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The 5th Day Of The Month Of January

Forefeast Of The Theophany

Commemoration Of The Holy Martyrs Theopemptus & Theonas

Commemoration Of The Venerable Syncletica

At Vespers

On “Lord, I have cried…”, 6 stichera: 3 of the martyrs, in Tone IV, Special Melody: “As one valiant among the martyrs…”

Let us hymn the wise Theonas and Theopemptus, for, submitting to the dogmas of Christ, and having splendidly abolished all ungodly worship, they worshipped the one Lord and God in holiness, honor and goodly hope, confessing Him right boldly before the tyrants; and they were crowned from on high.

Having forsaken as fleeting those things of life which drag men downwards, delight in food and glory which fadeth like a flower, O most lauded ones, ye cleaved unto Christ, enkindled by His comely beauty, and ye offered yourselves to Him as sweet-smelling roses, and have been divinely crowned with the diadem of the incorrupt kingdom.

Having hated the world ye have been shown to transcend the world, and have joined the Church of the firstborn; and with the angels ye chant incorrupt hymnody, standing together before God. And having rejected the vile falsehood of idolatry, as martyrs ye have put to shame the mindlessness of the tyrants.

And 3 stichera of the venerable one, in Tone I, Special Melody: “Joy of the ranks of heaven…”

Having truly desired the glory of the fathers, thou didst love incorrupt glory; wherefore, forsaking that which is sweet, thou gavest thy body over to all manner of pain. And, reigning with Christ, thou now receivest the reward for thy pangs.

He Who permitted the devil when he asked to tempt Job, desiring to try thee like gold, left thy body to the violence of the evil one; but having put the tempter to shame by the patient endurance of infirmities, thou hast been crowned with a wreath of victory.

Yearning for the comely beauty of Christ the Bridegroom, and desiring to wed thyself to Him by all manner of good works, thou didst adorn thyself with the pangs of asceticism; wherefore, thou now reignest with Him in His bridal-chamber.

Glory…, Now and ever…, of the Forefeast, in Tone VI

Make ready, O River Jordan! For, lo! Christ God cometh to be baptized by John, that in thy waters He might crush the heads of the invisible serpents by His divinity! Rejoice, O wilderness of Jordan! Ye mountains, leap up with gladness; for our eternal Life cometh to restore Adam! O Forerunner John, thou art the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare ye the ways of the Lord and make straight His paths!”

Aposticha stichera, in Tone VI, Special Melody: “On the third day…”

O earth, and ye that are above the earth, exult and rejoice! the Torrent of sweetness is baptized in the river, drying up the outpouring of malice; and He poureth forth divine remission.

Stichos: Therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan and Hermoniem.

As the Bestower of light Jesus hath no need to be baptized, yet He cometh in the flesh to the streams of the Jordan, desiring to enlighten those who are in darkness. With fervor let us greet Him with faith!

Stichos: The waters saw Thee, O God, the waters saw Thee and were afraid.

Having assumed the guise of a servant, thou comest to be baptized by a servant, in the streams of the Jordan, O Christ, delivering us from bondage to the ancient sin, sanctifying and illumining us.

Glory…, Now and ever…, in Tone VI

Let the wilderness of Jordan rejoice, and let it blossom like a lily; for therein hath been heard the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” For He Who set forth the mountains with a measure and the forested places with His scales, Who as God filleth all things, is baptized by a servant, granting rich gifts at the beginning of His impoverishment. Eve once heard: “In pain thou shalt give birth to children”; but now the Virgin hath heard: “Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! The Lord is with thee, Who hath great mercy!”

Troparion of the Forefeast, in Tone IV

Once, the River Jordan was turned back by the mantle of Elisha when Elijah was borne aloft, and the waters were parted on either side, and the path which before was wet became dry for him, as a true image of baptism, whereby we pass through the flow of life. Christ hath appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.

At Compline

Canon of the Forefeast, the acrostic whereof is: “On this day I hymn the great Sabbath”. The irmoi of each ode are chanted twice, and the Troparia are repeated to make up the number 6; whereupon the irmos is chanted again by both choirs together. The canon is composed in Tone VI

Ode I

Irmos: He Who of old covered the pursuing tyrant with the waves of the sea doth now draw together and cover Himself with the streams of the Jordan, cleansing me with His human purification, for gloriously hath He been glorified.

O Lord my God, we chant holy songs and the hymnody of the Forefeast unto Thee Who by Thy divine epiphany hast mystically restored us and leadest us up to divine effulgence.

Those above and those on earth were filled with awe, O Savior, beholding Thee, Who art preëternal above, manifesting Thyself here below; and they hymned Thy condescension which transcendeth words.

