Archive for the ‘Great Lent’ Category

Icon of the Prodigal Son

Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. It is the second Sunday of the Pre-Lenten period.

“The Lord overlooks nothing. Even secrets are open to Him. Let us then do everything as if He were dwelling in us. Thus we shall be His temples, and H will be within us as our God – as He actually is. This will be clear to us just to the extent that we love Him rightly.” ~~ St. Ignatius of Antioch. Letter to the Ephesians.

“When, in my wretchedness I ran away from Thy fatherly love, I squandered in wickedness the riches Thou hadst given me. And so now, like the Prodigal Son, I cry out to Thee: I have sinned in Thy sight, O Merciful Father: receive me now that I repent and make me as one of Thy hired servants” ~~ Kontakion, Sunday of the Prodigal Son


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Sell Art Online

Much has been written about St. Gregory Palamas, and I, certainly, am not qualified to write about the saint or even comment on those writings. I do know that St. Gregory Palamas was greatly misunderstood during his life. I shall allow others to do my speaking for me on this.

First, there are the writings of St. Gregory Palamas himself (only 3 are included here – there are many more):

Gregory Palamas: The Triads

Gregory Palamas: The Saving Work of Christ

Sermons by Saint Gregory Palamas: On Bearing Difficulties: To Those Who Find Hard to Bear All the Different Kinds of Difficulties Which Come Upon Us from All Sides (ed by Christopher Veniamin)

Next, there are commentaries about St. Gregory, of which six are included below:

The Contribution of Saint Gregory Palamas to Hesychasm: Theological Presuppositions of the Life in the Holy Spirit (Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries)

Fr. Richard Demetrius Andrews: St. Gregory Palamas and the Prayer of Silence

St. Gregory Palamas on Icons as Tools for the Heart (Podcast from Ancient Faith Radio) [Link opens the podcast; Length: 16:01]

Fr. Bassam A. Nassif: Light for the World: the Life of St. Gregory Palamas (1296–1359)

Sergei V. Bulgakov: St. Gregory Palamas and the Second Sunday of Great Lent [on Mystagogy]

Second Sunday in Lent: St. Gregory Palamas

Although there are many more good references, this is all I will include here for now.

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Most people know I don’t write something when someone else has written it. So, here is a timely reflection by Fr. Tryphon, Abbot of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, WA:


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{I may have entered this in the past, but this is now, and I’m entering it – again.}


A Child’s Lent Remembered:  Clean Monday

An excerpt from Ivan Shmelyov’s “Anno Domini”, a wistful recollection of Life in his pious, old-fashioned, well-to-do home in pre-Revolutionary Moscow. Translated from the Russian by Maria Belaeff and published in “Orthodox America”, v5, #7,  February 1985. Posted with permission of the editors.

Found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20110830083030/http://www.roca.org/OA/47/47g.htm


Clean Monday

I waken from harsh light in my room: a bare kind of light, cold dismal.  Yes, it’s Great Lent today.  The pink curtains, with their hunters and their ducks, have already been taken down while I slept, and that’s why it’s so bare and dismal in the room.  It’s Clean Monday today for us, and everything in our house is being scrubbed.

Greyish weather, the thaw.  The dripping beyond the window is like weeping. Our old carpenter – Gorkin, “the panel man” – said yesterday that when Lady Shrovetide leaves, she’ll weep.  And so she is – drip…drip…drip… There she goes!

I look at the paper flowers reduced to shreds, at the gold-glazed “Shrovetide” sweetcake – a toy, brought back from the baths yesterday; gone are the little bears, gone are the little hills – vanished, the joy. And a joyous something begins to fuss in my heart; now everything is new, different. Now it’ll be “the soul beginning” – Gorkin told me all about it yesterday.  “It’s time to ready the soul.” To prepare for Communion, to keep the fast, to make ready for the Bright Day.

“Send One-eye in to see me!” I hear Father’s angry shouting.

