Commemoration of our Venerable Mother Hilda, Abbess At Streaneshalch, Now Whitby, of Northumbria

Month of November

The 17th Day

Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson

At Vespers

On “Lord, I have cried …”, these stichera, in Tone VI: Spec. Mel.: “Having set all aside …” –

Setting all her hope on the mercy of God, the venerable Hilda spurned material things, which moth and rust can corrupt. Wherefore, committing her soul unto the Lord, she embraced the monastic life of poverty, repelling the assaults of the passions, and submitting herself wholly to obedience, for which she hath been granted the grace to pray with great boldness in behalf of our souls.

Setting aside her exalted royal rank and all the riches and wealth appertaining thereto, the blessed Hilda forsook her native land to journey to East Anglia, for it was her firm intention to live for Christ as a stranger and sojourner in this world, taking up the great struggle for salvation under the care and direction of saintly spiritual guides.

Thou didst return to thy homeland, O Hilda, and yet wast mindful of the Apostle’s words, that we have here no continuing city, but we seek that which is to come. Wherefore, thou didst set thy heart on the salvation of t h y soul; and didst constantly offer unto God the peerless sacrifice of praise, the fruit of thy sanctified lips, ever mindful of His benefactions.

Glory … : Idiomelon of the saint, in Tone IV –

Summoned by the pious hierarch Aidan to the service of thy heavenly Master, O ever-memorable Hilda, in godly obedience thou didst accept to watch over a nunnery by the River Wear, which thou didst govern well according to the commandments of the Lord. Wherefore, as thou wast faithful in a little task, thou wast given authority over the great Convent at Hartlepool, which by divine grace thou didst bring to prosperity, for which cause thou hast entered, rejoicing, into the joy of the Most High.

Now & ever … : Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: “Called from on high …” –

Lament Me not, O Mother, beholding thy Son and God suspended on the Tree, Who suspended the earth unsupported upon the waters, and hath fashioned all creation. For I will arise and be glorified, I will crush the kingdom of hell with might, I will destroy the power thereof and deliver from its evil those in bondage, in that I am compassionate; and I will lead them to My Father, in that I love mankind.

Aposticha from the Octoechos; and this sticheron of the venerable one: Idiomelon, in Tone VII –

Stichos: In congregations bless ye God, the Lord from the well-springs of Israel.

The bitterness of exile and widowhood were sweetened for thy pious mother, O most excellent Hilda, when, taking pity on her wretchedness, the Lord sent her a marvellous vision, wherein she beheld thee in the form of a great and lustrous gem which shone forth with awesome brilliance, filling all of England with its splendour, prefiguring the effulgence of thy life, which lighteth the straight and narrow way of virtue for all Christians.

Glory … , of the venerable one: Idiomelon, in Tone VIII –

Shining forth like a brilliant beacon over the crashing waves of the sea, whereon the ships of men’s souls were foundering, thou didst guide them to calm harbour, O Hilda, establishing a safe monastic haven at the Bay of the Beacon. Wherefore, rescued by thee from the dire perils of life and the surgings of the passions, they lifted their voices in praise to the Lord Who, saving His disciples, rebuked the waves and stilled the raging tempest.

Now & ever … : Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious wonder …” –

“What is this sight that I see, which mine eyes behold, O Master? Thou Who sustainest all creation dost die, lifted up upon the Tree, granting life unto all,” weeping, the Theotokos said when she beheld the God-man suspended upon the Cross, Who had ineffably shone forth from her.

Troparion, in Tone I –

Though thou wast of royal birth and lineage, O Hilda, thou didst spurn earthly riches and the allurements of the flesh. And cleaving with all thy heart unto Christ, thou didst take up the struggle of the monastic life. Wherefore, God endowed thee with such wisdom and prudence that all the people hastened unto thee for counsel and succour. O venerable one, entreat Him unceasingly, that He grant us great mercy.

At Matins

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

Both canons from the Octoechos, with 10 troparia, including the irmos; and the canon of the venerable one, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Shield us with thy monastic veil, O Hilda”, in Tone I –

Ode I

Irmos: Thy sacred and glorious memorial, all-adorned with divine glory, O Virgin, hath assembled the faithful in gladness, as Miriam beginneth, with choirs and drums, to chant unto Thine only-begotten Son, for gloriously hath He been glorified.

Sacred to the glorious memory of the venerable Hilda is this day; wherefore, O merciful Lord, purify my sinful mouth and fill me with Thy Spirit, that, unworthy though I am, I may set down words of praise wherewith to hymn Thy holy one.

Healing the infirmity of sin within thee, O Hilda, the holy hierarch Paulinus gave thee a new birth in the layer of baptism; and the saintly Bishop Aidan summoned thee to new life in the monastic struggle, wherein thou didst finish thy race.

