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Thursday of the 5th week of Great Lent – The Great Canon

This service is on Wednesday evening. 

Matins begins as usual in Lent, till the 8th Kathisma (55-63) and the Sedalion with its Theotokion. 

The first half of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt is now read. 

Then, after Psalm 50 we at once begin to sing the Canon, leisurely and with compunction. 

Before each Troparion, we make the sign of the cross and bow three times, saying: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me. 

Song 1

Eirmos He is my Helper and Protector, and has become my salvation. This is my God and I will glorify Him. My father’s God and I will exalt Him. For gloriously has He been glorified. (Exodus 15:2, 1; Psalm 117:14)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. Where shall I begin to lament the deeds of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, for my present lamentation? But in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.

2. Come, wretched soul, with your flesh, confess to the Creator of all. In future refrain from your former brutishness, and offer to God tears in repentance.

3. Having rivaled the first-created Adam by my transgression, I realize that I am stripped naked of God and of the everlasting kingdom and bliss through my sins. (Genesis 3)

4. Alas, wretched soul! Why are you like the first Eve? For you have wickedly looked and been bitterly wounded, and you have touched the tree and rashly tasted the forbidden food.

5. The place of bodily Eve has been taken for me by the Eve of my mind in the shape of a passionate thought in the flesh, showing me sweet things, yet ever making me taste and swallow bitter things.

6. Adam was rightly exiled from Eden for not keeping Thy one commandment, O Savior. But what shall I suffer who am always rejecting Thy living words? (Hebrews 12:25; Genesis 3:23)

7. I have willfully incurred the guilt of Cain’s murder, since by invigorating my flesh I am the murderer of my soul’s awareness, and have warred against it by my evil deeds. (Genesis 4:8)

8. I have not resembled Abel’s righteousness, O Jesus. I have never offered Thee acceptable gifts, nor divine actions, nor a pure sacrifice, nor an unblemished life. (Genesis 4:4)

9. Like Cain, we too, O wretched soul, have likewise offered to the Creator of all foul deeds, defective sacrifice and a useless life. Therefore we too are condemned. (Genesis 4:5; Hebrews 11:4)

10. In molding my clay into life, O Potter, Thou didst put in me flesh and bones, breath and vitality. But, O my Creator, my Redeemer and Judge, accept me who repent. (Genesis 2:7; Jeremiah 18:1-10; Romans 9:21)

11. I confess to Thee, O Savior, the sins I have committed, and the wounds of my body and soul which murderous thoughts like robbers within have inflicted upon me. (Luke 10:30)

12. I have sinned, O Savior, yet I know that Thou art the Lover of men. Thou strikest compassionately and pitiest warmly. Thou seest me weeping and runnest towards me as the Father recalling the Prodigal. (Luke 15:20)

13. . In old age even, O Savior, do not cast me out empty to hell as I lie prostrate before Thy gates. But before my end, in Thy love for men, grant me release from my falls.

14. I am the one by my thoughts who fell among robbers; and now I am all wounded by them, full of sores. But stand by me, O Christ my Savior, and heal me. (Luke 10:30)

15. The priest saw me first and passed by on the other side. Then the Levite took a look at my sufferings and disdained my nakedness. But stand by me, O Jesus Who didst dawn out of Mary, and have compassion on me. (Luke 10:31-33)

16. O Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of all, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction (John 1:29)

17. It is time for repentance. I draw near to Thee, my Creator. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.*

18. Abhor me not, O Savior, cast me not away from Thy face. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me release from my falls.*

19. All my sins, voluntary and involuntary, obvious and secret, known and unknown, forgive, O Savior, for Thou art God; be merciful and save me.

20. From my youth, O Christ, I have rejected Thy commandments. I have passed my whole life without caring or thinking as a slave of my passions. Therefore, O Savior, I cry to Thee: At least in the end save me.

21. I have squandered in profligacy my substance, O Savior, and I am barren of virtues and piety; but famished I cry: O Father of mercies, forestall and have compassion on me. (Luke 15:13. ,17)

22. I fall prostrate before Thee, O Jesus. I have sinned against Thee, be merciful to me. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.

23. Enter not into judgment with me, by recording my deeds, demanding an account of my words, and examining my motives and desires. But in Thy compassion disregard my terrible past and save me, O God All-Powerful.

ANOTHER CANON, OF SAINT MARY OF EGYPT

 To the same Tone and Eirmos 

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Grant me that illuminating grace from on high given thee by Divine Providence that I may escape the darkening of the passions and fervently sing of the thrilling achievements of thy life, O Mary.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: By submitting to Christ’s divine laws Thou didst draw near to Him, having left the unbridled craving for pleasure, and with all discretion thou didst achieve every virtue as one.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: By thy prayers, O Andrew, deliver us from degrading passions, and make us who with faith and love sing of thee partakers now of the Kingdom of Christ, O renowned father, we pray.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Superessential Trinity, adored in Unity, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and in Thy compassion grant me tears of compunction.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Mother of God, hope and intercessor of those who sing of thee, take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and as thou art our pure Lady, accept me who repent.

Song 2. 

Eirmos Attend, O heaven, and I will speak, and will sing of Christ who came to dwell among us in flesh which He took from the Virgin.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. Attend, O heaven, and I will speak; O earth, give ear to a voice repenting to God and singing praises to Him.

2. Attend to me, O God my Savior, with Thy merciful eye, and accept my fervent confession. (Proverbs 15:3; Psalm 33:15)

3. I have sinned above all men, I alone have sinned against Thee. But as God have compassion, O Savior, on Thy creature. (I Timothy 1:15)

4. A storm of passions besets me, O compassionate Lord. But stretch out Thy hand to me too, as to Peter. (Matthew 14:31)

5. The tears of the harlot, O merciful Lord, I too offer to Thee. Be merciful to me, O Savior, in Thy compassion. (Luke 7:38; 18:13. )

6. I have darkened the beauty of my soul with passionate pleasures, and my whole mind I have reduced wholly to mud.

7. I have torn my first garment which the Creator wove for me in the beginning, and therefore I am lying naked. (Genesis 3:21)

8. I have put on a torn coat, which the serpent wove for me by argument, and I am ashamed. (Genesis 3:4-5)

9. I looked at the beauty of the tree, and my mind was seduced; and now I lie naked, and I am ashamed. (Genesis 3:7)

10. All the demon-chiefs of the passions have plowed on my back, and long has their tyranny over me lasted. (Psalm 128:3)

11. I have lost my first-created beauty and comeliness; and now I lie naked, and I am ashamed.

12. Sin which stripped me of my former God-woven clothing has also sewn on me coats of skin. (Genesis 3:21)

13. . I am wrapped in a garment of shame as with fig leaves, in reproof of my selfish passions.

14. I am clad in a coat that is spotted and shamefully bloodstained by the flow of my passionate and pleasure-loving life.

15. I have stained the coat of my flesh, and soiled what is in Thy image and likeness, O Savior.

16. I fell under the burden of passions and corruption of matter, and from then until now I am oppressed by the enemy.

17. Having preferred a possessive and pleasure-loving life to spiritual poverty, O Savior, I am now harnessed with a heavy yoke. (Matthew 5:3)

18. I have adorned the idol of my flesh with the many-colored clothing of shameful thoughts, and I am condemned. (I John 5:21)

19. I have been anxiously concerned only about outward adornment, and have neglected the inner temple made in the image of God. (I Peter 3:3-4)

20. Having formed by my pleasure-loving desires the deformity of my passions, I have marred the beauty of my mind.

21. I have buried with passions the beauty of the original image, O Savior. But seek and find it, like the lost coin. (Luke 15:8)

22. Like the harlot I cry to Thee: I have sinned, I alone have sinned against Thee. Accept my tears also, O Savior, as perfume. (Luke 7:37-50)

23. I have slipped and fallen like David through lack of discipline, and I am covered with filth; but wash me too, O Savior, with my tears. (II Kings 11:1-4)

24. Like the publican I cry to Thee: Be merciful, O Savior, be merciful to me; for no child of Adam has sinned as I against Thee. (Luke 18:13. )

25. No tears, no repentance have I, no compunction. But as God, O Savior, grant me these.

26. Close not Thy door to me then, Lord, Lord; but open it to me who repent to Thee. (Matthew 25:11)

27. O Lover of men, Who wishest all to be saved, in Thy goodness recall me and receive me who repent. (I Timothy 2:4)

28. Give ear to the sighs and groans of my soul, and accept the drops of my eyes, O Savior, and save me.

Refrain: Most holy Mother of God, save us.

Theotokion: Spotless Mother of God, only all-hymned Virgin, pray intensely that we may be saved.

Another Eirmos See, see that I am God, Who rained manna and made water spout from the rock of old for my people in the wilderness, by My right hand, and by My strength alone.

29. See, see that I am God: give ear, my soul, to the Lord Who is appealing to you, and tear yourself from your former sin, and fear Him as the Avenger, and as your Judge and God. (Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 10:30)

30. Whom do you resemble, O most sinful soul? Surely the first Cain and that wicked Lamech. For you have stoned your body with evil deeds, and you have murdered your mind with irrational appetites. (Genesis 4; 4:23)

31. Running through all who lived before the Law, my soul, you have not been like Seth, nor imitated Enos, nor Enoch by translation, nor Noah. But you are seen to be bereft of the life of the righteous. (Genesis 5)

32. You alone have opened the cataracts of the wrath of God, my soul, and have flooded as the earth all your flesh and actions and life, and have remained outside the Ark of Salvation. (Genesis 6-8)

33. “I have killed a man to the wounding of myself,” said Lamech, “and a young man to my own hurt,” he cried out wailing. But you, my soul, do not tremble, while polluting the flesh and defiling the mind. (Genesis 4:23)

34. O how I have emulated that old murderer Lamech! By my pleasure-loving cravings I have killed my soul as the man, my mind as the young man, and my body as my brother, like Cain the murderer. (Genesis 4:23)

35. You would have contrived to build a tower, my soul, and erect a stronghold for your lusts, had not the Creator confounded your plans and brought your schemes crashing to earth. (Genesis 11:3-4)

36. I am struck and wounded! See the arrows of the enemy with which my soul and body are pierced all over! See the wounds, the sores and the mutilations that cry out and betray the blows of my self-chosen passions!

37. The Lord rained fire from the Lord of old, and burnt up the wanton wickedness of Sodom. But you, my soul, have kindled the fire of hell, in which you are about to be bitterly burnt. (Genesis 19:24)

38. Know and see that I am God, Who searches hearts, punishes thoughts, reproves actions, and burns sins, and judges the orphan, the humble and the poor. (Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalm 67:5)

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Thou didst stretch out thy hands to the merciful God, O Mary, when sunk in the lowest vices. And He Who by every means was seeking thy conversion, lovingly stretched out a helping hand as to Peter.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: With all eagerness and love thou didst run to Christ, abandoning thy former way of sin. And being nourished in the untrodden wilderness, thou didst chastely fulfill His divine commandments.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: Let us see, let us see, O soul, our Lord and God’s love for men. So before the end let us fall down before Him with tears and cry: By the prayers of Andrew, O Savior, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Unoriginate, uncreated Trinity, indivisible Unity, accept me who repent, save me who have sinned. I am Thy creation, despise me not, but spare me and deliver me from the fire of condemnation.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Spotless lady, Mother of God, hope of those who run to thee, and haven of those in distress, obtain grace for me from the merciful One, Thy Son and Creator, by thy prayers.

Song 3. 

Eirmos Establish Thy Church on the unshakable rock of Thy commandments, O Christ,

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. The Lord rained fire from the Lord, my soul, and burnt up the former land of Sodom. (Genesis 19:24)

2. Escape to the mountain like Lot, my soul, and make Zoar your refuge in time. (Genesis 19:22)

3. Run from the burning, my soul! Run from the heat of Sodom! Run from the destruction of the divine flame. (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29)

4. I confess to Thee, O Savior, I have sinned, I have sinned against Thee, but absolve and forgive me in Thy compassion.

5. I alone have sinned against Thee, sinned above all men. O Christ my Savior, spurn me not.

6. Thou art the good Shepherd; seek me, Thy lamb, and neglect not me who have gone astray. (John 10:11-14)

7. Thou art my sweet Jesus, Thou art my Creator; in Thee, O Savior, I shall be justified.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: O Trinity, Unity, God, save us from delusion and temptations and distressing circumstances.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Rejoice, God-receiving womb! Rejoice, throne of the Lord! Rejoice, Mother of our Life!

Another Eirmos Establish, O Lord, my unstable heart on the rock of Thy commandments, for Thou only art Holy and Lord.

8. In Thee, the Conqueror of death, I have found the Source of Life, and from my heart I cry to Thee before my end: I have sinned, be merciful, save me.

9. I have imitated those who were licentious in Noah’s time, and I have earned a share in their condemnation of drowning in the flood. (Genesis 6)

10. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned against Thee. Be merciful to me. For there is no one who has sinned among men whom I have not surpassed by my sins.

11. You have imitated Ham, that spurner of his father, my soul. You have not concealed your neighbor’s shame by returning to him looking backwards. (Genesis 9:20-27)

12. You have not inherited Shem’s blessing, wretched soul, nor have you received that vast possession like Japheth in the land of forgiveness. (Genesis 9:26-27)

13. . Come out, my soul, from sin, from the land of Haran! Come into the land of eternal life flowing with incorruption which Abraham inherited. (Genesis 12:4)

14. You have heard, my soul, how Abraham of old left the land of his fathers and became a nomad. Imitate his resolution. (Genesis 12:1)

15. At the Oak of Mamre the Patriarch entertained Angels, and inherited in his old age the spoil of the promise. (Genesis 18:1)

16. Knowing, my wretched soul, how Isaac was mystically offered to the Lord as a new sacrifice and holocaust, imitate his resolution. (Genesis 22:2)

17. You have heard of Ishmael (be watchful, my soul!) who was driven out as the son of a slave-girl. Beware lest you suffer something similar by your lusting. (Genesis 21:10)

18. You, my soul, have become like Hagar the Egyptian of old. You have become enslaved by your own choice and have a new Ishmael – stubborn self-will. (Genesis 16:15)

19. You know, my soul, of the Ladder shown to Jacob reaching from earth to Heaven. Why have you not clung to the sure step of piety? (Genesis 28:12)

20. Imitate that Priest of God and solitary King who was an image of the life of Christ in the world among men. (cf. Melchizedek: Hebrews 7:1-4; Genesis 14:18)

21. Do not be a pillar of salt, my soul, by turning back; but let the example of the Sodomites frighten you, and take refuge up in Zoar. (Genesis 19:26)

22. Run, my soul, like Lot from the fire of sin; run from Sodom and Gomorrah; run from the flame of every irrational desire. (Genesis 19)

23. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy on me, I implore Thee, when Thou comest with Thy Angels to requite us all as our actions deserve.

24. Reject not the prayer of those who praise Thee, O Lord; but have compassion on us, O Lover of men, and to those who ask with faith grant forgiveness.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: I am hard pressed by the waves and billows of my sins, mother. But now bring me safely through, and lead me to the haven of divine repentance.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: In offering a fervent prayer at this time to the compassionate Mother of God, O Saint, by thy intercession open to me the divine right of entry.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: By thy prayers grant me release from my debts, O Andrew, prelate of Crete, for thou art an unsurpassed guide to the mysteries of repentance.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Simple, uncreated Unity, unoriginate Nature praised in a Trinity of Persons, save us who with faith worship Thy power.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Mother of God, unwedded thou gavest birth in time to the timeless Son of the Father, And – O strange wonder! – thou remainest a Virgin while suckling Him.

And again the Eirmos

Establish, O Lord, my unstable heart on The rock of Thy commandments, for Thou only art Holy and Lord.

Little Litany: 

Deacon: Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace. 

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Deacon: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commit ourselves and one another, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Exclamation:

Priest: For Thou art our God and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

Sedalion, tone 8, the work of Joseph: 

O divinely shining lights, Apostles and eyewitnesses of the Savior, enlighten us in the darkness of life, that we may walk honestly as in the day, routing the passions of the night with the lamp of temperance and continence, and may see the glorious Passion of Christ rejoicing.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Another, the work of Theodore: 

O God-chosen band of the Twelve Apostles, offer now especially prayer to Christ, that we may all finish the course of the Fast, completing the prayers with compunction, and zealously practicing the virtues, that we may attain to see the glorious Resurrect ion of Christ our God, offering Him glory and praise.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Pray with the Apostles, O Mother of God, to the incomprehensible Son and Word of God, Who beyond understanding was ineffably born of thee, that He may bestow true peace on the world, and before our end grant us forgiveness of sins, and in thy extreme goodness make thy servants fit for the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Second half of the Life of Saint Mary of Egypt is read here. 

TRIODION or THREE SONGS (without bows) 

The work of Joseph. 

Song 4. Tone 8. 

Eirmos I have heard, O Lord, the mystery of Thy plan, I contemplate Thy works and glorify Thy divine nature.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

Troparia:

1. Having lived in continence, the enlightened Apostles of Christ make easy for us the time of continence by their divine intercessions.

2. Like a twelve-stringed instrument, the divine choir of the Disciples sings the song of salvation, and confounds the racket of the evil one.

3. With showers of the Spirit, O all-blessed Apostles, you have watered everything under the sun and banished the drought of polytheism.

Refrain: Most holy Mother of God, save us.

Theotokion: Humble and save me who have lived high-mindedly, O all-pure Virgin, who gavest birth to Him Who exalted our humbled nature.

ANOTHER TRIODION, the work of Theodore. 

Eirmos I have heard, O Lord, the report of Thee, and am afraid. I contemplate Thy works and glorify Thy power, O Lord.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

Troparia:

4. Most holy choir of Apostles, pray to the Creator of all and ask Him to have mercy on us who sing your praises.

5. As workers who cultivated the whole world with the word of God, O Apostles of Christ, you always offered Him your fruits.

6. You were a vineyard for the truly beloved Christ, for from you the wine of the Spirit gushed into the world, O Apostles.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Eternal, co-equal, all-powerful Holy Trinity; Father, Word and Holy Spirit; God, Light and Life, guard Thy flock.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Rejoice, fiery throne! Rejoice, luminous lamp! Rejoice, mountain of sanctification, ark of life, tabernacle, holy of holies.

CONTINUATION OF THE GREAT CANON. 

Song 4. 

Eirmos The Prophet heard of Thy coming, O Lord, and was afraid that Thou wast to be born of a Virgin and appear to men, and he said “I have heard the report of Thee and am afraid.” Glory to Thy power, O Lord. (Habbakuk 3:2)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. Despise not Thy works and forsake not Thy creation, O just Judge and Lover of men, though I alone have sinned as a man more than any man. But being Lord of all, Thou hast power to pardon sins. (Mark 2:10)

2. The end is drawing near, my soul, is drawing near! But you neither care nor prepare. The time is growing short. Rise! The Judge is near at the very doors. Like a dream, like a flower, the time of this life passes. Why do we bustle about in vain? (Matthew 24:33; Psalm 38:7)

3. Come to your senses, my soul! Consider the deeds you have done, and bring them before your eyes, and pour out the drops of your tears. Boldly tell your thoughts and deeds to Christ, and be acquitted.

4. There has never been a sin or act or vice in life that I have not committed, O Savior. I have sinned in mind, word and choice, in purpose, will and action, as no one else has ever done.

5. Therefore I am condemned, wretch that I am, therefore I am doomed by my own conscience, than which there is nothing in the world more rigorous. O my Judge and Redeemer Who knowest my heart, spare and deliver and save me, Thy servant.

6. The ladder of old which the great Patriarch saw, my soul, is a model of mounting by action and ascent by knowledge. So, if you wish to live in activity, knowledge and contemplation, be renewed. (Genesis 28:12; Romans 12:2; Titus 3:5)

7. Because of his crying need the Patriarch endured the scorching heat of the day, and he bore the frost of the night, daily making gains, shepherding, struggling, slaving, in order to win two wives. (Genesis 29:16-30; 31-40)

8. By the two wives understand action and direct knowledge in contemplation: Leah as action, for she had many children, and Rachel as knowledge, which is obtained by much labor. For without labors, my soul, neither action nor contemplation will achieve success.

9. Watch, my soul! Be courageous like the great Patriarchs, that you may acquire activity and awareness, and be a mind that sees God, and may reach in contemplation the innermost darkness, and be a great trader. (Genesis 32:28; Luke 19:13. -15)

10. The great Patriarch, by begetting the twelve Patriarchs, mystically set up for you, my soul, a ladder of active ascent, having wisely offered his children as rungs, and his steps as ascents.

11. You have emulated the hated Esau, my soul, and have given up your birthright of pristine beauty to your supplanter, and you have lost your father’s blessing, and have been tripped up twice in action and knowledge. Therefore, O wretch, repent now. ( Genesis 25:31; 27:37)

12. Esau was called Edom for his extreme passion of madness for women. For ever burning with incontinence and stained with pleasures, he was named Edom, which means a red-hot sin-loving soul. (Genesis 25:30)

13. . Have you heard of Job who was made holy on a dunghill, O my soul? You have not emulated his courage, nor had his firmness of purpose in all you have learned or known, or in your temptations, but you have proved unpersevering. (Job 1)

14. He who was formerly on a throne is now naked on a dunghill and covered with sores. He who had many children and was much admired is suddenly childless and homeless. Yet he regarded the dunghill as a palace and his sores as pearls. (Job 2:7-8)

15. The opulent and righteous man, arrayed in royal dignity, crown and purple, abounding in wealth and cattle, was suddenly shorn of his riches, glory and kingdom and became a beggar.

16. If he who was righteous and blameless beyond all did not escape the snares and nets of the deceiver, what will you do, my soul, who are sin-loving and wretched, if something unexpected happens to you?

17. My body is defiled, my spirit is sullied, and I am all covered with sores. But as the Physician, O Christ, heal, wash and cleanse both body and spirit with repentance, and make me, my Savior, purer than snow.

18. Thou didst lay down Thy body and blood for ail, O crucified Word: Thy body in order to renew me, Thy blood in order to wash me, and Thou didst surrender Thy spirit, O Christ, in order to bring me to the Father.

19. Thou hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth, O merciful Creator, that we may be saved. Thou wast voluntarily crucified on the Tree: Eden that was closed is open; things on high and below, creation and all peoples are saved and worship Thee. (Psalm 73:12)

20. May the blood and water that wells from Thy side be a font for me and a draught of forgiveness, that I may be cleansed, anointed and refreshed by both as with drink and unction by Thy living words, O Word. (John 19:34; Acts 7:38)

21. I am bereft of the bridal hall, I am bereft of the marriage and supper. My lamp has gone out for want of oil, the door has been locked while I was asleep; the supper is eaten; and I, bound hand and foot, am cast outside. (Matthew 25; Luke 14:7-35; Matthew 22:1-14)

22. The Church has acquired Thy life-giving side as a chalice, from which gushes forth for us a twofold torrent of forgiveness and knowledge as a type of the two covenants, Old and New, O our Savior.

23. Brief is my lifetime and full of pain and wickedness, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me. (Genesis 47:9)

24. Boastful I am, and hard-hearted, all in vain and for nothing. Condemn me not with the Pharisee, but rather grant me the humility of the Publican, O only merciful and just Judge, and number me with him. (Luke 18:9-14)

25. I have sinned, I know, O merciful Lord, and outraged the vessel of my flesh, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

26. I am become my own idol, and have injured my soul with passions, O merciful Lord, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

27. I have not listened to Thy voice, I have disobeyed Thy Scripture, O Lawgiver, but accept me in penitence and recall me to awareness of Thee. May I never be the possession or food of the enemy. O Savior, have compassion on me.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: By living a bodiless life in a body, O Saint, thou hast truly received great grace from God to intercede for those who faithfully honor thee. Therefore we implore thee: deliver us by thy prayers from trials of all kinds.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Though dragged down to the depth of great offences, thou wast not held there. But with better thought thou didst return by action to consummate virtue beyond all expectation, to the amazement of angel kind, O Mary.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: O Andrew, glory of the Fathers, standing before the transcendingly divine Trinity, by thy prayers cease not to intercede that we who invoke thee with love may be delivered from torment, O divine intercessor, adornment of Crete.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: I confess Thee to be undivided in essence, unconfused in persons, One Triune Divinity, co-enthroned and co-reigning. I sing Thee the great song thrice sung on high.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Thou givest birth and livest a virgin life, and in both remainest a virgin by nature. He Who is born of thee renews the laws of nature, and a womb gives birth without travail. Where God wills, the order of nature is overruled; for He does whatever He wishes.

Song 5. 

Eirmos Out of the night watching early for Thee, enlighten me, I pray, O Lover of men, and guide even me in Thy commandments, and teach me, O Savior, to do Thy will.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. I have passed my life ever in night, for the night of sin has been to me thick fog and darkness; but make me, O Savior, a Son of the day. (Ephesians 5:8)

2. Like Reuben, wretch that I am, I have planned an unprincipled and lawless act against God Most High, having defiled my bed as he defiled that of his father. (Genesis 35:21; 49:3-4)

3. I confess to Thee, O Christ my King: I have sinned, I have sinned, like Joseph’s brothers of old, who sold the fruit of purity and chastity. (Genesis 37)

4. Righteous Joseph was given up by his brothers, that sweet soul was sold into slavery, as a type of the Lord; and you, my soul, have sold yourself completely to your vices. (Genesis 37:27-28)

5. Imitate, wretched and worthless soul, righteous Joseph and his pure mind, and do not be wanton with irrational desires, ever transgressing. (Genesis 39:7-23)

6. If Joseph of old also occupied a pit, O Sovereign Lord, yet it was as a type of Thy Burial and Rising. But will I ever offer Thee anything like it? (Genesis 37)

7. You have heard, my soul, of Moses’ ark of old, borne on the waters and waves of the river as in a shrine, which escaped the bitter tragedy of Pharaoh’s edict. (Exodus 1:22 – 2:3)

8. If you have heard of the midwives, wretched soul, who of old killed in infancy the manly issue and practice of chastity, then like the great Moses, suck wisdom. (Exodus 1:16; 2-9; Acts 7:22)

9. You, wretched soul, have not struck and killed your Egyptian mind, like great Moses. Say, then, how will you dwell in that desert solitude where the passions desert you through repentance? (Exodus 2:12)

10. Great Moses dwelt in the wilds, my soul. So go and imitate his life, that you too may attain by contemplation to the vision of God in the bush. (Exodus 3:1)

11. Imagine Moses’ staff striking the sea and fixing the deep as a type of the divine Cross, by which you too, my soul, can accomplish great things. (Exodus 14:16)

12. Aaron offered to God the fire pure and undefiled; but Hophni and Phinehas, like you, my soul, offered to God a foul and rebellious life. (Leviticus 9:21-24; I Kings 2:12-34)

13. . How heavy in character I have become, in soul and body, like Jannes and Jambres in Pharaoh’s bitter service, and my mind has sunk low. But help me, O Lord. (Exodus 7:11; II Timothy 3:8)

14. I, wretch that I am, have rolled my mind in mud. But wash me, O Lord, in the bath of my tears, I pray Thee, and make the robe of my flesh as white as snow.

15. When I examine my actions, O Savior, I see that I have gone beyond all men in sins; for I have sinned with knowledge consciously, and not in ignorance.

16. Spare, spare, O Lord, Thy works. I have sinned; forgive me, for Thou alone art pure by nature, and apart from Thee there is none without defilement. (I Peter 3:21)

17. Being God, for my sake Thou didst take my form, and didst work miracles, healing lepers and bracing paralytics; and Thou didst stop the flow of blood of the woman with hemorrhage, O Savior, through the touch of Thy hem. (Philemon 2:6; Matthew 4:24; Luke 8:43-48)

18. Imitate, wretched soul, the woman with hemorrhage. Run to Christ and hold His hem, that you may be healed of your maladies and hear from Him, “Your faith has saved you.” (Matthew 9:22)

19. Imitate, my soul, the woman bent earthward; come and fall down at the feet of Jesus, that He may straighten you to walk upright in the footsteps of the Lord. (Luke 13. :11)

20. Though Thou art a deep well, O Lord, pour on me streams from Thy immaculate wounds, that like the Samaritan woman I may drink and thirst no more; for from Thee gush rivers of life. (John 4:13. -15)

21. May my tears be for me a Siloam, O Sovereign Lord, that I may wash the eyes of my soul and mentally see Thee Who art that light which was before creation. (John 9:7; Genesis 1:2-19)

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Thou, all-blessed one, didst yearn with matchless love and longing to worship the Tree of Life, and thy desire was granted; make us also worthy to attain to the glory on high.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Having crossed Jordan’s stream, thou didst find rest by giving a wide berth to the deadening pleasure of the flesh, from which deliver us also by thy prayers, O saint.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: Eminent as the best of pastors, O wise Andrew, I pray thee with great love and veneration that by thy intercessions I may obtain salvation and eternal life.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Thee, O Trinity, we glorify, the one God: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, Father, Son and Spirit, simple Being, Unity ever adored.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: From thee, O pure maiden Mother and Virgin, God Who created the worlds and ages was clad in my clay and united to Himself human nature.

Song 6. 

Eirmos I cried with my whole heart to the merciful God, and He heard me from the lowest hell and raised my life out of corruption.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. I sincerely offer Thee with a pure intention, O Savior, the tears of my eyes and groans from the depths of my heart, crying: O God, I have sinned against Thee; be merciful to me. (Luke 18:13. )

2. You, my soul, have revolted from the Lord like Dathan and Abiram. But with all your heart cry, “Spare!” that a yawning gulf of the earth may not swallow you. (Numbers 16)

3. Like a stampeding heifer stung to madness, my soul, you have resembled Ephraim. Winged with action, resolve and contemplation, save your life like a gazelle from the noose. (Hosea 4:16)

4. Let Moses’ hand assure us, my soul, how God can whiten and cleanse a leprous life. So do not despair of yourself, even though you are leprous. (Exodus 4:6-8)

5. The waves of my sins, O Savior, as in the Red Sea recoiled and covered me unawares, like the Egyptians of old and their charioteers. (Exodus 14:7-31)

6. Like Israel of old, my soul, you have had a foolish affection. For like a brute you have preferred to divine manna the pleasure-loving gluttony of the passions. (Numbers 21:5; I Corinthians 10:9)

7. The wells of Canaanite thoughts, my soul, you have prized above the Rock with the cleft from which the river of wisdom like a chalice pours forth streams of theology. (Genesis 21:23; Exodus 17:6)

8. Swine’s flesh and hotpots and Egyptian food you, my soul, have preferred to heavenly manna, as of old the senseless people in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:3; Numbers 11:4-7)

9. When Thy servant Moses struck the rock with his staff, he mystically typified Thy life-giving side, O Savior, from which we all draw the water of life. (Numbers 20:11; I Corinthians 10:4)

10. Explore and spy out the Land of Promise like Joshua the Son of Nun, my soul, and see what it is like, and settle in it by observing the laws. (Joshua 2)

11. Rise and make war against the passions of the flesh, as Joshua did against Amalek, and ever conquer the Gibeonites – illusive thoughts. (Exodus 17:8; Joshua 8:21)

12. Pass through the flowing nature of time, like the Ark of old, and take possession of the Land of Promise, my soul: It is God’s command. (Joshua 3:17; Deuteronomy 1:8)

13. . As Thou savedst Peter when he cried, “Save me!” forestall and deliver me from the beast, O Savior; stretch out Thy hand and raise me from the depths of sin. (Matthew 14:25-31)

14. I know Thee as a calm haven, O Lord, Lord Christ; but forestall and deliver me from the innermost depths of sin and despair.

15. I am the coin with the royal image which was lost of old, O Savior. But light the lamp, Thy Forerunner, O Word; seek and find Thy image. (Luke 15:8)

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: To extinguish the flame of the passions, O Mary, thou didst ever shed rivers of tears and fire thy soul with divine love. Grant also to me, thy servant, the grace of tears.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Thou didst acquire heavenly dispassion by thy sublime life on earth, O mother. Therefore pray that those who sing of thee may be delivered from the grip of passions.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: Knowing thee to be the shepherd and prelate of Crete and intercessor for the world, O Andrew, I run to thee and cry: Deliver me, father, from the depths of sin.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: I am the Trinity, simple and undivided, divided Personally, and I am the Unity, united in nature, says the Father, the Son, and the Divine Spirit.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Thy womb bore God for us Who took our form. Implore Him as the Creator of all, O Mother of God, that through thy intercessions we may be justified.

And again the Eirmos

I cried with my whole heart to the merciful God, and He heard me from the lowest hell and raised my life out of corruption.

Little Litany: 

Deacon: Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace. 

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Deacon: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commit ourselves and one another, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Exclamation:

Priest: For Thou art the King of Peace and Savior of our souls, and to Thee we send up the glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

Kontakion, tone 6: 

My soul, my soul, arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near, and you will be confounded. Awake, then, and be watchful, that Christ our God may spare you, Who is everywhere present and fills all things.

Eikos: 

Seeing Christ’s healing temple opened, and how health Streams from Him to Adam, the devil suffered and was stricken. Then he wailed as if in mortal danger and to his friends raised a bitter howl: what shall I do to the Son of Mary? The Bethlehemite is killing me, Who is everywhere present and fills all things.

Then we sing the Beatitudes: 

In Thy Kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom.

1. Thou didst make the Robber a citizen of Paradise on the Cross when he cried to Thee, O Christ, “Remember me!” Make me, unworthy as I am, also worthy of his repentance. (Luke 23:42,43)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

2. Have you heard, my soul, of Manoah of old who saw God in a waking vision and received from his barren wife the fruit of God’s promise? Let us imitate his piety. (Judges 13. )

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

3. You, my soul, have emulated Samson’s easy-going laxity; you have shorn the glory of your deeds, and by love of pleasure have surrendered to the Philistines a chaste and blessed life. (Judges 14)

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

4. He who conquered the Philistines with an ass’s jawbone is now found to be a dissolute slave of passionate intercourse. But avoid, my soul, his example, his action, his laxity.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

5. Barak and Jephthah, military leaders, with manly-minded Deborah, were promoted to be Judges of Israel. Learn courage from their heroic deeds, my soul, and master yourself. (Judges 4:11)

Blessed are the merciful, for the shall obtain mercy.

6. You know, my soul, of Jael’s bravery, who impaled Sisera of old and wrought salvation with a tent-peg, by which (are you listening?) the Cross is typified to you. (Judges 5)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

7. Offer the sacrifice of praise, my soul, offer action as a daughter purer than Jephthah’s, and slay your carnal passions as a sacrifice to your Lord. (Judges 11)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

8. Think, my soul, of Gideon’s fleece. Receive the dew from Heaven; stoop down like a dog and drink the water that flows from the Law by the pressure of study. (Judges 6-8)

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

9. You, my soul, for lack of understanding have drawn upon yourself the priest Eli’s condemnation, by allowing the passions to act sinfully in you, as he allowed his children. (I Kings 2-4)

Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely and on My account.

10. The Levite among the Judges, by negligence, divided his wife among the twelve tribes, my soul, in order to blazon the lawless outrage of Benjamin. (Judges 19-20)

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.

11. Chaste Hannah when praying moved her lips in praise, while her voice was not yet heard; but yet, though barren, she bears a son her prayer deserved. (I Kings 1)

Remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom.

12. Hannah’s child, the great Samuel, was reckoned among the Judges, and he was brought up in Arimathea and in the House of the Lord. Imitate him, my soul, and before judging others, judge your own actions. (I Kings 16:13. )

Remember us, O Master, when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom.

13. . David was chosen to be king, and he was royally anointed with the horn of divine oil. So if you, my soul, desire the Kingdom on high, be anointed with the oil of tears.

Remember us, O Holy One, when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom.

14. Have mercy on Thy creation, O merciful Lord; have compassion on the work of Thy hands, and spare all who have sinned, and even me who above all have ignored Thy commands.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Unoriginate both by generation and procession, the Father Who begot I worship, I glorify the Son Who is begotten, and I hymn the Holy Spirit, co-effulgent with the Father and the Son.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: We worship thy supernatural childbirth, without dividing the natural glory of thy Child, O Mother of God. For He is confessed to be one in Person and twofold in Nature.

Song 7. 

Eirmos We have sinned, transgressed, done wrong before Thee, we have not watched or done as Thou hast commanded us. But do not give us up utterly, O God of our Fathers.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. I have sinned, offended and rejected Thy commandment, for I have advanced in sins and added wounds to my sores. But in Thy compassion have mercy on me, O God of our Fathers.

2. I have confessed to Thee, my Judge, the secrets of my heart. See my humility, see also my distress, and attend to my judgment now. And in Thy compassion have mercy on me, O God of our Fathers.

3. When Saul of old lost his father’s asses, besides getting news of them he incidentally found a kingdom. But watch, my soul, lest without noticing it, you prefer your animal cravings to the Kingdom of Christ. (I Kings 10:2)

4. If David, the father of our Divine Lord, doubly sinned of old, my soul, when he was pierced with the arrow of adultery and struck with the spear of remorse for murder, yet you have a sickness graver than deeds in your will and appetites. (II Kings 11; 12:1-23)

5. David once joined sin to sin, for he mixed adultery with murder, yet he immediately offered double repentance. But you, my soul, have done things more wicked without repenting to God.

6. David of old composed a song, painting it as in a picture by which he exposes the deed he had done, crying: Have mercy on me, for against Thee only have I sinned, Who art God of all. Cleanse me. (Psalm 50)

7. When the Ark was being carried on a wagon, and when one of the oxen slipped, Uzzah only touched it and experienced the wrath of God. But avoid, my soul, his presumption and truly reverence divine things. (II Kings 6:6)

8. You have heard of Absalom, how he rose against nature. You know his accursed deeds and how he insulted the bed of his father David. But you have imitated his passionate and pleasure-loving cravings. (II Kings 15; 16:21)

9. You have enslaved your free dignity to your body, my soul, for you have found in Satan another Ahitophel and have consented to his counsels. But Christ Himself scattered them, that you may at all events be saved. (II Kings 16:20)

10. Wonderful Solomon, who was full of the grace of wisdom, at one time did evil in God’s sight and fell away from Him. And you, my soul, have resembled him by your accursed life. (III Kings 11; Ecclus 47:12-20)

11. Carried away by the pleasure of his passions, he defiled himself. Alas, the lover of wisdom is a lover of loose women and estranged from God! And you, my soul, have in mind imitated him by your shameful pleasures. (III Kings 3:12; 11:4-12)

12. You, my soul, have rivaled Rehoboam who would not listen to his father’s advisors, and that vicious slave Jeroboam the apostate of old. But shun such mimicry and cry to God: I have sinned, have compassion on me.(III Kings 12:13. -20)

13. . You have rivaled Ahab in defilements, my soul. Alas, you have been a lodging-place of fleshly pollutions and a shameful vessel of passions. But groan from your depths and tell God your sins. (III Kings 16:30)

14. Elijah once burned a hundred of Jezebel’s flunkeys when he had destroyed her shameful prophets as a proof and rebuke for Ahab. But avoid imitating these two, my soul, and master yourself. (IV Kings 1:10-15; III Kings 18:40)

15. Heaven is closed to you, my soul, and the famine of God has reached you, for you have been disobedient as was Ahab of old to the words of Elijah the Tishbite. But be like the woman of Sarepta, and feed the Prophet’s soul. (III Kings 17)

16. You have piled up sins like Manasseh by deliberate choice, my soul, setting up your passions as idols and multiplying abominations. But now fervently emulate his repentance and acquire compunction. (IV Kings 21; II Chronicles 33)

17. I fall down before Thee and bring Thee as tears my words: I have sinned like the harlot, and transgressed as no other on earth. But have compassion, O Lord, on Thy work, and recall me.

18. I have buried Thy image and broken Thy commandment. All my beauty is darkened and my lamp is extinguished by my passions, O Savior. But have compassion and restore to me, as David sings, joy. (Psalm 50:14)

19. Return, repent, uncover what is hidden. Say to God Who knows everything: Thou knowest my secrets, O only Savior; but have mercy on me, as David sings, according to Thy mercy. (Psalm 50)

20. My days have vanished like a dream on waking. Therefore I weep on my bed like Hezekiah that years may be added to my life. But what Isaiah will come to you, my soul, except the God of all? (IV Kings 20:3; Isaiah 38:2)

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: By crying to the immaculate Mother of God, thou didst repel the rage of passions which once violently harassed thee, and didst put to shame the enemy tempter. But now grant me, thy servant, also help out of trouble.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: He Whom thou lovest, He Whom thou desirest, He on Whose track thou camest, mother, found thee and granted thee repentance, for He is God Who alone is compassionate. Implore Him unceasingly to deliver us from passions and adversities.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: Strengthen me on the rock of faith by thy intercessions, O father, and wall and fortify me with an awed sense of the divine indwelling, and grant me repentance, O Andrew, now. And I implore thee to deliver me from the snares of foes actively seeking my life.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: O Trinity simple and undivided, of one essence and one nature, Lights and Light, three Holies and one Holy, God the Trinity is hymned. But sing, my soul, and glorify the Life and Lives, the God of all.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: We sing of thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, O Mother of God, for thou gavest birth to one of the inseparable Trinity, the one Son and God, and to us on earth thou hast opened the heavenly realms.

THE TRIODION 

Song 8. Tone 8. 

Eirmos The Eternal King of Glory, before Whom the Hosts of Heaven are thrilled with awe and the Orders of the Angels tremble, praise Him, O priests, and exalt Him, you people, throughout all ages.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

Troparia:

1. Like coals of immaterial fire, burn my material passions, and kindle in me now, O Apostles, a longing for divine love.

2. Let us honor the tuneful trumpets of the Word, through whom the rickety walls of the enemy fell and the battlements of the knowledge of God were built.

3. Smash the passionate idols of my soul, as you smashed the temples and pillars of the enemy, O Apostles of the Lord, consecrated temples.

Refrain: Most holy Mother of God, save us.

Theotokion: Thou didst contain Him Who is uncontainable by nature, thou didst carry Him Who carries all things, O pure Virgin, thou didst suckle Him Who feeds creation, Christ the Lifegiver.

The Eirmos is repeated: The Eternal King of Glory, before Whom the Hosts of Heaven are thrilled with awe and the Orders of the Angels tremble, praise Him, O priests, and exalt Him, you people, throughout all ages.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

4. Having built the whole Church with the Spirit as architect, O Apostles of Christ, bless Christ in it throughout the ages.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

5. By blowing the trumpet of the dogmas, the Apostles have overthrown all the delusion and error of idolatry, and exalted Christ throughout all ages.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

6. O Apostles, noble company, guardians of the world, and citizens of heaven, deliver from dangers those who ever praise you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Triune, all-radiant God, co-glorified and co-enthroned Nature, Father Almighty, Son and Divine Spirit, I sing of Thee for ever.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Let us, O you peoples, unceasingly sing of the Mother of God, as an honored and sublime throne, who alone after childbirth is Mother and Virgin.

THE GREAT CANON 

Song 8. Tone 6. 

Eirmos Him Whom the heavenly hosts glorify and before Whom Cherubim and Seraphim tremble, let every breath and all creation praise, bless and exalt throughout all ages.

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. I have sinned, O Savior, have mercy! Awaken my mind to conversion, accept me who repent, have compassion on me as I cry: Against Thee only have I sinned and acted lawlessly; have mercy on me.

2. Elijah the charioteer once ascended by the chariot of the virtues as to heaven and was carried above earthly things. Consider then, my soul, this ascent. (IV Kings 2:11)

3. Jordan’s stream of old was made to stand still on either side by Elisha by Elijah’s sheepskin. But you, my soul, have not shared this grace owing to incontinence. (IV Kings 2:14)

4. Elisha received double grace from the Lord when he took up Elijah’s sheepskin. But you, my soul, have not shared this grace owing to incontinence. (IV Kings 2:9)

5. The Shunammite woman of old with right good will entertained the righteous man. But you, my soul, have taken into your house neither stranger nor traveler. Therefore you will be cast out of the bridal hall wailing. (IV Kings 4:8)

6. You have always imitated the vile mind of Gehazi, O wretched soul. Rid yourself of his love of money, at least in old age; escape from the fire of Gehenna by leaving your evil ways. (IV Kings 5:20-27)

7. Having emulated Uzziah, my soul, you have his leprosy in you doubled. For you think disgusting thoughts and do outrageous things. Let go of what you are holding and run to repentance. (IV Kings 15:5; II Chronicles 26:19)

8. Have you heard, my soul, of the Ninevites, who repented before God in sackcloth and ashes? You have not imitated them, but appear to be more crooked than all who have sinned before and after the law. (Jonah 3:5)

9. You have heard of Jeremiah in the mud pit, my soul, how he cried out with lamentations against the City of Zion, and was seeking tears. Imitate his life of lamentation and you will be saved. (Jeremiah 38:6)

10. Jonah fled to Tarshish, foreseeing the conversion of the Ninevites; for, being a Prophet, he was aware of God’s compassion, and was anxious that his prophesy should not prove false. (Jonah 1:3)

11. You have heard, my soul, of Daniel in the lion’s den, and how he shut the beasts’ mouths. You know how the Children who were with Azariah extinguished the flames of the burning furnace by faith. (Daniel 6:16-22; 3:23)

12. I have reviewed all the people of the Old Testament as examples for you, my soul. Imitate the God-loving deeds of the righteous and shun the sins of the wicked.

13. . Just Judge and Savior, have mercy on me and deliver me from the fire and the threat which I shall justly incur at the judgment. Forgive me before my end by virtue and repentance.

14. Like the robber I cry, “Remember me!” Like Peter I weep bitterly, “Release me, O Savior!” I croak like the publican; I weep like the harlot. Accept my lamentation as once the Canaanite woman. (Luke 23:42; Matthew 26:75; Luke 18:13. ; Luke 7:37-38; Matthew 15:22-28)

15. Heal, O Savior, the corruption of my debased soul, O only Physician. Apply the compress to me, and the oil and wine – works of repentance, compunction and tears. (Luke 10:34)

16. Imitating the woman of Canaan, I also cry, “Have mercy on me, O Son of David!” I touch Thy hem like the woman with hemorrhage. I weep like Martha and Mary over Lazarus. (Matthew 15:22; Mark 5:27; John 11:33)

17. The alabaster jar of my tears, O Savior, I pour out on Thy head as the perfume, and like the harlot I cry to Thee, seeking Thy mercy. I offer prayer and ask to receive forgiveness. (Matthew 26:7; Luke 7:38)

18. Though no one has sinned against Thee as I, yet accept even me, O compassionate Savior, repenting with fear and crying with love: Against Thee only have I sinned. I have done wrong, have mercy on me.

19. Spare, O Savior, Thy own creation., and seek as Shepherd Thy lost sheep; snatch the stray from the wolf, and make me a pet lamb in Thy sheep pasture. (Psalm 118:176; John 10:11-16)

20. When Thou sittest as Judge and in Thy compassion showest Thy dread glory, O Christ, O what fear there will be then, when the furnace is burning and all shrink from Thy inexorable Tribunal! (Matthew 25:31-46)

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us

To St. Mary of Egypt: The Mother of the unwaning Light enlightened thee, and freed thee from the darkness of the passions. So now thou art admitted to the grace of the Spirit, enlighten, O Mary, those who faithfully praise Thee.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Beholding in thee a new wonder, O mother, divine Zosimas was truly amazed. For he saw an angel in a body and, filled with utter astonishment, he praises Christ for ever.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: As thou hast boldness with the Lord, O Andrew, venerable credit of Crete, intercede, I implore thee, that by thy prayers I may now find release from the chain of my sins, O teacher of repentance, glory of Saints.

Let us bless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Lord:

To The Trinity: Eternal Father, co-eternal Son, gracious Comforter, Spirit of Truth; Father of the Divine Word, Word of the Eternal Father, living and creative Spirit, Trinity Unity, have mercy on us.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: As from scarlet silk, O spotless Virgin, within thy womb the spiritual purple was woven, the flesh of Emmanuel. Therefore we honor thee as in truth Mother of God.

Let us praise, bless and worship the Lord, sing and exalt Him throughout all ages.

And again the Eirmos

Him Whom the heavenly hosts glorify and before Whom Cherubim and Seraphim tremble, let every breath and all creation praise, bless and exalt throughout all ages.

Then the Magnificat, and More honorable… 

THEN THE TRIODION

Song 9. Tone 8. 

Eirmos Saved by thee, O pure Virgin, we confess thee to be truly Mother of God, and with Bodiless Choirs we magnify thee.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

Troparia:

1. Having been shown the springs of the water of salvation, O Apostles, bedew my soul that is racked with thirst by sin.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

2. Swimming in the sea of destruction as I am and already under water, save me like Peter with Thy right hand, O Lord.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

3. Since you are the salt of the teachings of health, dry the decay of my mind and dispel the darkness of ignorance.

Refrain: Most holy Mother of God, save us.

Theotokion: As the one of whom Joy was born, grant me mourning, O Lady, through which I shall be able to find divine consolation in the coming day.

Another Eirmos As the Mediatress of Heaven and earth, all generations magnify thee. For there dwelt in thee bodily, O Virgin, the fullness of the Godhead.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

4. O glorious company of the Apostles, we magnify you with songs; for you are the bright lights of the world that banish delusion and error.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

5. Ever catching rational fish with the net of your Gospel, you continually bring them as food to Christ, O blessed Apostles.

Refrain: Holy Apostles, pray for us.

6. Remember us in your prayer to God, O Apostles, we pray, that we who sing your praises with love may be delivered from all temptation.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Of Thee, the Tri-Personal Unity, I sing; Father and Son with the Spirit, One God of one essence, Trinity one in power and without beginning.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: All generations bless thee as the Child-bearer and Virgin, since through thee we have been redeemed from the curse, for thou didst bear for us the Lord, our Joy.

AND THE REST OF THE GREAT CANON 

Song 9. Tone 6. 

Eirmos Ineffable is the childbearing of a seedless conception, unsullied the pregnancy of a Virgin Mother, for the birth of God renews natures. So in all generations we magnify thee in orthodox fashion as the Mother and Bride of God. (2)

Refrain: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Troparia:

1. The mind is wounded, the body is feeble, the spirit is sick, the word has lost its power, life is ebbing, the end is at the doors. What then will you do, wretched soul, when the Judge comes to try your case?

2. I have reviewed Moses’ account of the creation of the world, my soul, and then all canonical Scripture which tells you the story of the righteous and the unrighteous. But you, my soul, have copied the latter and not the former, and have sinned against God.

3. The Law has grown weak, the Gospel is unpracticed, the whole of the Scripture is ignored by you; the Prophets and every word of the Just have lost their power. Your wounds, my soul, have multiplied, and there is no physician to heal you.

4. I am bringing before you examples from the New Scripture, my soul, to lead you to compunction. So emulate the righteous and avoid following the sinners, and regain Christ’s grace by prayers, fasts, purity and reverence.

5. Christ became man and called to repentance robbers and harlots. Repent, my soul! The door of the Kingdom is already open, and the transformed pharisees, publicans and adulterers are seizing it ahead of you. (Matthew 21:31; 11:12)

6. Christ became a babe and conversed in the flesh with me, and he voluntarily experienced all that pertains to our nature, apart from sin; and He showed you, my soul, an example and image of His own condescension. (Matthew 1:25)

7. Christ saved wise men, called shepherds, made crowds of infants martyrs, glorified old men and aged widows, whose deeds and life, my soul, you have not emulated. But woe unto you when you are judged! (Matthew 2:12; Luke 2:9-12; Matthew 2:16; Luke 2:2 5-38)

8. When the Lord had fasted for forty days in the wilderness, He at last became hungry, showing His human nature. Do not be despondent, my soul, if the enemy attacks you, but let him be beaten off by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 4:1-11; 17:21; Mark 9:29)

9. Christ was tempted, the devil was tempting Him, showing Him stones to be turned into bread; and he led Him up a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the world in a flash. Dread, my soul, the scene; watch and pray at every hour to God. (Matthew 4:3-9; 26:41)

10. The desert-loving dove, the lamp of Christ, the Voice crying in the wilderness sounded, preaching repentance; while Herod sinned with Herodias. See, my soul, that you are not caught in the toils of sin, but embrace repentance. (Mark 1:3; Matthew 14: 3)

11. The Forerunner of grace dwelt in the desert and all Judea and Samaria ran to hear him; and they confessed their sins, and eagerly received baptism. But you, my soul, have not imitated them. (Matthew 3:5-6)

12. Marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled, for Christ earlier blessed both, eating in His flesh at the marriage in Cana and changing water into wine, and showing His first miracle so that you, my soul, might be changed. (Hebrews 13. :4; John 2:1-11)

13. . Christ braced the paralytic and he carried his bed; He raised up the dead young man, the son of the widow, and the Centurion’s servant; and by revealing Himself to the Samaritan woman, He traced in advance for you, my soul, how to worship in spirit. (Matthew 9: 2-7; Luke 7:14; Matthew 8:6-13. ; John 4:26; Joshua 4:24)

14. The Lord healed the woman with hemorrhage by the touch of His hem, cleansed lepers, gave sight to the blind, and cured cripples; the deaf and the dumb and the woman bent earthward he healed with His word, that you, wretched soul, might be saved. (Matthew 9:20-22; 10:8; 11:5; Luke 13. :11-13. )

15. Christ the Word healed diseases, preached the Gospel to the poor, cured cripples, ate with publicans, conversed with sinners, and He brought back the departed soul of Jairus’ daughter by the touch of His hand. (Matthew 9:11; Mark 5:41-42)

16. The publican was saved, the harlot was made chaste, but the pharisee through boasting was condemned. For the first said, “Be merciful,” the second, “Have mercy on me,” but the last boasted and cried, “O God, I thank Thee,” and then some foolish word s. (Luke 7:36-50; 18:9-14)

17. Zacchaeus was a publican, but yet was healed, and Simon the Pharisee was disappointed, but the harlot received the release of full forgiveness from Him Who has power to forgive sins. Obtain His forgiveness yourself, my soul. (Luke 19:1-10; 7:36-50)

18. You, my wretched soul, have not emulated the harlot who took the alabaster jar of perfumed oil and anointed with tears and wiped with her hair the feet of the Savior, Who tore up for her the handwriting of her old accusation. (Luke 7:37-38; Colossians 2:14)

19. You know how the towns to which Christ offered the Gospel were cursed. Fear this example, my soul, do not be like them; for the Lord compared them to the Sodomites and condemned them to hell. (Luke 10:13. -15)

20. Do not let despair make you worse than the Canaanite woman, my soul, for you have heard of her faith through which her daughter was healed by the Word of God. Call to Christ like her from the depth of your heart, “Son of David, save me.” (Matthew 15:22)

21. Have compassion and save me, have mercy on me, O Son of David, Who didst heal with a word the demoniac. And let Thy voice of tender compassion speak to me as to the robber, “Truly I tell you, you will be with Me in Paradise when I rise in My glory.” (Luke 9:38-42; 23:43)

22. A robber accused Thee, and a robber confessed Thee to be God, for both were hanging on a cross with Thee. But open even to me, O most compassionate Savior, the door of Thy glorious Kingdom as to Thy faithful robber who acknowledged Thee to be God. (Luke 23:32-42)

23. Creation was in anguish, seeing Thee crucified; mountains and rocks were split with fear, the earth quaked, hell was emptied, and the light grew dark in the daytime, beholding Thee, Jesus, nailed to the Cross in Thy flesh. (Matthew 27:51-53; Luke 23:44-45)

24. Do not require of me fruits worthy of repentance, for my strength is spent in me. Grant me ever a contrite heart and spiritual poverty, that I may offer these gifts to Thee as an acceptable sacrifice, O only Savior. (Matthew 3:8; 5:3; Psalm 50:17)

25. O my Judge and my Light Who alone knowest me and art coming again with Thine Angels to judge the whole world, regard me then with Thy merciful Eye and spare me, O Jesus. And have compassion on me who have sinned more than all mankind. (Matthew 25:31-32)

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Thou didst astonish all by thy strange life, both the Orders of Angels and the councils of men, by living immaterially and surpassing nature. Then treading firmly the waves like an immaterial being, O Mary, thou didst cross the Jordan an.

Refrain: Holy mother Mary, pray for us.

To St. Mary of Egypt: Intercede with the Creator on behalf of those who praise thee, holy mother, that we may be delivered from the sufferings and afflictions which beset us on all sides, that being delivered from our temptations, we may unceasingly magnify the Lord Who glorified thee.

Refrain: Holy father Andrew, pray for us.

To St. Andrew of Crete: Venerable Andrew, thrice-blessed father, shepherd of Crete, cease not to pray to God for those who sing of thee, that He may deliver from anger, oppression, corruption and our countless sins, all of us who faithfully honor thy memory .

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

To The Trinity: Trinity of one essence, Tri-Personal Unity, we sing Thy praise, glorifying the Father, magnifying the Son, and adoring the Spirit, Who art truly one God by nature, Life and Lives, Kingdom unending.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Protect thy city, spotless Mother of God, for in thee it faithfully reigns, and in thee is made strong, and through thee it conquers and routs every trial and temptation, and spoils its foes and rules its subjects.

And again the Eirmos

Ineffable is the childbearing of a seedless conception, unsullied the pregnancy of a Virgin Mother, for the birth of God renews natures. So in all generations we magnify thee in orthodox fashion as Mother and Bride of God.

Little Litany: 

Deacon: Again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace. 

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Deacon: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commit ourselves and one another, and all our life unto Christ our God.

Choir: Lord, have mercy

Exclamation:

Priest: For all the Powers of Heaven praise Thee, and to Thee we send up the glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Choir: Amen.

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Fourth Sunday of Great Lent

Taken from “The One Thing Needful” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko, 1893-1978)

Two Gospels were read today. The first was about the healing of the one possessed. The disciples of Christ asked Him when they were alone: “Why could we not cast him out?” And the Lord said to them, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mk. 9:28,29). This is as if a reminder that now is the time for prayer and fasting — Great Lent.

During the three weeks before Great Lent, we were shown the ways of repentance of a Christian who returns to his Father. And when Great Lent approached, with its hymns and prayers which were given to us during the Church readings of these past four weeks, we should have studied and understood ourselves. And when we understood ourselves, then involuntarily we should have come to a feeling of humility: “But Lord, what am I going to do? Lord, Thou seest how feeble and weak my will is. I constantly yield to the will of the prince of this world. Help me!” And I begin to weep.

This is why the second Gospel, about the Beatitudes, was read. These commandments show us what to do: step by step, as if rung by rung. This is why the Church this Sunday commemorates St. John of the Ladder, who wrote his spiritual work called “The Ladder,” which shows us what to do, how one virtue leads to another, like rungs on a ladder. In a spiritual sense, these steps are the Beatitudes. He who abides in spiritual poverty will surely weep because of his infirmity, and he who weeps because of his infirmity is already meek. In relation to his brother he will be indulgent and will always strive for mercy, for help in order to create peace which the Lord requires in our hearts. And he will not be afraid of persecution and will not think of how to take vengeance on those who harm him. No, he will always have this feeling: “Lord, I am weak, help me!”

This is why, after the Church gave us at the end of the first week of Lent the direction where we must go (into Orthodoxy), during the second week of Lent, the Sunday following the Sunday of Orthodoxy, she revealed to us the feeling of a man who already enters into spiritual endeavors; and he has before him the new principle of a man such as Gregory Palamas, who was renewed not only spiritually, but also physically.

And after showing us Gregory Palamas, the Church brought us to Golgotha. She showed us the Lord’s Cross, which we have venerated for the whole week. Those who were in church, and even those not in church, saw mentally before them Golgotha. We saw the wise thief and the thief who reviled Christ; and we saw Christ Himself Who pronounced His last words: “Into Thy hands I commend My spirit!” (Lk. 23:46).

This mood of Golgotha has remained with us. And we, who saw the reviling thief and the wise thief, should have determined: What are we to do? And seeing the long-suffering thief, we accepted in our hearts: “Lord, I will be long-suffering. But how am I to do this?” Live according to the Beatitudes. There is no other way. And this long-suffering, of whatever kind it may be, will cause us to suffer, but at the same time will give us blessedness not only in eternity, but even here, in the midst of our suffering, while we endure. To be poor in spirit, humble, to weep for our sins, meekly to endure offense, to wish peace to everyone, to wish everything good, to endure persecutions for Christ — all this is difficult. But at the same time it is also joyful. This is the only way to true happiness; and this is the shortest way.

So what is the matter? Let us make this step right now, this very moment. Everyone these days fights for happiness. But we don’t even have to fight (unless with ourselves) and we will be blessed. May God bless you to this step.

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Third Sunday of Great Lent

Taken from “The One Thing Needful” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko, 1893-1978)

Before us is the Cross. This is the Cross of Christ. But on Golgotha there were two more crosses: Christ in the middle and on either side of Him were crucified two thieves. Christ on the Cross performed the sacrifice of redemption for the whole world. But what brought those crucified with Him to these crosses? Their crimes — after all, they were thieves.

What made them thieves? There was a time when they were innocent children and maybe even played together. This was the bright time of childhood. And later, they felt, as each of us does, two opposing forces influencing them: a good one and a bad one. And their will had to yield to either one or the other side. In the beginning they wavered, but later on, because the evil appeared more alluring, they began more and mc/e often to consent to the evil. At first, conscience reproached them, but later it became hardened and stopped tormenting them. And then, without a backward glance, they completely took the side of evil. First, in the realm of will and feelings, and later they fell into open crimes which brought them to these crosses, to death sentences. And here they were both dying. Not only their hours, but even their minutes were numbered. And between them the Lord was dying on His Cross. One of the hanging criminals reviled Him. But the other, on the contrary, silenced the abusive one and said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:42-43).

Christ died first and then the two thieves. On the face of the one who reviled the Lord was imprinted the grimace of blasphemy, and only the laugh of Mephistopheles rent the air above his cross. This laughter was terrible and triumphant. Yes, this was the final victory of the power of evil over this soul. But above the cross of the repentant thief was a triumphant peace and a kind of joyous radiance. And at this time, his soul, bright and pure, washed by sufferings and repentance, entered Paradise. With joy and wonder the orders of angels looked on this first soul entering Paradise, this soul of the first saint of the New Testament, washed with the Blood of Christ — the soul of a thief.

Now we are gathered together here in church before the Cross of Christ. In the eyes of human judgment we are not law-breakers or criminals. But are we as well-off before the Judgment of God? No. All of us have broken and are breaking the commandments of God. And if this is so, it means we are law-breakers. If until now we have not committed visible crimes, this is only because the Grace of God and our Guardian Angels have not let us. But if we were left to ourselves, God alone and our conscience know what might happen to us. And what still may happen if God abandons us. Let us honestly examine our conscience; let us ask it, and it will answer that according to the Judgment of God, we are no better than the thief, and maybe even worse. His sufferings on the cross alone could redeem so much. And we, with what can we redeem ourselves? He was a wise thief, but we… we live carelessly and think that we are going to live on and on. But our years, months, weeks, and maybe days and even hours are numbered. And also, will we have in the last moment that repentance which he had? What if suddenly another state of mind arises, opposite to it? May the Lord keep us from this!

Right now, as we approach and kiss the Cross, let us say with the wise thief, “Lord, remember me in Thy kingdom!” We may not have another minute. So let us use this minute which the Lord gives us: “Thy Cross, O Lord, we venerate and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify.”

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Second Sunday of Lent

Taken from “The One Thing Needful” Sermons of Archbishop Andrei (Rymarenko, 1893-1978)

Brothers and sisters, we have lived this week in the light of last Sunday — the Triumph of Orthodoxy. A wonderful feature was pointed out to us in the Gospel which was then read:

Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of Whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? (Jn. 1:45-46).

Both of them, Philip and Nathanael, wanted to believe in the right way, praise God rightly, that is, to be Orthodox. But for them it meant first of all to determine who was the true Messiah. With such an intention they approached Christ. Seeing Nathanael, Christ said, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. Nathanael saith unto Him, whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee” (Jn. 1:47-48).

What happened under the fig tree we do not know. But we do know that Christ hit on just the right point, got right to the heart of this man. Here is Nathanael’s answer: “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God” (Jn. 1:49). Nathanael truly and rightly praised Christ, and in this way he became the first Orthodox man. And all because Christ touched his heart, touched something intimate lying deep, deep within Nathanael’s heart.

The triumph of Orthodoxy always starts in a person’s heart, and only afterwards is it expressed externally. True, sometimes there are cases when the external attracts the heart, as if waking it up. But for this to happen, there must be something in the heart which makes such an awakening possible. God demands our heart. To serve God without heart, Orthodoxy without heart — this is the same as a man without heart.

And here today’s Gospel speaks about the same thing. A paralytic was brought to the Lord, carried by four people. Unable to get near Christ because of the multitude, they removed the roof of the house, broke through and lowered the bed on which the paralytic was lying. See how difficult it all was. This is the fulfillment of the commandment of love in external life. Yes, such is life in the triumph of Orthodoxy.

But where is its source? Let’s listen further: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mk. 2:5). These four had faith in their hearts, and this faith impelled them to make every effort to help; and seeing this faith, Jesus helped. The external happened as a result of the internal. God did not say at once to the paralytic: “Arise, take up thy bed,” but said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” See, not the external first, but the internal. After all, sin was in the heart. A heart paralyzed by sin could not sense God in Christ and could not rightly praise Him. And here Christ healed this heart, made it Orthodox. And then followed the external: “I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house” (Mk. 2:11).

But what would have happened if the Lord had started with the second thing, with the external healing? The paralytic would have gotten up in the same way, would have taken his bed and gone, but only with a heart which was dead from sin. This would have been a living corpse. Here is what the Pharisees could not understand. ‘Whether is it easier?” said Christ to them, “to say to the paralytic, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (He saith to the paralytic) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house” (Mk. 2:9-11). To this paralytic the Lord gave both the internal and the external. And he walked home and brought there with him the quiet feeling of the triumph of Orthodoxy.

And here, St. Gregory Palamas, to whom this Sunday of Great Lent is dedicated, shows us so clearly by his whole life that Christian life, Orthodox life, always begins in our heart, and only then expresses itself in feats of asceticism.

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Sunday of Orthodoxy: the Meaning of “Anathema”

Homily – Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco

The Greek word “anathema” consists of two words: “ana,” which is a preposition indicating movement upward and “thema,” which means a separate part of something. In military terminology, “thema” meant a detachment; in civil government “theme” meant a province. We currently use the word “theme,” derived from “thema,” to mean a specific topic of a written and intellectual work.

“Anathema” literally means the lifting up of something separate. In the Old Testament, this expression was used both in relation to that which was alienated due to sinfulness as well as, to that which was dedicated to God.

In the New Testament, in the writings of the Apostle Paul it is used once in conjunction with “maranatha,” meaning the coming of the Lord. The combination of these words means separation until the coming of the Lord; in other words being handed over to Him (1 Cor. 16:22).

The Apostle Paul uses “anathema” in another place without the addition of “maranatha” (Cal. 1:8-9). Here “anathema” is proclaimed against the distortion of the Gospel of Christ, as it was preached by the Apostle, no matter by whom this might be committed, whether by the Apostle himself or an angel from the heavens. In this same expression there is also implied: “let the Lord Himself pass judgement,” for who else can pass judgement on the angels?

St. John the Theologian in Revelation (22:3) says that in the New Jerusalem there will not be any anathema. This can be understood in two ways: giving the word anathema both meanings: 1) there will not be any lifting up to the judgement of God, for this judgement has already been accomplished; 2) there will not be any special dedication to God, for all things will be the holy things of God, just as the light of God enlightens all (Rev. 21:23).

In the acts of the Councils and the further course of the New Testament Church of Christ, the word “anathema” came to mean complete separation from the Church. “The Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes,” “let him be anathema,” “let it be anathema,” means a complete tearing away from the Church. While in cases of “separation from the communion of the Church” and other epitimia or penances laid on a person, the person remained a member of the Church, even though his participation in her grace-filled life was limited. Those given up to anathema were thus, completely torn away from her until their repentance. Realizing that she is unable to do anything for their salvation, in view of their stubbornness and hardness of heart, the earthly Church lifts them up to the judgement of God. That judgement is merciful unto repentant sinners, but fearsome for the stubborn enemies of God. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . . for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 10:31; 12:29).

Anathema is not final damnation because until death, repentance is possible. “Anathema” is fearsome, but not because the Church wishes anyone evil or God seeks their damnation. They desire that all be saved. However, it is fearsome to stand before the presence of God in the state of hardened evil as nothing is hidden from Him.

“It is fearsome to fall into the hands of the living God: this is a tribunal of thoughts and movements of hearts. Let no one enter tempting the unblemished faith: but in meekness and fear let us come before Christ, that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the proper time” (Stichera of the Aposticha, Palm Sunday, Vespers).

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The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

Please note: The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian is said with morning and evening prayers by all Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, except on Saturdays and Sundays.

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition or vain talking. (Prostration)
But rather a spirit of purity, humility, patience and love, bestow on me Thy servant. (Prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

O God, cleanse me, a sinner. (12 times, with a bow made for each)

Then the entire prayer:

O Lord and Master of my life . . . (with one prostration made at the end)

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First week of Great Lent

This week marks the beginning of the Great Fast with services every day culminating in the Liturgy on Sunday where we celebrate the victory of the Church over the Inconoclast movement and the restoration of the Holy Icons. This happened not too far after the 7th Ecumenical Council where the teaching on Icons was defined, however, peace over this matter was not restored until a local synod was called in Constantinople and a triumphant procession was held to the great cathedral at Hagia Sophia on the 19th February 842 (the first Sunday of Great Lent that year). The Synod also decreed that a perpetual feast be observed each year on the First Sunday of Great Lent, and named the day, “the Sunday of Orthodoxy”

Please note: The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian is said with morning and evening prayers by all Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, except on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition or vain talking. Prostration.

But rather a spirit of purity, humility, patience and love, bestow on me Thy servant. Prostration.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou to the ages of ages. Amen. Prostration.

O God, cleanse me, a sinner. (12 times, with a bow made for each)

Then the entire prayer:

O Lord and Master of my life . . . with one prostration made at the end.

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Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL

MOSCOW: January 6, 2012
Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and All the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church. Republished from the ROCOR Synod Website

Your Eminences the Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
God-Loving Monks and Nuns, Dear Brothers and Sisters!

On this radiant and joyful feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, I cordially greet you all, my dear ones. On this light-bearing night together we prayerfully echo the doxology of the angels, proclaiming “great joy to all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior” (Luke 2:10-11).

Humanity, which rejected God in the Fall, discovers anew the chance to be united with its Creator and Provider. The coming of the Son of God into the world is his voluntary self-abnegation, ready to descend to a tortuous and shameful “death – even death on the cross” (Philippians 2:8). God is born in the flesh so that He may manifest His love to people and help every person willing to listen to His call to find the fullness of life.

That is why today’s feast grants to us the immutable hope of help from above in the most complex situations of our life. God, Who has not abandoned His creation and has revealed to it the way to eternity, is revealed to us in the Infant Christ, a defenseless Child in need of care and love.

All of us must retain in our hearts this Biblical image. In recalling the Divine Infant lying in a manger, we acquire a firm faith and indestructible hope in Divine Providence leading to the good of every human person. And even if in our life no support remains, if all seems to be unsure and unreliable, we are to realize clearly that the Lord can transform through His gracious power the pain, suffering and poverty of our world into happiness, joy and an abundance of spiritual gifts.

On the feast of the coming of the Savior the mental gaze of the faithful is turned towards the cradle of Christianity, the Holy Land, which was deemed worthy to be the place of the birth, abode and earthly ministry of the Lord. Today, Christ’s followers in the countries where the events of sacred history took place are experiencing difficult trials, encounter new threats to the existence of centuries-old spiritual traditions. During these radiant days of the Nativity, let us offer up ardent prayers for our brothers in the faith, the guardians of precious holy sites, the inheritors of the tradition of ancient Christianity.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). These words of the Apostle concern not only the members of a single parish, a single church community. Indeed, they embrace all of the children of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church spread throughout the world. Her unity abides not only in a single patristic faith and communion in the sacraments but also in the sharing of hardships together, in sacrificial ministry towards each other, in mutual prayer. The past year has been difficult in the life of many countries and nations, including those who live in the expanse of historical Russia: many tragic events and cataclysms have proved to be a trial of our faith and steadfastness.

However, today the worst tribulations occur not in the material but in the spiritual realm. The dangers which abide on the physical plane have a negative impact on our physical well-being and comfort.

And while making the material aspect of life more complex, they nevertheless cannot do essential harm to the life of the spirit. Yet it is precisely the spiritual dimension which sheds light on the most important and grave challenge to our view of the modern world. This challenge is aimed at the destruction of the sense of morality embedded in our souls by God. Today we are told that the human person is the measure – and sole measure – of truth, that each individual has his own truth and that each individual decides for himself what is good and what is evil. The divine truth, and this means the distinction between good and evil that is founded on this Truth, is being substituted by a moral indifference and permissiveness which destroys people’s souls and denies them eternal life. If natural disasters and wars ruin the external structure of life, then moral relativism corrodes ones conscience, making us spiritual invalids, distorts the divine laws of being and breaks the connection between creation and Creator.

We are to resist this danger in the first instance by calling to our help the Most-Pure Virgin and the host of God’s saints so that through their intercession before the Throne of the “Sovereign Lord, holy and True” (Revelations 6:10), now venerated in the image of the newborn Infant, they may beseech for us the strength to combat sin and fight “against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). It is important to learn how to recognize the deceits and illusions of earthly well-being in our destructive addictions, in our greedy strivings, in the temptations of advertisements, in the entertainment industry and political propaganda. It is important at all times to listen to the voice of our conscience warning us of the danger of sin, to be able to make our actions fit the commandments of the Gospel.

Now, as always, each Christian is called upon to assert through his everyday actions the dignity of a righteous way of life, to consciously resist moral relativism and the cult of getting rich quickly. We are surrounded by a great number of infirm, sick and lonely people. There are also many who out of economic necessity have left their homes in search of a wage and need our care, often finding themselves in a hostile environment. Every pastor and layman is to participate in the social, missionary and public life of the Church. As St Innocent of Chersonese says: “It is only in the light of Christ that we can see God, see ourselves and see the world in its true aspect; it is only through the guidance of heavenly Revelation that we can find the path leading to life eternal.”

With those who hope for the consolation of Christ we are to share warmly the joy of today’s feast. Each of us can bring the light of the star of Bethlehem to those close to us and far from us – to our colleagues, friends, relatives and neighbors.

In the past year, working with the state authorities, public organizations and the representatives of the business community, many initiatives have been undertaken that can unite people and revive the strong spiritual and moral foundations of public life.

The development of this cooperation, as well as witness to the precious unity of our Church, was aided by my trips throughout Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. These visits enriched my experience of prayer and communion with the faithful and, I hope, helped to strengthen our spiritual ties. In divine worship attended by a huge number of people, the strength of faith and prayer which is the beauty of Orthodoxy, the beauty and power of “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), manifested itself in a special way.

In congratulating all of you on the Nativity of Christ and the New Year, I prayerfully wish that you abide unfailingly in the joy of the Lord who was incarnate so that “we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Amen.

+ KIRILL
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIAThe Nativity of Christ
Moscow
2011/2012

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