Father has not gone out on business; it’s a special day today, very strict.  Father rarely shouts.  Something important has happened.  But after all, he forgave the man for drinking; he cancelled all his sins; yesterday was the day of Forgiveness.  And Vasil-Vasillich forgave us all too, that’s exactly what he said in the dining room, kneeling: “I forgive you all!”  So why is father shouting then?

The door opens, Gorkin comes in with a gleaming copper basin. Oh, yes, to smoke out Lady Shrovetide! There’s a hot brick in the basin, and mint, and they pour vinegar over them.  My old nurse, Domnushka, follows Gorkin around and does the pouring; it hisses in the basin and a tart steam rises – a sacred steam.  I can smell it even now, across the distance of the years.  Sacred… that’s what Gorkin calls it. He goes to all the corners and gently swirls the basin.  And then he swirls it over me.

“Get up dearie, don’t pamper yourself,” he speaks lovingly to me, sliding the basin under the skirt of the bed.  “Where’s she hid herself in your room, fat old Lady Shrovetide… We’ll drive her out!  Lent has arrived… We’ll be going to the Lenten market, the choir from St. Basil’s will be singing  ‘My soul, my soul arise;’ you won’t be able to tear yourself away.”

That unforgettable, that sacred smell. The smell of Great Lent.  And Gorkin himself, completely special – as if he were kind of sacred too.  Way before light, he had already gone to the bath, steamed himself thoroughly, put on everything clean.  Clean Monday today!  Only the kazakin is old; today only the most workaday clothes may be worn, that’s “the law.”

And it’s a sin to laugh, and you have to rub a bit of oil on your head, like Gorkin.  He’ll be eating without oil now, but you have to oil the head, it’s the law, “for the prayer’s sake.”  There’s a glow about him, from his little grey beard, all silver really, from the neatly combed head.  I know for a fact that he’s a saint.  They’re like that, God’s people, that please Him.  And his face is pink, like a cherubim’s, from the cleanness.  I know that he’s dried himself bits of black bread with salt, and all Lent long he’ll take them with his tea, “instead of sugar.”

But why is Daddy angry… with Vasil-Vasillich, like that?

“Oh, sinfulness…” says Gorkin with a sigh.  “It’s hard to break habits, and now everything is strict, Lent.  And, well, they get angry.  But you hold fast now, think about your soul.  It’s the season, all the same as if the latter days were come… that’s the law!  You just recite, “O Lord and Master of my life…” and be cheerful.”

And I begin silently reciting the recently memorized Lenten prayer.

The rooms are quiet and deserted, full of that sacred smell. In the front room, before the reddish icon of the Crucifixion, a very old one, from our sainted great-grandmother who was an Old Believer; a “lenten” lampada of clear glass has been lit, and now it will burn unextinguished until Pascha.  When Father lights it – on Saturdays he lights all the lampadas himself – he always sings softly, in a pleasant-sad way: “Before Thy Cross, we bow down, O Master,” and I would sing softly after him, that wonderful refrain:

“And Thy ho-ly.. Re-sur-re-e-ec-tion, we glo-ri-fy!”

A joy-to-tears beats inside my soul, shining from these words. And I behold it, behind the long file of lenten days – the Holy Resurrection, in lights.  A joyful little prayer!  It casts a kindly beam of light upon these sad days of Lent.

I begin to imagine that now the old life is coming to an end, and it’s time to prepare for that other life, which will be… where?  Somewhere, in the heavens.  You have to cleanse the soul of all sinfulness, and that’s why everything around you is different. And something special is at our side, invisible and fearful. Gorkin told me that now, “it’s like when the soul is parting from the body.” THEY keep watch, to snatch away the soul, and all the while the soul trembles and wails: “Woe is me, I am cursed!”  They read about it in church now, at the Standings.

“Because they can sense that their end is coming near, that Christ will rise!  And that’s why we’re a-given Lent for, to keep close to church, to live to see the Bright Day.  And not to reflect, you understand.  About earthly things, do not reflect! And they’ll be ringing everywhere: ‘Think back!… Think back!…” He made the words boom inside him nicely.

