Month of June
THE 22nd DAY
Commemoration of the Holy Alban of Verulamium, Protomartyr of Britain
Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson
On “Lord, I have cried …”, 6 stichera: in Tone I: Spec. Mel.: “O most lauded martyrs …” –
Arise, ye Christian peoples of Albion, leap for joy and join chorus, lifting your voices in sacred hymnody, and let us praise Alban the most laudable, who in accordance with his name was washed whiter than snow by the blood of his martyrdom; for, confessing Christ before the ungodly tyrant, he received a heavenly crown from his Master on high.
O Verulamium, once armed with pagan might, beyond thy ruins rose a new and Christian city, in the place where the holy Alban suffered, and where the shrine of his precious relics was established, to which the faithful have recourse, even in our times; for the grace divine which emboldened him to lay down his life for his Lord doth constantly shine forth upon us who venerate his glorious martyrdom.
O heathen worshipers of false deities, who in your madness venerate the elemental forces of nature as divine, ye are confounded and put to shame by the courageous witness of Alban most wise, who, brought before the pitiless tyrant, steadfastly refused to offer sacrifice to inanimate things, bravely proclaiming with the Psalmist that the gods of the pagans are demons. Wherefore, having witnessed to Christ on earth, he hath inherited His kingdom in the heavens.
And 3 stichera, in Tone IV. Spec. Mel.: “As one valiant among the martyrs …” –
As one valiant among the martyrs, thou wast undaunted by the tyrant’s threats, O most glorious martyr Alban, and didst answer him, saying with boldness: “I worship and serve the living God, the Author and Creator of all things! Your deities are utterly impotent; and whoso offereth sacrifice to them heapeth up for himself fuel for the fires of Gehenna!”
Though reared a pagan from thy birth, yet, like Cornelius the centurion, thou wast devout and full of the saving fear of God; wherefore, in His great love for mankind, the Saviour sent thee a Christian priest to instruct thee in the one true Faith and to inspire thee to die for the Lord. O the loving-kindness of the Master of all, for Whose sake thou didst willingly lay down thy life, O Alban, martyr of Christ!
When the Roman guards savagely hunted the Christian priest, thou gavest refuge to him in thine own home, O glorious Alban; and, converted by him to the Christian Faith, putting off the old man and clothing thyself in Christ, thou didst disguise thyself in his cloak, permitting him to escape those who pursued him, and allowing thyself to be brought before the ungodly tribunal in his stead, to confess the one God with boldness.
Glory … , in Tone II –
Come, ye right-believing people of the one true Church, and clapping our hands in gladness, let us chant with sweet-sounding hymnody, praising the godly witness of the martyr Alban: for, casting away the heathen superstitions of his fathers, with a pure soul he embraced the teachings of the Christian Faith; and, beheaded by the tyrant’s sword, he standeth before the throne of the Most High with the countless martyrs, who hold palms in their hands and are clothed in brilliant robes, which they have made white in the blood of the Lamb of God.
Now & ever …: Theotokion, or this Stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: “When from the Tree …” –
Beholding Thee nailed to the Tree of the Cross, O Jesus, she who tasted not of wedlock said, weeping: “O my sweet Child, wherefore hast Thou abandoned me who alone gave Thee birth? O unapproachable Light of the all-unoriginate Father, haste Thou and be glorified, that they who glorify Thy divine sufferings may receive divine glory!”
Aposticha from the Octoechos,; and Glory … : Idiomelon, in Tone VI –
In that thou didst lawfully contend for Christ, the Judge of the contest, thou hast been admitted to the ranks of His warriors, O Alban; and hearkening there to the entreaties of those who cry to thee with faith, thou givest them strength to fight the good fight for the God of all, to do battle with the hordes of evil demons, and to prevail over them utterly, that by steadfastly confessing the Lord they may enlist with thee in the bright armies of the King of kings.
