, you returned to the Queen of Cities [Constantinople], and you brought with you the Precious Cross of Christ, and the Nails, bringing them to your son, who was filled with incomparable joy, and cried out to the Lord: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
All the nations beheld the wondrous Cross of the Lord through you, O Constantine, and were straightaway illumined with light, which drove away the terrible darkness, and you brought people to Christ, who therefore offer to you these things:
Rejoice, Apostle of the Lord,
Rejoice, lamp-lighter of the Gospel.
Rejoice, you who revealed the Precious Cross,
Rejoice, you who multiplied the preaching of Christ.
Rejoice, for you brought all nations to Christ,
Rejoice, for you founded divine temples to Him.
Rejoice, you who built the Church of the All-holy Sepulcher,
Rejoice, divine guide of pilgrimages.
Rejoice, for you are the common boast of cities,
Rejoice, our divine nourishment.
Rejoice, through whom kings are granted wealth,
Rejoice, through whom the faith is preserved.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.
As one who received the divine calling and the kingdom for your piety, O Constantine, you have boldness before God for the faithful, therefore intercede for those who joyfully cry out to Christ together: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
You appeared shining forth with the faith as a radiant light, O all-joyous Helen, for the light of your divine works dissolved the darkness of the idols, and illumined all to cry out with fervor these things:
Rejoice, most-radiant light,
Rejoice, most-meek lamp of Christ.
Rejoice, rejoicing of pious Rulers,
Rejoice, adornment of all women.
Rejoice, for you adorned the temples of the Lord,
Rejoice, for you dispersed the altars of the idols.
Rejoice, you who confirmed the true faith in deeds,
Rejoice, you who fought on behalf of all those who are wronged.
Rejoice, common refuge of the poor,
Rejoice, surrounding wall for the naked and strangers.
Rejoice, through whom piety shines forth,
Rejoice, through whom virtue dawns.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
Always bearing in mind the commandments of the Lord, you loved Him wholly with all your soul and body, and were arrayed in love for God like porphyry, as the Queen of the Psalms, you were arrayed and crying out: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
You received the call from God at a young age like Paul, O godly-minded Constantine, and straightaway you imitated him with your whole soul, following Christ. Therefore we magnify you, crying out these things with joy:
Rejoice, chosen one of the Most-high,
Rejoice, creation of the Master.
Rejoice, most-fervent follower of Christ,
Rejoice, he who followed His good laws in practice.
Rejoice, for you served underwritten by virtues,
Rejoice, for you shone forth as meek and humble.
Rejoice, for you were a pillar of continence,
Rejoice, for you were a tower of righteousness.
Rejoice, incomparable help for the poor,
Rejoice, provider for many of the sick.
Rejoice, spring of forgiveness,
Rejoice, lily of sympathy.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Wholly embracing the dogma of the Holy Trinity that was foreign to you, O Constantine, you correspondingly lived a foreign life that matched these foreign teachings, and you shone like a sun upon the earth, and prayed to the Trinity: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Having all your fervor towards God, O blessed one, and love towards for neighbor, you praised God with hymns and prayers, and rejoiced to adorn His temples, and filled all the earth with good works, as we cry out:
Rejoice, fervent worshipper of God,
Rejoice, healer from the Creator.
Rejoice, you who were enriched with ceaseless prayer,
Rejoice, you who ever studied divine hymns.
Rejoice, for you built temples of the Lord,
Rejoice, for you enriched them with your treasures.
Rejoice, for you ever served as a benefactor to men,
Rejoice, for you filled the earth with good deeds.
Rejoice, for the Angels hymned you,
Rejoice, for the demons were afraid of you.
Rejoice, the joyous hymnody of God,
Rejoice, guide of mortals to salvation.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.

