Commemoration of the Venerable Martyr Ebba, Abbess of Coldingham, & Those with Her, Slain by the Danes

Month of August


Commemoration of the Venerable Martyr Ebba, Abbess of Coldingham, & Those with Her, Slain by the Danes

Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson

At Vespers

At Lord, I have cried, these stichera, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: What shall we call you, O holy ones

Carefully emulating the struggles of the desert-dwellers, ye strove to live a life of goodness, O venerable ones, and received crowns for your spiritual endeavours. And as ones who spurned physical torture, ye bravely disdained the fire, that together ye might be arrayed also in crowns of martyrdom. Pray ye, that our souls be saved.

O saints of Christ, ye struggled willingly, rejecting the passing pleasures of life, and steadfastly setting carnal knowledge at nought; and, having laid down your lives for your Bridegroom, ye received crowns from heaven. Ye lawfully braved the fire and trampled bodily pain underfoot, that ye might be arrayed together in the robes of martyrdom. Pray ye, that our souls be saved.

Ye struggled greatly, O holy ones, and bravely endured torment at the hands of barbarians; and, earnestly surrendering your souls amid the fire, ye were crowned with martyrs’ wreaths and dwell with the angels, as is meet..

Great was your endurance and greater still your rewards! Pray ye, that our souls be saved.

Glory: Idiomelon, in Tone VI

O ye who love the saints of the Church, with hymns of praise let us honour the martyred nuns of Coldingham: the wondrous Ebba and her fellow athletes; for they cast down the falsehood of idolatry and spiritually trampled the enemies of Christ beneath their feet. Wherefore, dying, they took wing to the heavens like a flock of comely birds, bearing crowns of glory upon their heads, and crying aloud: Thee alone do we desire, O our Bridegroom, and out of love and desire for Thee have we surrendered our flesh to the fire, that we may be admitted to Thine everlasting mansions on high, where is the abode of those who keep festival in Thy love!

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

O all-pure Mistress, a sword pierced thy heart, as Symeon said, when thou beheldest Him Who shone forth from thee at the ineffable word of the Archangel as one condemned among transgressors, lifted up on the Cross, given vinegar and gall to drink, His side pierced, His hands and feet nailed; and thou didst exclaim, lamenting and crying out maternally: ‘What is this new mystery, O my Child most sweet?’

Aposticha stichera from the Octoechos; and, Glory: Idiomelon, in Tone II

Having attained an angelic life through ascetic feats, and made your bodies subject to your spirit through abstinence, O venerable mothers, ye bravely sacrificed the beauty of your faces to preserve your chastity unsullied by the ungodly, for which cause they wrought upon you terrible vengeance, immolating you alive like unblemished ewe-lambs. Wherefore, as ye have received twofold crowns from your Bridegroom, pray ye earnestly to Him, that we be saved.

Now & ever: Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: When from the Tree

She who knew not wedlock, beholding Thee nailed to the tree of the Cross, O Jesus, said, weeping: O my sweet Child, Thou unapproachable Light of the all-unoriginate Father, wherefore hast Thou forsaken me who alone gave Thee birth? Haste Thou, and glorify Thyself, that those who glorify Thy divine sufferings may receive divine glory!

Troparion, in Tone I

Having finished your course and kept the Faith unto the end, in the agony of immolation ye died for Christ, the Lamb and Shepherd, slain as reason-endowed ewe-lambs; wherefore, magnifying Him with joyous soul, we celebrate your holy memory today, O right wondrous and glorious Ebba and all those of thy flock who suffered with thee.

At Matins

At God is the Lord, the troparion of the venerable martyrs, twice; Glory, Now & ever: Theotokion.

Canon of the venerable martyrs, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is O martyrs, fill Scotland now with grace, in Tone V

Ode I

Irmos: Christ, Who hath delivered our race from the madness of idolatry, hath appeared on earth! To Him alone let us sing, for He hath been glorified.

O Christ our Deliverer, grant that we may hymn the venerable martyrs slain for Thy sake by savage idolaters, that with them we may glorify Thee alone.

Moved by love for Christ, o venerable martyrs, ye defied the madness of the idolaters, and, undaunted by the flames, sang unceasingly to your Deliverer.

Apprised of the approach of the ungodly, O martyrs, ye cut away your lips to make your faces devoid of comeliness, singing unto Christ with one mouth.

Theotokion: Redeemed by the sacrifice of Thy divine Son from slavery to the demons, we lift our voices in praise of thee, O Virgin Mary, through whom He appeared on earth.


