Category Archives: St Audrey

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.