All the earth truly received the voice of your deeds, and because of this, every breath hymns the name of Helen, and every tongue praises her, crying out to the Creator of all: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Many words of rhetors are astonished at the multitude of your deeds, O Constantine, for your voice has reached the end of the earth, as David said. Therefore we magnify you, crying out these things joyfully:
Rejoice, wonder of the Angels,
Rejoice, astonishment of men.
Rejoice, you who did not proceed with pride upon the earth,
Rejoice, you whose name is ceaselessly wondered.
Rejoice, broad giant who measures the heavens,
Rejoice, universal Atlas, who upholds the earth.
Rejoice, the glorious boast of the whole world,
Rejoice, the greatly spoken of flower of every ruler.
Rejoice, most-radiant star of heaven,
Rejoice, greatly-shining light of the world.
Rejoice, through whom creation was illumined,
Rejoice, through whom the Creator was glorified.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

Wishing to save the whole world, the Lord of glory gave the power and the wood of His Cross to you, and He revealed His life-flowing Tomb, which is venerated by all, as we cry out ceaselessly: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Ranks of the Angels, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs and all the Saints received you in joy as you proceeded from earth to Heaven. Intercede along with them, O Helen, that we be saved who cry out to you:
Rejoice, you who proceeded towards the Lord,
Rejoice, you who ever stand beside Him.
Rejoice, you who joined the mansions of the Prophets,
Rejoice, you who dwelt in the dwelling places of the Apostles.
Rejoice, for in your calling, you shine with light among the Saints,
Rejoice, you who entreat the sacred Trinity with joy.
Rejoice, you who were granted the grace of working wonders,
Rejoice, you who stand beside those who call upon you.
Rejoice, for we have been granted you as our protector,
Rejoice, for we have put on you as a surrounding wall.
Rejoice, you who deliver from the danger of death,
Rejoice, you who protect us in creation.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
We all are led to offer hymns to the Creator, as you were sent from the earth, O blessed one. Patriarchs, Priests, Judges, together with your God-crowned offspring, O Lady, serve litany with fear, and chant unto the Lord: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
I behold you as a light-bearing lamp whose light shines throughout the world with the light of piety, as we praise your holy memory, O Christ-bearing Constantine, and do you also remember those who love you and cry out to you:
Rejoice, divine light of the world,
Rejoice, tasteful salt of all things.
Rejoice, you who stand before the unwaning Light,
Rejoice, you who rejoice in the glory of the Trinity.
Rejoice, you who have received unassailable boldness before God,
Rejoice, beloved friend who stands beside Christ.
Rejoice, you who were enriched with the grace of wonders from God,
Rejoice, you whose reliquary was shown to be a spring of graces.
Rejoice, through whom we are made close to God,
Rejoice, through whom we are delivered from dangers.
Rejoice, protector even at the hour of death,
Rejoice, deliverer from the inexorable Judgment.
Rejoice, O ever-memorable King.

You proceeded towards Christ with rejoicing, O Constantine, as you departed this life in peace. And while your body lay in your reliquary, your soul was taken by the divine and all-radiant hand of God, and together with the Angels you sing: Alleluia.
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
The great David chants and tells beforehand of you with joy, O wondrous Helen, as a mother who ever rejoices over her child. And we your servants ever cry out with joy:
Rejoice, you who ever stand before God,
Rejoice, you who are ever nourished by His glory.
Rejoice, you who dwell with the Mother of God,
Rejoice, you who ever rejoice with your son.
Rejoice, you who receive glory and love of Christ,
Rejoice, you who rule together with Him unto the ages.
Rejoice, the common intercession for the whole world,
Rejoice, the fervent protector of those who honor you.
Rejoice, hope and help,
Rejoice, my strength and foundation.
Rejoice, the protector of your famed church,
Rejoice, the deliverer of us who honor you.
Rejoice, O all-precious Queen.
O holy pair, Constantine and Helen, the pride of rulers bearing the name of Christ (3), receive our desire to grow closer to God, and intercede that those who share your names might be protected together with all the faithful, who cry out: Alleluia.
And again, the Kontakion. 
Sts. Constantine and Helen (source)
Christ has risen from the dead, by death he has trampled on death, and to those in the graves given life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

""As a yearling lamb, for us a crown of goodness, the Blessed One..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Christ symbolized as the Lamb of God, Who was slain and is alive again, on the throne before the seven seals (Revelation 5), 7th Century Mosaic, Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian in Rome (source)

