A Service to our Righteous Father Botolph of Boston
Whose memory is celebrated June 17
Composed and Authorized to appear on this website by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston MA
For Lord, I have cried, we sing the following Stichera:
Fourth Tone. Unto them that fear Thee
Noble birth and ease of life didst thou exchange for monastic toils * and the Lord’s willing poverty. * A fen was thy rich estate, *penury thy comfort; * thus didst thou ascend to the height of love for God and man, * and thou wast given the grace of miracles. * Now having found a hundredfold in Heaven all things renounced on earth, * Father Botolph, remember us, * who have gathered to sing thy praise.
Strange was all the weaponry, O valiant Botolph, that thou didst use * in the warfare that thou didst wage. * Thine arrows were want of food, * meekness was thine armour. * With thy sweet humility thou didst vanquish bitter sin, * and with thy prayers didst thrash Satan like a dog; * and with a death that pleased the Lord, thou didst besiege and lay hold of life * in the Kingdom that suffereth * a most strange kind of violence.
Having changed the stench of passions to the odour of sanctity, * thou becamest a fragrant rose, * delighting the souls of men * with the virtues’ sweetness. * But thy thorns of abstinence pricked the demons through with pain * whene’er they grasped thee to pluck thee from thy Lord. * And when thy hallowed relics blossomed forth again to the sight of men, * a divine sweetness filled the air, * and the earth smelled like Heaven’s courts.
Glory. First Tone
Neither the fowls of the air, nor the cares of life, nor the deceitfulness of riches, could harm the good seed sown in thy heart, O Father Botolph. Thou didst bring forth a hundredfold, and thou becamest a great and spreading tree for thy brethren. Wherefore, give us rest in the shade of thy branches, that we might not faint under the burden and heat of the day; shelter our hierarchs from every wind of false doctrine; protect those dwelling in the city named for thee; and intercede with Christ that our souls be saved.
Both now. Theotokion
The universal glory born of men, who hath given birth unto the Master, the heavenly gate: let us praise Mary the Virgin, the song of the bodiless hosts, and the adornment of the faithful. For she was shown to be a Heaven and a temple of the Godhead; destroying the wall of enmity, she ushered in peace and opened the Kingdom. Possessing, therefore, this anchor of faith, we have as champion the Lord Who was born of her. Take courage, therefore, take courage, O ye people of God; for He shall fight thine enemies, since He is the Almighty One.
For the Aposticha, the following Stichera:
First Tone. O all-lauded Martyrs
The new Boston danceth with the old * on the memory of him for whom they both have received their name and reason to rejoice, * even holy Botolph, * the beloved man of God, * the height of prayer and depth of humility and light of all the Church, * who partaketh of the life on high * and entreateth * Christ to grant us grace and peace.
O Botolph, who heard thy ceaseless prayers, * which ascended from thy heart as flames of love for thy Maker and for all that He hath made? * Who beheld thy labours, * or thy secret trials and pains? * None save the King of all, Who accepted them above all sacrifice * and Who hearkeneth unto thee now * as thou prayest * that we all find grace and peace.
Though thou ever wast a man of peace, * be thou now a man of war, and wage invisible war against our spiteful enemy; * shatter his devices, * and console us in our wounds, * and lead us in the fray till thou bringest us as victors unto Christ, * Father Botolph, that we all may stand * with great boldness * with thee at the Lord’s right hand.
Glory. Plagal of Second Tone
Precious in the sight of the Lord was thy death, O righteous Botolph. For thy whole life was a song of praise unto His glory, and thy going forth was with the patience of Job. Wherefore, He made thy relics sweeter than the lily, and He hath glorified thee with miracles. As thou standest joyously in His presence, and invisibly in the midst of us who praise thee, earnestly entreat Him to grant us His everlasting Kingdom.
Both now. Theotokion
As it is written
The lion that devoureth souls * is fallen on me savagely, * for I strayed from * the divine and narrow way; * and now what sore affliction * hath found me, O pure Virgin! * But do thou swiftly pluck me from his jaws.
Or, Theotokion of the Cross
The sun hath hid his noon-day light; * the moon is clad in dark array, * all creation * suff’reth inconsolably * at her Creator’s suff’rings, * and I, Thy Virgin Mother, * have felt the sword foretold by Symeon.
Plagal of First Tone
Neither the desolation of the fens, nor the depth of thy humility could hide the light of thy virtues, whereby thou becamest a lamp unto the faithful, O Botolph our righteous Father. Wherefore, we entreat thee: do thou also enlighten us who venerate thy blessed memory.
