Commemoration of Our Venerable Mother Frideswide, Wonderworker of Oxford

Month of October


At Vespers

At “Lord, I have cried…”, these stichera, in Tone VI: Spec. Mel.: “Having set all aside…”—
In ancient times, the wondrous Frideswide, vowing her pure virginity unto the Lord, fled the insolent threats of a violent suitor, and, concealing herself in a cave, lived a life of fasting, poverty and prayer, pleasing her heavenly Bridegroom in all that she did, and sending up praise to Him continually, until, shining with the lustre of the virtues like refinèd gold, she shed rays of glory over all the Western lands.

Even now, with the passing of ages, the divine grace wherewith the venerable one was resplendent shineth forth unabated like beams of heavenly light, illumining the souls of pious Christians who with faith have recourse unto her in prayer, beseeching her to pray to the Saviour on high, that He forgive the multitude of our offences and deliver us at the supplications of His saint from the evil machinations of the ancient enemy of our race.

When the angelic trumpet soundeth on the dread Day of Judgement, and we must all perforce stand at the awesome tribunal of Christ, where our sins and transgressions will be laid bare for all to see, then, O holy Frideswide, entreat the Judge, Whose great favourite thou art, that He deal with us according to His mercy, grant us deliverance from hades, and that He set us on His right hand, with thee and the righteous of all the ages.

Glory…: Idiomelon, in Tone VIII—

Loving Jesus our Saviour with all thy heart and soul, thou didst desire to cleave unto Him alone, O venerable mother; and spurning a royal marriage and all riches on earth, thou didst flee into the wilderness, taking refuge in a cave like the ascetics of old, where in stillness of spirit thou didst hear the voice of God, Who called thee to His banquet on high. Wherefore, O holy Frideswide, thou dwellest with Him forever in paradise, delighting in the ineffable vision of His beloved countenance.

Now & ever…:Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious wonder…”—

Beholding Thee, O Jesus nailed to the Cross and willingly accepting Thy Passion, the Virgin, Thy Mother, O Master, cried aloud: O woe is me, my sweet Child! How dost Thou endure wounds unjustly inflicted, O Physician Who hast healed the sickness of man, and hast delivered all from corruption in Thy tender mercy?

Aposticha stichera from the Octoechos; and Glory…: Idiomelon, in Tone VI—

O ye who love the saints of Christ, lift up your voices in jubilant song, and let us glorify the wondrous Frideswide, the steadfast athlete and brave contender, who ran the race of virtue to the end and hath received the wreath of victory from the hand of her Master and Lord, Who escorteth her in triumph to His celestial mansions.

Now & ever…: Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: “Having set all aside…”—

When the unblemished Ewe-lamb, the immaculate Mistress, beheld of old her Lamb upon the tree of the Cross, she exclaimed maternally and, marvelling, cried out: “O my Child most sweet, what is this new and all-glorious sight? How is it that the thankless assembly hath betrayed Thee to the judgement of Pilate and condemneth to death the Life of all? Yet do I hymn Thine ineffable condescension, O Word!”

Troparion of the saint, in Tone V—

Come, let us solemnly rejoice today, and let us laud the virtues and struggles of the most splendid luminary of the Western lands: Frideswide, great among ascetics, the most praiseworthy instructor of nuns, who watcheth over us from her dwelling-place on high; for the Lord hath truly made her wondrous among His saints. By her supplications may He save our souls.

At Matins

At “God is the Lord…”, the troparion of the saint, twice; Glory…, Now & ever…: Theotokion.

Canon of the saint, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Mighty is Frideswide’s holy virginity”, in Tone II—

Ode I

Irmos: Pharaoh, who was proud of his chariots and his mighty captains, was drowned in the Red Sea with all his army; but Moses, leading Israel across as upon dry land, at the command of God, chanted: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Meet it is to praise thee with spiritual songs, O venerable Frideswide; for thou didst preserve thy virginity as a precious treasure to give to thy heavenly Bridegroom, and didst chant unto Him with zeal: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

In constant vigils and continuous prayers the holy Frideswide steadily mounted the ladder of the virtues, betrothing herself to Christ our God with unwavering intent; and she fled from her undesired suitor, crying: Let us sing unto the Lord, for He hath been glorified!

Giving glory to God, the venerable Frideswide spent her life in fasting and prayer, striving ever toward her heavenly homeland; and from the proud king who would have taken her by force she found refuge in solitude, ever singing to the Lord, for He hath been glorified.

Theotokion: How like the pillar of cloud and fire is the all-holy Mother of God! For she goeth before the chosen people of the New Israel, guiding us all to the promised land of paradise; and in exultation we cry with her: Let us sing unto the Lord Who hath gloriously been glorified!


Irmos: The bow of the mighty hath been broken by Thy might, O Christ, and the strengthless have girded themselves with power.

The arrogance of the prideful king, who sought to wrest thee from thy true Bridegroom, was broken by thy prayers, O saint.

