Category Archives: Ancient Western Holiness

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.

Commemoration of the Holy Hierarch Felix, Apostle of East Anglia

THE 8TH DAY OF THE MONTH OF MARCH

Commemoration of the Holy Hierarch Felix, Apostle of East Anglia

 AT VESPERS

At ‘Lord I have cried…’, three stichira, Tone VI.

Bearer of God Felix, come from Gaul and sent from Canterbury, thou didst sail to the East Anglian land by call of the holy King Sigebert. Clothed in the raiment of the Holy Spirit and enlightened with divine splendour, do thou who hast entered into the Holy of Holies and partaken of the mysteries of grace, now boldly intercede for the salvation of our souls.

Resplendent with all virtue and godly mind, thou didst enlighten and baptise the lost sheep of the East Anglian Kingdom, O blessed Felix, dispelling the infelicity of their heathen ways, thou hast appeared as the light in the East, and through the Holy Spirit thou hast become a son of the Day in the eternal East. Wherefore we call on thee now, do thou enlighten the lost anew, as we celebrate thy holy memory.

Still in thy youth in Burgundy thy pure mind dwelt in God through faith, and while still in a mortal body thou didst seek for immortality.  In thy passionlessness thou didst become like unto the angels, O Felix the blessed, wise and felicitous Apostle of the East Angles, bright bedesman for all those who honour thy holy memory.

Glory …. Tone VIII.

O venerable father Felix, the fruit of thy virtues has enlightened all East Anglia, for who would not wonder at thy forbearance and gentle compassion. Thou didst instruct all in the ways of God and the paths of virtue, and now thou art adorned with an unfading crown, wherefore do thou intercede for the salvation of our souls.

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

We magnify the Virgin who cried out through her tears: O my Child, I cannot bear to behold Thee, Thou who grantest strength to all, dying upon the Cross. O that thou wouldest grant divine and saving strength to those who sleep the sleep of the lost through the Fall of Adam.

If there is a Polyeleion, then the dogmatic hymn to the Mother of God, Tone VIII.

In His love for mankind, the King of heaven appeared on earth and dwelt among men; for He Who received flesh from the pure Virgin and came forth from her having received human nature, is the only Son of God, twofold in nature but not Person. Therefore, proclaiming Him to be truly perfect God and perfect man, we confess Christ our God. Him do thou beseech, O unwedded Mother, that our souls may find mercy!

Reading from Proverbs

The memory of the just is praised, and the blessing of the Lord is upon his head. Blessed is the man who hath found wisdom, and the mortal who knows prudence. For it is better to traffic for her, than for treasures of gold and silver. And she is more valuable than precious stones: no precious thing is equal to her in value. For length of existence and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are wealth and glory: out of her mouth righteousness proceeds, and she carries law and mercy upon her tongue. Hearken to me, O children, for I will speak solemn truths. Blessed is the man who shall keep my ways; for my outgoings are the outgoings of life, and in them is prepared favour from the Lord. You, O men, do I exhort; and utter my voice to the sons of men. I, wisdom, have built up; upon counsel, knowledge and understanding have I called. Counsel and safety are mine; prudence is mine, and strength is mine. I love those that love me; they that seek me shall find grace. O you simple, understand subtlety, and you that are untaught, imbibe knowledge. Hearken unto me again; for I will speak solemn truths. For my throat shall meditate truth; and false lips are an abomination before me. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing in them wrong or perverse. They are all evident to those that understand, and right to those that find knowledge. For I will instruct you in truth, that your hope may be in the Lord, and ye may be filled with the Spirit.

Reading from Proverbs

The mouth of the righteous drops wisdom: but the tongue of the unjust shall perish. The lips of just men drop grace: but the mouth of the ungodly is perverse. False balances are an abomination before the Lord: but a just weight is acceptable to Him. Wherever pride enters, there will also disgrace: but the mouth of the humble meditates wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the overthrow of the rebellious shall spoil them. Possessions shall not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness will deliver from death. When a just man dies, he leaves regret: but the destruction of the ungodly is speedy and causes joy. Righteousness traces out blameless paths: but ungodliness encounters unjust dealing. The righteousness of upright men delivers them: but transgressors are caught in their own destruction. At the death of a just man his hope does not perish: but the boast of the ungodly perishes. A righteous man escapes from a snare, and the ungodly man is delivered up in his place. In the mouth of ungodly men is a snare for citizens: but the understanding of righteous men is prosperous. In the prosperity of righteous men a city prospers, but at the destruction of the wicked there is exultation. At the blessing of the upright a city shall be exalted, but by the mouths of ungodly men it is overthrown. A man void of understanding sneers at his fellow citizens: but a sensible man is quiet.

Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon

When the righteous is praised, the people will rejoice; for his memory is immortality, because it is known with God, and with men; for his soul pleased the Lord. Love wisdom, therefore, O men, and live; desire her, and you shall be instructed. For the beginning of her is love and the observation of the law. Honour wisdom, that you may reign for evermore. I will tell you, and will not hide from you the mysteries of God, for he it is who is the instructor of wisdom, the director of the wise, the master of all understanding and activity. And wisdom teaches all understanding; for in her is a spirit understanding and holy, the brightness of the everlasting light, and the image of the goodness of God. She makes friends of God, and prophets; she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the constellations of the stars; compared with the light, she is found pre-eminent. She hath delivered from pain them that please her, and guided them in right paths, given them knowledge of holy things, defended them from their enemies, and given them a mighty struggle, that they might all know that godliness is stronger than all; vice shall never prevail against wisdom, neither shall judgment pass away without convicting the evil. For they said to themselves, reasoning unrighteously: Let us oppress the righteous man, let us not spare his holiness, neither need we be ashamed of the ancient grey hairs of the aged, for our strength shall be a law unto us; let us lie in wait for the righteous, for he is displeasing to us, opposes our doings, upbraids us with our offending the law, and denounces to our infamy the transgressions of our training. He professes to have the knowledge of God, and calls himself the child of the Lord. He is become are proof to our thoughts, and is grievous even for us to behold; for his life is not like other men’s, his ways are of another fashion. We are accounted by him as a mockery, and he avoids our ways as filth, and pronounces the end of the just to be blessed. Let us see if his words be true; let us test what things happen to him. Let us examine him with mockery and torture, that we may know his meekness and prove his forbearance. Let us condemn him with a shameful death, for by his own words shall he be visited. Such things did they imagine, and were deceived; for their own wickedness blinded them. As for the mysteries of God, they knew them not; neither be thought they that Thou alone art God, who hast the power of life and death, savest in time of tribulation, and deliverest from all evil; who art compassionate and merciful, givest grace to Thy saints and opposest the prideful with Thine own arm.

At the aposticha, these stichira, Tone VIII.

O holy hierarch Felix, spiritual brightness of the East, morning light of the Church of East Anglia, bringer of felicity to those in infelicity, adornment of hierarchs and model of monastic life, do thou defend and deliver our souls from the enemy.

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

O hierarch Felix, by the power of the Cross and the splendour of the Gospel of Christ, thou dost drive away the demon hordes from the East Anglian land, now do thou also drive away the assaults of the enemy from those who earnestly seek thee in prayer.

Verse: What shall I give in return to the Lord for all that He has given me?

We cannot worthily praise the apostolic labours of the hierarch Felix, who, enlightened by God, enlightens us with understanding, as the confessor of divine mysteries, to whom we now sing: Rejoice, O father of fathers.

Glory, Tone VIII. 

O blessed hierarch Felix, thou who wast a good shepherd and fervent teacher of the East Anglians, to thee we cry out in praise: the Lord has adorned His church with thee: therefore do thou pray without ceasing for those who venerate thee, for the forgiveness and salvation of our souls.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Mother of God in the same tone or this hymn to the Cross and to the Mother of God, Tone VIII.

O Jesus, when Thy Virgin Mother beheld Thee nailed to the Cross, willingly accepting Thy passion she cried: alas, my dear Child, Thou the physician dost endure wounds, Thou who hast healed all man’s infirmity and saved all from corruption through Thy compassion.

Troparion, Tone IV. 

The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, model of meekness and teacher of temperance. Therefore, thou hast reached heights by humility and riches by poverty. O holy father Felix, Apostle of East Anglia, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

AT MATINS 

At ‘God is the Lord’, the troparion of the saint twice, Tone IV.

Glory…. Now & Ever…. Hhymn to the Mother of God or hymn to the Cross and to the Mother of God.

O Pure Unwedded Virgin Mother of God, only intercessor and protector of the faithful: Deliver those who trust in thee from sorrow, calamity and assault and save our souls through thy holy intercessions.

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

As the servant of Christ, the Master of all, thou didst teach the folk of East Anglia, enlightening and baptising, instructing them in the mysteries of grace, O holy hierarch Felix. Therefore we acclaim thee as a preacher of truth and favoured hierarch of Christ.

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

O pure unwedded Virgin Mother of God, only intercessor and protector of the faithful: deliver those who trust in thee from sorrow, calamity and assault and save our souls through thy holy intercessions.

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

Since thy youth in Burgundy, thou didst take up thy cross and follow Christ in the monastic way, subduing the flesh by abstinence. Therefore thou wast sent to the East Anglians by the divine Honorius in Canterbury, and dost magnify the Lord and His Virgin Mother, O Blessed Felix.

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

O Most Holy Virgin who gave birth to the Eternal God, with the holy Bishop Felix do thou beseech Him to grant us remission of sins and amendment of life before the end, for thee do we hymn, O all-praised Virgin.