Into the joy of thy Lord didst thou enter with confidence, O Hilda, for His law was a lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy paths; wherefore, with beams of grace thou dost illumine the hearts of those who with faith celebrate thy memory.

Theotokion: Every human mind is unable to comprehend the magnitude of the mystery wrought in thee, O Virgin Theotokos, for God, Who is infinite in every way, and Whom nought can contain, dwelt within thy pure womb, for the sake of our salvation.


Look down upon the hymns of Thy servants, O Benefactor, casting down the vaunted pride of the enemy. O Thou Who seest all things, raise up far above sin those who hymn Thee, established immovably upon the foundation of the Faith, O Good One.

Luminous was thy great-hearted soul, O Hilda, for under the guidance of the holy Aidan thou didst by obedience and perseverance in the monastic struggle attain unto holy stillness, having Christ, our Peace, ineffably dwelling within thee.

Deified by the uncreated grace of God, thou didst inspire the sheep of thy flock to embrace peace and charity, justice, piety and chastity, and all the Christian virtues, leading them unerringly in the paths of righteousness, O thou who wast full of loving-kindness.

Under the guidance of the blessed Aidan, thou didst govern well the community entrusted to thee, O Hilda, imitating the ways of the disciples of Christ; for among thy nuns was no one rich, no one poor, for all things were held in common, unto the good of all.

Theotokion: Seeing thee standing at the right hand of thy Son and God, O Maiden who knewest not man, the incorporeal hosts were amazed; for thou, a material being, art, according to the dispensation of our God, more exalted than them all in purity and holiness.

Sessional hymn, in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: “Go thou quickly before …” –

Offering continual entreaty in earnest supplication in the Spirit, and keeping vigil with all perseverance, ever beseeching the intercession of all the saints, O venerable Hilda, utterance was manifestly given thee, that thou mightest open thy mouth with boldness and make known the great mysteries of faith, for the upbuilding and salvation of all.

Glory … , Now & ever … : Theotokion –

O most immaculate Virgin, who gayest birth unto the transcendent God, unceasingly entreat Him with the incorporeal ones, that before the end He grant remission of transgressions and amendment of life unto us who, with faith and love, hymn thee as is meet, O only all-hymned one.

Or this Stavrotheotokion –

O all-immaculate Virgin Mother of Christ God, a sword pierced thine all-holy soul when thou beheldest thy Son and God crucified of His own will. Him do thou never cease to entreat, O blessed one, that He grant us forgiveness of transgressions.

Ode IV

Great is the mystery of Thy dispensation, O Christ! For, foreseeing it with divine vision from above, Habbakuk cried out to Thee: Thou hast come for the salvation of Thy people, O Thou Who lovest mankind!

Wisdom and great prudence adorned thy character, O blessed one, and piety and grace embellished thy soul, so that those of every rank and station – kings and princes, common folk and clergy – resorted to thee for godly counsel.

In those under obedience to thee thou didst instil a love of the Sacred Scriptures, O Hilda, that guided by the divine precepts of Christ, they might be moved to live virtuously and do good unto their neighbour, being thus well pleasing to God.

The sound of thy holiness went forth into all the land, O glorious one, for report of thy gracious life inspired even those who dwelt afar off to turn away from sin, to amend their lives, and to seek salvation of soul from the Almighty.

Theotokion: “He Who was born of me in manner past understanding hath helped His people, mindful of His mercy, for thus spake He to their fathers, unto Abraham and his seed forever,” thou didst fervently cry, O holy Lady.

Ode V

Out of the gloomy night of the works of deception, come Thou, O Christ, unto us who now keep vigil in hymnody addressed to Thee as our Benefactor, Who granteth us an easy path, travelling whereon we may attain unto glory.

Thou wast called mother by all who knew thee, O Hilda; for by goodly instruction in the Christian life thou didst nourish those who came to thee, imparting virtue and piety to them as a loving mother feedeth her children at her breast.

How like the righteous Solomonia, the mother of the Maccabees, wast thou, O Hilda, for as she gave her sons to martyrdom for the righteousness of God, so gavest thou many saints to the Church of Christ from among thy spiritual children.

Young and old found thee to be a well-spring of wisdom, O venerable one, and like deer panting after fountains of living water, they drew forth refreshment from thee.

Theotokion: Most blessed art thou among women, O thou who art full of grace; and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, the beginningless Word of God, Who in His love for mankind deigned to take flesh of thine all-pure blood, O Queen of all.

Ode VI

Out of the deep the Prophet Jonah cried out in distress unto Thee, Who lovest mankind: Lead up my life from corruption!