Ye who love the saints of the Lord, praise now the wondrous Frideswide, who, though weak of body was filled with power divine.

In the power of the Most High, wherewith she was girded, did Frideswide abound, and she was shown to be mighty in the grace of God.

Theotokion: Seraphim and cherubim all stand in awe of the all-holy Theotokos, the Queen of the angels, and they bow down before her in homage.

Sessional hymn, in Tone I: Spec. Mel.: “Thy tomb, O Saviour…”—

Abingdon rejoiceth, for therein did the saint find safe refuge; and lowly Binsey is blessed, for there did she make her final abode, and there did her prayers call forth a well of curing waters; but even more doth Oxford exult, for there her sacred relics yet lie, like a hidden treasure, unto the healing of the faithful.

Glory…, Now & ever…: Theotokion—

O all-pure Virgin, thou hope of Christians, unceasingly entreat God to Whom thou gavest birth in manner past understanding and recounting, in behalf of those who hymn thee, that He grant remission of all our sins and correction of life unto those who ever glorify thee with faith and love.


Beholding Thee stretched out, dead, upon the Cross, O Christ, Thy most immaculate Mother cried aloud: “O my Son Who with the Father and the Spirit art equally without beginning, what is this, Thine ineffable dispensation, whereby Thou hast saved the creation of Thine own all-pure hands, O Compassionate One?”

Ode IV

Irmos: Purified by the fire of a mystical vision, the prophet praiseth the restoration of mortal men; and, filled with the inspiration of the Spirit, he lifteth up his voice to reveal the incarnation of the ineffable Word, Who hath broken the dominion of the mighty.

Frideswide by her mighty supplications broke the power of the ungodly Algar, who burned with lust and breathed threats against her; for, struck blind by the power of her prayers, he was shown to be utterly impotent, and his rage was turned to grief.

Returning from her long seclusion, the venerable one gathered round about her a company of virgins, and together they laboured and prayed, giving thanks unto God for His rich benefactions, and offering up unceasing praise and glory to His name.

In her suppliant prayers unto the Most High, the blessed one interceded for the whole world, entreating the King of all to grant peace to His people and fruitfulness to the land, that, delivered from famine and pestilence, all might praise Him forever.

Theotokion: Divers miracles and awesome wonders do we witness even in our day, wrought by the all-immaculate Mother of God through her precious icons; and, deriving grace and benefit therefrom, we bow down before her in adoration, praising her forever.

Ode V

Irmos: Washed clean of the poison of the dark and vile enemy by the cleansing of the Spirit, we have set out upon a new path which leadeth to joy inaccessible, which only they attain whom God hath reconciled with Himself.

Emitting divine light, thy relics shine forth the grace of the Spirit upon those who honour thy memory, O saint, even though the impious have sought to confound thy veneration by mingling them with the bones of sinners.

Stains of sin are washed clean from our souls when, filled with repentance and compunction, we beseech thee to pray to Christ for our forgiveness, O Frideswide; and, with great reverence honour thee as a mighty intercessor.

When thou hadst cleansed thy soul of all impurity through fasting, vigils and continual prayers, O venerable one, thou wast received by the Lord as a pure bride and didst set thy steps to enter His festive bridal-chamber.

Theotokion: In heartfelt hymns of praise let us laud the unblemished Ewe-lamb of Christ, the immaculate Virgin Mary; for by her maternal supplications, offered up with loving-kindness, she hath reconciled us with Him

Ode VI

Irmos: The uttermost abyss of offences hath surrounded me, O Lord, but lead up my life from corruption, as Thou didst the Prophet Jonah, O Lord.

Deluged by the flood of mine offences, I am borne down into the sea of corruption; but the saint doth save me, extending to me a helping hand.

Ever surrounded by countless demons, which like ravening wolves seek the utter destruction of my soul, I turn to the holy one for deliverance.

Struggling to free myself from the dark abyss of offences, O venerable one, I beseech thee to free me, as God delivered Jonah from the monster.

Theotokion: Having thee as a most powerful mediatress, O Theotokos, we sinners escape damnation, for thou movest the Judge, thy Son, to pity by thy pleas.

Kontakion, in Tone VI—

We honour thee, O venerable Frideswide, who didst forsake earthly wealth and royal glory to become a nun; for in Oxford, like a vine in the midst of thorns thou didst bring forth all the virtues like fruit, and didst astonish all by thy wondrous way of life. Wherefore, rejoicing now in gladness, thou dost dance with the choirs of venerable women on high, delighting in the beauty of paradise. Wherefore, we beseech thee: In our behalf entreat Christ our God, that He grant us peace and great mercy.

Ikos: For many centuries after thy repose, thy sacred relics were the glory of Oxford, O venerable mother, and thy holy shrine was a source of solace for the grieving and of healing for the sick. Then, unable to bear the grace which shone forth from thee, the ungodly concealed thy remains among those of sinners, that the faithful might no longer approach them with reverence. But the splendour of thy virtues and the love which thou dost have for thy heavenly Bridegroom continue to illumine those who have recourse to thee in prayer, and for thy sake He will yet grant us peace and great mercy.