Magnification.

We magnify thee, O holy hierarch father Felix, and we venerate thy holy memory, for thou dost pray for us to Christ our God.

Verse: Hear this, all you nations, give ear, all you who dwell on the earth.

Sessional hymn, Tone VIII.

Thou didst subdue thy flesh and gloriously tend thy flock, enlightening all the East Anglian Kingdom with baptism and teaching its people to glorify One God in Three Persons. Therefore even after thine earthly life thou dost bestow healings on all those who come to the Church of God and honour thee, O holy Felix. Beseech thou Christ our God to grant remission of sins to those who keep thy festival with love.

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

Let us praise the Gate of Heaven, the Ark, the most holy mountain, the bright cloud, the unburned bush, the spiritual paradise, the deliverance of Eve, the great treasure-house of the universe; for in her was wrought the salvation of the world and the remission of the sins of old. Therefore we cry to her: pray to Christ our God to grant remission of sins to those who venerate thy most holy birthgiving.

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

Prokimenon, Tone IV.

My mouth shall speak wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

Verse: The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgement.

Gospel according to John (10: 1-9)

The Lord said to the Jews who came to Him: Truly, truly, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable said Jesus to them: but they understood not what things they were which he said to them. Then said Jesus to them again, truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enters, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

After Psalm 50, Glory …. Tone VI.

O heir of God, companion of Christ, servant of the Lord, blessed Felix, thy life accorded with thy name, for thou didst deliver the Kingdom of East Anglia from the infelicity of heathendom to the felicity of Christendom, holding aloft the Gospel of Christ and shining forth wisdom, thy life was glorious and thy repose is with the saints, therefore do thou intercede with Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Canon, Tone VI.

ODE I

Irmos: When Israel walked on the waters as on dry land, seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, they cried aloud: let us sing to God a song of victory.

Refrain: Holy Hierarch Father Felix, pray to God for us.

Thou dost stand as a servant of God amidst the choirs of heaven as they keep festival this day. Therefore, through thine intercessions, do thou beseech the Lord to bless thy land as its Apostle and all who sing thy praises.

God chose thee to preach the holy Red Book, the Gospel of Christ, in the Eastern Kingdom, O blessed father Felix. Wherefore as thou hast wisely instructed the people, do thou also instruct us who honour thy holy memory.

As thou wast enlightened by the wisdom of God, O blessed hierarch Felix, and thy heart ever flowed with the words of life, so do thou also enlighten us with words of the living wisdom and warm our souls that are frozen in sin

Hymn to the Mother of God: From afar the holy choir of prophets foresaw that thou, O pure one, would become the Mother of God, exalted above the cherubim and all creation.

ODE III

Irmos: There is none holy as Thou, O Lord my God, who hast exalted the power of Thy faithful, O Good one, and strengthened us on the rock of thy confession.

With words of divine sweetness on thy lips, O blessed father, thou dried up the bitter drops of heathendom in the Eastern Kingdom where God granted thee to preach, and as there thou poured forth the holy drink, do thou now make the spiritual wilderness to blossom forth anew.

Forechosen by God to serve Him across the sea in the Isles, in the Eastern kingdom thou didst offer the bloodless sacrifice to him who offered himself for our sakes, O blessed father, our apostle and intercessor before the Throne of God.

As the paradise of God, thy tomb of old shed forth the fragrance of grace upon the faithful, O glorious hierarch Felix: wherefore do thou now shed forth the fragrance of thy prayers on the East Anglian land and all who now honour thy holy memory.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O pure one, who can fathom the ineffable depths of thy birthgiving; for God humbled Himself in compassion and renewed me in thy womb.

Sessional hymn, Tone IV: Thou hast preserved the Orthodox Faith, tended Christ’s Church and torn up the tares of the heathen, O holy Felix, and as now thou dwellest in heaven, do thou pray for the salvation of our souls.

Glory…. Now and ever….

Hymn to the Mother of God: To thee we sing a hymn of praise, O Virgin Mother of God, and we acknowledge that the Word of the Father, Christ our God, was Incarnate of thee, the only pure and blessed one.

ODE IV

Irmos: Christ is my strength, my God and my Lord, holy Church sings in godliness and cries aloud in purity, keeping festival in the Lord.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, O father Felix, thou hast driven back the spirits of evil and overturned the ancient idols, instructing thy God-given flock in the wisdom and light and Gospel of Christ, leading the East Anglian Kingdom to the Kingdom of God.

Thou hast preached the Uncreated Unity and Indivisible Trinity, neither to be separated nor co-mingled: as thou hast enlightened the whole Eastern Kingdom with the Word of God, do thou now enlighten us who sing unto thee.

With prayerful toil and fasting thou didst subdue the flesh, teaching thy disciples by thine example to do likewise, bringing the whole Eastern Kingdom to pray to Christ, and now thou dost stand in the Kingdom of Heaven and intercede before the Trinity.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Thou hast annulled the ancestral curse, O Holy Mother of God, for thou hast borne for us the source of holiness who is life eternal.

ODE V

Irmos: I beseech thee, O good one, do thou enlighten with thy divine light the souls of those who rise early to pray to thee, that they may know thee as the True God who calls us back from the darkness of sin.

Called by the holy King Sigebert and sent by the divine Honorius, thou wast blameless in thy ministry, granting the grace of baptism to the noble Audrey, leading many to the monastic life, and in purity of soul thou didst serve the holy mysteries, O blessed father.

Building churches throughout East Anglia and raising up a school, through thy holy instruction those who were idolators came to serve the Living God. In calling them back from their faithless ways, thou didst shine forth as the faithful servant of Christ.

Through thine inspired teachings thou didst enlighten the heathen idolators, O holy father Felix, through the power of the spirit thou didst make barren hearts fruitful and become the apostle of thy people, wherefore folk north and south, from fen and coast, from Ely and Soham, from Edmund’s holy burgh and thine own Stowe, we cry aloud to thee: save us who sing unto thee.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O most pure Mary, the Bride of God, thou didst remain a Virgin both before and after thy divine birthgiving, for thou didst bear the God who does all things as he wills.

ODE VI

Irmos: Beholding the sea of life with the flood of temptation, I run to Thy still haven and cry to Thee: raise up my life from corruption, Thou who art most merciful.

Thy lips spoke with the Spirit of God and thou hast written words of grace in the hearts of thy disciples and all the faithful who then went forth to do likewise, calling all to repentance before the end.

Learning divine truth and entering into the holy of holies, thou hast led the faithful to God by the Light of the Trinity and the Love of Christ, wherefore together with Sigebert and Fursey and Audrey and all her holy family, the whole East Anglian land praises thy holy memory.

O holy hierarch Felix, as the strong flow of thine instructions barred the tides of wickedness on East Anglian shore and stream, and as a sweet dew thy words have watered the flock of the faithful, do thou now pray to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O Most Holy Mother of God, the Word came to dwell in thy Virgin’s womb and God appeared there as man, while in ways beyond telling he has restored the human race.

Kondakion, Tone II.

Leaving the land of Gaul, O holy Father Felix, thou didst hearken to the call of God, and thou hast come and enlightened as a faithful apostle the Kingdom of East Anglia, as through thy toil and prayer and fasting thou hast found favour on high, so do thou now intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved

Ikos: Through sin I have fallen away and I sleep unto death but, O good shepherd, do thou raise me up and still the passions that wickedly torment me, that I may rise and hymn thy bright festival, for as the Master of all Creation has glorified thee, O faithful servant Felix, do thou now intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

ODE VII

Irmos: An angel made the furnace to bedew the holy children. But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry aloud: Blessed art Thou, O God of our Fathers.

The Holy Spirit gave thee insight into the divine commandments. As a star in the East thou didst enlighten those who sang: Blessed art thou, O God of our Fathers.

O holy hierarch Felix, who shines with virtues, the Uncreated Trinity took up His abode in thee and therefore thou didst sing: Blessed art Thou, O God of our Fathers.

Thou didst drive away sleep from thine eyes and receive the divine light from the angel of light. He made thee into a pillar of the faithful and true apostle of thy flock.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O Most Pure Maiden, the Uncircumscribed who dwells eternally in the bosom of the Father, now comes to dwell in thy womb Circumscribed and bearing thine image, for He came to save creation.

ODE VIII

Irmos: Thou didst make the flames to sprinkle dew, Thou didst burn the sacrifice of the righteous man with water, for Thou alone, O Christ, doest all as Thou willest and Thee do we exalt throughout all the ages.

Thou, O blessed one, hast humbled the proud serpent of the heathen by thy humility and art raised Godwards in thy purity. Thee do we honour as we exalt Christ throughout all the ages.

Thou didst preach the Incarnate Word to the Eastern Kingdom that once dwelt in darkness, thou didst save it from the infelicity of false worship and idolatry, bringing it to the felicity of Christ, O wise Felix.

Thou didst pattern thy life after the Master’s and likewise order thy speech and instruction. Thou didst fulfil thine earthly course and enter the realm of the blessed.

Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever….

Hymn to the Mother of God: Thy birthgiving has set us free from the ancient curse, most blessed and grace-filled Maiden. Thee do we greet with the words of Gabriel: Rejoice, O cause of the salvation of mankind.

ODE IX

Irmos: It is not possible for men to behold God, upon whom the angelic orders dare not gaze. But through thee, O pure one, the Incarnate Word appeared unto men, and together with the heavenly hosts we magnify Him and call thee blessed.