That all things might be filled with Thy glory, Thou didst abase Thyself even to taking on the form of a servant; and now, as a servant, Thou bowest Thy head beneath the hand of a servant, purifying my physical being in Thy loving-kindness.

Ode III

Irmos: Creation, beholding Thee, Who founded the whole earth without support upon the waters, covered in the flesh by the waters, was seized with great awe, crying out: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Of old Thou didst show forth images of Thy theophany through the prophets, and now Thou hast spoken hidden things through Thine actions, revealing mysteries to men today, and granting new generation.

With trembling Jordan hath bowed its waters like shoulders, to receive the Creator Who is baptized bodily and sanctifieth all things, crying: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Through baptism Christ bestoweth great provision for salvation upon those who sense His divine effulgence, crying with gladness: None is holy save Thee, O Lord Who lovest mankind!

Ode IV

Irmos: Foreseeing Thine arrival for baptism, Habbakuk cried out in awe: Thy horses are in the sea, O Savior, and they trouble the many waters.

When Thou didst appear in the body, the earth was hallowed, the waters were blessed, and heaven was enlightened; and the human race was delivered from the bitter tyranny of the enemy.

As the words of God are uttered, the Forerunner now cometh from the desert to the Jordan, saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”, summoning all to the glory of God.

He Who of old transformed the sea into dry land and caused springs of water to gush forth from an unquarried rock, now accomplisheth the washing away of transgressions in the streams of the Jordan, through the fire of the Spirit.

Ode V

Irmos: Isaiah, rising at dawn out of the night, and beholding the never-waning light of Thy theophany, O Christ, which hath mercifully come to pass for us, cried out: Come, O ye who have been illumined! Wash ye with divine water, and manifestly cleanse your souls and bodies by the Spirit!

Through fire and the Spirit and by water Thou makest mortals new, as the Creator and new Adam, accomplishing a strange regeneration and a wondrous restoration, making them new through God-given baptism without first breaking and melting them down.

Thou makest souls new through the Spirit, and by water dost sanctify their body, which is composed of divers parts, building up the life of man; for as the Physician of souls and bodies with wise forethought Thou appliest the remedy which each part requireth.

O Thou Who wast begotten of the Father before time began and didst issue forth from the pure one, Thou camest unto him who was born of the barren woman, asking for baptism as a man; and out of water and through the Spirit Thou didst mystically make the Church, which before was childless, full of children.

Ode VI

Irmos: The godly baptist was engulfed, but was not held fast by fear: for though straw shrinketh when it draweth near to fire, when he heard “Suffer it to be so now,” he hastened, like a servant, to fulfill the command; and he heard the voice from on high bear witness to the preëternal Son!

Thou didst register, yet didst not become a slave, when Thou didst submit to the edicts of Cæsar; for though, while granting us release from slavery, Thou dost voluntarily submit and pay his tax, yet hast Thou now freed us who before were sold under the law of sin, and hast made us worthy of adoption.

As King of nature, Thou dost reign, yet not in earthly fashion; for even though, being born of the tribe of David according to the flesh, O Savior, Thou hast received the throne of his kingdom, yet dost Thou have Thine own dominion of kingship with the Father from before time began, and Thou reignest forever with the Spirit.

Of old the prince of this world was also called king of those in the waters; yet he is drowned by Thy cleansing and cast down, as once was Legion in the lake, O Savior; and by Thy mighty hand Thou hast vouchsafed liberation to the work of Thy hands, which was enslaved by him.

Ode VII

Irmos: O ineffable wonder! He, Who in the furnace delivered the venerable children from the flame, boweth His head and asketh baptism of a servant, cleansing those who cry: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Of old the streams of the Jordan were parted by the mantle, prefiguring Thy baptism, whereby the tunic of the passions hath been rent in twain and a robe of incorruption hath been fashioned for those who cry out to God: Blessed art Thou!

Rich are the streams, for, receiving in them the Creator as He is baptized, they have been shown to be a wellspring of living water, for the salvation of us who chant: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Signifying the mortality assumed by God, we stand with Christ in the threefold immersion in the water of baptism, sharing in His resurrection on the third day, and crying out to Christ: Blessed art Thou forever!

One is the grace of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, perfecting in its bestowal those who with faith desire divine baptism and have received the authority of adoption, that they may cry: Blessed art Thou, O God!

Ode VIII

Irmos: Fall back in awe and fear, O heaven; and let the foundations of the earth be shaken! For, lo! He Who of old all-gloriously burnt the sacrifice of the righteous man with water doth clothe Himself in water! Him do ye children bless, ye priests hymn, ye people exalt supremely for all ages!

Christ cometh to grant deliverance unto all the faithful through baptism; for thereby He cleanseth Adam, raiseth up the fallen, putteth the fallen tyrant to shame, openeth the heavens, draweth down the divine Spirit and granteth a share in incorruption.

The delusion of the enemy hath come to an end, for the voice of one crying in the wilderness crieth: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”, and commandeth: “Make straight His paths!” For the valley, the nature of mortals, which is humbled is now exalted, and the mountains and hills, our enemies, have been cast down.

O the all-glorious gifts! O the divine grace and ineffable love! For, lo! the sinless Master and Creator cleanseth me with water, enlighteneth me with fire, and maketh me perfect through the divine Spirit, clothing Himself in my nature now in the Jordan.

Ode IX

Irmos: Lament not in vain, O ye who are being choked by knots of despair and have become subject to evil, but in compunction of soul let us approach Him Who cleanseth all things, for He alone is pure and granteth forgiveness through baptism.

Before Thou didst cause wonder in thy strange and supernatural nativity from the Virgin, O Word of God; and now, all-gloriously performing a great mystery through honorable participation, we magnify the font which hath become fruitful through the divine Spirit.

The earth was hallowed by Thy holy nativity, O Word, when the heavens proclaimed Thy glory by the star; and now the nature of water is blessed as Thou art baptized in the flesh, and the race of mortals hath regained its primal nobility.

Let all the earth rejoice! Let heaven be glad! Let the world exult! Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the springs, the lakes and the depths of the sea rejoice together! For Christ cometh to purify and save Adam through divine baptism!

The irmos is chanted again, whereupon we make a prostration.

At Matins

At “God is the Lord…”, the Troparion of the Forefeast, thrice.

After the first chanting of the Psalter, this Sessional hymn, in Tone I, Special Melody: “the choir of the angels…”

Be glad, O River Jordan! For unto thee doth the Creator come of His own will, to receive baptism from a servant, in that He is compassionate. Adorn thyself and dance, O Adam, and Eve our first mother! The all-good God hath come, the deliverance of all!

Glory…, Now and ever…, in the same melody

The Master, as the Torrent of delight, cometh forth to be baptized in the river’s streams, desiring to fill me with purity through the waters; and John, beholding Him, cried aloud: “How can I stretch forth my hand to touch the head of Thee before Whom all things tremble?”

After the second chanting of the Psalter, this Sessional hymn, in Tone III, Special Melody: “Awed by the beauty of thy virginity…”

Clothing the nakedness of Adam in the raiment of glory, O Compassionate One, Thou desirest to strip Thyself naked in the flesh, in the River Jordan. O the all-glorious wonder! How doth water receive Thee, O Lord and Master, Who coverest the chambers with waters, as it is written? O Jesus our Benefactor, we all hymn Thine epiphany!

Glory…, Now and ever…, in the same melody

Christ our God, the great Sun Who shone forth from the Virgin as from a cloud, cometh to shine forth in the Jordan, dispelling the darkness of sin and illumining the ends of the world. Let us pray with piety, that we may receive His effulgence, asking for great mercy.

Canon of the Forefeast, with 6 Troparia, including the irmos; that of the martyrs, with 4 Troparia; and that of the venerable one, with 4 Troparia.

Ode I

Canon of the Forefeast, in Tone I

Irmos: Delivered from bitter bondage, Israel traversed the impassable as though it were dry land, and, seeing the enemy drowning, they chanted a hymn to God, as to their Benefactor, Who worketh wonders with His upraised arm, for He hath been glorified.

Christ cometh to baptism! Christ arriveth at the Jordan! Christ now burieth our sins in the water, in that He is good! With gladness let us chant unto Him, for He hath been glorified.

Let the clouds, rejoicing, let great gladness fall! Jesus Christ cometh forth to drown the torrents of men’s sin in the waters of the Jordan, granting enlightenment unto all.

Behold, the Light is revealed! Behold, purification is shown forth! Lo! the Savior standeth forth to shine rays of His divine splendor upon those in darkness! Let us joyfully embrace Him with pure thoughts.

Canon of the martyrs, in Tone VII

Irmos: Let us chant a hymn of victory unto the Lord, Who engulfed all the power of Pharaoh in the sea: for He hath been glorified.

Come, ye faithful, and glorifying together let us celebrate on the Forefeast the memorial of the athletes, Christ in spiritual hymns.

The passion-bearers of Christ and steadfast champions of the Faith, having armed themselves with might against ungodliness, vanquished the enemy,

The ungodly and impious tyrant, a stranger to the Faith of Christ who raged against the passion-bearers, is destroyed by their faith.

Theotokion: O Theotokos, from all want do thou save this flock which thou hast acquired, making entreaty to our God and Savior.

Canon of the Venerable One, in Tone II

Irmos: Come, ye people, let us chant a hymn to Christ God, Who divided the sea and guided the people whom He had led forth from the bondage of Egypt, for He hath been glorified.

I who am senseless and wholly impure come forth to crown thy memory with hymns, setting my hope on thee. Grant me the discourse of wisdom and understanding by thine entreaties.

Having taken thy whole mind up to the divine heights, and come to know the abyss of good things and the goodness of delight, thou didst endure all that befell thee.

Desiring great glory, thou gavest wings to thy mind, to soar aloft to God Most High, and through abstinence and pangs didst lighten thy body, which had drawn thee down toward the earth.

Theotokion: He Who became incarnate of thy womb, O Theotokos, remained what He was before, and bestowed upon us who were created from dust that which we were in the beginning, delivering us from our transgressions.

Ode III

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: Let no mortal boast in his wisdom or riches, but rather in his faith in the Lord, crying out to Christ God in Orthodox manner, and ever chanting: On the rock of Thy commandments establish me, O Master!

Christ, Who hath been seated with the Father and the Spirit from before time began, and Who became incarnate of the Virgin in latter times, cometh to baptism, granting immortality unto all through the divine font, as He knoweth.

Desiring, in the loving-kindness of His mercy, to bury our sins with water in the Jordan’s streams, Christ God cometh forth and by baptism restoreth us who have become corrupt.

Covering the shameful nakedness of our first father Adam, Thou hast voluntarily stripped Thyself naked, O Christ, and Thou coverest Thyself in the streams of the Jordan, O Thou Who alone art greatly merciful, and Who coverest Thy chambers with waters.

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: My heart hath been established in the Lord; my horn hath been exalted in my God; my mouth hath been enlarged over the enemy; and I have found gladness in Thy salvation.

Let us praise Theopemptus and the all-glorious Theonas, the proponents of piety and faith, the divine athletes.

Having shown yourselves to be a rule, a model and an example, O great martyrs of Christ, for the saints ye became guides to martyrdom.

Eagerly desiring their life of virtue, the martyrs who stood together with them at the tribunal cried aloud: “All of us are Christians!”

Theotokion: Thou wast ineffably born of the Virgin, O Thou Who lovest mankind, and hast revealed Thyself as was Thy good pleasure, and hast restored the world, O Lord.

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: Establish us in thee, O Lord Who hast slain sin by the Tree, and plant the fear of Thee in the hearts of us who hymn Thee.

Thou didst not spare thy flesh many wounds, nor the agony of being dragged irresistibly to the pangs of abstinence, wherein the tempter was expelled.

Thou didst choose the narrow path which leadeth to the divine life of incorruption, spurning the wide path, of which there is truly naught worse for the mind to contemplate.

Thou didst escape the burning flower of youth through the privations and pangs of asceticism, and with the outpourings of thy tears didst extinguish the burning of thine eyes.

Theotokion: The Word Who became incarnate of thee, O most pure one, desiring to wash away the defilement of the flesh, amazed the water’s flow with the manner of His cleansing.

Kontakion of the Forefeast, in Tone II, Special Melody: “Seeking the highest…”

O Christ, Who in Thy compassion and infinite mercy takest away the multitude of all our transgressions, Thou comest as a man to be baptized in the waters of the Jordan, clothing me in the raiment of the ancient glory of which I was cruelly stripped bare.

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

Theopemptus, who hath been shown to be a holy hierarch for those here below, together with the steadfast Theonas, his fellow athlete, is wounded, crying out with joy to the torturers who were unable to bear their opposition: “I honor Thee Who alone hast buried the transgressions of mortals in the streams of the Jordan!”

Glory…: Another Sessional hymn, of the venerable one, in Tone V, Special Melody: “The Word Who with the Father and the Spirit is equally without beginning…”

Thou hast transcended the pain of enduring ascetic feats, and dost delight in the sublime mansions in the heavens and hast been filled with greater radiance, for thou didst manfully tread the difficult path, transcending things present. Thou didst make thyself like unto the angels, and now sharest in their glory.

Now and ever…: Sessional hymn of the Forefeast, in Tone I, Special Melody: “Thy tomb, O Savior…”

The great Rain cometh forth to the river’s streams, desiring to be baptized in the flesh; and to Him the godly Forerunner said in fear: “How can I baptize Thee Who art wholly without defilement? How can I stretch forth my hand to the head of Thee before Whom all things tremble?”

Ode IV

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: Habbakuk, of old, heard wondrous report of Thee, O Christ, and cried out in fear: God shall come out of Thæman, and the Holy One out of a mountain overshadowed and densely wooded, to save His anointed! Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Draw ye forth the water of life! For, lo! the River of peace truly cometh to dry up the rolling waters of unbelief and to pour forth enlightenment upon those who sing to Him: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Be glad, O human nature, thou desert which before was arid with thirst! The Torrent of delight hath now appeared, freeing all from the burning heat of sin with the waters of the Jordan. To Him do we chant with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

The voice of one crying forth in prophecy thundered forth upon barren minds, saying: “Prepare ye straight ways for Christ Who cometh, that He may through baptism purify us who have grown old, releasing us from our primal condemnation!”

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: I heard report of Thee and was afraid; I understood Thy works and was filled with awe, O Lord.

Ye watered the whole world with divine discourses, O great martyrs of Christ, and set falsehood at naught.

Riches which cannot be taken away did the athletes truly find, and they spat upon wealth, glory and the fame of mortals.

Having put on the armor of Christ, therein the passion-bearers repelled all the savagery of the tyrants.

Theotokion: O pure Mother, blessed and holy Virgin, from every evil circumstance save those who hymn thee.

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: Thou didst come forth from the Virgin, neither a mediator nor an angel, but Thyself incarnate, O Lord, and hast saved me, the whole man; wherefore, I cry to thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Excelling in the beauty of thy body, thou wast spoken for by many, who did not obtain their desire. Wherefore, having laid waste to thy body, thou didst partake of divine beauty.

Like Job, thou didst endure bodily affliction and didst not protest the sentence imposed upon thee; and, transcending nature and time, thou hast received a divine habitation.

Thou didst withdraw from thy kinfolk, parents and estates, seeking Christ alone, the inexhaustible riches which cannot be taken away, and with Him thou hast been shown to be a partaker of glory on high.

Theotokion: Thine Offspring hath delivered Adam from corruption, having become like man except for corruption; for thy conceiving transcended man. Wherefore, O Maiden, deliver me from corruption and evils.

Ode V

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: Shine forth Thy never-waning light, O Christ, into the hearts of those who hymn Thee with faith, granting us the peace which passeth understanding. Wherefore, hastening from the night of ignorance to the day by Thy light, we glorify Thee, Who lovest mankind.

As King of peace, Thou hast broken down the middle-wall of enmity, appearing to those on earth in fleshly form; wherefore, beholding Thine arrival, John marvelled in fear when he was commanded to place his hand upon Thee.

Hastening, Christ cometh now to crush the heads of the serpents in the waters, and crieth out to the trembling baptist: “Stretch forth thy hand, and touch my head, and shake off thine awe, doing that which thou art commanded!”

The prophet once uttered the grace of baptism in the divine Spirit, striking the streams of the Jordan with his mantle; and they have parted, making for us a path to the divine regeneration of Christ Who hath appeared therein.

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: Rising at dawn unto Thy glory and laudation, O Word, we unceasingly praise the image of Thy Cross, which Thou hast given us as a weapon to help us.

The wise athletes, the warriors of the Faith, having valiantly vanquished the torments of the all-iniquitous enemy, have together received crowns.

Neither inducements, nor lies, nor earthly glory were able to bring an end to your contest of faith, O athletes; wherefore, rejoice ye!

Standing before the throne of the glory of the Lord, with the angels make unceasing supplication, that He grant cleansing of transgressions to those who hymn you with faith.

Theotokion: O most holy Virgin who art full of joy, and who, in manner past description, gavest birth to the Word in time: Entreat Him, that He save our souls.

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: O Lord, Bestower of light and Creator of the ages: guide us in the light of Thy commandments, for we know none other God than Thee.

Thou wast a temple of the Word Who dwelleth among the pure spirits, O wise one; for thou didst illumine the beauty of thy soul with the manifold pangs of abstinence, O all-glorious one.

With many pangs, thou didst mortify the flesh which was robed in purple by natural grace, making the shining image of thy soul yet brighter in radiance through the light of the virtues.

Having set the matter of thy body afire with the desire of thy soul for Christ, thou dost now truly rejoice immaterially with the immaterial angels, gazing upon God.

Theotokion: The Head of the pious, Who without seed was truly born of thy womb, O most pure one, hath now crushed the heads of the serpents who made their lair in the streams.

Ode VI

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: I am wholly held fast by boundless passions, and have fallen into the sea monster of evils; yet lead me up from corruption, O God, as thou didst Jonah of old, and grant me dispassion by faith, that I may sacrifice to Thee with a voice of praise and in the spirit of salvation.

Showing forth the loving-kindness of His compassions, the immutable Christ cometh to a servant in the guise of a servant, asking baptism, and rescuing mankind from slavery; and marvelling at His coming, the Forerunner stood in awe, held fast by fear.

How can the river’s streams receive Thee, the unbearable Fire Who art now come? How can the angels of heaven look upon Thy nakedness? How can the hand of John stretch forth to touch Thee, O Word of God Who art wholly without beginning, and Who created him on earth?

Fleeing, the sea is parted, disclosing for the new people a divine path which He Who all-gloriously poured forth water from the rock, having come in the flesh, hath made in the midst of the river. Let us glorify as God Him Who hath built up anew our ruination.

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: Jonah cried out from the belly of hades: Lead up my life from corruption! And we cry out to Thee: O almighty Savior, have mercy on us!

Contending in the arena, the martyrs set at naught the falsehood of idolatry and rooted out all ungodliness from the earth by their martyrdom.

O glorious martyrs, the enemy and persecutor of the Faith set his minions to slay thee cruelly with swords, like lambs.

When the choir of the saints beheld the tormenters armed with swords, they manfully cried aloud: “We are soldiers of Christ, O tyrant!”

Theotokion: Cease thou never in thy supplications to our God, to Whom thou didst ineffably give birth, O Theotokos, that He deliver from misfortunes us who hymn thee, O pure Ever-virgin.

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: Whirled about in the abyss of sin, I call upon the unfathomable abyss of Thy loving-kindness: Lead me up from corruption, O God!

Illumined with the radiance of the Spirit, thou didst reject all the delight of the flesh as a thing of the night; for thou wast crowned with the desire for good things.

Today thy splendid memorial hath shone forth from afar, enlightening the darkness of men’s souls, O adornment of struggling monastics.

Thou didst preserve the purity of thy virginity, honoring the incorrupt bridal-chamber; for thou wast afire with desire for Christ, thine awesome Bridegroom.

Theotokion: That we might be filled with glory, the Lord of glory hath come to inglorious humanity; and, washed like a man, thy Son hath glorified men.

Kontakion of the Forefeast, in Tone IV

In the streams of the Jordan the Lord crieth out to John today: Fear not to baptize Me, for I have come to save Adam the first-created!

Ikos: “I do not require thee to transgress the bounds of what is meet, O Baptist; I say not unto thee: Tell Me what thou tellest the iniquitous, and what thou teachest sinners. Only baptize Me in silence, awaiting those things which come through baptism; for it is for this cause that thou hast received a dignity which even the angels do not possess; for I have made thee greater than all the prophets. Thus, not one of them beheld Me plainly, but only in images, shadows and reflections; but thou beheldest Me standing before thee. For I am come to save Adam the first-created!”

Ode VII

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: The youths, who once were manifestly shown forth as holy for their piety, passed through the unbearable flame of the furnace as though it were a bridal chamber; and, chanting with one accord, they sang: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Christ hath revealed Himself as our salvation, granting us enlightenment. Let heaven rejoice, and let the clouds truly drop down righteousness upon those who cry: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

The fleece which Gideon foresaw, the full cup of water drawn forth therefrom, manifestly foretold Thy baptism, O Christ, which Thou, having undergone it, givest to those who chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Elisha, in healing the barren and brackish waters, prefigured the fruitfulness of the precious font which would mystically come upon those who chant: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: Thou didst bedew the burning furnace, O Savior and didst save the children who chanted, saying: Blessed art Thou forever, O Lord God of our fathers!

Together ye accepted martyrdom, slain by the sword with your wives and children, crying out to Christ: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

The saints rejoiced, beholding themselves slain by the sword, and with faith they cried aloud: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

The savagery of the ungodly hath been extirpated from the earth, the false gods have fallen headlong and been broken asunder by the confession of the martyrs, who have received crowns.

Theotokion: Save thy flock from every evil circumstance, O most holy and pure one, for thou alone art the intercessor of our race, O most hymned and blessed Theotokos.

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: The command of the iniquitous tyrant, opposed to God, raised up a lofty flame; but Christ, Who is blessed and all-glorious, spread a spiritual dew upon the pious youths.

The adversary, plotting wickedly, strove to weaken the strength of thy soul by infirmities; but he who tried the patience of Job was driven away by thy wisdom and pangs, wounded by thy patience, O wise one.

Rich in beauty, thy soul hath now escaped the threefold billows of life for the right tranquil haven in the divine habitations, O wise one, where a place of rest hath been prepared for thee because of thy great endurance of sufferings.

Thou didst wisely teach, saying: “One must never change one’s place of residence in the cœnobitic life, for endurance winneth great rewards.” And thou wast truly not slow to employ words and actions to benefit monastics.

Theotokion: The nature of water cleanseth me of sin through the wisdom of thy supernatural Offspring, O Virgin Bride of God; for the cleansing of God, the Creator of life, cleanseth me who have defiled myself with many offenses.

Ode VIII

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: Of old, the fiery furnace, moist with dew, showed forth the image of a supernatural wonder; for the fire consumed not the youths, revealing the seedless, divine nativity of Christ from the Virgin. Wherefore, chanting, let us sing: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

With a loud voice let us send up praise to the Master. He hath arrived! He hath appeared! He Who clotheth the sky with clouds cometh up to the waters and doth strip Himself naked. And He is baptized, cleansing us who chant: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Come ye, and let us noetically go to the Jordan; and let us behold therein a great sight: for Jesus our enlightenment cometh and boweth His head beneath the hand of a servant, who crieth out with trembling: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Burning in the waters of the Jordan, the glowing Ember which Isaiah foresaw, hath consumed all the tinder of sin and hath granted restoration to the ruined. Wherefore, chanting, let us sing: Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him supremely for all ages!

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: The only unoriginate King of glory, whom the hosts of heaven bless, and before Whom the ranks of angels tremble, do ye hymn, O ye priests, and exalt supremely, O ye people!

The wise athletes, confessing the only compassionate King of glory, received crowns of honor, crying out with goodly boldness: Ye people, exalt Him supremely forever!

The athletes of Christ steadfastly opposed the tormenters, suffering valiantly, and they vanquished the falsehood of idolatry, crying out with goodly boldness: Ye people, exalt Him supremely forever!

Triumphing over the threats and tortures of the tyrants, like adamant, the valiant warriors joyously cried out: Hymn the Lord, ye priests! Ye people, exalt Him supremely forever!

Theotokion: The one compassionate and preëternal Word, Who was born of the Virgin in the latter days and hath saved the human race, do ye hymn, O priests! Ye people, exalt Him supremely forever!

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: God, Who descended into the fiery furnace for the Hebrew children and transformed the flame into dew, hymn ye as Lord, O ye works, and exalt Him ­supremely for all ages!

While living on earth, thou didst truly desire to attain unto the land of the blessed, where the ranks of the angels, the venerable, the fasters and virgins, dwelling eternally, hymn Christ for all ages.

As one surpassing many in natural comeliness, thou didst care for thy soul, wisely preserving thy spiritual beauty; wherefore, having caused the beauty of thy body to wither, thou didst set thy soul afire with abstinence.

Having acquired a mind vigilant for God through spiritual fervor, thou didst set the wiles of the lying deviser of evils utterly at naught, O glorious one; and now, having fallen asleep, thou livest forever.

Theotokion: Desiring in His extreme love to restore mortals, O pure one, thy Son hasteneth to the Jordan as a man; for there He breaketh Him Who brought ruin upon all, renewing the world by thy supplications.

Ode IX

Canon of the Forefeast

Irmos: Ineffable is the mystery of the Virgin! For she hath been shown forth as heaven, the throne of the cherubim, and the light-bearing bridal chamber of Christ God Almighty. Her do we piously magnify as the Theotokos.

An awesome and all-glorious mystery do I behold! Jesus cometh of His own will to the River Jordan, crying out to John: “Grant Me the loan of thy right hand, My friend, that it may perform awesome works for the preservation of My people.”

Let the desert of the Jordan put forth flowers! O ye who lie in darkness, a great Light hath revealed Itself to you! Beholding It, leap up! Coming from Galilee, Christ desireth to be baptized in the flesh by a servant!

Be glad now and dance, O Jordan! Leap up, O John! Rejoice, all the world! Lo! Christ hath appeared: He strippeth Himself naked and is baptized, clothing mankind in the raiment of incorruption!

Canon of the Martyrs

Irmos: O ye faithful, with hymns let us magnify the Theotokos, who became a mother in manner transcending nature, is a Virgin by nature, and alone is blessed among women!

The passion-bearers of Christ, having trampled all the rites of idolatry underfoot by their faith and piously reached the godly conclusion of their contest, have been made steadfast through faith.

Having spurned all earthly things through faith and together suffered zealously, the passion-bearers of Christ received healing from God.

The passion-bearers, having manfully armed themselves with faith, cast down the hordes of the enemy by the Cross of the Lord, and have received crowns.

Theotokion: Having conceived in thy womb the unapproachable Word and given birth to Him for us without seed, pray thou earnestly, that our souls may be saved.

Canon of the Venerable One

Irmos: God the Lord, the Son of the unoriginate Father, hath revealed Himself to us incarnate of the Virgin, to enlighten those in darkness and to gather the dispersed. Wherefore, we magnify the all-hymned Theotokos.

Resplendent in the beauties of virginity, O glorious one, thou didst adorn thyself with the crown of the ascetic life; wherefore, thine awesome Bridegroom, by the love of Whom thou wast wounded, hath crowned thee with a twofold crown.

Thy trust in things to come, which thou didst have in thy heart, did not disappoint thee, O most honored one; for thou hast now received from the Savior the reward of thy pangs, for having passed through every form of ascetic endeavor.

Thou didst clothe thyself in the might and confirmation of Christ, O honored one, and didst bring down to the ground the pridefulness of him who uttered falsehood against the Most High. Wherefore, Jesus, the Bestower of victory, hath adorned thee with the crown of victory.

Theotokion: In thee hath might been imparted to our fallen first father, who lacked the strength to go further; for through the baptism of thy Son all malice hath now been drowned. Wherefore, we proclaim thee the cause of purification.

Exapostilarion of the Forefeast, Special Melody: “By the Spirit in the sanctuary…”

When the Jordan beheld thee naked, with trembling it said to him who was born of the barren woman: “O John, thou durst not baptize the Lord, Who purifieth all creation with fire and the Spirit, though He hath come to sanctify mortals and the nature of water!”

Glory…, Now and ever…: another exapostilarion, in the same melody

He Who in the flesh shone forth from the Virgin in Bethlehem now hasteneth to the Jordan, to wash away the defilement of mortals, leading to the light those who are in darkness, through divine baptism.

On the Praises, 4 stichera, in Tone VI, Special Melody: “Go forth, O angelic hosts…”

“Wherefore dost thou fail to comprehend the dispensation which I bring to pass for the salvation of all, O Baptist? Think no more upon the things of the past, but ponder that which is profitable. Believe on God Who hath come down, and, having once refused, obey Me now; for in My loving-kindness I Who am God have come to cleanse Adam of the fall.”

“O Jesus Who takest our sins upon Thy shoulders, Thou hast come to the streams of the Jordan, and I am filled with fear at Thine awesome coming. How then dost Thou command me to baptize Thee? Thou hast come Thyself to cleanse me: how then dost Thou, Who art the purification of all, ask baptism of me?”

“I am the unapproachable Word, though I have clothed My nature in the guise of a servant and have come to the Jordan. Refuse Me not, but come hither and be not afraid. Draw nigh unto Me, setting thy right hand upon My head, crying: Blessed art Thou Who hast appeared! O our God, glory to Thee!”

“O how far beyond understanding is Thine infinite self-abasement for the sake of me who am fallen, O Word of God! I have recognized Thee Who in thy loving-kindness clothed Thyself in Adam and restorest the descendants of Adam; and, obedient to Thy command, with faith I cry unto Thee: Blessed art Thou Who hast appeared! O our God, glory to Thee!”

Glory…, in the same melody

Serving the Master with trembling, John rejoiceth in soul and crieth out with gladness: “Rejoice with me, all ye generations of our first father! For our Hope hath arrived! Christ hath come to the Jordan to wash away all the sin of Adam, in that He is compassionate!”

Now and ever…, in the same melody

O ye people, let us chant unto Him Who was born of the Virgin and hath been baptized in the River Jordan, and let us cry out to Him: O King of all creation, grant that, without condemnation, with a clear conscience, and with faith, we may attain unto thy holy resurrection from the dead on the third day.

Aposticha stichera, in Tone II, Special Melody: “O house of Ephratha…”

Behold! the King, the Hope of Israel, hath arrived! Rejoice, O ye people, for the Light hath revealed Himself!

Stichos: Therefore will I remember Thee from the land of Jordan and Hermoniem.

Now hath the divine Light, having become visible in the flesh to those on earth, revealed Himself to those in darkness and shone forth grace upon all.

Stichos: The waters saw Thee, O God, the waters saw Thee and were afraid.

O prophet, friend of the Bridegroom, thou beacon of the Light and ray of the Sun, Forerunner of the Word: minister unto Him!

Glory…, Now and ever…, the composition of Anatolius, in Tone VIII

“O John the baptist, who recognized Me, the Lamb, in My Mother’s womb, minister unto Me in the river, and offer worship unto Me with the angels. Stretching forth thy hand, touch Mine all-pure head with thy hand; and when thou beholdest the mountains trembling and Jordan turning back, cry aloud with them: O Lord Who becamest incarnate of the Virgin for our salvation, glory be to Thee!”

After “It is good to give thanks…”, Trisagion through Our Father…, Troparion. Litanies. Dismissal.

The Menaion of the Orthodox Church © Isaac E. Lambertsen