"The Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it is the first to you among the months of the year. Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month let them take each man a lamb according to the houses of their families, every man a lamb for his household. And if they be few in a household, so that there are not enough for the lamb, he shall take with himself his neighbor that lives near to him, as to the number of souls, every one according to that which suffices him shall make a reckoning for the lamb. It shall be to you a lamb unblemished, a male of a year old: ye shall take it of the lambs and the kids. And it shall be kept by you till the fourteenth of this month, and all the multitude of the congregation of the children of Israel shall kill it toward evening. And they shall take of the blood, and shall put it on the two door-posts, and on the lintel, in the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in this night roast with fire, and they shall eat unleavened bread with bitter herbs. Ye shall not eat of it raw nor sodden in water, but only roast with fire, the head with the feet and the appurtenances. Nothing shall be left of it till the morning, and a bone of it ye shall not break; but that which is left of it till the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it: your loins girded, and your sandals on your feet, and your staves in your hands, and ye shall eat it in haste. It is a Passover to the Lord."
-Exodus 12:1-11,
reading during the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Great and Holy Saturday
Christ, the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God (source)
"Christ appeared as a ‘male’ who opened the virgin womb. As our food he is called ‘lamb’; ‘unblemished’, as our Passover without stain; and ‘perfect’, for he is true God.
"As a yearling lamb, for us a crown of goodness, the Blessed One, the cleansing Passover has been sacrificed for all; and from the tomb the fair Sun of justice has shone for us again."
-from the Paschal Canon of St. John of Damascus

Christ as the Lamb of God in the Holy Chalice, surrounded by the Holy Angels (source)
Christ has risen from the dead, by death he has trampled on death, and to those in the graves given life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

Friday, May 10, 2019

"Shine, Shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee..."

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
The Holy Myrrhbearers beholding the empty Tomb of Christ at His Resurrection (source)
"Shine, Shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is
risen upon thee. Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and there shall be gross
darkness on the nations: but the Lord shall appear upon thee, and his glory shall be
seen upon thee. And kings shall walk in thy light, and nations in thy brightness. Lift
up thine eyes round about, and behold thy children gathered: all thy sons have come
from far, and thy daughters shall be borne on men's shoulders. Then shalt thou see,
and fear, and be amazed in thine heart; for the wealth of the sea shall come round to
thee, and of nations and peoples; and herds of camels shall come to thee, and the
camels of Midian and Ephah shall cover thee: all from Saba shall come bearing gold, and shall bring frankincense, and they shall publish the salvation of the Lord. And all
the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered, and the rams of Nebaioth shall come; and
acceptable sacrifices shall be offered on my altar, and my house of prayer shall be
glorified. Who are these that fly as clouds, and as doves with young ones to me? The
isles have waited for me, and the ships of Tarshish among the first, to bring thy
children from afar, and their silver and their gold with them, and that for the sake of
the holy name of the Lord, and because the Holy One of Israel is glorified. And
strangers shall build thy walls, and their kings shall wait upon thee: for by reason of
my wrath I smote thee, and by reason of mercy I loved thee. And thy gates shall be
opened continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; to bring in to thee the power
of the Gentiles, and their kings as captives. For the nations and the kings which will
not serve thee shall perish; and those nations shall be made utterly desolate. And the
glory of Lebanon shall come to thee, with the cypress, and pine, and cedar together,
to glorify my holy place. And the sons of them that afflicted thee, and of them that
provoked thee, shall come to thee in fear; and thou shalt be called Zion, the city of the
Holy One of Israel. Because thou hast become desolate and hated, and there was no
helper, therefore I will make thee a perpetual gladness, a joy of many generations.
And thou shalt suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt eat the wealth of kings: and
shalt know that I am the Lord that saves thee and delivers thee, the Holy One of
-Isaiah 60:1-16,
read during the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Great and Holy Saturday

Holy Prophet Isaiah (source)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly, the Lord is risen!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Two Canons for the Feast of the Translation of the Holy Relics of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, with scenes from his life (source)
Note: The following is my translation of the dual Matins Canons for the feast of the Translation of the Holy Relics of St. Nicholas, written by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain. I previously translated the rest of the service, but this is now included in completion for all those who love the Saint and who benefit from his speedy and fervent intercessions to Christ.
But finally, I include this at a very sensitive time for the Church with many temptations, enmity and fear about the future among many. May St. Nicholas, who became the model for the Orthodox Bishop, guide and protect our Orthodox Bishops throughout the world. This is a time when we especially do not need many words, much less arguments and name-calling, but greater humility, prayer and repentance.
May the Lord enlighten our Bishops (but all of us as well) to endlessly work with love and truth towards unity, putting aside all hatred, divisiveness, pride and desire for self-gain. May we imitate our Good Shepherd Who "lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:11). May the Most-holy Theotokos and St. Nicholas ceaselessly pray to Christ that our Bishops be kept "safe, honorable and healthy for many years, rightly teaching the world of Your Truth" (Divine Liturgy).
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Two Canons for the Feast of the Translation of the Holy Relics of St. Nicholas to Bari, Italy,
Written by St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain

Canon I. Ode I. Plagal of the Fourth Tone. Crossing the waters as on dry land.
The wonderworker among Hierarchs, let us all hymn, all who love feasts with reverence, with godly praises, the Great Nicholas, the pride of the people of Myra and our boast.

Now, the Church is joyful and dances and hymns the passing of the holy and sacred body of the thrice-blessed Nicholas, through which the whole world has been sanctified.

Truly, you are shown to be the enricher of orphans, the deliverer and helper of the storm-tossed, O thrice-blessed Nicholas of godly mind: do come unto our aid as well and save us, O Saint.

You were made the Temple of God, O Spotless Lady, of Him Who dwelt within you in a manner surpassing mind, O Theotokos, and Who delivered mortals from the delusion of souls.

Canon II. Tone IV. My mouth shall I open wide.
Desiring, O all-holy one, to praise the passing of your Relic, I entreat that grace might be granted to me, that I, who am unworthy, might in faith hymn you with song.

Who is able and worthy to praise him who is the mystic of grace, the preacher of the world, the leader of the people of Myra, and the Hierarch of Christ, he who is great with wonders, the divine Nicholas?

Today, the Church is made glad and boasts at the passing of your divine Relic, O wise one, and through it, protect us unharmed, O thrice-blessed one, from every heresy, O divine Nicholas.

You gave birth, O Spotless One, to my Savior in manner surpassing nature, as He desired to put on our nature, and willingly endured the Cross, and saved everything through His Resurrection.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode III. Canon I. Of the vault of the heaven.
You make radiant the heart with divine light, O all-wise one, shining clearly for the Church with all-wise dogmas, teaching to honor the Beginningless and All-Holy Trinity, Which glorified you with incomparable wonders.

You were shown to be the protector of orphans and widows, O Saint, the guide and greatly fervent deliverer of the innocent, O Nicholas, and the deliverer of the ailing, and the pride and defender of faithful rulers.

As one having boldness towards God, O Saint, you pour upon us your riches of intercessions towards our offenses, O Father Nicholas, for those who bless you, O Hierarch wise in God.

O Lady, you ineffably bore God Who was begotten of the Father timelessly, He Who has two natures. On behalf of us, entreat Him, Who has also risen from the tomb, as the Almighty One.

Canon II. Establish your servants.
With the zeal of the King of All, O Mystic, you rightly deposed the blasphemy of Arius with steadfastness. Do also deliver those who sail the seas and who are in danger of being drowned, O Father of the poor most sacred.

The ranks of the divine Bodiless Powers, together with all of the mystics of Christ received your soul rejoicing, O all-holy one and the adornment of Hierarchs, O God-bearer Nicholas.

You sanctified the world the presence of your divine Relic, O wise one, and you shine upon the Church with the rays of your wonders, and the earth glorifies you today, and hymns you in reverence, O Nicholas.

Believing the God-inspired words, we preach you to be the Mother of Christ, O Lady Panagia. You gave birth to Him Who is risen from the dead, and raised us up from our fall.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Kathisma in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone. The Wisdom and Word.
The Shepherd and protector of the people of Myra, the faithful have gathered together to hymn, the feeder of the hungry, the provider for widows, the father for orphans, the deliverance of the innocent, the deliverer of those storm-tossed, the healer of the sick, the prophet of the future, and the sharpened sword against Arius and his fellow enemies. Let us cry out to him in fervor: O Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God, that we be granted remission of offenses, for those who piously venerate the passing of your Relic.

The radiant and light-bearing and shining great lamp of the Church of Christ, has shown forth through the passing of his Relic, O Saint: Illumine, sanctify everything under the sun with the rays of wonders, through the power of the Spirit, O divine Hierarch and mystic of unspeakable [mysteries], O all-blessed Nicholas, the pride of the Fathers, and the deliverer of the faithful. Intercede with Christ God, that remission of offenses be granted for those who call upon your all-holy name.

Both now. The Kathisma of the present feast.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode IV. Canon I. I have hearkened and heard, O Lord.
O God-inspired Hierarch, you became the Father of the people of Myra, and you are the support of the Church, which you guided in piety, O Nicholas.

Being brave in mind, the people glorify the passing of your Relic, O divine Nicholas, through which you have sanctified the world.

The adornment of the Fathers, the glory of the world, the boast of the people of Myra, you were shown to be, O Nicholas, and the boast and support of the Church.

Having risen from the grave, your Son, O Spotless Virgin, has granted forgiveness to the deluded, as the Compassionate.

Canon II. He Who sits in holy glory.
Let us celebrate together the all-glorious passing of the sacred Relic, and let all the multitudes of people who love feasts gather to ceaselessly hymn you, crying out to you: O Nicholas. protect all of us through your intercessions.

You were truly shown to be a light-bearing Hierarch of the Church, O Nicholas, and you perfectly guided the rudder. Therefore Christ has glorified you with wonders, both while alive and after your repose, O Saint.

You delivered the innocent from death, O all-glorious one, and truly saved men from the depths of the sea, through your prayer, O all-blessed Hierarch, and deposed the serpent Arius, O Nicholas.

It is the day of Resurrection, let us shine forth, O lovers of feasts, and piously glorify together our Christ and Savior, Who dissolved the curse of our Foremother, and let us cry out: Glory to Your Rising, O Master.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode V. Canon I.
The grace of the superessential Trinity dwelt within you, O all-holy one, and you therefore shepherded the flock of the Lord righteously, therefore the Master radiantly glorifies you at all times with wonders, O Hierarch Nicholas.

We know you to be Hierarch of widows and the feeder of the poor, O Father, and the physician in soul and body of those weakened, and the total guide of those upon the sea, we have found you to be, O divine Nicholas.

You served as a divine servant of unspeakable mysteries, O Venerable one, and a worshipper of the Trinity, and a great adornment of the Church, the glory of the world, and the salvation of all of us who hymn you, O Father Nicholas.

Rejoice, light cloud that is wider than the heavens, O Bride of God, from whom the Master took on our nature, willingly being crucified, and rising from the grave, raising us up with Him from our fall.

Canon II. Amazed was the universe.
The delusion of the godless Arius the mad, you strongly resisted, teaching to honor the Beginningless Father, together with the Son and the All-creating Spirit, as sharing one essence and one throne.

You desired to venerate the divine tomb of the Savior, O blessed one, and hastened to it as a thirsty hart to the springs of waters. Therefore [on the journey] the enemy out of wrath put to death a man, whom you saved through your prayer.

You ascended to the height of the mountain of divine virtues, O glorious one, and you ever join chorus with the choirs of the Angels, beholding the radiance of Christ, and gazing upon His unspeakable beauty.

The ranks of Angels beheld You dead, but You resurrected from Your grave, O Savior, as You foretold, granting life and raising up from Hades all the ancient generations of men, as God greatly merciful.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode VI. Canon I. My voice I will pour out.
You truly counted all earthly things as refuse, and wholly desired Christ above all things with your whole soul, following His ways and being truly illumined by Him, as a shining star.

You deposed the enemy Arius, rightly healing his blasphemy against he Lord, O all-precious Hierarch Nicholas, teaching all to worship the Father, Son and Spirit together.

As another Samuel, the Lord, knowing your nobility of soul, ordained you as a Priest of the Church of Myra, O thrice-blessed Nicholas, and as a comely Shepherd, you guided them towards the pasture of Paradise.

Isaiah foresaw you as a lamp, and you became the shell, whose spotless blood dyed the purple robe of the King. O All-spotless Mother of God, surround us with your divine intercessions.

Canon II. Let us possessed of a godly mind.
Let us hymn the great Hierarch, O lovers of feasts, with faith, and cry out: O divine Nicholas, protect us who glorify the sacred passing of your Relic, O all-blessed one.

The protector of widows, O Nicholas, the most-sure deliverer of those storm-tossed, and the savior of the innocent, the adornment of Archpriests, and the protector of orphans, surround us all.

You deposed the guile of satan, who attempted to set fire to your temple, O Nicholas, and you trampled upon his shameful cries, casting him to the ground through the power of the Savior.

Christ is risen, let us clap our hands, O lovers of feasts, and cry out: Glory to Christ God Who is risen, and has raised up those below, uniting with His Father.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode VII. Canon I. Once from Judea.
You now stand before the throne of the Trinity, O Hierarch, Whom we ask that you entreat on behalf of those who hymn you and every cry out: O God of our Fathers, blessed are You.

O thrice-blessed one, from infancy you received heavenly wisdom, for you fasting from nursing Wednesdays and Fridays, and we all chant and cry out: God is wondrous among His Saints.

The Ruler over all, Who once asked Peter if he loved Him, made you to shepherd the flock of the people of Myra in all righteousness, O mystic and godly-minded Nicholas.

The forested mountain became a divine dwelling-place of the divine Logos, O Pure One, as the tongs that received the burning coal from the golden altar, O All-holy Virgin, intercede with your only Son on behalf of us.

Canon II. Godly-minded three.
Having inherited the heavenly mansions, O divine Nicholas, you became united with Christ, and you dance together with the Angels and cry out with fervor: O Greatly-hymned God of our Fathers, blessed are You.

Grace has poured forth from your lips, O wise mystic of holy things, therefore Christ God anointed you as the leader of His Church which you shepherded as a perfect healer of the Savior and Life-giver.

You received the grace of the Spirit from the heights, O Nicholas, and are seen near and far, distributing wealth without end to the poor, and your memory of your righteousness abides unto the ages.

The eternal Wisdom of the Begetter [Father], Christ the Lord, dispassionately was born from you, O Lady, the Timeless One born a man in time, and desired to deliver those condemned to death through the Cross.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode VIII. Canon I. The King of heaven.
The Hierarch of the Church of Myra, let us honor with fervor, O faithful, as our fervent protector in dangers.

Full of light, you shine with blazing rays, illumining us, O Hierarch, who hymn you with reverence as is proper.

You were shown to be the guide of orphans, and the savior of the innocent, O Hierarch, and the rescuer of those upon the seas, and the deliverer of all.

Habbakuk in joy named you a mountain, from which was cut a stone, Your Only-begotten Son, Who crushed the altars of the enemy.

Canon II. Pious children.
You were noetically anointed with divine myrrh, through which you pour forth the fragrance of your wonders, O Holy Hierarch, for the whole world. Therefore, as is right, we chant at your passing, do not abandon us, but offer up your prayers for us

You appeared as another Joseph, O thrice-blessed one, for while he was a true giver of grain in Egypt, you, O divine Nicholas, fed the faithful of Myra both with your flowing words and your saving manna, and through your godly deeds you were proceeded to heaven.

 Having the namesake of victory, O Father, show us to be victors against the passions through your prayers, O Nicholas, for we who hymn the passing of your sacred body are dead in spirit, and we fervently chant a praise to the Lord, Who granted you to us as a divine protector.

You held your Son within your arms, O Virgin, Who did not depart from the bosom of His Father, the Timeless God wrapped in swaddling clothes as an infant. He hung upon the Cross, and was buried in the tomb, but on the third day He arose as He foretold, granting life to all.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Ode IX. Canon I. Saved through you, O Pure Virgin.
O thrice-blessed one, you mightily deposed visible and invisible foes through the grace of Christ, Whom you worshipped with fervent faith.

Through your prayers, ever preserve us from war and the sword, we who honor the passing of your body, and keep us from plague, famine, earthquake and from every evil.

You appeared to the Christ-loving Emperor in his dream, telling him to hasten to deliver those unjustly condemned, and they, having been saved, straightaway proclaimed you to be their deliverer.

Your Son is risen, having descended to the depths of Hades, and having dissolved the kingdom of death. Rejoice, O Lady, through whom we have all been saved.
Canon II. All you born on earth.
As you have come to dwell in the heavenly mansions, ever shining with glory, and partake of eternal divine refreshment, look upon all of us who have gathered here and who hymn your all-festal passing, O Nicholas.

You did not at all desire the worldly life, therefore you distributed your wealth to the poor and therefore set for yourself treasures in heaven, and became an inheritor of heavenly goodness and of the Kingdom of Christ.

Protect unharmed those who hymn you in faith, O divine Nicholas, from every assault of enemies, and strengthen the flock of the Orthodox, for we proclaim you to be our most-fervent protector against the foes who war against us, and cast away their boldness against us with evil.

Heal, O Pure One, the sounds of my soul through your compassion, and ever enlighten us, making us to be pleasing to Your Son, and cease the guileful machinations of the ancient enemy, and deliver us from the race of Hagar through your intercessions, making them to be defeated by pious rulers.(source)
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (source)
Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, He has granted life!
Truly, the Lord is risen!