Bubble Orthodoxy

Why did the scribes, high priests and pharisees seek to kill and then actually crucified Christ? (Matt. 16, 20, 23, 26, 27; Mk 8, 14, 15; Lk 5, 11, 20, 22; Jn 7, 11, 19). After all, the scribes were the literate and educated elite, the high priests were the leaders of the Jewish religion and the pharisees are defined as ‘members of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity’. And yet the same word has come to mean ‘a self-righteous or hypocritical person’. Indeed Christ Himself called them ‘hypocrites’ (Matt. 6, 7, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24; Mk 7; Lk 13).

The scribes, high priests and pharisees sought to murder and then actually murdered Christ because he disturbed their self-satisfied and narcissistic bubble, their comfortable little world, their comfort zone, from which they were able to condemn all others who did not belong to their club. He forced them to face reality. He cast the moneychangers out of their Temple.  In their eyes, the punishment for that is death.

Sadly, there are many who prefer to live in illusions, rather than in the real world. They cut themselves off in their imaginary ghetto world, as reality is too frightening. It takes guts to face reality. It is much better to live in pastel colours and a sepia vision than in the real world. Thus, many create a bubble life, with their own self-imposed rules, perhaps with more than a tinge of protective racism, rejecting all others outside the ‘clan’ as ‘unclean’. ‘All the others are wrong; only I am right’. This bubble life allows them to condemn others. And that is what the scribes, high priests and high priests did. And that is what they still do today. Let us beware they we too do not fall into such a trap of pride and self-love, treating others as lepers.

 

Please Pray for Metropolitan Hilarion

The news of the bad health Metropolitan Hilarion of New York, the First Hierarch of ROCOR, is not news. He has been gravely ill for several months. Unable to correspond, all his documents have been signed electronically in that time. Now we must pray all the more for him, regardless of the fact that we are not in his jurisdiction.

We pray for Metropolitan Hilarion and also for a peaceful succession. This is often not easy for ROCOR, as we saw with the transition from Metr Anastasy to Bishop Philaret (suggested by St John of Shanghai in order to avoid a split), from Metr Philaret to Metr Vitaly (as Archbp Antony of Geneva related to me in detail after his return from New York 35 years ago) and then the traumatic transition from Metr Vitaly to Metr Laurus.

We have known Metr Hilarion since 1989 and have the most wonderful memories of this humble monk, who never knew the word ‘aggression’. May God’s Will be done.

A Request From Moscow

I read very sad news last night that someone whom I had known for years passed away in June. Her name is Natalia, aged 80. Her husband, Dmitry, is a famous professor from the university where I studied between 2003 and 2013. They are very spiritual and sincerely Orthodox people, with no signs of hypocrisy, phariseeism or neophytism at all. They were a very united couple who lived together for over 50 years. They converted to the faith after the very early death of their son in the 1980s. And between 1994 and 2019 they performed a very great feat: they organized and ran a centre for the Orthodox education of military servicemen in the centre of Moscow, formally attached to St Tikhon’s University of Humanities, but in fact carrying everything themselves on their shoulders, with very limited resources, in poor premises, and many other problems – day after day till late evening for 25 years, inviting some of the best priests as their teachers.

We first met them both in 2004 and between 2004 and 2006 we regularly attended the lectures that they organized (absolutely on a voluntary basis). It was they that acquainted us with Fr X and Fr Z in the 2000s. They also have a daughter and four grandchildren. They were a very, very beautiful couple. It is a pity that her husband has been widowed now. I contacted them by email last year and they replied several times, but not this year. As early as 2004 Dmitry arranged for me to read a report at one of our most prestigious universities for which I received a grant. I remember Natalia had cancer in 2004 or so, but after serving a single moleben everything was healed at once. Their labours were incredible, based on enthusiasm and love. Please can you remember her? Thank you.

John Ballard (1934–1953)

 

The Spirit bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone born of the Spirit …

(John 3, 8)

My dream was a glimpse of the world beyond sense,
All beauty and wisdom are messages thence.

(John Masefield, Right Royal)

A few miles from the little town where I lived as a child, there was a boy called John. Born in the 30s, he had grown up through the war years. And then tragedy struck – he developed poliomyelitis, that disease which caused so much havoc until scientists led by Enders discovered the vaccine which would put an end to it by the late 50s. I can still remember my mother taking me to vaccination and hearing the story of how only a few years before a neighbour’s child had been paralysed and then had died from ‘polio’.

John was such a child. Aged 17, he had to lie in a plaster ‘boat’ when not having physiotherapy. Many young people in such a situation would have felt angry and frustrated, their minds darkened by bitter thoughts. Not so John. As his illness progressed he was gradually illumined by grace and he saw the whole world as it really is, transfigured by the love of God and filled with the signs of His presence to comfort man and recall him to his eternal destinies. Those last years John must have lain awake for long hours at night. He had seen the inner meaning of things, hidden to the healthy, and he wrote several poems. This one is entitled God’s Love:

The little lanes that wind and twist
Were made by God above.
He our little world has kissed,
To help us find His love.

He made the tiny snowdrops white
That peep up from the snow:
Such comforts gave us in our plight
That we His love might know.

The apple-blossom overhead,
Bluebells ’neath our feet
That we the right path may tread,
And so His love may keep.

The cowslips in the meadows green,
A sky of bluest blue,
Weeping willows by the stream,
Prove that His love is true.

The golden leaves fall to the ground
And drop amongst the heather;
Their thread of life had been unwound,
But His love lasts for ever.

The birds, the trees, the clouds, the sky,
The sheep and fishes too,
Are yours to have until you die –
Given by His love to you.

This was written in June 1951. I can imagine him in that hospital, where a few years later my grandmother was to pass away, God rest her. As the seasons passed, he would look out of the window and see or recall first the snowdrops, then the apple-trees with their ‘blossom overhead’, followed by the cowslips and then the golden leaves, knowing that his own ‘thread of life’ would soon be unwound, but knowing also that all the beauty that he saw was ‘his to have’ until he died and that beyond death God’s love ‘lasts for ever’. Later these words would be set to music and be sung as a hymn to the Creator by thousands of local children who had never known their author.

In the spring of 1953, John caught a cold, and died, mourned by his friends at Black Notley Hospital, to whom he had endeared himself: his thread of life was unwound, but his memory lasts for ever.

July 1994

(Chapter 72 from Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition)

Spreading Love: Towards Our Local Church of Western Europe

‘Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake’.

  1. Introduction: The Battle Against the Extremes of East and West

Although the Body of Christ was through the Resurrection victorious in the battle over the kingdom of hell and death nearly 2,000 years ago, the battle for the Body of Christ on earth has raged on. Just as the Body of Christ, that is, the Church, obviously belongs to Christ, and so also the clergy and people who serve Her belong to Christ, though some may imagine otherwise. This sense of belonging to Christ is why, like St Alexander Nevsky, whose 800th anniversary it is and who fought both the extremes of East and West, for exactly fifty years we too have had to battle the persecutors of the Church from both East and West. By the grace of God we have confessed God’s Truth, resisting and rejecting seven persecutors who came from West and East, sometimes one by one, sometimes together.

These were: the British Establishment, petty and divisive émigré personality cults, freemasonry, pressure from the KGB, modernism, sectarianism and Russophobic pressure from the CIA. All through the five decades of our conscious Orthodox lives we have been persecuted directly and indirectly by these persecutors inasmuch as they, although opposed in nearly everything else, were all totally united in not wanting the Church of Christ to expand and especially in their opposition to the foundation of a new Local Church of Western Europe or indeed anywhere else. But we have always remained faithful to the Church of Christ, seeing them off and retaining our pastoral freedom for the sake of building up our Church for the future generations.

  1. Faithful and Local

During all that time we have fought for the creation of a united multinational Church which is Local to Western Europe and yet still fully Faithful to Russian Orthodoxy. For the Russian Orthodox Church is surely called to be the Second Jerusalem, that is, the New Jerusalem which spiritually unites the immensely diverse Old World of Eurasia, on which the rest of the world depends. This unity is in the spirit of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe, who spent all his life in Eurasia until the final four years. Then he had to go to his Gethsemane in the distant USA. Here he was put on trial by those whose ancestors had loved power and riches more than Christ.

Just as they had betrayed the Church, the Tsar and the Russian people in 1917, so they betrayed him. Tried by them as a thief and found innocent, from there St John went on to his victorious Golgotha repose before the Icon of the Mother of God. For then, as now, there were the money-minded who did not want a Local Church, but a destructive, sectarian and political ideology, as one of St John’s disciples, Fr Seraphim (Rose), so clearly understood. They opposed the missionary work of St John, who had said that ‘the task of the Church Outside Russia is…the spreading of Orthodoxy in the countries where they live’. For them the Church was none of this, but merely a sectarian and cultish ideology of power and wealth.

  1. The Money-Minded and the Church-Minded

Those money-minded who opposed him still oppose the missionary spirit of St John, as is proved by their actions, though not always their words. They are characterised by ultra-conservatism, ritualism and moralism and are therefore recognisable by the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They see the Church as an outpost of a foreign power and ideology. They belong to this ideology, and therefore see a Local Church as unnecessary. For some of these there is even already a Local Church: Catholicism or Protestantism. The only reason that they do not belong to these isms is purely nationalistic.

Then there are also those who do want a Local Church, but a controlling sect or totalitarian cult which excludes all except their own Western nationality and they refuse to speak a ‘foreign’ language. Thus, they compromise Orthodox Truth, as the Truth is ‘foreign’ to them. However, we have for fifty years proclaimed that we must be faithful to Orthodoxy and at the same time Local, we must be Transcendent and Incarnate, with God and with Man. We do not put money first, but put the Faith of Christ first.

  1. The Unity of the Orthodox Church

Today the Russian Orthodox Church of Western Europe, the legacy of St John, is composed of many dioceses with nearly 500 parishes and communities and 410 priests, of whom some 80% belong to the Patriarchal Russian Orthodox Church and its missionary arm, the Archdiocese of Western Europe: there is no need to prolong the now unnecessary divisions of the past, for the Cold War is over, despite the intentions of some to revive it.

We have all our lives resisted the attempts to divide the Russian Orthodox witness. Whatever diocese we have witnessed in, we have worked for unity against all the quenchers of the Spirit, with their nationalistic, sectarian, political and alien influences which have tried to divide us. Satan does not want those who love the Church and sets his friends against us; so we remain and resist.

  1. Resisting satan

We resist satan precisely by resisting his acts of betrayal and so division of the Church. Since 1917 satan has worked to disunite the Church on earth by attacking the centre of its earthly unity in Russia, overthrowing the Christian Empire and subjecting it to the martyrdom of Western atheist values. This new disunity was first seen in Greek nationalist and then other nationalist divisions introduced into the Orthodox Diaspora.

It was revealed again in the adoption of the Roman Catholic (so-called ‘new’) calendar for the fixed feasts by such Balkan nationalists.  With the outward revival of the Russian Church following the failure of Western atheism in the Soviet Union to destroy her, in the 1990s the secularist powers took fear and openly decreed that the final enemy to be overcome was indeed the Russian Orthodox Church and its otherworldly values.

  1. The Contemporary Two-Pronged Attack on Unity

The first prong of this new and divisive attack on the Russian Orthodox world, the modernist prong from the left, came through Ukrainian nationalism, supported by Greek nationalism, both of them financed by atheists from overseas. The second prong of the attack on the Russian Orthodox world, the sectarian prong from the right, has appeared in the Western world. Here there are those conscious or unconscious agents of disunity, supported by the selfsame powers as those who supported division in the Ukraine, who wish to renew Russophobic division in the recently reunited Russian Orthodox Diaspora. The creators of disunity declared on the reunion of the Russian Church in 2007 that, if we cannot divide from them from the outside and so rule them, then we shall infiltrate them and divide them from the inside and so rule them.

I know the above because I heard the former US ambassador Herbst and his bishop from Odessa saying it behind my back in San Fransisco. For long the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has in part been led on earth by those who do not believe in Her. They do not believe in Her Unity and try to divide Her, they do not believe in Her Holiness and reject the saints, they do not believe in Her Catholicity and like sectarians refuse to admit Her Universality at different times and in different places, and they do not believe in Her Apostolicity and ban missionary work. They prefer loving themselves to loving the Church. Not believing in the truth and so denying it, they dwell in slavery, for only the truth sets free.

  1. A Life for the Tsar-Confessor and the Tsar-Martyr

We have sacrificed fifty years to live the destiny appointed for us. This has been to do in my native town and native region, and so very, very modestly, what would have happened, had the Orthodox Empire not been overthrown and the Emperor and his servants not been martyred by dark forces from 1916 on. For Tsar Nicholas, a Confessor before becoming a Martyr, had encouraged the Church authorities to bring Christ to the world, especially to Eurasia, thus uniting it. Had he not been martyred, he would have established a church in every European capital. His destruction was therefore ordered by enemies from near and from far.

In our life for the Tsar we have tried, however feebly, to walk in his footsteps, for his enemies have also been ours. Unlike him, we have not been called to martyrdom; therefore we are called to confessordom, for must all follow one way or the other. We have endeavoured to continue his interrupted missionary task, but in towns of our own locality, the East of England, this tiny corner of Western Europe, also in the hope that others may do likewise elsewhere. After 20 years of telling the truth, such missionary work was banned. However, those who wish to remain in their echo-chamber and close their ears to the facts always lose both spiritually and morally.

  1. Tradition or Disincarnation

In doing all this we have also done what we can to renew the veneration of the Old Saints of the West from the distant past, for that too was part of the Orthodox world. This veneration is because we believe in continuity and the need to gather together the vestiges of Faith from the past. We have never believed that it is necessary to start all over again, tampering with what has already been done. Rather we must rebuild. We do not believe that it is necessary for the young to trample down the foundations that have already been laid for a Local Church through the sacrificial blood, sweat and tears of the past fifty years.

Those who reject the already laid foundations as disincarnate are on the margins of Church life. Those who want only the new imagine that they are not in Europe. They have little sense of pastoral work, of the reality of the people. They are those who are new to the Church and use alien convertspeak to communicate. We, however, follow the Tradition, not the false spiritualism of Disincarnation. You cannot lead when you have no followers because you are disincarnate. We need an incarnate missionary arm to the Russian Church locally.

  1. Authority or Tyranny

Christ taught ‘as one having authority, not as the scribes’ (Matt. 7, 29). Authority is not imposed, for that would be mere authoritarianism. Authority, like respect for it, comes from strength of faith and from the presence of the Holy Spirit, as in the case of the saints. However, where there is no such spiritual authority, there is authoritarianism, that is, tyranny, imposed authority and bullying.