Now & ever…: Theotokion, or this Stavrotheotokion: “On the third day …” –
Seeing Thee crucified, O Christ, she who gave Thee birth cried out: “What is this strange mystery which I behold, O my Son? How is it that Thou diest, suspended in the flesh upon the Tree, O Bestower of life?”
Troparion, in Tone III –
With faith, piety and devotion let us hasten to the sacred shrine of the wondrous martyr Alban, the first in Britain to shed his blood for Christ the Lord, for Whom he willingly laid down his life; and let us pray that through his supplications our souls may find mercy and salvation.
At “God is the Lord …”, the troparion of the martyr, twice; Glory … , Now & ever … : Theotokion, or Stavrotheotokion.
Both canons from the Octoechos, without the martyrica; and this canon for the martyr, with 6 troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Save Albion by thy prayers, O godly Alban”, in Tone VIII –
Irmos: O Lord Who didst fashion an all-glorious path for the people in the sea, make Thou the journey to heaven passable for us, that we may sing a new song unto Thee.
Send me grace from on high to purify my sinful mind, O Christ, that with boldness and without condemnation I may hymn Thy great martyr Alban, the invincible.
A great and undaunted witness to Thy truth was Alban, O God; for though he had not received holy baptism, yet so great was his zeal for the Faith that he gladly shed his blood for Thee.
Verulamium and the parts thereof were sanctified b y thy martyrdom, O Alban; for within its walls thou didst confess the true God and wast sentenced to death; and beyond it thou wast beheaded.
Theotokion: Even after giving birth thou hast remained ever-virgin, O all-pure and most immaculate Theotokos; wherefore, thou prayest in purity for thy sinful servants.
Irmos: The bow of the mighty is become weak, and the strengthless have girded themselves with power; wherefore, my heart hath been established in the Lord.
All-joyously didst thou endure scourging for the sake of Christ, when thou didst spurn the worship of graven images, defying the unjust demand of the tyrant, O holy one.
Like Moses, who parted the Red Sea, so didst thou divide the rushing River Ver, which impeded thy path to martyrdom, O Alban, filling the people with amazement.
Bowing thy head before the executioner’s sword, thou didst surrender thy pure soul into the hands of Christ Jesus, Who hath caused it to dwell in paradise.
Theotokion: In psalms, hymns and spiritual songs we lift up our voices in praise of thee, who alone among women gavest birth unto the Unapproachable One, O Virgin Theotokos.
Sessional hymn, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: “Awed by the beauty of thy virginity …
Awed by the mighty works wrought through thee by the Almighty, O Alban, we sinners earnestly entreat thine aid: Look down from on high, O holy martyr, and deliver us from those who would destroy us, body and soul. Beseech the Master of all, that He take pity on us and save us, in that He loveth mankind. Twice
Glory … , Now & ever … : Theotokion –
Past understanding and beyond the mind of man is the awesome mystery of God wrought within thee, O divinely joyous Mistress; for, having conceived the Infinite One, thou gayest birth to Him, wrapped in flesh through thine all-pure blood. Him do thou ever beseech as Thy Son, O pure one, that our souls be saved.
Thy pure Mother who knew not wedlock, O Christ, beholding thee hanging, dead, upon the Cross, said, weeping maternally: “How hath the iniquitous and thankless council of the Jews, who enjoyed Thy many and great gifts, rewarded Thee, O my Son? I hymn Thy divine condescension!”
Irmos: What criest thou, O Prophet Habbakuk? What hast thou seen which filleth thee with awe? Beholding God come forth from Thæman, I was afraid!
O thy steadfastness of soul, which withstood the threats of the tyrant, O martyr, and gave thee the strength to confess the one true God in the face of the idolaters!
Never cease to offer supplications before the all-holy Trinity, O wondrous one, that our manifold offences may be mercifully remitted and our grievous sins forgiven.
Before the dread throne, amid the ranks of the angels and saints, dost thou stand, mediating with Christ for the people of thy native land and all Christians.