Irmos: With Thy mighty arm and powerful word Thou didst create heaven and earth; and Thy Church, which Thou hast redeemed by Thy blood, is established in Thee, crying: There is none holy save Thee, O Lord!

The Rule of the venerable Benedict did ye embrace in obedience as a worthy guide for your monastic life, O holy ones, teaching you to live for the Lord alone, the Creator of all that is, our Saviour and Redeemer.

Ye were saved by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sin of the world, O venerable martyrs; wherefore, steadfast in His lovingkindness, ye cried unto Him: There is none holy save Thee, O Lord!

Redeemed by the Blood of Christ, our Mighty and All-powerful God, O most blessed ones, and finding shelter in the Ark of Salvation, His Holy Church, ye cried out boldly to the ungodly: There is none holy save the Lord!

Theotokion: Saved by the mighty arm of thy Son, the Creator of heaven and earth, O Lady, and redeemed by His precious blood, we, the faithful of His Church, cry out to Him with faith: There is none holy save Thee, O Lord!

Sessional hymn, in Tone III : Spec. Mel.: Of the divine faith

Having lain waste to your bodies by fasting and ascetic feats, O venerable martyrs, ye laid down your lives to preserve your chastity for the Lord. Wherefore, having thus obtained divine grace in His kingdom on high, pray ye to Christ your Master, that He grant great mercy unto us who honour you with faith.


Thou wast the divine tabernacle of the Word, O only all-pure Virgin Mother, surpassing the angels in purity. With the divine waters of thy supplications, cleanse me, who more than all others am dust and am defiled by carnal transgressions, O pure one, granting me great mercy.


The unblemished ewe-lamb of the Word, the incorrupt Virgin Mother, beholding Him Who had sprung forth from her painlessly, suspended upon the Cross, cried out, maternally lamenting: ‘Woe is me, O my Child! How is that thou dost suffer voluntarily, desiring to deliver man from the dishonour of the passions?’

Ode IV

Irmos: I heard report of the power of the Cross, that paradise hath been opened thereby, and I cried aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Full of the power of the Cross, ye found the strength to mar your countenances, thereby preserving your purity intact, O saints.

In their consuming fury, the leaders of the brigands immolated your bodies in the fire, O holy ones, freeing you to enter paradise.

Let us emulate the bravery of the venerable martyrs, O Christians, that with them we may cry: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Theotokion: Let us hymn the all-glorious Virgin, the Mother to whom the Lord entrusted us, His sinful children, at the foot of His Cross.

Ode V

Irmos: Learn righteousness, O ye who dwell upon the earth, and let us purify our mind, rising at dawn out of the night unto our compassionate God with heart uplifted.

Seeing your chastity threatened by the savagery of the barbarians, O venerable ones, with purity of purpose ye sacrificed your earthly beauty for the sake of God.

Counting your chastity of higher value that your lives upon the earth, O venerable martyrs of Christ, ye ruined the beauty of your faces, that ye might be exalted in purity.

Out of the night of the passions and carnal-mindedness did ye emerge victorious over the transitory flesh, O all-glorious martyrs of Christ our compassionate God.

Theotokion: The night is far spent, O ye faithful; wherefore, in exaltation of heart let us rise at dawn to praise the Sun of righteousness and His compassionate and merciful Mother.

Ode VI

Irmos: The tempest of sin hath assailed me, O Saviour, and doth drag my soul down into the abyss of spiritual destruction; but as of old Thou didst lead Jonah up, O Christ, so lead me up, that I may sacrifice unto Thee with a voice of praise.

Let the wondrous Ebba be praised with great laudation, for like a comely bird she escaped the abyss of spiritual destruction on wings of piety, soaring far aloft to the garden of paradise on high, where she hymneth Christ in melodious song.

Assailed by the tempest of sin, O Christ, the glorious Ebba and her pious flock steadfastly withstood the billows of the barbarians’ rage, having established themselves firmly upon the rock of Thy salvation, O merciful Lord of all.

Now do Thou lead up my soul from the abyss of destruction, O Master, through the mighty supplications of Thy venerable martyrs, that, escaping the tempest of my manifold transgressions, I may sacrifice to Thee with a voice of praise.

Theotokion: Dragged down into the turbid depths of perdition by the heavy weight of our transgressions, and buffeted by the tempest of our sins, in fear lest our souls perish we call for aid upon our mighty intercessor, the Mother of Christ God.