The fall that follows the refusal to listen is a classic, textbook case of hubris. Pride always does go before the Fall. The suicidal refusal to listen, to sweep the truth under the carpet and gag and censor the truth-tellers, leads to a fall. However, the Truth will out. Missionary work will continue. A Church or a Diocese, like anything else, cannot be built on injustice. Like a boomerang, injustice always backfires. The result of dismissing the truth has constantly been that the truth explodes in the faces of those who are in denial. This is the mystical law.

  1. Persecution and Division

Periods of bitter, indeed, unheard of, persecution pass. For the Church is a ship which has at last sailed to a safe haven. However, when the righteous, but much-tried, captain gives up his soul, it eventually falls victim to princes, not servants, of the Church. The crew are held hostage. However, we do not despair or grow bitter, because we know that we will be saved, for the Church belongs to God. God, not man, saves His Church from the injustices and untruths of men. God’s Truth is always revealed despite all the attempts to conceal it.

We have seen in our lifetimes how in the Diaspora each national grouping has a spiritual meaning, identity and purpose, and therefore has a long-term existence, only if it contributes towards the creation of Local Churches. This is the case in North America, Western Europe, Oceania and Latin America. If this contribution is not positive, if it is nationalist in any form, sectarian in any form, cultish in any form, divisive in any form, political in any form, if it looks only to the past and not to the future also, then the grouping will inevitably die out like the barren fig-tree. It will not be fit for purpose and the dead will bury the dead. This is the warning we give.

  1. The Judgement of God

We have always challenged sectarian disuniters with their extremisms, which are always allied to the secular, with political parties and ideologies. A little like fools for Christ, we say what the disuniters do not want to hear. Of course, we unworthy ones lack the holy and prophetic vision of the holy fools, but we tell the truth. Among them there have been those who have opposed the inevitable work of the grace of God and prevented both the veneration of the saints, old or new, and all missionary work, which work is then replaced with the personality cult. we have seen it so many times in our lives.

We patiently awaited the judgement of the highest court to be revealed and take effect and so for injustices to be removed. This was always only a question of time, God’s own time. We have always known that God will reveal His Will in His own time, whatever the doubts of men who have mocked what they saw as our foolishness. Like the mockers of Noah building his ark on dry land, they mocked us. But then the flood came and we were proved right, for they even tried to take away our arks. The flood will continue and wash the mockers away. Meanwhile, the arks of salvation built for the people sail intact to their safe haven.

  1. Conclusion: The Church as the Body of Christ

Thus, if the only interests of a grouping are power, property, money or a divisive and destructive ideology, either nationalist or sectarian, with all the injustices which stem from such interests, it will die out. As for us, we have always rejected the institutionalised corporations of the modern scribes and pharisees, who are more interested in worldly property, tyrannical power, earthly glory and ugly lucre, than in the pastoral needs of the flock. But we accept the Church as the Body of Christ, the place of salvation of human souls.

This is why we act as missionaries: not because we wanted to, but because there was no-one else to do it. For nearly fifty years we have accepted the Cross of apostolic missionary work to serve the people, not because we wanted to, but because there was nobody else to do it. We have ever supported heartfelt Faith against dead institutions, apostolic Hope against money-loving worldliness, compassionate Love against dry bureaucracy. But above all we have rejected the evident lack of love of those who oppose Christ’s Holy Church.

Who is our Patron-Saint?

Introduction

The Local Deanery of the Archdiocese of Churches of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe is made up of sixteen parishes with over 5,000 faithful, led by seventeen priests and five deacons, as well as numerous readers. At present one of our deacons and two of our readers are awaiting ordination to the priesthood and one reader to the diaconate. This will create a group of twenty priests and five deacons, 25 major clergy in all.

However, one of the decisions which we clergy and people of the Archdiocese are called on to make is: Who is our Patron-Saint? At present we have two outstanding candidates. These are St Alban the Protomartyr and St John of Shanghai. Both have arguments in their favour. St Alban is perhaps the obvious candidate for a Deanery which spreads throughout Great Britain, from Exeter to Felixstowe and from London to Glasgow. On the other hand, St John of Shanghai, an almost contemporary figure, is one of those who brought back Orthodox Christianity to this country, but also called on the local saints (like St Alban) to be venerated again. He also allowed the use of a Western rite, and since two of our priests use a Western rite, they have a special veneration for St John. Let us recall some facts:

St Alban

St Alban (whose name means ‘white’) lived in the later 3rd or very early 4th centuries, in Verulamium (long since renamed St Albans). Presumably a Romano-Briton, once Alban met a Christian priest fleeing from persecutors and sheltered him in his house for a number of days. The priest prayed and kept watch day and night, and Alban was so impressed with the priest’s faith and piety that he found himself emulating him and soon converted to Orthodox Christianity. Eventually, it came to the ears of an unnamed impious prince that Alban was sheltering the priest. The prince gave orders for Roman soldiers to make a search of Alban’s house. As they came to seize the priest, Alban put on the priest’s cloak and clothing and presented himself to the soldiers in place of his guest.

Alban was taken to a judge, who just then happened to be standing at a pagan altar, offering sacrifices to devils. When the judge heard that Alban had offered himself up in place of the priest, he became enraged that Alban would shelter a person who despised and blasphemed the gods, and, as Alban had given himself up in the Christian’s place, Alban was sentenced to endure all the punishments that were to be inflicted on the priest, unless he would comply with pagan rites. Alban refused, and said his famous words: ‘I worship and adore the True and Living God Who created all things’. The enraged judge ordered Alban to be scourged, thinking that whipping would shake the constancy of his heart, but Alban bore these torments patiently and joyfully. When the judge realised that the tortures would not shake his faith, he gave orders for Alban to be beheaded.

Alban was led to execution and he came to a fast-flowing river that could not be crossed. There was a bridge, but a mob of curious townspeople who wished to watch the execution had so filled the bridge that the execution party could not cross. With the ardent desire to arrive quickly at martyrdom, Alban raised his eyes to heaven and the river dried up, allowing Alban and his captors to cross over as if on dry land. The astonished executioner threw down his sword and fell at Alban’s feet, moved by divine inspiration and praying that he might either suffer with Alban or be executed for him.

The other executioners hesitated to pick up his sword, and meanwhile, Alban and they went about 500 paces to a gently sloping hill, completely covered with all kinds of wild flowers and overlooking a beautiful field. When Alban reached the summit of the hill, he began to thirst and prayed God would give him water. A spring immediately sprang up at his feet. It was there that his head was struck off. On hearing of the miracles, the astonished judge ordered further persecutions to cease and he began to honour the saint’s death.

St John

Mikhail Maximovich (correct spelling) was born in 1896 in Adamovka near Kharkiv, now in the Ukraine. He came from the same Russian (not Serbian, as some incorrectly say) family as St John of Tobolsk. Growing up, he was a sickly child who was devoted to the Faith and was captivated by the lives of the saints. His piety so impressed his French governess that she converted from Catholicism to Orthodox Christianity. He attended the Poltava Military School from 1907 to 1914 and then attended Kharkiv University and received a law degree in 1918. He studied well and attended church where he was inspired by the renowned theologian Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky). He later recalled that the local monastery has become more important in his life than secular institutions.

John was a patriot and profoundly disappointed by the human weaknesses and lack of faith displayed during the tragic events of 1917.  As a result he made the decision to dedicate his life to serving God. In 1921 his family sought refuge in Yugoslavia, where in 1925 he graduated from Belgrade University with a degree in theology. To support his impoverished family he sold newspapers.

In 1926 he was tonsured monk and ordained hierodeacon, given the name John after his saintly ancestor, and later ordained hieromonk.  Once ordained Fr John no longer slept in a bed. He would nap in a chair or kneeling down in front of his icons, praying and eating only once a day. For several years afterwards he worked as a teacher at a school and then at a seminary. The principal of this seminary, in Bitola, was the future St Nicholas (Velimrovich, + 1956).

Fr John earned respect and devotion at the seminary where he taught. His reputation grew as he started visiting hospitals, caring for patients with prayer and communion. In 1934 he was consecrated bishop by Metropolitan Antony, the last bishop he consecrated, and assigned to the Diocese of Shanghai.

Here Bishop John found an uncompleted Cathedral and Orthodox deeply divided along ethnic lines. Making contact with all the various groups, he quickly involved himself in the existing charitable institutions and personally founded an orphanage and home for the children of the poor. He also set about restoring Church unity, establishing ties with local Orthodox Serbs, Greeks and Ukrainians. Here he first became known for miracles attributed to his prayer. As a public figure it was impossible for him to completely conceal his ascetic way of life. Despite his actions during the Japanese Occupation from 1937, even when he routinely ignored the curfew  in pursuit of his pastoral activities, the Japanese authorities never harassed him. He was made Archbishop of China in 1946.

When the Communists came to power in China, the Russian colony was forced to flee, first to a refugee camp on the island of Tubabao  in the Philippines  and then mainly to the USA and Australia. Archbishop John personally travelled to Washington to ensure that his people would be allowed into the country.

In 1951, St John was assigned to the Archdiocese of Western Europe, including Great Britain, with his see first in Paris, then in Brussels.  In France he became known as ‘St Jean Nu-Pieds’, ‘St John the Barefoot’, as amid the post-war poverty of Paris he would give away his shoes to the shoeless poor. Thanks to his work in collecting lives of saints, a great many Western saints became known in Orthodoxy and continue to be venerated to this day. For example, he founded St Brigit’s church in Vienna and had a service composed to her. His charitable and pastoral work continued as it had in Shanghai, even among a much more widely scattered flock.

In 1962 St. John was sent to San Francisco. Here too he found a bitterly divided community and a Cathedral in an unfinished state. Although he completed the building of the Cathedral and brought a measure of peace to the community he became the target of slander from those, including fellow-bishops, who became his enemies, and went so far as to file a lawsuit against him for alleged mishandling of finances related to the construction of the Cathedral. He was completely exonerated by the court, but this hounding of him by the political- and secular-minded was a great cause of sorrow = and probably hastened his death.

On 2 July 1966 John reposed in front of the Wonder-Working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, while visiting Seattle at a time and place he had foretold. He was entombed beneath the altar of the Cathedral he had built in San Francisco, dedicated to the Mother of God, Joy of all Who Sorrow.  In 1994 he was at last canonised on the 28th anniversary of his death. His incorrupt relics now occupy a shrine in the Cathedral. His feast day is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to 2 July.

He is beloved and celebrated worldwide, with portions of his relics in Serbia, Russia, Greece, South Korea, Bulgaria, Romania, the United States, Canada, England (Colchester, Essex) and other countries. He is known variously as St John of Shanghai and Western Europe (where he spent over eleven years) and, in the USA as St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (where he spent four years), or simply as St John the Wonderworker.

Conclusion

We do not know whom the clergy and people of the Deanery (God willing, one day to become a Diocese) will choose as our Patron-Saint, either of these two, or perhaps a third choice. However we have our own suggestion, which represents our destiny, to be both Local and Universal.

In 1994 the late Mother Elizabeth (Ampenova), Abbess of the Annunciation Convent which St John had founded in London, told me the following. When in 1962 Archbishop John was making his farewells to the flock in Great Britain, his last words were this: ‘I will not see you again in this world, and so I entrust you into the hands of your Protomartyr, St Alban’. Thinking of these words, would it not be a good thing if we adopted both of these saints as our Patrons? I can already envision an Icon of both Saints, with St John entrusting us to St Alban.

May God’s will be done!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

15 September 2021

 

 

The Lives of St Edmund and St Audrey

The iconostasis of our new church, whose opening was so long delayed, at 14, High Street, Little Abington (CB21 6BG) in south-east Cambridgeshire portrays its patron saint, St Edmund the Martyr, King of East Anglia, and also a second local saint, St Audrey of Ely. Therefore we have decided to publish simple and short Lives of both saints for visitors, both on paper and also here below:

St Edmund, King and Martyr (841-869)

‘The English nation is not bereft of the Saints of the Lord, since in the English land lie such saints as this holy king….and St Audrey in Ely’.

Abbot Aelfric of Eynsham, c. 1000

Edmund was born on Christmas Day 841 and was brought up in piety. ‘From his earliest youth, he followed Christ wholeheartedly’. In particular the young Edmund learned to love the name of Jesus Christ, which was to go with him all his life. He learned to read and began to learn the Psalter by heart. After the death of the previous King of East Anglia, Edmund was called to become King in 855, aged only fourteen. Chosen King at what is now Caistor St Edmund, just to the south of Norwich, in 856 Edmund was anointed and crowned King of East Anglia at Bures on the border of Suffolk and Essex. This town commanded the strategic crossing-place over the river between East Anglia and Essex.

With Edmund’s reign begins a new age in the history of East Anglia. ‘Edmund the blessed, King of the East Angles, was wise and honourable, and always glorified by his noble conduct before Almighty God. He was humble and devout, and continued so steadfast that he would not yield to shameful sins, nor in any way did he bend aside his conduct, but was always mindful of the true teaching…. He was bountiful to the poor and to widows even like a father and always benignly led his people to righteousness, and controlled the violent and lived happily in the true faith’. So reads the Life of St Edmund written in the tenth century, which concludes: ‘He was raised up by God to be the defender of His Church’.

It was into this world that in 865 a storm broke. The storm consisted of a full-scale Viking invasion, some twenty-thousand strong, which landed in East Anglia on the Suffolk coast, but then went north towards York. It may be that at this time Edmund rebuilt the great earthworks to the south-west of his Kingdom near Little Abington, a stretch of which is known as ‘St. Edmund’s Ditch’ and at the northern end there is an area called ‘St. Edmund’s Fen’.

In any case, in 869 the Vikings reappeared. In Thetford in the late autumn of 869 a pitched battle took place between them and Edmund’s forces. Edmund was victorious, but at great cost. Now outmatched, Edmund retreated towards Hoxne in the north of Suffolk. The Vikings offered peace – at a price. A messenger came with the offer, an offer which meant the Christian Edmund becoming an under-king to the pagans. It is clear that he would neither see himself become the puppet ruler of pagans, nor would he flee from possible martyrdom.

His reply to the messenger was: ‘I shall not submit to a pagan master for the love of earthly life; first you must accept our holy faith’. ‘I have vowed to live under Christ, to live under Christ alone, to reign under Christ alone’. It would also seem that Edmund saw the possibility that in his own death his Kingdom might find peace: ‘I alone should die for my people, that the whole nation should not perish’.

The Vikings now advanced on Hoxne. They surrounded Edmund who wished to imitate Christ, Who forbade Peter to use arms. The Vikings ‘bound Edmund and shamefully insulted him, beating him with clubs’. They tried to make Edmund renounce his Faith: ‘Living or dead, nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ. Christ’s Faith was his mighty shield’. ‘Then they led the faithful King to a tree and bound him to it tightly. Afterwards they whipped him for a long time and he always called with true faith on Christ the Saviour.

Because of his faith and his calling on Christ to help him, the pagans became furious. They shot at him with arrows as if for their pleasure until he bristled with them, like St Sebastian. When the wicked seamen saw that the noble king would not deny Christ but called on Him with steadfast faith, they beheaded him’. ‘His soul departed joyfully to Christ’. His last words were ‘Jesus! Jesus!’. It was Monday 20 November 869. Edmund was not yet twenty-eight years old; he had reigned for less than thirteen years. Thus he exchanged an earthly crown for a heavenly one, exchanging Kingdom for Martyrdom.

After killing the King at Hoxne, the Vikings returned to their ships, throwing into thick brambles the head, which they had taken ‘that it might not be buried’. The story continues: ‘Then some time after they had gone, country folk came and were very sad, especially because they had not the head with the body’. According to tradition, forty days later, on 30 December 869, their search was rewarded. In their desperation the searchers cried out, ‘Where are you?’ Incredibly they received an answer, which to them sounded like, ‘Here, here, here’.

Following the sounds they found a grey wolf guarding the head between its paws: ‘They were astonished at the wolf’s guardianship, and carried the head home with them, thanking the Almighty for all His wonders; but the wolf followed on with the head, as if he were tame, and then turned back again into the wood’. Symbolically the wolf had been converted by St. Edmund’s sacrifice, just as the sea-wolves, the Vikings, would also be converted by their victim. ‘Then the country folk laid the head by the holy body, and buried him with haste as best they could, and full soon built a church over him’.

The miracle of Edmund’s sacrifice was that within nine years the ‘sea-wolves’ who had martyred him were accepting the Christian Faith. Miraculously, the first Christian King of East Anglia after St Edmund was a former Viking, Athelstan – the blood of martyrs had triumphed over enmity. Meanwhile, the lowly wooden chapel in Hoxne, where Edmund’s remains had been buried, witnessed miracles. ‘Wonders were often worked at the chapel where he was buried. At night some of the faithful would notice a column of light hovering over the shrine from evening until dawn. Then, one night a blind man and a boy who led him came through the woods. Lost, they saw a building, which they were glad to enter for the night. But once inside, they stumbled onto the grave and realised that this building contained a tomb. Nevertheless, they decided to stay. Hardly had they fallen asleep when they awoke, a column of light shining before them. At dawn the blind man awoke and for the first time in his life he saw day break. The miracle was told to others – a man blind from birth had regained his sight.

Already by 895 King Alfred had minted coins bearing the image of ‘St Edmund the King’. Other coins had also been struck, through the ironies of Providence, by Vikings, styling Edmund ‘Saint’. But it was not until 902, according to some traditions, that the Bishop who was responsible for war-torn East Anglia resolved to move the body of St Edmund to a more worthy place, to Bedricsworth, now called Bury St Edmunds. It lay and lies exactly at the centre of a cross drawn over the four counties of Eastern England, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

The Bishop with his clergy proceeded the twenty-five miles to Hoxne to fetch the relics. On opening the coffin, they were amazed for they saw not bones and dust, but their martyred King Edmund, his body incorrupt as if asleep and his head united with his body – only a threadlike seam around the neck bore witness to his beheading. The arrow wounds had also healed. ‘The devout multitude carried the body to the shrine in the new church, there to await in the same peaceful sleep the joys of the resurrection. In this manner took place the first translation of St Edmund, thirty-three years after his burial.

As regards the church at Bedricsworth we are told that it was enriched with gold and silver in the saint’s honour. Indeed such was the veneration of the Royal Martyr Edmund at Bedricsworth, that the town was variously called ‘St Edmundstowe’, ‘Edmundston’ and ‘Kingston’ before becoming Bury St Edmunds. From this time on the monastery of St Edmund became richer. By 1044 its ‘liberty’ or patrimony came to include a third of Suffolk, including all of West Suffolk. Pilgrims began to come in great numbers and pilgrims ways developed, especially the road to Newmarket and the London road. Later, pilgrims brought in a pious custom of kneeling as soon as they caught sight of the monastery and then walking the last mile barefoot.

St Edmund became a national hero and his name, meaning ‘blessed protection’, became a reality as he was adopted as England’s Patron Saint, ‘a terrible defender of his own’, as we have seen again and again in recent times also. He was a very popular saint, with over sixty churches dedicated to him. Moreover, both after the First Reformation of the Roman Catholic Norman Conquest in 1066, when men became less sincere and righteous in their faith and miracles fewer, and also after the Protestant Second Reformation in the sixteenth century, when they tried to erase Edmund’s name from the land, there are still those who keep St Edmund in their hearts and minds.

Holy King and Martyr Edmund, Pray to God for us!

St Audrey of Ely (630-679)

In the history of the Kingdom of East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk and eastern Cambridgeshire), few figures stand out like St Audrey of Ely. She was born in 630, the daughter of King Anna of East Anglia, in Exning in Suffolk. She received the name ‘Æthelthryth’, meaning ‘noble strength’. This name soon came to be pronounced more simply as ‘Audrey’. Audrey most certainly knew the great missionary Felix, the Apostle of East Anglia, after whom Felixstowe is named. He doubtless baptised and taught King Anna and his family, including Audrey. Indeed, he set up a monastery near Exning, in Soham.

On 8 March 647, Bishop Felix reposed and was buried in his monastery. Audrey was already strongly drawn to the monastic life. However, in c. 652 she had to marry Tondbert, a noble of the people living in the East Anglian fenlands, in what is now Cambridgeshire. As her dowry she received the Isle of Ely (Ely meaning ‘the island of eels’ from the many eels there), now in eastern Cambridgeshire, which thus became part of East Anglia. This political marriage soon ended in c. 655 with Tondbert‘s death.

Audrey’s marriage had not been consummated and she had remained a virgin. There followed for her five years of widowhood, during which she retired to Ely where she gave herself to prayer and the ascetic life, hoping to found a monastery. But in c. 660 Audrey had to marry once more – again for political reasons. This time it was to re-cement relations with the Kingdom of Northumbria by marrying Egfrid the King of Northumbria, then aged only fifteen. In this way Audrey, from being an East Anglian princess, became the Queen of Northumbria.

As Egfrid grew older, he came to demand that their marriage be consummated. Audrey was opposed and finally, with her husband’s consent, in 672 she separated from him and left for Coldingham where her husband’s aunt had founded a monastery. Here she at last became a nun. The following year, 673, she travelled south to East Anglia, returning to Ely. A legend from this period says that her husband, not yet remarried, changed his mind about letting her go and, pursuing her, was cut off by the high tide on the River Humber. Once across the Humber, she paused to rest at the village now called West Halton. Planting her staff in the ground, immediately it blossomed. For many years in the Middle Ages West Halton was known as the holy place of Audrey.

In Ely Audrey rebuilt the old church and set up a monastery. She lived in an exemplary way, a ‘heavenly life in word and deed’. Giving up royal luxury, she never wore linen, but only woollen garments. She did not wash in hot water and she first helped the other nuns to wash, following the example of Christ, Who washed the feet of His disciples. She ate little, only one meal a day, except at great feasts or in times of pressing need. Unless ill, she would remain in church at prayer from matins until dawn, in other words from about midnight until six in the morning. The results of these ascetic feats were that Abbess Audrey obtained the gift of prophecy. She reposed in 679, some seven years after she had become Abbess. So she ‘exchanged all pain and death for everlasting life and health’.

Audrey was followed as Abbess by her sister, Saxburgh. In 696, the latter decided to have her sister’s bones taken from the wooden coffin in which they had been buried, in order to place them in a stone coffin and have them translated to the church. The monks found a Roman stone coffin near the city walls of what is now Cambridge.

The day for the translation, 17 October 696, came. The monks prepared to open the wooden coffin containing Audrey’s remains. As she went with others to open the coffin and wash the bones, Abbess Saxburgh was heard to cry out in a loud voice: ‘Glory to the Name of the Lord’. She had discovered that her sister’s body was incorrupt, ‘as if she had died and been buried that very day’. Proof was given by the monastery doctor, who had treated Abbess Audrey for a tumour on her throat three days before she had reposed. Only a scar remained.

‘All the linen cloths in which the body had been folded looked as fresh and as new as the day they had been wrapped around her pure body’. It is said that St Audrey had welcomed the pain from the tumour on her neck and any pain of that kind as a punishment for her vanity when as a girl, she had worn jewellery around her neck. She had come to wear ‘a burning red tumour instead of gold and pearls’: ‘They washed the soulless body and bound it with all honour in new garments, and carried it into the church, making glad with hymns, and laid her in the coffin where she lies until now in great honour for men to marvel at.

Several miracles took place. Firstly at the touch of the linen robes in which her body had been lying all those years, demons were expelled from the possessed and illnesses were cured. Secondly the wooden coffin itself cured eye diseases and failing eyesight, when the faithful placed their heads on it. And thirdly it was found that the sacred body fitted perfectly the Roman stone coffin, as if it had been made for it.

The Venerable Bede, writing a few years after these events, wrote the following of St Audrey: ‘Queenly by birth she wore an earthly crown most nobly, but a heavenly crown pleased her more. Scorning the marriage bed, she remained a virgin wife for twelve years, then sought the monastic life. She came most pure to her heavenly spouse, virgin in soul’. And later Abbot Ælfric, the author of many saints’ lives, wrote of ‘the English maiden who had two husbands and nevertheless remained a virgin’.

As a result of St Audrey’s holiness, Ely was to become the great sanctuary of East Anglia until its sack by the Vikings in 870. Of this event it is related that when one of their warriors opened her coffin, thinking it to be a treasure-chest, and saw the intact body, he was fear struck and fell down dead. Exactly one hundred years later, in 970, during the great period of national revival, monastic life was restored in Ely. Once more it became a great centre of monasticism and industry and the twelfth-century Book of Ely records the presence there of a Greek bishop during King Edgar’s reign. It was especially famed for its embroidery.

After the Norman Occupation of 1066, St Audrey’s shrine became the last centre of English physical resistance to the Invader.  In Ely in 1070–1 under Hereward ‘the Last of the English’, there gathered forces to resist the Normans. Thus St Audrey, Mother of East Anglia, became the champion of the native cause, her shrine the rallying point for the English resistance movement. Inspired by St Audrey’s ‘noble strength’, all refused to recognise the occupier and warmly welcomed Hereward and his army of resistance. All who joined Hereward had to take an oath of service over the shrine of St. Audrey and promise to labour with them ‘body and soul’.

When the Norman Duke William through witchcraft and betrayal entered St Audrey’s sanctuary, it is recorded that, ‘standing far from the holy body of the virgin, he threw a gold coin onto the altar, not daring to come any closer for fear that the judgement of God might come upon him because of the wicked deeds which his followers had committed in the house’.

Throughout the Middle Ages, by virtue of the incorrupt body of St Audrey, Ely was to remain one of the greatest shrines in the land, a symbol of England’s former spiritual greatness. In all, thirteen churches were dedicated to St Audrey. She was surrounded by miracles and was one of the most popular saints in the land, especially in East Anglia, and girls were named after her.

Although the shrine was destroyed by the men of greed in 1541, today, over thirteen hundred years on since the revelation of St Audrey’s incorruption, relics of the Saint still remain in London and her hand, still incorrupt, is revered at the Roman Catholic church in Ely. And, visible for some twenty miles around, still there towers Ely Cathedral itself. Built on the site of Abbess Audrey’s monastery, it stands as a memorial to the witness of St Audrey’s ‘noble strength’, that essential Christian Faith of the first millennium which Orthodox Christians everywhere are honoured to share with St Audrey, Mother of East Anglia.

Holy Mother Audrey, Pray to God for us!

 

 

 

 

Commemoration of Our Holy Mother Audrey, Abbess of Ely

THE 23RD DAY OF THE MONTH OF JUNE

Commemoration of Our Holy Mother Audrey, Abbess of Ely 

At Vespers

At ‘Lord, I have cried’, 3 stichira, Tone VIII.

O Virgin Queen, thou didst suffer the pains of ascetic struggle and thus gained grace through the necklace of thy virtues, to heal diseases of both body and soul, to drive out demons and protect all those who suffer: O venerable mother Audrey, do thou pray for us that we may obtain healing and great mercy.

In times of old the mere touch of thy burial robes bestowed sight on the blind and healing on the sick who faithfully beseeched thine aid. Now, O holy and venerable mother Audrey, boast of Ely, do thou pray for us in thy noble strength that we may obtain great mercy.

Fruit of the pious King Anna, together with thy holy family, thou wast fervent with the love of God in all purity and modesty and merciful to thy neighbour, O blessed and venerable mother Audrey. Therefore God endowed thee with the noble strength of grace and others, both men and women, followed thee: do thou beseech Christ to preserve in the Faith those who call thee blessed.

Glory…. Tone II.

With the sword of abstinence thou didst sever spiritual snares and bodily passions, and with the silence of prayer and fasting thou didst strangle all sinful thoughts, with the streams of thy tears thou didst water the whole fenland desert and cause fruits of repentance to grow in thine island-monastery, therefore, O holy Audrey, we celebrate thy holy memory.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

O Mother of God, save thy servants from dangers, for, after God, we all flee to thee as an indestructible rampart and protection.

Hymn to the Cross and to the Mother of God.

When the spotless lamb beheld her Child being dragged as a man willingly to the slaughter, she cried out through her tears: Dost thou seek to make childless me who gave Thee birth, O Christ? Why hast Thou done so, O Saviour of us all? Yet I praise and glorify Thine ineffable goodness, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

If there is a Polyeleion, then the hymn of the resurrection to the Mother of God, Tone VI: ‘The shadow of the law …’

Readings: Wisdom of Solomon 3, 1-9; Wisdom of Solomon 5, 15-23 and 6, 1-3; Wisdom of Solomon 4, 7, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 5, 1-7. 

At the aposticha, Tone I.

Thou didst desire the glory of the holy fathers and mothers, thou didst love incorruptible glory. Therefore, a Queen among men and twice Virgin-spouse, renouncing worldly pleasure and subjecting thy body to ascetic warfare, thou hast obtained the reward of thy labours and dost reign with Christ the King, O noble Audrey.

Verse: God is wonderful in His Saints, the God of Israel.

Together with thy holy sisters, thou, O Virgin-Queen, didst desire the fair beauty of Christ thy Bridegroom with good deeds and, adorned with the labours of the ascetic life, thou didst strive to attain to Him, wherefore thou now dost reign with Christ the King in His glory.