And the dismissal.
After the usual Reading from the Psalter, we say the Canons of the Octoechos and the following of the Saint. Before the Troparia, we say, O Saint of God, intercede on our behalf.
Plagal of Fourth Tone
The Charioteer of Pharaoh
The wild, unsettled fen didst thou convert into a mighty city of monks; * and now, Father Botolph, * come, convert the barren wilderness of mine unsettled mind, * that compunction may dwell there and that divine order reign therein, * making me a good servant of my Lord.
The ways of Anthony and Martin came with thee unto the land of thy birth: * the life of the Angels, * wherewith thou didst teach monastics to take up the Cross of Christ. * With the Rule of the Fathers, and with the Rood of the Son of God, * thou didst bring salvation to many souls.
When thou wast stricken well in years, a sickness came upon thee, showing thee forth * a new Job in patience, * who didst thank the Lord for all the trials He sent thee for thy good; * now thy dunghill of suff’rings hath been exchanged for a lightning throne, * whereon thou dost sit with the Patriarchs.
Thy father Solomon in all his glory never was arrayed as thou art; * for thou art the Mother * of the Father’s Holy Glory, Who, on dwelling in thy womb, * took from thee what is thine, and then He arrayed thee in what is His, * making thee transcendently glorious.
Of the vault of the heavens
All that dwell in the city that beareth thy blessed name, * shelter in the shade of thy fiery prayers to the God of all, * lest that the sun by day * or that the moon by night burn us * with the heat of sin, which doth wither the world away.
As thy silence was sacred, so was thy speech full of grace; * and while guiding many to Heaven, thou wast alone with God. * For thou didst live, not thou, * but Christ thy Life lived within thee, * giving grace to all that thou didst for His Kingdom’s sake.
Thou protectest those faring upon the land and the sea, * and like great Elias thou bringest rain down upon the earth, * and all that turn to thee * and seek thy bold intercession, * thou, O righteous Botolph, dost cover with ceaseless prayer.
Though King David lamented, None doeth good, no not one, * thou, who art his daughter, hast brought forth Him that alone is good; * and we, whom thou hast saved * from evil ways of perdition, * thank thee, our good Lady, the fountain of every good.
Of the vault of the heavens art Thou, O Lord, Fashioner; * so, too, of the Church art Thou founder; do Thou establish me * in unfeigned love for Thee, * Who art the height of things sought for, * and staff of the faithful, O Thou only Friend of man.
Fourth Tone. Be quick to anticipate
Although thou didst sleep among the lots of fastings and toils, * the wings of a dove covered with silver didst thou possess, and pinions of sparkling gold, * whereon thou didst make divine ascents to the Heavens, * lifted on the wings of prayer and infinite longing. * And now, O Father Botolph, pray Christ that we may all be saved.
Glory; both now. Theotokion
Since thou art that Virgin of whom great Esaias foretold, * the ladder of Jacob, Moses’ burning bush unconsumed, and Gideon’s dewy fleece, * do thou now receive a hymn of praise from thy * servants; * and in Christ Emmanuel, be with us for ever, * and save us from the hands of our foes, for thou canst do all things.
Or, Theotokion of the Cross
This unthankful people, being wholly darkened in heart, * hath nailed Thee, their Master, to the Cross, and so hath their darkness darkened the very sun. * Now a grave shall take Thee, Who didst stretch out the heavens; * now all of my joy is swallowed up in affliction, * till Thou shalt shine again from the grave, light’ning Thy Mother’s grief.
Thou art my strength
Thy crown of thorns * was self-denial and poverty; * now a garland, * beaming light, doth sit upon thy holy head, * given thee of God. * And when the graves open, * and all stand before Emmanuel, * then shalt thou shine, O Botolph, * in thy Father’s fair Kingdom * as a God by the grace of the Son of God.
The thief of souls * hath me sewn up tightly in his bag, * having entered * through a door I opened unto him myself, * senseless as I am. * Despoil the despoiler, * and steal back what is not rightly his, * I pray thee, Father Botolph, * who art full of compassion, * who, as free, dost free them that their sins have bound.
A land untilled, * a haunt of demons was Ikanhoe, * till thou camest, * bringing that dread Plough whereon Christ Jesus died * even as He willed; * wherewith thou didst harrow * the land and the demons dwelling there. * The land was rendered fruitful; * but the fiends fled in terror, * driven off by thy Heaven-sent husbandry.
The Lord is King, * clothed in the majesty of thy flesh, * and His Angels * look upon Him that cannot be seen at all, * and they shine with joy. * And filled with thanksgiving, * they laud thee, the Queen that bare their King; * thou art His chosen dwelling, * wherefore holiness truly * doth become thee, His house, unto length of days.
