St Walstan of Taverham (30 May)
Troparion Tone 4
O Righteous Walstan, thou didst leave thy home
to labour for Christ in the fields of Taverham.
Through fasting, prayer and great humility
thou hast gathered many for the harvest of Christ.
The Lord crowned thee as a saint
and bestowed upon thee the gift of miracles.
Pray then that our souls may be saved.
Canon to Our Righteous Father Amongst the Saints,
Walstan of Taverham
Irmos: Traversing the water as on dry land, and thereby escaping from the toils of Egypt’s land, the Israelites cried aloud, proclaiming: Unto our God and Redeemer let us now sing.
Adorned with virtues, thou didst cleave to Christ from thy youth, O righteous Walstan. Forsaking thy noble patrimony, thou didst seek to serve the King of all, having put thy passions to death and having obtained an eternal crown.
Thou wast enlightened with the virtues of humility, O godly Walstan, and with prayer, fasting and chastity thou didst put the passions to death, travelling far to seek a heavenly kingdom.
In the strength of Christ thou hast overcome the enemy, O righteous one, and thy victory has been honoured in thy power to work many miracles.
Glory … Now …
Seeing Thyself entreated, O Queen of all, by the prayers of the righteous Walstan, preserve Thy flock inaccessible to every attack, for we ever pray to Thee, O intercessor for the world.
Irmos: Of the vault of the heavens art Thou, O Lord, the Fashioner; so too, of the Church art Thou the 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 Who alone lovest mankind.
In the favour of thy youth thou didst journey seeking God, finding in the end thy place of testing in the fields of Taverham. May we too join in holy struggles for the sake of Christ.
O Walstan, by means of toil, fasting and the affliction of thorns, thou didst painfully repulse the world’s passions. Pray that, with the Lord’s crown of thorns we may also press forward in our love for Him.
Like the humble oxen who bore thy body to its place of rest, thou didst yoke thyself to the glory of God, seeking the salvation of thy soul. May we too, despising worldly wealth and glory, reach the meadows of the Kingdom.
Like Elias, who first dwelt on Carmel, so didst Thou labour in the fields of Taverham, desiring to be apart with God; and being enlightened by the visions of an angel, thou wast manifested as pleasing to the Mother of God, crying out to Her: Rejoice together with the Archangel.
Irmos: Thou art my strength: Thou art my power and might, O Lord; Thou art my God; Thou Who wast not absent from Thy Father’s arms, Thou, Lord art my joy. Thou has deigned to visit our lowliness and poverty. To Thee, therefore, I cry with Habbakuk the Prophet: Glory be to Thy power, O Thou Who lovest mankind.
Of poverty and labour thou didst learn extreme want from thy struggles in fields and woodlands, O righteous Walstan, learning thereby to have mercy on human weakness and compassion for dumb beasts, building a foundation of humility for the ascetic life.
Venturing into a distant land, thou didst receive the seed of the ascetic life, and, watering it with tears of repentance, thou didst raise an harvest field of pilgrim souls, who, coming from many lands, glorify thy name.
Ever calling on the name of Jesus, thou didst uproot the tares of the enemy; thou didst overcome the wiles of demons and didst become a ripe sheaf of the harvest of Christ.
Renouncing the world for the sake of inward peace, Thou didst dwell in the Holy of Holies, O Most Pure One, in sacred silence and unceasing prayer, ascending from activity to Divine Vision; thus did our righteous Father Walstan learn from Thee.
Irmos: Lord, enlighten us by Thy precepts and by Thy commands; and by the power of Thy lofty arm bestow Thy peace upon us all, since Thou lovest mankind.
From the constant remembrance of God, thou dist learn from the Fathers; and following their teachings, thou didst love the Lord at all times, having in Him thine only treasure.
From the saints and ascetics thou didst learn of the true evangelical path, cutting off thy will before thy companions; through thine own humility didst thou learn to practice oneness in soul and mind, guiding many to the well-spring of salvation.
The rank of priest or monk thou didst consider as beyond thee, and only as a hireling and toiler didst thou choose to remain; but thus didst thou more surely lead many to salvation.
He who before the ages was unutterably begotten of the Father at last came from Thy womb and deified our nature, O Virgin Mother; He it is who hath brought out and made manifest the choirs of the Saints of our land.
Irmos: 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 night; like Jonah do I pray to Thee: Raise me up from corruption, O Lord my God.
Ever struggling, yet preserved by humility, thou didst ascend to the heights of prayer; do thou help me, who know not how to struggle or pray, at least to cover my wretched nakedness with knowledge of mine infirmity.
Following the example of the Fathers of the desert, thou didst manfully force thy nature in prayer and labour, then waiting on God’s grace, thou didst attain to heavenly enlightenment, shining upon thy companions.
As I behold the greatness of thy labours and the grace given to thee by God, my heart fails within me; how can I, having disdained thine example, have a part with thee in eternal life? Have pity on me, thy wretched disciple, and entreat the Lord for my salvation.
The Master, borne on the shoulders of the frightful Cherubim, fiery upon the Throne, dwelt in Thy womb, O Pure One, and by taking flesh He deified nature, as Walstan showed, superb amongst ascetics, O only All-hymned One.
Thou hast received the grace of healing, O righteous and wonder-working Walstan; Thou givest health to those in need. Pray for us and repulse the assaults of the enemy, and heal us all by thy wonderworking.
Oikos: How can I, sinful in body and soul, describe thy glorious miracles and how thy life was like unto an Angel? Although many of the wise fail to praise thy great endurance worthily, thy humility and ardent love for Christ, yet trusting in thy meekness I cry to thee, O righteous one: Rejoice, brilliant star shining from the East of virtues and enlightening the world with miracles; rejoice, thou who didst turn away from princely rank and thy parents’ love and, wholeheartedly for the love of Christ, the Prince of all, didst follow Him with irrevocable desire; rejoice, thou who didst follow a desert life by toiling amongst thorns of trials; rejoice, thou who didst spurn corruptible and temporal things for the hope of future reward; rejoice, for thou wast like Job in thy long-suffering; rejoice, Christ’s labourer, invincible and defeating the devil by thy humility; rejoice, thou who like the beggar Lazarus restest now in Abraham’s bosom; rejoice, that after thy departure from this world thou art an ever present intercessor and healer of afflicted men and beasts; rejoice, thou who comest quickly to those who call on thee; rejoice, O righteous Walstan!
Irmos: Once from out of Judea did the Children go down to the land of Babylon; the fire of the furnace they trampled down whilst singing their faith in the Trinity: O God of our Fathers, blessed art Thou.
Following the example of the Fathers of the Desert, and filled with love for their example, thou wast manifested in the latter times as a well-spring of their teachings; instruct us, O righteous Father, how to drink from thy three holy wells of poverty, humility and purity.
The Saints who enlightened our land inspired thine Orthodoxy, and thy warfare against the passions that darken the soul; their words taught thee of unceasing prayer and struggle, thereby attaining the constant remembrance of Jesus.
Struggling in prayer and attaining the Kingdom of God within, thou didst pray unto the Lord with understanding also, offering a pure sacrifice unto Him.
Sacred Dwelling of God, O blessed Mary, Who knew not wedlock, refuge of the despairing; instruct us on the paths of repentance, for we ever go astray into trackless forests of evil, angering the All-good God.
Irmos: The King of Heaven, Whom all the hosts of Angels hymn with their songs and praises of glory, praise ye and exalt Him to the ages for ever.
Thou art a shining star leading into life those sunk in the mire of passions, for thou bringest the impure the chastity and restorest to vitality those impaired in body and soul.
O woe is me! Having such a luminary, I remain in my sins and carelessness. Show thy love for me, O Righteous Father, I beseech thee, and draw me up from the depths of despondency.
Fatigue and thorns did not prevent thee from enlightening those who came to thee by thy kind manner and meek words, O Father Walstan.
Walstan who pleased Thee, sought to see the unutterable glory of Thy Son and God, O Thou Who gavest birth to God; wherefore taking up His cross on his shoulders he followed in His life-giving and Divine footsteps.
Irmos: Most rightly we confess Thee as our God’s birth-giver, we who through Thee have been saved, O Thou Virgin most pure; with choirs of bodiless Angels, Thee do we magnify.
With all thy heart thou didst offer thyself to the Trinity Who enlightened thee with divine radiance and made thee resplendent, offering thy soul to God on the third day, as the Angel had foretold, O Father.
Strengthened by Christ’s radiant Mysteries, and comforted by the Holy Church, O Walstan, thou didst join the Angels in exultation, thy holy relics and memorials providing for us a source of miracles.
Through thy labour and sweat thou hast attained to unending joy and gladness. Having hope in thy love for those who honour thee, I beseech thee: pray ever for me to the Lord of glory.
Eloquent lips cannot praise Thee as is due, O All-hymned One Who art above the Cherubim and all creation. Wherefore do Thou, with the righteous Walstan, pray to the Master for us all.
Fr Elias Jones, 1998