Verse: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Thou didst set course for the heavenly haven and calmly sail over the stormy oceans of the world. Without foundering thou didst pilot thy soul’s ship through the bitterness of sweet things, filled with the secret treasures of renunciation and heavenly life in word and deed.

Glory…. Tone VI.

O holy mother Audrey who art praised by all, this day thy sacred festival shines forth brighter than the sun, enlightening those in darkness and driving away the gloom of the demons from the fenlands and from our souls.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God or this hymn to the Cross and to the Mother of God, also in Tone VI.

When the Mother who gave Thee birth saw Thee crucified, O Christ, she cried: What is this strange mystery, O my son? How dost Thou die, crucified, O Giver of Life?

Troparion, Tone VIII.

In thee was preserved the Image of God, O noble Audrey, for thou didst take up thy cross and follow Christ. royal virgin, thou didst teach the multitude by thine example that the flesh is to be scorned as fleeting, while the soul needs great care as immortal. Therefore, O holy Audrey, now thou rejoicest with the angels.

At Matins

At God is the Lord, the troparion of the saint twice.  

Glory…Now and ever…and the hymn to the Mother of God or to the Cross and to the Mother of God, in the same tone.

After the first reading from the Psalter, sessional hymn, Tone V.

Thou didst valiantly persevere in ascetic feats and defeat the devil with his many snares, O holy Audrey. After thy life of hardship thou art now gone to God, praying for those who reverently celebrate thy festival.

Glory…Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God, in the same tone. 

O sinless Virgin Mother, shine down rays of repentance upon me, scatter the darkness of my wicked deeds and drive away all thought of evil from my heart.

After the second reading from the Psalter, sessional hymn, Tone IV.

Though crowned on earth, thou didst crucify thy body with its passions and love Christ thy Bridegroom with all thy heart, O Audrey, wherefore thou wast crowned in heaven, and numbered among the choirs of angels, ever praying for those who honour thee.

Glory… Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

The storm of sins strikes me, as does the tempest of my sinful thoughts, have compassion upon me, O Pure One, and graciously stretch forth thy hand to help me that, saved, I may magnify thee.

Magnification.

We magnify thee, O holy mother Audrey, and we honour thy holy memory, for thou dost pray for us to Christ our God.

Verse: I waited and waited for the Lord, and He attended to me and heard my prayer.

Sessional hymn, Tone VIII.

O mother chosen by God, thou hast passed calmly through the storms of life and been piloted to Paradise, now do thou praise the Redeemer with the angels, that He may grant us grace and great mercy and preserve the flock which through thy labours thou didst bring to Him.

Glory …. Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

Rejoice, thou who through the Archangel didst receive the Joy of all the world; Rejoice, thou who didst give birth to thy Creator and Lord; Rejoice, thou who wast made worthy to become the Mother of God.

Gradual, first antiphon of Tone IV, ‘From my youth…’

Prokimenon, Tone IV.

God is wonderful in His Saints, the God of Israel.

Verse: Bless God in the churches, praise the Lord from the wellsprings of Israel.

Let every breath. Gospel: Matt 25, 1-13.

After Psalm 50, Stichiron, Tone II.

With the sword of abstinence thou didst sever spiritual snares and bodily passions, and with the silence of prayer and fasting thou didst strangle wrongful thoughts; with the streams of thy tears thou didst water the whole fenland desert and cause fruits of repentance to grow in thine island-monastery, wherefore, O holy Audrey, we celebrate thy holy memory.

Canon, Tone VIII.

Ode I 

Irmos: By parting the sea with the sign of the Cross, the miraculous rod of Moses drowned the pursuing chariots of Pharaoh, and saved fleeing Israel who marched on, singing to God.

Refrain: Venerable Mother Audrey, pray to God for us.

My soul is continually drowned by the storm of passions and stirred by the clamour of evil thoughts: O holy Audrey, do thou guide me through the trackless fens of the demons to the still haven of Christ’s will, that I may worthily hymn thee.

Thou wast enlightened with the virtues of virginity, O godly Audrey. With prayer and fasting thou didst put thy passions to death and follow in the life-bringing footsteps of the pure Word, thy true Bridegroom.

O holy and glorious Audrey, amid the barren fen thou didst follow the teaching of the holy fathers and mothers, and live like the bodiless ones, in prayer and fasting, in purity and virginity, in true humility, and thus thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold.

Glory…. Now and ever: Thou art the divine vessel and table who hast borne the Bread of Life; thou art the unploughed land and holy mountain, and in hymns we glorify thee, O Mother of God.

Ode III

Irmos: O Lord, Creator of the vault of heaven and Builder of the Church, strengthen me in Thy love, O summit of desire, O bulwark of the faithful, O Thou alone Who lovest mankind.

Though men sought thee as their Queen, the Almighty had chosen thee as His Bride, and now thou dwellest with Christ the King in glory in the heavenly mansions. From there thou makest streams of healing to stem the flowing of our passions.

Instead of necklaces and fine jewellery, thou wast adorned with the love of Christ, Who in His abundant compassion, though rich became poor; thou hast followed His Life-bringing words, despising all earthly riches and glory and thus hast become noble in soul.

Thou didst acquire golden wings of virtue, O blessed Audrey, and as an immortal dove thou hast flown up to the heights of heaven from the desolate fenlands through the noble strength of prayer.

Glory…. Now and ever: O Virgin, our race has been saved through Him, Who for our sakes became poor in His Body which He took from thy womb: wherefore we praise and bless thee, O most pure grace-filled Maiden.

Sessional hymn, Tone IV.

As Christ’s virgin and undefiled bride thou art adorned with ascetic feats; thou hast entered the incorruptible chamber with Him, contemplating its beauties. Do thou beseech Him for us who lovingly hymn thee, that we may be saved from all adversity.

Glory.… Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

O pure, spotless and unwedded Bride who alone hast given birth to the eternal Son and Word of God: together with the holy and venerable apostles and martyrs, prophets and ascetics, beseech thou Him to grant us healing and great mercy.

Hymn to the Cross and to the Mother of God.

O most pure Virgin, Mother of Christ our God, a sword pierced thy soul when thou didst behold thy Son and God willingly crucified. Therefore, O Blessed One, do not cease to pray to Him, that He may grant us the forgiveness of our sins.

Ode IV

Irmos: O Lord, I have heard of the mystery of Thy dispensation. I contemplate Thy works and glorify Thy divine nature.

O noble Audrey, holy and royal jewel in the crown of East Anglia, thy bright festival shines with the radiance of the Spirit and, healing both bodily and spiritual eyes, enlightens our souls as we sing to thee in faith.

With miracles and foreknowledge, thou hast brought to the Faith those who had not known the Master, and by the noble strength of prayer and fasting thou hast revealed Him to those who were beset by the darkness of heathendom.

Counselled by the wisdom of the holy Abbesses Hild and Ebbe, thou, O Queen and virgin, didst bring to Christ the gifts of bodily abstinence and the labours of fasting, and He has rewarded thee with the unending joy of His kingdom.

Glory…. Now and ever: O most pure one, who art humble, save me who live in pride, for thou didst give birth to Him who has exalted our humbled nature.

Ode V

Irmos: Enlighten us by Thy commandments, O Lord, and by Thine uplifted arm grant us Thy peace, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

From amid the eel-island in the fens, thou didst raise thy hands aloft to the Creator, O mother Audrey, and defeating the slippery serpent-enemy through the noble strength of thy prayers, thou didst protect all those that cry to thee in faith.

Filled with the noble strength of prayer, thou wast made a nun by the hierarch Wilfrid, and the Most High took thee by thy right hand, O mother Audrey, and making thine island-fortress into a stronghold of holiness and prayer, He led thee into the joys of Paradise.

O venerable Audrey, thou didst tread the narrow path of ascetic struggle, spending night in prayer and fasting, clothed not in fine linen but coarse woollen, and showing many others the way, thou didst attain to the breadth of Paradise.

Glory.… Now and ever: Those who do not acknowledge thee to be the Mother of God, O most pure one, shall not see the Light Whom thou didst bear. 

Ode VI

Irmos: I will pour out my prayer to the Lord, and to Him will I confess my grief: for my soul is full of evil and my life has drawn nigh unto hell, and like Jonah I will pray: Raise me up from corruption, O Lord.

O venerable Audrey, rejecting the foolishness of men, thou didst gain the wisdom of God, and stilling thy bodily tumults and becoming mistress of thy passions, now thou dwellest in passionless serenity.

Thou didst love to venerate the Saviour’s Image, O glorious saint, and to follow His teaching and heavenly life in thy words and deeds. By the necklace of thy virtues, thou art become a model of purity and modesty for all womankind.

Christ has shown thee forth to thy godly nuns and all folk as a cloud shedding the rain of grace on those who ask for this in faith, and thy shrine became a sign of spiritual greatness in all the English land, O holy mother Audrey, and thou didst show how by noble strength of prayer we are to withstand the impious.

Glory.… Now and ever: O most pure one, thy Son is lovely beyond the sons of men by the beauty of His divinity, for He took flesh for our sakes.

Kontakion, Tone II.

O holy Audrey, mother of many, for the love of God thou didst spurn the need for rest and make thy spirit most bright through fasting and prayer, defeating the passions. Thou didst make the barren fenlands into islands of prayer and through thine intercessions thou dost destroy the snares of our enemies.

Ikos: O God, grant me streams of speech, make my mind a wellspring of piety, and bless my tongue, that I may hymn Thy lamb whom Thou hast crowned with grace. For if Thou Thyself didst not give me worthy words, how can I, a beggar, bring a gift to her who is so rich in words and deeds? Therefore give me strength to declare her contests, for she has mastered the passions. Through thine intercessions thou dost destroy the snares of our enemies.

Ode VII

Irmos: The Hebrew Children in the furnace trod upon the flames, and changed the fire into dew, singing: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God forever.

Despising all fading glory, O holy Audrey, thou didst seek for heavenly rewards, the light and rest of God’s eternal glory in His beauty, which thou didst show to thy holy sisters, thy faithful steward Owin and the holy hermit priest Huna.

Thou didst exchange this corrupt world for ageless life above the world, temporal food for eternal substance and earthly marriage for the heavenly Bridegroom, O virgin-abbess Queen Audrey, noble strength of the Orthodox faith.

Beyond the booklore of the foolish, thou didst gain the knowledge of divine love, O Audrey, and become like the angels while still in the flesh. With fervour like unto theirs thou didst lovingly keep vigil and sing: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout all ages.

Glory.… Now and ever: The multitude of my evil deeds has cast me into affliction: look on me and snatch me from the flames, O Virgin, crying: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, throughout all ages.

Ode VIII

Irmos: Inspired by God, the children stood in the midst of the flames and sang: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

Forsaking the vain artifices of men, thou art adorned and ennobled with the radiance of thy pure life, O mother, and thou dost stand before Thy Bridegroom, Christ our God, interceding for the salvation of our souls.

For long gloriously preserved in thine island shrine, thy body healed man’s manifold diseases and drove away the demons with their wickedness. Do thou now intercede with Christ our God for us sinners who honour thee.

O holy mother, baptised as a child by the holy hierarch Felix, in felicity thou wast brought to the Master of all, Christ our God, as a holy sacrifice and bright offering, as the sweet-smelling incense of prayer.

Let us bless.… Now and ever: Ineffably and without corruption thou hast given birth to the Word Who saves all from corruption, O Virgin. Therefore in faith we magnify thee.

Ode IX

Irmos: Creation was filled with dread on hearing of the ineffable condescension of God, that the Most High came down of His own will and became incarnate of the Virgin, therefore the all-pure Mother of God do we magnify.

Desiring thy Bridegroom’s spiritual beauty in pure love for Him thou, O Queen, didst ardently cry: Where dost Thou rest and pasture Thy flock? Let me rest with Thee and take delight in Thy peace, magnifying Thy graciousness, O Christ my King.

In thy soul were found understanding and humility, divine goodness, unwavering faith, and hope and love of God. In thy vigils thou didst draw near to Him, O blessed Audrey, and thou wast illumined and enlightened with the gift of foreknowledge and healing.

Today we faithful come to praise and magnify the Lord, Who glorifies thy holy festival, O holy and venerable Audrey. As thou now dost stand before Christ thy Bridegroom, remember us who venerate thee and heal the eyes of our souls.

Glory’… Now and ever: O God Who wast born of the Virgin and didst preserve her incorrupt after Thy birth: spare me when Thou wilt sit and judge my deeds; overlook my sins and wickedness, for Thou art the sinless, gracious God and Thou lovest all mankind.

Exapostilarion.

Thou didst show the princes who pursued thee to be foolish and bereft of glory, for virgin in soul and body, thou wast manly in thine understanding and faith, O holy Audrey, boast of Ely, crown of Queens, beauty of chaste women and adornment of the monastic life.

Glory.… Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

Enlighten me with the day of spiritual joy, O pure one, for thou art life and light to those who dwell in darkness. Thou art mistress of thy desires and actions, for thou art the sovereign Lady of all; deliver us all from calamity, and the afflicted from the temptations of the evil one.

At the Praises, 4 stichira, Tone IV.

Thou didst subdue the urges of the flesh to the soul, thou didst follow Christ, dwelling with ascetics in chastity, thou didst overcome the flames of worldly pleasure with holy tears, increasing thy fervour for Christ, O noble and strong Audrey.

In Ely thou didst built a holy dwelling place for God to benefit many, O wise one, for in thy pure soul thou didst discern the temple of the Holy Spirit; thou didst also guide souls into the good way of abstinence and bring them to the Master as a dowry. With them in faith we honour thee, O mother Audrey.

Maidens, following thy teaching, loved their Lord and Bridegroom; become noble and strong in spirit, they despised bodily weakness and subdued their passions. They were brought with thee to the heavenly mansions, ever rejoicing.

Glory…. Tone VIII.

O wonder of wonders! How fervently thou didst give thyself to God in ascetic labours and tears! Filled with divine love thou didst overcome bodily passions, trample down demons through abstinence, and become a bride of the Almighty through the noble strength of the Holy Spirit.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

With the Archangel’s cry let us say: Rejoice, Mother of God, for thou hast brought into the world Christ the Giver of Life!

Hymn to the Cross and to the Mother of God. 

When the most pure one beheld Thee crucified, with broken heart she cried out through her tears: Where hast Thou gone, my most beloved Jesus, my Son and my Lord? Forsake not me who gave birth to Thee, O Christ. 

At Liturgy

At the Beatitudes, 8 troparia from Odes III and IV of the canon of the saint.

Prokimenon, Tone IV.

Wondrous is God in His saints, the God of Israel.

Verse: In the congregations bless ye God, the Lord from the wellsprings of Israel.

Epistle to the Galatians 208 (3, 23-29)

Alleluia, Tone I.

