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The 10th Day of the Month of May

Commemoration of Our Venerable Mother, Isidora of Tabenna

At Vespers

On “Lord, I have cried…”, these stichera, in Tone VIII

Having mystically acquired the mind of Christ, thou wast called a fool by the world, O all-wise Isidora; for assuming the guise of slothfulness and indifference, while in truth undertaking ineffable labors and struggles at night, thou didst voluntarily accept reproaches and abasement, finding mystic consolation in the grace of God. Wherefore, O blessed one, be thou mindful of us who celebrate thy most joyous memorial.

Thou didst hide thyself from the eyes of men, diligently fleeing earthly glory, O venerable Isidora, when the Lord was pleased to disclose thy struggles; yet the glory of heaven hath overtaken thee, for now thou canst not escape it, in that the whole world doth unanimously glorify thee, praising thy patience and humble-mindedness. Wherefore, O blessed one, be thou mindful of us who celebrate thy most joyous memorial.

As of old on the day of Pentecost, when the ignorant who beheld the coming of the Spirit mistook His activity for drunkenness, so did the senseless ones call drunkenness the activity of the Spirit of Christ which dwelt within thee, O most lauded and venerable mother Isidora, mocking and reproaching thee; but thou, mystically filled with divine gladness, didst cry aloud with joy: “I glorify Thee, O Christ my King, for Thou hast vouchsafed me to receive dishonor for Thy sake! Wherefore, accept me into Thine eternal mansions, and in Thy kingdom remember me with the honest thief.”

Glory…, in Tone I

O blessed Isidora, who can tell of thy wondrous humility of mind? Who doth not marvel at thy great patience? Who doth not declare the majesty of thy comely soul? O thou who art divinely wise, entreat Christ God in behalf of those who honor thy holy memory with love.

Now and ever…, from the Pentecostarion.

At the Aposticha, the stichera from the Pentecostarion; and Glory…, in Tone VI

Desiring the honors of a higher calling, thou didst drink in dishonor as it were water, O venerable one, thereby slaking thy spiritual thirst and in nowise knowing satiety; wherefore, when Christ God desired to glorify thee, thou didst hide from the eyes of men. Yet the whole world hath learned of thy struggles, and we all now cry out to thee: Rejoice, thou who hast been crowned with a heavenly diadem! Rejoice, O faithful handmaid of Christ! Rejoice, thou who among the all-wise art most wise! Forget us not in thy confident supplications.

Now and ever…, from the Pentecostarion.

Troparion in Tone VIII

In thee, O mother, that which was created according to the image of God was manifestly saved; for, taking up thy cross, thou didst follow after Christ; and, praying, thou didst learn to disdain the flesh, for it passeth away, but to care for thy soul as a thing immortal. Wherefore, with the angels thy spirit doth rejoice, O venerable Isidora.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Troparion from the Pentecostarion.

At Matins

Canon of the venerable one, the acrostic whereof is: “Teach us wisdom, O thou who art wise in Christ”, the composition of Valeria, in Tone IV

Ode I

Irmos: O Thou Who wast born of the Virgin, drown Thou, I pray Thee, the three parts of my soul in the depths of dispassion, as of old Thou didst drown the mounted captains of Pharaoh; that, in the mortality of my body, as on a timbrel, I may chant a hymn of victory.

Thou didst put the wise and the all-wise of this age to shame, O thrice blessed mother, having assimilated the foolishness of the preaching of Christ, thereby casting down the most prideful prince of darkness and this world, and chanting to the Savior a hymn of victory.

Thou didst amaze the ranks of the angels with thy humility of mind, O mother; and having opened the gates of heaven thereby as with a key, thou didst sow with many tears, but now reapest the joy of life everlasting, chanting to Christ God a hymn of victory.

Thou wast truly shown to be a wise virgin, ever preserving the oil of mercy and love in thy heart; yet thou wast foolishly called a fool by men, zealously fleeing earthly glory, but mystically rejoicing and chanting a hymn of victory.

Theotokion: O most hymned Theotokos, thou most beautiful garden of paradise, thou dwelling-place of God all adorned and gilded by the Spirit, truly the hymnody offered to thy glory surpasseth all hymnody.

Ode III

Irmos: Neither in wisdom, nor in power, nor yet in riches do we boast, but in Thee, O Christ, the hypostatic Wisdom of the Father; for none is holy save Thee, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

“O Christ, Thou hypostatic Wisdom of the Father, for Thy sake I reject the understanding of the wise. Yet grant that I never be parted from Thee!” thou didst cry, O blessed one.

Full of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and heeding His voice mystically in thy heart, thou didst assume the appearance of drunkenness before men, O venerable one, willingly enduring their reproaches.

Who can tell of thine all-night labors, O mother? Who can count thy tears? Who doth not marvel at thy boundless humility of mind, whereby thou hast laid up the eternal good things as treasure?

Theotokion: We confess thee to be the true Theotokos, more exalted than all creation, whose beauty the King and Lord of all truly desired, calling thee His Mother.

Kontakion of the venerable one, in Tone II

Having acquired the mind of Christ, O divinely wise one, thou didst reject the wisdom of this world, showing the appearance of drunkenness to men, but worshiping God with understanding, meditating on His wisdom every hour, filled with the Holy Spirit. Wherefore, we all cry out: Rejoice, O Isidora, thou boast of Tabenna!

Ikos: Vouchsafed a revelation from God, the elder asked: “Where is she who hath pleased God more than all others? Where is she who is wiser than her peers? Behold, I have come to look upon her honored countenance and to delight in her conversation, not so much to give her a blessing as to do her homage. Why is she so humble of mind that she fleeth from our eyes? For a city which standeth on the summit of a mountain cannot be hid!” Wherefore, we all now truly cry out to thee: Rejoice, O Isidora, thou boast of Tabenna!

Sessional hymn, in Tone VII

“I am the reproach of men!” thou didst cry, O blessed one. “By all who see me am I mocked! They speak with their lips and wag their heads, and they array their wicked souls against me, desiring to inflict pain upon my heart! Yet, O my Joy, deliver me from those who surround me, establishing me upon the rock of humble-mindedness. Grant me a word of consolation, and save me!”

Glory…, Now and ever…: Sessional hymn from the Pentecostarion.

Ode IV

Irmos: I have heard of Thy glorious dispensation, O Christ God, how Thou wast born of the Virgin, that Thou mightest save from deception those who cry: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Laboring and struggling at night, thou didst magnificently walk upon the waves, illumining the darkness with thy prayer as with a pillar of fire, and crying out: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Hell, that place of great evil, gnashed its teeth at thee, stirring up a storm of blasphemy and reproach against thee; yet, wounding its head with thy humility of mind, thou didst cry aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

The holy elder, hearing report of thy struggles, was amazed, and greatly desired to behold thine honored face; yet, unable to see thee with the eyes of his body, he perceived thy spiritual exaltation and cried: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Theotokion: Thou didst issue forth, born of the all-immaculate Virgin, to save men, O Christ. Her didst thou choose beforehand from among all creation of ages past. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Ode V

Irmos: Shine forth upon me the light of Thy precepts, O Lord, for my spirit riseth early unto Thee and hymneth Thee: for Thou art our God, and I flee to Thee, O King of peace.

“Even though I walk amid the shadow of death, I will no fear evil, for Thou art with me, O my Savior and mine enlightenment!” thou didst cry, O venerable one, setting forth at night to undertake thine activities.

When the material sun had set, thou didst issue forth to meet Christ, the Sun of righteousness, shedding thy guise of foolishness as it were a garment, arraying thyself in the majesty of holiness.

“For the unbelieving night is devoid of light, O Christ, but the enlightenment of the faithful is in the sweetness of Thy words,” thou didst reason, O blessed Isidora, offering thy nocturnal labors to the Savior as a gift.

Theotokion: Rejoice, O deliverance of Adam, palace of the Word radiant in majesty! Enlighten thou our darkened hearts, dispelling the darkness of despondency.

Ode VI

Irmos: II have come unto the depths of the sea, and the tempest of my many sins hath engulfed me; but, as God, lead up my life from the abyss, O greatly Merciful One.

“Behold, those close to me have hated me!” thou didst cry, O mother; “I am mocked and reviled by all! But do Thou accept me, O Christ God, and save me!”

“I endure reproaches as is meet because of my wickedness,” thou didst reason, O blessed one, crucifying the arrogance of Adam.

Wounded with spiritual wounds and beset by the assaults of the enemy, like Peter on the deep, thou didst stretch forth thy hands to the Savior, O mother.

Theotokion: Come thou to our salvation, O blessed Theotokos! For, lo! we who sail the sea of life are in distress. Rebuke thou the tempest, as once thy Son did.

Kontakion & Ikos from the Pentecostarion.

Ode VII

Irmos: The three youths in Babylon, having put to mockery the tyrant’s command, cried out amid the flames: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

Cast into the furnace of temptations like the three children in Babylon of old, thou didst bring to Christ a contrite heart and an humble spirit, crying out with them: Blessed art Thou, the God of our fathers!

Magnificently adorning thy bridal-chamber of thy soul, but neglecting the temple of thy body, and lighting inextinguishable lamps of love, O wise virgin Isidora, thou didst cry out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

Giving to men the appearance of negligence and foolishness, but unceasingly serving the triune God in spirit, tried by the fire of evil mockery like gold in a crucible, O mother, thou didst cry out: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers!

Theotokion: Offering Thee Thy blessed Mother as a gift, O Christ, all of us mortals set her before Thee to make supplication. Be merciful to us, O God of our fathers!

Ode VIII

Irmos: O Master Who hast created all things in Thy wisdom, Thou hast established the earth as a weight upon the deep, planting its foundation upon the boundless waters. Wherefore, we all cry out, chanting: Bless the Lord unceasingly, O ye works of the Lord!

Hearing with the ears of thy soul, which were enlightened by God, all creation and every breath glorifying God, O divinely wise and venerable one, day and night thou didst cry out with the mouth of thy heart: Bless the Lord unceasingly, O ye works of the Lord!

Thy works were not hidden from the all-radiant eyes of God, and thy struggles were revealed to men; wherefore, recognizing in thee the chosen vessel of God, the people rejoiced, glorifying God Who is wondrous in His saints, and crying out: Bless the Lord unceasingly, O ye works of the Lord!

Do thou ever rejoice, O righteous Isidora, having grieved on earth, willingly emulating Christ. And be thou comforted, O blessed one, by the gaze of Him Who is more comely than the children of men, crying out to Him in thanksgiving: Bless the Lord unceasingly, O ye works of the Lord!

Theotokion: Hearing of the Virgin Who gave birth to the promised Savior, Eve, our first mother, hath come to her senses and shaken off her gloom, magnifying the Theotokos aloud and crying: “Who is this who hath trampled the most wicked serpent underfoot, wounding his head? Behold, our deliverance hath truly been revealed! Bless the Lord unceasingly, O ye works of the Lord!”

Ode IX

Irmos: The ineffable hidden mystery of God is revealed in thee, O all-pure Virgin; for God hath become incarnate of thee in His loving-kindness. Wherefore, we magnify thee as the Theotokos.

Neither afflictions, nor mockery, nor reproaches troubled thee or were able to separate thee from the love of God, for ascending therewith, as by a ladder, thou didst safely reach the mansions on high; wherefore, we magnify thee with love.

Now hast thou shed the appearance of foolishness, O all-wise Isidora, shining with the saints in glory amid the never-waning day, and chanting unceasing praise to God; wherefore, we magnify thee with love.

Though in thine earthly life thou didst flee from those who honored thee, yet, O blessed one, never cease to look down upon them from the heavens, granting them speedy aid and fervently delivering them from misfortunes, that they may magnify thee with love.

Theotokion: Thou hast revealed to us the Sun of righteousness, the Savior of the world, Who was proclaimed of old by the prophets; and thereby thou hast wiped all sorrow from the face of the earth. Wherefore, O blessed Theotokos, we magnify thee with heart and mouth.

Exapostilarion of the venerable one

To those who faithfully honor her memory the blessed Isidora crieth out: “Come, my friends, and learn of me! I have suffered a little in this transitory life and have humbled myself, I have nourished my soul with my tears and have clothed myself in abasement as in a robe. Yet Christ the Lord hath now rent asunder my hair-shirt and girt me about with divine gladness; He hath crowned me with glory and honor. Wherefore, be ye of good courage and strengthen yourselves with hope, for our Savior, Who hath great mercy, shall soon transform your sorrows into joy.”

The Menaion of the Orthodox Church © Isaac E. Lambertsen