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Also on The 15th Day of the Month of December

Commemoration of the Holy Hierarch Stephen the Confessor, Archbishop of Sougdaia

At Great Vespers

After the Introductory Psalm, we chant “Blessed is the man…”, the first antiphon.

On “Lord, I have cried…”, 8 stichera: 5 in Tone IV, Special Melody: “Thou hast given a sign…”

Thou didst show forth a blameless life, O all-praised Stephen, and hast reached the throne of the Lord, anointed with the oil of a high priest; and having given thyself over unto death, as a creation following thy Creator, thou now dwellest in the heavens, at the altar of the Lord. O glorious one, pray for those who hymn thee.

The Master hath glorified thee with signs and wonders, O thrice blessed Stephen, for thou expellest evil spirits and healest the passions, and thou dost enlighten the souls of the faithful who approach thy holy tomb, O champion of Orthodoxy, who standest with the angels, art equally enthroned with the holy hierarchs and sharest in the ways of the apostles.

Undaunted by the threats of the heathen, O blessed one, with a God-bearing mind thou didst teach all rightly and unashamedly to venerate the precious icon of Christ and to kiss it with fervent faith; and for this thou didst endure beating and imprisonment, O father Stephen, foreseeing that thou wouldst receive joy in the future.

Thy most festive memorial hath shone forth as brightly as the sun, O wise and most blessed one, emitting the rays of thy virtuous deeds; and thou dost enlighten the hearts of the faithful with the effulgence of thy miracles. We celebrate thee with joy, and we honor thee, O boast of Russia and salvation of us, the faithful. O all-wise father Stephen, venerable and all-glorious hierarch of Christ, consolation of strangers and physician of the infirm: depart not from us, but pray for those who hymn thee, for we glorify thy kind-hearted and loving oversight. O most blessed and holy hierarch Stephen, save thou our souls.

Thou didst splendidly preserve the image of the Trinity, O venerable father, manfully contending for the icon of Christ, and thou wast not afraid of the threats of Copronymus, but didst slay him with the sword of thy soul. Wherefore, as thou hast boldness before the Lord, preserve thy flock from every heresy, O much-suffering Stephen.

And 3 stichera, in Tone II, Special Melody: “With what wreaths of praise…”

With what wreaths of praise shall we crown the holy hierarch Stephen: the crown of the priesthood, the goodly ordering of piety, the splendid ornament of the Church, the inexhaustible wellspring of divine healings, the outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit, the river of many miracles which gladdeneth the offspring of Sougdaia, our fervent intercessor and protector?

With what humble lips shall we hymn the holy hierarch, wondrous in miracles, who dwelleth among the incorporeal ones, who was sanctified from earliest infancy, the immovable pillar of the Church, the gladdening of the land of Sougdaia, the denouncer of an ungodly emperor and confessor of Orthodoxy, and who, beaten by the iniquitous for the sake of Christ, is possessed of great mercy?

Come, ye assemblies of Sougdaia, and let us clap our hands, as say the psalms, hymning the blessed Stephen, the consolation of the grieving and helper of the desperate, the lover of the divine humility of Christ, the boast of the land of Sougdaia, and adornment of all this land, who everywhere taketh thought for our race, and granteth the world great mercy.

Glory…, in Tone IV

It becometh the people of Sougdaia to have the hierarch Stephen everywhere as a royal adornment and a treasure which cannot be stolen, which bestoweth riches upon all, the preaching of salvation, who assembleth all to join as one in the chanting of godly hymns. To him let us cry aloud: O Stephen, hierarch and confessor, entreat Christ God in behalf of our souls.

Now and ever…: Dogmatic Theotokion, in the same tone

The Prophet David, the forefather of God, for thy sake gave voice beforehand in psalmody concerning thee, unto Him Who in thee accomplished mighty works: the Queen stood at Thy right hand. For God Whose good pleasure it was to become incarnate of thee without father showed thee, His Mother, to be the mediatress of life, that He might renew His image which had become corrupt through the passions; and having found the sheep which had strayed among the mountains and become lost, He taketh it upon His shoulders and bringeth it to His Father; and Christ, Who is possessed of great and rich mercy, in accordance with His will, uniteth it with the hosts of heaven, and saveth the world, O Theotokos.

Entrance. Prokimenon of the day. Three readings:

A Reading from Proverbs

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

A Reading from Proverbs

The mouth of the righteous droppeth wisdom: but the tongue of the unjust shall perish. The lips of just men drop grace: but the mouth of the ungodly is perverse. False balances are an abomination before the Lord: but a just weight is acceptable unto Him. Wherever pride entereth, there will also disgrace: but the mouth of the humble doth meditate wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them, but the overthrow of the rebellious shall spoil them. Possessions shall not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness will deliver from death. When a just man dieth, he leaveth regret: but the destruction of the ungodly is speedy and causeth joy. Righteousness traceth out blameless paths: but ungodliness encountereth unjust dealing. The righteousness of upright men delivereth them: but transgressors are caught in their own destruction. At the death of a just man his hope doth not perish: but the boast of the ungodly perisheth. A righteous man escapeth from a snare, and the ungodly man is delivered up in his place. In the mouth of ungodly men is a snare for citizens: but the understanding of righteous men is prosperous. In the prosperity of righteous men a city prospereth, but at the destruction of the wicked there is exultation. At the blessing of the upright a city shall be exalted, but by the mouths of ungodly men it is overthrown. A man void of understanding sneereth at his fellow citizens: but a sensible man is quiet.

A Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon

Though the righteous be prevented with death, yet shall he be in rest. For honorable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age. He pleased God, and was beloved of Him; so that, living among sinners, he was translated. Yea, speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul. For the bewitching of naughtiness doth obscure things that are honest; and the wandering of lust doth undermine the simple mind. He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time; for his soul pleased the Lord: therefore hasted He to take him away from among the wicked. This the people saw, and understood not, neither laid they up this in their minds: that His grace and mercy is with His saints, and that He doth visit His chosen.

At Litya, these stichera, in Tone VIII

O all-glorious wonder! For by the pangs of fasting and tears of asceticism thou didst offer thyself to God, and He filled thee with divine love; and thou didst overcome the carnal passions and trample the demons underfoot through abstinence, as a godly hierarch of the Almighty.

O all-glorious wonder! For thou, O Stephen, wast the enlightener of Sougdaia, the constant helper of its children, the shepherd of the Church thereof, the calm haven of the tempest-tossed, the physician of the passions of the soul and of the body. Wherefore, all proclaim and invoke thy name together.

Enkindled by the divine fire of the Comforter and the effulgence of the Trinity, O wise and blessed Stephen, thou didst set at nought the counsels and treachery of the enemy, having cleansed thyself through abstinence and purity, becoming a house of Christ; and as a holy hierarch, thou didst serve Him in purity, O holy one.

Even when thy jaw was broken with hammers of iron, thou didst not lose thy love for Christ, but didst denounce the unbelieving emperor; and by thy confession of the holy icons thou hast illumined all creation. O thy courage! For thou couldst not abide to be silent, but didst openly proclaim the truth.

Who hath ever heard of such countless mighty deeds as thine, O venerable father, and who doth not marvel at thy humility and patience? Thou art peace for the poor and consolation for the sorrowful. Thou didst teach all right beautifully, O holy hierarch Stephen, and hast now been crowned with a never-withering wreath. Pray thou, that our souls be saved.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Theotokion, in Tone VI

Take not thy protection away from thy servants, O all-pure one, the seven teachers pray to thee: Basil the Great, the divine Gregory and Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, Peter, the wonderworker of Russia, Leontius of Rostov, Stephen of Sougdaia and John Chrysostom. All ye wonderworkers of Russia, pray that our souls be saved.

On the Aposticha, these stichera, in Tone V, Special Melody: “Rejoice…”

Rejoice, O sacred one, who wast purified by the Spirit from thine earliest childhood! For, having increased for Him and been nurtured well unto the measure of divine instruction, valiantly declaring that all movement, all activity, all understanding and speech come from Him, thou didst attain thine uttermost desire, where thou dost rejoice with the angelic choir and the assembly of hierarchs, O Stephen. With all the saints entreat the Savior, that He have mercy on us.

Stichos: Thy priests shall be clothed with righteousness, and Thy righteous shall rejoice.

Rejoice, O father who shone forth from the midst of great darkness like a most radiant star, and dost brilliantly enlighten the whole world with the rays of thy works! Wherefore, thou drawest all to unashamed zeal and divine love, ever to contemplate the visage of thine ineffable countenance; and having been taken up thereby after thy repose, O holy one, thou wast received by glory, manifestly bearing fruit; and having now received it, entreat the Savior, that He have mercy on us.

Stichos: The saints shall boast in glory and shall rejoice upon their beds.

Rejoice, O Stephen, thou honorable mind, pure vessel of the Trinity, pillar of the Church, confirmation of the faithful, help of the vanquished, star who by the radiance of thy God-pleasing prayers dost ever destroy the darkness of perils and tribulations, calm haven wherein those who are beset by the threefold waves of life flee and are saved! Entreat Christ, that He grant our souls great mercy.

Glory…, in the same tone

Let us sound the trumpet of hymns! O ye Orthodox, let us make haste to behold the triumph of our teacher, the chief shepherd of Sougdaia. Kings and princes have been put to shame by the awesome appearance of Stephen, for he denounced the emperor who refused to venerate the icon of Christ our God. Come, ye pastors and teachers of the Orthodox flock, let us praise the chief shepherd of Christ, the glory of hierarchs and boast of martyrs, who dwelleth with the angels, the champion of the Faith, our ardent helper, the companion of those who travel, the helmsman of those who journey by water, the all-fervent intercessor. And praising the first-enthroned bishop of Sougdaia, let us say thus: O most holy Stephen, come forth and deliver us from all temptations, and save this thy flock by thy supplications.

Now and ever…: Theotokion, in the same tone

Let us sound the trumpet of hymnody; for, bending down from on high, the Virgin Mother, the Queen of all, with blessings crowneth those who hymn her. Let the people come together, and with hymns dance for the Queen who gave birth to the King, Who in His love for man was well-pleased to release those bound fast by death from of old. Assembling, O ye pastors and teachers, let us praise the all-pure Mother of the good Shepherd, the golden lampstand, the luminous cloud which is far more spacious than the heavens, the animate ark, the fiery throne of the Master, the golden pot which held the Manna, the portal of the Word which was closed, the refuge of all Christians; and, praising her with hymns of divine sound, let us say thus: O palace of the Word, vouchsafe unto us, the lowly, the kingdom of heaven; for nought is impossible for thy mediation.

Troparion, in Tone IV

As a holy hierarch thou dwellest with the incorporeal hosts, O hieromartyr Stephen, for thou didst wield the Cross like a sword, and standing firmly against the iconoclast and those who made war on the Spirit, who would not venerate the all-pure image of Christ our God, thou didst cut down every heresy of the wicked. Wherefore, receiving the crown of martyrdom, thou didst deliver thy city of Sougdaia from all evil. Pray for us now, O holy one, and deliver us from all evil temptations and misfortunes, and from everlasting torments.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Theotokion, in the same tone

The mystery hidden from before the ages and unknown even to the angels, through thee, O Theotokos, hath been revealed to those on earth: God incarnate in unconfused union, Who willingly accepted the Cross for our sake and, thereby raising up the first-formed man, hath saved our souls from death.

At Matins

On “God is the Lord…”, the Troparion of the saint, twice; Glory…, Now and ever…: the resurrectional Theotokion, in the same tone.

After the first chanting of the Psalter, this Sessional hymn, in Tone III, Special Melody: “Of the divine Faith…”

Enlightened by the divine Spirit, with boldness thou didst preach the Tradition of Orthodoxy, O most blessed Stephen, and thou didst put the iniquitous tyrant to shame, for which thou wast unjustly imprisoned. O venerable father, entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who with love honor thy holy memory.

Glory…: another Sessional hymn, in Tone I, Special Melody: “The angelic choir…”

Thy blood mystically crieth out from the earth like that of Abel, O wise and blessed one, for thou didst teach all to honor the incarnation of Christ and didst put the heresy of iconoclasm to shame; wherefore, thou didst depart unto the Lord, entering the heavenly bridal chamber of Christ our God.

Now and ever…: Theotokion

The heavenly beings rejoiced and those of the earth quaked with fear when the all-pure voice came upon thee, O Theotokos; for a single festival shone forth for both when the incorporeal one brought thee joy. Wherefore, with the angel we cry out unto thee: Rejoice, O pure one, thou habitation of God!

After the second chanting of the Psalter, this Sessional hymn, in Tone I, Special Melody: “The angelic choir…”

Increasing the precepts of God, thou didst keep the Faith of Orthodoxy, O Stephen; and receiving tribulations therefor, thou didst suffer wounds in prison, enduring affliction there. O venerable father, entreat Christ God, that He grant us great mercy.

Glory…: another Sessional hymn, in Tone IV, Special Melody: “Go Thou quickly before…”

Thou didst shepherd the Church of Christ in Orthodox manner, O venerable one, and spitting upon the heretical iconoclasts thou didst drive them away, and didst put the emperor to shame. And now thou dwellest in the highest, O blessed and holy hierarch Stephen.

Now and ever…: Theotokion

Thou wast a divine tabernacle of the Word, O only all-pure Mother and Virgin who hast surpassed the angels in purity. With the divine waters of thy prayers cleanse me who, more than all others, have been defiled by carnal transgressions, O pure one, granting me great mercy.

Polyeleos, and this magnification

We magnify thee, O holy hierarch Stephen, and we honor thy holy memory; for thou dost entreat Christ God in our behalf.

Selected Psalm verses

A Hear this, all ye nations; give ear, all ye that inhabit the world. [Ps. 48: 2]

B My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. [Ps. 48: 4]

A Come, ye children, hearken unto me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. [Ps. 33: 12]

B I have proclaimed the good tidings of Thy righteousness in the great congregation. [Ps. 39: 10]

A Thy truth and Thy salvation have I declared. [Ps. 39: 11]

B I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I hymn Thee. [Ps. 21: 23]

A That I may hear the voice of Thy praise, and tell of all Thy wondrous works. [Ps. 25: 7]

B O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. [Ps. 25: 8]

A I have hated the congregation of evil-doers, and with the ungodly will I not sit. [Ps. 25: 5]

B For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and I have not acted impiously toward my God. [Ps. 17: 22]

A The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment. [Ps. 36: 30]

B His righteousness abideth unto ages of ages. [Ps. 110: 3]

A Thy priests shall be clothed with righteousness, and Thy righteous shall rejoice. [Ps. 131: 9]

B Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; unto ages of ages shall they praise Thee. [Ps. 83: 5]

Glory…, Now and ever…Alleluia…Thrice.

After the Polyeleos, this Sessional hymn, in Tone IV, Special Melody: “Go Thou quickly before…”

Following after Christ, thou didst forsake the world, manifestly making thy flesh subject through abstinence, O all-blessed Stephen; Wherefore, thou didst receive the anointing of the priesthood. And now thou hast passed over to the immaterial choirs, praying for all of us who praise thee.

Glory…: another Sessional hymn, in Tone V, Special Melody: “The Word Who is equally without beginning…”

With the radiance of Orthodoxy thou didst put the dark teachings of the iconoclasts to shame, didst drive away all their heresies and wast thyself shown to be a worker of miracles, O father; and thou wast glorified by divine providence. Wherefore, we honor thee with faith, O holy hierarch Stephen, who art equal in honor with the angels.

Now and ever…: Theotokion

O Bride of God, who alone gavest birth to the Creator of all, who alone hast adorned humanity with thine offspring: deliver me from the snare of the evil hunter, and set me upon the rock of Christ’s desires, earnestly beseeching Him to Whom thou gavest flesh.

Song of Ascents, the first antiphon of Tone IV.

Prokimenon, in Tone IV

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints

Stichos: What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He hath rendered unto me?

Let every breath praise the Lord.

Gospel according to John

§35 from the midpoint (Jn. 10: 1-9)

The Lord said to the Jews who came to Him: “Verily, verily, I say unto you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again: “Verily, verily, I say unto you: I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.”

After Psalm 50, this sticheron, in Tone VI

O venerable, thrice-blessed and most holy father, good shepherd and disciple of Christ, the Chief Shepherd, who laid down thy life for Russia: Pray now, O blessed Stephen our father, unto the Lord, that He grant us great mercy.

Canon of supplication to the Theotokos [the Paraclysis], with 6 Troparia, including the irmos; and 2 canons of the saint, with 8 Troparia.

Ode I

Canon I, in Tone VI

Irmos: The children of those who were saved have concealed beneath the earth Him Who of old covered the pursuing tyrant with the waves of the sea; but let us chant unto the Lord like the maidens: Gloriously hath He been glorified.

Come ye, and assembling, let us all hymn our sacred father Stephen, and honor the confirmation of Sougdaia, the helper of our souls and invincible protector of our city.

Incline our hearts to the saving commandments of Christ, O God-bearer, that we may not ponder the things of this life, but that, having attained spiritual beauties, we may enter with splendor into the bridal chamber of Christ.

O divinely wise Stephen, eminent father, peer of the angels and confirmation of Sougdaia: spurn not that which I, the unworthy, have offered thee from my poverty, but receive this hymnody as it were incense.

Theotokion: Before death, call out to the Mother of God, O unworthy soul, fervently crying out with tears in thy thoughts: O all-pure Lady, by thy supplications render thy Son merciful unto me.

Canon II, in Tone I

Irmos: Christ is born, give ye glory! Christ cometh from heaven, meet ye Him! Christ is on earth, be ye exalted! O all the earth, sing ye unto the Lord, and chant with gladness, ye people, for He hath been glorified!

Having taken the grace of the Spirit into thy heart, O holy hierarch of Christ, purify the tongues and hearts of those who hymn thee, that we may hymn thy memory with splendor, O Stephen the confessor.

The great Stephen, the shepherd of the Church of Sougdaia, now splendidly summoneth the pastor and flock, and all of Sougdaia. Come ye, and assembling, let us keep splendid festival for our common father.

Thy corrections, words and objectives are triumphant, O Stephen, for whose sake we have received a kindly disposition of soul, O right wondrous one; for all are unable to fashion hymnody fit for thee.

Theotokion: Unfathomable is the abyss of thine unapproachable birthgiving, O most pure one. Wherefore, we, the faithful, fall down before thee without hesitation, saying: Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, Mother unwedded!

Ode III

Canon I

Irmos: There is none as holy as Thee, O Lord my God, Who hast uplifted the horn of Thy faithful and established us on the rock of the confession of Thee, O Good One.

Whosoever doth not bless thee, O all-blessed God-bearer Stephen, is dead in body and soul even before dying, and even before the judgment hath fallen under condemnation.

Crush thou the adversaries and the power of their arms, O venerable one; quickly cast beneath our feet the visible army, make steadfast thy servants, and grant dominion to thy flock, O blessed and sacred one.

Protect thy city from the children of Hagar, O God-bearing Stephen our father. For, lo! they gnash their teeth at us, ravening like wild beasts to slaughter us; but break thou their fangs.

Theotokion: In a dream, O all-hymned Mother, Jacob foresaw thee as a ladder reaching up to heaven, whereon the Word dwelt and led men upward, delivering them from the man-slaying serpent.

Canon II

Irmos: To Christ God, the Son Who was begotten of the Father without corruption before time began, and in latter times without seed became incarnate of the Virgin, let us cry aloud: O Lord Who liftest up our horn, holy art Thou!

Omniscient God knew thee from thy mother’s womb, O God-bearer; He sent His angel to deliver His message to thee, consecrated thee a guide and great shepherd for men’s souls, and, as unto Peter, entrusted His flock to thee.

Like Moses thou didst part the sea of the passions with the staff of abstinence, O blessed one, and didst ascend the mountain of dispassion, receiving the noetic tablets [of God’s commandments]; and thou hast taught to the Church of Christ the law of the Spirit.

Thou wast shown to be humble, meek and peaceable, O Stephen; wherefore, the grace of the Spirit, which was poured out greatly in thee, showed thee to be great, illumining the land of Sougdaia with rays of miracles.

Theotokion: The choir of the prophets proclaimed thee the truly closed and sealed door, O most hymned one, in images describing for us from afar the wellspring of thy virginity, which was preserved even after thou gavest birth.

Sessional hymn, in Tone I, Special Melody: “Thy tomb, O Savior…”

Let the godly Stephen, the great and holy hierarch of Christ, be hymned: the pillar of light which illumineth us with the radiance of miracles, the dew-bearing cloud which quencheth the flame of the passions and bedeweth the thoughts of the faithful.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Theotokion

Thou art as the prophets proclaimed thee, O Virgin, thou radiant beacon, divine table, golden censer, jar holding the life-bearing Manna which delighteth the minds of the faithful.

Ode IV

Canon I

Irmos: Foreseeing Thy divine condescension upon the Cross, Habbakuk cried out in awe: Thou hast cut down the dominion of the mighty, O Good One, entering into fellowship with those who are in hades, in that Thou art Almighty.

I, a sinner and prodigal, have departed and withdrawn from God. Once I was a sojourner in a far land, O father, and, as one uncorrected, I was stripped naked, having listened to the deceiver.

Thou wast justly illumined by the light of the threefold Sun of the uncreated Trinity; wherefore, send it also upon us who hymn Him, and vouchsafe that in heaven we may also hymn Him in the Trinity, O God-bearing Stephen.

O God-bearing Stephen, father of fathers, confirmation of Sougdaia, child of Orthodoxy: preserve thy servants from every transgression and from ungodly barbarians and enemies visible and invisible.

Theotokion: Forget not my bitter tears and disdain not the groanings of my soul, O pure and immaculate Virgin. Show forth upon me the mercy of thy Son and God and His love for man.

Canon II

Irmos: A rod from the root of Jesse and blossom therefrom, O Christ, Thou didst spring forth from the Virgin; from the mountain overshadowed and densely wooded hast Thou come, incarnate of her who knew not man, O Thou praised and immaterial God. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Submitting to the laws of the Spirit from earliest childhood, thou didst come to transcend the laws of the flesh, O venerable one, having first mortified grievous sins; wherefore, thou didst denounce the unbelieving emperor, showing thyself to be a great confessor, O Stephen.

Thou gavest neither sleep to thine eyes nor slumber to thine eyelids until, having purified thy heart as is meet, thou didst find the place worthy of all the blessed, O father. Wherefore, the eternal God, the King of glory, showed thee to be his habitation.

Mortify the incurable understanding of our flesh, O wise one, and guide us to things divine, in that thou art strong and mighty; subject us to good laws, O blessed one, and show us, who have been enslaved by grievous passions, to be servants of Christ.

Theotokion: We hymn thy great and awesome mystery which was hidden from the angels, but which the heavenly captain announced to thee: that He Who Is would descend upon thee like dew upon the fleece, O most hymned one, for our salvation and restoration.

Ode V

Canon I

Irmos: The apostles, bound with a bond of love, offered themselves unto Christ the Master of all, and washed their beautiful feet, announcing the glad tidings of peace unto all.

A base man, I have blackened my soul with unseemly acts, and I cry unto thee, my fervent helper: Forsake me not, O all-honored Stephen, but make supplication for me to the Savior.

Forget not the entreaties of thy servant, O beloved father, but accept them and bear them with fervor to the Lord, that I may escape from need and the inextinguishable fire.

Weighed down by sins, I lie upon the ground. Send thy help unto me, O father, and raise me up, that I may stand aright and walk in the paths of God.

Theotokion: Rejoice, O only Virgin Theotokos, who gavest birth to Joy, thou beauty of the angels and great refuge of men, haven of sinners and harbor for the tempest-tossed.

Canon II

Irmos: As God of peace and Father of compassion, Thou didst send Thine Angel of Great Counsel, Who granteth us peace. Therefore, guided to the light of knowledge divine, and waking at dawn out of the night, we glorify Thee, Who lovest mankind.

The immeasurable outpouring of thy mercy hath been shown to the people of Sougdaia as a great wealth of compassion, O servant of Christ; for, giving unto those who ask, O blessed one, thou didst strive to satisfy them with what thou didst offer them.

Thou wast both meek and humble in deed, word and thought, and thus thou didst draw all unto thee with love and good works; and, denouncing the heretical emperor, thou didst gladden the hearts of the faithful, who are strengthened by thy confession.

Christ, the great Shepherd of all, showed thee, O blessed one, to be the shepherd of His sheep and the teacher of His reason-endowed flock; wherefore, as a shepherd full of love for mankind, do thou now rescue us, thy sheep who are lost in the mountains of perdition.

Theotokion: O pure Virgin holy of holies, thou gavest birth to the Holy of holies, Christ the Deliverer, Who sanctifieth all things; wherefore, we magnify thee, the Queen and Mistress of all, as the Mother of the Author of creation.

Ode VI

Canon I

Irmos: The uttermost abyss of sins hath engulfed me, whose billows none can withstand; and like Jonah I cry to Thee, O Master: Lead me up from corruption!

Possessing thee as a fervent helper, we, thy servants, fear not the hosts of the adversary, but, strengthened by the Cross of Christ, we vanquish them.

Preserve thy city, O venerable father Stephen, from the assault of ungodly infidels and from civil war, and deliver it from all fear and torment.

Christ hath given us the honored Stephen to cut down all armies of the visible foe and to set aright His Orthodox flock.

Theotokion: Thou alone art holy Who restest in the saints. Illumining me with Thy light, sanctify my soul by repentance, through the supplications of Thy Mother.

Canon II

Irmos: The sea monster thrust forth, like a babe from the womb, Jonah, whom it had swallowed; and the Word, Who dwelt within the Virgin and took flesh of her, issued forth, preserving her incorrupt. He kept her who gave Him birth unharmed, for He Himself was not subject to corruption.

Thou wast the enlightener of Sougdaia and the helper of those who dwell therein, the calm haven of those who are tempest-tossed amid tribulations, and the physician of passions of soul and body; wherefore, all of us together declare and invoke thy name.

Bishops and priests rejoice with us today, celebrating the father of Sougdaia; true hesychasts in concord sing together, and all the simple folk hymn thee together, our intercessor and teacher.

I alone am become a wicked child through vile passions, O father; I am truly unworthy of thy goodly and beauteous celebration, O glorious one. Yet, having washed away my defilement of soul, O venerable one, show me to be worthy of thy banquet.

Theotokion: Without departing from the bosom of the unoriginate Father, He made His abode within the womb of the pure Maiden; and Christ Who ever reigneth, Who before was without mother, now becometh incarnate without a father. His generation is incalculable, awesome and ineffable.

Kontakion, in Tone III

Strengthened by the power of the Most High, O sacred one, thou didst cast down the pride of the iconoclast emperor. And thy holy relics are today the glory of Sougdaia and all the faithful. These do the ranks of angels bear aloft, glorifying thee with hymns and songs, O great and sacred Stephen.

Ikos: What human tongue is ever able to praise and hymn thy pure and blameless life with faith, understanding and truth, O venerable Stephen? For thou didst show thyself to be valorous in all thy struggles. For thou, O most blessed one, didst put the cruel emperor to shame, and didst teach that the veneration shown to icons ascendeth to their Prototype, O most wise and holy one, and didst confess the dogmas of the fathers. Wherefore, we bless thee, O great and sacred Stephen.

Ode VII

Canon I

Irmos: O ineffable wonder! He, Who in the furnace delivered the venerable children from the flame, is laid in the grave, dead and devoid of breath, for the salvation of us who chant: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Open unto me the doors of repentance, O venerable Stephen, dispel all the gloom from my soul, and wash away all defilement from my body, that I may offer thee hymnody and cry: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Stand by my soul at its departure from my body, O all-honored Stephen, and deliver me from the wickedness of Satan, that with faith I may glorify thee, the great hierarch, chanting unto God: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

O wise hierarch Stephen, tend thou thy people, preserving us; and vouchsafe that with thee we may unceasingly chant unto the Trinity in the heavens: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Theotokion: Grant me a downpour of tears, O Mistress, and, washing me, cleanse the stripes of my soul and the blackness of my flesh. Lead me to the Creator, and deliver me from all torment.

Canon II

Irmos: The children raised together in piety, disdaining the ungodly command, feared not the threat of the fire, but, standing in the midst of the flame, they chanted: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

The land and country of Sougdaia declare thy wonders, O father, and chant unto thee everywhere, having learned to sing with joy: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

As it is written, O blessed one, the Bridegroom Who is comely beyond all the sons of men showed thee to be a most comely bridegroom for His Bride, the Church, for thou didst bear the image of the likeness of Him, the all-glorious God of our fathers.

Having adorned thy life with almsgiving, meekness and love, thou wast shown to be an excellent and splendid image of the good Shepherd, having chosen well His virtues. Unto Him do we chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Theotokion: Jacob prophetically understood thee to be a ladder, O Theotokos, for for thy sake the Supremely-exalted One appeared on earth and dwelt among men, as was His good pleasure: the hymned and all-glorious God of our fathers.

Ode VIII

Canon I

Irmos: The blessed youths in Babylon, braving danger for the laws of their fathers, reviled the mindless command of the ruler, and, united by the fire which burned them not, they chanted a fitting hymn unto the Almighty: Hymn the Lord, ye works, and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Wholly sinful, I have sinned more than all other men, and there is no sin which I have not committed, nor evil or slander which I have not done. Yet with faith I approach thee, O Christ. Have mercy upon me, as Thou didst upon Manasseh.

O holy Stephen, father of fathers, pillar of Orthodoxy, child of the Faith: from every misfortune save thy servants who are vexed by the devil, the slayer of men. Disdain not those who pray to thee with a true heart and chant: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and exalt Him supremely forever!

The children of Hagar arm themselves against thy humble servants, O all-honored Stephen; but crush them invisibly, and turn their bows, arrows and swords against their own hearts, that with joy we may chant aloud the hymn: Hymn the Lord, O ye works, and exalt Him supremely forever!

Theotokion: Free thou and save me, who am beset by transgressions and surrounded by the lusts of life, O holy Theotokos; and hearken unto the groanings of my heart, as thou didst to the tears of the repentant harlot, O Virgin, and accept me who fall down before thee with tears.

Canon II

Irmos: The dew-bearing furnace presented an image of a supernatural wonder, for it did not consume the young men whom it had received, as the fire of the Godhead consumed not the Virgin’s womb which it had entered. Wherefore, chanting, let us sing: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

With thy supplication nurture thy populous Church, and by thy prayers rebuke and still the storms of contrary winds, material and noetic; deliver it from all temptations and vexations, and preserve it utterly unharmed.

Vanquished by thy supplications, the descendants of Hagar, who rise up against us, desiring to oppress thine inheritance, have fallen, O father, and they have become a byword and a mockery, weeping over their fall. But we joyfully hymn thy sacred memory.

Ineffable is thy love for thy children, surpassing paternal love, O father; wherefore, thou dost ever bring us joy, invisibly visiting us in thy vigilant supplications, ever bringing about our salvation and bestowing upon us joys and tranquility, O Stephen.

Theotokion: O pure Virgin Theotokos, God hath not spurned me, His creature, who have fallen and broken that which is according to His image, but hath restored me fully. Wherefore, all creation hymneth thee, the cause of our salvation, crying: Blessed art thou among women, O most immaculate one.

Ode IX

Canon I

Irmos: Lament Me not, O Mother, beholding in the tomb the Son Whom thou didst conceive in thy womb without seed; for I shall arise and be glorified, and as God everlasting shall I exalt with glory those who magnify thee with faith and love.

Thy city ever rejoiceth greatly in thy miracles, and through thy sacred relics we are filled therewith in every time and season. Depart not now from us, but make supplication to the Lord, that He deliver us from the godless barbarians.

Come, ye people of Sougdaia, and let us all assemble at the divine shrine of our father, the venerable Stephen; and with tears let us cry: Deliver thy people! Give not thine inheritance unto the generation of Ishmael, that we may hymn thy mercy as is meet, O holy hierarch!

Theotokion: Like the thief, like the harlot do I cry out to thee from the depths of my heart: Enliven me who have sinned, O holy Theotokos! Be not wroth with me, neither turn thy face away from me who am foolish and desperate.

Canon II

Irmos: A strange and most glorious mystery do I behold: the cave is heaven; the Virgin, the throne of the cherubim; the manger, the place wherein lay Christ God, Whom naught can contain, Whom praising, we magnify.

It is not possible to hymn thy glory as is meet, for thy miracles are manifold, and thou dost freely bestow countless healings upon those who with fervent faith approach thee, O holy hierarch Stephen, boast of the people of Sougdaia.

Christ hath set thee as the foundation of His Church, a tower forever mighty and immovable, who dost watch over and preserve thy city unharmed and unassailed for all ages, and who dost deliver from all assaults those who with faith celebrate thy sacred memory.

O ye hierarchs, priests and monks, and all ye people, men, women and maidens, the old and the infants, people of every age and class: with splendor let us celebrate the holy hierarch Stephen of Sougdaia.

Theotokion: Ineffable is the mystery of the Virgin; for she hath been shown to be the cherubic throne and radiant bridal chamber of Christ God Almighty. Her do we piously magnify as the Theotokos.

Exapostilarion, Special Melody: “With the disciples…”

Thou didst flourish like a palm-tree in the house of the Lord, as David said, O venerable father, and hast now increased the fruit of thy labors a hundredfold. Wherefore, having drowned a cloud of demons in the downpour of thy tears, O blessed one, thou hast received from Christ the trophy and wreath of victory, O all-wise one, and the great mercy of miracles in abundance.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Theotokion

Standing now before the throne of Christ, O holy hierarch, with the Mother of God, the all-pure Virgin, cease thou never to pray that He grant to our land victory over barbarians, peace to the world, and salvation of soul to those who celebrate thy memory, O all-wise Stephen, thou beauty of hierarchs.

On the Praises, 4 stichera

In Tone IV: O all-glorious father Stephen, hierarch of Christ, comfort of those who wander, physician of the infirm: Depart not from us, but pray thou for those who hymn thee. Twice

Thou didst preserve the image of God, O father, and didst bravely defend the icon of Christ; and, undaunted by the threats of Copronymus, thou didst slay him with the sword of the Spirit. Wherefore, as thou hast boldness before the Lord, save thy flock from every heresy, O much-suffering Stephen.

In Tone VIII: The fruit of thy valiant deeds hath illumined the hearts of the faithful, O father. For who hath heard of thy boundless humility and not been amazed at thy patience, thy generosity toward the poor, thy kindness toward the suffering? Thou didst teach all in godly manner, O holy hierarch Stephen, and now thou hast been crowned with a never-fading wreath. Pray thou who our souls be saved.

Glory…, in Tone VI

O thrice-blessed, venerable and sacred father, thou wast a good shepherd, the disciple of Christ, the Chief Shepherd, who laid down thy life for Sougdaia. And now, O holy hierarch Stephen, by thy supplications ask that we be given great mercy.

Now and ever…: Theotokion, in the same tone

O Theotokos, thou art the true vine who hast put forth for us the Fruit of life. Beseech Him with the holy apostles, we pray thee, O Mistress, that He have mercy upon our souls.

Great Doxology. Troparion. Litanies. Dismissal. First Hour.

At Divine Liturgy

On the Beatitudes, 8 Troparia: 4 from Ode III and 4 from Ode VI of the canon of the saint.

Prokimenon, in Tone I

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

Stichos: Hear this, all ye nations; give ear, all ye that inhabit the earth.

Epistle to the Hebrews, §318 (Heb. 7: 26-8: 2)

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

Alleluia, in Tone II

Stichos: The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment.

Stichos: The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps shall not be tripped.

Gospel according to Matthew, §11 (Mt. 5: 14-19)

The Lord said to His disciples: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you: Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Communion Verse

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

The Menaion of the Orthodox Church © Isaac E. Lambertsen