With patience I waited patiently for the Lord, and He was attentive to me, and He hearkened to my supplication.

Verse: And He brought me out of the pit of misery, and from the mire of clay.

Gospel according to Matthew 104 (25, 1-13) 

Communion Verse.

In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings.

Service to All the Saints of the Western Lands

Service to All the Saints of the Western Lands

On the first Sunday after the commemoration of All Saints, that is the first Sunday of the Fast of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Apostles, we may celebrate the memory of all the Saints who have shone forth in Western Europe, instead of all the Saints of the Isles.

AT VESPERS

At ‘Lord I have cried’, we sing 10 stichira, 4 of the resurrection in Tone 1, and 6 of the Saints in Tone VIII. 

For one thousand years the light of the Sun of Righteousness shone forth from the East on the lands of the West forming a Cross over Europe, before they fell beneath the darkening shades of the Churchless night. Let us now return to the roots of our first confession of the Holy Spirit in the bright Sunrise of Orthodoxy, which is brought again from the East, and so shine forth the light of the Everlasting Christ once more.

O all the saints of the Western Lands, pray to God for our repentance and return, our restoration and resurrection. Tell the people to leave aside the things of men, the fallen fleshly mind and all its vain musings, for they are without the Saviour and the Spirit. And so, through your life in the Holy Trinity, shall we find salvation in the purity of the Orthodox Faith before the end.

Now do we sing to all the saints of the lands of the West and at their head the apostles Peter and Paul, the true glory of Old Rome, and, like stars in the dark night sky, to the constellation of the martyrs and fathers who followed in their apostolic footsteps, leaving behind them the great treasury of holy relics. O First Rome, who art glorious in thy saints alone, do thou return to the eternal faith of Orthodoxy through the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father, as the Saviour tells us.

Thus from the fountainhead of the East through Old Rome flowed streams of the Holy Spirit to all the lands of the West, through Gaul and Spain, to the uttermost isles in the far ocean and to all the lands of the north, where the darkness saw the light of Christ and all the trees of the forest bowed their heads before the Wisdom and Word of God, forsaking the superstitions and proud errors of the pagan past.

O all ye holy women, martyrs, matrons and queens, from Old Rome to Sicily of the south, from Sardinia to Iberia, from Gaul to the islands of Britain, from the Celtic realms to the Germanic lands of the north, preferring the humble truth of the Galilean to the proud might of paganism, ye have brought the words of Christ to dumb men, raising up infants and kings to the measure of the stature of Christ, so hallowing your peoples and our souls by the light of the Holy Trinity.

In these latter times the light of the true Faith has come to us once more. Driven from the East by evil men, Divine Providence has shown us the surpassing Wisdom of the Word of God, to enlighten our hearts and our minds by the Holy Spirit in the Church. Therefore now do we praise Archbishop John, who came from the east with true teaching to renew the commemoration of the saints of old, and who prays to God for the salvation of our souls.

Glory…. Tone VI: O constellation of all the saints of the Western lands, who shine forth in the night sky, together we gather in your name, in praise to ask you to intercede for us with your prayers. Bring back the Western peoples from the inglorious darkness of their unwisdom to the Wisdom of God, that they may cast aside all the illusions of the fallen reason and know again that the only true glory and enlightenment is in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit.

Readings: Isaiah 43, 9-14; Wisdom 3, 1-9; Wisdom 5, 15 – 6, 3.

At the Lity the stichiron of the church and these stichira of the saints in Tone I.

Rejoice with us, all ye choirs of the saints and angelic hosts, gathered together in spirit, let us sing with thanksgiving to Christ our God. For lo, the countless host who has been well-pleasing to God stands before the King of Glory and intercedes for us. These saints are the pillars and beauty of the Orthodox Faith; they have glorified the Church of God by their ascetic feats and the shedding of their blood; they have confirmed the Orthodox Faith in the Western lands with signs and wonders. Pray to the Lord that He may deliver us from trial and tribulation, setting us examples of forbearance in the face of evil.

Glory…. Now and ever…. In the same tone.

Now let all the ranks of saints and angels make glad with us, singing in spiritual choir. They have beheld Our Sovereign, the Queen of Heaven and Lady, Who is glorified by all the faithful. And the souls of all the righteous make glad with them, beholding Her most precious hands stretched forth in supplication, beseeching peace for the world, renewal of the Orthodox Faith in the West and the salvation of our souls.

At the aposticha, the stichira of the resurrection in the tone of the week and Glory…. In Tone VIII.

From south to north, all over the Western lands the light of Christ shone forth to the very edge of the known world, by ocean and seashore, on river and island, on high mountain and in green valley, in broad field and dense forest. The lowly Word of God was announced to haughty Rome and to dark lands where never Roman foot had trod, and humility conquered them all with the light of the Trinity.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God, Tone V.

Let our hymns resound, together let us hymn the Birthgiver of God and Queen of Heaven, the Lady of the Western lands: Rejoice, O thou who from ages past hast crowned us with thy goodness and grace! Wherefore the Church celebrates with meet splendour thine all-honoured protecting veil and the memory of thy miracles. Take not thy mercy away from us, O Mother Mary, but look down upon our sorrows and oppression and raise us up once more, making us to be thy heritage as of old.

After the blessing of the loaves we sing ‘Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God’ twice and the troparion of the Saints once in Tone VI.

To the astonishment of angels and men alike, the Sun rose in the West, apostles and martyrs, holy women and holy fathers, kings and queens, peasants and shepherds all turned to Christ our God. Guided by the holy apostles Peter and Paul, receiving the right understanding of the Trinity through the Spirit, you, O saints, raised up the Church of God, spreading His Word even to the very ends of the West, where the sun sets in the ocean.

AT MATINS

At God is the Lord the troparion of the resurrection twice, Glory…. The troparion of the Saints, Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

O Good One, Thou Who for our sakes wast born of the Virgin and endured the Cross, Who didst cast down death by death and as God revealed the Resurrection, disdain not that which Thou hast fashioned with Thy hands. Show forth Thy love for mankind, O Merciful One. Accept the supplications of the Birthgiver of God Who gave birth to Thee and prays for us, and save Thy people, O Lord Who alone loves mankind.

After the readings from the Psalter, the sessional hymns of the resurrection in the tone of the week with their verses and hymns to the Mother of God.

After the Polyeleos, the magnification.

We magnify you, O all you saints who have shone forth in the Western lands, and we honour your holy memory, for you intercede with Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Selected psalm verses.

A Hear this, all you people, give ear, all you inhabitants of the world (Ps 48,2).

B My mouth shall speak of wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding (Ps 48,4)

A Come, you children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord (Ps 33,12)

B I have proclaimed the good tidings of Thy righteousness in the great congregation (Ps 39,10)

A I have declared Thy truth and Thy salvation (Ps 39,11)

B I will declare Thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the church will I praise Thee (Ps 21,23)

A That I may hear the voice of Thy praise, and tell of all Thy wondrous works (Ps 25,7)

B O Lord I have loved the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwells (Ps 25,8)

Magnification.

We magnify you, O all you saints who have shone forth in the Western lands, and we honour your holy memory, for you intercede with Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and will not sit with the wicked (Ps 25,5)

For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and I have not acted impiously towards my God (Ps 17,22)

The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgement (Ps 36,30)

His righteousness endures for ever (Ps 110,3)

Thy priests shall be clothed with righteousness, and Thy righteous shall rejoice (Ps 131,9)

Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they will praise Thee unto ages of ages (Ps 83,5)

Glory…. Now and ever…. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory to Thee, O God (Thrice)

Then the troparia or evlogitaria, ‘The assembly of the angels…’

Ipakoi and the following sessional hymns of the Saints.

Tone VIII

Enlightened by the brightness of the saints, as though entering a paradise most fair, we have found delight in the streams of sweetness. Gazing in wonder at the boldness of their deeds, let us come to love their virtues, crying out to the Saviour: through their supplications, O God, grant us to partake of Thy kingdom.

Tone I

Today has dawned the all-honoured festival of the saints who have shone forth in the Western lands. Like unto the radiance of the sun and the brightness of the morning star, they enlighten our minds and arouse our hearts to emulate their godly life and their zeal for the Faith.

Glory…. Tone VIII.

Today the faithful of the Western lands celebrate the commemoration of Thy saints, O Lord. The heavens rejoice and the ends of the earth and the sea make glad. Through their intercessions deign to grant our souls great mercy.

Now and ever…. In the same Tone.

Looking down from on high, O Most Merciful Master, visit us who have been afflicted by error and sin, taking us to Thyself and through the prayers of the Mother of God and all the saints of the Western lands grant our souls great mercy.

The hymn of the ascents in the tone of the week.

Prokimenon of the tone of the week.

Let every breath praise the Lord.

Gospel of the Resurrection.

Psalm 50.

Glory…. Through the prayers of the Apostles…. Now and ever…. Through the prayers of the Mother of God…. And the stichira of repentance and the resurrection.

Canon of All the Saints of the Western Lands, Tone VI.

Ode 1

Irmos: O ye people, let us send up a hymn to our wondrous God, Who freed Israel from bondage, crying out a song of victory to Thee Who alone art Master.

Refrain: All the Saints of the Western lands, pray to God for us!

In spiritual songs let us now hymn our godly fathers and mothers of every rank who have shone forth in piety, and whom every land has brought forth as flowers of the spirit, nurtured by the good earth of the Church of Christ, watered and sunned by the Spirit in the faith of the Holy Trinity.

O peoples of the south and west, you were the first to receive the faith from apostolic Jerusalem, as the sign of salvation for your kin, whereby you subdued the proud heathen to the Cross, which you confessed as your invincible sign of the Resurrection. O saints who are the only true glory of Italia and Iberia, pray to the Lord that He may grant our souls great and rich mercy.

O Rome, thou wast visited by the apostles Peter and Paul, by Galilean simplicity and wise instruction, by zealous truth and pious wisdom, and didst become the centre of faith by blood, as wild beasts tore at the flesh of the martyrs, thou didst spread the light of Christ to the very ends of the West through the treasury of thy saints.

O holy Rome, thou and all the West are blessed by the blood of many martyrs, by the bearer of God the hierarch Ignatius, come from the east, by the holy family Sophia, Faith, Hope and Charity, by the fearless virgins Tatiana and Cecilia, by noble Valentine and manly Eugenia, by Chrysanthus and Daria, Lawrence and Sebastian, Agapia, Chionia and Irene, Anastasia and Vitus, Januarius and Pancras, by the pure lamb Agnes and all the great and noble host who witnessed to Christ.

O myriad of holy popes of old, true patriarchs of the Orthodox faith and primates of the West, Clement and Sylvester, Leo rightly called the Great, Gregory, maker of Angles into angels and writer of the Dialogues, Martin, who resisted the tyrant, and Zacharias, enlightener of the German peoples, pray ye all to God that the Western Lands may return to Christ before the end.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Together with the angelic hosts, O Sovereign Lady, together with the honourable and glorious prophets and apostles and martyrs, who through all the Western lands have glorified thee, pray to God for us sinners.

Ode III

Irmos: None is holy as our Lord and none is righteous as our God, Whom all creation hymns in words of song: None is righteous save thee, O Lord.

You are a spiritual paradise, O lands of the Saints, bringing forth a multitude of heavenly blossoms, O blessed fathers and mothers, whose number it is not possible to reckon. We therefore praise and hymn the One Master for all the host of the saints of the Western lands.

The Italian lands were blessed by the sacred sign of the holy fathers, Ambrose of Milan from the north, Blessed Augustine from the south, Jerome the Learned in Rome who went to learn simplicity in Bethlehem, Justin Martyr from the east, and then by holy Maximus the Confessor who enlightened Rome with the words of the new fathers.

The Italian lands were blessed by holy hierarchs, Apollinaris of Ravenna and Paulinus of Nola, by the holy women Sabina, Fabiola and Monica, by the righteous Alexis the Man of God, and by the holy Benedict and Columban who brought many souls to the monastic life.

A whole land was dedicated to the holy hermit Marinus and Monaco was named after the monks; in Sicily there shone forth Pancratius, Agatha and Lucy, in Corsica the sacred Devota and Julia, and in Sardinia Hippolytus and Eusebius, while in Malta the light of the apostle Paul shone forth from his bay and enlightened Publius to become a saint.

In the latter times, having conquered the foolishness of this world, the Greeks shone forth in wisdom in the south, in Nilus of Calabria, Bartholomew of Rossano and a host of saints; the holy relics of Nicholas of Lycia were brought to Bari to comfort the people bereft of the Church. And neither do we forget Antony and Macarius who sought refuge from the new errors in Holy Russia.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Having fallen from heavenly citizenship, O all-pure one, I have become like unto a wild beast and am wholly condemned, O thou who gavest birth to the Judge, save me from all condemnation.

Kontakion of the Saints, Tone III.

Today the myriad of the Western saints glorifies Christ in heaven and builds a House of Wisdom for the faithful on earth, signing the Western lands with the holy Cross. Therein they baptise the heathen, old and new, showing the humble Cross to be the emblem of the Resurrection, the greatest weapon against all enemies. Pray for us, O holy ones, that we may learn anew of the Wisdom of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Ikos: Today let us honour the saints of the Western lands, for, hearing the words of Christ, they are victorious by the Cross which they set before all the heathen, old and new, that they might bend their necks before the Son of God, accepting enlightenment from the Church of God. Pray for us, O holy ones, that we may learn anew of the Wisdom of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Sessional hymn of the saints, Tone VIII.

O, all the saints of the Western lands, by the light of the Holy Spirit make the dark night skies of the West into the bright day and pray for our repentance and return to the Orthodox faith, that our souls may be saved by the God Who alone lovest mankind.

Glory…. Now and ever…. Hymn to the Birthgiver of God:

Lo! The time for the intercession of the Birthgiver of God is come, for temptations have grown manyfold. Behold! Now is the time to sing out to her! Let us therefore say with our whole heart: O Sovereign Lady, help thy people!

Ode IV

Irmos: O Word of God, with divine vision the prophet perceived Thee Who wast to become incarnate of the Birthgiver of God, the mountain overshadowed, and trembling he glorified Thy might.

O Paris, as Lutece of old thou wast blessed from Athens by Dionysius the wise with Rusticus and Eleutherius, who baptised the people with their blood, while Lyon was conquered by the blood of the blessed martyrs Bishop Photinus, the virgin Blandina and all their holy companions.

In the north Beauvais was won by the righteous martyrdom of Justus and Agen was vanquished by the martyr’s faith of Foi, and so as not to be shamed, ancient Marseilles was sprinkled with the blood of Victor, who showed the pagans the victory of Christ.

From the blood of the martyrs shone forth the true teaching of Christ, eloquently expressed by the fathers of Gaul, by the peace of the Greek Irenaeus in Lyon and the joy of the Latin Hilary in Poitiers, called for his immortal words the western Athanasius.

There shone forth the great monastic fathers of the south, John Cassian, come from Egypt, the boast of the Orthodox teaching on grace and freewill, and Vincent the truly catholic father of Lerins, who spoke by the universal Holy Spirit.

The fathers were supported by a Thebaid of holy hierarchs: O, Martial of Limoges, the martyr Saturninus of Toulouse, Julian of Le Mans, Germanus of Auxerre, Remigius of Reims, Germanus of Paris, Gregory of Tours, and in the north Valery, Eligius and Omer, you have patterned all the French lands with your righteousness and holiness.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O Virgin Birthgiver of God, thou hope of all Christians, do thou grant us thy mercies which thou didst show to our forebears of old, and protect and preserve us from all evil.

Ode V

Irmos: Delivering me from the darkness of the passions, O Christ, vouchsafe, I pray Thee, that out of the deep night of the present age, my spirit may rise at dawn to the light of the day of Thy commandments.

O great wonderworker Martin, come from the plains of Pannonia through Italy, granting thy cloak to a beggar at Amiens, thou didst become the greatest saint of Gaul; hierarch and monk, thou didst heal a multitude of sick, raising from the dead, and thy name is glorified throughout all the land.

Holy Martin was joined by Honoratus in Lerins, the wise Genevieve in Paris, who wrote to the stylite Simeon, the dove Columban come from Ireland to the east and the ascetic Wandrille shone forth in the north, supported by the noble queens Clotilde, Radegund and Bathilde, who set examples to men and women alike.

From Gargano’s Mount, Gaul was blessed by the holy Archangel Michael whose light shone forth on his Mount, beloved by hermits, in the north, as a marvel to all peoples. And the protector of those engaged in spiritual warfare took his blessed sword across the seas to other hermit-beloved isles, far and wide.

The north was enlightened by the martyr Chrysolius, come from distant Armenia, together with Servatus of Tongres, host of the Great Athanasius, and Bavo of Ghent; Gertrude shone forth in the monastic life in Nivelles, followed by the eloquent hierarchs, Eligius, Amand, Lambert and Hubert, boast of the Belgian lands and all the north.

The white mountains of Helvetia, rising up to the heavens, were not forgotten by the snow of grace, for they were enlightened by Beatus, confirmed by the great Maurice and all the heroic martyrs of the Theban Legion and strengthened by Gall the great ascetic of Ireland, who calls us to repentance down all the ages.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O Lady of the Western lands, thou who art the fervent helper for all who have recourse to thee; thou who art the hope of the hopeless, do thou look down upon the afflictions of thy people and reveal to us a sign of thy mercy, O Most Pure One.

Ode VI

Irmos: O Thou who lovest mankind, accept me who am held fast by many sins, and who now fall down before Thy compassion, and save me as Thou didst save the prophet, O Lord.

Keeping the promise of the apostle Paul, in far Galicia the apostle James shone forth, drawing pilgrims from all the lands of the West and filling the field of faith with stars of holiness.

All through the land the apostolic faith was confirmed by the purity of the martyrs, Acisclus and Victoria, Eulalia of Merida and her namesake Eulalia in Barcelona, together with Vincent and the host of martyrs of Saragossa.

Hosius of Cordoba gave instruction to the great Constantine and presided at the First Council, and the host of saints, the hermit Emilian and the martyr Hermenegild, the three hierarch-brothers Leander, Fulgentius and Isidore and their holy sister, Florentina, the hierarchs Eugene, Ildephonsus and Julian of Toledo, and the holy priest Beatus taught the true faith.

Their faith was hallowed by the blessed blood of Eulogius and all the multitude of martyrs of Cordoba, with George come from Palestine, confirmed by the ascetic feats of Gennadius in Astorga and Daniel of Cadiz, who shone forth in Egypt.

On the Atlantic coasts of Lusitania, the faithful praise Paul and his companion martyrs in Porto; Lisbon too was hallowed by the blood of the most faithful Verissimus, Maxima and Julia, while in old Braga Martin wrote of the victory of the Word, as lived in the fruit of Fructuosus, the flower of Rosendus in Dumio and the nobility of Senhorina in Basto.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Of old, the Creator of all wrought many wonders through Thee, O Virgin, and saved us from the invasion of enemies. Thus be thou now a protection and aid for the Western lands, O Lady and Queen, saving us from all the assaults of the enemy.

Kontakion and ikos of the resurrection in the tone of the week.

ODE VII

Irmos: On the plain of Dura the tyrant once built a furnace to torment those who bore God; and therein the three youths hymned the One God, saying: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

O peoples of the north and west, you were the next to receive the faith, from the cities of Italy and Gaul and the deserts of Egypt with zeal you applied the faith, striving in faith in mountain fastnesses and echoing caves, on stormy ocean shores and far islands, by fast-flowing rivers and dark forests, bringing the light of Christ to those that formerly sat in the darkness of the spiritual wilderness.

Cymru boasts of its martyrs Julius and Aaron, and also its great Thebaid of new Egypt, the monastery-builders Illtud, Teilo, Gildas the Wise and the patriarch David come from patriarchal Jerusalem, whose faith was confirmed by the virgin-martyr Winefride. From here the saints went forth to enlighten the Cornish through Petroc and the many ascetics who peopled every hamlet and town, and then crossing to Armorica, Brieuc, Samson, Malo and a great host of hermit-saints shone forth the Word of Christ to the people there.

Preceded by the bold Palladius, the Roman Patrick come from Britain to drive out the serpent demons from the north of green Eire and monks of Egypt came to enlighten the south; so shone forth our holy mothers Brigid and Ita and our holy fathers Finnian and Kevin and a myriad of holy monks and nuns.

With many followers the great voyager Brendan sailed the ocean wide, after whom all the isles of the northern seas, Orkney, Shetland, Faeroe and Iceland, were peopled by the host of the holy monks and hermits of Eire, who went forth to all the lands of the West to preach the Word of God to all peoples.

Preceded by the Roman Ninian, from Eire the Caledonian land and all the Hebrides were enlightened by the dove of Christ Columba, who shone forth from holy Iona with his many ascetic followers; thus Picts and Scots alike heard the word of Christ resounding in their northern mountains, while Kentigern the beloved preached in the southern hills.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Grant us thine aid through thine entreaties, O Most Holy Birthgiver of God. Trials and tribulations have befallen us, sorrows have grown manyfold and our foes have arrayed themselves against us. But, standing forth, do thou, O All-Pure One, deliver us. Cast down the uprisings of our enemies and grant us victory, that all who do evil to thy servants may be put to shame.

Ode VIII

Irmos: Becoming vanquishers of the tyrant and the flames by Thy grace, taking exceeding care to keep Thy commandments, the children cried aloud: Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.

With zeal and love for God as valiant warriors for God the new Christians of the West rose up in Orthodoxy, to fight the pagan pride of Rome and heathen tribes through spiritual warfare, raising up the Church and nations in Christ, trampling down demons, baptising the heathen in mighty ocean and sea and humble stream and pool, and granting humble words of wisdom to all.

Roman Britain first heard of Christ through the apostles and Aristobulus preached the Word in the west before the First Martyr Alban confessed the Living God in the east. Then came the great Augustine from Rome in the south and the great Aidan from Iona in the north to bring the Light of Christ to all, signing the whole island with the sacred cross.

Wherefore, with the mission of Paulinus of York, King Oswald was converted to the Cross by holy Aidan, and the abbess-queens Audrey and Hilda preached the Word and Cuthbert the Wonderworker of Britain set an example from his holy island, and all were brought together by the Greek Theodore, come from Tarsus of Paul, while the Venerable Bede, who loved the Scriptures, wrote down the deeds of the saints of God.

In times of harsh persecution by the Northmen, Edmund and a host of martyrs shone forth. Then the great Alfred was inspired from on high to return the people to Christ and baptise the heathen, rebuilding the Church and restoring the learning of the Church and the law of God.

After them came the martyr-King Edward, the noble Edith and the hierarchs Dunstan the confessor and Alphege the martyr, and in times of persecution by new Northmen Gytha fled to Russia and brought forth Theodore, a scion from the root of Old England.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Thou art the boast of Christians, O Sovereign Lady; thou art a weapon against our enemies and a bulwark for those who flee to thee. On thee we now call for help, O Lady of the Western lands: Let not the foe of mankind rise up against thy peoples, but do thou vanquish them and save our souls.

Ode IX

Irmos: O Birthgiver of God, perfection of virginity, who exalts this feast with the grace of thy mystic presence, do thou bring to salvation those who magnify the most pure memory of thy Word.

In times of old there shone forth many martyrs in the German lands, Afra in Augsburg, Ursula and her companions in Cologne; in exile in Trier lived the great Athanasius and wrote the life of Antony the Great, where the hierarch Severus ruled and later the hermit Simeon from Syracuse witnessed to Orthodoxy.

Desiring to bring the light of the Gospel to their cousins across the sea, Willibrord-Clement came to the Netherlands and Frisia, where also shone forth Adalbert in Egmont and Gregory in Utrecht, and to the German lands there came the martyr Kilian, Swithbert, the apostolic Winfrith-Boniface the Martyr, Lioba, Winebald, Walburgh, Willibald and Lull, nun and hierarch enlightening the heathen of one accord.

In the eastern kingdom there strove the holy monk Severinus in Noricum, enlightener of Austria, and the apostolic Rupert in Salzburg and Modestus, enlightener of Carinthia, bringing light from the east to the west and from the west to the east.

The lands of the north can also boast: of Anschar, who brought the Danes the first light; of the martyred Olaf the King, from whom the Swedes learned of Christ, and of the enlightener Sigfrid come from England to baptise Anna of Novgorod, and of the repentant Swedish monk-King Magnus in later times; while in far Norroway there shone forth Olaf the martyr-king and Hallvard the blessed of Oslo.

The German lands were not all lost, for after the darkness fell, men renounced the foolish reasonings of heresy and found salvation in foolishness for Christ in the Russian lands. Thus, Procopy came to Ustiug in repentance, as also Isidore to Rostov from Brandenburg and the third fool-for-Christ John the Wonderworker. And in these latter times Alexander the New-Martyr, who resisted evil, has shone forth his victory in the city of the monks.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O Virgin full of grace, who of old enriched the towns and hamlets of the Western lands with the images of Thy presence as with traces of sweet fragrance, accept our songs of thanksgiving and deliver thy lands from all misfortune, for we magnify thee as our never-failing protection.

Exapostilarion of the Resurrection. Glory…. Of the Saints.

In truth you have been revealed as beacons of light who have enlightened your lands and peoples with the faith of piety, O saints of the Western lands, who confessed the Holy Spirit aright, forsake us not and by your intercessions bring back to Wisdom all those who in foolishness of mind have fallen away from the Church of the Saviour, Who is wondrous in His saints.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God of the resurrection.

At the Praises, 4 stichira of the resurrection and 4 of the saints, Tone VI.

Rejoice, O saints, spiritual wellsprings of faith, ever watering your lands with streams of Wisdom from the God of Love on high! Rejoice, O roots which grew to bear fruit to feed the souls of the faithful! Rejoice, O righteous ones, you only true glory of the Western lands, greatest among its peoples! Rejoice, O bright revelation to the darkness of the latter times!

He Who rules over Creation perceived the meek purity of your hearts and granted you the Spirit Who proceeds from the Father. Having enlightened your hearts with purity and so your minds with wisdom, O blessed saints, the Saviour has revealed you to be bright suns of godly works and words in the darkness of the latter times.

Verse: The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them.

Loathing falsehood and loving the beauty of Christ, O saints of the Western lands, you received the teachings of the Lord by the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father, and so brought forth the fruit of virtue and not the things of men. Therefore, you were granted the heavenly kingdom and with joy we celebrate your holy memory in the darkness of the latter times.

Verse: Blessed are those who fear the Lord, that walk in His ways.

Now do we celebrate the myriad of saints of the Western lands, known and unknown to us, all of whose holy names the Maker of mankind alone knows. Wherefore we also celebrate the Wonderworker John who walked the streets of Western cities, recalling the saints of old to us unworthy ones and so calling all to repentance in the darkness of the latter times.

Glory…. Stichiron of the Gospel. Now and ever…: Hymn to the Mother of God, ‘All-blessed art thou, O Virgin Birthgiver of God…’

After the thrice-holy hymn, the troparion of the resurrection.

AT THE LITURGY

At the Beatitudes, 10 troparia, 6 in the tone of the week and 4 of the Saints, Tone IV.

We have not inherited our lands by the sword, but it is by Thy right hand, Thine upraised arm and the light of Thy countenance, and the by tears of Thy saints, their struggles and sweat, by their blood and their teaching, that our homes are firmly established.

When we turned away from Thee and failed to keep Thy commandments, then we were thrust aside and cast down, and we have become the least among all peoples. But have pity on us, O God our Saviour, through the entreaties of Thy saints.

Glory… Hymn to the Holy Trinity: O all-blessed Trinity, return us from exile, heal our sickness and our sorrow and lift up our spirits from sloth and the slumber of sin, that we may be worthy of our fathers and mothers who by their struggles glorified Thy Name in these lands.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God: Gather in the scattered, return those who have been cut off, bring back again those who have fallen away from the Orthodox Faith, comfort the weeping and the sorrowing and heal the dissolution of these lands, O thou who art full of grace, beseeching God on our behalf with the saints who are our compatriots.

After the little entrance, the troparion of the resurrection, that of the church, if dedicated to the Mother of God, and that of the saints. Kontakion of the resurrection, Glory…; that of the saints; Now and ever…: that of the church, if dedicated to the Mother of God, or ‘O Intercession for Christians unashamed…’

Prokimenon of the tone of the week and that of the saints, Tone VII:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Epistle, as appointed, and that of the Saints: Hebrews, Section 330 (Heb. 11,33 to 12,2).

Alleluia, Tone I.

Verse: O God, Thou givest avengement unto me and hast subdued peoples under me.

Verse: Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous.

Gospel, as appointed, and that of the Saints: Matthew, Section 10 (Matt. 4, 25 to 5, 12).

Communion Verse:

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous; praise is meet for the upright.

Note: If the church is dedicated to All the Saints of the Western Lands, at Matins we sing: Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ…; Psalm 50. Glory…: Through the prayers of all the Saints of the Western lands, O Merciful One; Now and ever…; Through the prayers of the Birthgiver of God…And instead of Jesus, having risen from the dead…, we sing the first stichiron at the aposticha at Vespers and the rest as usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service to All the Saints of the Isles

On the first Sunday after the commemoration of All Saints, that is the first Sunday of the Fast of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Apostles, we celebrate the memory of all the Saints who have shone forth in the British Isles and Ireland.

 AT VESPERS

At ‘Lord I have cried’, we sing 10 stichira, 4 of the resurrection, Tone I, and 6 of the saints, Tone I.

O come, all you faithful, now let us praise the saints of the Isles, the venerable monastics, the holy bishops, the right-believing princes, all the martyrs and the company of holy women, those known by name and those unknown, for truly by their words and deeds and manifold ways of life and gifts of God, they became saints and God made glorious even their graves with wonders. And now, standing before Christ Who has glorified them, they pray fervently for us who celebrate the splendour of their feast with love.

Tone II: With what beauty of hymn shall we praise the divinely wise of the Isles, the splendour and adornment of the Church of Christ, the crown of the priesthood, the rule of piety, the never-drying wellsprings of divine healing, the outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit, the streams of manifold wonders which gladden the Isles and all those who seek God. For whose sake the All-Merciful Christ has cast down the uprisings of the enemy.

Tone VIII: Let the earth make glad and the heavens rejoice, in praising your toils and struggles, your spiritual courage and purity of mind, O venerable ones, for you were not overcome by the laws of nature. O holy company and divine assembly, you are truly the strength of our Isles.

In the same tone, to the special melody, ‘O most glorious wonder…’

O blessed kings and queens, divinely-wise princes and princesses, who shine forth with Orthodox loving-kindness and are resplendent with virtues: You enlighten all the faithful, driving away the darkness of the demons. Therefore we honour you as partakers of never-fading grace and unashamed preservers of your inheritance, O right wondrous ones.

O all-blessed martyrs of Christ, you gave yourselves up to voluntary sacrifice and have hallowed the Isles with your blood, bringing splendour even to the skies by your repose; and now you dwell in the heavens amid the light that never sets, ever praying on our behalf, O seers of God.

With your virtues you have enlightened the hearts of the faithful, O you righteous who have shone forth in the Isles. For who can hear of your boundless humility and forbearance and not marvel? You foreknew the needs of all, O right-wondrous ones. You were models of meekness and guilelessness for all, of pity for the grieving, of swift help for those in misfortune, untroubled havens for those at sea and good speed for those on land. And now as you have been crowned with unfading wreaths by the hand of Almighty God, do you beseech Him that our souls may be saved.

Glory…Tone V: Rejoice, O faithful Church of the Isles! Rejoice, O First-Martyrs Alban, Julius and Aaron! Rejoice, O Ninian, Apostle of the North! Rejoice O divine Patrick come to the Irish land with the Gospel of Christ! Rejoice, O David, Enlightener of the West! Rejoice, O Columba, light of the Scots! Rejoice, O Gregory, who with thy disciple Augustine, saw not Angles but Angels! For you were our first intercessors with the Maker of all, bringers of the Orthodox Faith and guides to the True Light! Rejoice, from every hamlet and town, nurtured by those who now dwell in heaven! These saints have been shown to be guiding lights for our souls! With the brightness of signs and deeds, they have shone forth most mystically unto all the ends of the earth and now they beseech Christ for the salvation of our souls!

Now and ever…, dogmatikon in the tone of the week.

Readings: Isaiah 43, 9-14; Wisdom 3, 1-9; Wisdom 5, 15 – 6, 3. 

At the Lity the stichiron of the church and these stichira of the saints, Tone VIII.

Rejoice with us, all you choirs of the saints and angelic hosts, gathered together in spirit, let us sing of thanksgiving to Christ our God. For lo, the countless throng of our kinfolk who have been well-pleasing to God, does stand before the King of Glory and intercede, beseeching mercy for us. They are the pillars and beauty of the Orthodox Faith, they have glorified the Church of God with their ascetic feats and the shedding of their blood, with their teachings and their deeds. They have confirmed the Faith of Christ with signs and wonders. They have shone forth from all the ends of the Isles, establishing the Orthodox Faith herein and with apostolic zeal have taken it to other lands. Some have adorned the desert fens and isles with monasticism, showing the angelic life. Some have undergone trials and mockery, wounding and cruel death by those of this world. And many of every position in life have struggled in other ways. Pray you all to the Lord that He may deliver the Isles from trial and tribulation, granting us models of patience and forbearance in the face of evil.

Glory…Now and ever…in the same tone.

Let all the ranks of saints and angels make glad with us, singing in spiritual choir. They have beheld our Sovereign, the Queen of Heaven and Lady of the Isles, Who is glorified by all the faithful. And the souls of all the righteous make glad with them, beholding Her most precious hands stretched forth in supplication beseeching peace for the world, renewal of the Orthodox Faith in the Isles and the salvation of our souls.

At the aposticha, the stichira of the resurrection in the tone of the week and Glory…. Tone IV. 

Celebrating the season of the commemoration of our holy kinfolk, let us call them blessed as is meet, for they have truly passed through all the Beatitudes of the Lord: made poor, they have become rich in spirit; being meek, they have inherited the kingdom of the meek; having wept, they have been comforted; having thirsted after righteousness, they have been filled; having had mercy on others, they have found mercy for themselves; pure in heart, they have seen God as far as such is possible; peace-makers, they have been counted worthy to be adopted as children of God; persecuted and tormented for piety and righteousness’ sake, they now rejoice and make glad in Heaven; and they earnestly beseech the Lord that He will have mercy on the Isles.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God, Tone V.

Let our hymns resound, together let us hymn the Birthgiver of God and Queen of Heaven, the Lady of the Isles: Rejoice, O thou who from ages past hast crowned us with thy goodness and grace! Therefore the Church of the Isles does celebrate with meet splendour thine all-honoured protecting veil and the memory of thy miracles. Take not thy mercy away from us, O Mother Mary, but look down upon our sorrows and oppression and raise us up once more, making us to be thy Dowry as of old.

After the blessing of the loaves we sing ‘Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God’ twice and the troparion of the saints once, Tone VIII.

From the ends of the earth, O Lord, the Isles of the Sea offer Thee all the saints who have shone forth therein as the fair fruit of Thy saving splendour. Through their supplications and through the Mother of God, preserve Thy Church and Thine Isles in peace profound, O most Merciful One.

AT MATINS

At ‘God is the Lord’ the troparion of the resurrection twice, Glory…. The troparion of the saints, Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God.

O Good One, Thou Who for our sakes wast born of the Virgin and endured the Cross, Who didst cast down death by death and as God revealed the Resurrection, disdain not that which Thou hast fashioned with Thy hands. Show forth Thy love for mankind, O Merciful One. Accept the supplications of the Birthgiver of God Who gave birth to Thee and prays for us, and thus save Thy people, O Lord. 

After the readings from the Psalter, the sessional hymns of the resurrection in the tone of the week with their verses and hymns to the Mother of God.

After the Polyeleos, the magnification.

We magnify you, O all you saints who have shone forth in the Isles, and we honour your holy memory, for you intercede with Christ our God on our behalf.

Selected psalm verses.

A Hear this, all ye people, give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world (Ps 48,2)

B My mouth shall speak of wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding (Ps 48,4)

A Come, ye children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord (Ps 33,12)

B I have proclaimed the good tidings of Thy righteousness in the great congregation (Ps 39,10)

A I have declared Thy truth and Thy salvation (Ps 39,11)

B I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I praise Thee (Ps 21,23)

A That I may hear the voice of Thy praise, and tell of all Thy wondrous works (Ps 25,7)

B O Lord I have loved the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth (Ps 25,8)

A I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and will not sit with the wicked (Ps 25,5)

B For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and I have not acted impiously toward my God (Ps 17,22)

A The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgement (Ps 36,30)

B His righteousness endures for ever (Ps 110,3)

A Thy priests shall be clothed with righteousness, and Thy righteous shall rejoice (Ps 131,9)

B Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they will praise Thee unto ages of ages (Ps 83,5)

Glory…Now and ever…Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Glory to Thee, O God (Thrice)

Then the troparia or evlogitaria, The assembly of the angels…

ipakoi and the following sessional hymns of the saints.

Tone VIII: Enlightened by the brightness of the saints, as though entering a paradise most fair, we have found delight in the streams of sweetness. Gazing in wonder at the boldness of their deeds, let us come to love their virtues, crying out to the Saviour: through their supplications, O God, grant us to partake of Thy kingdom.

In Tone I to the special melody ‘Thy tomb, O Saviour…’

Today has dawned the all-honoured festival of the saints who have shone forth in the Isles. Like unto the radiance of the sun and the brightness of the morning star, they enlighten our minds and arouse our hearts to emulate their godly life and their zeal for the Faith.

Glory…. Tone VIII.

Today the faithful of the Isles celebrate the commemoration of Thy saints, O Lord. The heavens rejoice and the ends of the earth and the sea make glad. Through their intercessions deign to grant our souls great mercy.

Now and ever…. In the same tone.

Looking down from on high, O most merciful Master, visit us who have been afflicted by error and sin, taking us unto Thyself and through the prayers of the Mother of God and all the saints of the Isles grant our souls great mercy.

The hymn of the ascents in the tone of the week. Prokimenon of the tone of the week. Let every breath praise the Lord. Gospel of the Resurrection. Psalm 50. Glory…Through the prayers of the apostles…. Now and ever…. Through the prayers of the Mother of God…. And the stichira of repentance and the resurrection.

Canon of All the Saints of the Isles, Tone VIII

Ode I

Irmos: O you people, let us send up a hymn to our wondrous God, Who freed Israel from bondage, crying out a song of victory to Thee Who alone art Master.

Refrain: All the Saints of the Isles, pray to God for us!

In spiritual songs let us hymn together our godly fathers and mothers who have shone forth in piety, and whom every island has brought forth and whom the Church of the Isles has nurtured.

Rejoice, you holy Apostles and all you holy ones of God, who of old built the ancient church and hallowed our land from the beginning. Rejoice, you first Christians who brought wisdom from Rome and never cease to intercede for us with Christ our God.

Come, O you lovers of the martyrs, and with hymns let us honour the First Martyrs of the Isles, Alban, Julius and Aaron and all their holy company who would not worship the idols and thus shed their blood for Christ.

Disciple of Martin, thou art the greatness and boast of Whithorn, O holy Ninian, for by thee men were freed from the delusion of idolatry. Thou who didst build the white church, shine forth in the whiteness of thy purity, and pray for the people whom thou hast led to God.

Thou didst chronicle the deeds of the martyrs and upbraid thy people for their sins, O wise Gildas. And as from the lands of the West, thou didst preach repentance as the Forerunner of old, so now do thou shine forth once more in the West as a new Forerunner before the Return of the Lord.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Together with the angelic hosts, O Sovereign Lady, together with the honourable and glorious prophets and apostles and martyrs, pray thou to God for us sinners, who through all the Isles have glorified thee.

Ode III

Irmos: None is holy as our Lord and none is righteous as our God, Whom all creation does hymn in words of song: None is righteous save thee, O Lord.

Thou art a spiritual paradise, O Island of the Saints, bringing forth a multitude of spiritual blossoms, O blessed fathers and mothers, whose number it is not possible to reckon. We therefore praise and hymn the One Master for all the throng of the saints of the Irish land.

Rejoice and be glad, O servant of Christ, Palladius who was the first sent, bringing the Word of God to the souls of the humble who had long thirsted for the Wisdom and Truth of God. Rejoice, O great and noble

Patrick, thou didst go out to the Irish land as Apostle, teaching the Trinity and thus freeing those that were held captive by the demons from the wiles of the serpent. Pray thou now that the souls of all who dwell in the Irish land may be saved.

Come, O you faithful, let us hymn our compassionate mothers, Brigid the Abbess of Kildare, disciple of Patrick, and Ita, the lover of the Holy Trinity, who both made the light of Christ to shine forth in the hearts of many.

Now let us hymn the monastic fathers: Macartan, Declan, Ailbhe, Enda of Inishmore the father of monastic life, Murtagh, Abbot Senan, holy Ciaran and Finnian of Clonard, the teacher of the three thousand saints of Ireland; and Abbot Brendan the Voyager who took the Word of God to the lands of the Western ocean, Comgall of Bangor, Colman of Cloyne, Finbar of Cork, the holy Abbot Kevin of Glendalough and Maedoc of Ferns, Fintan of Taghmon who prayed for the departed, and Laserian of the holy island.

By thy holy intercessions, thou many thousandfold Thebaid of Irish saints, whose zeal spilled out across the seas, teach us to seek out the salvation of our souls, for thy light has spread across the ocean to the West and across the sea to the East and all the peoples of the earth sing of thy holy feats.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Lo! The time for the intercession of the Birthgiver of God is come, for temptations have grown manyfold. Behold! Now is the time to sing out to her! Let us therefore say with our whole heart: O Sovereign Lady, help thou thy people!

Kontakion, Tone III to the special melody: ‘Today the Virgin…’ 

Today the choirs of the saints who have pleased God in the Isles stand forth in the Church and unseen pray to God for us. With them the angels give glory; and all the saints of the Church of Christ make glad with them, and all together they beseech the Pre-Eternal God for us.

Ikos: The saints are shown to be fair blossoms of the Garden of Eden, laden with the nectar of good works and the sweet scent of Orthodox teachings, whereby our souls are fed and our spiritual thirst is quenched, Come you therefore, let us hasten beneath their shade and let us bless them as the delight and adornment of the Isles, and as a model and pattern for our lives, for they have received unfading crowns of glory and all together they beseech the Pre-Eternal God for us.

Sessional hymn, Tone IV to the special melody: ‘Go quickly before…’

Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, sent you forth as rays to enlighten the Isles, O favoured ones of God. Wherefore by your divine entreaties, O blessed ones, make bright my darkened mind and soul.

Glory…. Now and ever…. In the same tone.

O you faithful, let us make haste to the divine and healing raiment of God our Saviour, Whose good pleasure it was to take on this flesh and to shed His own blood upon the Cross, thereby redeeming us from bondage to the enemy. Wherefore, we cry out to Him in thanksgiving: Save Thou Thine Isles and beneath Thy precious raiment protect all their peoples and save our souls, for Thou alone lovest mankind. 

Ode IV

Irmos: O Word of God, with divine vision the prophet perceived Thee Who wast to become incarnate of the Birthgiver of God, the mountain overshadowed, and trembling he glorified Thy might.

On Man thou first didst sow the Word of Christ, O holy Germanus, bringing forth a heavenly harvest. Together with thy brethren Maughold and Conan, pray that we who sing to thee may be granted great mercy.

Ye were enlighteners of Cymru, holy Cadfan and father of saints Illtyd the learned, together with holy Cadoc, Dyfrig, Teilo, Beuno, Deiniol, Asaph and Tysilio; and thou, O David, who didst gather a great host of monastics and from Jerusalem become the glorious Archpastor of the West. And raising thy voice thou didst silence the ragings of those who knew not Christ. Together with the holy bishops, and the sacred virgin Winefred, and all the saints of Cymru, pray that we too may be delivered from the same.

Exult today, O all ye saints of the Cornish land, hermits and hermitesses, bishops and faithful people, Thebaid of the glory of God in the West! Let Petroc the rock of faith, together with Constantine the King and Piran, Austell, Budoc and the holy virgin Morwenna, leading you in praising Christ our Saviour, now pray to God for the salvation of our souls.

Forsaking thy royal father’s home, thou didst seek to live as an anchorite in Devon, O Nectan, blessed martyr of Christ. Bequeath to us purity of speech, and together with thy holy family, do thou intercede for the salvation of our souls.

O Samson the strong, thou didst bring the light of Christ from the Isles of the holy Lide and Helier, and crossing the sea thou didst bring the Gospel to Armorica, there sowing the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the multitudes and casting out the demons from before thee.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O Virgin Bearer of God, thou hope of all Christians, do thou grant unto us thy mercies which thou didst show to our forebears of old, and protect and preserve us from all evil.

Ode V

Irmos: Delivering me from the darkness of the passions, O Christ, vouchsafe, I pray Thee, that out of the deep night of the present age, my spirit may rise at dawn to the light of the day of Thy commandments.

Thou didst come out of the Irish land, O gentle dove, most glorious Columba, and from holy Iona the Scottish land was formed by thy teachings and those of thy many spiritual disciples, the holy Abbots Adamnan, Dunchad and Comgan, and was enlightened with thy wonders.

O holy Kenneth, hallowing of the lands of the West, together with the beloved Kentigern of Glasgow, thou didst bring the grace of the Divine Word and a rich harvest of souls.

Out of the Irish land, thou didst come to the Scots with the flame of the Word, O holy Donan, and together with all thy heavenly companions, and Blaithmac and Adrian, by your blood ye did bring many to the faith of Christ.

O holy Comgall, come from the West, together with the holy fathers Machar, Blane, Drostan, Flannan, Fillan, Maelrubba of the Picts, Maelruain, Fergus and Donald, do thou pray to God for the salvation of our souls.

O Columban and all ye righteous of the Western shores, you did go east and west, north and south, making the deserts cities and by the Light of Christ in your lives you have taught us to follow the Master Christ Who alone loves mankind.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O Lady of the Isles, thou who art the fervent helper for all who have recourse to thee; thou who art the hope of the hopeless, do thou look down upon the afflictions of thy people and reveal to us a sign of thy mercy, O Most Pure One.

Ode VI

Irmos: O Thou who lovest mankind, accept me who am held fast by many sins, and who now fall down before Thy compassion, and save me as Thou didst save the prophet, O Lord.

Rejoice, O holy father Gregory, Apostle of the English, inspired by God, pray that the Angles may become Angels; and thou holy Augustine, first Archpastor of the Church of Canterbury, Mother of the English, who preached to holy Ethelbert, pray to God for the salvation of thy people, for thou wilt present us before His dread Throne at the end of time.

O holy hierarchs of Canterbury and York, Laurence, Mellitus, Justus, Honorius, Paulinus, together with all your worthy successors, your sound has gone out unto all the ends of the land, destroying the worship of idols and planting the true Faith in our hearts.

Thou didst spurn a mortal bridegroom for love of the Immortal Bridegroom Christ, O holy Eanswythe, thus founding the first convent for English womankind. And now together with thy holy brothers, do thou pray to God for the salvation of our souls.

Armed with the might of the Cross, thou didst vanquish the enemies of Christ, O holy King Oswald, thus meriting a martyr’s crown. Together with the holy martyred Kings, Edwin and Oswin, do thou pray for the salvation of our souls.

Thou didst come forth from the blest Isle of Iona, O lowly Aidan, light of the North, to feed the hearts of the English. Together with the glorious wonderworker and faithful shepherd of the flock of the Word, Cuthbert, and all the saints of the holy island of Lindisfarne, Abbots Finan, Colman, Edbert, Edfrith and Ethilwald, pray now that our sins may be forgiven by the Most Merciful Saviour.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Of old, the Creator of all wrought many wonders through Thee, O Virgin, and saved us from the invasion of enemies. Thus be thou now a protection and aid for Thine Isles, O Lady and Queen, saving us from all the assaults of the enemy.

Kontakion and ikos of the resurrection in the tone of the week.

Ode VII

Irmos: On the plain of Dura the tyrant once built a furnace to torment those who bore God; and therein the three youths hymned the One God, saying: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

O holy Felix, light of the East, thou didst bring the Faith of Christ to the East Anglian land, baptising the faithful Audrey of Ely and all her holy family, giving heart to Fursey and his brethren, together with the holy Botolph of Iken, do thou intercede for us sinners.

Strengthened by the grace of God, O holy Theodore, the gift of God to the Isles, from Tarsus thou didst come like a second Paul, bringing the unity of Christ to the nations. Together with thy holy companion, Abbot Adrian, do thou now instruct our souls in the light of piety through thy holy prayers.

O holy Abbesses, Mothers Ethelburgh, Hilda, Ebbe, Mildred, Mildgyth, Milburgh, Werburgh, Ermenburgh, Enfleda, Elfleda, Cuthburgh and Edburgh, having acquired the gifts of abstinence and humility, wisdom, faith and perfect love, ye attained the Kingdom that knows no evening.

O holy Birinus, Apostle of Wessex, together with our fathers Agilbert, Aldhelm, and Egwin, and Chad in the marches with his holy brother Cedd, Apostle of Essex, and holy Wilfrid who didst enlighten the darkness of the pagans of the south, and the holy bishops of Hexham, Eata, John of Beverley, Acca and Alcmund and all your holy company, together with Erconwald, light of London, intercede for the salvation of the souls of your people.

Thy tears in the wilderness brought forth fruit a hundredfold, O holy father Guthlac, and by the weapon of thy prayers thou didst vanquish the demons and receive from heaven the grace to heal the diseases of those who honour thee. Together with thy holy disciples, Pega, Bettelin and Cissa, do thou pray to God for the forgiveness of our sins.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Grant us thine aid through thine entreaties, O Most Holy Birthgiver of God. Trials and tribulations have befallen us, sorrows have grown manyfold and our foes have arrayed themselves against us. But, standing forth, do thou, O All-Pure One, deliver us. Cast down the uprisings of our enemies and grant us victory, that all who do evil to thy servants may be put to shame. 

Ode VIII

Irmos: Becoming vanquishers of the tyrant and the flames by Thy grace, taking exceeding care to keep Thy commandments, the children cried aloud: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

Thou wast adorned with fair speech, O Venerable Bede, for thou didst reveal the mysteries of the Scriptures and glorify the saints of the English land. Together with the holy fathers, Benedict, the lover of the holy images and the holy Abbots Sigfrid and the humble Ceolfrid, do thou intercede for the salvation of our souls.

With zeal spilling over from the Isles, to those who knew not the Word of Christ thou didst go out with streams of living water, O divine Clement, Apostle of the Frisians, followed by the Archpastor Boniface, Apostle of the German lands, who with all his helpers, Willibald, Winnibald, Walburgh, Lioba, Thecla and Willehad, brought light to the darkness, and together with a great host, wast counted worthy of a martyr’s crown, and ye were followed by Sigfrid out of Glastonbury, the Apostle of the Swedes.

Wearing the purple of your own blood, you exchanged your earthly crowns for heavenly ones, O royal martyrs Ethelbert, Alcmund, Kenelm and Wistan; therefore the miracles at your tombs proclaim your innocence.

In Winchester’s royal city thou didst shine forth with the grace of humility, O holy bishop Swithun. Wherefore the Lord exalts thee together with all the saints of Winchester, Hedda, Birnstan and Alphege, and the land of Wessex doth ever make glad in thee.

When the savage Northmen came to the English land, many martyrs were raised up, from Chertsey to Coldingham, in Crowland and Peter’s burgh, in Bardney and Ely and a multitude of other places north and south, and like them, thou, our holy patron thrice-crowned Edmund the King, didst not renounce the name of sweet Jesus. Wherefore, O holy martyr, thy tongue did utter words even after thy repose and thy body was resplendent in the grace of incorruption.

In England’s darkest hour thou didst comfort the righteous Alfred the King with thy wise counsel, O holy hermit Neot, and from Athelney went up the prayer of the faithful, that the Orthodox faith might be restored in an England remade, through the servants of God, Alfred the great, holy Grimbald, Plegmund and companions, crying aloud; Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Thou art the boast of Christians, O Sovereign Lady; thou art a weapon against our enemies and a bulwark for those who flee unto thee. On thee we now call for help, O Lady of the Isles: Let not the foe of mankind rise up against the peoples of thine Isles, but do thou vanquish them and save our souls.

Ode IX

Irmos: O Birthgiver of God, perfection of virginity, who exalts this feast with the grace of thy mystic presence, do thou bring to salvation those who magnify the most pure memory of thy Word.

Emulators of the apostles in labours and watching, you have presided over the Church, O holy bishops, Oda the renewer, Dunstan the shepherd of souls, Ethelwold the father of monks, mild Oswald, Wulsin and Alfwold of Sherborne, who loved all the English saints; wherefore we magnify you in psalms and hymns.

Obedient to thy father in Christ Dunstan, thou didst win the prize of obedience in martyrdom, O holy King Edward, scion of the repentant Edgar, wherefore thy shrine gave forth miracles of healing. Now that thy holy relics have been revealed in these latter times, do thou show forth thy healings anew.

O holy virgins, Edburgh and Edith, ever guarding yourselves with the sign of the Cross, together with holy Elgiva, Wulfhilda and Ethelfleda, pray for the salvation of our souls.

For thy flock and thy land, thou didst lay down thy life, O holy Archpastor Alphege. As thou didst receive from the First Shepherd a crown of glory, so do thou now pray for the salvation of our souls.

O holy fathers and mothers of the Isles from all the ages, known by name and unknown, revealed and hidden, having attained to the heavenly Zion and the great glory of God, do you beseech God for comfort and strength for us who are beset by the snares of these latter days, raise up our fallen Isles anew to the purity of the Orthodox Faith, and gather their scattered people into Holy Church before the end.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O Virgin full of grace, who of old enriched the towns and hamlets of thy sea-girt dowry with the images of Thy presence as with traces of sweet fragrance, accept our songs of thanksgiving and deliver thine Isles from all misfortune, for we magnify thee as the never-failing protection of our lands.

Exapostilarion of the resurrection; Glory…. Of the Saints. 

Now let us praise in hymns the never-fading light of the saints of the Isles, initiated into the mysteries of the Word, glorifying Christ Who has enlightened and loved them, giving them to us as helpers in our sorrows.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God of the resurrection.

At the Praises, 4 stichira of the resurrection and 4 of the saints.

Tone I: Thou didst send Thy Spirit, O Lord, even to us at the ends of the inhabited earth, that the peoples therein might know Thee, the one God in Trinity. Wherefore, having enlightened Thy chosen ones, Thou didst bring them unto Thy Church with faith singing: O our Deliverer, glory to Thee!

Tone II: Gathering together this day, let us bless the lights of the Isles, the martyrs praised by all, the holy bishops, our enlighteners and the founders of our faith, the venerable dwellers in the fens and the islands, the instructors in piety, crying out to them: O you venerable, you martyrs, you righteous and all you saints of the Isles, beseech Christ our God that He may grant us great mercy.

Verse: The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them.

O venerable fathers and mothers, spiritual blossoms of the Isles, whose humility is our only boast, you are our strength, for we have acquired you as an inexhaustible treasure. And now, even though your bodily tongues have fallen silent, yet miracles bear witness that the Lord has glorified you. Therefore beseech Him, that He may grant our souls great mercy.

Verse: Blessed are those who fear the Lord, that walk in His ways.

Tone IV: O all you saints of the Isles, having hearkened to the voice of the Gospel and become enflamed with apostolic zeal, you made haste to enlighten your peoples. Now together with the holy Apostle Andrew the first-Called, the holy victorious Martyr George, and the Enlighteners Patrick and David, do you pray for us that the Isles may once more bring forth the fruit of salvation through Holy Church.

Glory…stichiron of the Gospel. Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God: ‘All-blessed art thou, O Virgin Birthgiver of God…’

After the thrice-holy hymn, the troparion of the resurrection.

AT THE LITURGY

At the Beatitudes, 10 troparia: 6 in the tone of the week and 4 of the saints, Tone IV.

We have not inherited our lands by the sword, but it is by Thy right hand, Thine upraised arm and the light of Thy countenance, and the by tears of Thy saints, their struggles and sweat, by their blood and their teaching, that our homes are firmly established.

When we turned away from Thee and failed to keep Thy commandments, then we were thrust aside and cast down, and we have become the least among all peoples. But have pity on us, O God our Saviour, through the entreaties of Thy saints.

Glory…, hymn to the Holy Trinity: O all-blessed Trinity, return us from exile, heal our sickness and our sorrow and lift up our spirits from sloth and the slumber of sin, that we may be worthy of our fathers and mothers who by their struggles glorified Thy Name in these Isles.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God: Gather in the scattered, return those who have been cut off, bring back again those who have fallen away from the Orthodox Faith, comfort the weeping and the sorrowing and heal the dissolution of these Isles, O thou who art full of grace, beseeching God on our behalf with the saints who are our compatriots.

After the little entrance, the troparion of the resurrection, that of the church, if dedicated to the Mother of God, and that of the saints. Kontakion of the resurrection, Glory…: that of the saints; Now and ever…: that of the church, if dedicated to the Mother of God, or: O intercession for Christians unashamed.

Prokimenon of the tone of the week and that of the saints, Tone VII:

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Epistle, as appointed, and that of the saints: Hebrews, Section 330 (Heb. 11,33 to 12,2).

Alleluia, Tone I:

Verse: O God, Thou givest avengement unto me and hast subdued peoples under me.

Verse: Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous.

Gospel, as appointed, and that of the saints: Matthew, Section 10 (Matt. 4, 25 to 5, 12).

Communion verse:  

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous; praise is meet for the upright.

Note: If the church is dedicated to All the Saints of the Isles, at Matins we sing: Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ…; Psalm 50. Glory…: Through the prayers of all the saints of the Isles, O Merciful One; Now and ever…; Through the prayers of the Birthgiver of God…

And instead of Jesus, having risen from the dead…, we sing the stichiron: Celebrating the season of the commemoration… (the first stichiron at the aposticha at Vespers) and the rest as usual.