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The 6th Day of the Month of March

The Commemoration of the Forty-Two Martyrs of Amorium

At Vespers

On “Lord, I have cried…,” these stichera, in Tone IV, Special Melody: “Called from on high….”

Having appeared in the latter times, as unwaning stars in the honored firmament of the Church, O right victorious martyrs, ye illumined all the earth with the splendor of your suffering and destroyed the darkness of deception, O most laudable ones; and now ye have passed over to the eternal effulgence. Wherefore, with faith we celebrate your radiant and sacred suffering, enriched by your intercession.

O martyrs of Christ, ye were bound after summary arrest, and were all incarcerated in prison durance vile, being divine keepers of the Faith; therefore, the infamous beast, enraged, slew with the sword you who declined to submit to his evil commands. And now, ye have joyously inherited the heavens, having joined yourselves to the kingdom, O ye forty-two all-glorious ones.

Let us all praise aloud Constantine, Basoës and Callistus, Theodore and Theophilus, and the rest of the godly company of athletes; for, sacrificing themselves joyfully, they chose to die for the Life of all. And now they rest in the city of the living God, and ask that we may find remission of offenses on the day of judgement and complete deliverance.

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

O most immaculate Theotokos, from every attack of the enemy do thou save those who with piety worship thine Offspring, as thou art the intercessor for our whole race; for thee have we all now acquired as our help, refuge and confirmation, and a mediatress before Christ, the Master and Lord. Him do thou entreat, we pray, that He grant peace to the world and forgiveness of sins unto those who have recourse to thy protection.

Or this Stavrotheotokion

“Lament Me not, O Mother, beholding thy Son and God hanging upon the Tree, Who suspended the earth upon the waters without support and fashioned all creation: for I shall arise and be glorified, and shall crush the kingdom of hades with might, and destroy the power thereof, in that I am compassionate; and I shall lead them to My Father, in that I love mankind!”

But if it be Saturday or Sunday, the following doxasticon is chanted, the composition of Methodius: Glory…, idiomelon in Tone II

Today the Church, arrayed in a new garment, the blood of the new athletes, as in purple and fine linen, doth mystically celebrate: for, nurtured in piety, she hath offered them up as an unblemished sacrifice, acceptable and well-pleasing to Thee, O Christ. Wherefore, O Thou Who didst show them to be victors over the most iniquitous and hast crowned and glorified them, by their supplications send down upon us great mercy.

On the Aposticha: Glory…, the composition of the Sykeote, in Tone VI

Come, ye who love the martyrs, and, spiritually celebrating the most sacred memory of the divinely crowned regiment of newly manifest martyrs, the unblemished immolation sacrificed zealously for Christ, the holy army of the elect, forty-two strong, let us cry out to them: Subdue ye the savagery of the godless Hagarenes, and deliver the people of Orthodox mind from every evil circumstance, by your supplications.

Troparion, in Tone IV

In their sufferings, O Lord, Thy martyrs received imperishable crowns from Thee, our God; for, possessed of Thy might, they cast down tyrants and crushed the feeble audacity of the demons. By their supplications, save Thou our souls.

At Matins

The canon, the composition of Ignatius,

in Tone VIII

Ode I

Irmos: Having traversed the water as though it were dry land, and escaped the evil of Egypt, the Israelite cried aloud: Let us chant unto our Deliverer and God!

At the entreaties of Thine athletes, O Christ, guide to the haven of salvation me who have fallen into the deep of sins and have recourse unto the abyss of Thy compassion.

Resplendent in the beauty of the virtues, wearing the robe dyed red in the blood of the martyrs, holding the Cross as a scepter, thou reignest with the Lord, O Theodore.

In hymns, O ye faithful, let us praise Theodore, Callistus and Basoës, and with them Theophilus and the valiant Constantine and the rest.

Theotokion: The soul-corrupting deceiver and enemy spewed forth his venom into the ears of Eve; but thou, O Mother of God, having given birth unto Christ, hast repaired the harm he wrought.

Ode III

Irmos: O Lord, Fashioner of the vault of heaven and Creator of the Church: establish me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, confirmation of the faithful, Who alone lovest mankind.

As one truly enlightened by the radiance of the worship of God and adorned with the beauty of godly deeds, O blessed and glorious one, thou hast broken the dark impiety of the ungodliness of the barbarians.

The streams of blood which gushed in rivers from the all-pure bodies of Thine athletes, O compassionate Lord, won for them Thy kingdom and a torrent of delight.

The most valiant athletes, having now shone forth like true stars of the firmament of the Holy Church, have illumined the whole universe with the rays of their sufferings.

Theotokion: He Who alone loveth mankind, having taken flesh in thy womb and become man, for the sake of what is higher, saveth man from the gates of death, O all-pure Mother of God who alone art all-hymned.

Kontakion, in Tone IV, Special Melody: “Having been lifted up….”

Having suffered on earth for the sake of Christ and been shown to be crowned with piety, ye have received the reward of dwelling in joy in the heavens; for, having set at nought every wile of the enemy, by the pain and blood of your wounds ye ever bestow remission of sins from on high upon those who praise you.

Sessional hymn, in Tone VIII, Special Melody: “Of the ­Wisdom….”

Ye were led, bound, by the enemy and imprisoned in a dungeon; yet, preserved by faith, ye remained unharmed. And having been released from your bodies by the sword, O holy ones, ye were manifestly bound by divine desire. Wherefore, ye shone forth in the world like beacons, illumining all with the grace of the Spirit, O blessed athletes. Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of sins unto those who celebrate your holy memory with love.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Theotokion

All of us, the generations of men, call thee blessed who, alone among women, as virgin gavest birth without seed unto God in the flesh; for the fire of the Godhead made its abode within thee, and thou didst nourish the Creator and Lord with thy milk as a babe. Wherefore, we, the generations of angels and men, glorify thy birthgiving as is meet, and together we cry out to thee: Entreat Christ God, that He grant remission of offenses unto those who with faith worship thine all-holy Offspring.

Or this Stavrotheotokion

The Ewe-lamb, beholding the Lamb, Shepherd and Deliverer upon the Cross, cried aloud, weeping, and, bitterly lamenting, exclaimed: “The world rejoiceth, receiving deliverance through Thee; but my womb doth burn, beholding Thy crucifixion, which Thou endurest in the loving-kindness of Thy mercy. O long-suffering Lord, Abyss and inexhaustible Wellspring of mercy, take pity and grant remission of offenses unto those who with faith hymn Thy divine sufferings.

Ode IV

Irmos: Thou art my strength, O Lord, Thou art my power; Thou art my God, Thou art my joy, Who, without leaving the bosom of the Father, hast visited our lowliness. Wherefore, with the Prophet Habbakuk I cry unto Thee: Glory to Thy power, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

Adorned with the beauties of thy struggles, invested with a robe empurpled with thy martyr’s blood, thou wast adorned with the diadem of victory. Wherefore, thou joinest chorus with the martyrs before the face of the Lord, O most blessed Theodore.

Thy feet fettered with iron in prison, O invincible Callistus, thou didst pray that thou mightest walk the straight path without faltering; and, parted from thy body by the sword, thou wast straightway bound by the love of the Creator.

Having contended lawfully and been beheaded for Christ, the Head of all, the divine army, the regiment mustered by God, the forty-two athletes from many places and cities, have now shone forth.

Theotokion: Thou art the boast of the faithful, O unwedded one; thou art the intercessor, thou art the refuge, the bulwark and haven of Christians; for thou bearest entreaties to thy Son, O most immaculate one, and savest from tribulations those who with faith and love glorify thee as the pure Theotokos.

Ode V

Irmos: Wherefore hast Thou turned Thy face from me, O Light never-waning? And why hath a strange darkness covered me, wretch that I am? But turn me, and guide my steps to the light of Thy commandments, I pray.

Foreseeing crowns and lasting glory, O Theodore, with bold mien thou didst cry out to those who were suffering with thee: “Be ye in no wise daunted by death, whereby in but a little while ye will receive gladness and ineffable life!”

Wounded with the love of thy Master and consumed by the fire of desire for Him, O blessed one, thou didst drain the cup of martyrdom, which in no wise is polluted by secondary defilements, O ever-memorable athlete Callistus.

With steadfast resolve thou wast the first to go forth to combat, and thou wast a lesson in courage for those who suffered with thee, O Theodore. With them hast thou inherited the everlasting resting places and everlasting delight.

Theotokion: By thy supplications grant remission of offenses unto thy servants, delivering them from temptations, tribulations and sorrows, and conquest by blaspheming heretics, O most immaculate Virgin Theotokos.

Ode VI

Irmos: Cleanse me, O Savior, for many are my transgressions; and lead me up from the abyss of evils, I pray, for to Thee have I cried, and Thou hast hearkened to me, O God of my salvation.

Watered with the streams of thy blood as by a river, thou didst dry up the torrents of turbid deception; and thou dost give drink to the hearts of all the faithful, O right wondrous Theodore.

Leading Thy martyrs up from the depths of suffering, Thou didst establish them upon the rock of endurance when they had left the paths of the enemy and the ways of the perverse, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Having piously cleansed yourselves of the defilement of ungodliness, O martyrs, ye made glad the city of God with your blood which flowed forth beautifully like a river from Eden.

Theotokion: Like an animate ark thou didst contain the Bestower of the law, and like a holy temple thou didst receive the Holy One Who became man, unto the benefit of men, O pure one.

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

With wreaths of praise, as is meet, let us all crown the newly-revealed stars of faith who suffered earnestly for Christ and who pray to Him in our behalf, in that they are pillars and ramparts of the Christian realm.

Ikos: Loathing and abominating with all your soul the ungodly religion of the Moslems and the deceit of the cruel demon, and keeping the divine seal of Christ intact within your hearts, ye did not give support to those who despise Him; moreover, like lambs slaughtered diligently for Him, ye shone forth like the sun after your repose, attaining immortal glory, as pillars and ramparts of the Christian realm.

Ode VII

Irmos: Once, in Babylon, the youths who had come forth from Judæa trod down the flame of the furnace with their faith in the Trinity, chanting: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

As one who lawfully contended, thou didst receive crowns of righteousness from the one Master, and now delightest in divine beauty, O Theodore, crying out: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Led voluntarily to the slaughter, like a lamb to the sacrifice, O martyr, thou wast laid upon the high altar of sacrifice, chanting when thou wast slaughtered: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Aflame in his heart with the fire of Thy love, O Word, the martyr Callistus burned up the thorns of impiety, chanting unto Thee: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Thinking to persuade the divinely wise to renounce Christ, the all-mindless Ishmael was put to shame; for as they died, they cried out piously: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Theotokion: Thou didst reveal Thyself incarnate of the Virgin’s womb for our salvation. Wherefore, knowing Thy Mother to be the Theotokos, we cry out in thanksgiving: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII

Irmos: Madly did the Chaldæan tyrant heat the furnace sevenfold for the pious ones; but, beholding them saved by a higher Power, he cried out to the Creator and Deliverer: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt Him supremely for all ages!

The choir of athletes received thee as another of its number, shining with the beauties of martyrdom; the air was sanctified in thy return, O martyr, and multitudes of angels assembled; and the ground where thy body lieth is hallowed, O thrice-blessed Theodore of steadfast mind.

Being already heir of the Lord, led of thine own will to slaughter, O Callistus, thou didst not allow thyself to be bound with bonds when thy head was cut off. Wherefore, having ascended as one crowned, thou joinest chorus with the hosts on high for all ages.

Let Callistus be blessed, and let Theodore be praised, and the wondrous Basoës and the rest of the choir of the martyrs, joining chorus with the choirs of angels and chanting unceasingly: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt God supremely for all ages!

Cast into the river, the glorious martyrs were led, after the retribution of the sword, to the right calm haven which is rest in Christ; and having dried up the waters of deception with torrents of blood, they have taught all to chant: Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt God supremely for all ages!

Theotokion: O most pure Theotokos, cleanse thou the wounds of my soul and the stripes of my sins, washing them with springs which gush forth from the side of thine Offspring and purifying them with streams therefrom; for to thee do I cry, to thee do I flee, and thee, who art full of the grace of God, do I invoke.

Ode IX

Irmos: Heaven was stricken with awe, and the ends of the earth were amazed, that God hath appeared in the flesh, and that thy womb became more spacious than the heavens. Wherefore, the ranks of men and angels magnify thee as the Theotokos.

Emulating the valor of the athletes of old, thou didst truly receive both their title and joy, O Theodore. Be thou mindful of us who piously keep thy holy memory, in that thou hast boldness before the Master, that we may be saved.

He Who was baptized in the streams of the Jordan, joined in the river those who were baptized in their own blood and who emulated His death, joining to their bodies their cast-away heads and guiding them to a dry harbor.

O godly forty-two martyrs who now dwell in joy in the heavens, make entreaty, we pray, in behalf of us who celebrate your most holy and splendid memory on earth, that we may be delivered from every evil circumstance.

Theotokion: Without seed, and apart from the desires of the flesh, O Virgin, didst thou conceive the Word of God Who hath created all things; and thou gavest birth unto Him without corruption and ­maternal pangs. Wherefore, confessing thee with tongue and heart to be the Theotokos, we magnify thee.

Exapostilarion, Special Melody: “Hearken, ye women….”

How can one who loveth the martyrs have enough of the divine memory of the martyrs, as Basil the Great said in the past? Before us now lieth the task of hymning the forty-two godly martyrs who suffered steadfastly for Christ the Savior.

Theotokion

O Virgin who gavest birth unto the hypostatic Wisdom, the transcendent Word, the Physician of bodies and souls: Heal thou the grievous and heavy sores and wounds of my soul, and still the pain of my heart.

The Menaion of the Orthodox Church © Isaac E. Lambertsen