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


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 ‘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.


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.


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!


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.


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?’


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.