Thursday, December 4, 2014
Excerpt from the Encomium to St. Barbara by St. John of Damascus
St. Barbara the Great Martyr (source)
...But to me, you are a lamb of Christ, and dove, and bride, and every other name that is good, and grace-filled, and precious. Rejoice, for you bravely passed through the paths of struggles. Rejoice, for you worthily partake of the spoils of your struggles. Rejoice, for you were granted many rewards for your struggles. Rejoice, for you kept the passionate body and the racing thoughts in chastity. Rejoice, for you preserved your senses from a young age, and were trained with a proper mind. Rejoice, you who kept virginity before your martyrdom, preserving yourself, having been presented to Christ as spotless and undefiled. Rejoice, you who did not soil your bodily beauty by the passions, but kept it untouched and offered to the Creator. Rejoice, you who in the tower, as in a secure fortress, kept virgins supported, strong and untouched, offering up prayers to God, and ascribing the theoria of things that exist to the Creator unerringly, you were nourished alone by the good and beloved. Rejoice, you who at the waters purifying bodily stain [the bathhouse], symbolized the Trinity through the depicting of three sources of light, thus depicting the three-fold giving of mystical and saving light, depicting baptism. Rejoice, you who forthrightly and boldly confessed the consubstantial Trinity with a most theological mouth. Rejoice, you who boldly preached the One of the Holy Trinity Who took on flesh for our salvation. Rejoice, you who trampled upon the wealth and nourishment, and royal garments, and gold and pearls, and every bodily adornment and beauty, and the joys of this world, and therefore inherited instead the eternal good and unspeakable things, that surpass the vision of the eyes, and the hearing of the ears, and every sense and thought. Rejoice, you who at a young age and weak gender, bravely and manfully were strong with all of your mind. Rejoice, you who were not worried by tortures or blows, but bravely went towards every type of unique and twisted torture. Rejoice, you who in the flesh were made worthy to behold the glory of Christ, as the First-ranked of the Disciples did on the mountain [Tabor], and beheld, as did Elias and Moses, who stood by Him blessing Him. Rejoice, for you endured the pains of scourging, and the burning of iron, and being pierced with a garment of hair, and the shedding of streams of your blood, and the flames of fire, and the cutting off of your members, and being paraded naked, and the removal of your head and of your life, all on behalf of Christ, that your body might therefore receive the shining rays of undying incorruption, and the unspeakable and incomparable woven robe of glory. At your righteous endurance, men were amazed, and angels, beholding the struggle, clapped their hands, and sang hymns, while the demons, at this hymnody, were struck with a state of fear, and shame, and wailed of their eternal shame. O you the adornment and sanctity of the female gender, which having beheld the manliness of your struggles, takes courage and is benefited! In you, the fore-mother makes boast, as one of her daughters struggles straightaway with the enemy dragon, and trampled upon him, calling up and bearing the radiant trophies of victory. You were like the Theotokos, the holy of holies and fore-mother, the Virgin and Mother of God, who is first among women and only glorified, more than all men and women, and who reigns in heaven and on earth, as the Mother of Him Who rules over all things...(source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!