Having been meek and blessed on earth, now thou dwellest in the land of the blessed. Standing among the heavenly hosts thou art enlightened by the splendour of thy virtues and adorned in glory.

Thou, Apostle of East Anglia, dost behold the brightness of God and angels and the splendour of patriarchs and martyrs: together with them do thou beseech Him Who loves mankind to grant remission of sins and repentance to those who praise thee.

Thy brightness has shone forth to all. Thou dost dwell like an angel in thy land, for thou hast adorned it and hallowed it with thine unction and made thy people wise in God.

Hymn to the Mother of God: The rain of heaven came down as dew into thy womb, O Virgin, and dried up all the streams of deceit. It showered incorruption on all mankind and through thee we are granted redemption.

Exapostilarion: Thy light-bearing festival makes glad this day, O holy hierarch Felix. As thou dost stand in the light of the countenance of God, do thou remember us who praise thee.

Glory…. Now and ever.… 

In thee with God we trust, O Most Pure Virgin. For thou didst suffer with thy Son when he was crucified. Beseech thou him to preserve us unharmed and save our souls.

At the Praises, three stichira, Tone VIII.

O holy father Felix, thou hast attained unto the heights of the ladder of understanding and drawn nigh to God, wherefore thou dost heal all manner of infirmity and expel evil spirits. As with joy and gladness we celebrate thy festival and magnify the Lord who has exalted His favoured one, do thou now call us back to the Faith of Christ.

O wondrous father Felix, with mind enlightened thou didst still the surging sea of the passions, with pure wings of grace thou didst attain to the heights of apostolic goodness, save us who are submerged beneath the sea of sin, and do thou now call us back to the Faith of Christ.

O holy father, thou wast a rule of priesthood and model of love, stronghold of monastic life and strengthening of the church, light of love and throne of compassion, source of miracles and tongue of fire, vessel of the Holy Spirit and spiritual paradise, O Blessed Felix, do thou now call us back to the Faith of Christ.

Glory…. Tone VI.

O holy father Felix, good shepherd and disciple of Christ who gave thy life to thy flock and preached from the holy Red Gospel, O thou who art worthy of all praise, beseech the Lord to grant us great mercy and do thou now call us back to the Faith of Christ.

Now and ever….

Hymn to the Mother of God: We have learned to know the God who became Incarnate of thee, O Virgin Mother of God, beseech thou him to save our souls.

AT LITURGY 

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

Prokimenon, Tone I: My mouth shall speak Wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.

Verse: Hear this, all you nations! Give ear, all you that dwell on the earth. 

Epistle to the Hebrews (7: 26-8:2)

Brethren: For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [makes] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Alleluia, Tone I:

The mouth of the righteous shall proclaim Wisdom and his tongue shall speak of judgement.

Verse: The law of God is in his heart, and his steps shall not falter.

Gospel according to John (10: 9-16)

Jesus said to His disciples: I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Communion Verse:

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

 

Commemoration of the Holy Martyr Edmund, King of East Anglia

THE 20TH DAY OF THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER

Commemoration of the Holy Martyr Edmund, King of East Anglia

AT VESPERS

At ‘Lord I have cried’…six stichira, Tone I.

Now come let us worship the King of Kings, glorious in His servant King Edmund, through whom He has made strong His Church and given joy to the Hosts of Heaven and to the faithful on earth.

Found to have grown to youth in grace and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Providence of God raised Edmund to the throne of the Eastern Kingdom, establishing him as the noble guardian of the Church, for which he strove even unto the shedding of his blood.

Rejoice, O servant-king of the Angles, servant of the King of Angels, O Edmund, flower of martyrs like unto the rose and the lily, thou who wast ever mindful of the True Faith, pour forth prayers to the Lord of all for the salvation of our souls.

Exult now, O Holy Church of the English Land, behold to thee it is given to sing of the noble King and Martyr Edmund, who triumphing over the princes of this world, went up to heaven with great victory and now intercedes for our souls.

The righteous servant of Christ Edmund, full of the Holy Spirit, spoke to the evil heathen: ‘Thy friendship bends not my will and thy threats torment me not, for it is glorious to die for the Lord and fire and sword are sweet to me above honey and the honeycomb’.

The noble Edmund, full of virtue and adorned with holy Godliness, spoke through the Holy Spirit: ‘Threats of banishment make me not afraid. It is pleasant to die for the love of God, behold may it be granted to me to become a sacrifice for God’.

Glory …. Tone VI.

Bound with chains to the tree, the humble Edmund is piteously mocked and scourged. For the love of Christ he gladly embraces the many ways of death, as a target he is covered with arrows. But he prays without ceasing to Christ our God with countenance serene.

If there is a Polyeleion, then the hymn of the resurrection to the Mother of God, Tone VI, ‘Who will not bless thee…’

Reading from Isaiah (43: 9-14)

Thus said the Lord: Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: our let them hear, and say, it is truth. You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore you are my witnesses, says the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships. Thus says the Lord. The Holy One of Israel.

Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon (3: 1-9)

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction, but they are in peace. For though they are punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality. And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded, for God proved them and found them worthy for Himself. As gold in the furnace has He tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever. They that put their trust in Him shall understand the truth; and such as be faithful in love shall abide with Him; for grace and mercy is to His saints and visitation for His elect.

Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon (5: 15-23; 6: 1-3)

The righteous live unto the ages; their reward is also with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand, for with His right hand shall He cover them, and with His arm shall He protect them. He shall take to Him His jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature His weapon for the revenge of His enemies. He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate and true judgment instead of a helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall He sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with Him against the unwise. Then shall the right-arming thunderbolts go abroad, and from the clouds, as from a well-drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark. And from the hailstones full of wrath and cast as out of a sin Tone bow the cities shall fall down, and the water of the sea shall rage against them, and the floods shall cruelly drown them. Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away; thus iniquity shall lay waste the whole earth, and ill dealing shall overthrow the Thrones of the mighty. Hear therefore, O you kings, and understand; learn ye that be judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear, you that rule the people and glory in the multitude of nations, for power is given you of the Lord and sovereignty from the Highest.

At the aposticha, these stichira, Tone IV.

The holy one of God grows bolder as the pain grows fiercer; set as a target he is showered with arrows like unto a new Sebastian. Yet through all, the martyr stands unconquered and the soldier of Christ is victorious.

Verse: The righteous will flourish like a palm tree and will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

The tyrant orders the beheading of the martyr, who still breathes but confesses Christ, and so Edmund consummates his martyrdom and rejoicing in spirit he goes up to God, and his most holy severed head utters words of prayer.

Verse: Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of our God.

The faithful folk set out to seek the head that is parted from the body but lives still, and they cry aloud: ‘Alas, good shepherd. Alas, kind father King Edmund, where art thou?’But the Lord hears the cries of the faithful and receives the prayers of his servants.

Glory…. Tone VI.

The head of the humble martyr utters these words: ‘Behold the one whom ye seek, the kind Father has compassion on His beloved whom he consoles with gentle words’. Wondrous is the Hand of God, for there lies a wolf watching with sorrow over the martyr and from joy the people burst forth into tears at this wonder most strange.

Troparion, Tone IV.

In his sufferings the Martyr-King Edmund, exchanged an earthly crown for a heavenly one. And making glad in Thy strength, O Christ our God, he overcame his tormentors and laid low the vanities of the demons. Now let all the peoples of this land make glad with him, that through his prayers our souls may be saved

AT MATINS

At ‘God is the Lord’, the troparion of the saint, Tone IV (twice).

Glory.… Now & ever.… & the following hymn to the Mother of God in the same tone.

After the first reading of the Psalter, this sessional hymn, Tone I.

Loathing the armies of this world and seeking the glory of heaven, thou didst endure torture and death, O holy martyr Edmund, wherefore this day we celebrate thy holy memory and offer praise to Christ. (Twice)

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

We pray to thee, true Mother and Virgin; with love we beseech thy compassion and flee to thy goodness, O Pure One, for in thee do we sinners find protection and salvation in affliction.

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

O invincible martyr and indomitable witness Edmund, this day set thee free from the bonds of the earth and with triumph led thy soul up to heaven, now as thou dost shine before the Throne of God in thy bright raiment, do thou intercede for us on earth who sing thy praises.

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

To thee we sing a hymn of praise, O Virgin Mother of God, and we acknowledge that the Word of the Father, Christ our God, was Incarnate of thee the only Pure and Blessed One.

After the Polyeleos, the magnification.

We magnify thee, O holy martyr Edmund, and we honour thy honourable sufferings, which thou didst endure, for the love of Christ.

Verse: God is our refuge and our strength, our helper in the troubles that grievously befall us.

Sessional hymn, Tone IV.

In faith let us praise the Royal Martyr of Christ Edmund, the invincible soldier famed for his miracles and great conqueror of the enemy, for he bestows healing on all who come to him in faith, and taking away all pain he intercedes for the suffering.

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

Thou art an unassailable bulwark for us Christians, O Virgin Mother of God, for fleeing unto thee we remain unharmed, and should we fall again we have thee as our intercessor, wherefore we give thanks and cry aloud to thee, Rejoice O thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

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

Prokimenon, Tone IV: The righteous will flourish like a palm tree and will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Verse: Those who are planted in the house of the Lord will flourish in the courts of God.