Theotokion: Ye six-winged seraphim and many-eyed cherubim, stand in awe of the Maiden who is full of grace, for she is higher than you in honour.
Irmos: O Lord Who by divine knowledge didst bring the ends of the earth into the light out of the night of ignorance, enlighten me with the dawning of Thy love for mankind.
Though a man of substance and property, yet through martyrdom thou didst exchange all earthly things for the pearl of great price, the holy Christian Faith, O Alban.
Holmhurst Hill, whereon thou didst seal thy witness, was drenched with thy blood when, beheaded by the sword, thou gayest thy pure soul into the hands of Christ, O martyr.
Yea, thy glory hath truly shone forth, undimmed, through all the ages, O blessed Alban; and, guided by thy light, we hasten to the mansions of heaven, where thou dwellest in splendour.
Theotokion: Pure and all-immaculate art thou, O Maiden, and replete with the grace of God; wherefore, thou standest with honour at the right hand of thy Son and our God.
Irmos: Mine iniquities have gone over my head, weighing down upon me like a heavy burden, and they drag me down into the depths of despondency; but before I sink, save me, O Lord!
Ravaged and destroyed were thy sacred relics and their shrine, O Alban, when ungodly blasphemers descended upon thy church like wolves upon a sheepfold; yet despite their predations thy grace hath never ceased to shine forth.
Against the vile heresy of Pelagius did the holy hierarch Germanus do battle in Britain, and therein he found thee a mighty ally; for which cause he took with him to Gaul a portion of thy precious and holy relics.
“Yesterday, in my ignorance of the true God, I was as one sitting in darkness and the shadow of death; but today, when I lay down my life for Him, I shall dwell in paradise, filled with His effulgent glory!” Alban cried out.
“Everlasting life is the portion of those who cleave unto the God of the Christians; wherefore, put away thine unbelief from thee and believe on Him, that it may go well with thee in the life to come,” the martyr exclaimed to the tyrant.
Theotokion: Retribution from God awaiteth the accursed Nestorius, O all-pure Mistress, and all who revile thee and teach others to hold thee in contempt; for thou, O all-blessed one, dost bid all generations to call thee blessed.
Kontakion, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “Seeking the highest …” –
Imbued with courage and bravery from on high, the glorious martyr Alban stood undaunted before the tyrant and boldly confessed Christ as the only God of all; and he utterly refused to offer sacrifice to false deities. Wherefore, having laid down his life for the Lord, he maketh earnest entreaty in behalf of our souls.
Ikos: Heeding well the words of the Saviour to His disciples, thou didst not fear him who could slay thy body, for he was unable to kill thy soul. For this cause, what was taught thee in the darkness by the Christian priest, whose life thou didst save, thou didst proclaim in the light; and what thine ear took in of his pure teaching, thou didst declare openly before the tribunal. Wherefore, having laid down thy life for the Lord, thou makest earnest entreaty in behalf of our souls.
Irmos: O Lord, make us emulators of Thy three children, opposing sin and trampling the fire of the passions underfoot, and chanting: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!
Succour and aid do thou send down upon us from on high, O blessed martyr, for we know thee to be a fervent advocate for those who chant: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!
On Holmhurst Hill thou didst pause, athirst; and when thou didst pray to God a spring of water gushed forth at His behest, for which thou didst cry: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!
Gildas the pious and the venerable Bede have reverently related thy life and martyrdom, O Alban, that, giving thanks for thee, we may chant: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!
Theotokion: O how manifold are thy mighty works, O Virgin Theotokos! What tongue can fittingly describe their magnitude? And who can number them? Yea, they transcend all understanding!
