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The 15th Day Of The Month Of September

Commemoration Of The Appearance Of The Wonder-Working Lesna Icon Of The All-Holy Theotokos

Afterfeast Of The Exaltation Of The Cross

At Great Vespers

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

On “Lord, I have cried…”, 8 stichera: 3 of the Cross, in Tone V, Special Melody: “Rejoice, O Life-bearing Cross…”

Rejoice, O life-bearing Cross, invincible victory of piety, gate of paradise, confirmation of the faithful, rampart of the Church, whereby corruption hath been destroyed and abolished, and the power of death hath been trampled down, and we have been raised up from earth to the heavens, O invincible weapon, opponent of the demons, glory of the martyrs, true adornment of the venerable, haven of salvation, grant the world great mercy.

Rejoice, O Cross of the Lord, whereby mankind hath been released from the curse, thou ensign of joy, who in thine exaltation drivest away the enemy, O most honored one, our helper, dominion of kings, might of the righteous, splendor of priests, who, when traced, dost deliver from evils, staff of power, whereby we are shepherded, weapon of peace around whom the angels stand in fear, divine glory of Christ, Who granteth the world great mercy!

Rejoice, O guide of the blind, physician of the ailing, resurrection of all the dead, who hast lifted us up who have fallen into corruption, O precious Cross, whereby the curse hath been annulled and incorruption hath blossomed forth, and we mortals have been deified, and the devil hath been utterly cast down! Beholding thee today uplifted in the arms of the hierarch, we exalt Him Who was lifted up upon thee, and we bow down before thee, richly drawing forth great mercy.

And 5 stichera of the Icon, idiomela, in Tone I

O the sacred and mystic day whereon divine things are revealed to the world, fountains of grace flow forth, and holy things are discovered! This is the day whereon the Life-creating tree of the Cross was uncovered of old! This is the day whereon the icon of the Mother of God hath now wondrously appeared! To both do the people offer homage with fear and love, crying out with thanksgiving: O Christ God Who wast crucified and hast risen from the dead, through the Theotokos have mercy upon us.

We worship now before the Life-creating Tree, whereby salvation hath been wrought for the world, and we honor also the life-giving fountain of grace, thine icon, O Mistress, from whence thou pourest forth inexhaustible mercy upon the people and makest countless miracles manifest. Wherefore, falling down before thee with love, Christians cry out to thy Son and God: O Christ God Who wast crucified and hast risen from the dead, through the Theotokos have mercy upon us.

Standing before the Cross of thy Son, O Theotokos, and being crucified with Him in thy heart, thou didst receive from His all-pure mouth the adoption of the human race; for which cause, we Christians dare to call thee Mother. Wherefore, stop the torrents of cruel tribulations which pour forth upon thine ungrateful and wicked children, that, giving fervent thanks to thy Son and God from the depths of our souls, we may cry out: O Christ God Who wast crucified and hast risen from the dead, through the Theotokos have mercy upon us.

In Tone III: Again shepherds marvel; again they bow down before the Virgin Mary and the divine Infant, not in the cave of Bethlehem, but in the grove of Bukovich; again they are illumined with a heavenly light and declare the miracle to the people who, believing on that which was announced to them, run with haste to behold the all-blessed one. With them let us cry out to her: Rejoice, O Mistress, thou never-waning light of our souls!

Having discovered thy wondrous image, O all-pure one, the people cried out, gazing upon thee with fear and trembling: “Come unto us sinners, O golden tabernacle of sanctity! And in manifesting thyself, hide not again thine all-pure face from us! Abide with us, for it inclineth toward evening, and the daylight of the world hath waned. Enter into our church, bringing grace with thee, whereby thou mayest ever heal our souls, making them habitations of the Spirit Comforter!”

Glory…, in Tone VI

The voices of the prophets foretold the holy Tree whereby Adam was loosed from the ancient curse of death, and creation raiseth a cry to that which today is exalted, begging great mercy of God. O Master, Who alone art boundless in loving-kindness: be Thou our cleansing and save our souls!

Now and ever, in Tone V

The Cross of Christ is the standard of salvation and weapon of victory! The icon of the Mother of God is the sign of mercy and treasury of hope! Let us honor both today and kiss them with love and fear, crying out and exclaiming unceasingly: O Christ God Who wast nailed to the Cross, save us through the entreaties of Thine all-pure Mother!

Entrance. Great Prokimenon, in Tone VII

Our God is in Heaven and on earth; all things soever He hath willed, He hath done.

Stichos: When Israel went out of Egypt, and the house of Jacob from among a barbarous people, Judæa became His sanctuary.

Stichos: The sea beheld and fled, Jordan turned back.

Stichos: What aileth thee, O sea, that thou fleddest? And thou, O Jordan, that thou didst turn back?

And 3 Readings:

A Reading from Genesis

Jacob went forth from the well of the oath, and departed into Haran. And he came to a certain place, and slept there, for the sun had gone down; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it at his head, and lay down to sleep in that place, and dreamed: and behold a ladder fixed on the earth, whose top reached to heaven, and the angels of God ascended and descended on it. And the Lord stood upon it, and said: “I am the God of thy father Abraham, and the God of Isaac. Fear not; the land on which thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be like the sand of the earth; and it shall spread abroad to the sea, and the south, and the north, and the east; and in thee and in thy seed shall all tribes of the earth be blessed. And behold I am with thee to preserve thee continually in all the way wherein thou shalt go; and I will bring thee back to this land; for I will not desert thee, until I have done all that I have said to thee.” And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and said: “The Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” And he was afraid, and sad: “How fearful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

A Reading from the Prophecy of Ezekiel

Thus saith the Lord: “It shall come to pass from the eighth day and onward, that the priests shall offer your wholeburnt-offerings on the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you,” saith the Lord. Then He brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary that faceth eastward; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me: “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall pass through it; for the Lord God of Israel shall enter by it, and it shall be shut. For the Prince, He shall sit in it, to eat bread before the Lord; He shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go forth by the way of the same.” And He brought me in by the way of the gate that faceth northward, in front of the house: and I looked, and, behold! the house was full of the glory of the Lord.

A Reading from Proverbs

Wisdom hath built a house for herself and set up seven pillars. She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine in a bowl and prepared her table. She hath sent forth her servants, calling with a loud proclamation to the feast, saying: “Whoso is foolish, let him turn aside to me.” And to those who want understanding, she saith: “Come, eat of my bread, and drink wine which I have mingled for you. Leave folly, that ye may reign forever; and seek wisdom, and improve understanding by knowledge.” He that reproveth evil men shall get dishonor to himself; and he that rebuketh an ungodly man shall disgrace himself. Rebuke not evil men, lest they should hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give an opportunity to a wise man, and he will be wiser: instruct a just man, and he will receive more instruction. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the counsel of the law is the character of a sound mind. For in this way thou shalt live long, and years of thy life shall be added to thee.

At Litya, these stichera of the icon

In Tone IV: Heed ye the shepherds of Bukovich, who declare: “Come ye and behold the divine Infant in the arms of the Virgin: not in the city of Bethlehem, but nearby, in our own country; not at the entrance to the cave, but in a forest grove; not in the past, but now, alive at this hour: for Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever! Wherefore, let us hasten to offer worship to Him and His all-pure Mother!”

He Who accepted the worship of the shepherds of Bethlehem now calleth shepherds to be first to offer homage to the icon of the Theotokos. He mercifully accepteth worship from them and sendeth them to proclaim that a new and inexhaustible wellspring of grace was revealed in the grove of Bukovich, a divine vessel of holiness: and the faithful, hastening thereto, freely receive countless divine gifts, draw forth healings and are strengthened in their infirmity, magnifying the Ever-virgin Theotokos Mary.

In Tone III: What shall we render unto thee, O Theotokos? What gifts shall we offer thee? Goodly praises, like sweet-smelling flowers? Tears of compunction, like lustrous pearls? Supplications, like incense of sweet savor? Songs and hymns, like costly myrrh? A humble spirit and a contrite heart? Spurn them not, O Mistress, but grant us incorrupt joy instead of sorrow, for thou art the treasury of all joys!

Glory…, Now and ever…, in Tone VI

Having set sorrow aside, let us array ourselves in vesture of gladness; for the splendid festival of the Mother of God hath dawned, calling the faithful to the banquet of faith. Wherefore, let us taste of the spiritual feast laid out before us, and let us slake our thirst at the wellspring of grace, that we may not depart from this banquet hungry and downcast, having obtained no benefit therefrom.

At the Aposticha, these stichera, in Tone VIII, Special Melody: “O all-glorious wonder…”

O splendid festival! O all-glorious sight! The stones have cried out, as Christ said, declaring the glory of the Mother of God: for a stone revealeth the image of her all-pure countenance and mystically formeth a treasury of divine grace within itself. Wherefore, bowing down with trembling before the prototype thereof, we chant with the choirs of those who invisibly serve with us: O all-blessed and all-pure one, abide thou with us forever!

Stichos: Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear.

Come, ye prophets who proclaimed the mystery of the Virgin! Come, ye apostles who preached the Mother of the Word to the whole world! Come, ye hierarchs who with loud voices confessed her to be the Theotokos and put the false doctrine of Nestorius to shame! Come, ye choirs of all the righteous, and, praying with us and for us, fall down before Mary, the Queen of all, forming a divinely beauteous chorus of sacred majesty, and with us chant: O all-blessed and all-pure one, abide thou with us forever!

Stichos: The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, and He will not annul it.

O ye virgins struggling in the life of ascetic endeavor, haste ye to the church of the Theotokos, and, bearing your virtues like lamps, offer them as a gift to the divine Maiden! O ye emulators of the daughter of Phanuel, come ye into the temple and bless the Mother of Emmanuel, that all of us, forming a single choir, may chant with love: O all-blessed and all-pure one, abide thou with us forever!

Glory…, in the same tone

O God, the words of Moses Thy prophet have been fulfilled, who said: “Ye shall see your life hanging before your eyes!” Today the Cross is exalted, and the world is freed from deception. Today the resurrection of Christ is renewed, and the ends of the earth rejoice, offering music to Thee on cymbals, like David, and saying: “Thou hast wrought salvation in the midst of the earth, O God: the Cross and resurrection! For their sake Thou hast saved us, O Good One Who lovest mankind! O Almighty Lord, glory be to Thee!”

Now and ever…, in the same tone

Come, take ye up the psaltery of ten strings and sweet harmonies, and let us chant a hymn to the Virgin Mother of God, beginning our hymnody like the Psalmist King: The radiant Queen hath ever stood at Thy right hand, O Christ God, adorned with the golden vesture of the Spirit, embroidered with ineffable beauty, outshining the sun in her loving-kindness. Wherefore, be Thou well pleased mercifully to hearken unto her, O Lord and Master, when she prayeth to Thee for us, O Thou Who lovest mankind.

Troparion of the Cross, in Tone I

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory to Orthodox Christians over their adversaries. And by Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Troparion of the Theotokos, in Tone IV

To thee, the Theotokos, we, the sinful and lowly, now earnestly have recourse; and we fall down in repentance, crying out from the depths of our heart: O Mistress, take pity and have mercy upon us! Haste thou, for we are perishing in the multitude of our transgressions! Turn not thy servants empty away, for thee do we have as our only hope!

At Matins

On “God is the Lord…”, the Troparion of the Mother of God, twice; Glory…, that of the Cross; Now and ever…, that of the Mother of God, once.

After the first chanting of the Psalter, this Sessional hymn, in Tone V

Hearken, O daughter of the King of heaven and Mother of the Light, and behold our sorrows and evil circumstances, and incline thine ear to our entreaties. For, lo! we have no other mighty ally than thee, nor any other refuge or consolation. We fall down before thee alone, and in thee alone do we set our hope, for thou art able to do all things soever thou desirest.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Sessional hymn of the Cross, in Tone II, Special Melody: “Full of loving-kindness…”

When Thou wast crucified, O Christ Master, the dominion and might of death were overthrown, and all the tyranny of the enemy was trampled down, and those who died of old through the tree of disobedience were given life by the Tree of the Cross. Wherefore, we hymn Thy sufferings.

After the second chanting of the Psalter, this Sessional hymn, in Tone V

O pure one, David thine ancestor, perceiving beforehand that thou wouldst be born of his blood to serve mystically for the incarnation of God, cried aloud with joy and reverence, venerating thine all-sweet name from afar, saying: I shall commemorate thy name in every generation and generation!

Glory…, Now and ever…: Sessional hymn of the Cross, in Tone III, Special Melody: “Awed by the beauty of thy virginity…”

Thou didst will to suffer death and the Cross, fixing it in the midst of creation; when it was Thy good pleasure that Thy body be nailed, the sun hid its rays. Beholding these things, the thief on the cross hymned thee, crying out: Remember me, O Lord! And, believing, he received paradise.

Polyeleos, and this magnification

It is meet to magnify thee, O Theotokos, who art more honorable than the cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.

Selected Psalm verses

A O God, give Thy judgment to the king. [71: 1]

B And Thy righteousness to the son of the king. [71: 1]

A That he may judge Thy people with righteousness. [71: 2]

B And Thy poor with judgment. [71: 2]

A He shall judge the beggars among the people, and shall save the sons of the poor. [71: 4]

B Proclaim from day to day the good tidings of the salvation of our God. [cf. 95: 2]

A The Lord shall give speech with great power to those who bring good tidings. [67: 12]

B The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, and He will not annul it. [131: 11]

A Of the fruit of thy loins will I set upon thy throne. [131: 11]

B He shall come down like rain upon a fleece. [71: 6]

A And like raindrops that fall upon the earth. [71: 6]

B And He bowed the heavens and came down, and thick darkness was under His feet. [17: 10]

A For the Lord hath elected Sion, He hath chosen her to be a habitation for Himself. [131: 13]

B The Most High hath hallowed His tabernacle. [45: 5]

A God is in the midst of her, she shall not be shaken. [45: 6]

B He shall spare the poor man and the pauper, and the souls of the poor shall He save. [71: 13]

A All the nations shall serve Him. [71: 11]

B All the day long shall they bless Him.[71: 15]

A He shall be a support in the earth on the summits of the mountains. [71: 16]

B His name shall be blessed unto the ages. [71: 17]

A And in Him shall be blessed all the tribes of the earth. [71: 17]

B Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, Who alone doeth wonders. [71: 18]

A And blessed is the name of His glory forever, and unto the ages of ages. [71: 19]

B And all the earth shall be filled with His glory. So be it. So be it. [71: 19]

Glory…, Now and ever…

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. Thrice

After the Polyeleos, this Sessional hymn, in Tone VII

Rejoice, now, O convent of the Mother of God, for to thee hath been entrusted a priceless treasury: the holy icon of the Theotokos, not shining with gold and precious stones alone, but adorned yet more with countless miracles and healings, crowned with ineffable glory, venerated by men with fear and love, and served invisibly by angels with trembling. Wherefore, O holy convent, cherish it more than the ark of the covenant, more than any divine gift, any holy thing, that thy love and ardent fervor may be accepted with love by the prototype thereof.

Song of Ascents, the first antiphon of Tone IV

Prokimenon, in Tone IV

I shall commemorate thy name in every generation and generation!

Stichos: Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear.

Let every breath praise the Lord.

Gospel according to Luke, §4 [Lk. 1: 39-49, 56]

In those days, Mary arose and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zechariah, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

After Psalm 50, this sticheron, in Tone VI

O Mistress, who of old accepted worship from the shepherds and hast revealed thy healing image to shepherds: make wise the shepherds of the Church, and shepherd the flock which thy Son hath called with His divine voice, O Virgin. Gather together the scattered sheep, save thy lambs from the wolves which destroy them, and lead them to the everlasting pastures.

Canon of the Cross, with 6 Troparia, including the irmos; and that of the icon of the Theotokos, with 8 Troparia.

Ode I

Canon of the Cross, the acrostic whereof is: “Having arrayed myself in the Cross, I give utterance to hymnody”, the composition of Cosmas of Maiuma, in Tone VIII

Irmos: Tracing an upright line with his staff, Moses divided the Red Sea for Israel, which was travelling on foot; and striking it a transverse blow, he brought the waters together over the chariots of Pharaoh, thereby inscribing the invincible weapon of the Cross. Wherefore, let us hymn Christ our God, for He hath been glorified.

Of old, Moses, standing between the priests, prefigured in himself the image of Christ’s most pure sufferings; for, forming a cross with his outstretched arms, he raised up victory, vanquishing the might of the tyrant Amalek. Wherefore, let us hymn Christ our God, for He hath been glorified.

Upon a pole did Moses set the cure of the deadly and venomous sting of the serpents, and the deliverance therefrom; for to the tree, in the image of the Cross, he bound a serpent which crawleth upon the ground, triumphing over the sinister bane therein. Wherefore, let us hymn Christ God, for He hath been glorified.

The sky showed forth the victory of the Cross to the divinely wise Emperor Constantine, the pious ruler; and therein the audacity of the hostile foe was cast down, delusion was destroyed and the divine Faith spread to the ends of the earth. Wherefore let us hymn Christ our God, for He hath been glorified.

Canon of the Icon of the Theotokos, the acrostic whereof is: “We flee beneath thy mercy, O Theotokos”, the composition of Valeria, in the same tone

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!

Come, let us hymn the Queen of the world who is more exalted than all creation, the radiant hope of the faithful, the Mother of the Unoriginate One.

The promise of the wondrous woman who would crush the head of the serpent was made amid the sorrow of our first parents when they were driven from paradise, and she hath shone forth like a never-setting star.

Mary, the divine Bride, all-adorned with ineffable virginity, read the Prophet Isaiah and pondered in perplexity: “Who is this mystic Virgin of whom the prophet speaketh?” And, lo! the archangel stood before her, crying: “Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace!”

Haste ye, run ye, O shepherds of Bethlehem, and offer homage to the Virgin Who hath given flesh to the Lamb of God! O ye shepherds of Bukovich, run ye also with haste and announce great joy: the icon of the Mother of God hath all-gloriously appeared unto us!

Katavasiae: The irmoi of the Canon of the Cross.


