Commemorated on 11 April
Akathist to our Holy Father Guthlac of Crowland
Chosen ascetic and superb servant of Christ, who poured out in the Fenland wilderness inexhaustible streams of inspiration and a multitude of miracles. We praise thee with love and call out to thee:
Rejoice, O holy Guthlac, champion of Christ and guide of all the faithful!
As an angel in the flesh thou wast shown forth in the Fenland waste by the grace of God Who ever careth for men. Seeing the beauty of thy virtues, we thy children now cry out to thee:
Rejoice, thou who didst live in virtue for thy youth.
Seeing the abundance and variety of thy virtues, O holy Father, we see in thee a living source of God's wonders and benefits. Thou dost refresh with love and miracles all who cry in faith to God: Alleluia!
Being filled with love, thou didst lay aside the armour of thine earthly king, O Father, and arming thyself with the spiritual weapons of faith and prayer, thou didst enlist as a true warrior of Christ, and we call out to thee in admiration:
Rejoice, firm stronghold of Orthodox Truth.
Seeking the path of true asceticism, thou didst cross the Fenland waters with thy faithful disciples, and alighting on the wilderness of Crowland Isle, thou didst plant there a haven, wherein with vigils and fasting thou didst labour in the service of God to Whom we cry out: Alleluia!
Dwellers in Heaven should be praising thee, and not we on earth, for our words are feeble beside thy deeds. Yet offering to God what we have, we cry out to thee thus:
Rejoice, thou who didst water the Fenland waste
with thy tears of compunction.
Bewildered by thy deeds of piety and love, we know not how to praise thee worthily, O holy Father Guthlac. Thou didst gather round thee a following of monks and ascetics who inspired by thy spiritual struggles and preaching of the Gospel, sought to follow thee in the service of God, to Whom we cry out: Alleluia!
The English people beheld thy life and marvelled at God's mercies manifested in that watery wasteland. And so we also, crossing the waters of this life, cry out marvelling to thee:
Rejoice, enlightener of those in the pagan darkness.
Thou didst feed the fish and birds and all manner of wild creatures with the crumbs of thy frugal sustenance, O blessed Guthlac, and thou didst nourish kings and prelates with thy humble words of enlightenment and prophetic wisdom, wherefore with them do we cry out in wonder to God: Alleluia!
Dwelling in an empty tomb for thy cell, thou wast ever mindful of death, and spending thy days and nights in singing psalms and keeping vigil, thou wast granted to converse with Angels, and with them we cry out to thee:
thou who wast a minister to all God's creatures.
Being granted to read the minds and hearts of men as though gazing through a glass, thou didst call to repentance, O Guthlac, thy disciple who was tempted to slay thee, and he, like many whose thoughts and temptations thou didst reveal, fell before God in true contrition and cried: Alleluia!
Hearing of thy fame and miracles, many sought out thy humble solitude, O Father Guthlac, and besought thee to deliver them from slavery to sin and we also beseech thee to pray for us that we may live in peace and quiet, saving our souls as we gratefully cry out to thee:
Rejoice, helper of those who call upon thee in faith.
Thou didst gather round thee a band of holy hermits, whose names we venerate with thine; Tatwin thy first disciple, Egbert, Cissa and Bettelin, Etheldrytha the former Queen, and Pega thy righteous sister. Now with these good Saints thou dost pray for us to God as we on earth cry out to Him: Alleluia!
O fervent venerator of the Holy Saints of the West, thou wast manifested as one of them, exhorting thy flock to preserve and emulate the Orthodox Faith that they confessed, and astonishing the English race by thy holy life. Now preserve us in that same Faith as we cry out to thee:
new Martin by thy miracles and ascetic feats.
At the end of thy life, O holy Guthlac, thou was granted to know the time of thy death, and having received Christ in the Divine Mysteries at Paschaltide, thou didst prepare thy soul for Heaven. Now marvelling at thy faith and saintly virtue, we all cry out to God: Alleluia!
O labourer of Christ's vineyard who knew no rest even at the end of thy much toiling life, help us now in our labours as we strive to be faithful to Christ, crying out in praise to thee:
Rejoice, thou who didst endure to the end and so
All Angel-kind made glad at thy soul's flight to their heavenly home, marvelling at the wonders thou didst work on earth through the action of the Holy Spirit, to Whom we sing: Alleluia!
Orators find it impossible to describe thy life of holiness with their many and eloquent words, O holy Guthlac, for thou didst become an island for the power of the ineffable God amidst a sea of sin. Yet unable to fall silent at the wonder shining through the ages to our age of feeble faith, we glorify thee singing:
Rejoice, divine palace from where the counsel of the Good King is given.
Wishing to save the world, the Saviour of all raised up a new Saint for the English people, and through him has called us out of the dark recesses of sin. Hearing this call to repentance, we his unworthy children in turn cry out to God: Alleluia!
Thou art a wall sheltering us from adversity, O Father Guthlac, for through thy heavenly intercessions we are delivered from the attacks of demonic passions and from afflictions which beset us on earth. Before thy firm support of prayer, we cry with faith:
Rejoice, firm comfort to those in affliction.
Thy life was a hymn to the Most Holy Trinity and worthy emulation of thy chosen protector, the Apostle Bartholomew, surpassing others in thought, word and deed, O most blessed Guthlac. For with much wisdom thou didst discern and teach the precepts of the True Faith, teaching us to sing with faith, hope and love to the One God in Trinity: Alleluia!
We see thee as a radiant lamp of Orthodoxy amidst the darkness of ignorance and error, O God-chosen ascetic and guide of the faithful, our Father Guthlac. For even after thy repose thou dost speak the Truth to the ignorant and shine as a light to those who seek guidance and to all who cry out to thee:
Rejoice, radiance of Divine Wisdom to those in ignorance.
Grace was poured forth on the English land through a holy ascetic and his God-pleasing followers. Beholding this grace come forth from one who dwelt in our land, let us receive it with reverence and thanksgiving, crying out to God: Alleluia!
Singing in praise to God, the heavenly choir of Saints maketh glad that He hath not forsaken the fallen and unbelieving world but hath manifested His almighty power in thee, His meek and humble servant. O blessed Guthlac, with all the Saints greet and honour thee:
O our holy and most wondrous Father Guthlac, consolation for all the sorrowing, accept now our prayerful offering, that through thy prayers to our Lord we may be spared Gehenna and by thy God-pleasing intercession we may cry out eternally: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ikos 1 and Kontakion 1 are read again:
"As an angel in the flesh …"
Then the Priest says: Let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord have mercy.
Followed by the Prayer to St Guthlac said by the Priest and during which the faithful kneel:
(After the Prayer, the usual ending)
To our Holy and God-bearing Father, Guthlac of Crowland and the Fens.
O beloved Father Guthlac, whilst on earth thou didst see the future as if present, distant things as if near, the hearts and minds of men as if they were thine own. We know that in this thou wast enlightened by God, with Whom thou wast ever in the mystical communion of prayer, and with Whom thou abidest eternally. As once Thou didst hear the petitions of thy followers and those who flocked to thee even before they could speak to thee, so now hear our prayers and bring them before the Lord. Thou hast gone over to the life everlasting, unto the other world, yet thou art in truth not far from us, for Heaven is closer to us than our own souls. Show us who are troubled and cast down in sin the same compassion that thou didst once show to those who sought thee out in thy Fenland solitude. Give to us who have fallen into sin, confusion and despair, the same stern, yet loving instruction that thou didst once give to thy chosen flock. In thee we see the living likeness of our Maker, the living spirit of the Gospel, a second Apostle Bartholomew, and the foundation of our Faith. In the pure life that thou didst live we see a model of virtue, a source of instruction and inspiration to those struggling in the ascetic life. Beholding the grace bestowed upon thee, we know that God has not forsaken his people. It is rather we that have fallen from Him, and so must regain the likeness of Divinity as thou hast done. Through thine intercession, O blessed one, grant that we may increase our striving toward our heavenly homeland, setting our affections on things above, toiling in prayer and virtue, waging war against the attacks of our fallen nature. Call on the mercy of God, that we may one day join thee in His Kingdom. For our deepest wish is to live forever with Him, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Priest Elias Jones