Irmos: Becoming vanquishers of the tyrant and the flame by Thy grace, taking exceeding care to keep Thy commandments, the children cried out: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Divine grace shineth forth with radiance from thy precious relics and sacred shrine, O wondrous martyr, whereby we all are illumined who cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Let every Christian soul give thanks unto God, Who is wondrous in His saints, for He hath given Alban to us as an earnest suppliant for all who cry: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Yielding pacifieth great offences, saith Solomon the wise; wherefore, thou didst reject the madness of idolatry. crying out with the faithful: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Theotokion: A stranger wast thou to the pangs of parturition, O most immaculate Mother, for, passing forth from thy womb, Christ kept thee from all pain and preserved thy virginity intact.
Irmos: Let the assemblies of the heretics fall silent, for they do not confess thee to be the true Theotokos; but the prophets proclaimed thee from on high to be the Mother of God and the mediatress of our race. Wherefore, we magnify thee, O Virgin.
Light from on high shineth forth upon us through thee, O most pious Alban, dispelling the darkness of polytheism and the gloom of heresy, that we may tread the path of righteousness without faltering and attain the heavenly Sion.
Britain rejoiceth greatly in thy memory, O invincible martyr Alban, and bendeth its knee in gratitude for the many benefactions thou hast wrought for it, setting at nought the evil machinations of the devil and his minions.
All Christendom is glad and danceth for joy, reverently celebrating thy memorial with prayers, hymns and godly feasts, O martyr of Christ; for, having thee as a champion and mediator, it magnifieth thee exceedingly.
Theotokion: Now and always do we proclaim thee our peerless intercessor, who pleadeth earnestly with thy Son, the Lord of hosts, that He take pity and deal mercifully with us. Wherefore, we magnify thee, O most blessed Virgin.
Exapostilarion: Spec. Mel.: “The heaven with stars …” –
As the sky is bedight with myriads of brilliant luminaries, so is the firmament of the Church in Britain adorned with its countless saints as with innumerable stars, among whom Alban shineth with surpassing radiance. By his supplications may the Lord of all creation mercifully save our souls.
O All-holy Maiden and Virgin, joy of the ranks of heaven and boast of mankind, glory of the angels and surcease of sorrow: With the holy martyr Alban help thou and deliver us from all misfortune, peril and grief.
Aposticha from the Octoechos; and Glory … : Idiomelon, in Tone VIII –
Assembling together in the church of the Lord, in congregations let us praise our Saviour and Redeemer, Who in His compassion and loving-kindness giveth us His saints to be our companions and friends, ever ready to offer entreaty in our behalf, to ward off the assaults of the incorporeal foe, to stave off the attacks of those who hate us, to cure all our infirmities of body and soul, to assuage our griefs and ease our anguish, to console us amid misfortunes, and to impart strength of resolve to us amid trials and tribulations. Such a one hath He given us in the holy martyr Alban of Verulamium, whose sacred memory we keep with splendour this day: for without ceasing he entreateth the Lord that our souls be saved.
Now & ever … : Theotokion, or this Stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious wonder …” –
“What is this sight which mine eyes behold, O Master? Lifted up upon the Tree, Thou diest, granting life unto all, O Thou Who sustainest all creation!” Thus the Theotokos said, weeping, when she beheld suspended on the Cross the God and man Who had shone forth from her ineffably.
On the Beatitudes, 8 troparia: 4 from the Octoechos, and 4 from Ode III of the canon of the martyr.
Prokimenon, in Tone VII –
The righteous man shall be glad in the Lord, and shall hope in Him.
Stichos: Hearken, O God, unto my prayer, when I make supplication unto Thee.
Epistle to Timothy, § 292
(II Tim. 2: 1-10)
Timothy my child: Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man who warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman who laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to my Gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Alleluia, in Tone IV –
Stichos: The righteous man shall flourish like a palm tree, and like a cedar in Lebanon shall he be multiplied.
Stichos: They that are planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of our God shall they blossom forth.
Gospel According to John, §52
The Lord said to His disciples: “These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of t h e world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him Who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin. He who hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, Whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, Who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not b e offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
Communion Verse –
In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings.