Commemoration of Our Father among the Saints Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester

Month of August

The 1st Day

Commemoration of Our Father among the Saints Æthelwold, Bishop of Winchester

Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson

N.B.: If the superior or the rector so desire, the celebration of the Holy Hierarch Æthelwold or of the Holy Maccabees may be transferred to another day; or alternatively, the hymns of the Octoechos may be replaced with those of the holy hierarch.

At Vespers

At “Lord, I have cried …”, 3 stichera of the feast; and 3 stichera of the holy hierarch, in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “Thou hast given a sign …” –

Royal Winchester hath been greatly adorned by the mighty works of our holy father Æthelwold, the man of noble desires, who grew strong in all godliness; and as the noetic eagle which was foretold to his pious mother before his birth, he soared high above his divinely preserved flock and city, on golden pinions of the Christian virtues and prayer, to find rest in paradise.

The whole realm of England rejoiceth today in the sacred memory of the holy Æthelwold, exulting in the All-holy Trinity, Who mercifully shed abundant grace upon the faithful servant of God, who humbly toiled long and without complaint throughout the burning heat of the day in the vineyard of his Master Christ, and hath thus received great recompense for all his labours.

Throughout the lands of the Saxons and Angles the pious Æthelwold restored the ruined monastic houses which had been laid waste and made desolate by the predations of the heathen; and to them he brought zealous Christians, and taught them to pray unceasingly, that moved to pity by their earnest supplications, the Lord might have mercy on the English people.

Glory … , of the holy hierarch: Idiomelon, in Tone I –

Let sacred Abingdon join chorus today with Thorney; let Peterborough and Ely lift up their voices together in harmony; and let Winchester augment their praises, chanting sacred songs to its holy hierarch, the scion of the venerable Benedict and successor of the holy Swithun, whose memory he hallowed with God-pleasing prayer and devotion. Come, then, ye Orthodox Christians, and let us add our lowly voices to their choir sublime, offering up fitting laudation to the man of noble desires, and glorifying God with thanksgiving, in that He hath given us so great an intercessor for our salvation.

Now & ever … , of the feast.

Aposticha from the Octoechos; and Glory … , of the hierarch: Idiomelon, in Tone V –

The time-worn ruins of Glastonbury cry out noetically: “Ye churches and temples of Christendom, rejoice exceedingly and be glad with us, for though the ungodly have cast us down and our majesty hath been brought low, like the walls of Jerusalem, yet are we imbued with grace divine more than other magnificent fanes, for the beautiful feet of the sacred Æthelwold trod upon us in the years of his youth, and his glorious voice, which was uplifted in prayer and praise, resoundeth yet among us, hallowing our stones by his sanctity!” Wherefore, O ye who love the saints of God, standing firmly upon the rock of salvation, as we are taught by our holy father, through him let us entreat the Lord to deal with us according to His mercy.

Now & ever … , of the feast.

Troparion of the holy hierarch, in Tone IV –

By vigilant prayer and ascetic endeavour, thou didst make thy passions subject to thy reverent soul, O holy hierarch Æthelwold, man of noble desires; wherefore, thou didst uproot evil wherever thou didst find it, and in thy humility hast shown thyself to be a true model of Christian virtue. O saint of God, by thy supplications entreat Him to have pity on us all.

Glory … , Now & ever … , of the feast.

At Matins

At “God is the Lord …”, the troparion of the feast, twice; Glory … , that of the holy hierarch; Now & ever … , that of the feast, once.
The usual kathismata; and sessional hymns from the Octoechos.
One canon from the Octoechos, with 4 troparia, including the irmos; canon of the feast, with 6 troparia; and this canon of the holy hierarch, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is: “An eagle of piety, Æthelwold flew to God”, in Tone VII –

Ode I

Irmos: He Who crusheth battles with His upraised arm covered Pharaoh and his chariots in the sea. Let us sing unto Him, for He hath been glorified!

All Orthodox Christians throughout the world praise the virtues and struggles of the holy hierarch Æthelwold, and praise God for him, for He hath been glorified!