Kontakion, in Tone IV

In gladness let us celebrate today the splendid memorial of the venerable martyrs of Christ, Ebba the Abbess and those who suffered with her, who willingly laid down their lives for their heavenly Master; and with faith let us entreat their aid, that by their supplications we who honour their sacred memory with faith may be delivered from every tribulation; for they join chorus on high with the wise virgins at the glorious wedding banquet of their Bridegroom.

Ikos: Let us now hymn Ebba, patient of soul, and all who suffered with her; for when tidings came to Coldingham of the approach of the savage Danes, who were slaying all the monks and nuns of those parts out of hatred for the Christian Faith, she assembled her flock and exhorted them to preserve their chastity for Christ at all costs. Wherefore, horrified by their mutilated faces, the barbarians slew them with fire; but having thus been released from this transitory world, they join chorus on high with the wise virgins at the glorious wedding banquet of their Bridegroom.


Irmos: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers, Who quenched the fiery furnace in Babylon and preserved the children therein as in a bridal-chamber!

Neither the gross cruelty of the barbarians nor the heat of the fire could separate the martyrs from the love of Christ their Bridegroom.

O blessed are ye whose souls were preserved amid the flames, like the children in the Babylonian furnace, O saints, for ye dwell forever in paradise.

When they saw your beauty marred, O brides of God, the pagans made your church a furnace wherein to slay you; but the Lord preserved your souls.

Theotokion: Who will quench the furnace of the passions which are destroying our souls, if not thou, O Mother of mercy and loving kindness?


Irmos: Mindful of the precepts of their fathers, the three youths in Babylon, piously refusing to submit to the tyrant’s command, stood in the midst of their fiery execution, crying: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

Imbued with all the Christian virtues, Ebba and her nuns piously refused to submit to the ravages of the barbarians, and standing in the midst of the fire, they cried: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!

The consuming fire was for the martyrs like the furnace of Babylon, for the Angel of great Counsel descended into the flames, as He did to the children, to preserve their souls from the torments of everlasting fire.

How can we praise the martyrs’ struggle of the venerable ones as is meet? Yea, no human tongue is equal to this task; for, praising God, they endured the pangs of suffering in manner transcending their human nature.

Theotokion: Grant, O Virgin, that we may receive the grace to preserve unsullied all the precepts of our fathers in the Faith, that, full of the splendour of Orthodox doctrine, we may cry out to thee: Blessed art thou among women!

Ode IX

Irmos: We magnify Thy most immaculate and pure Mother, O Christ, for she gave birth to Thee in the flesh supernaturally, delivering us from all deception and corruption.

Repelled by the sight of your bloody faces, O valiant martyrs, the barbarians, enraged, set your convent afire, slaying you all in the conflagration, but delivering you from corruption.

As ones delivered from all the deceptions of the evil one and his corruption, O venerable martyrs, ye supernaturally withstood the power of the fire which consumed your flesh.

Christ delivered His martyrs, escorting them into His sublime bridal-chamber, where they rejoice with gladness at His heavenly banquet, delighting in the sight of His countenance.

Theotokion: Ever victims of corruption and all the delusions of the demons, we call upon the unblemished ewe-lamb of God to come unto our aid, for she gave birth to Christ our Lord.

Exapostilarion: Spec. Mel.: Hearken, ye women

Having endured death for Christ, ye found true life in heaven, O venerable martyrs; and having preserved your purity by the shedding of your blood, ye have become a mighty bulwark for us who cherish your holy memory.


Look down upon thine inheritance, O pure one, and preserve it by thine invincible intercession. Establish and set aright the sceptres of kingdoms, subdue the nations, and pour forth peace upon the ends of the earth.

Aposticha stichera from the Octoechos; and Glory: Idiomelon, in Tone VIII

Venerable martyrs were ye, O holy Ebba and the whole throng of thy slain companions: venerable, for ye were persecuted for chastity’s sake by those who hated the Faith of Christ and all the virtues, and martyrs, because the fire was unable to separate you from the love of your celestial Bridegroom. Wherefore, rejoice ye exceedingly, for great is your reward in the heavens!

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

What is this sight which mine eyes behold, O Master? Thou Who sustainest all creation, lifted up upon the Tree, diest, granting life unto all, the Theotokos said, lamenting, when she beheld the God and man, Who shone forth ineffably from her, suspended upon the Cross.

At the 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 Colossians, §257 [Col. 3: 4-11]

Brethren: When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him Who created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

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 Mark, §42 [Mk. 9: 42-50]

The Lord said: Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in Me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.