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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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