Namesake of noble desires, Æthelwold was chosen b y God from his mother’s womb; wherefore, let us give thanks to the Lord, for in His saint is He glorified.

Even though his piety and godliness of mind drew the attention of the king, and he was brought to dwell at the royal court, yet was the saint ever humble.

Theotokion: All Christians magnify thee with hymns of praise, O Theotokos Mary, for by thine ineffable and incomprehensible birthgiving did Christ dwell in our midst.
Katavasia: The irmoi of the Exaltation of the Cross.


Irmos: O Word and only-begotten Son of the unoriginate Father, enlighten our hearts.

Glastonbury, the abode of grace. took thee eagerly to its bosom, O holy Æthelwold.

Learning obedience from the holy Dunstan, O saint, thou didst master the virtues.

Emitting the fragrance of unfeigned love, thou wast like a rose, O glorious Æthelwold.

Theotokion: On the right hand of the throne of the Word dost thou ever stand, O Queen of all.

Kontakion of the holy hierarch, in Tone IV –

Lofty in spiritual stature, like a magnificent cedar of Lebanon mighty in girth, thou didst flourish with splendour in the house of God and at the royal court of Winchester, O glorious father Æthelwold, and from thence didst extend thy branches over all of England, letting fall thy virtues far and wide upon the souls of the devout, as upon most fertile soil. Wherefore, with hymns of praise and love we honour thee, O holy hierarch.

Ikos: When the Temple of Solomon was ravaged by the inexorable passage of time, the pious King Josiah, the ancestor of Christ, gave orders that it be repaired; and when during these labours the holy Book of the Law, long hidden and lost, was discovered, he read it to all the people of Judah, that they might all perform the words of the covenant written therein. So also, in the years of Christ’s grace, the holy hierarch Æthelwold found in England a multitude of monasteries and the houses of God lying desolate and in ruins, and with the aid of the pious and right-believing kings and queens – May their memory be eternal! – he rebuilt and refurbished them, and peopled them with devout monastics, whose life of prayer and struggle he ordered by the long-neglected Rule of the venerable Benedict, that having lived in godly discipline and true obedience, they might be gathered to their saintly fathers in paradise. Wherefore, with hymns of praise and love we honour the holy hierarch.

Sessional hymn of the holy hierarch, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …” –

Like the cedar with the cypress and the pine, so didst thou stand with the holy hierarchs Dunstan of Canterbury and Oswald of Worchester, O godly Æthelwold, like a grove of goodly foliage, providing cool shade and relief for the pious labourers in the vineyard of the Lord as they toiled amid the burning heat of the day. Wherefore, deliver us from the darkness and shadow of death and sin, that our souls may dwell forever in never-waning light and the verdure of paradise.

Glory … , Now & ever … : Sessional hymn of the feast.

Ode IV

Irmos: I heard report of Thee, O Lord, and I was afraid; I understood Thy works, and was filled with awe: for Thou hast destroyed death by Thy Cross, granting us life.

Fleshly meats didst thou avoid all thy life, O godly one, achieving mastery over the carnal passions by abstinence and the struggles of the ascetic life.

Peterborough on the River Nene rejoiceth greatly in thy memory, O saint, for thou didst wisely entrust it to the heavenly care of the preëminent apostle.

Inspired from on high, O Æthelwold, with solicitude for men’s salvation thou didst expel the unworthy from the governance of the monasteries of Winchester.

Theotokion: Ever do the hosts of angels chant thy praises, O all-immaculate Lady; for they are in awe of thy maternal virginity, since the preëternal Logos was born of thee.

Ode V

Irmos: Rising at dawn unto Thee out of the night, I beseech Thee, O Lord my God: Grant me remission of my transgressions, and guide my steps to the light of Thy precepts, I pray.

Thy wise counsel and true friendship were cherished by Edgar, the right-believing king, O holy hierarch; and thereby thou didst benefit the whole Church of Christ in thy land.

Ye faithful, let us praise the wondrous Swithun, the holy hierarch of Winchester, for his precious relics were enshrined by the godly Æthelwold for the glory of our Saviour.

Envenomed was thy drink, O holy Æthelwold, by those who hated the reins of thy strict discipline; but like the godly Benedict the Lord swiftly delivered thee from their malice.

Transgressions and offences becloud our souls, and we are lost in the darkness of the devil’s delusions; but guide us with the light of the precepts of Thy Son, O merciful Mistress.

Ode VI

Irmos: I cried out unto Thee, O Lord, when I was in sorrow; for I was sunk in the mire of the abyss of my many transgressions. And, appearing, Thou hast led me up out of corruption.

Hunger and famine assailed the land, O saint of God, but thou didst use every means to alleviate the people’s distress, even using the sacred vessels to purchase food for them.

Ever concerned with the salvation of thy monastics, O Æthelwold, thou didst admonish the obedient and chastise the foolish, tempering thy discipline with gentleness.

Let Ely of the fens also be glad in the holy hierarch, for in his veneration for the holy Etheldreda and her saintly sisters, he there rebuilt their shrine and monastery.

Theotokion: Wallowing in the mire of our manifold sins, and sinking ever lower in our transgressions, we cry aloud, beseeching the all-pure Mother of God to come swiftly to our aid.

Kontakion & ikos of the feast.


Irmos: Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers, Who by Thine Angel saved the children in the furnace, and transformed the flame into dew for them!

Oh the power wherewith God imbued thee, O holy one! For, preserved thereby, the monk who fell from the roof of thy church escaped all injury.

Loving all, O wondrous Æthelwold, thou didst rescue many thousands from the devil’s talons, and didst restore them to the Lord God of our fathers.

Dangers and perils didst thou manfully brave for thy spiritual children, O excellent hierarch, as a fearless champion of Christian piety and virtue.

Theotokion: Freely dost thou dispense the grace of healing to the afflicted and oppressed, O thou who didst wrap in swaddling bands Him Who bindeth all our wounds.


Irmos: The only King of glory, Who is without beginning, Whom the hosts of heaven bless, and before Whom the ranks of angels tremble, do ye hymn, O ye priests, and exalt supremely, O ye people!

Lamentation and sorrow fell upon the sheep of thy reason-endowed flock, O saint, when in Beddington thou didst surrender thy soul into the hands of the Lord Whom thou didst love

Escorted by a great multitude of the faithful, rich and poor, monks and nuns, who mourned thy passage with funeral hymns, thy body was lovingly conveyed to its place of interment.

With the passage of the years, O holy hierarch, the Most High revealed His favour towards thee with heavenly signs of His mercy, wherefore, thy precious relics were fittingly enshrined.

Theotokion: The King of kings and Lord of lords, in His love for mankind abasing Himself for the sake of our salvation, entered Thy virgin womb and became incarnate of thee, O immaculate one.

Ode IX

Irmos: O ye faithful, with hymns let us magnify the Theotokos, who became a mother in manner transcending nature, is a Virgin by nature, and alone is blessed among women!

Oh the wonder! A man long blind, instructed in a vision, travelled from Wallingford to the holy shrine in Winchester, where he received sight by the prayers of the saint.

Gravely and grievously ill, a young maiden was brought by her mother to the shrine of the holy one, where having made entreaty with faith she was wholly cured of her ailment.

Over the faithful dost thou ever watch, like a shepherd tending the sheep of his flock, O Æthelwold; wherefore save us from the ravening wolves who would devour our souls.

Theotokion: Devotion and reverence do we offer thee, O most blessed and pure Mother of God; for as the Mother of our Redeemer thou art able to lift from our souls the heavy burden of sin.

Exapostilarion from the Octoechos; and Glory … , that of the holy hierarch: Spec. Mel.: “The heaven with stars …” –

As the sky is adorned with its multitudes of stars, declaring the glory of the one Creator, so hath the firmament of the Holy Church received as a constellation of brilliant luminaries the multitudes of pious priests, abbots and bishops who were reared and instructed by Æthelwold in true repentance, unfeigned love and the Orthodox Faith.