Throughout the house the window vents are open, and you can hear the mournful cry and summons of the bells, ringing before the services: think-back.. think-back.  That’s the piteous bell, crying for the soul.  It’s called the Lenten peal.

They’ve taken the shutters down from the widows, and it’ll be that way, poor-looking, clear until Pascha.  In the drawing-room there are grey slip-covers on the furniture; the lamps are bundled up into cocoons, and even the one painting, “The Beauty at the Feast,” is draped over with a sheet.  That was the suggestion of His Eminence.  Shook his head sadly and said: “A sinful and tempting picture!”  But Father likes it a lot – such class!  Also draped is the engraving which Father for some reason calls “the sweetcake one”, it shows a little old man dancing, and an old woman hitting him with a broom.  That one His Eminence liked a great deal, even laughed.

All the housefolk are very serious, in workday clothes with patches, and I was told also to put on the jacket with the worn-through elbows.  The rugs have been taken out; it’s such a lark now to skate across the parquet.  Only it’s scary to try – Great Lent: skate hard and you’ll break a leg.  Not a crumb left over from Shrovetide, mustn’t be so much as a trace of it in the air.  Even the sturgeon in aspic was passed down to the kitchen yesterday. Only the very plainest dishes are left in the sideboard, the ones with the dun spots and the cracks… for Great Lent.

In the front room there are bowls of yellow pickles, little umbrellas of dill sticking out of them, and chopped cabbage, tart and thickly dusted with anise – a delight.  I grab pinches of it – how it crunches!  And I vow to myself to eat only lenten foods for the duration of the fast.  Why send my soul to perdition, since everything tastes so good anyway!  There’ll be stewed fruit, potato pancakes with prunes, “crosses” on the Week of the Cross… frozen cranberries with sugar, candied nuts…  And what about roast buckwheat kasha with onions, washed down with kvass!  And then lenten pasties with milk-mushrooms, and then buckwheat pancakes with onions on Saturdays… and the boiled wheat with marmalade on the first Saturday… and almond milk with white kissel, and the cranberry one with vanilla, and the grand kuliebiak on Annunciation…  Can it be that THERE, where everyone goes to from this life, there will be such lenten fare!

And why is everyone so dull-looking?  Why, everything is so… so different, and there is much, so much that is joyous.  Today they’ll bring the first ice and begin to line the cellars – the whole yard will be stacked with it.  We’ll go to the “Lenten Market,” where I’ve never been… I begin jumping up and down with joy, but they stop me: “It’s Lent, don’t dare!  Just wait and see, you’ll break your leg!”

Fear comes over me.  I look at the Crucifixion.  He suffers, the Son of God!  But how is it that God… How did He allow it?…

I have the sense that herein lies the great mystery itself – GOD.

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Excerpt from St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent”, (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Step 8: On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness

— As the gradual pouring of water on a fire completely extinguishes the flame, so the tears of mourning are able to quench every flame of anger and irritability.  Therefore, we place this next in order.

— Freedom from anger is an insatiable appetite for dishonor, just as in the vainglorious there is no unbounded desire for praise.  Freedom from anger is victory over nature and insensibility to insults, acquired by struggles and sweat.

— Meekness is an immovable state of soul which remains unaffected, whether in evil report or in good report, in dishonor or in praise.

— The beginning of freedom from anger is silence of the lips when the heart is agitated; the middle is silence of the thoughts when there is a mere disturbance of soul; and the end is an imperturbable calm under the breath of unclean winds.

— Wrath is a reminder of hidden hatred, that is to say, remembrance of wrongs.  Wrath is a desire for the injury of the one who has provoked you.  Irascibility is the untimely blazing up of the heart.  Bitterness is a movement of displeasure seated in the soul.  Anger is an easily changeable movement of one’s disposition and disfiguration of soul.

— As with the appearance of light, darkness retreats; so, at the fragrance of humility, all anger and bitterness vanishes.

— If it is a mark of extreme meekness, even in the presence of one’s offender, to be peacefully and lovingly disposed towards him in one’s heart, then it is certainly a mark of hot temper when a person continues to quarrel and rage against his offender, both by words and gestures, even when by himself.

— If you want, or rather intend, to take a splinter out of another person, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet, for you will only drive it in deeper.  And this is a stick – rude speech and rough gestures.  And this is a lancet – tempered instruction and patient reprimand.  “Reprove,” says the Apostle, “rebuke, exhort,” but he did not say “beat.” (II Timothy 4:2)  And if even this is required, do it rarely, and not with your own hand.

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Hello, Great Lent!

Tomorrow will be Forgiveness Sunday – the last day for dairy and fish until Pascha.

Why do we Orthodox abstain from animal products during Great Lent? The answer is surprisingly practical. First, we make ourselves hungry so that we will become hungry for God. Secondly, we will be less governed by the “passions,” because we are abstaining from foods that feed the passions.

Although not well known among non-Orthodox, we Orthodox have found through centuries of experience that a diet without animal products leads to a more prayerful, more peaceful frame of mind. We do eat shellfish (mussels, clams, shrimp, crab, etc) and are able thereby to obtain sufficient protein – even for small children – to maintain adequate growth of cells and maintenance of body processes. Don’t laugh until you try it!

During the fast, we are to pray more intensely and more frequently, to attend services more frequently (there are extra services during the week to help sustain us), to give more alms. This year, for instance, many of us will contribute more to the various Haiti relief efforts through our Church. We study the Church Fathers more. We read spiritually supportive works – some of which may have been written recently, but most written well into the past, having passed the “test of time.”

Last year, Fr. Stephen Freeman wrote an excellent post on the Difficulty of Lent.

Another article by Archpriest Victor Potopov, The Great Lent – Fasting is also very explanatory. Father Victor says, in part, “Great Lent is for the Orthodox Christian, on the one hand, a time of radiant sorrow, and simultaneously with this, it is a difficult journey, marked by struggle, to the shining and beautiful goal of the feast of the Resurrection of Christ–Holy Pascha.

“Why have we called the time of Great Lent a time of radiant sorrow? We experience sorrow because we are conscious that we have departed from the Father’s house into a far country, that in our vain and distracted life we have not preserved the purity of our baptismal garment, in which we were clothed when we entered the Church. It is necessary to shake off that condition of numbness, those cobwebs of everyday life which suggest to us that the life of this world–which is in us and around us–is the only possible way of life. To yearn for another form of existence–the one revealed to us in the Gospel and in the experience of the saints and ascetics-means to commune with that radiant sorrow which is the beginning of spiritual renewal.

“This sorrow is radiant because we know that God accepts us who return to Him with the very same love and readiness to forgive with which the father accepted and forgave the prodigal son of the Gospel parable.” [–MORE–]

Finally (for this post, but obviously there is much, much more), you will find great resources on two other websites: Monachos – Great Lent and Orthodox Information – Praxis – Fasting.

Next week, I’ll post a list of books that are helpful during Great Lent.

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Akathist to the Holy Virgin
(From: http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/m_akathist_e.htm)

Background Information

THE AKATHIST HYMN is one of the most well-loved services of devotion in the Orthodox Church. Although there is some debate concerning the particulars of its authorship, many scholars agree with the pious tradition which states that the Akathist was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, “the city of the Virgin,” by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556. The Akathist Hymn has proved so popular that many other hymns have been written following its format, particularly in the Russian Orthodox Church. These include Akathists to Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the Cross, to various saints, etc.

The word “akathistos” literally means “not sitting,” i.e., standing; normally all participants stand while it is being prayed. The hymn is comprised of 24 stanzas, alternating long and short. Each short stanza (kontakion) ends with the singing of “Alleluia.” Each longer stanza (ikos) ends with the refrain: “Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded.”

The majority of the hymn is made up of praises directed to the Mother of God, always beginning with the salutation of the Archangel Gabriel: “Rejoice.” In each of them, one after the other, all the events related to our Lord’s incarnation pass before us for our contemplation. The Archangel Gabriel ( in Ikos 1) marvels at the Divine self-emptying and the renewal of creation which will occur when Christ comes to dwell in the Virgin’s womb. The unborn John the Baptist (Ikos 3) prophetically rejoices. The shepherds (Ikos 4) recognize Christ as a blameless Lamb, and rejoice that in the Virgin “the things of earth join chorus with the heavens.” The pagan Magi, (Kontakion 5) following the light of the star, praise Her for revealing the light of the world.

As the hymn progresses, various individuals and groups encounter Christ and His Mother. Each has his own need; each his own desire or expectation, and each finds his or her own particular spiritual need satisfied and fulfilled in Our Lord and in the Mother of God. So too, each generation of Orthodox, and each particular person who has prayed the Akathist, has found in this hymn an inspired means of expressing gratitude and praise to the Mother of God for what she has accomplished for their salvation.

In the same way, may the readers of this booklet find the Mother of God to be a help and consolation for their souls as well.
Fr. Michael Carney

The Service

(NOTE: If saying privately, simply omit the portions marked **)

**Priest: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages!

**People: Amen.

(Tone 6)

O Heavenly King, The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Reader: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins, Master, pardon our transgressions, Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy Name’s sake.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

** Priest: (says the exclamation)

Kontakion 1
(Tone 8)

Choir: To Thee, the Champion Leader, we Thy servants dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos: but as Thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride! (Customarily sung three times at the beginning of the Akathist, once at the end.)

Ikos 1

(Priest:) An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Theotokos: Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to Her such things as these:

Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:
Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!
Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:
Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!
Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:
Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!
Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:
Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!
Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:
Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!
Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 2

(Priest:) Seeing herself to be chaste, the holy one said boldly to Gabriel: The marvel of thy speech is difficult for my soul to accept. How canst thou speak of a birth from a seedless conception? And She cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

(Priest:) Seeking to know knowledge that cannot be known, the Virgin cried to the ministering one: Tell me, how can a son be born from a chaste womb? Then he spake to Her in fear, only crying aloud thus:

Rejoice, initiate of God’s ineffable will:
Rejoice, assurance of those who pray in silence!
Rejoice, beginning of Christ’s miracles:
Rejoice, crown of His dogmas!
Rejoice, heavenly ladder by which God came down:
Rejoice, bridge that conveyest us from earth to Heaven!
Rejoice, wonder of angels sounded abroad:
Rejoice, wound of demons bewailed afar!
Rejoice, Thou Who ineffably gavest birth to the Light:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst reveal Thy secret to none!
Rejoice, Thou Who surpassest the knowledge of the wise:
Rejoice, Thou Who givest light to the minds of the faithful!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 3

(Priest:) The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin for conception, and showed Her fruitful womb as a sweet meadow to all who wish to reap salvation, as they sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

(Priest:) Having received God into Her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth whose unborn babe at once recognized Her embrace, rejoiced, and with leaps of joy as songs, cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, branch of an Unfading Sprout:
Rejoice, acquisition of Immortal Fruit!
Rejoice, laborer that laborest for the Lover of mankind:
Rejoice, Thou Who givest birth to the Planter of our life!
Rejoice, cornland yielding a rich crop of mercies:
Rejoice, table bearing a wealth of forgiveness!
Rejoice, Thou Who makest to bloom the garden of delight:
Rejoice, Thou Who preparest a haven for souls!
Rejoice, acceptable incense of intercession:
Rejoice, propitiation of all the world!
Rejoice, good will of God to mortals:
Rejoice, boldness of mortals before God!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 4

(Priest:) Having within a tempest of doubting thoughts, the chaste Joseph was troubled. For knowing Thee to have no husband, he suspected a secret union, O blameless one. But having learned that Thy conception was of the Holy Spirit, he said: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

(Priest:) While the angels were chanting, the shepherds heard of Christ’s coming in the flesh, and having run to the Shepherd, they beheld Him as a blameless Lamb that had been pastured in Mary’s womb, and singing to Her, they cried:

Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and the Shepherd:
Rejoice, fold of rational sheep!
Rejoice, torment of invisible enemies:
Rejoice, opening of the gates of Paradise!
Rejoice, for the things of Heaven rejoice with the earth:
Rejoice, for the things of earth join chorus with the heavens!
Rejoice, never-silent mouth of the Apostles:
Rejoice, invincible courage of the passion-bearers!
Rejoice, firm support of faith:
Rejoice, radiant token of Grace!
Rejoice, Thou through whom hades was stripped bare:
Rejoice, Thou through whom we are clothed with glory!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 5

(Priest:) Having sighted the divinely-moving star, the Magi followed its radiance; and holding it as a lamp, by it they sought a powerful King; and having reached the Unreachable One, they rejoiced, shouting to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

(Priest:) The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who with His hand made man. And knowing Him to be the Master, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to serve Him with gifts, and to cry to Her Who is blessed:

Rejoice, Mother of the Unsetting Star:
Rejoice, dawn of the mystic day!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst extinguish the furnace of error:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst enlighten the initiates of the Trinity!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst banish from power the inhuman tyrant:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst show us Christ the Lord, the Lover of mankind!
Rejoice, Thou Who redeemest from pagan worship:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost drag us from the works of mire!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst quench the worship of fire:
Rejoice, Thou Who rescuest from the flame of the passions!
Rejoice, guide of the faithful to chastity:
Rejoice, gladness of all generations!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 6

(Priest:) Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon, having fulfilled Thy prophecy; and having preached Thee to all as the Christ, they left Herod as a babbler who knew not how to sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

(Priest:) By shining in Egypt the light of truth, Thou didst dispel the darkness of falsehood; for its idols fell, O Saviour, unable to endure Thy strength; and those who were delivered from them cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, uplifting of men:
Rejoice, downfall of demons!
Rejoice, Thou who didst trample down the dominion of delusion:
Rejoice, Thou who didst unmask the fraud of idols!
Rejoice, sea that didst drown the Pharaoh of the mind:
Rejoice, rock that doth refresh those thirsting for life!
Rejoice, pillar of fire that guideth those in darkness:
Rejoice, shelter of the world broader than a cloud!
Rejoice, sustenance replacing manna:
Rejoice, minister of holy delight!
Rejoice, land of promise:
Rejoice, Thou from whom floweth milk and honey!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 7

(Priest:) When Symeon was about to depart this age of delusion, Thou wast brought as a Babe to him, but Thou was recognized by him as perfect God also; wherefore, marveling at Thine ineffable wisdom, he cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

(Priest:) The Creator showed us a new creation when He appeared to us who came from Him. For He sprang from a seedless womb, and kept it incorrupt as it was, that seeing the miracle we might sing to Her, crying out:

Rejoice, flower of incorruptibility:
Rejoice, crown of continence!
Rejoice, Thou from whom shineth the Archetype of the Resurrection:
Rejoice, Thou Who revealest the life of the angels!
Rejoice, tree of shining fruit, whereby the faithful are nourished:
Rejoice, tree of goodly shade by which many are sheltered!
Rejoice, Thou that has carried in Thy womb the Redeemer of captives:
Rejoice, Thou that gavest birth to the Guide of those astray!
Rejoice, supplication before the Righteous Judge:
Rejoice, forgiveness of many sins!
Rejoice, robe of boldness for the naked:
Rejoice, love that doth vanquish all desire!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 8

(Priest:) Having beheld a strange nativity, let us estrange ourselves from the world and transport our minds to Heaven; for the Most High God appeared on earth as a lowly man, because He wished to draw to the heights them that cry to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

(Priest:) Wholly present was the Inexpressible Word among those here below, yet in no way absent from those on high; for this was a divine condescension and not a change of place, and His birth was from a God-receiving Virgin Who heard these things:

Rejoice, container of the Uncontainable God:
Rejoice, door of solemn mystery!
Rejoice, report doubtful to unbelievers:
Rejoice, undoubted boast of the faithful!
Rejoice, all-holy chariot of Him Who sitteth upon the Cherubim:
Rejoice, all-glorious temple of Him Who is above the Seraphim!
Rejoice, Thou Who hast united opposites:
Rejoice, Thou Who hast joined virginity and motherhood!
Rejoice, Thou through whom transgression hath been absolved:
Rejoice, Thou through whom Paradise is opened!
Rejoice, key to the kingdom of Christ:
Rejoice, hope of eternal good things!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 9

(Priest:) All the angels were amazed at the great act of Thine incarnation; for they saw the Unapproachable God as a man approachable to all, abiding with us, and hearing from all: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

(Priest:) We see most eloquent orators mute as fish before Thee, O Theotokos; for they are at a loss to tell how Thou remainest a Virgin and could bear a child. But we, marveling at this mystery, cry out faithfully:

Rejoice, receptacle of the Wisdom of God:
Rejoice, treasury of His Providence!
Rejoice, Thou Who showest philosophers to be fools:
Rejoice, Thou Who exposest the learned as irrational!
Rejoice, for the clever critics have become foolish:
Rejoice, for the writers of myths have faded away!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst rend the webs of the Athenians:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst fill the nets of the fishermen!
Rejoice, Thou Who drawest us from the depths of ignorance:
Rejoice, Thou Who enlightenest many with knowledge!
Rejoice, ship for those who wish to be saved:
Rejoice, harbor for sailors on the sea of life!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 10

(Priest:) Desiring to save the world, He that is the Creator of all came to it according to His Own promise, and He that, as God, is the Shepherd, for our sake appeared unto us as a man; for like calling unto like, as God He heareth: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

(Priest:) A bulwark art Thou to virgins, and to all that flee unto Thee, O Virgin Theotokos; for the Maker of Heaven and earth prepared Thee, O Most-pure one, dwelt in Thy womb, and taught all to call to Thee:

Rejoice, pillar of virginity:
Rejoice, gate of salvation!
Rejoice, leader of mental formation:
Rejoice, bestower of divine good!
Rejoice, for Thou didst renew those conceived in shame:
Rejoice, for Thou gavest wisdom to those robbed of their minds!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst foil the corrupter of minds:
Rejoice, Thou Who gavest birth to the Sower of purity!
Rejoice, bridechamber of a seedless marriage:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost wed the faithful to the Lord!
Rejoice, good nourisher of virgins:
Rejoice, adorner of holy souls as for marriage!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 11

(Priest:) Every hymn is defeated that trieth to encompass the multitude of Thy many compassions; for if we offer to Thee, O Holy King, songs equal in number to the sand, nothing have we done worthy of that which Thou hast given us who shout to Thee: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

(Priest:) We behold the holy Virgin, a shining lamp appearing to those in darkness; for, kindling the Immaterial Light, She guideth all to divine knowledge, She illumineth minds with radiance, and is honored by our shouting these things:

Rejoice, ray of the noetic Sun:
Rejoice, radiance of the Unsetting Light!
Rejoice, lightning that enlightenest our souls:
Rejoice, thunder that terrifiest our enemies!
Rejoice, for Thou didst cause the refulgent Light to dawn:
Rejoice, for Thou didst cause the river of many streams to gush forth!
Rejoice, Thou Who paintest the image of the font:
Rejoice, Thou Who blottest out the stain of sin!
Rejoice, laver that washest the conscience clean:
Rejoice, cup that drawest up joy!
Rejoice, aroma of the sweet fragrance of Christ:
Rejoice, life of mystical gladness!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 12

(Priest:) When the Absolver of all mankind desired to blot out ancient debts, of His Own will He came to dwell among those who had fallen from His Grace; and having torn up the handwriting of their sins, He heareth this from all: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

(Priest:) While singing to Thine Offspring, we all praise Thee as a living temple, O Theotokos; for the Lord Who holdeth all things in His hand dwelt in Thy womb, and He sanctified and glorified Thee, and taught all to cry to Thee:

Rejoice, tabernacle of God the Word:
Rejoice, saint greater than the saints!
Rejoice, ark gilded by the Spirit:
Rejoice, inexhaustible treasury of life!
Rejoice, precious diadem of pious kings:
Rejoice, venerable boast of reverent priests!
Rejoice, unshakable fortress of the Church:
Rejoice, inviolable wall of the kingdom!
Rejoice, Thou through whom victories are obtained:
Rejoice, Thou through whom foes fall prostrate!
Rejoice, healing of my flesh:
Rejoice, salvation of my soul!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 13

(Priest:) O all-praised Mother Who didst bear the Word, holiest of all the saints, accept now our offering, and deliver us from all misfortune, and rescue from the torment to come those that cry to Thee: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! (This Kontakion is sung three times)

And again we sing Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1

Triple Litany

**Priest: Have mercy on us O God, according to Thy great mercy, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

**People: (after every petition)

**Priest: Again we pray for the holy Orthodox Patriarchs of the East; for the Orthodox episcopate of the Russian Church; for our lord the Very Most Reverend Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; for our lord the Most Reverend Anthony, Archbishop of Western America and San Francisco; and for our lord, the Most Reverend Bishop Kyrill; and all our brethren in Christ:

**Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God NN: (while the names are read, the people sing the litany response softly), and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

**Again we beg Thee, O Lord, to hearken to our petition, and have mercy on Thy servants NN: (the response is sung softly as above). In Thy grace and bounty, fulfill their petitions, and forgive all their sins, whether voluntary or involuntary. Accept their sacrifice of praise upon Thy heavenly altar; protect them from every visible and invisible enemy; deliver them from all misery, sickness, and affliction; grant them health and length of days, we pray Thee, O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

**Priest: Again we pray for travelers by land, by sea, and by air; for the sick and the suffering; for the servants of God NN: (as above), and for all those that are under trial, in harsh labor, in exile, imprisonment, and in every tribulation, necessity, and danger, and for their salvation, we pray Thee O Lord, hearken and have mercy.

**Again we pray that the Lord our God will preserve this city and this holy temple and every city and country from pestilence, famine, earthquake, flood, fire, the sword, the invasion of enemies, civil war, and sudden death, and that our good God, Who loveth mankind, will be graciously favorable and easily entreated, and will turn away from us all the wrath stirred up against us, and deliver us from all His righteous chastisement which impendeth against us, and have mercy on us.

**Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable, holy Orthodox Patriarchs, and pious kings and right-believing queens, and the founders of this holy temple, and for all our fathers and brethren gone to their rest before us, and the Orthodox here and everywhere laid to rest.

**Again we pray for all the people here present, who await Thy great and rich mercy.

**Again we pray that the Lord will listen to the prayers of us sinners, and have mercy on us.

**Hear us O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those who are far off upon the sea, and show mercy, show mercy O Master, upon us sinners. For Thou art a merciful God and Thou lovest mankind, and unto Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

**Priest: Let us pray to the most holy Theotokos.

**People: (all kneel as we sing:)

(Priest:) Our most gracious Queen, our hope, O Theotokos, Who receivest the orphaned and art the intercessor for the stranger; the joy of those in sorrow, protectress of the wronged, see our distress, see our affliction! Help us, for we are helpless. Feed us, for we are strangers and pilgrims. Thou knowest our offences; forgive them, and resolve them as Thou dost will. For we know no other help but Thee, no other intercessor, no gracious comforter, only Thee, O Theotokos to guard and protect us for ages of ages. Amen.

**Priest: Wisdom, Most Holy Theotokos, save us.

People: More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without corruption Thou gavest birth to God the Word: True Theotokos, we magnify Thee.

**Priest: Glory to Thee, O Christ our God and our hope, glory to Thee.

People: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages, Amen. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Father, bless.

**Priest: (gives the blessing of the day, and all come to venerate the Icon)

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