Canon of the Cross

Irmos: The rod of Aaron is taken to be an image of the mystery, for by its budding forth it chose one priest over others; and for the Church, which before was barren, the Tree of the Cross hath now budded forth, for her might and confirmation.

The rough stone, struck, put forth water for a disobedient and hardhearted people, and showed forth the mystery of the divinely elect Church, whereof the Cross is the might and confirmation.

When Christ’s all-pure side was pierced by the spear, blood and water flowed therefrom, renewing the covenant and washing sin away, for the Cross is the boast of the faithful, the might and confirmation of kings.

Canon of the Theotokos

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.

The magi of old brought gifts to thy divine Son, O Mistress; while we offer thee such things: accept our heart, purified by tribulations, as though it were gold, our hymns of praise like sweet-smelling incense, and our bitter tears of repentance like myrrh.

Symeon foretold that a sword would pierce thy soul, and this came to pass when Jesus most divine was lifted up upon Golgotha. Wherewith shall we be justified, O Mother of God, who ever crucify thy Son and God with our sins and wound thine immaculate and all-pure soul?

O all-holy one, who found the young Christ in the temple of God, teaching the elders and sages with authority, thou hast ineffably gladdened us who stand in church, and thou lookest upon us who have learned vanity.

Thou dost never cease to have mercy upon men, from ancient times even to this day, O blessed Theotokos who didst mediate with Christ the Lord, that He perform His first miracle in Cana of Galilee, who dost ever help and save Christians, and now revealest thy grace-filled image to us.

Kontakion of the Cross, in Tone IV

Thou Who wast lifted up willingly on the Cross, bestow Thy compassions upon the new community called after Thee, O Christ God; gladden by Thy power Orthodox Christians, granting them victory over all adversaries. May they have as an ally the invincible trophy, Thy weapon of peace.

Ikos: He who was caught up to the third heaven of paradise and heard unspeakable and divine words which the human tongue cannot utter, what writeth he unto the Galatians, which, as lovers of the Scriptures, ye have both read and come to understand? God forbid, saith he, that I should glory, save only in the Cross of the Lord, whereon having suffered He slew the passions. Let us all then firmly hold this boast, the Cross of the Lord: for this Wood is our salvation, the invincible trophy, the weapon of peace.

Sessional hymn of the Cross, in Tone IV

Raising his hands up to the heavens, Moses prefigured the Cross, the divine weapon of the faithful, to which Christ nailed our sins. Wherefore, the enemy wept pathetically, his senses wracked with pain; and he said: The spear of the Tree hath pierced me in the midst of my heart! Christ hath released all from the bonds of hell!

Glory…, Now and ever…: Sessional hymn of the Theotokos, in Tone III

Having become of old the home of the Theotokos, O captive land of Russia, why then hast thou given thyself into the hands of the devil? Wherefore, lift thyself up and return to thy senses, crying aloud: “All things are possible for thee, O Christ God! Through the Theotokos, save me!”

Ode IV

Canon of the Cross

Irmos: I have heard, O Lord, the mystery of Thy dispensation; I have understood Thy works, and have glorified Thy divinity.

Of old, Moses transformed with a tree the bitter springs in the desert, showing forth the conversion of the gentiles to piety through the Cross.

Jordan, having hidden in its depths an axe-head, gave it forth again through the power of a stick, signifying the cutting off of deception by the Cross and baptism.

In a sacred manner did the people encamp in four divisions; and preceding in this fashion the tabernacle of the witness, they were glorified in the cross-like formation of their ranks.

Wondrously stretched forth, the Cross emitted rays like the sun’s, and the heavens declared the glory of our God.

Canon of the Theotokos

Irmos: I have heard, O Lord, the mystery of Thy dispensation; I have understood Thy works, and have glorified Thy divinity.

O Virgin Theotokos, in our behalf fall down before Him Who hath redeemed us from the curse of the law by His precious blood, washing away our sins by thine entreaty.

O ye people of God, understand the power of an awesome mystery! For, lo! through the resurrection of Him alone hath life shone forth upon the whole world. Wherefore, rejoice, celebrate and dance, and glorify her who gave birth to Him Who rose from the dead.

O pure Virgin who wast filled with ineffable joy by the resurrection and ascension of thy divine Son, ask for us joy unlooked for and unexpected, and reveal it to us soon, that we may glorify thee, the joy of all joys.

Multitudes of the faithful hasten to thy wonder-working countenance, O Mistress, and the glory thereof goeth about the whole world. Priests venerate it with love, and hierarchs worship before it, glorifying thy healing gift.

Ode V

Canon of the Cross

Irmos: O thrice-blessed Tree, whereon Christ, our King and Lord, was crucified, and whereby he who beguiled mankind by the tree did fall, when God was nailed in the flesh, Who granteth peace to our souls!