Wherefore hast Thou deprived me
Strange demonic illusions * rose against thee, seeking to drive thee away in fear; * but with prayer untroubled, * thou didst crush underfoot all the devil’s tribe * like dead fallen branches * and withered leaves, for thou wast mighty * with a Tree that was planted upon a Skull.
Intimations of glory, * gleaming in thy heart, ever stirred thee to greater toils, * and all worldly splendour * was as gloom when compared with that trembling joy. * Now not in reflections, * but face to face, thou fully seest * the unspeakable glory that thou didst seek.
Like an oak strong and stately * with its branches straining to Heaven in lofty prayer * stood thy mind, O Botolph, * never moved with the tempests of gusting sin; * wherefore thou becamest * a spreading arbour for thy brethren, * who sought shade and protection beneath thy boughs.
When the Lion of Judah * sprang forth as the Child of an innocent virgin Lamb, * in His fierce divine wrath * did He rip open death, the rapacious wolf, * from whose swollen belly * all generations leapt rejoicing, * giving praise to the Lion and to His Lamb.
O Botolph, thine adversaries’ fiery darts * fell before thee as the arrows of infants; * for like a prince in his fortified castle, * from thy high tower of grace, thou didst watch thy foes; * and with the cross-bow of thy Christ, * thou didst rain on them shafts of unceasing prayer.
Reclining upon the Cross’s kingly couch, * Jesus slept a sleep that roused sleeping Adam. * But lo, I sleep with a sleep that is deadly, * and ask thee swiftly, O Botolph, to rouse me up, * lest death surprise me in my sins, * and the hope of repentance be plucked away.
The body, which Adam’s pride made ground for thorns, * heldest thou in humbled thrall to thy spirit, * that love divine struck deep root in thy members, * and pulled up all of the passions that bring decay; * and sweeter than the sweetest rose * was thy grave when its petals were opened wide.
The virgins that follow after thee in love * have been brought unto the King and Creator; * and in their midst, there art thou as His Mother: * thou holdest court to the ages in majesty. * O Kingdom bright with joy untold! * O unspeakable glory and loveliness!
Entreaty do I pour forth unto the Lord, * and to Him do I proclaim all my sorrows, * for many woes fill my heart to repletion, * and lo, my life unto Hades hath now drawn nigh; * like Jonas do I pray to Thee: * Raise me up from corruption, O Lord my God.
First Tone. The soldiers standing guard
The glory of the just, the protector of Boston, * the man of mighty prayer, our belov’d Father Botolph, * entreateth the Saviour that He show mercy to all of us. * Let us honour him with thankful praise, O ye faithful; * let us imitate his conversation and virtues, * that God hear his prayers for us.
On the seventeenth of this month we commemorate our righteous and God-bearing Father Botolph of Boston.
Though thy flesh was like as the lean kine of Pharaoh,
Yet thy mind, O Botolph, was a king like Joseph.
The three Hebrew Children
Thou didst cure sicknesses with wonders, * but more wondrous was thy never-shaken meekness, * and thy love for all men, * thy patience in great sorrows, * thy modesty and gravity, * and thy poverty of spirit.
Spurning the princedom thou wast born to, * thou didst seek that King Which suffered as a servant; * thou didst seek Him with toils, * and foundest Him in suff’rings, * and reignest with Him evermore, * having gained more than thou gavest.
Glory to Father, Son, and Spirit, * three eternal Flames of boundless love and glory, * giving being and life * to all He hath created, * and Who, through righteous Botolph’s prayers, * shineth mercy on us sinners.
Jacob, how goodly are thy dwellings, * and, O Israel, thy Virgin Tabernacle! * in the which the Most High * hath couched like as a lion * and come forth bearing flesh and blood * for thy sake and for the nations’.
Let us ever extol
When the spring of divine grace spread its mantle * on the vales of thy soul, the passions’ winter ended; * and thou with many toils didst bring forth many fruits, * reaping now the harvest * of the seed that yielded * a hundredfold, O Botolph.
Over them that have strayed off of the right path, * spread the wings of thy prayers, and guide them to repentance, * that all may find their way unto the feast of love * readied in the Kingdom * for all them abiding * in Orthodox confession.
When thy grave after many years was opened, * it sent into the air the balm of incorruption; * for unlike earthly flowers that decay anon, * thou wast firmly rooted * in the soil of Heaven * and gavest forth its fragrance.
Every tribe, every tongue and generation * sendeth praise up to thee, our Queen and Sovereign Lady; * for through thee, every land hath seen her children saved * from the ruination * of him that was ruined * when thou didst bear thy First-born.
Let us ever extol and praise the Lord God * Who was seen of old on the holy mount in glory, * Who by the fiery bush revealed the great mystery * of the Ever-virgin * and undefiled Maiden * unto the Prophet Moses.
The heavens were astonished
The mustard seed of faith flourished in thy heart, * and shot forth mighty branches wherein the fowls of Heaven lodge, * even the monastics that seek thy shade. * Protect us all in every hour * from the wicked fowlers that seek our souls; * to them, thy boughs are scourges, * to us, celestial bowers, * wherein the songs of God are sweetly sung.
Though naked camest thou from thy mother’s womb, * with thy virtues wast thou fair apparelled in thy going forth, * and with thy humility as thy robe, * which is the Kingdom’s regal garb, * for in this, the King came to us, His slaves. * The riches thou didst gather, * the grave could not take from thee; * but thou hast passed its bourne with wealth in hand.
Thy body was below, but thy mind on high; * now thou dwellest in Heaven while caring for us on the earth. * Though thy joy is great, it is not yet full; * for thou dost pray with cries of love * that thy toiling brethren may enter in. * So when the vault of Heaven * is drawn back as a curtain, * commend us unto Him descending thence.
A virgin and a mother art thou at once, * tender maiden and terrible scourge of fierce demonic hosts, * innocent in all things, yet knowing all; * no maid was ever half so fair, * yet thy beauty bringeth to fear of God; * thou hatest all trangressions, * yet pleadest for transgressors: * Beyond all words, the Mother of the Word!
The heavens were astonished and stood in awe * and the ends of the earth, Maid, were sore amazed; for God appeared * bodily to mankind as very man. * And lo, thy womb hath proved to be * vaster and more spacious than heaven’s heights. * For this, O Theotokos, * the choirs and assemblies * of men and Angels magnify thy name.
Second Tone. Hearken, ye women
Not in the land of Galilee * didst thou seek Him that thou didst love, * but in His holy commandments, * to which thou clavest, O Botolph. * And thou didst find within thy heart the Light that lit the fishermen, * whom thou didst wisely imitate, * breaking the idols of passions, * and showing men true religion.
In thee, our frail and helpless race * was joined to dread Divinity: * The lamb laid down with the Lion, * and yet still liveth, without harm. * What tongue can tell this mystery? * The Flame hath clothed Himself in grass * and burneth not what He put on; * but maketh grass to be Godlike, * and maketh thee Queen of all things.
For the Praises, we sing the following Stichera:
Plagal of Fourth Tone. What shall we now call you
What shall we now call thee, O man of God? * Imitator of the Angels who hadst nought upon the earth; * terror to the demons who didst drive them from the very fens; * apostle that didst preach the Gospel by thy ways; * the herald of the rule of the monastic life; * a second Job that didst thank the Lord * throughout the sickness that slew thy flesh. * O intercede, * Father Botolph, that our souls be saved.
How shall I address thee, O man of God? * Prophet that proclaimest things to come as did the men of old; * father of monastics, clother of the naked, joy of all; * the ruthless adversary of thy fallen clay; * a sea of mercy weeping for thy neighbour’s falls; * the cultivator of Ikanhoe; * the glory of all the Orthodox. * O intercede, * Father Botolph, that our souls be saved.
Dwelling in the Kingdom with Anthony, * Benedict, and Martin, yea, and all the children of the day, * thou, O righteous Botolph, revellest with great exceeding joy. * No longer dost thou fast nor yet deny thyself, * but makest merry, keeping feast with all the Saints. * As thou rejoicest with joy untold, * remember us who entreat thee now * to intercede * with the Saviour that our souls be saved.
Glory. Same Tone
Let us rejoice, O ye faithful, for the annual memorial of Botolph is come again. In asceticism, he was unyielding; in humility, he was unshakeable; in sickness, he gave thanks; in love, he was mighty. Wherefore, Christ hath crowned him with a crown of majesty, and through his intercessions, He hath mercy on us all.
Both now. Theotokion
Lady, do thou receive the supplications of thy slaves, and deliver us from every affliction and necessity.
And the Remainder of Matins, and the dismissal.
Boston doth exult on this holy day, * for thy deeds, O wise one, * are gone up as most fragrant myrrh * and sweet smelling incense * before the throne of Christ God, * O Botolph, our blest Father and teacher in all truth.
Copyright 1992 by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery.