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The 7th Day of the Month of September

Forefeast of the Nativity of the All-holy Theotokos

Commemoration of Our Venerable Mother Cassiana, the Hymnographer

At Vespers

On “Lord, I have cried…”: 6 stichera: 3 of the forefeast (see in the Menaion), and 3 of the venerable one, in Tone I, Special Melody: “Joy of the ranks of heaven…”

Like a nightingale singing hymns divine, like a lark uplifting its voice in song, like a melodious flute inspired by the Spirit of God, the venerable Cassiana setteth forth her incomparable hymns, and thereby moveth all the faithful to great compunction.

Cassiana, great among those whom the Spirit hath inspired, doth chant sweet-sounding hymns unto God, wherewith she instructeth us in piety and guideth us in the ways of repentance, that we may worship and glorify Christ our incarnate Savior.

Having acquired boldness before the Master of all, Cassiana standeth in the train of His all-pure Mother, and prayeth most earnestly, that those who honor her memory and celebrate it with splendor may be delivered from dire misfortunes and perils.

Glory…: Idiomelon, in Tone II

When the New Rome held sway upon the earth, and its rulers upheld the Christian Faith, the venerable Cassiana, filled with the Spirit of God, chanted therein hymns of glory to Christ our God, praising also His holy martyrs, adding the golden coins of her inspiration to our rich treasury of spiritual songs. Wherefore, hearkening to her wondrous poesy, let us clap our hands with gladness, O ye faithful, crying out in adoration to the Word Who took flesh of the Ever-virgin: Great is Thy mercy! O Lord, glory to Thee!

Now and ever…. of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

Aposticha stichera of the forefeast (see in the Menaion); and Glory…: Idiomelon of the venerable one, in Tone II

The City of Constantine exulteth, enriched by the labors and memory of the chaste Cassiana; and, summoning the Christ-loving flock, it crieth out: Come, ye who love the venerable one, and let us rejoice on the day of her commemoration! Come and be glad, ye who love the saints of Christ! Come and behold the latter-day disciple of David the Psalmist! Come ye, and hearken to the melodious hymns she hath wrought for the good of our souls! For as the sinful woman, of whom she so eloquently sang, once washed the feet of Christ with her tears, so now doth Cassiana draw forth from us tears of compunction; and she prayeth now unceasingly to the Holy Trinity, that those who with faith celebrate her memory may be delivered from corruption and temptations, and from all manner of tribulations.

Now and ever…. of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

Troparion of the venerable one, in Tone VIII

In thee, O mother, that which is fashioned according to the image of God was preserved; for, taking up thy cross, thou didst follow after Christ, and by thy hymnody thou dost teach us the power of repentance: that tears shed in penitence wash away our sins and transgressions. Wherefore, thy spirit rejoiceth with the angels, O venerable Cassiana.

Glory…. Now and ever…: Troparion of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

At Matins

At “God is the Lord…”, the Troparion of the forefeast, twice; Glory…, that of the venerable one; Now and ever…, of the forefeast, again.

After the kathismata of the Psalter, the Sessional hymns of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

Canon of the forefeast,, with 8 Troparia, the irmos being chanted twice (see in the Menaion); and that of the venerable one, with 4 Troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Like cassia is the hymnody of Cassiana”, in Tone VI

Ode I

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.

Like cassia doth the memory of the venerable Cassiana fill our souls with sweet fragrance, and like myrrh and stacte do her excellent hymns perfume the Church of Christ, moving all to chant: Gloriously hath He been glorified!

In chastity the venerable one avoided a royal marriage, preferring to betroth herself to Christ, the King of kings, to instruct maidens in the ways of God, and to teach them to chant unto Him: Gloriously hath He been glorified.

Knowing that tears of repentance and sighs of compunction are of more worth than costly ointment and precious gems, Cassiana praised the sinful woman who anointed the feet of Christ, crying: Gloriously hath He been glorified.

Theotokion: Elderly and past the age of begetting children, the pious Joachim and Anna yet begat the Mother of Him Who saved the children of Israel from the tyrant in the Red Sea; and like them they cried: Gloriously hath He been glorified.

Ode III

Irmos: Creation, beholding Thee, Who suspended the whole earth without support upon the waters, Thyself suspended upon Golgotha, was seized with great awe, crying out: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Cassiana's hymns ever move us to contrition; for, hearing them we are filled with great awe, and falling down before the Savior Who was crucified for our sake, we cry out: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

All creation is moved to awe, beholding the gift of hymnody which the venerable one hath been granted by Christ, the preëternal Word of God, that she might lead us to cry: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Seized and overcome by the fear of God, we sinners lift our voices in praise of the great Cassiana, who by her compunctionate hymns bringeth us to cry aloud unto Christ: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Theotokion: She who, according to the promise of God, was born to be the Mother of the Redeemer, would behold Him uplifted upon the Cross in the place of the skull, crying out: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Kontakion of the venerable one, in Tone III

Resplendent with a mind inspired by the Spirit, O blessed and divinely wise Cassiana, thou art like a splendid diadem set upon the brow of the Church of Christ; for thine all-beauteous hymns adorn it like most precious gems. Wherefore, we fervently beseech thee: Grant the divine gift of thine inspiration unto those who earnestly desire it, that the faithful may ever cry out unto thee: Rejoice, O venerable mother, thou glory and boast of all the Orthodox!

Ikos: Shining with the brilliance of piety, full of divine luster, thy hymns are like beauteous jewels of many facets, each reflecting the supernal radiance of Him Who dwelleth in light unapproachable, O Cassiana; and when we chant them with reverence and compunction, we are filled with sanctifying grace, which cleanseth us of sin and exalteth us in mind to heavenly things, which laying up in our hearts, we ponder in spirit, crying out to thee in thanksgiving: Rejoice, O venerable mother, thou glory and boast of all the Orthodox!

Sessional hymn of the venerable one, in Tone IV

Watered by living streams of piety, thy mind flourished like a palm-tree, O Cassiana, and, nourished by the Spirit of God, it brought forth in abundance the fruits of an inspired intellect: the peerless hymns which fill the hearts of the faithful with compunction. Wherefore, taught by thee the ways of repentance, O venerable mother, in thanksgiving we cry unto thee: Entreat Christ our Savior, that He have mercy on those who honor thy holy memory.

Glory…, Now and ever…. of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

Ode IV

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.

In meekness and humility didst thou refute the ungodly emperor, O Cassiana, defending the honored place of womanhood in the divine dispensation of man's salvation; wherefore, thou didst betroth thyself to the Almighty

Against him who said "All that is evil hath come from a woman," Cassiana, filled with the Spirit, replied: “But from a woman all that is most sublime hath come,” thus standing forth as champion for the all-holy Theotokos.

Theotokion: Seeing thee in foreshadowings and visions, O Theotokos, the prophets of God perceived thee as the unquarried mountain, the rod of Aaron that put forth leaves and fruit, and the Mother of the Messiah, Who is God Almighty.

Ode V

Irmos: I rise early unto Thee, O Word of God, Who, in Thy loving-kindness, didst immutably debase Thyself and didst dispassionately subject Thyself to sufferings. Grant peace unto me who have fallen, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Thou didst embrace the life of repentance, O venerable one, submitting thyself to monastic obedience, seeking to subject the passions of the flesh to thy spirit through fasting and ascetic feats, and thereby gaining peace for thy soul.

Having foresworn wedlock, O Cassiana, thou didst bow thy neck beneath the easy monastic yoke, daily rising early to greet in fervent prayer thy heavenly Bridegroom, Christ the Savior, Who loveth mankind and suffered for our sake.

Entangled are we in worldly concerns, beset are we by the sufferings of life and assailed by trials and temptations, but by thine earnest supplications move the Lord to grant us peace in His loving-kindness, O venerable mother.

Theotokion: Have pity on us who rise early unto thee, and in thy loving-kindness spread forth thy protecting veil over us, the fallen, O Mother of the Word, begging peace for us in thy supplications to thy Son and God, Who suffered for our sake.

Ode VI

Irmos: Jonah was swallowed, but was not held fast in the belly of the monster; for, serving as an image of Thee, Who didst suffer and wast given over for burial, he issued forth from the whale as from a bridal chamber. And he said to the watchmen, the vain and false guardians: Ye have forsaken His mercy!

Ye who have forsaken the mercy of Christ, who, in thrall to gluttony and the passions of the flesh, serve your base desires, hearken to the voice of the blessed Cassiana, who summoneth all to foreswear vanity and sin, and to offer tears of contrition and repentance, lest your souls perish utterly.

Mankind is swallowed up by iniquity, as by an all-devouring beast from whose maw few escape; but in her hymnody Cassiana showeth us that repentance will free us from his imprisoning belly, and tears shed in remorse will force him to vomit us forth, as of old the sea monster spewed forth Jonah.

Nineveh repented in sackcloth and ashes when Jonah proclaimed the warning of the Lord, yet we fail to heed the inspired words of the holy Cassiana, who calleth upon us to weep bitter tears over our sins. Woe unto us, lest in our indifference we come to hear the dread words: Ye have forsaken His mercy!

Theotokion: O pure Theotokos, rescue us whom the monster of the abyss holdeth fast in his talons, seeking to devour us, and deliver us from his foul embrace, that, saved, we may escape the toils of death and find refuge in the haven of thy loving-kindness, in the splendors of the bridal chamber of thy Son.

Kontakion & ikos of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

Ode VII

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!

Disdain us not, who with unworthy mouths dare to praise thy virtues and chant thy hymns, O Cassiana, but deliver us from the furnace of lusts, that with thee we may cry: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Ye Christians, lift up your voices in song, extolling the venerable one, who in hymnody praised the woman who washed the feet of Christ with her tears, saying: "O Savior of men's souls, disdain me not!"

O Lord, accept our sighs and the streams of our tears, for, imitating the sinful woman, whom Cassiana praised, we cry out to Thee, the unfathomable Abyss of mercy: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Theotokion: Flames await the ungodly in the life to come, for the love of God burneth those who spurn it, but it is salvation and delight for those who chant unto the Son of the Virgin: O God our Deliverer, blessed art Thou!

Ode VIII

Irmos: The godly children denounced the pillar of evil opposed to God; and the assembly of the iniquitous which raged against Christ deviseth empty plots, intending to slay Him Who holdeth life in the palm of His hand. Him doth all creation bless, glorifying Him forever.

Carrying the burden of our transgressions like a heavy weight, we imitate the sinful woman in all but repentance, for our eyes shed no tears to wash away our iniquities; but at the prayers of the holy Cassiana, O Lord, disdain us not, whom Thou hast created.

All-compunctionate is the great hymn which Cassiana wrote in praise of the sinful woman, teaching us to follow her in tearful repentance for our iniquities; wherefore, let us hearken to her prompting and cry unto Christ, Whom all creation doth bless, glorifying Him forever.

Sinful beyond all measure, we have set up our lusts as an idol, which in our evil we adore; but Cassiana teacheth us to cast down our passions like a pillar, and to cleanse our souls of idolatrous sin, worshiping Jesus, Whom all creation doth bless, glorifying Him forever

Theotokion: Saved from damnation are we who worship the Son of the Virgin, Whose palms were pierced with nails for our sins, and Who died that we might have abundant life. Wherefore, let us cease our iniquities and cry: Him doth all creation bless, glorifying Him forever.

Ode IX

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.

In sacred hymnody did Cassiana glorify the wondrous Gurius, Samonas and Habib, who with the choir of the martyrs welcomed her to the mansions of paradise, wherein they join chorus together around the throne of Christ, our eternal God.

Auxentius and Mardarius, Eugene and Orestes, led by the divinely wise Eustratius escorted the venerable Cassiana to the everlasting bridal-chamber, where the banquet of the Lamb of God is set forth for all who magnify Him with faith and love.

Now let us exalt with glory Cassiana, in that she hath taught us to magnify the saints of God; for with the all-immaculate Theotokos, the honorable Forerunner and the companies of the martyrs she giveth everlasting praise to Almighty God.

Theotokion: Acclaim ye the Mother of Him Who was conceived without seed, the immaculate Theotokos whose all-pure womb is undefiled; for the eternal God Who was born of her will magnify with glory all who with faith and love magnify her with hymns of praise.

Exapostilarion of the venerable one, Special Melody: “Hearken, ye women…”

The City of Constantine boasteth in thee, O Cassiana, and the Church of Christ, illumined by thy hymnody, rejoiceth exceedingly in thy holy memory; for by thee are we all taught the power of repentance and the infinite loving-kindness of God Who loveth mankind.

Glory…, Now and ever…. of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

Aposticha of the forefeast (see in the Menaion); and Glory…: Idiomelon of the venerable one, in Tone IV

Let us hymn and piously praise the saint of Godthe harp of the Spirit and lamp of the Church of Godfor her life was lived in accordance with her holy name. Wherefore, with laudation let us cry out to her: Rejoice, O divinely wise Cassiana, whose hymns are redolent of the myrrh and cassia wherewith the precious and incorruptible body of the Lord was embalmed! Rejoice, O holy one, who didst increase greatly the talant entrusted thee by God! Rejoice, O venerable one, most comely scion of devout nobility! Rejoice, O most blessed one, model of humility and chastity, who dwellest now in the bridal-chamber of thy Master on high! Rejoice, O wise virgin, who leddest other maidens unto Christ the Bridegroom! Rejoice, O namesake of the great Cassian, guide of monastics and teacher of repentance! We beseech thee to deliver from all wrath and tribulation those who celebrate thy holy memory, and to make us partakers of ineffable glory in the life to come.

Now and ever…. of the forefeast (see in the Menaion).

At Divine Liturgy

Prokimenon, in Tone IV

Wondrous is God in His saints, the God of Israel.

Stichos: In congregations bless ye God, the Lord from the well-springs of Israel.

Epistle to the Galatians, §208

Brethren: Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Alleluia, in Tone I

Stichos: With patience I waited patiently for the Lord, and He was attentive unto me, and He hearkened unto my supplication.

Stichos: And He brought me up out of the pit of misery, and from the mire of clay.

Gospel according to Luke, §33

At that time, one of the Pharisees desired Jesus that He would eat with him. And He went down into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying: "This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is who toucheth Him; for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said unto him: "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee." And he said: "Master, say on." "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most?" Simon answered and said: "I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most." And He said unto him: "Thou hast rightly judged." And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon: "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss: but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." And He said unto her: "Thy sins are forgiven." And those who sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves: "Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" And He said to the woman: "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

Communion Verse

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

Author's note.: The stichera idiomela of this service are inspired by stichera composed by the venerable Cassiana herself: that on "Lord, I have cried" is inspired by one she composed for the Nativity of Christ; that from the Vespers Aposticha is based on one from the service to the Martyrs Gurius, Samonas & Habib (November 13th)' and that from the Matins Aposticha is based on one from the service to the Greatmartyr Eustratius & companions (December 13th). The irmoi selected for the Canon of St. Cassiana are taken from Matins of Great & Holy Saturday (St. Cassiana composed the irmoi of Odes I through V herself; the rest were written by St. Cosmas of Maîuma).

The Menaion of the Orthodox Church © Isaac E. Lambertsen