O thy surpassing love for God and neighbour, O beneficent Hilda! For thou didst willingly give up thy life for thy fellow man.

Now art thou supernally exalted, O thou who art most rich; for, imbued with the knowledge of God, thou dost see Him as He is.

As thy name doth signify, so was thy life, O Hilda, for, doing battle against our ancient foe, thou didst vanquish him utterly.

Theotokion: Singing together harmoniously, let us exalt the immaculate Mistress, the Theotokos, with fitting hymnody, O ye faithful.

Kontakion, in Tone VI –

As the waves of the North Sea wash the strands of Whitby, O venerable Hilda, so let thy supplications wash over our sins, which are more than the sands of the sea, to sink them in the unfathomable depths of the mercy of God. As one who standeth with great boldness before the throne of Christ the King of kings, intercede for us now, that by thine entreaties we may find a place at His right hand.

Ikos: Heated and annealed in the furnace of burning fevers, and forged by repeated blows from the hammer of affliction, O Hilda, thou wast finely wrought by God into a mighty weapon through adversity, the steel of thy soul, thus tempered, forming an unbreakable blade to pierce the heart of the prince of this world and to fell his vile hordes, the implacable foes of our salvation. Wherefore, as we do battle against the enemy, grant that we may wield thy mediation as a sword, O venerable one, to parry the thrusts of the adversary and prevail over them, that saved by thine entreaties, we may find a place at the Lord’s right hand.


All Thy works are true and Thy paths straight, O God of our fathers!

Thou hast passed from death unto Life, O Hilda, for the sake of thy great love.

In works of righteousness was thine ardent faith justified, O saint of God.

Christ the Redeemer abode in Hilda, for she kept well His commandments.

Theotokion: Verily thou guidest our steps aright, that we may reach the dwelling-place of God, O Lady.


Like the children in the furnace we offer Thee the hymnody of the incorporeal beings, and, chanting, we say: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

Ever faithful wast thou to thy high calling, O holy one, for fasting and praying unceasingly, thou didst cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

In the never-waning light of the noetic Sun dost thou now live with all the saints, O God-bearer, with whom thou criest: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord.

Looking ever for the Son of God to return in glory o n the clouds of heaven, thou didst live piously, in expectation of a new heaven and a new earth, O Hilda.

Triadicon: O consubstantial, indivisible and triune God, Who art great beyond the comprehension of created beings, in Thy surpassing love have mercy on us all.

Theotokion: Humbly we beseech thee, O thou who knewest not wedlock, to entreat thy merciful Son to purify us, that we may say: Bless the Lord all ye works of the Lord!

Ode IX

We magnify thee, the Theotokos, who art adorned and arrayed in golden vesture, the silver dove gilded with the lustre of gold.

Illness and affliction beset thee for long years, as God permitted, O saint, that He might bring thee to full perfection.

Loving God above all, and her neighbour as herself, Hilda never ceased to instruct His reason-endowed flock until her end.

Dying, the blessed one enjoined her flock ever to keep the peace of Christ, and thus passed on to the mansions of paradise.

Abjectly do we fall down before thee, O Lady, crying out in our dire need: Help and save us by thy mediation!

Exapostilarion: Spec. Mel.: “Hearken, ye women …” –

Hearing a sound as of the bell marking the passage of a soul into eternal life, a disciple of the holy one saw as it were the roof of her dwelling removed and splendour from heaven streaming forth, wherein she beheld the soul of Hilda borne aloft by angels into eternal bliss.

Glory … , Now & ever … : Theotokion –

O all-immaculate Virgin, with the reverent and holy Hilda beseech Him to Whom thou gayest birth, in behalf of all who piously honour thee, that we may receive the splendour of thy Son and a place to stand with the elect and the saints; for what thou dost desire, thou canst do.

Aposticha from the Octoechos; and Glory … , of the venerable one: Idiomelon, in Tone VI –

Fed by thee on the verdure of piety, O Hilda, thy flock waxed strong in godliness; and among the sheep and lambs thereof, like mighty rams stood five who became great among the hierarchs of England – Bosa of York and Hedda of Dorchester, John of Beverly and Wilfrid of Hexham, and the blessed Oftfor of the Isle of Wight – who of thee learned well the law of the Lord; and the blessed Cædmon likewise, who fashioned wondrous hymns to God in his native tongue, was encouraged by thee to increase the talent with which God endowed him. Wherefore, rejoicing in thy many benefactions, we give thanks for thee unto God, for gloriously is He glorified in the saints whom thou hadst engendered by the Spirit.

Now & ever … : Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: “On the third day …” –

The Virgin, Thy pure Mother, beholding the most iniquitous men who unjustly nailed Thee to the Tree, O Saviour, was wounded in the womb, as Symeon foretold.

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 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.