Gospel according to Luke (12: 2-12)

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. And I say to you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him, which after he has killed has power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say to you, whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the Angels of God: But he that denies me before men shall be denied before the Angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that blasphemes against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring you to the synagogues, and to magistrates, and powers, take no thought how or what thing you shall answer, or what you shall say: For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.

After Psalm 50, stichira, Tone VI.

Today the English land is enlightened with the rays of thy passion-bearer, and adorned with flowers the Church of God cries to thee, O holy martyr Edmund: as thou art favoured by Christ, O fervent intercessor, pray without ceasing for the salvation of our souls.

Supplicatory canon to the Mother of God with six troparia, then the following canon to the saint with eight troparia, Tone VIII.

Ode I

Irmos: Crossing the water as if on dry land, thus fleeing the toils of Egypt, the Israelites cried aloud proclaiming: now let us sing to our God and our redeemer.

Refrain: Holy Martyr Edmund, pray to God for us.

Thy memorial has now shone forth brighter than the sun, O Royal Martyr of Christ. for it has cast the beaming rays of thy miracles over all this land, O bearer of light, all-wise Edmund.

Hero in righteous combat, winner of countless victories, grant me to sing of thy sufferings and struggles valiantly endured, thou hast died for the love of Christ in prayer and joy and gladness.

Ever skilful in hand, thou hast boldly appeared in battle like a new David, for as David wrestled with Goliath, so hast thou prevailed against the arrows of the foe by the arrows of thy words, O thrice-crowned Edmund.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O holy maiden and Mother, thy childbirth is unsearchable and fair, dread and strange. For thou hast fed the perfect God from thy breasts: O wonder beyond all words, for thou gavest suck without having known a man.

Ode III

Irmos: As Thou art the fashioner of the vault of the heavens, O Lord, so too thou art the founder of the Church; do Thou therefore establish me in unfeigned love for Thee who art the height of things sought for and the Staff of the faithful, Thou who alone lovest mankind.

O glorious and blessed martyr Edmund, the humble and righteous King who shines with the crown of martyrdom, pray to God that those who call on thee in Godliness may be delivered from every affliction.

Enlightened by abundant radiance, thou, O all wise Edmund, dost drive away the gloomy despondency of the passions from those who in faith hymn thee.

Confirmed in hope and love, fenced around by faith, thou who art strong in the strength of Christ, thou, O Edmund, hast preached the kingdom and thus overthrown the errors of heathendom.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O most holy Virgin, thou hast borne in the flesh Him who has enlightened all the ends of the earth, who was begotten from the Father before all things were, and therefore we honour thee as the true Birthgiver of God.

Sessional hymn, Tone V.

Enlightened with the lustre of virtue and adorned with the glory of martyrdom, thou shinest brighter than the sun and dost enlighten those who in faith celebrate thy light-bearing memory, O glorious Martyr Edmund.

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

O Ever-Virgin Mother of God, the great miracle of thy conception and thine ineffable childbirth was shown forth in thee and I am filled with awe and amazement, for thy glory shines forth on all for the salvation of our souls.

Ode IV

Irmos: I have hearkened and I have heard of the awesome mystery of Thy dispensation, O Lord, for I have come to the knowledge of Thy works and sing the praises of Thy divinity.

Afflictions beyond number beset Thy saints in the English Land, O Lord, and the hordes of heathen rose to slaughter the faithful. But Thou didst not suffer darkness to overcome the light of the Gospel that Thy saints had kindled, for Thou didst raise up the glorious Edmund, the mighty protector of Thy Church and people.

Raising up thy cross in the sight of the heathen, O Lord, the noble King Edmund besought Thy mercy against the insolent foemen. For he entrusted to Thee the just cause of his nation, that kings and priests and people might bless Thee, O God, for evermore.

The enemy failed to acknowledge thy reproving words and ordered thy body to be pierced with arrows like unto a new Sebastian. Thus pierced, O noble Edmund, thou hast called on the Name of the Saviour in unceasing prayer.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Thou art blessed unto all generations, O Mother and Virgin, O mountain overshadowed by the grace of God, who for our sakes didst give birth to Christ, the Light of the nations, save us by thine intercessions.

Ode V

Irmos: Enlighten us by Thy precepts and Thy commands, O Lord, and by the lofty power of Thine arm, bestow Thy peace upon us all as Thou alone lovest mankind.

Do thou, who hast been richly adorned by Christ for thy boldness as a martyr, now beseech Him earnestly for the salvation of those who sing thy praises, O all-blessed Edmund, our noble guardian.

Ever rejoicing with the angelic hosts, O holy and righteous martyr, and filled to the full with undying and blessed glory, do thou guard thy kingdom from every stirring of the new heathen and protect all those who flee to thee for refuge.

Do Thou who art merciful, O Christ our God, deliver us from every need, calming the many turmoils of sin and peril, and accept, O Lord, the fervent prayers of thy holy servant Edmund.

Hymn to the Mother of God: O Most Holy Mother of God, thou hast appeared far above the Cherubim and Seraphim, for thou, O most pure one, hast alone received in thy womb the God who cannot be contained. Now strengthen by thy bold intercessions those who hymn thee together with the holy martyr Edmund.

Ode VI

Irmos: I pour forth my entreaties to the Lord and to Him I proclaim my sorrows, for many woes fill my soul and my life draws nigh to its end, therefore, do Thou now raise me up from corruption, O Lord my God.

Thy manly and noble deeds are unsurpassed, Father to the widow, the orphan and the poor, righteous guardian of the church, O Royal Martyr Edmund, we praise thee in song, O all blessed one.

Not yielding to sharp and grievous tortures, thou hast gone to them as if they were pleasures, abiding with the Lord in prayer and calling unceasingly on his holy name. though pierced by arrows to the tree, yet thy prayers ring out in victory down all the ages.

Now let us dance and make glad like David of old, singing a hymn of praise, O you people, for we have found the thrice-crowned Edmund, Virgin, King and Martyr, who prays to God for the salvation of us all.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Now do we seek refuge in thee, O Most Pure Virgin. Save and guard us by thy prayers, for as Mother of Him who has power over all things, thine intercessions are mighty indeed.

Kontakion, Tone II: As a field tilled by the Holy Spirit, thou hast been shown forth as a most precious husbandman of grace, gathering in sheaves of virtue, for sowing in tears thou dost reap in gladness, and having fought the good fight unto the shedding of thy blood, thou hast received Christ, therefore do thou intercede for the salvation of our souls.

Ikos: Having upheld the True Faith at the hands of the heathen Northmen, O martyr Edmund, thou wast found worthy to exchange an earthly crown for a heavenly one.Thus inspired by thine example, we too beseech thee that we may receive the reward of eternal blessedness, therefore do thou intercede for the salvation of our souls.

Ode VII

Irmos: Once, from out of Judea, the children went down to Babylon. There they trampled down the flames of the fiery furnace, while singing their faith in the Trinity: O God of our Fathers, blessed art Thou.

Worthily emulating thy Master on the Cross, O holy martyr Edmund, thou wast bound to the tree, thou glorious saint of the Church of Christ, and carrying off the victory, thou art Her guardian, therefore do thou preserve Her through thine intercessions.

As martyr unvanquished, O all-wise Edmund, and as conqueror over suffering and undefeated champion of the faith, do thou fence around all those who praise thee with holy prayers.

Prudently husbanding the divine seed, thou didst make it to increase by watering it with the streams of thy blood, and by the zeal of thy sacrifice thou hast quenched the insolence of the heathen.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Thou art the glory of all, O Pure Virgin, thou art the strength of those who confess thee to be the Mother of God, Whom thou didst bear.

Ode VIII

Irmos: The king of heaven, whom all the hosts of angels hymn in glory, now let us praise and exalt for evermore.

The flood of grievous passions, troubles and perils and all devices of the demons now cease at thine intercessions, O Royal Martyr and righteous servant of Christ Edmund.

O invincible thrice-crowned martyr Edmund, enlightened by the threefold sun of the Trinity, thou champion of Godliness and true faith, pray for us who sing to thee.

Adorned by a heavenly crown and diadem and sceptre, clothed in purple raiment dyed red by thy blood, thou dost reign with the King of Heaven, O all-blessed one.

Hymn to the Mother of God: No Ever-Blessed and Most Pure Virgin Mother, thou hast borne the God begotten by the Father from before all ages, Him Who shone forth before time. Therefore all peoples glorify thee as the true Mother of God.

Ode IX

Irmos: Most rightly do we confess thee as the Mother of God, we who through thee seek salvation, O Most Pure Virgin, therefore with all the choirs of heaven we magnify thee.

O blessed Edmund, do thou beseech Christ our God without ceasing, for we sing thy praises as martyr, as scourge of heathen tyrants, as healer of blind and sick, as protector of the poor, as vigilant guardian of the true faith, and as advocate who can never be confounded.

O thrice-blessed saint of God, the Master of all has given thee the rich prizes of thy contests, standing by His side as martyr with boldness and joy, guard those who call upon thee with faith and honour.

Resplendent in thine incorrupt body, O Edmund, the glory and light of thy relics shone forth upon the burgh named after thee, and from there throughout all the English Land. O light from the East, thou hast shone forth to many peoples down all the ages, now proclaiming the incorruptible victory of Christ, we await thy return before the end as we proclaim thy martyrdom to all the nations.

Hymn to the Mother of God: Yea, the ark of testimony, O most pure Virgin, in which the table, the jar and the golden tabernacle forefigure thee, for thus thou hast held in thy womb, O Birthgiver of God, the Word made flesh, Who has no beginning.

Exapostilarion.

 O-all praised Edmund, noble protector of the English Land, thou hast never failed any man. Watching over this thy land, intercede with Christ our God that the new heathen may be driven back and our souls may be saved.

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

With thy mighty protection ever guard us thy servants from all the assaults of the enemy, O Pure One: for in thee alone do we have a refuge from all danger.

At the Praises, four stichira, Tone IV.

Today all this land is made bright by the rays of thy martyr, O Christ, and adorned with flowers of victory the Church cries aloud to thee, O noble Edmund, the servant of Christ and fervent intercessor, who through thy miracles dost move every tongue to glorify Him who has honoured thee, do thou ever pray to the Lord for the salvation of our souls.

O thrice-crowned Edmund, Virgin, King and Martyr, triumphant and thrice-blessed, having given thyself up as the Lord at Gethsemane, bound to the tree and pierced by arrows, thou hast hurled back the heathen host of error and confessed Christ in glory, pray thou that our souls may be saved.

O brethren, let us praise in spirit the living arrow of sharp faith, Edmund the famous Martyr-King, the wise and honourable one, who was pierced for the love of Christ, dangers forged, tortures burdened, all manner of chastisement smote his virgin body as his head fell, but love conquered nature and the holy one made his way through death to the company of Christ, the Saviour of our souls.

Glory …. In the same tone.

Laying down His life for the world, Edmund the King who loved Thee, Christ, the King of Kings, made haste to die for Thee, for having divine zeal in his heart, he offered himself up to Thee; therefore let us sing of the faith of this glorious and honourable servant of Christ who emulated the Master, that our souls may be saved.

Now & ever….

Let us now sing with faith and joy a hymn to thee, the Mother of God who art praised by all, do thou beseech the Lord that our souls may be saved.

AT LITURGY

At the Beatitudes, eight troparia from Odes III and IV.

Prokimenon, Tone VII: The righteous man shall be glad in the Lord, and shall hope in Him.

Verse: Hearken, O God, to my prayer, when I make supplication to Thee.

The Second Epistle to Timothy (2:1-10)

Brethren: Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strives for masteries, yet is he not crowned, unless he strives lawfully. The husbandman that labours must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord gives thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Alleluia, Tone IV.

Verse: Shout with jubilation unto the Lord all the earth; sing unto His name, give glory in praise of Him.

Verse: For Thou hast proved us, O God, and by fire Thou hast tried us even as silver is tried by fire.

Gospel according to John (15: 16-17)

The Lord said: You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do to you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no other man did, they would not have had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But (this comes to pass), that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify to me: And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service.

Communion Verse.

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

Commemoration of the Holy and Right-Believing Alfred the Great, first King of the English  

THE 26TH DAY OF THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 

Commemoration of the Holy and Right-Believing Alfred the Great, first King of the English

Note: The service to the Holy and Right-Believing King Alfred may be transferred to the previous or to the following day, or to such other day as the community may choose, so as to avoid conflicting with the feast of the Great-Martyr Demetrius.

At Vespers

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

Thou gavest a mighty weapon to Thy King Alfred: the truth of Thy faith, with which he defended an earthly kingdom in wisdom and godliness, and so has been vouchsafed the heavenly kingdom by Thy loving-kindness. Therefore with him do we glorify Thy loving providence, O Almighty Lord, Thou Saviour of our souls.

Thou Who alone lovest mankind gavest thy King Alfred good counsel, the wisdom of Solomon, the meekness of David and the faith of the apostles, for Thou art the King of kings and Lord of lords. Therefore with him do we glorify Thy loving providence, O Almighty Lord, Thou Saviour of our souls.

Thou didst know the psalms of David the King by heart, acknowledging Christ as God, for He reigns over all and thou, O Alfred who lovest Christ, wast appointed to be an earthly king and reign over all. Therefore with him do we glorify Thy loving providence, O Almighty Lord, Thou Saviour of our souls.

Glory, Tone I. 

O Alfred born in Wantage, enlightened through baptism by the Holy Spirit and shown to be invincible among kings, seated upon thy throne in the English capital of Winchester, thou gavest thy kingdom to thy Creator. Therefore, as thou hast boldness, cease not to pray to Christ our God, that He may grant all who honour thy memory forgiveness of sins and great mercy.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Birthgiver of God or this hymn to the Cross and to the Birthgiver of God, in the same tone.

When of old the unblemished Ewe-lamb, the most pure Sovereign Lady, beheld her Lamb lifted up upon the Cross, she cried out as a mother and marvelled: ‘What is this sight, new and all-glorious, O my sweet Child? How is it that the thankless people have betrayed Thee to the judgement seat of Pilate and condemn the Life of all to death? Yet do I hymn Thine ineffable condescension, O Word!’

At the aposticha, these stichira, Tone VI.

O divinely crowned Alfred, helmsman of the English faithful and protector of the flock of Christ, thou didst receive thy sceptre from God as the sign of salvation for thy people, whereby thou didst subdue the heathen to the Cross, which thou hadst as thine invincible weapon, O wise one.

Verse: I have raised up one chosen out of My people; I have found David My servant.

Truly blessed and hallowed is the pious womb which bore thee, O peace-loving Alfred, thou joy and glory of the English land, teller of truth, bulwark of the faith, restoration of the Сhurch and learning, protection of the orphan and the widow, and merciful almsgiver to Jerusalem and India.

Verse: Wherefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of gladness.

With love for God, thou didst rise up from thy fen fastness at Athelney to fight the heathen as a valiant warrior of Christ, then turning to spiritual warfare, thou didst restore thy land, rebuilding the Church, trampling down demons, baptising the heathen, and granting words of wisdom, learning and laws to all.

Glory, Tone VI.

The royal and never-waning star was called to hallow his people anew. Guided by holy Cuthbert and Neot, loving all the saints, receiving the understanding of the Spirit and being honoured as a far-famed king, thou didst restore the Church of God and monastic life, O Alfred, thou glory of Christian kings, noble by birth and by soul, pray for our souls.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Birthgiver of God or this hymn to the Cross and to the Birthgiver of God, in the same tone.

O Mother, beholding Me hanging upon the Tree as thy Son and God, Who fixed the earth upon the waters and shaped all creation, weep not for Me, for I shall arise in glory and lay waste the kingdom of hell; I shall destroy its power with compassion, deliver its captives from its wickedness and lead them to My Father, for He loves mankind.

Troparion of the saint, Tone IV.

Hearkening to the White Christ, thou camest forth from thy flood-girt fastness to overcome the heathen and lead them forth to holy baptism. Thou didst build churches, strongholds, shires and swift ships, restoring the law of God and making thyself beloved of all. O wise King and glory of free England, who reignest in the Winchester of the heavenly England, thou who didst vanquish heathendom by Christendom, establish anew the Orthodox Faith in thy land that we may glorify God, Who alone made thee great.

AT MATINS

At ‘God is the Lord’, the troparion of the saint, twice; Glory…Now and ever…. Hymn to the Birthgiver of God. Canon of the saint, Tone VIII.

Ode 1

Irmos: Having crossed the water as though it were dry land and escaped the evil of Egypt, the Israelite cried aloud: Let us sing to our Deliverer and God!

Refrain: Holy, Right-Believing King Alfred, pray to God for us.

O Thou, the King of heaven, through the entreaties of Thy favourite Alfred, Who sought wisdom and truth from his youth up and took consolation in psalms and prayers, free my lowly soul from sin.

As one who loved the kingdom on high, O great Alfred the Wise, England’s Shepherd and England’s Darling, believing with a pure mind and loving God’s saints, thou dost worship and preach the King and Master of all.

Illumined by the divine light, O righteous Alfred, thou knewest that true nobility is in the mind and so rebuilt a House of Wisdom, most sincerely entrusting thyself to the King of the ages and teaching thy people the commandments of Christ.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O Sovereign Lady, thou portal of the Divine Dayspring, open to me the door of repentance and by thine intercession deliver me from the gates of deadly sin.

Ode III

Irmos: O Lord, Shaper of the vault of heaven and Creator of the Church: establish me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, confirmation of the faithful, Who alone lovest mankind.

Striving to receive heavenly rewards, O right-believing Alfred, thou hast followed Him Who called thee, in no wise being tempted by the demon darkness of the heathen, but becoming a beacon of light to them through the divine Spirit.

Having cleaved to Christ and set all thy hope on Him, thou, O wise King, hast shown that true greatness is in forgiveness, thus attaining the heavenly kingdom, granted unto us by the All-good God through His all-pure sufferings.

Burning with faith, O blessed one, thou hast shown forth the Wisdom of God by bearing thy cross, the weapon of salvation, the invincible victory, the hope of all Christians and ever the glory of thy land.

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.

Sessional hymn of the saint, Tone VIII.

Having yearned for the kingdom of heaven and beheld its beauty in creation, thou wast taught the mysteries of the Lord of all. The Cross shone forth in thy midst, signifying that thou shouldst conquer therein. Therefore, the eyes of thy soul opened, O wise Alfred, beseech Christ our God that He may grant remission of sins to those who with love celebrate thy holy memory. Twice

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

Having conceived the Wisdom and Word in thy womb not being consumed, thou, O Mother of God, gavest birth for the world to Him Who sustains the world, and didst bear in thine arms Him Who upholds all things, the Creator of all. Therefore, O most holy Virgin, I beseech thee and glorify thee with faith, that I may be delivered from transgressions and on the day of judgement, when I stand before the face of my Maker, grant me thine aid, O pure Virgin and Sovereign Lady.

Ode IV

Irmos: O Lord, I have heard of the mystery of Thy providence; I have understood Thy works and glorified Thy Divinity.

Christ the Lord granted thee holy baptism and instructed thee from childhood through thy noble and godly parents, teaching thee, O wise Alfred, to worship Him as the only King, so preparing thee for kingship both on earth and in heaven.

Christ the Sun of Righteousness enlightened thee, O righteous Alfred, with His most bright grace, revealing thee, together with thy companion the holy King Edmund, as a valiant warrior and beacon of light to the benighted heathen.

Thou, O blessed one, wast God-loving in nature and right wondrous in thy divine works, therefore this little island has brought forth a great man, a new David who overcame a new Goliath, and thee do we glorify with faith.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O Ever-Virgin who gavest birth to the Sun of righteousness, enlighten my soul which has been darkened by sin.

Ode V

Irmos: Waking at dawn, we cry unto Thee: Save us, O Lord! For Thou art our God, and we know none other than Thee.

Having risen at dawn to the never-waning Sun and Master, O learned Alfred, thou wast filled with light, keeping fast and feast, preaching the faith and restoring the Church, and so wisdom has taken the place of the sword.

Arrayed in love and justice as a robe of royal purple, thou becamest a law-giver like unto Moses, teaching the commandments of Christ and establishing His word as law in the King’s English, and now thou hast gone to dwell in the kingdom on high.

O Alfred, unshakeable pillar of the English Church and people, thou hast joined the choirs of the saints, having trampled down Odin and all his demons underfoot, pleasing the White Christ by thy virtuous works and words.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Cleanse my soul, which has been defiled by fleshly pleasures through the treachery of the serpent, O Virgin.

Ode VI

Irmos: I pour forth my prayer unto the Lord and to Him I declare my sorrow; for my soul is full of evil and my life has drawn nigh unto hell, and like Jonah I pray to Thee: Lead me up from corruption, O God!

Thou didst gather the faithful remnants of the Church together, O righteous Alfred, and through them didst calm the storm-tossed hearts of all and return them to the fold together with the newly baptised, glorifying the Word and Wisdom of God; so gather us together in these latter times anew.

Having believed in the White Christ Who grants life to all, thou, O wise Alfred, didst make the heathen to spurn the worship of Odin and receive the kingdom of heaven with joy; so help us in these latter times to trample down the old demons anew.

Guided by Thy hand, O Word, through Thee the King brought the heathen to cast aside the deepest darkness of ignorance and the tempest of cruel godlessness, and come unto the calm havens of piety with joy; so in these latter times bring us to the calm havens of piety with joy anew.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O holy Maiden, heal my heart, which has fallen sick, grievously wounded by the sting of the evil one, and by thine entreaties vouchsafe healing to me and save me who trust in thee, O all-pure one.

Kontakion of the saint, Tone II.

Today the wise Alfred glorifies the White Christ among his faithful people and so builds a House of Wisdom. Therein he puts to shame all the heathen, showing the Cross to be the greatest weapon of kings against all enemies. Pray for us, O righteous one, and build a House of Wisdom among us today that there we may glorify the White Christ anew. For this great battle standard has appeared for our sakes and for our salvation.

Ikos: Today let us honour the great Alfred, for, hearing the words of David, he recognised the three parts of the Cross in the cedar, the pine and the cypress, in which the suffering of the Saviour was accomplished. And, victorious, he set it before all the heathen, that they might bend their necks before the Son of God, accepting illumination from the Church of God. For this great battle standard has appeared for our sakes and for our salvation.

Ode VII

Irmos: The Hebrew children in the furnace boldly trod the flame underfoot and transformed the fire into dew, crying out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, forever!

Keeping Thy precepts, the peace-loving Alfred submitted to Thy law and has given this law to all. In this wise he has vanquished the heathen hordes, knowing that the only true conquest is the conquest of the heart, crying out to Thee: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God!

Thy Cross, which has drawn all from the pit of destruction, O right-believing Alfred, has been revealed as the vanquisher of the demons forever and the salvation and glory and greatness of our land.

By Godly works thou hast made thy heart into a temple of God, O greatly loved Alfred, and didst likewise build sacred churches for Him, making one thy land and becoming the first of the Kings of the English.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Committing sins by my will and enslaved by shameful habits, now do I flee to thy habitual loving-kindness, O all-holy Sovereign Lady, save me who am in despair!

Ode VIII

Irmos: In his folly the Chaldean tyrant heated the furnace sevenfold for the pious youths; but, beholding them saved by a higher Power, he cried out to the Creator and Deliverer: You children, bless; you priests, hymn; you people, exalt Him above all for all ages!

Adorned in a raiment of loving-kindness and goodly meekness, thou, O wise Alfred, wast crowned with a mind great in the virtues; and having been translated from earth to the kingdom on high, thou criest: You priests, bless; you people, exalt Christ above all forever!

Beholding thee in joy in the kingdom of God, O righteous Alfred, we magnify Christ, Who has revealed thine honoured festival, which, brighter than the rays of the sun enlightens us who sing with faith: You people, exalt Christ above all forever!

Wise is thy desire and godly is thy cast of mind, O wise Alfred, thou boast of kings. For having restored thy people to the true faith, thou didst adorn thy land with fair churches, crying: You people, exalt Christ above all forever!

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: O Birthgiver of God, enlighten the eyes of my soul which have been blinded by my many transgressions; grant peace to my mind and heart, which have been vexed by divers temptations, I pray thee, and save me who cry: You priests, bless; you people, exalt the pure one above all for all ages!

Ode IX

Irmos: Heaven was awe-struck and the ends of the earth were amazed, that God appeared in the flesh and thy womb became more spacious than the heavens. Therefore, the ranks of men and angels magnify thee as the Birthgiver of God.

Thy memory inspires all who honour thee, O wise Alfred, and from thy capital in Winchester that is saved by God, the House of Alfred became the House of England, as the holy Cuthbert foretold thee, driving away the darkness of divers passions and enlightening those who praise thee with the never-waning light.

Having finished thy life in holiness, now thou dwellest with the saints, full of holiness and wisdom. Therefore, as once before thou didst restore the faith of the White Christ to thy land, O blessed Alfred, revelation to the latter times, pray to Christ our God that the true faith may be restored in this land once more.

O immortal King from everlasting, Thou hast vouchsafed Thy heavenly kingdom to the righteous Alfred, whom of old Thou didst grant to reign piously on earth and who loved Thee in purity together with his holy family. By his supplications have mercy on us all, O Lord.

Hymn to the Birthgiver of God: Having conceived, thou gavest birth to the King and Creator of all, O Virgin. And, lo! as a Queen now dost thou stand at His right hand. Therefore, I beseech thee: at the hour of judgement deliver me from standing on the left side and number me with the sheep on the right side.

Exapostilarion.

In truth thou hast been revealed as a beacon of light who hast enlightened thy land and people with the faith of piety, O divinely crowned Alfred, revelation to the latter times, and with hymns we glorify the White Christ, Who is wondrous in His saints.

Now and ever: Hymn to the Birthgiver of God. 

O Virgin Mother, delight of the angels, comfort of the sorrowing, intercessor for all Christians: Help us and deliver us from everlasting torments by thy mighty entreaties.

At the Praises, 3 stichira, Tone VIII.

Rejoice, O wise Alfred, wellspring of faith, ever watering thy land with streams of sweet wisdom! Rejoice, O root which bore fruit to feed the Church of Christ! Rejoice, O righteous one, thou glory of the English land, greatest among its kings! Rejoice, O revelation to the latter times!

He Who rules over Creation perceived the meekness of thy heart and granted thee wisdom from on high, O blessed Alfred, and, having enlightened thy thoughts with the understanding of piety and wisdom, He has revealed thee as a bright sun of godly works and words in the latter times.

Loathing falsehood and loving the beauty of Christ, thou, O wise King Alfred, didst receive the teachings of the Lord like choice earth and so brought forth the fruit of virtue. Therefore, thou wast granted the heavenly kingdom and with joy we celebrate thy holy memory in the latter times.

Glory, Tone VIII.

The King of kings, God Who adorns the worthy with rich gifts, adorned thee also with wisdom, O right-believing Alfred. Thou didst baptise the heathen, restoring the Church of God among the people of thine earthly kingdom, thus winning the heavenly kingdom. Therefore, beseech Him Who alone loves mankind, on behalf of Orthodox kings, Christ-loving armies and all who celebrate thy memory with faith, that we may be delivered from sin in the latter times.

Now and ever…. Hymn to the Birthgiver of God or this hymn to the Cross and to the Birthgiver of God, in the same tone.

Standing with the virgin disciple by the Tree at the crucifixion, the Virgin cried aloud, weeping: ‘Woe is me! How is it that Thou sufferest the passion, O Christ, Who art the dispassion of all?’

AT THE LITURGY

Prokimenon, Tone III.

O sing to our God, sing; sing to our King, sing!

Verse: Clap your hands, all you nations; shout unto God with a voice of rejoicing.

Epistle to Timothy, §282

Timothy my child: I exhort that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all who are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not); a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

Alleluia, Tone VI.

Verse: I have raised up one chosen out of My people.

Verse: For My hand shall be unto Him an ally.

Gospel according to Mark, §54

At that time, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews sent unto Jesus certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. And when they were come, they said unto Him: ‘Master, we know that Thou art true, and carest for no man: for Thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give?’ But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them: ‘Why tempt ye Me? Bring Me a penny, that I may see it.’ And they brought it. And He said to them: ‘Whose is this image and superscription?’ And they said to Him: ‘Cæsar’s.’ And Jesus answering said to them: ‘Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marvelled at Him.

Communion verse.

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

The Menaion of the Saints of the Isles: The Services to the Major Saints of the British Isles and Ireland

The struggle to compose and then have accepted and celebrated services to the ancient Orthodox Saints of the ex-Roman Catholic and ex-Protestant countries of Europe has been a very long one. Much opposition had to and sometimes still has to be overcome and all had to be done in conditions of deprivation and opposition. Nearly all the services to the major saints of Western Europe were composed between 1980 and 2015, though a few date back before this, in part through the blessed inspiration of St John of Shanghai and Western Europe (+ 1966).

Of the 64 services we propose to edit, 53 were composed by my late friend, the brilliant and prolific translator of the Church’s liturgical treasury, Monk Joseph (Isaac/Edward) Lambertsen. He composed most of the services to local Western saints on my commission, as I knew that his health was already failing, and that he was very busy, engaged with the composition of many other services to saints of all lands and ages, as well as with translations. Isaac worked quickly and always humbly, sending me his services for checking, suggestions and then electronic publishing.

Six of these services (All the Saints of the Isles, All the Saints of the Western Lands, St Alfred, St Audrey, St Edmund and St Felix), were composed by myself to long-beloved local saints between 1998 and 2015, though in part they go back before that, three services (St Patrick, St Brigid and St Edward) were composed by the late Valeria Hoecke and translated by Monk Joseph, one (to St Botolph) by the monks of the Transfiguration Monastery in Boston in 1992 and one (to St Rumwold) by Rumwold Leigh from London.

For many years available in an unedited form on the orthodoxengland website, it has long been time to edit and present these services in a homogenous form for use in the British Isles and Ireland. Time has been in short supply and it will be a labour of love over the next few years to bring all the services to the same standard, that set by the brilliant translations of Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware), master of Byzantine Greek and liturgical English. This means eliminating the language of the neophyte, that curious mixture of artificially archaic English and its Latinate Victorian vocabulary and grammar and untranslated foreign literalisms, and so inculturating the services for the 21st century. Our services are intended for use in the local liturgical English in use in the British Isles, without an alien phraseology and sectarian idiom.

Thus they will be put into the standard liturgical English, as used in our parishes in these islands. Apart from this change, there are occasional historical inaccuracies and typos and above all the many changes made to formating, spelling and punctuation. Of the 62 individual saints whose services we project to edit, 50 are connected with England (though 8 are not English), 5 with Ireland, 4 with Wales and 3 with Scotland. To some extent this reflects the interest in native Orthodoxy shown by people in each of these countries, with much greater interest being shown in England.

We dedicate this Menaion to the eternal memory of our pioneer, Monk Joseph (Lambertsen) (1949-2017). Eternal Memory!

Archpriest Andrew Phillips,

St John’s Orthodox Church,

Colchester,

England

St Edmund’s Tide

20 November/3 December 2020

1151st Anniversary of St Edmund’s Martyrdom

Contents

 All dates are given first according to the Church calendar, and then according to the civil calendar. Services in bold have already been edited.

Volume I – September to March

  1. 16 / 29 September – St Ninian
  2. 16 / 29 September – St Edith of Wilton
  3. 19 September / 2 October – St Theodore of Tarsus
  4. 7 / 20 October – St Osyth of Chich
  5. 10 / 23 October – St Paulinus of York
  6. 12 / 25 October – St Edwin the Martyr
  7. 12 / 25 October – St Wilfrid of York
  8. 19 October / 2 November – St Frideswide of Oxford
  9. 25 October / 7 November – St John of Beverley
  10. 26 October / 9 November – St Alfred the Great
  11. 26 October / 9 November – St Cedd of Essex
  12. 3 /16 November – St Rumwold
  13. 3 / 16 November – St Winifred of Wales
  14. 7 / 20 November – St Willibrord (Clement) of Utrecht
  15. 17 / 30 November – St Hilda of Whitby
  16. 20 November / 3 December – St Edmund the Martyr
  17. 3 / 16 December – St Birinus of Wessex
  18. 12 / 25 December – St Finnian of Clonard
  19. 12 / 25 January – St Benedict of Wearmouth
  20. 14 / 27 January – St Kentigern of Glasgow
  21. 15 / 28 January – St Ita of Ireland
  22. 29 January / 11 February – St Gildas the Wise
  23. 1 / 14 February – St Brigid of Ireland
  24. 3 / 16 February – St Werburga
  25. 25 February / 10 March – St Ethelbert of Kent
  26. 28 February / 13 March – St Oswald of Worcester
  27. 1 / 14 March – St David of Wales
  28. 2 / 15 March – St Chad of Lichfield
  29. 8 / 21 March – St Felix, Apostle of East Anglia
  30. 17 / 30 March – St Patrick of Ireland
  31. 18 / 31 March – St Edward the Martyr
  32. 20 March / 2 April – St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

Volume II – April to August

  1. 10 / 23 April – Martyrs of Chertsey
  2. 11 – 24 April – St Guthlac of Crowland
  3. 19 April / 2 May – St Alphege the Martyr
  4. 29 April / 12 May – St Erconwald of London
  5. 3 / 16 May – St Brendan the Voyager
  6. 19 May / 1 June – St Dunstan of Canterbury
  7. 25 May/7 June – St Aldhelm of Sherborne
  8. 27 May / 9 June – St Bede the Venerable
  9. 28 May / 10 June – St Augustine of Canterbury
  10. 30 May / 12 June – St Walstan of Taverham

Falling in June or July

  1. All the Saints of the Isles
  2. All the Saints of the Western Lands
  3. 1 / 14 June – St Wite of Dorset
  4. 3 / 16 June – St Kevin of Glendalough
  5. 5 / 18 June – St Boniface of Crediton
  6. 9 – 22 June – St Columba of Iona
  7. 17 / 30 June – St Botolph of Iken
  8. 17 – 30 June – St Nectan of Hartland
  9. 22 June – 5 July – St Alban of Verulamium
  10. 23 June / 6 July – St Audrey of Ely
  11. 2 / 15 July – St Swithin of Winchester
  12. 8 / 21 July – St Edgar the Peaceful
  13. 13 / 26 July – St Mildred of Thanet
  14. 1 / 14 August – St Ethelwold of Winchester
  15. 2 / 15 August – St Plegmund of Canterbury
  16. 5 /18 August – St Oswald the Martyr
  17. 10 / 23 August – St Bertram of Ilam
  18. `17 / 30 August – St James of York
  19. 23 August/5 September – St Ebba of Coldingham and Companions
  20. 25 August/7 September – St Ebba of Coldingham
  21. 31 August/13 September – St Aidan of Lindisfarne
  22. 31 August/13 September – St Eanswythe of Folkestone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Chad of Lichfield

We have already spoken elsewhere of the family character of much of Old English Christianity. Another illustration of it is without doubt that of the four brothers, St Cedd, Apostle of Essex, St Chad of Lichfield, St Cynibil and the priest Caelin. Of these four the best known and most loved is certainly St Chad who has thirty-three ancient churches dedicated to him and whose Christian name is still in use as a baptismal name today. Who was he?

Chad came from the North of England and he is linked with St Aidan of Lindisfarne, who sent him to Ireland to learn the monastic life. On his return, he became Abbot of the monastery of Lastingham (in Yorkshire) which his brother St Cedd had founded. In 664 he was chosen against his will by Oswy, King of Northumbria, to be bishop and Chad obediently received consecration as Bishop of York. The Venerable Bede says he was, ‘a holy man, modest in all ways, learned in the Scriptures and careful to practise all that he found in them. When he became bishop, he devoted himself to keeping the truth and purity of the Church, practising humility. After the example of the Apostles he travelled on foot when he preached the Gospel in towns of country, cottages, villages or strongholds’.

In 669 St Theodore of Canterbury appointed Wilfrid, who had at long last returned from Gaul, as Bishop of York and Chad humbly retired to his monastery of Lastingham. When Theodore found Chad’s consecration by a simoniac and two dubious Celtic bishops unsure, Chad merely answered ‘If you find that I have not duly been consecrated, I willingly resign the office, for I never thought myself worthy of it, but though unworthy, in obedience submitted to it’. Given such humility and ‘outstanding holiness’, Chad was not allowed to stay and Lastingham for long and Theodore soon named him Bishop of Mercia. Theodore told Chad that on long journeys he should ride on horseback and since is huge diocese covered seventeen counties from the Severn to the North Sea, this was most practical advice. Bede tells us that Chad administered the diocese ‘in great holiness of life after the example of the early Fathers’.

In Lincolnshire, also part of Chad’s diocese, he founded a monastery at Barrow. He established his See in Lichfield and in a house nearby lived the monastic life ‘with seven or eight brethren for prayer and study as often as he had spare time from the labour and ministry of the Word’. Chad ruled his diocese with great success but unfortunately his rule was not to be long. One day at the end of February 673 we are told that a monk Owen, or Owini, heard ‘sweet and joyful singing coming down from heaven to earth’ over the roof of the church at Lastingham, where Bishop Chad was praying. Chad asked Owen to assemble the brethren to whom he then foretold his death, saying: ‘The welcome guest has come to me today and deigned to call me out of this world’. Chad asked the monks for their prayers and advised all of them to prepare for their deaths ‘with vigils, prayers and good deeds’. When Owen asked about the singing, Chad told him that angelic spirits had come to him and they had promised to return within seven days to take him with them. And so it was that after only two and a half years of governing the diocese, Chad caught the plague and having received communion, on 2 March 672, ‘his holy soul was released from the prison of the body … he regarded death with joy as the Day of the Lord’.

The Venerable Bede lists Chad’s virtues – continence, right preaching, humility, voluntary poverty (non-possession) – and says that Chad was filled with the fear of God. So sensitive was he that even a high wind would remind him of the mortality of man and the judgement to come and he would at once call on God to have mercy on mankind. During a storm he would enter church and pray ardently with psalms until it was over. Such was Chad’s spiritual sensitivity and awareness of the closeness of God and the righteousness of His judgement. Bede later recorded how one monk saw St Cedd, who had died earlier than his brother, come down from heaven with angels to take Chad’s soul back with them. Chad was buried at Lastingham and his relics worked many miracles, including the healing of a madman. Later his relics were translated to Lichfield and the veneration of St Chad continued right until the Reformation – for nearly 900 years. Then his relics were dispersed and many of them lost of destroyed, although some survive and are now kept in the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham – situated in Chad’s diocese of Mercia. And to this day in the Cathedral library of Lichfield is conserved a very early Gospel called ‘the Gospels of St Chad’; it may perhaps have been used by St Chad himself.

Of the many ancient churches dedicated to the Saint, two are in his first diocese in Yorkshire and Middlesmoor and Saddleworth, but the others are to be found in the Midlands, in Cheshire, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. In Lichfield he is remembered at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Chad and in an ancient parish church. Two villages are also named after him, Chadkirk in Cheshire and Chadwick in Lancashire. It would seem that many of these dedications actually represent churches founded by the Saint himself as he walked or rode from village to village all those years ago, preaching as he went. The number of churches dedicated to him in his all too brief episcopate in both Yorkshire and the Midlands shows just how much he was venerated after his righteous repose. Typically, most of the dedications to the saintly bishop are in quiet country villages, like a Bishop’s Tachbrook in Warwickshire or at Tushingham in Cheshire; and so his quiet and humble spirit even today still takes us from the madding crowd of this present and troubled and noisome world.

Holy Father Chad, pray to God for us!

Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, October 1994

July 2021

 

Questions for an Interview with Fr. Andrew Phillips on the Bulgarian Edition of ‘Orthodox Christianity and the Old English Church’.

  • Father Andrew, to begin our interview, let us note that you are one of the serious researchers of Orthodox Christianity in England. Your many works pay attention to the spreading of Christianity before the schism of 1054. Tell us first how did it happen that you decided to dedicate yourself to this mission – to find and spread information and facts about the spreading of Christianity in England.

I was born and brought up not in London, which is the Norman capital of Britain, but in the English countryside. Here there still survived English traditions. There I lived near or heard of saints and places connected with saints, of whom I knew nothing. Adults seemed to know very little either. They would say, for example: ‘That was all a long time ago’ or ‘Things were different then’, or simply ‘He was a saint’. But nobody could tell me what a saint was. All I knew was that there was a special atmosphere around those saints and places, something warm and pleasant, something that made me feel at home.

So when I was eight years old I began trying to find out about them, asking people and looking for books about these saints. Who were these mysterious people with unfamiliar names? Even then I felt that they had a special aura about them, which was quite different from the atmosphere surrounding other more recent figures and places. I began realising that their values were quite different, but they were values with which I identified. By the time I was twelve, I knew that I belonged to them. Imagine a Bulgarian child hearing of St John of Rila and trying to find out about him. Who was he? When did he live? What did he express, write and believe? Why does he have this special atmosphere? What was this Church that he belonged to?

When I was twelve, I opened a mysterious book called ‘The New Testament’. I realised that the atmosphere and values expressed there were also mine and that they were identical to the atmosphere and values of these old saints. The New Testament, the words of Christ, explained them. When I was fifteen, I understood that somewhere there must be a church with these values. I could not find one. They all seemed empty inside. However, when I was sixteen, I managed to visit a Russian Orthodox church. Immediately, I felt at home and knew that this was my place, both the Church of the Gospels which Christ had spoken of and the Church of the old saints I had heard of in childhood. Their spirit was identical. I had found my identity, the world that I belonged to, Orthodox Christian Civilisation, of which the old saints in England had been tiny fragments a long time ago.

  • When you were researching this subject did you come across something that made a particular impression to you and remained etched in your memory? Something which you kept with yourself and remember well.

I think what impressed me as I did more research in my late teens and twenties was the parallels between the lives of these saints and those of Orthodox Eastern Europe, Russia, Greece and the Middle East. For example, I understood that Orthodoxy had come to Ireland from Egypt via Gaul. Later, indeed, I discovered that there are some fifty ancient Irish manuscripts at St Catherine’s monastery on Sinai! Or that the lives St Seraphim of Sarov in nineteenth-century Russia and St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne in seventh-century England are astonishingly similar. I realised that time and space, history and geography, are nothing before the Eternal God.

  • At the end of 2020 your book Orthodox Christianity and the Old English Church was published in Bulgaria. In it you deal chiefly on the evangelisation and the mission organized by St Gregory the Great and St Augustine of Canterbury. Christian evangelization however reaches further into Ireland and Scotland. Tell us more about the spreading of Christianity in these lands?

I wrote that book in 1988, so it has come to Bulgaria after 32 years!

The evangelisation of the Isles is very varied and there are many threads. For example the Celts in what is called Wales very much kept the Roman Christian inheritance which had come in the first four centuries after Christ. This is what lies behind the myths of King Arthur, fighting against the pagan English in order to defend the spirit of Roman Christianity. By the way, Arthur itself is a Roman name, meaning ‘Little Bear’. Many of the Welsh saints had Roman names like Ambrose or Justin, though the greatest is called David. Legend has it that in the sixth century he was consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. The light from the East, and Christianity began in the East, in Asia, in Jerusalem, not at all in Europe, had to enlighten the West. From sunrise to sunset, east to west.

On the other hand, the Irish, who had never been Romanised received their Christianity from Egypt via Gaul. Here St Martin of Tours and his followers played an important role in transmitting the monasticism of the Egyptian Desert to Ireland. From Ireland this was taken by St Columba to Iona in what we now call Scotland. From Iona the Irish monastic influence spread southwards to Lindisfarne in Northern England and further south still to the Midlands and southwards.

Finally, there was the mission of St Augustine, sent by St Gregory the Dialogist from Rome to convert the English. (He had no knowledge of the situation in Wales, Scotland and Ireland). This mission was successful in the South of England, but the rest of the country was converted by the Irish influence. However, the future National Church was organised by this southern mission.

So the conversion of England was an Anglo-Celtic evangelisation. Influences came from Egypt, Gaul, Rome and then were assimilated by the local peoples, principally by the Irish and the English.

  • If one enters deeply into the subject of Christianity in Britain, he will see that there is a certain difference between English Christianity and Celtic Christianity. What is the difference between the two and to what can we attribute it?

As we have said, the British Isles and Ireland were evangelised from two places: Continental Europe and Egypt. I am not keen on the word Celtic in this historical context, it has Pagan/New Age connotations. It can often be replaced by the word ‘Irish’, but we can keep the word Celtic if we give it a Christian sense.

If we simplify the situation, we can say in general that administration and organisation came from Rome and affected the English more, whereas asceticism came from Ireland and influenced the Celtic peoples more. Of course, as we have said, the two influences merged. We have to see that the Isles (the British Isles and Ireland) are an Anglo-Celtic domain. The English need the Celts, the Celts need the English. Both organisation and asceticism are essential. Here there is a mystery, which is contemporary and even has a political dimension. The two peoples need one another.

  • Today the English Church is very different from what it was before. Do you consider that there is any opportunity at all in time for it to return to its deeper roots?

It depends what you mean by the English Church. There is really no such thing. In England 97% of people have no real and practising attachment to any Christian religious organisation. Perhaps 1% belong to Anglicanism (the State Church), 1% belong to various other Protestant groups and 1% to Roman Catholicism. All these organisations are dying out, very rapidly.

Once you have lapsed into heresy, that is the end of the road. For example, we receive English people into the Church who, like myself, were never Christians before. They have not been tainted by heterodoxy so they are receptive to the Church. As the Gospel says: ‘If a corn of what falls into the ground and does not die, it remains alone, but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit’ (Jn. 12, 24).

  • Which English saint do you most often pray to and who are the most revered and worshipped saints of England among Orthodox Christians today?

I live in a town called Felixstowe, named after a saint called St Felix (+ 647), who nearly 1400 years ago came from Gaul and brought Christ to Eastern England, where I was born and live. The other saint is St Edmund, who was King of East Anglia, but was martyred by the pagan Vikings in 869. His memory is very much alive here and even his life is known to many in this region. We are just opening a new church dedicated to him. The saints live!

There are perhaps four other saints who are still revered. These are St Alban the Protomartyr (+ 305?) (and was recently added to the official Russian Orthodox calendar), St Cuthbert (+ 687) (especially in the North of England), St Audrey (+ 679) (especially in the East of England) and St Hilda (+ 680) (especially in the North).

June 2021