Now & ever … , that of the feast.

On the Praises: 6 stichera: 3 of the feast; and 3 of the holy hierarch, in Tone I: Spec. Mel.: “O most lauded martyrs …” –

When thou hadst emptied thy treasuries of every coin, thou didst even melt down the sacred vessels to purchase food for thy starving flock, O holy Æthelwold. For as a good shepherd thou wast not able calmly to permit speechless metal to remain intact, while man, created in the image of God and redeemed by the precious Blood of Christ, perished through hunger and poverty.

Lo, the prophecy of the holy Alphege concerning thee, O Æthelwold, was manifestly fulfilled in deed; for when h e ordained thee to the sacred priesthood of the Orthodox Church, he stated with confidence that in time thou wouldst succeed him in the See of Winchester. Wherefore, marvelling at the ways of divine providence, we call with boldness upon thine intercession.

As an industrious bee gathereth pollen from many fragrant blossoms and plants, therewith to make sweet honey for the sustenance of its fellow creatures, so did Æthelwold gather wisdom from the Sacred Scriptures and the writings of the holy Fathers of the Church, that, storing it securely in the honeycomb of his heart, he might therewith feed the faithful who had recourse unto him.

Glory … , of the holy hierarch: Idiomelon, in Tone VI –

Endowed with godly wisdom and great prudence, O most blessed and glorious Æthelwold, thou didst serve England well with the divinely-given gifts of thy mind, standing as counsellor to many kings and nobles, guiding and instructing them in the ways of righteousness. Thou wast friend and advisor to the right-believing Edgar the peaceable, and didst train his son, the holy Edward, to be a champion of piety. Wherefore, since thou hast fallen asleep in the Lord, thou hast watched over thy native land with a solicitous eye, ever beseeching thy heavenly Master to temper His judgment with mercy, and to deliver it safely from every enemy and peril.

Now & ever … , of the feast.

After the Great Doxology, the troparion and stichera of the Cross are chanted. Litanies. Dismissal. First Hour.

At Liturgy

On the Beatitudes, 8 troparia: 4 from Ode III of the canon of the Cross, and 4 from Ode VI of the canon of the holy hierarch.
After the entrance, the troparia of the Cross and the holy hierarch; Glory … , kontakion of the holy hierarch; Now & ever … , kontakion of the Cross.

Prokimenon of the Cross, in Tone VI –

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance.
Stichos. Unto Thee, O Lord, will I cry; O my God, be not silent unto me.

And that of the holy hierarch, in Tone I –

My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

Epistle to the Corinthians, § 125
[I Cor. 1: 18-24]

Brethren: The preaching of the Cross is to those who perish, foolishness; but unto us who are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God b y the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Reading to the Hebrews, § 318
(Heb. 7:26-8:2)

Brethren: Such a high priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. For the law maketh men high priests who have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, Who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Alleluia of the feast, in Tone IV –

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 of the saint, in Tone II –

Stichos: The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak of judgment.

Gospel according to John, § 60
[Jn. 19: 6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 30-35]

At that time, the high priests and elders took council against Jesus to put Him to death. And they delivered Him to Pilate saying: “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said unto them: “Take ye Him, and crucify Him: for I find no fault in Him. The Jews answered him: “We have a law, and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and said unto Jesus: “Whence art Thou?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then said Pilate unto Him: “Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and have power to release Thee?” Jesus answered: “Thou couldst have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above.” When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said unto the Jews: “Behold your King!” But they cried out: “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said unto them: “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered: “We have no king but Cæsar.” Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him away. And He bearing His Cross went forth into a place called the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, on either side, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the Cross. And the writing was: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. This title then read many of the Jews; for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His Mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He said unto His Mother: “Woman, behold thy son!” Then said He to the disciple: “Behold thy Mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was a high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he who saw it bore record, and his record is true.

Gospel according to Matthew, § 11
(Mt. 5:14-19).

The Lord said to His disciples: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Communion Verses –

The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, hath been signed upon us.
In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings.