Saturday, February 27, 2021

St. Ephraim of Katounakia: The Martyr of Obedience


Here is a video with English subtitles of a talk of Metropolitan Athanasios of Lemesou on the newly-canonized St. Ephraim of Katounakia, including video clips of the Saint himself, who is celebrated today as his first feast day. May we have his prayers and blessings! (source)
Selected hymns from the service to St. Ephraim of Katounakia (Commemorated February 27th), written by Dr. Charalampos Bousias, Hymnographer of the Patriarchate of Alexandria 

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the First Tone. Let us worship the Word.
O newly-shining lamp-lighter of noetic prayer, as a dweller of Katounakia and a light of the Holy Mountain, who illumined all with the light of your virtues, O most-divine Ephraim, who proceeded to the heights of theosis, dispassion and nepsis: Do not cease to entreat Christ for us.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone.
Let us praise the hard-working, prayerful and neptic ascetic of Katounakia, who was lifted up from every baseness of the nous towards the virtues through purification, as one equal to the Angels, let us mortals praise him with psalms and divine hymns, crying out: Rejoice, O most-divine Father.
The Angels were astonished, beholding your feats in Katounakia, O Ephraim, and the chaste citizens of Athos beheld the grace that dwelt in you through your monastic way of life, and they cry out these things with compunction in soul:
Rejoice, bodiless one bearing flesh,
Rejoice, inheritor of Heaven.
Rejoice, defender of dispassion and nepsis,
Rejoice, fellow-dweller with non-possessiveness and grace.
Rejoice, unassailable foundation of prayer of the heart,
Rejoice, greatly-varied stream of perfect obedience.
Rejoice, you who were a disciple at the feet of Joseph,
Rejoice, you who showed to all the virtue of your heart.
Rejoice, godly offspring of Thebes,
Rejoice, goodness by canon and knowledge.
Rejoice, dweller of Katounakia,
Rejoice, protector of those who approach you.
Rejoice, O all-venerable Father.
On this day (February 27th), the memory of our Venerable and God-bearing Father Ephraim, who lately lived in asceticism in Katounakia.
Obedience, prayer and a harsh way of life
You lived, O Ephraim, in Katounakia.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Akathist to the Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite

Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite (source)

Akathist to the Holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) the Tishbite - The Great Prophet of Fire, 900 BC, - 20th of July

Kontakion 1

Chosen by God to turn Israel from the deception of Baal, dread denouncer of lawless kings, you shone forth with flaming zeal for God Almighty with holiness of life and miracles, who in the flesh was caught up to the heavens and shall come again before the Second Coming of Christ: to you do we dedicate hymns of praise, O Elijah, prophet of God. As you have boldness before the Lord, by your prayers free from all evil and adverse circumstances us that piously cry out to you: ~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Ikos 1

You were an angel in the flesh, O prophet, in your zeal for God and in your pure life, for while you were yet an infant, your father, Sobah, beheld radiant angels conversing with you, swaddling you in fire, and nourishing you with flames, which was an omen of your flaming zeal for God, the power of your words and your blameless life which was a light. Wherefore, with amazement we cry to you such things as these:

~Rejoice, you who from eternity were chosen for the ministry of saving the children of Israel!

~Rejoice, you who from your mother’s womb were prepared as a herald of divine truth and piety!

~Rejoice, you who astounded your father with the most glorious vision which concerned you!

~Rejoice, you who from your youth did love virginal purity and silence!

~Rejoice, you who despised the vanity of this world and all its goods, and

did consecrate your soul totally to the Lord!

~Rejoice, you who were illumined by God with the light of wisdom and from childhood drank your fill of the teaching of piety!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 2

Beholding impiety and perversion in Israel, O most glorious prophet, you were greatly vexed of spirit, and were inflamed with zeal for the glory of God, for the children of Israel were bowing down before abominable idols and had departed from the true God, to Whom all the armies of heaven cry out with fear: Alleluia!

Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 2

Ahad, the unjust king of Israel, blinding his reason with evil intent, forsook God Almighty and worshipped the abominable idol Baal, and in his kingdom he propagated idolatry and impiety. But you, O prophet, filled with great zeal for God, boldly denounced the king, proclaiming to him that, as punishment for him and his kingdom, there would be neither rain nor dew for three years and six months, and that there would be a great famine throughout all the land. Marveling, therefore, at such zeal for God and great boldness, with love we cry to you:

~Rejoice, fearless preacher of the truth and mighty champion of piety!

~Rejoice, zealous denouncer of impiety!

~Rejoice, you who did move our longsuffering God to punish unrepentant sinners!

~Rejoice, you who did close heaven with your word and did make barren the fruitful earth!

~Rejoice, you who did ask of the Lord a three year famine on account of the people’s impiety!

~Rejoice, for the Lord Most High made you a god to Ahab, as of old He made Moses to Pharaoh!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 3

Truly by the power of your prayer, O most wondrous prophet, was the sky closed, and it did not rain for three years and six months, and great famine was there throughout all the land, that, perhaps, tormented by burning heat and hunger, the impious people might repent and turn to the Lord, crying out to Him in compunction: Alleluia!

Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 3

Having great goodwill towards you, O prophet, the Lord wished to set you apart from the unjust children of Israel, that you might not endure hunger and thirst with them; and He commanded you to go to the brook of Cherith, where ravens fed you, bringing you bread and meat. Wherefore, we bring you these praises:

~Rejoice, you who by fasting and vigilance did blot out all earthly and vain imaginations!

~Rejoice, you who by prayer and thought of God did give wings to your mind that it might fly to the heights!

~Rejoice, exultation of patriarchs and adornment of prophets!

~Rejoice, boast of virgins and glory of the venerable!

~Rejoice, instructor of holy hierarchs and strength of martyrs!

~Rejoice, for you did turn the children of Israel, blinded by impiety and unbelief, back to the path of truth!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 4

A great tempest which ruptured the mountains came before the Lord approached you on Horeb, O prophet; then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, there was the voice of a gentle breeze, and as such did the Lord make Himself manifest unto you. Perceiving His presence, you did cover your face with your mantle, crying out to Him in fear and joy: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 4

Ahab, on hearing your command, that he gather together all the tribes of Israel on Mount Carmel and invite thereunto all the shameful prophets of Baal, straightway sent word and assembled all, and he himself came there. And you, O zealot of the glory of God, wishing to put the abominable idols utterly to shame and to glorify the true God, commanded that two sacrifices be made ready, but that they not be set on fire, saying: “The God Who shall answer by fire, He is God.” And, on hearing this, all the people said: “Good is the word of Elijah. Let it be so!” And we, magnifying you, cry out:

~Rejoice, great emissary of the heavenly King and herald of His holy Commands!

~Rejoice, adamant unsurpassed in zeal, and unshakable pillar of piety!

~Rejoice, mighty protector of truth and steadfast opponent of the enemies of God!

~Rejoice, up-rooter of impiety and instiller of piety!

~Rejoice, flaming zealot of the glory of God!

~Rejoice, for even in the last days of the world you shall preach the true God and denounce the wretched Antichrist!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 5

Jezebel, the unjust queen, thought to extinguish you, the divinely guided star; for, filled with wrath against you because of the destruction of her shameful prophets, she wished to slay you, for her heart was hardened , and she wished not to believe in your wonders, O prophet, or to acknowledge the true God, chanting unto Him: Alleluia!

The wondrous icon of the Holy Prophet Elias from the Skete of the same name, on Mount Athos (source)

Ikos 5

All the people of Israel, beholding the fire from the Lord which at your prayer came from the heavens upon your sacrifice, O all-praised prophet, and which burnt it all, devouring the wood and the stones, earth and water, fell upon their faces, crying out: “Truly the Lord is God! He is God!” And the people believed in God, but you did slay the shameful prophets of Baal. Therefore, glorifying Almighty God, Who works wonders, thus do we say to His favored one:

~Rejoice, you who did acquire exceeding great boldness before the Master of all!

~Rejoice, you who did confirm divine truth with signs and wonders!

~Rejoice, you who put the deception of the demons to shame and glorified the true faith!

~Rejoice, you who did enlighten the unbelieving with the true knowledge of God!

~Rejoice, you who, in pouring water thrice upon the sacrifice, did reveal the mystery of the All-holy Trinity!

~Rejoice, for the nature of all things that are were subject to you, and fire and water obeyed you!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 6

You did show yourself to be a preacher of true knowledge of God and piety, not only in Israel, but in a heathen land as well, O prophet, being sent by the Lord to Zareptah of the land of Sidon to be maintained by a widow, or rather that you might maintain her during the famine; for, possessed of the great grace of working wonders, you did abundantly increase the flour and oil in her house until the time of famine passed, and by breathing thrice you did, through prayer, resurrect her dead son, chanting to God Who works wonders: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 6

Shining forth with great zeal for God Almighty, O prophet, you were exceedingly grieved that the children of Israel had forsaken His covenant, had cast down His altars and slain His prophets. And the Lord, for your comfort, told you that not all of Israel had departed from Him, but that there would be seven thousands of His hidden servants, who had not bent their knees to Baal. Wherefore, mindful of your zeal for God, with reverence we sing to you such things as these:

~Rejoice, faithful servant and close friend of the Lord!

~Rejoice, model and boast of pious pastors!

~Rejoice, teacher of salvation and enlightenment for them that sit in darkness!

~Rejoice, you who are attentive to the courage of defenders of the truth and do strengthen them in their struggles and sufferings for righteousness!

~Rejoice, for you did burn with seraphic love for God!

~Rejoice, for the Lord obeyed you in all and did everything according to your request!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 7

The Lord Who loves mankind, wishing to manifest His lovingkindness to repentant sinners, when the time of the famine which had been foretold had passed, sent down at your prayer and through the word of your lips, O prophet, a gentle and abundant rain upon the burnt dry land. And the children of Israel, granted such great mercy, in compunction of heart thankfully cried out to God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 7

The impious king Ahab added a new crime to his iniquities when he commanded that the innocent Naboth be slain and his vineyard seized. Wherefore, denouncing the lawless king, you did foretell to him, O prophet, that swine and dogs would lick his blood where Naboth was put to death, and that the dogs would devour Jezebel, his wife, and that all his house would be utterly destroyed. Therefore, mindful of this dread prophecy, which was fulfilled, we are filled with terror, crying:

~Rejoice, dread one who take vengeance upon oppressors and the cruelhearted!

~Rejoice, mighty helper of orphans and of those that are tried!

~Rejoice, punisher of those that honor not the feast of the saints of the Orthodox Church!

~Rejoice, you who cast down audacious blasphemers of the name of God!

~Rejoice, you that with a word of reproof, as with thunder, strike down iniquity!

~Rejoice, you who know things of the future as though they were present, and see things afar off as though they were near!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 8

Strange and supernatural foresight did the Lord show in your regard, O prophet, when He commanded the hungry and child-hating ravens to feed you during the famine by the brook of Cherith, where, ever abiding in prayer and thought of God, you did sing to God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 8

Wholly adorned were you with great humility, O prophet of God. Wherefore, with fire did you consume the two captains of fifty with their warriors who came with pride to take you to the unjust king Ahad; but you did have mercy on Obadiah, who had fed the disciples of the prophet. Wherefore, we offer you these hymns of praise:

~Rejoice, humbler and punisher of the prideful, and protection and helper of the lowly!

~Rejoice, chastiser of corrupt judges, and helper of them that judge righteously!

~Rejoice, champion of pious soldiers amid battle, and subduer of the impious adversary!

~Rejoice, you who were clad in wisdom as with a breastplate, and protected with righteousness as with a shield!

~Rejoice, you who were armed with zeal for God as with a sword, and were feathered with fasting as with wings!

~Rejoice, you who were covered with faith as with a helmet of salvation, and were crowned with love as with a diadem most radiant!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 9

All of human nature was exceedingly amazed at how you, O most wondrous prophet, did walk for forty days, neither eating nor drinking, until you did reach Mount Horeb, where you were granted the most glorious vision and the most sweet discourse of the Lord Almighty, chanting to Him: Alleluia!

The ascent of the Holy Prophet Elias in the fiery chariot (source)

Ikos 9

The most eloquent of orators are at a loss how to understand and explain sufficiently how you, O Elijah of great renown, being of human flesh and subject to such passions as we are, were caught up in your body to heaven in a fiery chariot which appeared to you, drawn by fiery horses. Therefore, glorifying the Lord Who has magnified you and marveling at your ascension, we reverently cry to you:

~Rejoice, that with most wondrous abstinence you did slay within yourself the old man!

~Rejoice, that with the fire of divine zeal you did consume within yourself every material imagination!

~Rejoice, you who made glad the human race by your translation to heaven and have confirmed that life is indeed eternal!

~Rejoice, you who were honored by God with surpassing honor and glory, and were glorified more than all the prophets of old!

~Rejoice, you who were greeted joyously by the angelic choirs in the heavenly mansions!

~Rejoice, for your name is honored throughout the entire world and your zeal for God is exceedingly glorious!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 10

The Most Good God, wishing to save the people of Israel from the deception of Baal, chose you, O great prophet, as the instrument of His will and robed you with divine authority, that you might convert the unbelieving, correct transgressors, enlighten the ignorant and teach all to chant unto God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 10

Be a rampart and an aid unto us, O most holy prophet, appeasing by your mighty mediation the righteous wrath of God, which does strike us, the sinful and unprofitable, with drought and famine, as also with destructive winds and plagues; that, delivered from misfortune, we may thankfully chant unto you:

~Rejoice, you who close and open the sky with your prayers, and send from God fruitfulness and barrenness of the earth!

~Rejoice, you who by your intercession before God send down gentle rains and life-giving dew upon the plants of the earth!

~Rejoice, you who calm the raging waves of the sea and the dreadful tempests, and direct the thunder and lightning in accordance with God’s will!

~Rejoice, you who subdue destructive winds and pestilence which attack both man and beast!

~Rejoice, nourisher of orphans and widows, and protector of compassionate people!

~Rejoice, for you do strike down impious blasphemers and persecutors of the true Faith, and drive away spirits of malice from the servants of God!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 11

Accept from us this compunctionate hymn, O Elijah, prophet of God, as you did accept the petition of Elisha when he asked you for a double portion of the Spirit which was in you; and when, caught up to heaven, you did let fall your mantle upon him, which he took up, he parted the waters of the Jordan, as you had before, and became the heir to the grace of God which worked within you. Thus, with the mantle of your mercy do protect us also from every misfortune and evil circumstance, that with thanksgiving we may cry out to God: Alleluia!

The ascent of the Holy Prophet Elias in the fiery chariot (source)

Ikos 11

A radiant beacon were you in Israel, O all-praised prophet, shining forth in your wisdom and your life, which equaled that of the angels and yet, more with your extraordinary zeal for God and with most glorious miracles, illumining the people with true knowledge of God and driving away the gloom of idolatry. Wherefore, we dedicate hymns of praise to you, singing:

~Rejoice, bright star that has illumined the entire universe with your radiance!

~Rejoice, luminous lamp, ever burning and casting light upon those that sit in darkness!

~Rejoice, you who were enlightened with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and were full of the spirit of counsel and might!

~Rejoice, you who were illumined with the spirit of knowledge and piety and were watered with the spirit of the fear of God!

~Rejoice, you who were adorned with lofty virtues and most glorious miracles!

~Rejoice, for you did fulfil the judgments of God on earth, and did anoint prophets and kings!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 12

Great grace was given you by God, O all-praised prophet, for in your earthly life you did prophesy and did work wondrous miracles, and then you were in your flesh caught up to heaven. And after you were caught up, you did wondrously stand on Tabor before the Transfigured Lord and did converse with Him; and even until this day, you do not cease to work wonders and to pour forth mercy and healing upon them that ardently honor you, faithfully chanting to God: Alleluia!

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Ikos 12

Hymning your flaming zeal for God and your life, which equaled that of the angels, and your marvelous and most glorious wonders and the Lord’s surpassing good pleasure toward you, we praise you, O Elijah, prophet of great renown. Yet, unable fittingly to describe your greatness and glory, with compunction we cry to you such things as these:

~Rejoice, ark of divine glory and most honored temple of the all-holy Trinity!

~Rejoice, ever-burning lamp of the Churches, and fragrant blossom of the paradise of God!

~Rejoice, guide of pious desert-dwellers and instructor and strengthener of virgins!

~Rejoice, for you rouse sinners to repentance, and by your intercession do obtain everlasting life for the whole human race!

~Rejoice, for you delight yourself in the holy splendors of ineffable glory, and ever glorify the Lord!

~Rejoice, for at the end of time you will work great signs and wonders for the confirmation of the people in the true Faith, and for the denunciation of Antichrist!

~Rejoice, O Elijah, great prophet of God, Glorious forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ!

Kontakion 13

O most wondrous and most glorious Elijah, prophet of God, great zealot of God, who from God send down both fruitfulness and barrenness upon the earth: hear this modest prayer which we reverently offer you, and by your fervent intercession before the Lord preserve us from drought, famine, and deadly pestilence; and grant us seasonable weather and an abundance of fruit, and a spirit of true faith and piety, that, delivered from eternal torment, we may be granted the blessedness of paradise, chanting unto God: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! (Thrice)

Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1 are repeated.

The Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Prayer to Holy Elijah, Glorious Prophet of God

O all-laudable and most wondrous Elijah, prophet of God, who in your life, which equaled that of the angels, shone forth upon the earth with flaming zeal for the Lord God Almighty, and yet more with most glorious signs and wonders; and then, in accordance with God’s extreme good pleasure in your regard, was supernaturally caught up to heaven in your flesh on a fiery chariot, was granted to converse on Tabor with the Transfigured Savior of the world, and now ever abide in the mansions of paradise, and stand before the throne of the Heavenly King: hear us, who are sinful and unprofitable, who at this hour stand before your holy icon and earnestly have recourse to your mediation. Entreat God, who love mankind, on our behalf, that He grant unto us the spirit of repentance and contrition for our sin and help us with His all-powerful grace to depart from our ways of impiety and to prosper in every good work; that He strengthen us in the battle with our passions and lusts; that He implant in our hearts the spirit of humility and meekness, the spirit of brotherly love and absence of guile, the spirit of patience and chastity, the spirit of zeal for the glory of God and for the salvation of our neighbor. By your supplications, O prophet, set at nothing the evil ways of the world and, moreover, the pernicious and destructive spirit of this age, which afflicts the Christian race with irreverence for the divine Orthodox Faith, for the order of the Holy Church and for the commandments of the Lord, and with disrespect for parents and the ruling authorities, and cast the people down into the abys of impiety, subversion and perdition. By your intercession, O most wondrous prophet, turn away the righteous wrath of God from us, and deliver all the cities and villages of our land from drought and famine, from fearsome tempests and earthquakes, from deadly plagues and pestilence, from the incursion of enemies and from evil strife. By your supplications, O most glorious one, strengthen our civil authorities in the great and burdensome task of governing the nation, and make them prosper in all good works and undertakings which lead to the establishment of peace and justice in our land. Aid our military forces in battle against the enemy. O prophet of God, beseech the Lord that He grant: our pastors—holy zeal for God, heartfelt concern for the salvation of their flock, wisdom in teaching and correction, piety and strength amid temptations; our judges—impartiality and detachment; the oppressed—justice and sympathy; all in authority—concern for those that are governed, mercy and justice; the governed—obedience to the authorities and ready fulfillment of their obligations, that living in this age in peace and piety, we may thus be granted to partake of the eternal blessings in the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom is due glory, honor and worship, with His Un-originate Father and with the All-Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Holy Prophet Elias (source)

Through the prayers our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!