The Dormition of St. John the Russian (source)
The Orthodox Church holds its Martyrs in the highest regard. They are those who witnessed to Christ, denied all worldly joys, and suffered manifold tortures in order to gain Christ and His Kingdom. As such, historically, the Church has immediately called them blessed after their martyrdom, and sought their blessings. And the Church has produced many myriads of Martyrs throughout her history, from the first to the 21st centuries.
The Christians living under the yoke of the Ottoman Turks experienced on a daily basis what it means to suffer for Christ, and many of those who gave their lives, we now call upon to pray for us as "New Martyrs" of the faith. In this regard, St. Nikephoros of Chios (+1821) composed a service (loosely based off of the Matins for Great and Holy Saturday) that can be used as a funeral for an Orthodox Christian, who witnessed to Christ and the Orthodox Faith, and gave his or her life for this witness. As one reads through this beautiful service, one is struck that there are no calls for God to grant repose to the departed, but we straightaway call on the Martyr to intercede for us to the Master. And this is according to the word of our Savior:
"Therefore everyone who confesses
Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in
Please note that this is an amateur translation of the text that is not set to match the meter of the hymns. I request that you review this translation / grammar before public or liturgical use. I also think that it would be best to seek the blessing of your bishop before using this, as these are sensitive issues which require great care, discernment, obedience humility and love.
Despite these, the reason that I provide this, however, is to show a small token of thanks to our Lord for strengthening His children among great trials, and to encourage those who continue to suffer for Him throughout the world, until He comes again to judge the living and the dead, to render to each according to his works.
An Orthodox Funeral Service for a
New Martyr of Christ
Written by St.
Nikephoros of Chios
The priest says the
“Blessed is our God...”, followed by the Psalm “He who dwells
in shadow of the Most-high” (Psalm 91).
Verse: God is wondrous among His
Saints. The God of Israel, He will give strength and protection of
His people. Blessed is God.
Verse: The Saints that are on
His earth, the Lord has shown wondrous, all that He desires is within
Troparion in the Fourth
Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his
(her) courageous contest for Thee received as the prize the crowns of
incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he (she)
possessed Thy strength, he (she) cast down the tyrants and wholly
destroyed the demons’ strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by
his (her) prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
The same hymn.
We magnify you, O Theotokos,
crying out: You are the mountain, from which unspeakably was cut the
stone, that destroyed the gates of Hades.
Then the “Blameless”
(Psalm 119), and the Lamentations
Stasis I. Tone Plagal
of the First. The Heirmos.
In a tomb they laid You, O
Christ the Life. The angelic hosts were overcome with awe and
glorified Your condescension. (2)
Verse 1. Blessed are
those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the
Let the ranks of the
faithful gather together, and offer up a hymn of glory to Christ, the
strength of Your Martyr.
Verse 2. Blessed are
those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.
We magnify You, O Christ the
Life-giver, Who glorified Your servant amidst struggles against
enemies sensible and noetic.
Verse 3. With my lips
I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
Mourning adorned the Saints
formerly, and their deaths with noise and tears, but now, they
rejoice and dance on behalf of them.
Verse 4. I rejoice in
following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
For those Champions who died on behalf
of You, O Savior, death is truly a sleep, and a journey to great
Verse 5. I
will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
We offer up for you, O Champion,
funeral hymns, and joy of soul and heart, and we glorify Your
struggles in faith.
Verse 6. Though rulers sit
together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.
You stood before the judgment seats of
the lawless manfully, having been arrayed with the Cross of the Lord,
O Champion, and you preached Christ.
Verse 7. Your statutes are my
delight; they are my counselors.
You now stand before Christ with fervor
as a communicant, through the passion that you suffered, O all
praised one, now have joy and gladness with Him.
Verse 8. I hold fast to your
statutes, Lord; do not let me be put to shame.
Now, you rejoice together with the
choirs of the Saints, in the all-joyous dwelling places of the
heavenly Kingdom, O blessed one.
Verse 9. Turn my heart toward
your statutes, and not toward selfish gain.
The ranks of the Champions, and the
multitude of the Saints have received you as an added New Martyr, and
an intercessor to Christ for those upon the earth.
Verse 10. I will speak of your
statutes before kings and will not be put to shame.
This fleeting life has ended for you,
but you have gained the life to come, and you ever live in Christ.
Verse 11. I have considered my
ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
Those who serve at your funeral, O
glorious Martyr, protect and cover from every temptation, through
your prayers to God.
Verse 12. The law from your
mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and
Though earth now covers your body, the
unwaning light of your spirit dwells in the mansions of Heaven.
O Father, Word and Spirit, Trinity in
oneness, have mercy on your supplicants, through the prayers of the
We bless you, O pure Theotokos, who was
proclaimed by the Martyr in his (her) struggles, as the utterly true
Birthgiver of God.
Stasis II. Tone Plagal
of the First. The Heirmos.
Truly it is right that we magnify You
Who bestow Life, Who upon the Cross with Your outspread Hands have
defeated all the power of the foe. (2)
Verse 1.Your hands made me and
formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
Truly it is right to magnify the new
and glorious Martyr in odes and hymns, who died and now lives
together with Christ.
Verse 2. May those who fear you
rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.
You deposed the enemies, O radiant
boast of new Champions, and you raised up the trophies of victory,
having gained them through struggling on behalf of Christ.
Verse 3. May those who fear you
turn to me, those who understand your statutes.
O holy one, you have become a glory to
the faithful, and a shame and dishonor to the faithless, therefore we
piously glorify you with hymns.
Verse 4. The arrogant dig pits
to trap me, contrary to your law.
You now sleep, for the death of Your
Saints is sleep, but your eye is untiring, and gazes upon those who
Verse 5. In your unfailing love
preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.
O Martyr of Christ, most-steadfast
Champion, do not cease to pray for your servants, who honor your
struggle with faith.
Verse 6. Save me, for I am
yours; I have sought out your precepts.
The whole multitude of Martyrs on high
has fathered, to bring glory and honor to the brave struggler of
Verse 7. The wicked are waiting
to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.
O Champion, you have been shown forth
as a phoenix rising to Paradise, as the Prophet David said, and an
Verse 8. I have more insight
than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
All were struck, seeing you victorious
before lawless judges, O brave Martyr, and steadfast in mind.
Verse 9. I am your servant; give
me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
The ranks of mortals and of the Angels
rejoices in your struggles, O new Martyr, and they glorify the power
Verse 10. Your statutes are
wonderful; therefore I obey them.
Heaven rejoices to receive your spirit,
but the earth also rejoices, to receive your sacred body.
Verse 11. The unfolding of your
words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
Deliver, through your prayers, those
who hasten to your funeral, and grant healing for those who are
standing by your divine Relic in faith.
Verse 12. I open my mouth and
pant, longing for your commands.
Entreat God for the remission of our
sins, for those who with reverence, are burying you, and covering
your body with the earth.
O Beginningless God, Father, Word and
Divine Spirit, through the intercessions of the Martyr, save all
those who believe in You.
It is truly right to magnify you, the
Theotokos, who are more honored than the Cherubim, and more glorious
than the Seraphim.
Stasis III. Third Tone.
Every generation offers Thee its hymn
of praise at Thy burial, O Christ. (2)
Verse 1. Turn to me and have
mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.
Every generation blesses you, O
Champion of the Lord.
Verse 2. Direct my footsteps
according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
You struggled bravely, and rightly
received the crown from Christ.
Verse 3. Make your face shine on
your servant and teach me your decrees.
You struggled lawfully, and you
finished the race of divine martyrdom.
Verse 4. The statutes you have
laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.
You have kept the faith, you glorified
the Creator, through your godly mind, O Martyr.
Verse 5. My zeal wears me out,
for my enemies ignore your words.
Truly, the crown of righteousness is
placed upon you, O Champion.
Verse 6. Trouble and distress
have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.
The ranks of the Angels and the choirs
of men clap their hands at your struggles.
Verse 7. Your statutes are
always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.
Today, the heavens are opened in glory,
that you might enter, O Champion.
Verse 8. I call out to you; save
me and I will keep your statutes.
The divine ranks of the Martyrs come
out to meet you, who have died on behalf of Christ.
Verse 9. Long ago I learned from
your statutes that you established them to last forever.
Rejoice unto the ages, together with
choirs of the Martyrs, O Martyr and hoplite of Christ.
Verse 10. Many are the foes who
persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.
An intercessor and mediator before the
God of all, become for those who honor you.
Verse 11. I obey your statutes,
for I love them greatly.
Protect from all dangers, O Martyr, the
city that honors you.
Verse 12. I obey your precepts
and your statutes,for all my ways are known to you.
Do not neglect, O Martyr, those who
have been made worthy to place you in the earth.
O God of all, the Prince of peace,
grant peace to the world.
O Virgin Theotokos, do not cease to
intercede for peace in the world.
And the Evlogetaria in
the Plagal of the First Tone.
Blessed are You, O Lord,
teach me Your statutes.
The assembly of angels, and all the
choirs of the saints, O Champion, now surround your soul in the
heavens rejoicing, and they glorify Christ Who granted you strength
and crowned you.
Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your
Instead of myrrh, we on earth offer you
hymns with fervor, and your sacred body, O Saint, we now bury with
reverence, therefore receive our divine fervor, and visit and save us
through your prayers.
Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your
You proclaimed Christ most radiantly as
Son of God and God the Word, O Champion, before judges and atheists,
and having been slaughtered, received eternal life and live forever.
Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your
With awe we surround your all-sacred
body, and honorably bury it in the earth, invisibly grant divine
graces to those who hymn you with faith and fervor.
Glory to the Father and the Son and the
We worship the Father and His Son and
the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, for Whom you struggled, O Martyr,
manfully, and Who crowned you with incorruptible crowns, O Glorious
Both now and ever and unto the ages of
O Virgin you gave birth to the
Life-giver and Savior, Who granted salvation to mortals, and Who was
preached by the famed Champion with boldness, and most-truthfully you
who gave birth to God, and opened incorruption where was formerly
Then, the entreaty,
with the ekphonesis: “For you are our God...”
And the Kathisma. First
Tone. Your grave, O Savior.
sacredly we bury your all-holy body, O Martyr of Christ, we entreat
with faith and fervor, seeking your grace for your servants, and help
and firm protection for those who desire you, and who praise you in
reverence, and in all ways do guide them.
Glory. Both now.
Mary, the sacred vessel of
Then the Prokeimenon: The
righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar
Verse: Those who are planted in
the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
The Gospel according to
The Lord said: Beware of men, for they
shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to
the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and
rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye
shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your
adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be
betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends;
and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be
hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of
your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.
Through the intercessions of the
Champion, O Merciful One, wash away my many personal offenses.
Through the intercessions of the
Theotokos, O Merciful One, wash away my many personal offenses.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to
Your great mercy, and according to the multitude of Your compassion,
blot out my transgressions.
Then the Troparion, to
the melody of “Jesus, having risen from the grave...”
For those who celebrate the divine
burial of your Relic in faith, O Martyr of Christ, entreat that we be
granted divine mercy.
Then the Priest says:
“Save, O God, Your people, and bless Your inheritance...”
Lord have mercy (3)
And the Priest says:
“Through the mercy and compassion...”
And then [at the final
veneration of the Relic] the following Prosomoia in the Second Tone.
When from the tree.
Come, O faithful, let us venerate with
reverence and fervor, and embrace the all-holy and
surpassingly-precious body of the famed new Martyr, touching it with
our lips, our eyes and our foreheads, that we be granted the grace of
the Spirit which has been united with it, and let us pray to him
(her) in tears, that we might be made worthy of a saving and divine
end, through his (her) intercessions to the Lord.
Above, the choirs of the Angels, and
the ranks of the Champions, rejoices at your holy soul, O blessed
one, and exalts together with the multitude of the Venerable, and the
choirs of the Prophets and the divine band of Hierarchs, while below,
your all-sacred body is honorably buried in the earth, rightly
praised in hymns and odes.
When Christ comes from heaven with the
Angels and Saints to judge everyone, then, your body will be raised
again with glory, as it is written, in incorruption, O thrice-blessed
one, though it is now buried in the earth in corruption. Therefore,
remember all of your servants, that the Judge might have mercy on
all, we pray.
Your divine body is hidden within the
recesses of the earth, but your spirit radiantly was received on high
in heaven, O Champion, in the divine mansions and holy dwelling
places, where it rejoices together with the choirs of the chosen,
until all will be united in the resurrection of the dead, that they
might give glory together unto the ages.
With most-fervent desire and love, O
Martyr, deliver those who are burying your divine Relic, through your
intercessions, from every sorrow, danger and evil, that in peace, we
might celebrate your all-holy memory with annual hymns and the
clapping of hands, as we venerate the container of your Relic.
Rejoice, Panagia, the beginning of the
human race, O Virgin, from whom Christ the Lord refashioned the
nature of mortals. Rejoice, untilled arable land, that bore fruit
that is the wheat of life. Rejoice, you who were foreseen by the
Prophets. Rejoice, the glory of the Apostles. Rejoice, the strength
of the Martyrs.
The Dormition of St. Kosmas Aitolos, the New Hieromartyr (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!