O ever-hymned Tree, whereon Christ was stretched: the whirling sword which guarded Eden stood in awe of thee, O Cross, and the dread cherubim withdrew, when Christ was nailed to thee, Who granteth peace unto our souls.

The adverse powers of the nether world are stricken with fear when the sign of the Cross is traced in the air in which they live, as are the generations of the earthborn and the heavenly, who bend the knee to Christ, Who granteth peace unto our souls.

Having shone forth a divine light and revealed itself in rays of incorruption unto the benighted gentiles astray in error, the divine Cross acquireth them for Christ Who was nailed thereto, and granteth peace unto our souls.

Canon of the Theotokos

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.

With the fervor of the Spirit Who of old descended upon the apostles and upon thee in tongues of fire, O all-pure Mother of God, do thou warm our frozen hearts, illumining the eyes of our hearts therewith, teaching us to understanding things divine.

When the God-bearing heralds cast lots to choose who would go whither to proclaim the glad tidings, thou also didst desire to cast a lot, O all-pure one. Thy first lot fell to the land of Georgia, thy second to Athos the Holy Mountain, and thy third to the land of Russia, which do thou raise up from the pit of destruction.

Thy robe, which covered thy fragrant and incorrupt body, do we Christians venerate and preserve as the apple of our eye. We bow down before thine icons which pour forth healings, and kiss them. And even more do we serve thee, the prototype, with fear and love, unceasingly calling upon thy name, O most hymned one.

O Theotokos, we look upon thine icon as a wellspring of healings, a vessel of the mysteries of grace, a priceless treasure and ark of holiness, a star guiding the faithful to the kingdom of Him Who was born in Bethlehem, for from it thou dost ever pour forth gifts of thy mercy upon us.

Ode VI

Canon of the Cross

Irmos: Stretching forth his arms in the form of the Cross in the belly of the sea monster, Jonah clearly prefigured the saving passion. And issuing forth after three days, he foreshadowed the transcendent resurrection of Christ God, Who was nailed in the flesh and hath enlightened the world by His rising on the third day.

Bent with age and weighed down with infirmity, Jacob drew himself up when he crossed his arms, showing forth the power of the life-bearing Cross; for God Who was nailed in the flesh hath set aright the obsolescence of the law of the Scripture which was written in shadows, and hath dispelled the soul-destroying disease of deception.

Divine Israel, laying his hands cross-wise upon the heads of the young, revealed that the people who hath the honor of being the elder is a slave to the law. Wherefore, when suspected of erring in so doing, he did not alter the life-bearing image, for, he said, protected by the Cross, the newly established people of Christ God surpass them.

Canon of the Theotokos

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.

O most hymned Theotokos, open quickly unto us who knock upon the doors of thy loving-kindness, leading us into the holy places of a life of piety, removing from us our garments of sin, and arraying us in the vesture of salvation.

When thou didst pass over from life on earth to life immortal, O Theotokos, the Garden of Gethsemane received thine all-pure and fragrant body, yet, unable to hold it, it preserveth only thine all-holy tomb even to this day, for Christians to venerate as an inexhaustible wellspring of grace.

What tongue can describe the joy of the disciples of Christ when, after thy dormition, they beheld thee alive, O Mother of Life, ever abiding with them? Wherefore, with gladness we cry aloud: O all-holy Theotokos, help us!

The angels truly preserve this thy precious image, O Mistress. In the midst of battles, upheavals and grievous perils, amid fire and earthquake, at sea and throughout its wanderings, in danger from thieves and the cruel godless, thou hast preserved it unharmed. Wherefore, do thou ever protect thy convent from every misfortune.

Kontakion of the icon, in Tone III, Special Melody: “Today the Virgin…”

Today the Virgin all-gloriously revealeth her image to the faithful, and leaveth it for the people as a great treasure. Shepherds proclaim the wonder, and the faithful run with gladness to bow down before the newly manifest icon of the Ever-virgin, crying out with thanksgiving: For our sake hath been revealed this icon of the Mother of the preëternal God!

Ikos: Let no one become despondent, let no one fall prey to doubt or become downcast, let no one lose hope. We are not orphans, nor are we forsaken; for for our sake hath been revealed this icon of the Mother of the preëternal God!


Canon of the Cross

Irmos: The mad command of the ungodly tyrant, breathing forth threats and blasphemy hateful to God, cast the people into confusion. Yet the three youths feared not the fury of the wild beasts, nor the raging blaze; but in the midst of the fire, when the dew-bearing wind blew upon it, they sang: O all-hymned God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

The first man, tasting of the tree, made his abode in corruption; for, having condemned himself by an inglorious rejection of life, he imparted a certain taint as a corruption to the whole race. But we mortals, gaining utterance through the tree of the Cross, cry out: O all-hymned God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Disobedience violated the commandment of God, and the tree brought death to man by its being partaken of unseasonably, for, for the preservation of that which is most precious, the tree of life was forbidden; but God disclosed it to the hapless thief who cried out rightly: O all-hymned God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Israel, foreseeing things to come, laid hold of the tip of Joseph’s staff, revealing beforehand that the most glorious Cross would seize the power of the kingdom, for it is the victorious boast of kings and a light for those who cry out with faith: O all-hymned God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Canon of the Theotokos

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!

Never abandoning thy care for men, thou dost quickly aid those in peril upon the sea, O thou who ineffably gavest birth to Jesus, Who walked upon the waters and stilled the tempest. Blessed art thou, O Mother of the Christian race!

Thou art the most tranquil joy of monks, the heartfelt hymnody of those who keep silence, the glory and bulwark of holy monasteries and convents: the protection of Holy Mount Athos, the mighty crown of all who struggle in asceticism. Blessed art thou, O Mother of the Christian race!

Thou leadest hosts of warriors to victory, O divine commander; in thine icons thou providest cities who call upon thee with ramparts; thou deliverest from the sword and captivity lands which forget thee not. Blessed art thou, O Mother of the Christian race!

O Virgin who wast prefigured by the bush which was not consumed, thou commandest fire with authority; wherefore, thou hast many times delivered thy holy image from fiery conflagration, and dost extinguish the flame of the passions with the dew of grace. Blessed art thou, O Mother of the Christian race!


Canon of the Cross

Irmos: O children, equal in number to the Trinity, bless ye God, the Father and Creator; hymn ye the Word, Who came down and transformed the fire into dew; and the all-holy Spirit, Who imparteth life unto all, exalt ye supremely forever!

O hosts of heaven, chant ye to the exalted Tree which was drenched in the blood of God the Word incarnate, celebrating the restoration of those on earth. Ye people, worship the Cross of Christ, whereby the resurrection of the world is accomplished forever!

O ye mortal stewards of grace, in sacred manner raise on high with your hands the Cross whereon Christ God stood and the spear which pierced the body of God the Word, that all the nations may see the salvation which is of God, glorifying Him forever!

O faithful Christian kings, forechosen by divine decree, be ye glad! And having received from God the precious Cross, rejoice in it, the weapon of victory, for thereby tribes of warriors seeking courage are scattered abroad forever.

Canon of the Theotokos

Irmos: The King of heaven, Whom the hosts of angels hymn, praise and exalt ye supremely for all ages!

The blessed Theotokos, the surety of sinners, the unexpected joy, our only hope at the judgment-seat of Christ, do ye praise and exalt supremely for all ages.

The most hymned Theotokos, the steward of holy monasteries and convents, the pillar of the Church, the invincible bulwark of the kingdom, do ye praise and exalt supremely for all ages.

O most merciful Mistress, from its headlong fall do thou raise up the Russian land, which hath fallen among thieves and suffereth cruelly, that together we may exalt thee supremely for all ages.

Thine image, which shone forth with grace in Lesna, do thou keep and preserve unto the joy of the faithful, O Theotokos, that the people may praise, bless and exalt thee supremely before it, for all ages.

Ode IX

Canon of the Cross

Irmos: O Theotokos, thou art a mystical garden of paradise, which, untilled, didst put forth Christ, by Whom the life-bearing Tree of the Cross was planted. Wherefore, worshipping it as it is now raised aloft, we magnify thee.

Let all the trees of the forests rejoice, for their nature hath been sanctified by Him Who planted them in the beginningChrist Who was stretched out upon the Tree. Wherefore, worshipping it as it is now raised aloft, we magnify thee, O Theotokos.

A sacred horn hath been lifted up, the chief horn for all the divinely wise: the Cross, whereby all the horns of the sinful are noetically broken asunder. Wherefore, worshipping it as it is now raised aloft, we magnify thee, O Theotokos.

Canon of the Theotokos

Irmos: Saved by thee, O pure Virgin, we confess thee to be in truth the Theotokos, magnifying thee with the incorporeal choirs.

Grant us discourse, O thou who gavest birth to the preëternal Word. Pass us not by in silence, that, hearing thy voice in our hearts, we may magnify thee, the all-immaculate one, with love and trembling.

Of what joy and sweetness do they deprive themselves who refuse to honor the Theotokos and Ever-virgin! What sorrow and tribulation do they prepare for themselves! Yet we unceasingly magnify the most hymned Theotokos.

O Queen of the world and Mother of the Unoriginate One, who truly standest at the right hand of God, in behalf of us who sin greatly and are condemned do thou unceasingly offer up thy supplication, that, saved by thee, we may magnify thee with love and trembling.

O most immaculate one, disdain not the praise offered thee from unclean lips, but hearken unto us even before we call upon thee; for thee do we ever magnify with love and trembling.

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

Today is the Cross raised on high, and the world is sanctified; for He that sitteth with the Father and the Holy Spirit stretched out his arms thereon. It hath brought the whole world to the knowledge of Thee, O Christ. Therefore, to those who hope in Thee do Thou vouchsafe divine glory.

Glory…, Now and ever…: Exapostilarion of the Theotokos, Special Melody: “Heaven with stars…”

O all ye faithful, having gathered together today from the ends of your dispersion, venerate mine image, receiving healing for your souls! And do Thou, O my Son and God, receive those who honor me into Thy mansions.

On the Praises, 6 stichera

In Tone VIII: We have not the faith of Abraham; we have not acquired the meekness of David; we are lacking in the virtues: yet we abound in sins and have brought down upon us the righteous anger of God. Wherefore, have pity upon us, O Mistress, for thou alone art the hope and salvation of our souls. Twice

Behold! the eleventh hour hath arrived! The Judge is at the door, yet we are not watchful, we do not prepare ourselves, we do not mend with repentance our baptismal vesture which hath been rent by sin. We do not purchase the oil of mercy, we do not light lamps of faith. How can we stand before the Bridegroom at midnight? Yet, O all-radiant hope of the despairing, be thou our surety, ransoming us from captivity to sin with the gold of thy bold supplications, and delivering us from everlasting perdition.

Haste, haste thou, O Mistress, to help us who are helpless, for our enemies strive to destroy us. Already they rejoice in their victory, already they mock us. Let not their malice triumph over us, but give glory to thy blessed name, and haste thou, delay not, O most merciful one. For we are thy servants, even though we commit sin.

In Tone II: Why are we downcast, wherefore are we troubled, for what cause are we despondent, O brethren? Let us arise, let us lift up our eyes to the mountains, and we shall behold the all-holy Virgin extending her luminous veil over us. Wherefore, let us cry out from the depths of our heart: Protect us from every peril, O Queen of heaven!

Having put on the breastplate of faith and taken up the helmet of salvation, having armed ourselves with the sword of the word of God and prayer, we go forth to do battle against the air-borne spirits of evil. Wherefore, let us stand fast, even to the shedding of our blood, exclaiming and crying out to the Theotokos: Give us not over to the hands of thine enemies, O blessed commander of those who with faith struggle in asceticism!

Glory…, in Tone VI

Today is put forth from the impenetrable bosom of the earth the shoot of life, and it announceth the resurrection of Christ Who was nailed thereto; and, lifted up by priestly hands, it proclaimeth His ascension to Heaven, whereby our nature, which was bound to the earth by the fall, doth now dwell in the heavens. Wherefore, in thanksgiving we cry out: O Lord Who wast lifted up thereon and thereby raised us up with Thyself: vouchsafe us Thy heavenly joys, as Thou lovest mankind.

Now and ever…, in Tone VIII

O most hymned Theotokos, thou never-waning light of our souls, shine upon us who are lost in the night, driving away the darkness of sin and emitting upon us the radiance of salvation. O Mother of the Sun of righteousness, who art truly clothed in the sun, with the beams of thy mercy burn through the clouds of our obduracy, that we may behold thy light and rejoice, magnifying thee with love, O Virgin.

Great Doxology. Troparia. Litanies. Dismissal. First Hour.

At Divine Liturgy

On the Beatitudes, 8 Troparia: 4 from Ode I of the canon of the Exaltation of the Cross, and 4 from Ode VI of the canon of the Icon of the Theotokos.

Prokimenon of the Cross, in Tone VII

Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship the footstool of His feet, for it is holy.

Stichos: The Lord is King, let the peoples rage.

And that of the Icon: The Hymn of the Theotokos, in Tone III

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

Epistle to the Hebrews, §320 [Heb. 9: 1-7]

Brethren: the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.

Alleluia of the Cross, in Tone I

Stichos: Remember Thy congregation which Thou hast purchased from the beginning.

Stichos: God is our King before the ages, He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.

And that of the Theotokos, in Tone VIII

Stichos: Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear.

Gospel according to Luke, §54 [Lk. 10: 38-42, 11: 27-28]

At that time, Jesus entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked. But He said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Communion Verses

The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, hath been signed upon us.

I will take the cup of salvation, and I will call upon the name of the Lord.

The Menaion of the Orthodox Church © Isaac E. Lambertsen