Irmos: The command of the iniquitous tyrant, opposed to God, raised up a lofty flame; but Christ, Who is blessed and all-glorious, spread a spiritual dew upon the pious youths.

Over the burning of the passions and all temptations of soul and body didst thou achieve triumph, the Spirit of God spreading upon thee the dew of grace, O divinely wise Frideswide.

Lusts and sin, hateful to God, didst thou uproot from thy soul like tares from a field, O venerable one, and thou didst worthily praise Him Who is blessed and all-glorious.

Ye faithful Christians of England, turn ye from the vanity and errors of the iniquitous tyrant, who raised a lofty flame wherein to burn to ashes the sacred relics of the pious.

Theotokion: Virgin and Mother both wast thou, alone among womankind, O most blessed and all-glorious Lady, and thou gavest birth unto Christ, Who hath redeemed us from sin and death.


Irmos: Refusing to obey the edict of the tyrant, the three venerable children were cast into the furnace, and confessed God, chanting: Bless the Lord, O ye works of the Lord!

In the sweat of spiritual labours and ascetic feats the saint found the means to extinguish the furnace of carnal temptations, chanting: Bless the Lord, O ye works of the Lord!

Refusing the sinful demands of the wicked Algar, the pious Frideswide fled into hiding, preferring to live in God-pleasing solitude and to praise the Lord in chanting hymns.

Goodly confession of the God of our salvation didst thou make of thy whole life, O most glorious Frideswide, joyously chanting unto Him: Bless the Lord, O ye works of the Lord!

Theotokion: In the midst of the furnace of fiery temptations, I cry out, O Virgin, my protectress, and beseech thee to send down the dew of grace upon me, lest I be utterly consumed.

Ode IX

Irmos: Come ye, and with pure souls and undefiled lips let us magnify the undefiled and all-pure Mother of Emmanuel, offering supplication unto Him Who was born of her, saying: Take pity on our souls, O Christ God, and save us!

Now glorify we all the great ascetic, the peer of the desert-dwelling women of old, the holy Frideswide, who with undefiled lips and a pure heart besought Christ God in her supplications, to have mercy on the souls of sinners

In constant prayer and glorification thou didst find the antidote to the venom of the evil serpent, O holy Frideswide, and, full of spiritual health, thou didst set thy feet on the path to the kingdom of heaven, rejoicing exceedingly.

Though our mouths are defiled with unseemly words, and our souls are polluted beyond measure with countless iniquities, let us magnify the wondrous virgin Frideswide, for she offereth supplication to the Lord in our behalf.

Theotokion: Ye who have received the great benefactions of the Mother of Emmanuel, come, let us offer praise and glory unto her, crying out in thanksgiving: We bless thee who hast had pity on our souls, O most blessed Queen and Lady!

Exapostilarion: Spec. Mel. : “O Light immutable…”—

O holy mother Frideswide, who didst fill the lamp of thy soul with the oil of the virtues, thy divine Bridegroom hath arrived, escorted by ranks of angels and saints, to lead thee into the splendours of immutable light.


O Ever-virgin Mother and Maiden, who gavest birth to the Light from the unbegotten Light, by thy tireless supplications never cease to guide to the never-waning Light those who hymn thee.

Aposticha stichera from the Octoechos; and Glory…: Idiomelon, in Tone IV—

The village of Binsey is truly blessed by Christ, for it rejoiceth in the well of the venerable one, which sprang forth to quench the thirst of the faithful, both of body and of spirit, and giveth healing to the sick and infirm who approach and drink of it with faith.

Now & ever…: Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel. : “As one valiant among the martyrs…”—

When the Ewe-lamb who gave Thee birth beheld Thee, the Lamb and Shepherd, upon the Tree, she lamented maternally and cried out to Thee: “O my Son most desired! How is it that Thou art suspended upon the Tree of the Cross, O Long-suffering One? How is it, O Word, that Thy hands and feet have been nailed by the iniquitous, and Thou hast shed Thy blood, O Master?”

At Liturgy

Prokimenon, in Tone IV—

Wondrous is God in His saints, the God of Israel.
Stichos: In congregations bless ye God, the Lord from the well-springs of Israel.

Epistle to the Galatians, §208
[Gal. 3:23-29]

Brethren: Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Alleluia, in Tone I—

Stichos: With patience I waited patiently for the Lord, and He was attentive unto me, and He hearkened unto my supplication.

Stichos: And He brought me up out of the pit of misery, and from the mire of clay.

Gospel according to Matthew, §104
[Mt. 25: 1-13]

The Lord spake this parable: “The kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise: ‘Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.’ But the wise answered, saying: ‘Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying: ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.’ But he answered and said: ‘Verily I say unto you, I know you not.’ Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

Communion verse—
In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings.