EDITORIAL: LITURGICAL TREASURE
In Western Europe there was once an Orthodox Church to which all Western Europeans belonged. As contemporary Western Orthodox we know something of what happened to its teachings, its spirituality, its architecture, its general ethos and way of life, but what happened to its liturgical heritage?
Sadly, it was mainly cast aside, abandoned, forgotten in dust-gathered manuscripts and replaced, especially between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, following the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. The fact is that the contemporary Roman Catholic/Protestant world has preserved very little of that heritage, even when it is actually aware of it at all.
One of the reasons for this is that the rites which accompanied that liturgical heritage were likewise transformed and the music to which it was sung lost. True, in recent years, some have tried to restore the rites used. The problem is that these are no longer living rites and, however successful or even accurate the restoration of outward rites, we are unable to restore the inward spirit which they expressed. True, in recent years, Anglican and traditionalist Catholic groups in Cambridge and elsewhere, have made recordings of what they think the old Gregorian chant sounded like. In fact, their effete efforts, however technically brilliant, seem to resemble old-fashioned Public School Anglican Cathedral choirs. On the Continent Catholic monasteries which use Gregorian chant use the only surviving form, that of the nineteenth-century in Solesmes in France. The spirit and frankly, the guts, of the Old Western rite are gone. It cannot be reproduced by those who have a different faith and different spirit.
Indeed, to the vast majority of modern Non-Orthodox Western Christians, the sacred texts which once resounded in the monasteries and parish churches of the Orthodox West sound very strange. The vocabulary of Western Orthodox hymns and prayers, like the Eastern Orthodox ones, are replete with the balance of the human and the divine. They are filled with the call for our repentance for our sin on the one hand, and with the constant reminder of the mercy of the God ‘Who loveth mankind’ on the other hand. What place is there in the riteless, delta-shaped tabernacles of the modernist Non-Orthodox world for either the ritual or the language of Orthodoxy? Holy altars have been replaced by stages for rock bands, overhung with cinema screens for Powerpoint presentations. The only ‘Western’ rite to be restored is one which Western people themselves know nothing of. What place now in a long-disappeared rite for words such as ‘sin’, repentance’, ‘sobriety’, ‘hell’, ‘demon’ ‘cleanse’, ‘holy’, ‘merciful’, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and the whole vocabulary of Orthodox Christianity? The self-congratulatory, self-worshipping, self-praising, self-reward-giving, purely humanistic modern West, reacting against the old excesses of grim and merciless Lutheranism and doom-laden Calvinism, has no time for the language of repentance and mercy: for us to draw logical conclusions from this situation and act accordingly …
If we shall never know, even from surviving notational neumes, exactly what Orthodox Church music in the West sounded like a thousand years ago, at least we still do have some of the texts. They were written by Saints such as St Ambrose of Milan (374-97) or St Venantius Fortunatus of Poitiers, (c 530-610), or early Latin Church writers (Flavius in the sixth century), or later devout monks (Paul the Deacon in the eighth century), most of the writers anonymous, some of them English (St Bede, Wulfstan of Winchester).
These texts are striking by their parallels with the liturgical texts conserved by the contemporary Orthodox Church. They reflect the sense of sobriety, of human sinfulness but also divine mercifulness, which are so characteristic of the whole Orthodox Christian ethos. Here Eastern Orthodox can also learn much. The tragic Western Schism came about in part through the ignorance of Greek by Latins and the ignorance of Latin by Greeks.
For instance, I can remember in the 1970s attending a Conference at which a Greek Professor was trying to explain to a mixed Catholic/Protestant audience the use of the word ‘today’ in Eastern Orthodox hymnography. He remarked how the word ‘today’ helped to ‘actualise’ or bring alive the sense of a feast: what was recounted in the hymn was happening again ‘today’, being recreated. This he asserted was all to do with the mysteries of Greece and Greek. Eastern liturgical language, he made out, is untranslatable and its contents culturally unique. A few years later I heard the same nonsense from a Russian Professor at the St Sergius Institute, who explained that ‘only the Slav soul’ could understand such mysteries!
I felt embarrassed by the ignorance of the Latin liturgical tradition of both, and also ashamed of the liturgical ignorance of the Non-Orthodox audience. What they were all ignorant of is the fact that the Orthodox West and the Orthodox East express themselves in the same way. For example, how often we can read the Latin word ‘hodie’ (‘today’) used in exactly the same way as in the East, a usage which extended after the Schism into the Middle Ages and beyond – for however long the West stuck to its original Orthodox Tradition. The Greek and Russian Professors were merely confusing their local cultures with Universal Orthodox Christian Civilisation. This Civilisation, East and West, has the same common roots in the same common Patristic Tradition, regardless of provincial cultural adaptations.
It is sad that the so-called ‘Ecumenical Movement’ of recent times did not bother to spend some of its enormous financial resources finding this out. If only the liturgical heritage of the Orthodox West had been translated into the liturgical languages of Eastern Europe, the cultural provincialism of Eastern Orthodox academics would long ago have vanished! If only the Heterodox West had been bothered (like its persecuted nineteenth-century exception, John Mason Neale) to find again the treasures that it long ago abandoned, it would long ago have given up its alien Heterodoxy for its native Orthodoxy – and Unity.
We present then in liturgical English, a language now comprehensible to most educated people East and West, something of the Orthodox liturgical heritage of the West. Of the hymns of the First Millennium conserved in English manuscripts, we have here translated all of them, except two, written by the Carolingians, Paulinus of Aquilea (d. 802) and Hrabanus Maurus (d. 856), both proponents of the filioque and other heresies. All the other hymns are purely Orthodox in their theology. God willing, in the forthcoming issues 21 to 25 of Orthodox England (Vols. 6-7) we shall be presenting over 160 hymns from the First Millennium of the Church in the West. Newly translated, chiefly from the Latin and Old English glosses of the Durham Hymnal, we pray that these forgotten liturgical treasures may bear fruit in the hearts of readers.
THE HERITAGE REJECTED BY THE CATHOLIC/PROTESTANT WORLD: ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN LITURGICAL TREASURES OF THE OLD WESTERN CHURCH
1. An Invocation to the Holy Trinity from Vespers on Saturday Evening
O Light, Blessed Trinity and Sovereign Unity, already the fiery sun setteth; fill our hearts with light.
May songs praise Thee in the morn; may we pray to Thee at eventide, may our humble song of glory praise Thee throughout all ages. Glory be to God the Father and His Only Son together with the Holy Spirit, both now and in eternity. Amen.
2. From Vespers on Saturday Evening (St Ambrose)
God, Creator of all things and Sovereign of Heaven, Who doth clothe the day with comely light and the night with the grace of sleep,
That quiet may restore limbs to their use in toil only after rest, soothing the weary mind and banishing worrisome sorrow,
The day ended, we give Thee thanks now and prayers at night, singing hymns with devotion that Thou mayest help the sinner.
May our song rise up to Thee from the depths of our hearts, may our voices sound Thy praise in melody. May our pure love be devoted to Thee, may our minds adore Thee in sobriety,
That, when the dark depth of night bringeth the close of day, our faith may know no shadow and the night may shine by faith.
May the mind not be allowed to slumber, may sin learn to slumber, may faith cool the chaste and temper the heat of sleep.
Our minds unsullied, may we dream of Thee in our inmost hearts, may fear not rouse us from quiet by the wiles of the jealous Enemy.
Let us pray to Christ and the Father and to the Spirit, One Power through all things.
Protect those who pray to Thee, O Trinity. Amen.
3. From the Midnight Service on Sunday Morning
On this first day of all days, when the world was made and when the Risen Maker conquered death and set us free,
Let us all rise swiftly, and throwing off our sloth, let us seek at night the Merciful One, as we know the Prophet did,
That He may hearken to our prayers, stretching forth His right hand unto us and restoring those who have been cleansed of impurity to their seats in heaven,
That He may reward with blessed gifts all of us who sing in the quiet hours at this most holy time.
Even now, O Brightness of the Father, we beseech Thee that befouling lust and all harmful deeds may be removed from us,
Lest the confines of our body be foul or lustful, for which we ourselves would be most fiercely burned by the fires of hell.
Therefore we ask Thee, O Saviour, to wash away our sins and grant us the joys of eternal life by Thy goodwill,
That we who were exiled through fleshly acts may come to dwell in heaven, as we humbly hope, and sing hymns of praise.
Grant this, most loving Father, and Thou, Only-Begotten Son Equal to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, both now and in eternity. Amen.
3a From the Midnight Service on Sunday Morning
Rising at night, let us all keep watch and ever ponder as we sing psalms, let us sweetly sing hymns to the Lord with all our might,
That by singing together for the King of grace we may deserve to enter Heaven with His saints and lead blessed lives with them.
May the Blessed God grant us this, the Father, the Son and also the Holy Spirit, Whose glory doth resound in all the world. Amen.
4. From Matins on Sunday Morning (St Ambrose)
O Eternal Creator of all things, Who rulest over night and day and givest the times to the seasons to relieve us from monotony,
Now soundeth the herald of the day, he who was watchful throughout the deep night, and as a light to nocturnal wayfarers parted night from night.
Roused by him, the morning star doth loose the sky of darkness. Thus the host of errors doth forsake evil ways,
Thus the seafarer doth gather strength and the sea-waves are becalmed, when the herald crowed, the Rock of the Church washed sin away.
Therefore let us arise with strength; the cock waketh the lie-abeds and chideth the sleep-filled. The cock accuseth those who practise denial.
The cock croweth, hope returneth; health is restored to the sick, the thief’s knife is put away and faith is returned to those who had fallen away.
Jesus, heed those who falter, and watching over us, make straight our ways. If Thou dost watch over us, the fall falleth away and faults are washed away with tears.
Shine as a light to our senses and drive away the sleep of the mind!
Our voice shall call to Thee first and unto Thee shall we pay our devotions.
4a. From Matins on Sunday Morning
Lo, the shades of night now thin and the light of daybreak gleameth red. With our whole heart let us all pray to the Almighty.
That God be merciful unto us and drive away all sickness and grant us health, that by the love of the Father He may grant unto us the Kingdom of Heaven.
5. From the First Hour
Now that the daystar is risen, let us humbly pray to God that He may keep us from harm in the deeds of day;
May He hold and temper our tongues that the horror of strife may not be heard. May He protect and shield our sight from vanity.
May our hearts be pure within and may foolishness be far from us. May the pride of the flesh be crushed by modesty in meat and drink,
That, when day is departed and destiny has brought back night, we may sing of His glory by forsaking the world.
6. From the Third Hour
O Holy Spirit, One with the Father and the Son, deign now to enter us readily, filling our hearts.
May mouths, tongues, minds, thoughts and strength resound in confession of Thee, may love burn as a fire and our ardour kindle the zeal of our neighbours.
7. From the Sixth Hour
O Mighty Sovereign, God of Truth, Thou Who dost govern change in the things of the world, Thou Who dost array the morning in brightness and the noonday in fiery heat.
Put out the flames of discord and banish the heat of passion, granting health in our bodies and true peace in our hearts.
8. From the Ninth Hour
God of all things in the world, in Thee is enduring strength for ever,
Immovable, Thou dost set the times of day in their order;
Grant us a bright eventide, that life at no time may fail, but let everlasting glory, the reward for a holy death, draw nigh.
9. From Compline
Before the light endeth, O Creator of all things, we ask Thee to watch over us and guard us with Thy usual mercy.
May the dreams and illusions of the night draw away and crush our enemy that our bodies may not be sullied.
Grant this, Almighty Father, by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who reigneth in eternity with Thee and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
10. From Compline
O Christ, Who art the light and the day, Who drawest away the shadows of the night and Whom we believe art light of light, and dost herald the light of bliss,
We pray to Thee, O Holy Lord, protect us this night. May we find rest in Thee; grant unto us a night of peace,
That heavy slumber may not fall upon us, nor the enemy steal up on us, nor the flesh consent to him and so find us at fault before Thee.
May the eyes take their sleep – may our hearts ever remain watchful for Thee.
May Thy right hand protect Thy servants who love Thee.
Thou, our Protector, watch over us and keep away from us those who plot against us; guide Thy servants whom Thou hast purchased with Thy blood.
Remember us, O Lord, in this body that doth weigh us down. Thou Who art the Protector of the soul, be with us, O Lord.
11. From Vespers on Sunday Evening
Excellent Creator of the light, bringing forth the light of day and revealing the world with the first light,
Thou Who dost command that morning joined with evening be called day, now that black chaos draweth near, hearken to our prayers and weeping,
May the mind weighed down with sin, heedless of eternity and bound with faults, not be a stranger to the gift of life.
May it knock at heaven’s innermost door and take the reward of life, let us avoid all harmful things, let us cleanse ourselves of all that is worst in us.
12. From the Midnight Service on Monday Morning
Our limbs refreshed by sleep, we forsake the bedchamber and arise. We sing and pray to Thee, Father, be with us.
Let the tongue sing of Thee first of all, let the zeal of the spirit yearn for Thee that Thou, O Holy One, mayest be the source of all our deeds to come.
May the shadows give way to light and the night to the daystar, that the faults brought by night may make way for the gift of light.
We humbly pray for this, that Thou mayest cut off all harm and be praised eternally by the mouths of those who sing unto Thee.
13. From Matins on Monday (St Ambrose)
Thou Who art the Brightness of the glory of the Father, Who bringest forth the Light from the Light, and art the wellspring of the Light, Who enlightenest the day of days
And art the True Sun, come down into us, shining in Thine everlasting brightness and fill our minds with the rays of the Holy Spirit.
In our prayers we call upon Thee as Father, the Father in His everlasting glory, the Father in His mighty grace, that He bind the peril of sin.
May He inspire mighty deeds and dull the teeth of the Jealous One, may He turn adversity into good and grant us deeds of grace,
May He guide and rule the mind. May faith burn with ardour within a pure and faithful body, and not know the poison of deceit.
May Christ be our food and may Faith be our drink; let us drink in the intoxication of the spirit in joy and sobriety.
May this day pass in joy. Let shame be as early morning, faith our noonday and may our minds know no evening.
Daybreak advanceth in its course – let all the daybreak come, all the Son in the Father and all the Father in the Word.
14. From Vespers on Monday
Infinite Creator of the heavens, Who parted the floods of water that they should not mingle and merge, Who set the sky as a limit,
And appointed a place for the streams of both heaven and earth, that the water might temper the heat of the sun and not dissolve the earth,
Inspire us now, Most Merciful One, by the gift of Thine unending grace, lest the ancient error crush us and we fall again through new deceit.
Let our faith find the light; may it bring a ray of brightness. May it crush all vanity and may it not be hidden by any lie.
15. From the Midnight Service on Tuesday
Thou Who partakest equally of the brightness of the Father, Thyself the Light of Light and the Day – we interrupt the night with our song – help those who pray to Thee,
Take away the darkness of our minds, put to flight the hordes of demons, drive away sleepiness, lest it overwhelm the idle.
Thus, O Christ, show mercy on all who believe in Thee, that our songs and hymns may profit us through our earnest prayer.
16. From Matins on Tuesday (Prudentius)
The winged herald of day doth proclaim that light is nigh. Christ Who waketh our minds even now doth call us to life.
‘Put away’, He crieth, ‘the beds which are for the sick, the drowsy and the slothful, and be wakeful, pure, upright and sober! Even now I am very near.
Let us call on Jesus with our voices in tears and sober prayer. May the longing of our prayer keep our pure hearts from slumber.
O Christ, drive sleep away, break the chains of night, crush the old sin and inspire us with Thy new light!
17. From Vespers on Tuesday
Infinite Creator of the Earth, Who shaped the soil of the world, dispelling the troubled waters and making the earth immovable,
That it might bring forth fitting seed and be adorned with bright blossom, then be fruitful and yield welcome food,
Cleanse the wounds of our consumed hearts with fruitful grace, that our deeds may be washed away by tears and evil stirrings crushed.
May grace obey Thy commands, may it near no evil, may it make glad to be filled with good and may it not know any mortal deed.
18. From the Midnight Service on Wednesday
Excellent Creator of all things and our Guide, look upon us; free us who are sunk in sleep from our sinful repose.
We pray to Thee, O Holy Christ, forgive our sins. We arise to confess Thee and interrupt the repose of night,
We lift up our hands and our minds, as the Prophet bade us do in the night-time and as Paul lay down by his deeds.
Thou seest the evil that we have done. We reveal our secrets. Lamenting, we pour out our prayers. Absolve us from our sins.
19. From Matins on Wednesday (Prudentius)
Night, shadows and clouds, confusion and turmoil of the world, the light entereth, the heavens grow bright, Christ cometh, depart.
The darkness of the earth is torn apart, pierced by the arrowed rays of the Sun. Colour is now restored to things through the face of the shining daystar.
Thee alone, O Christ, do we know; to Thee we pray with a pure and simple mind, weeping and singing; do Thou heed our thoughts.
Many things are stained and should be cleansed by Thy Light. Thou, light of the morning-star, enlighten us with countenance serene.
20. From Vespers on Wednesday
Most Holy God of Heaven, Thou Who makest the centre of the sky to shine with bright fire and adornest it with lights of beauty,
Who established the fiery disc of the sun on the fourth day and ordained the ways of the moon and the wandering paths of the stars,
That the sun should part night and day and that the moon should give the clearest sign for the beginning of the months,
Enlighten the hearts of men and cleanse the defilement of our minds, loose the chain of our faults and lift the burden of our sins.
21. From the Midnight Service on Thursday
Black night has covered the hues of all earthly things. We confess Thy name and pray to Thee, Righteous Judge of hearts,
That Thou mayest take away our sins and wash away the uncleanness of our minds, and grant us grace, O Christ, that all our transgressions may flee from us.
Behold the sloth of our ungodly minds, torn by harmful fault; Thou dost wish to take away the darkness and make them to seek Thee, the Redeemer.
Drive away the blackness within as is possible, that they may make glad to be set in the light of bliss.
22. From Matins on Thursday (Prudentius)
Behold, the golden light ariseth! May the blindness without colour depart, for it hath long drawn us, astray and erring, toward the abyss.
May that light bestow serenity and keep us pure for itself. Let us say nothing deceitful. Let us not ponder on dark thoughts.
May the whole day pass, that neither our tongues prone to lies, nor our hands, nor our wandering eyes fall into sin, that no fault may befoul our bodies.
A watchman is present on high, He Who every day looketh upon us and our deeds from the first light until the eventide.
23. From Vespers on Thursday
God of great might, Who dost send the race born of the waters partly back into the deep and partly dost raise it up in the air,
Immersing and plunging some in the waves, raising others to the heavens and assigning them there, that those from one race take up different places,
Grant that all Thy servants, cleansed by the flow of Thy blood, may not fall away into sin and suffer foul death
That fault may crush none and none be puffed up by vanity, that the oppressed mind be not downcast, nor the overweening mind fall.
24. From the Midnight Service on Friday
Thou, Oneness of Threeness, Who dost govern the world by Thy might, hearken unto the hymns of praise that we sing as we keep watch.
For we arise from our beds in the quiet hours of the night to beseech Thee to heal all our wounds,
That whatever sin we fall into at night through demonic deceit may be washed away through the might of Thy heavenly glory.
And may the body not come here defiled, nor sloth of heart come upon us and the ardour of our spirits grow lukewarm through the contagion of sin.
Therefore, Redeemer, we ask Thee: fill us with Thy light that, as the days pass, through it we shall not fall in any deed.
25. From Matins on Friday
Everlasting glory of heaven, blessed hope of mortal beings, Only-Begotten Son of the One Who dost thunder on high and Child of the Pure Virgin,
Grant Thy right hand to those who are risen; may the mind also rise in sobriety and in ardent praise of God yield due thanks.
The shining daystar is risen, heralding the spreading light. The darkness of night falleth, may the holy light enlighten us
And, abiding in our thoughts, drive out the night of the world and guard our cleansed hearts from all close of day.
May faith first now be gained and take root deep in our minds, may hope then be joined with it in joy, then love will surpass them.
26. From Vespers on Friday
God Who fashioned man, Who alone dost order all things and command the earth to bring forth all creeping things and wild beasts,
Thou Who gavest man the great bodies of living things at Thy command, and put them under him that they should serve him in due order,
Drive away from Thy servants all that which through uncleanness doth steal into our ways or creep into our deeds.
Grant us the reward of Thy joys and the gift of Thy grace. Loose us from the chains of strife and join us together in bonds of peace.
27. From the Midnight Service on Saturday
God of utmost mercy and Maker of the forms of the world, Thou Who art One in Might and Three in Persons,
Receive in goodwill our weeping with our godly hymns, that, our hearts cleansed of defilement, we may more fully rejoice in Thee.
Sear our loins and the sickness of our livers with fire as is meet, that they may ever be girded and evil lust be moved far from us,
That each of us who now doth interrupt the hours of night with his singing may be enriched with the gifts of our blessed homeland.
28. From Matins on Saturday
Even now daybreak is spreading across the sky. Daylight is stealing over the earth. The arrow of light is bounding back. Let all that is foul depart.
May the imaginations of the night fall and the faults of the mind be cast down. May all horrid shadows of the night ebb away,
That that last morrow that we humbly await may flood us in light while this today doth resound to our song.
29. From the Midnight Service on Sunday
O Eternal Lord and King, Creator of all things, Thou Who wast ever the Son together with the Father before the ages,
Who fashioned the man Adam at the beginning of the world, on whom Thou didst bestow an appearance like unto Thine image,
whom the foe of mankind, the Devil, deceived, giving him the cup of death to drink through the fruit of the forbidden tree
And who, held captive in darkness, wailed in torment, whose bodily form Thou didst deign to take on
In order to redeem man, whom Thou hadst already created, in order to unite us with God by sharing our flesh,
Thou Who wast born of the Virgin and Whom all souls behold in awe, Thou through Whom we shall also rise again, as we devoutly believe,
Thou Who didst grant forgiveness by baptism to us who were held bound by the chains of the knowledge of our fault,
Thou Who for man didst deign to take the Cross upon Thyself, didst give Thy blood as the price of our salvation;
That the veil of the temple was rent in twain and the whole earth did tremble. Thou didst wake many of those that slept, O Lord.
Thou didst crush the strength of the ancient Enemy by the Cross of Thy death, which we bear upon our foreheads as the banner of faith.
Thou shalt ever deign to drive him away from us, that he will never be able to harm those who are redeemed by Thy blood.
Thou Who for our sakes deigned to go down into hell, to bestow the gift of life on those destined to die,
To Thee weeping we sing the hymn in the night hour. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon those who confess their sins,
For Thou art the Witness and the Judge Whom none can deceive. Thou seest the secret marks on our conscience.
Thou alone dost examine our hearts. Thou art with us as the Good Physician for our hidden wounds.
It is Thou who will end the world at the appointed time. Thou art the One Who will bestow just reward for the deserts of all.
Therefore, O Holy One, we ask Thee to heal our wounds, Thou Who art for ever the Son together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
Glory be to Thee, Trinity, Who art alike One God, before all the ages and now and in eternity.
30. From Vespers in Advent
Thou Blessed Maker of the stars, everlasting light of the faithful, Christ, Redeemer of all, hear the prayers of those who beseech Thee,
Thou, grieving that the world was lost in ruin of death, didst heal the sickness of the world and grant remedy for our faults,
Thou Who like a bridegroom coming forth from the bridal chamber didst forsake the most noble enclosure of Thy Virgin Mother at the close of the evening of the world,
To Whose might and strength all things in heaven and earth bend their knee and confess that they are under Thy command,
The sun by keeping its setting, the moon by keeping its pale light, the brightness shining in the stars by keeping to certain limits.
We pray to thee, O Holy One, Judge of the world to come, keep us at this time from the darts of the wicked enemy.
Praise, honour, might and glory to God the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit unto ages everlasting. Amen.
31. From the Midnight Service in Advent
O Word Who goest forth from on high and once camest forth from the Father, Thou Who wast born to help the world when time was running out,
Do Thou now enlighten our hearts and consume them with Thy love, that when Thy coming is heralded at last all filth will be cast out,
And that when Thou shalt come hereafter as Judge to examine the deeds of our hearts and restore that which was hidden and give the Kingdom to the righteous for their goodness,
We will not then be oppressed by evil for the gravity of our faults, but together with the blessed come to dwell in heaven for evermore.
32. From Matins in Advent
Lo, a clear voice doth resound and reproach all that is dark. May it drive dreams away; Christ shineth forth from the heavens.
May the slothful mind, wounded and defiled, now arise. Now a new star shineth forth to take away all faults.
The Lamb is sent from on high to loose us freely from our debts. Let us all lift up our voices with tears for mercy.
That when the Lamb shineth forth the second time and terror doth overwhelm the world, He will not chasten us for our transgressions but protect us then in piety.
33. From the Feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew
Lo, now as is meet, in turn cometh for us the famed and beloved bright day, on which a victor goes up on high to the realms of the stars.
Andrew the Holy Apostle of the Lord and brother of Peter, the famed prince, was himself a manly prince sharing the same martyrdom.
Peter and Andrew were fishermen, both after also caught multitudes on earth, and plundering the seas of the world, they drew up their catches to the kingdom of heaven,
As companions they go forward, equally following Christ, gathering learning and following His death and footsteps through the Cross.
34. From the Vespers of Christmas
O Christ, Redeemer of all men, Begotten as Only Son of the Father by the Father, Thou alone wast born ineffably before the beginning,
Thou art the Light and the Brightness of the Father, Thou art the everlasting hope of all, hearken to the prayers which Thy servants make throughout the world.
Remember, Author of salvation, that once Thou didst take the form of our bodies upon Thyself and wast born of the unsullied Virgin.
Thus this present day recurring in the yearly cycle doth show that Thou alone didst come from the seat of the Father to be the salvation of the world.
The sky and the earth and the sea and all things within them praise and exalt this day, singing at Thy coming.
And we who have been redeemed by Thy holy blood sing together a new hymn for Thy birthtide,
Glory to Thee, O Lord, born of a Virgin, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit to everlasting ages. Amen.
35. From the Midnight Service at Christmas
We rise for Thee, O Lord, in the silence of the black night and obey in keeping vigil. In this we follow the custom of our fathers,
Which they bequeathed to us as our inheritance, for they served Thee by keeping vigil, O Holy Spirit.
Thou art equally glorious with the Father, Thou art most subtle with Christ and in much Thou art known as the Spirit, the mystic King.
Look on those who are in the flesh and weak; draw up by Thy wondrous powers those whom the Ancient One deceived with his wiles.
May the flock dedicated to Thee not be bound by sin, for Thou, O Christ, didst will to redeem it with Thy blood.
Watch for erring sheep, O good and most godly Shepherd; bear them home upon Thy shoulders to the courts of Heaven.
May the Prince of demons draw back palsied and wounded. May the ravening thief lose the prey taken from his brutal jaws.
May Christ the Lord exalt in victory. May the choir of angels sing and thrice greet the Lord with Holy, Holy, Holy, sounding their praises in harmony.
We sing glory to Thee, Father, together with the Son and the Holy Spirit; may this resound in threefold praise.
36. From Matins at Christmas
Redeemer of the Nations, hear the glory of Thy birthtide, Thou hast come out of Bethlehem from God as the Son of the Virgin Mary.
O Christ, Lord of Powers, not born of the seed of man, of a single divine essence together with the Holy Spirit,
Thou art the mighty salvation of all. Set free those who believe in Thee. Thou Who art everywhere strong in battle, save us sinners.
We wonder at the God Begotten from God in this body, a man like unto God, a wonderful mystery.
Now we believe as the saints; the angels too are awe-struck at the Shepherd of the tribe of Judah born from a pure body.
Thou Who art of the line of Jesse dost restore the light to those who were lost. Thou art clean of all contagion of the flesh. Thou art what Thou didst will to be.
We rejoice at Thy birthtide, that Thou art born from God as man, we all bear witness to the Son, to the everlasting kingdom of the Father.
We give unceasing praise to God the Father together with the Son, Who is the God called out of Egypt for His servants.
Born again through the Holy Spirit, we behold the light granted unto us. Thus in following Thee, Our Lord, we shall be saved for ever.
37. From Matins at Christmas (St Ambrose)
Come, Redeemer of the Nations, and show that a Virgin hath given birth. Let the whole world behold it in wonder. Such a birth is meet for God.
Not by the seed of man, but through mystic inspiration, the Word of God was made flesh and the fruit of the womb blossomed forth.
The womb of the Virgin doth swell, while the barrier of chastity doth remain. The banners of Her virtues shine forth – God dwelleth in His temple.
He cometh forth from His bridal chamber, from the royal courts of chastity, as a giant of twofold nature to run His race in joy;
His going forth is from the Father, His return is to the Father and His parting is to hell, His return is to the seat of God.
Thou Who art equal to the Eternal Father, gird Thyself with the trophy of the flesh, strengthen the weakness of our bodies with everlasting power.
Now shineth forth Thy manger and the night doth breathe with a new light. May no night invade it and may it be lit by unceasing faith.
38. From the Vespers of St Stephen the Protomartyr
Now gleameth red this holy and most bright day on which the Protomartyr Stephen is honoured throughout the world, for yesterday saw God born on earth, today made Stephen to be born in Paradise above. This Stephen is nobly born, worthy in his merits and shineth by the honour which his name, meaning crown, doth herald. Entering into the blood of warfare with a fierce race, this victor deserved the famous triumph he gained. We all humbly ask thee, sweetly fragrant martyr, may the wicked snares of our dreaded foe be made vain, and, we pray with bowed heads, bestow on our faults that forgiveness with which Thou didst answer Thy murderer. And grant that we may remain faithful to God the Son in Heaven, to Whom be might and honour in glory without end.
39. From the Matins of St Stephen the Protomartyr
Let us sing a hymn to the Lord, a hymn to the martyr Stephen, to Christ as the King of all, to Stephen as the First Martyr,
To Christ as the Only-Begotten of the Father, to Stephen as His servant, to Christ as God and man, to Stephen as a saint,
To Christ, for He was born to the world, to Stephen for he died, to Christ for He bestowed life, to Stephen for he suffered death,
To Christ for He descended, to Stephen for he ascended, To Christ for He came to earth, to Stephen for he went to heaven.
Praise be to the Father Who was not Begotten, praise to the Son the Only-Begotten, praise be to the Holy Spirit, Who granted such gifts to the martyr.
40. From the Feast of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen
O holy first martyr, Stephen, precious to God, ever strengthened by the wondrous power of love, who prayed to the Lord for thine enemies,
Call out with thy prayers for those now gathered in devotion to thee, that the Lord may have mercy by thine intercession and join us cleansed us from sin to those that dwell in Heaven.
Glory and Honour to God the Father, the Son and the glorious Holy Spirit together forever most high, Whose honour and power are through eternal ages. Amen.
41. From Vespers at the Epiphany of the Lord
Jesus shone forth as the godly Redeemer of all the Nations. Let all faithful people celebrate this in praise and song.
The bright star glowing in the sky showed that He was born and, going forth before the Magi, led them to His cradle.
They fell down and worshipped the little Child in swaddling clothes; they witnessed to the true God bringing a mystical gift.
Then when in His body He had lived three times ten years, He sought baptismal water, He was free of all impurity.
Blessed John trembleth at immersing in the flood Him Who has power to wash away the sins of the universe with His blood.
So the voice of the Father from on high, coming forth from the heavens, affirmeth that He is His Son, before the wondrous power of the Spirit Who bestoweth the holy gift.
We all pray and beseech Thee, O Christ; protect us, Thou Who in Thy power, dost order the pitchers of water to turn red.
By Thy goodwill soothe us with unceasing help and Thou Who snatched us from hell, make us to reign with Thee in heaven.
Praise be to the Trinity, as is meet, and honour, power and glory forever unto all ages of ages.
42. From the Midnight Service at Epiphany (Sedulius)
From the rising of the sun to the ends of the earth let us sing to Christ, the Prince born of the Virgin Mary.
The blessed Author of the world clothed himself in the body of a servant, that flesh should free flesh, lest He lose His Creation.
Heavenly grace entereth the pure womb of the Mother; a Maiden’s womb beareth mysteries of which She knew not.
The abode of a modest breast is suddenly become the temple of God. She Who was untouched and knew not a man conceived a Son by the Word.
The Maiden gaveth birth to Him Whom Gabriel had foretold, Whom John had felt when he leapt for joy enclosed in his mother’s womb.
He suffered to lie in straw, He did not shrink from the manger and He through Whom not even a bird doth hunger was fed with a little milk.
The choir of heaven maketh glad and angels sing to God and to the shepherds, the Shepherd, the Creator of all, is shown forth. Glory be to Thee, O Lord, Who wast purified in the waters.
43. From the Matins at Epiphany (Sedulius)
Herod, wicked foe, why fearest thou the coming of Christ? He Who granteth the kingdom of heaven will not take mortal things.
The Magi went, following the star they had seen, going on before; they seek the light with the light, they confess that He is God by their gift.
The throng of mothers crieth out, bewailing their slaughtered infants, of whom the tyrant consecrated thousands as victims to Christ.
The Lamb from Heaven touched the clean waters of the pure stream. Washing us clean, He took away the sins not brought by Him.
With wonders He gave proof that God is His Father, healing the bodies of the sick and awaking corpses.
This was a new kind of power: pitchers of water turn red and the water, commanded to pour forth as wine, changeth its first nature.
44. From Vespers at the Leavetaking of Epiphany
The Only-Begotten Son from the Father cometh to us through the Virgin, hallowing Baptism by the Cross and giving life to all the faithful.
From on high He came forth from Heaven and took on Himself human form, He redeemed His creation by His death, bestowing on it the joys of life.
This, Redeemer, we ask of Thee, come down in Thy mercy and grant clear light to our faithful thoughts.
Abide with us, O Lord, take away the dark night. Wash away every fault, grant us gracious healing.
Thou Who, as we know, didst come now and Who, as we believe, will return again, defend Thy glorious sceptre with Thy shield.
45. From Vespers at the Presentation of Christ in the Temple
As is known, in Mary the Bearer of God was fulfilled that which the venerable choir of the Prophets, filled with the Holy Spirit, once uttered.
As a Virgin She conceived the God of Heaven and the Lord of the Earth and as a Virgin She gave birth to Him – and by Her merits remained inviolate after birth.
The Righteous Elder Simeon, afterward took Him joyfully in his arms into the house of the Lord, for he beheld Christ with his own eyes, as he had wished.
We ask Thee, Bearer of the Eternal King, graciously accept our prayers, Thou Who in Thy brightness sought the heavenly kingdom.
Glory and might, eternal salvation and everlasting honour be to our God, Three and One, Who dwelleth in the highest fastness of heaven. Amen.
46. From Vespers in Lent
Alleluia, pleasant song, sound of everlasting joy, Alleluia, sweet praise to the choirs of heaven, which those who dwell in the house of God sing throughout the ages.
Alleluia, our joyful mother, dwelling with us in Jerusalem, Alleluia, the voice of Thy citizens making glad, the rivers of Babylon make us exiles to weep.
We do not deserve to sing Alleluia for ever now. Our fault makes us to interrupt our Alleluia. Now is the time to mourn the sins that we have fallen into.
Therefore we praise Thee, Blessed Trinity, and pray Thee that Thou mayest grant us to behold Thy Paschal Feast in Heaven, where we will sing Alleluia to Thee in joy for evermore. Amen.
47. From the Lenten Midnight Service
Cry Alleluia with godly praise, dwellers in heaven, sing loud. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
Resounding, it will take you to choirs singing hymns dwelling in everlasting light. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
The glorious city of God, roused and resounding with songs of joy will receive you. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
Take up the joy at your happy homecoming and offer the Lord a song of glory. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
The glory of our voices will celebrate Thee, Almighty Christ. Thus we cry to Thee. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
48. From Lenten Matins
As victors, yours is already the holy glory of your home in the stars where song is everlasting. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
This is rest to the weary, this is their meat and drink, delighting and bringing them home with rich draughts. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
Creator of material things, we extol Thee with sweet songs and praise. Cry Alleluia with praises for evermore.
The glory of our voices will celebrate Thee, O Christ.
49. From the Third Hour on Lenten Weekdays
By our faith in God, by which we live, by the eternal hope, in which we believe, through the grace of love, let us sing glory to Christ,
Who, led at the third hour to the sacrifice of His passion, in suffering to be hung upon the Cross, brought home the lost sheep.
Therefore we who are freed by the redemption give ourselves to Him and pray that He will save from the world those whom He loosed from the handwriting of sin.
Glory be to Thee, O Trinity, One Equal Deity, before all the ages, both now and for evermore.
50. From the Sixth Hour on Lenten Weekdays
We are to pray at noon and beseech Christ that He may command us to eat of His holy body,
That He is to be praised among all peoples, He, the Lord of the Heavens, who sitteth in the highest,
And that He may grant us help through His wondrous angels, who ever watch over us in all our life in this world.
51. From the Ninth Hour on Lenten Weekdays
Now is made perfect the number three, made of threefold hours, with due praise we chant, reading and singing the ninth hour.
Holding the sacred mystery of God in pure heart by the rule of Peter the teacher, as was made known by the sign of healing,
Let us also sing, cleaving to the Apostles in spirit; may they straighten the paths of the weak by the power of Christ.
52. From Vespers in Lent
Thus in three times four hours the day draweth toward eventide, the sun doth herald its setting and night-time doth return.
Let us therefore make safe the confines of our hearts with the sign of the Lord, lest that subtle serpent should attempt to enter in,
But let the watchful mind, trusting in the arms of modesty and its companion sobriety, freely drive away the wicked foe,
But may surfeit of food never swell our bodies, lest in sleep it should defile our glorified souls by its power.
53. From Vespers in Lent
Benevolent Creator, hear our prayers and weeping, poured forth in this holy forty-day fast.
O Holy One Who doth examine our hearts, Thou knowest how feeble is our strength. Show the grace of forgiveness to those who have returned to Thee.
Indeed we have sinned much, but spare those who make confession. Grant healing to the sick in praise of Thy name.
By Thy gift may the outer body be worn through abstinence that the sober mind utterly abstain from defilement through sin.
Grant this, Blessed Trinity, Who art a Simple Unity, that the gift of our fasting be acceptable unto Thee. Amen.
54. From the Midnight Service in Lent
Let us keep the fast as taught by mystic custom through the famed cycle of four times ten days.
The Law and the Prophets revealed this to us of old, afterward hallowed by Christ, the King and Maker of all the ages.
Therefore let us use words, food, drink, sleep and amusement sparingly and let us persist in vigil,
But let us avoid the evil which doth creep into wandering mind and let us make no room for the tyranny of the cunning Enemy.
55. From the Midnight Service in Lent
The bright glory of fasting is shown to the world from Heaven, for Christ, the Feeder of all, hallowed it by abstaining from food.
Through it Moses became dear to God and became the Giver of the Law.
It raised Elijah up through the air on chariot of fire.
Through it Daniel, the victor of the lions, gazed on mysteries.
Through it John, the bosom friend of Christ, was famed.
Grant us, O God, to follow these examples of frugality. Do Thou strengthen our minds by granting spiritual joy.
56. From Matins in Lent
Let us all say as we bow down and let each of us cry aloud, let us weep before the Judge and turn aside His avenging wrath.
Through our evils we have offended Thy mercy, O God. Forgiver of sins, lavish Thine indulgence on us from on high.
Remember that we are Thine, Creation even though fallen; give not the honour of Thy name to another, we pray Thee.
Loose us from the evil that we have done, add to the good that we ask of Thee, that we may indeed be able to please Thee in eternity.
57. From Matins in Lent
Jesus, Who didst appoint forty days of abstinence, Who hallowed this fast for health of mind,
That in holding to frugality ye might restore to Paradise those whom the lure of gluttony banished hither from there,
Be with Thy Church now, be with Her in Her repentance, as She prayeth with full many tears for Her excesses.
By Thy grace forgive the sins fallen into of old and guard us from them in time to come, O Most Merciful One,
That having atoned by the yearly sacrifice of fasting, we may turn to Paschal joys to be worthily celebrated.
Grant this, O Father, through the Son, grant this through the Holy Spirit, Thou Who art eternally with them One God in the name of Three.
58. A Lenten Hymn
O Sublime Saviour of all and Forgiver of sins, Jesus, Hallower of the forty-day fast,
Grant us purity of heart and chastity of body, lest the Corruptor of modesty be able to enter us,
He who seduced the first created man with the forbidden fruit and made him to fall into the empty prison of this life.
We, sons of the Church redeemed by Thy blood, pray with humble voice, that we should not perish in misery:
Heal the wounds of those who languish as their bodies grow strong once more, destroy the poison of evil through the medicine of frugality,
Just as Thou didst deign to look kindly on Job on his dunghill amid dust and ashes.
59. A Lenten Hymn
O Sublime Giver of reward, Who art the Only Hope of the world, hearken to the prayers of Thy servants, who call on Thee devoutly.
Our conscience showeth us our grave offence, cleanse it of all sin, we beseech Thee.
If Thou dost refuse, who will grant it? Forgive us, for Thou hast this power. If we ask Thee from a clean heart, surely Thou owest it by Thy promise.
Therefore accept our fast which Thou didst hallow, that we may take the Paschal sacrament mystically.
May the Trinity on high bestow this on us in Its Divinity, in Which the One God is glorified through all ages. Amen.
60. From the Feast of St Cuthbert
Cuthbert, the great and admirable warrior who shineth forth through his many merits, now enjoyeth his eternal reward with the Lord.
Crushing the fires of the flesh, with his heart he believed in the Lord and so scorned all passing things in his duty of love.
In his work he joyfully fulfilled the commandments of the law of the Lord. Generous, eager, flowing with light, he was praised in his merits.
He made an everlasting sign, a stream to flow from a spring where no trace of a spring was before to be seen.
He loosed from its ties a tongue which had long been held. In a short while he brought forth a harvest from rocky earth.
We pray for his unceasing aid that we may deserve to say in joy without end:
Glory be to the Unbegotten Father, Glory to the Only-Begotten Son, One with the Holy Spirit unto eternal ages.
61. From the Feast of St Benedict
O Christ, Thou Who art the glory and the strength of the saints, Thou Who art the Life and the Ideal, the Way, the Light and the Author of all, mercifully accept the prayers and the hymn of those who beseech Thee,
Thou Who, once wondrously drawing Thy Benedict to Thee, set him apart from the world, that he should learn to cast aside the iniquity of the world and follow Thee,
For Thou made the child’s godly mind to be strong in faith by Thy grace. Strengthened with a faithful mind, he worked wonders by his prayers.
Then setting foot in a distant land he climbed up on high, for burning with a pure love he wished to torment his youthful limbs.
Afterward he taught blessed men to force their minds by strict rules and ever bow their necks beneath the yoke of the Lord of Heaven,
One of these, the faithful servant Maurus, pulled the child Placidus from deep water, lifting him from the waves, he drew him from the water through his obedience to his father,
Thus he, who himself duly excelled in the way, teacheth the monk to learn from his acts, that we so give our minds up to the commands of God and freely obey.
In a life of poverty, filled with piety, setting an example by his way of life with his ardent faith, he taught the doubting hearts of his disciples to be ever faithful.
Proving this by strength of faith, he joined with his holy brethren in flood of prayer and at once revealed a vessel filled to overflowing with oil.
In his piety insisting on right custom and trusting in Christ that he would prevail in faith, through prayer he brought back the soul of a certain man when his body had died.
Then once growing late, his holy sister, a close disciple, preferring to keep him with her, told him to tarry and held him, binding him more closely to herself, by heavy rain,
After this, in a desert place the saint beheld the soul of this sister seeking heavenly secrets with the speed of wings.
Rejoicing at this, he called the brethren and commanded them to bring the body for burial in the grave which had long been ready for him, for he was soon to follow her.
Afterward, having foreknowledge of his coming end, he swiftly set about preparing the grave. Having received grace he gave up his soul, which was to find its place in Heaven.
His clear, bright path to Heaven, attested by an angel as Benedict’s, seemed to resound loud in the ears of the brethren.
By his merits, O Christ, we pray Thee to withhold wrath, accord us Thy favour and, Merciful to all, grant us Thy grace and forgiveness.
We pray Thee God, great Sovereign, may our faith resist sin and serve in the study of virtue with a pure heart.
Let us all sing glory to the Father and to Thee, O Christ, Son of the Most High, with Whom rules the Holy and Creating Spirit. Amen.
62. A Hymn to St Benedict
That we thy servants now may worthily sing the praises of thy life, O Benedict, free us from the stains of impure hearts by thy prayer.
Thou, father and teacher of monks, preached the unwedded life, holy one, and thyself gave proof of thy teaching by wondrous signs.
O most blessed and holy father, like unto the angels in life, to the prophets in spirit, to the Fathers in wonders and to the servants of the Lord in teaching.
It is holy enough that others come and win their own souls for Christ, thou, holy father, dost seek the stars with a flock of hundreds.
Throughout the world fastnesses resound with song and souls are won by thy writings. Pray for us, O holy one, that we too may be numbered among them.
May the Father grant this, may the Only-Begotten Son of the Father, Eternal together with Him, grant the same, may the Holy Spirit grant this, They Who are One God for all time and all ages. Amen.
63. A Hymn to St Benedict (Paul the Deacon)
Now let us share in the joy of this bright feast and as each year sing our songs to the great Benedict,
Who shone like unto a new star, driving away the clouds of the world.
Even in the prime of his youth he forsook the flower of this age.
Most mighty in wonders, touched by the Holy Spirit, he excelled in foreknowledge, foretelling the world to come.
A light, before unknown to the ages, shone forth in the night, in which all the world is seen. Thus it is moved by the holy one.
Glory be to the Trinity, to Thee be everlasting majesty, Who gave this shining light to our world. Amen.
64. A Hymn at the Annunciation (Venantius Fortunatus)
He Whom the Earth, the Sea and the Sky honour, adore and proclaim, He Who ruleth the threefold foundation of the world, is borne in the enclosing body of Mary.
He Whom the Sun, the Moon and all things serve in due season, is borne in the womb of a maiden, filled with the grace of Heaven.
Therefore the ages are filled with wonder that the angel bringeth the seed, that the Virgin conceived by the ear and, with believing heart, gaveth birth.
Blessed is the Mother by Her gift, in the ark of Whose womb was enclosed the Heavenly Maker Who holdeth the world in His hand,
Blessed is She Who through the heavenly herald was with child by the Holy Spirit, by Whose womb the desire of the Nations was brought forth.
65. A Hymn at the Annunciation (Venantius Fortunatus)
O Glorious Maiden raised above the stars, Thou Who givest milk with Thy holy breast to Him Who created Thee by His providence.
By Thy holy offspring Thou dost restore that which sorrowing Eve took away. Thou art become the window of heaven that the wretched may enter among the stars.
Thou art the high door of the King and the shining gate of the Light. Make glad, O redeemed nations, that Life is given by the Virgin.
66. A Hymn at the Annunciation
Rejoice, O Star of the Sea, Holy Mother of God and Ever-Virgin, Blessed Gate of Heaven,
Make us safe in Thy peace, receiving Ave from the mouth of Gabriel, thus reversing the name of Eva.
Loose the bonds of sinners, bring forth light to the blind. Drive away our wickedness, beg all good things for us.
Show that Thou art the Mother and may He who undertook to be born Thy Son for us accept our prayer Himself.
Grant us a pure life, make ready a safe journey, that beholding Jesus we may ever make glad together.
O Virgin beyond compare, Merciful above all other, loose us from sin, make us merciful and chaste.
Praise be to God the Father, utmost glory to Christ and the Holy Spirit, to Three One Honour. Amen.
67. From Vespers in Passiontide
The banners of the King go forth, there shineth the mystery of the Cross, on which gallows the Creator of flesh was hung in the flesh.
His body fastened with nails, stretching out His hands and feet for the sake of the Redemption, the victim is sacrificed,
And more, He is wounded by the lance’s piercing tip. In order to wash us clean of sin, a stream of blood flowed forth.
That which David uttered in faithful song is fulfilled, saying to the Nations: ‘God ruled from the wood’
68. From the Midnight Service in Passiontide
Glorious and radiant tree, adorned with kingly purple, thou who wast elected to touch such holy limbs with thy venerable beam,
Blessed art thou on whose arms hung the ransom of the world, thou art become a pair of scales for the body and hath taken away the prey from hell.
Giving forth sweet scent from thy bark, surpassing the savour of nectar, fruiting with fertility, bearing the noble victory,
Hail, Altar, Hail, Victim, for the glory of the Passion, in which life suffered death, that through death life be restored. Amen.
69. From Matins in Passiontide
The Only Author of salvation, glorious Redeemer of the world, Thou, O Christ, make the yearly feast of glory of the Cross to favour us.
Thou hadst suffered the spitting, striking, binding and cruel beating and then Thou didst of Thine own will go up on the Cross for our salvation.
Then destroying death by Thy death and giving life by Thy life, Thou didst utterly subdue the cunning servant of death, the Devil.
Shining forth as the holy sacrifice at the right hand of the Father, hearken to those redeemed by Thy life-giving blood, we pray Thee,
That following Thee in all things, as we go forth in the world, we may bear the standard of the Cross against any fall.
70. On Holy Thursday (Flavius)
Heaven and Earth make glad at the Supper of the great Prince which cleansed the heart of the first-created man with the food of life.
That night the Creator of all things in the mystery of His might transformed His flesh and blood into food for the soul.
Arising from the heavenly banquet, He set an example to mortal men by approaching the feet of Peter for humility.
The servant paleth at the duty, beholding the Lord of Angels bearing water and cloth and cowering before Him at the Supper.
Let thyself be washed, Simon. These mystic acts are figures, when the highest beareth the lowest, he who is ashes is to serve those who are ashes.
He Who washeth lieth upon the couch and uttereth abundant honeycombs of words, while pointing out the enemy who plotteth murderous deceit.
O wild wolf, wicked Judas, thou dost offer kisses to the gentle Lamb. thou givest up to leather thongs the stiff limbs which cleanse the world from defilement.
Today those who were in chains are loosed from the captivity of flesh and heart. Thus hope, touching them with sacred chrism, dawneth for the wretched.
Let us sing glory and honour with praise to the Victor of death, Who redeemed us from ruin, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
71. From Vespers in Eastertide
Awaiting the Supper of the Lamb, shining in white robes after crossing the Red Sea, let us sing to Christ our Sovereign,
Whose holy body was made ready on the altar of the Cross, partaking of it with his red blood we live by God,
Thus protected on the evening of the Passover from the destroying angel and saved from the most cruel power of the Pharaoh.
Now Christ Who was sacrificed as a Lamb is our Passover. His flesh hath been offered up as the unleavened bread of integrity.
O True and Worthy Sacrifice, through Whom hell is broken, the captive people redeemed and the ransom of life returned!
When Christ ariseth from the grave, he returneth victorious from hell, thrusting off the shackles of tyranny and unlocking Paradise.
We beg Thee, Author of all things, in this Paschal joy: defend Thy people from every assault of death.
Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who is risen from the dead, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit unto ages eternal. Amen.
72. From the Midnight Service in Eastertide
Jesus, our Redemption, Love and Desire, God, Creator of all things, the Man Who is to come at the end of time, What mercy was Thy master that Thou didst bear our sins, suffering a cruel death to set us free from death
And broke into the prisons of hell, redeeming Thy captives, and now sittest as Victor in noble triumph at the right hand of the Father?
May the same devotion make Thee to overcome our wickedness and, granting us our wish, satisfy us with Thy countenance.
73. From Matins in Eastertide
The light of daybreak gleameth red, Heaven resoundeth with praises, the world exulting maketh glad, groaning hell howleth,
As that most mighty King, utterly breaking the powers of death, trampleth hell beneath His feet and looseth the wretched from their chains.
He Who was sealed in with a stone and guarded by arms is Risen from the grave as a Victor triumphant in noble glory.
Even now the groaning and pain of hell are soothed, the shining angel crieth out that the Lord is Risen.
The Apostles sorrowed at the death of their Lord, condemned by godless servants to the cruel punishment of death.
The angel foretold to the women with gentle words: ‘The Lord is straightway to be seen in Galilee’.
When they make haste to tell this to the Apostles, they see that He liveth and worship at the feet of the Lord.
When the disciples learn of this, they make haste to Galilee to behold the face of the Lord, as they longed.
With bright Paschal joy the sun shineth forth its beams on the world, as the Apostles now behold Christ with their bodily eyes.
Now the shining wounds in Christ’s flesh are shown to them, they proclaim openly that the Lord is Risen.
O Christ most Merciful King, possess our hearts, that at all times we may proclaim due praise to Thee.
74. From Vespers at the Ascension (Bede the Venerable)
Let us sing a hymn to the Lord. Let new hymns ring forth now, Christ ascendeth to the throne of the Father in manner unheard.
With noble victory and power He passeth to highest Heaven, He Who scorned by mortals conquered death by death.
Then the Apostles, standing with the glorious Virgin Mother on the mystic Mount of Oil, beheld the glory of Jesus,
And they followed Him with joyful eyes, climbing toward the stars, and with joyful hearts led the King of the world through the air.
The angels spoke to them: ‘Why do ye stand and behold the stars? This is the Saviour’, they said, ‘Jesus is now taken from among you into the Kingdom of Heaven in noble triumph, from there He is to come as the Judge of all at the end’.
And they proclaim that He is to come in the same manner as they beheld this radiant Jesus ascend the greatest heights of Heaven.
At that time, we pray Thee, O Jesus, Only Redeemer, by Thy good will gather us in among Thy servants in Heaven.
Grant us that with zeal and devotion we may strive to enter, as we believe, where Thou sittest with the Father in the fastness of the Kingdom.
Thou shalt be our joy, Thou Who art our reward to come. May our glory be in Thee throughout all ages for evermore.
Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who ascendest above the stars, together with the Father.
75. A Hymn in Ascensiontide
The holy day that all longed and wished for hath dawned, the day on which the hope of the world, Christ God, ascended to the high heavens.
Ascending on high, God returneth to His own seat. The Kingdom of Heaven maketh glad at the return of the Only-Begotten Son.
In triumph at the great victory, for the Prince of the world is slain, showing to the gaze of the Father the glory of victorious flesh,
He is lifted up in the clouds and giveth hope to believers by opening Paradise, which the first created men had made to close.
O what great joy to all that the Son of our Virgin, after the spitting, the beating and the Cross, shareth the seat of the Father.
Therfeore let us utter thanks to the Champion of our salvation for bearing our body up to the lofty glory of Heaven.
May joy abide among us, shared with those that dwell in Heaven, for He showed Himself to them and did not take Himself from us.
Now it is fitting that we await Christ by calling ourselves to deeds and living such a life that can ascend to Heaven.
76. From the Matins of the Ascension
Most High and Eternal God and Redeemer of the faithful, by Whom death, destroyed, perisheth and triumph is given to grace,
Thou dost ascend to the judgement seat at the right hand of the Father. On Jesus is bestowed heavenly power over all things, which was not His by His humanity,
That the threefold foundation of things in Heaven, on Earth and in hell now bend its knee in subjection.
The angels tremble, beholding the changed destiny of mortal men. The flesh sinneth, the flesh cleanseth, God reigneth, as God in the flesh.
Thou, O Christ, art our joy abiding supreme in Heaven, Who rulest the forms of the world and exceedest the joys of the world,
Therefore we ask Thee in prayer: show mercy to all sins and lift up our hearts toward Thee by heavenly grace,
That Thou mayest cast aside due chastisement and restore our lost crowns, when Thou comest shining forth from Thy reddening cloud of judgement.
77. From Pentecost
The circle of the year has brought back to us the blessed joy when the Comforter, the Spirit shone forth on the disciples.
It took the form of a tongue, a quivering light of fire, that they might be eloquent in word and fervent in love.
They speak in the tongues of all peoples. The crowds of the Gentiles are afeared. They believe that those filled with the Spirit are drunk with young wine.
These mysteries came to pass when Eastertide had come to the sacred number of days, after which the Law was remitted.
To thee, most loving God, we now pray with lowered faces: Come down to us from Heaven to bestow the gifts of the Spirit.
78. From Matins of Pentecost
The months of the year passed by, there returneth such great joy and there cometh the day longed for in faithful prayers,
When the Spirit of the Lord filled the earth with joys and the heavenly lights of His coming spread through the world.
For when the Son of God ascended to the heights of Heaven, thus He promised to the Apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit.
This is proved by the witness of the voices of the Apostles, when they with their several tongues spake unto divers Nations.
Redeemed by so great a gift, the Spirit of the Father through the Son, let us give unceasing thanks to the Eternal God unto the ages. Amen.
79. From the Third Hour of Pentecost
Christ had already risen to the stars, returning whither He came, He Who was to give us the Holy Spirit as the gift promised from the Father.
Came nigh the solemn day on which He assigned the time of blessing, the mystic cycle of sevenfold seven days had passed,
When at the third hour the world on a sudden resounded about them all, proclaiming to the Apostles at prayer that God was come.
80. From the Sixth Hour at Pentecost
Thus from the Light of the Father proceedeth the holy glorious fire which filled the hearts of those faithful to Christ with the fervour of the Word.
Breasts filled and inspired with the holy light make glad. Voices resound in divers tongues and speak of the marvels of God.
Recognised by people of all the Nations, Greeks, Romans, Barbarians, they speak in every tongue to the wonder of all.
81. From the Ninth Hour at Pentecost
Then the unbelieving throng of Jews in the madness of their minds crieth out that the disciples of Christ are drunk on a surfeit of new wine.
But Peter. gainsaying, teacheth them by signs and mighty wonders; he showeth the faithless false through the witness of Joel.
O Christ, may that Good Comforter now visit us through Thee, making new the face of the Earth and strengthening those freed from sin.
82. From the Feast of St Dunstan
Hail, O Dunstan, glorious star and radiant adornment of Bishops, true light of the English Nation, going on before, leading the way to God,
Thou art the greatest hope of thy people and innermost sweetness, breathing the honey-sweet balm of life-giving fragrances.
In thee, O Father, we have faith, for us no thing is more pleasant than thee. To thee we stretch forth our hands, to thee we pour forth prayers.
Troubles oppress thy flock on all sides, Good Shepherd. Behold, we believers in Christ, are slain by the swords of the heathen.
Offer up, O Priest, the sacrifice of most gracious prayers to Christ, that they may be pleasing to Him and He may loose us from the iron shackles of sin,
And that through them both faithless nations and harmful sicknesses may withdraw from the English land and the sons of the Church.
Through thee may the Father, our only Hope, through thee may the Son, our only Peace, and the Spirit, our only Light, be with us unto the ages. Amen.
83. From Vespers of St Augustine’s Day (Wulfstan, Precentor of the Old Minster, Winchester, l0C)
Let the nobles of the heavenly court and of the true Prince of this world offer praise in harmony to the most glorious God for His victory,
Trampling down hell in His exceeding mercy, He restored mankind to life which He taught it to know.
For He gathereth Apostles, from Whom is come Gregory, who giveth his son Augustine to the idolatrous English;
He sent out his son, not by the seed of the flesh, but by the growth of the Spirit, to bestow the glory of Christ on fierce peoples.
Having fulfilled this by great efforts and the help of God, he was called from the vaults of Heaven to share the joy of the angels.
Therefore beseeching we pray to Thee, Excellent Maker of all things, to give Thy humble servants that which is Thine by the words of this Thy soldier.
Glory and Splendour be to the Father, Everlasting Light be to the Son, and Beauty of Light be to the Spirit Who goeth forth from Him.
84. From the Midnight Service of St Augustine’s Day (Wulfstan, Precentor of the Old Minster, Winchester, l0C)
Sublime Goodness of God, Thou Who rulest the confines of the Heavens and bearest the Earth, sublime Goodness of God,
Let us sing with the greatest praise of Augustine, whom Thou established in piety by the greatest praise.
He Who by saving decree was born in the City of Rome and through whom we are born by saving decree,
Famed in the world he flowereth. Thou hast confirmed that which he brought and his heaven radiance. Famed in the world he flowereth.
Through his intercessions have mercy on us, we pray. Bestow all good things on us through his intercessions.
May this day see us cleansed of our wicked deeds, and then enriched with the treasure of salvation may this day see us.
Great Glory to the Father, Glory to Thee for ever, O Son, together with the Holy Spirit; Great Glory to the Father.
85. From Matins of St Augustine’s Day (Wulfstan, Precentor of the Old Minster, Winchester, l0C)
Hail, thou Bishop loved by the peaceful, Hail, thou art praiseworthy by thy fame, Hail, thou art granted goodly light, O Gentle Augustine.
This day showeth us in its brightness the works in which thou didst blossom forth, when fragrant thou didst dwell on earth below, O Augustine.
Thou dost shine forth in thy deeds and excel in thy speech, thou art splendid in thy gifts and pleasing to God, thou dost hold the world and possess the stars, O Augustine.
The terrors of the snow-covered way hindered not, thy zeal in crossing the sea grew not faint, thou, whom goodness had shaped unto itself, O Augustine.
Even now, shepherd of heavenly treasure, praying on bended knee we ask thee to be with us as our shield in all things, O Augustine.
May from henceforth thy worthy prayer swiftly bear upward thy humble servants, whom thou dost strive to prepare for the feasts of Heaven, O gentle Augustine.
Help them, Father and Mighty God. May Christ, Who is God with God the Father, also help together with the Spirit of the Father, by Whom we are ruled as by God, O gentle Augustine. Amen.
86. From Vespers of the Birth of St John the Baptist (Paul the Deacon, 8C)
That thy servants may voice aloud thy wondrous deeds, set free their defiled lips from sin, O Holy John.
The Angel from Heaven on high heraldeth thy birth to come to thy great father, proclaiming thy name and the way of life thou shalt lead in due course.
Doubting the heavenly promise, he straightway lost the ways of speech, but on thy birth thou didst restore that muted voice.
Resting within the closed chamber of the womb, thou didst sense the King dwelling in His bower, thus the parents of both revealed that which was hidden by the merits of their sons.
87. From the Midnight Service of the Birth of St John the Baptist (Paul the Deacon, 8C)
Still of tender age, thou didst flee the throngs of townsfolk and go to desert caves, that thy life might never be defiled by frivolous speech.
The camel gave a rough garment for holy limbs, sheep gave a girdle to him whom the stream gave drink and full honeycombs with locusts gave food.
The other Prophets with foreknowing hearts only sang of the star to come – thou showest with thy forefinger the One Who taketh away the sin of the world.
In the whole wide world none was ever born holier than John, who was found worthy to plunge into the waters the One Who washeth away the wickedness of the world.
88. From Matins of the Birth of St John the Baptist (Paul the Deacon, 8C)
Most happy and excellent in thy merits, not knowing any stain on thy snow-white chastity, O thou mightiest of martyrs and dweller in the wilderness, greatest of prophets.
Wreaths thirty times great crown others, twice greater wreaths crown some, but wreaths heaped with three hundredfold fruit adorn thee, O Holy One.
Now, O Mighty One, by thine abundant merits push aside the hard stones from our hearts, smooth the rugged way and make straight the crooked paths,
That, once defilement is driven from cleansed minds, the Good Saviour and Redeemer of the world may rightly deign to come and tread there with holy feet.
Those that dwell in heaven celebrate thee with praise, beseeching Thee we pray for forgiveness, O God Who is One and also Three. Spare the redeemed!
Glory and might be to our God, everlasting joy and honour be to Him Who dwelleth in the high fastness of Heaven, both One and Three. Amen.
89. From the Vespers of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (Elpis)
Light of the light, ye have filled all the world with golden light and rose-red glory, adorning Heaven with noble martyrdom on this holy day, which bestoweth forgiveness to sinners.
The gatekeeper of Heaven and the teacher of the world, judges of the earth and true lights of the universe, the one victorious by the cross, the other by the sword, have gained laurel wreaths and the senate of life.
Even now, good shepherd Peter, accept with mercy the prayers of those that beseech thee and loose the chains of sin by the power given thee, with which thou dost open or close Heaven to all at a word.
O excellent teacher Paul, teach us right behaviour and strive to bring us to Heaven in spirit for the time when perfection is given more fully and imperfection surpassed.
Twin olive trees of one piety, devoted in faith, strong in hope, above all filled with the wellspring of twofold love, pray that we may live after the death of the flesh.
Everlasting glory, honour, power and joy be to the Trinity, Who in Oneness holdeth the Kingdom, since times past and now and unto eternal ages.
90. From Vespers of the Holy Martyr Laurence
We celebrate the victory of the martyr of Christ, which each year the round world doth revere and adore with humble voices of prayer.
Pope Sixtus, nailed to the wood of the cross, warneth his servant:
‘Thou shalt follow me swiftly and so suffer great pain, thou shalt go to the stars’.
The wrathful tormentor asks that he show all the hidden money, for he in madness of mind wishes to devour the golden lucre.
But Laurence scorneth the gifts of the world which is to perish: and bringeth help to the naked and food to the lame, with heart aflame he shareth the coins among the throngs of the wretched.
Holding fast in heart he is burnt and tortured by fire; he overcometh the threatening flames of fire for love of the life that ever excelleth.
Afterward one side of the martyr is all burnt. Lightly, he saith to the prefect: ‘Turn the part of my body that is done and tear it with black teeth’.
The choir of the angels receiveth his spirit and lovingly beareth it to Heaven for the laurel crown, that he might bring remittance of the sins of men by praying to the Almighty.
Let us all ask, beseeching in prayer: ‘Holy Laurence, pray for the forgiveness of those that celebrate thy feast in all places in word or deed’.
Let us all sing Glory to the Father and let us make glad in His Son, as is meet, with Whom reigneth also the Holy Spirit and Creator, Amen.
91. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary
O, in what glorious light thou shinest, Royal Child of the House of David, Virgin Mary, dwelling in Heaven on high above all the heaven-born.
Thou, Mother with virginal honour, with womb made holy, chastely held ready in Thy heart a song for the Lord of the Angels. Thus God is born from human body as Christ,
He Whom the whole world doth honour and adore, before Whom every knee now doth bend as is right, Whom we ask for the joys of light when Thou comest and shadows are chased away.
Grant this, O Father of all light, through Thine Own Son with the Holy Spirit, Who dwelleth with Thee in the shining heavens, ruling and guiding unto all ages. Amen.
92. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary
Mary, Mother of the Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, bring succour to all of us who flee unto Thee.
Thou didst bear a Son, God Begotten by God; He Who hath no beginning took His beginning from Thee.
In times past the Prophets spake with one voice of this wondrous birth, to be praised by all for evermore.
Through the Archangel Gabriel from Heaven came the news of the Elect Son of God. He spake in order:
‘Rejoice, Glorious Mary, Thou art full of the grace of God, Thou shalt conceive by the Spirit and bear a Son’.
O Virgin Most Blessed throughout all ages and evermore, Thou Who art to be marvelled at beyond all other both now and for evermore.
He Who created the whole world was formed in Thee. He Whom the whole world cannot contain lay in Thy womb.
It was good for us that He was born, He saved us from death by His death for us and through Him we live.
93. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary
Gabriel, the Archangel of God, the herald of our salvation, cried out, greeting the Most Holy Mary thus:
‘Rejoice, Glorious Mary, Thou art full of the grace of God, Thou shalt conceive by the Spirit and bear a Son.’
O Most Holy Virgin, Blessed above the heavens, pray for the choir of monks who beseech Thee in devotion.
94. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary
Mary, Queen of Heaven, glorious in holiness, hear the prayers of Thy servants and intercede for them with the Lord.
He Who created the whole world was formed in Thee. He Whom the whole world cannot contain lay in Thy womb.
It was good for us that He was born, He saved us from death by His death for us and through Him we live.
95. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary
Mary, Virgin of virgins, hearken to the prayer of Thy servants, keep us by thine unceasing prayer and help those that honour Thee.
Bowing down we dare to ask: ‘Deign to hear our songs in Thine honour and intercede for us’.
Thou Who art joined to the angelic choirs, save us by Thine intercession that we may rejoice eternally with them that dwell in Heaven.
96. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin Mary
The gate for Christ to pass through has come to be, utterly filled with grace, and the King passeth through and it remaineth closed, as it was before, throughout the ages.
From the chamber of the Virgin cometh forth the Son of the God of Heaven, the Bridegroom, the Redeemer, the Creator and the Great One of His Church.
The honour and joy of His Mother, the hope beyond measure of the faithful, He setteth us free from our sins through drinking the dark cup of death.
97. From the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael
Ensign bearer of the heavenly mysteries, O Archangel, beseeching we ask thee to visit us with thy favour.
Together with the Holy Angels, with the Righteous, with the Apostles, do thou thyself ever enlighten this place, where we now dwell in prayer.
Offer up in faith the abundant prayers of all the most pure teachers and bishops for us to the Lord,
That He may drive away the wild enemy and guide our work in peace and that perfect faith may also shine through our hearts.
May our voices rise right to the Throne of Glory and may He Who shineth in splendour on that seat lift up our minds.
May His power abide here, may steadfast love burn here, here He cometh to His servants for their ease and salvation.
May He drive away all errors and make right wavering judgement and direct our footsteps on the path of peace.
In the shining fastness of light may He write down these sacred hymns and also set down our names in the Book of Life. Amen.
98. From the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael
To Thee, O Christ, the Brightness of the Father, the life and strength of our hearts, we sing with voices raised in prayer in the sight of the Angels, each voice in turn giving praise.
In reverence we praise together all the soldiers of Heaven, but above all Michael, the Prince of the heavenly hosts, who by his wondrous power layeth low the Devil.
With him as guardian, O Christ King of Good, drive away all the wickedness of the Enemy. By Thy mercy alone restore us cleansed in heart and body to Thy Paradise.
Let our voices resound, singing Glory to the Father, let us sing Glory to Christ, Glory to the Comforter Spirit, Who is God One and Three, before the ages of the world. Amen.
99. From the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael
O Christ, the Glory of the Holy Angels, the Author and Ruler of mankind, grant us in Thy bounty to ascend to the Eternal Kingdom.
Let us pray that Michael, the Angel of peace, may be sent from Heaven to this place that all prosperity may often come and grow among us.
May the Mighty Angel Gabriel fly from on high and drive away the Ancient Enemy and come most often to behold this our house.
Send us the Angel Raphael from Heaven as a Physician for health, that he may heal all the sick and also direct our deeds.
Moreover, may Mary the Mother of our God and all the choir of Angels and also the whole company of the blessed ever be with us.
100. From Vespers of All Hallows Day
All through the world is celebrated the Feast of All the Saints, Who reign blessed in Heaven with Thee, O Jesus.
We call on these and Thee, Redeemer of all. We turn our prayers and sighs to these and Thee beseeching.
O Jesus, Saviour of the world, help and succour the redeemed and Thou Loving Mother of God, ask for the salvation of the wretched.
May all the angelic hosts, the soldiers of the Patriarchs and the Prophets through their merits pray for our forgiveness.
May the Baptist Who went on before Christ and the Key-bearer of Heaven with the other Apostles loose us from the bonds of transgression. May the holy choir of martyrs, priests by confession and virgins by chastity, wash us of our sins.
May the intercession of monks and all who dwell in Heaven grant the prayers of those who beseech them and ask for the reward of life.
Praise, honour, power and glory be to God the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit to eternal ages. Amen.
101. From the Midnight Service of All Hallows Day
O Christ, Redeemer of all, preserve Thy servants, made glad by the holy prayers of the Blessed Ever-Virgin.
Ye also, blessed hosts of heavenly spirits, drive away evils past, present and to come.
Ye Prophets of the Eternal Judge and ye Apostles of the Lord, we humbly pray to be saved by your prayers.
Ye noble martyrs of God and bright confessors, bring us to the heavens by your intercessions.
Ye choir of holy virgins and all monks, make us to be partakers in Christ together with all the Saints.
Drive the faithless heathen away from the realms of the faithful that we may gladly offer up the praise due to Christ.
Glory to the Unbegotten Father and to His Only-Begotten Son, One with the Holy Spirit to eternal ages.
102. From Matins of All Hallows Day
O Christ, together we celebrate the feast of all Thy saints, praying that those who have already merited to join Thee may watch over us.
Loose the chains of our faults. May the Saints adorn the Nations by the light of their strength. May they claim the Kingdom of Heaven for us by their love alone.
That by the blessed prayers of those by whose teaching the race of life is run, we may be set in the shining bosom of Heaven for life eternal.
May the company sing with devotion, resounding and repeating Glory to the Holy Trinity Who is, One Sovereign God for all time and ages Amen.
103. From the Matins of the Holy Bishop Martin
O Martin, Confessor of God, strong in the power of the Spirit, thou didst foreknow of coming death, grown weary in thy fleshly limbs,
Rich in the peace of Christ, thou didst once more make one divided members of the Church with one peace in Oneness of the Spirit,
Thou whom life showed to be worthy of praise, whom cruel death could not harm and who scorned the tricks of the Cunning One in the hour of death,
Most ready in faith this people doth celebrate thy joyful day with faithful prayers. Be with them all in thy gentleness.
Through thee may there be peace in these times, may life take comfort through thee, may the benefits of peace abound, may all scandal cease,
That by the grace of love we may overflow in the Spirit, that we may follow Christ with sighs from our inmost hearts.
104. From Feasts of the Apostles
May Heaven make glad in praise, may the Earth resound in joy: this holy festival singeth of the glory of the Apostles.
Righteous judges of the world and true lights to the universe, we beseech you with prayers from our hearts, hear the prayers of those that entreat you.
Ye who can lock Heaven and unlock its bolts at a word, unlock us from all sins at your command, we beg you.
Ye to whose bidding the health and sickness of all is subject, heal us who are sick in our ways and restore us to the virtues,
That when Christ the Judge cometh at the end of the world, He may make us to partake of everlasting joy.
105. From Feasts of the Apostles (St Ambrose)
Let us sing with joyful minds of the eternal gifts of Christ, the glory of the Apostles and sing their due praises.
They are Princes of the Churches, victorious leaders of war, soldiers of the court of Heaven and true lights of the world.
The devout faith of the saints, the unconquered hope of believers, the perfect love of Christ triumph over the Prince of this world.
In these exult the Glory of the Father, the Will of the Spirit, and the Son, and Heaven is filled with joy.
Now do we beseech Thee, O Redeemer, to join the humble servants praying to Thee to their company unto eternal ages. Amen.
106. From the Feast of the Holy Apostle Peter
Now, good shepherd, Peter, accept with mercy the prayers of those that beseech thee and loose the chains of sin by the power that was given to thee with which at a word thou dost close and open Heaven to all.
107. From Feasts of Apostles
O Christ, Lord of the Ages, grant through the merits of those precious in Thy sight that our grave sins before Thee may be remitted by their glorious prayers.
Save, O Redeemer, Thy noble creation, signed with the light of Thy Holy Face that it be not torn apart by the deceit of the demons from which Thou didst set us free by the price of death.
Sorrow that Thy humble servants are captive, absolve sinners, raise up those in fetters, and may those whom Thou redeemed by Thine own blood, O Good King, make glad with Thee for evermore.
Glory, power, honour and might be to Thee, O Jesus, Blessed Lord, One with the Father and the Comforter Spirit, with Whom He reigneth as God before the ages. Amen.
108. From the Feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew
O Godly Andrew, most gentle of saints, obtain forgiveness for our errors and by thine unceasing intercessions raise up us, made heavy by the burden of sins.
109. From the Feast of the Holy Apostle John
Twin lamps in the court of Heaven, O James and John the Theologian, ask forgiveness for us who beseech it, which Christ came to give freely to the wretched.
110. From the Feast of St James
O James the Righteous, Brother of the Lord Jesus, have mercy on us in Thy love, whom proud boasting hath made sinful and the shamelessness of the world hath befouled.
111. From the Feast of St Bartholomew
O Bartholomew, golden star of Heaven shining a thousand times more brightly than the rays of the sun, raise our troubled minds up to Heaven and heal our sick consciences.
112. From the Feast of St Matthew
Holy Matthew, rich with twofold gift, ask Jesus with fervent prayers that He may guide us through the storms of the world, that eternal perdition may not swallow us up hereafter.
113. From the Feast of St Philip
Bowed down before thee, O Philip, source of light, we ask thee to beg the favour of the heavenly judge, that He may withhold the chastisement that we deserve and grant the heavenly joys that we pray for.
114. From the Feast of St Simon and St Jude
O Blessed Simon and Noble Thaddeus, hearken to our groaning with tears, and may we, who deserve hell for our fall, deserve to enter the heavens through you.
115. From the Feast of St Thomas
O Thomas, who surveyed the side of Christ, by those holy wounds which washed away all the sins of the world, we ask thee: wipe away our faults by thy prayers.
116. From the Feast of St Matthias
O Righteous Matthias, who sitteth on the twelfth throne by lot, loose us from all the bonds of sin, that by thy holy prayers we may be gladdened by the joys of the true light.
117. From the Feast of the Holy Apostle Barnabas
Kind herald and glory of the Church, O Holy Barnabas, beseech Christ that He may regard our wretchedness which we suffer as deserved and comfort us with thy holy prayers.
118. From the Feast of St Gregory
O Holy Gregory, excellent in thy merits, Father of the English, Teacher and Apostle, succour us ever with thy help that we may enjoy the prize of life together with thee.
119. From the Matins for Martyrs (St Ambrose)
Let us sing with joyful minds of the eternal gifts of Christ and of the victories of the martyrs and sing their due praises.
They are Princes of the Churches, victorious leaders of war, soldiers of the court of Heaven and true lights of the world,
For they overcame the terror of the world and scorned bodily pain, they possess blessed life through swift and holy death.
The martyrs are handed up to fire and the teeth of wild beasts. Savaged by the claws of the hand of the insane torturer,
Their inners hang laid bare, their holy blood is spilled, but they remain immovable for the sake of everlasting life.
The devout faith of the saints, the unconquered hope of believers, the perfect love of Christ triumph over the Prince of this world.
In these exult the Glory of the Father, the Will of the Spirit, and the Son, and Heaven is filled with joy.
Now do we beseech Thee, O Redeemer, to join the humble servants praying to Thee to the company of the martyrs unto eternal ages. Amen.
120. From Feasts of Martyrs
O Glorious King of Martyrs and Crown of those that confess Thee, Who bringest to heavenly things those that despise earthly things,
Hearken in Thy good will to our voices straightway; we feast the holy fruits of victory. Have mercy on our transgressions.
Thou art victorious in Thy martyrs, sparing confessors. Overcome our sins, granting forgiveness.
121. From Feasts of Martyrs (C9)
O brethren, let us celebrate this joyful day, renowned for the merits and steadfast deeds of the Saints, for the soul is inspired to feast the noblest kind of victor in song.
Before these the world which held them quaked, for they altogether scorned it as an arid wilderness barren of flower and followed Thee heavenward, O Christ the Good King.
For Thee they despised the fierce fury and savage blows of men. With them the strength of the tearing claw grew weak and tore not their inners.
They are slain as sheep by the sword, neither murmur nor plaint is uttered, but the mind aware of good keepeth patience with peaceful heart.
What is the voice that could tell with tongue of the gifts Thou preparest for the martyrs, for flowing red with blood, they are granted brightly shining laurel wreaths!
We ask Thee, God both One and Three, to wash away our faults and take away harmful things, granting peace to Thy servants and to us also to give Thee glory throughout all ages. Amen.
122. From Feasts of One Martyr
Martyr of God, thou who followed the Only Son of the Father art triumphant, overcoming thine enemies, and as a victor partakest of heavenly things,
Wash away our faults by the gift of thy prayer, making to flee the contagion of evil and driving away the weariness of life.
Having already loosed the chains of thy holy body, loose us from the chains of the world by the love of the Son of God.
123. From Feasts of One Martyr
O God, Portion and Crown and Reward of Thy soldiers, loose from the bondage of sin those who sing the praises of Thy martyr.
Surely he came to the things of Heaven, rightly deeming the pleasures and harmful temptations of the world to be vain and fleeting.
He suffered pains valiantly and bore them manfully. Shedding his blood for thee, he possesseth everlasting gifts.
Therefore in prayer we ask and beseech Thee, O Most Good One: forgive thy humble servants their faults on this day of Thy martyr’s triumph.
Praise and Everlasting Glory to God the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit unto the ages of ages. Amen.
124. From Feasts of Confessors
O Christ, Brightness of the Glory, we offer praise to Thee, Who adornest Thy court with the abundant wonders of the Saints,
Who in the peace of the Church blossomed like unto the lily and preached to the people that they might fill Paradise.
Taking up the arms of war, the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit, against the iniquity of the Enemy, they fight valiantly
With God in their mouths, Christ in their hearts and godliness, righteousness and truth in their minds.
Although they came forth from earth and dust, they became like unto the angels for their good merits and partake of bright joy.
By their dead bones new wonders arise to the great glory of Christ, succouring the people,
as health is given to the sick, life is restored to the dead, sight is returned to the blind and the feeble can walk.
We pray to Thee now, O Lord, fence us around from all evil through their protection and grant us life. Amen.
125. From the Feast of One Confessor
Today this holy confessor of the Lord whose feast the people celebrate throughout the world was deemed worthy to ascend in bliss to the secrets of Heaven,
He who was godly, prudent, humble, modest, sober, chaste and calm, while this present life inhabited the limbs of his body,
At whose holy tomb the bodies of the sick are now often restored to health, whatever disease oppressed them.
Therefore our choir gladly singeth this hymn in his honour now, that we may be helped by his godly merits throughout all ages.
Salvation, Glory and Power be to Him, both One and Three, Who dwelleth above the heights of Heaven and governeth the workings of the whole world.
126. From the Feast of One Confessor
O Jesus, Redeemer of all, everlasting crown of Bishops, on this day grant especial mercy by our prayers.
The holy confessor of thy sacred name reached fame and devout people celebrate his yearly feast.
Rightly scorning the fleeting pleasures of the world, he winneth his blessed reward with the angels in Heaven.
Grant us by Thy good will to follow in his footsteps and by his prayers forgive Thy humble servants their sins and faults.
Glory be to Thee, O Christ, Most Merciful King, and to the Father with the Holy Spirit both now and for evermore.
127. From Feasts of a Holy Virgin
O Offspring of the Virgin and Maker of Thy Mother, Whom a Virgin bore remaining Virgin, we sing of the victory feast of a virgin; accept our prayer.
While Thy virgin, twice blessed in her portion, suffered to overcome the frailty of her body, she overcame the cruel world by her body.
Therefore she avoided neither death nor the friends of death, cruel sufferings, and by shedding her blood she was deemed worthy to ascend to the secrets of Heaven.
May she obtain from Thee, O Holy God, that Thou mayest now spare our faults and forgive our sins, that we may sing to Thee a holy hymn from pure hearts.
Glory to the Father and His Begotten Son and to Thee O Holy Spirit, ever Equal together with them, One God, for all ages of the world.
128. From Feasts of a Virgin (St Ambrose)
O Jesus, Crown of virgins, conceived by the Only Mother to give birth as a Virgin, accept these prayers in Thy Mercy,
Thou Who in pastures among lilies, compassed about by choirs of virgins, dost honour and reward brides with glory.
Wherever Thou goest, virgins follow with praises and run following Thee, singing the sounds of sweet hymns.
We pray to Thee: grant with love that our minds may be utterly innocent of all wounds of corruption.
129. From the Vespers of a Church Dedication Anniversary
O Christ, the Holy Sovereign of all, Born from the mouth of the Eternal Father, in Thy Goodness look on the prayers and also the hymns of those that beseech Thee.
Behold, O God, that which Thy people utter in purity, honour and prayer in this house whose yearly festival hath returned.
This house, rightly hallowed to Thee, is where people are born, take the sacred body and drink the draught of blessed blood.
Here most holy waters wash away old faults and destroy iniquity by the true chrism so that all who worship Christ may come to be.
May Glory resound to the Father on high, may Glory resound to the Son, and may we sing equally of the Holy Spirit with sweet hymns of praise throughout all ages. Amen.
130. From the Midnight Service of a Church Dedication Anniversary
Here is given health to the sick, medicine to the weary, sight to the blind and forgiveness to our transgressions, and all fear and sorrow are driven away.
The Demon’s fierce assaults are ended here; the stubborn fiend groweth fearful and, forsaking the bodies he held, he flieth with all speed to far shadows.
In truth this place is oft called the Court of the King Who is Great beyond measure, and the Gate of Heaven, and as the Door of Life it receiveth all who seek their homeland.
No whirlwind doth shake it, nor wandering wind tear it asunder, nor rainstorm enter in, and the horrors of the shadows of pitch-black hell cannot harm it.
131. From the Matins of a Church Dedication Anniversary
Therefore we ask Thee, O God, to look on us with countenance serene, guiding Thy servants who celebrate the joys Thy House giveth with great honour.
May no pain of life afflict us. May the days be joyful and the nights peaceful. May none of us feel the fires when the world perisheth.
May this day, on which Thou regardest the altar hallowed to Thee, bring us everlasting joy and may it long last in use.
132. A Canterbury Hymn for a Church Dedication Anniversary
O Christ, Who dwelleth in holiness in Heaven, in Whose Honour this house is resplendent, accept in Thy Goodness the sacrifice of praise which we offer to Thee.
The choir of all the angels ever blesseth Thee in Heaven on high, together with all the Saints who fervently praise Thee.
Through the merits of our Holy Father Augustine and the other Saints equally, withhold, O Good One, the chastisement deserved and grant healing.
From compassion for this pitiful life, grant that we may celebrate Thy praise so that we may be allowed to behold Thee unceasingly.
Glory be to the Father on high and to His Son and also to the Holy Spirit, the Lord One and Three, always unto eternity. Amen.
133. A Vespers Hymn to the Holy Trinity
O Trinity to be honoured and praised, Most Good and Worthy of Glory, hearken to our prayers, with which we sing our hymn to Thee.
We call upon Thee and we worship Thee and we praise thee, O Blessed Trinity. Grant us remission of all faults,
That we may also be able to offer Thee worthy praise with devout mind, always, night and day at every hour and moment.
Glory without end and beyond measure be to the Trinity, the God Most High, throughout all ages. Let us all say together with one voice. Amen.
134. A Midnight Service Hymn to the Holy Trinity
O Holy, Merciful and Loving Father, O Jesus Christ, Son to be honoured, and the Comforter and Holy Spirit, Eternal God,
Holy Trinity and Strong Unity, True Godhead, Goodness beyond measure, Light of angels, Salvation of orphans and Hope of all,
All things that Thou hast created serve Thee, all creatures praise Thee together. We also sing to Thee with devotion. Hear us.
Glory to Thee, Almighty God, Three and One, Great and Eternal; hymns, honour, praise and glory behove Thee now and ever.
135. A Matins Hymn to the Holy Trinity
Rejoice, Trinity to be worshipped. Rejoice, Eternal Unity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
To Thee we freely offer these prayers. May they be most pleasing to Thee and most saving to us.
We ever praise Thee as Three and adore Thee as One. May we feel the protection of Thy sweet Mercy.
O Trinity, O Unity, help those that beseech Thee and accept with the praise of angels that which we end. Amen.
136. From Compline
O Jesus, Redeemer of the world, Word of the Most High Father, Invisible Light of Light, Most Vigilant Guardian of Thine own,
Thou Maker of all and Discerner of the times and seasons, refresh our toil-weary bodies with rest at night.
We humbly pray Thee, free us from the Enemy that He may not be able to seduce those redeemed by Thy blood,
That, while we for a short season abide in bodily heaviness, our flesh may sleep, in such a manner that our hearts may know no sleep.
Glory to Thee, O Christ, Most Merciful King, and to the Father with the Holy Spirit both now and forever. Amen.
137. From the Feast of the Nativity of Christ (St Venantius Fortunatus)
Let all the world know that the reward of life is come. After the yoke of the harsh Enemy redemption is revealed.
That which Isaiah foretold in song was completed in the Virgin, the Angel heralded, the Holy Spirit fulfilled.
Mary conceived in Her womb by the faithful seed of the Word. A Maiden beareth within her the One Whom the whole world cannot contain.
Now the root of Jesse flowered and a branch fruited. Fruitful, it brought forth offspring and yet the Mother remaineth a Virgin.
The Author of the Light suffereth to be laid in a manger, He created the Heavens with His Father; cared for by His Mother, He is dressed in swaddling clothes.
He Who gave the Law to the world, Who gave the Ten Commandments, became man and deigned to be subject to the Law.
That which the Old Adam sullied, the New Adam washeth away; that which the first swollen with pride cast down, the second in His extreme humility raiseth up.
Now light and salvation are born, night is fled away and death is conquered. Come O ye Nations and believe: Mary hath given birth to God.
Glory to Thee, O Lord. Who is born of a Virgin, with the Father and the Holy Spirit unto eternal ages. Amen.
138. From the Feast of the Nativity of Christ (Prudentius)
He Who was born from the heart of the Father before the world began, and is called Alpha and Omega, is Himself the Fount and End of all that is, has been and will be forever after unto the ages of ages.
O, blessed was that birth when the Virgin, heavy with child by the Holy Spirit, bore our salvation and the Redeemer of the world revealed His holy face as a child unto the ages of ages.
May the heavens on high sing psalms, may all angels sing, may all powers in all places sing in praise of God. May no tongue be silent and may all voices resound together unto the ages of ages.
Lo, He of Whom the seers sang together in ages past, He Whom the faithful writings of the Prophets foretold. He Who was once promised, is revealed. Let all praise Him together unto the ages of ages.
Let the pure voices of young and old, of the choir of little children, of the throng of mothers and virgins, simple maidens, sing of Thee together unto the ages of ages.
To Thee, O Christ, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit may there ever be hymns, songs, unceasing praise, the giving of thanks, honour, power, victory and rule eternally unto the ages of ages. Amen.
139. From Feasts of the Holy Virgin
Now to Thee, O Virgin of virgins, we bring praise in song and these humble folk will celebrate Thee as Queen of Heaven.
Thou art the shining door of the house that has not known any to pass through, the branch flowering with fruit and the Virgin heavy with child.
For Thee our songs ring forth, to Thee the hosts of angels sing; hell groaneth before Thee and the straits of the sea resound.
Give suck, O Queen, to the little son of the Eternal King, give suck from Thy holy breast to Him Who bestowed life on Thee.
Thou, Who art glorious by Thy royal descent and rightfully Sovereign of the world, bore Him Whom all the Nations desired.
Thou Who art the shining star of the sea, free the people from their faults. And change the weeping of those that beseech Thee by granting them joy.
Praise to the Unseen Father, praise to His Holy Spirit, praise be to the Only-Begotten Son, the Lord of the whole world. Amen.
140. From Compline in Lent (Prudentius)
O Nazarene, Light of Bethlehem, Word of the Father, brought forth in birth from the Virgin’ s womb, help us, O Christ, in time of chaste abstinence and look on our celebration, O King of Peace, as we offer the sacrifice of the fast.
Indeed no thing is more pure than this mystery, by which the innermost heart is redeemed from wickedness and the unbridled flesh overcome, that no foul and fetid excess may oppress the thought of the stifled mind.
Glory be to the Trinity in Unity, let there be thanksgiving to the Trinity in Unity, Power, Honour and Jubilation, for It accepteth our toil of fasting in Goodness and Goodwill. Amen.
141. From Compline in Lent (Prudentius)
O worshipper of God, remember that thou didst undergo washing with cleansing water and signing with chrism.
When sleep calleth and thou turnest to thy chaste bedchamber, make sure that the forehead and the place of thy heart are signed with the figure of the Cross.
The Cross driveth away all sin. Darkness fleeth from before the Cross. If the mind is hallowed by such a sign, it cannot waver.
Away, away, imaginations of straying dreams, Away, deceiver with thy stubborn wiles.
O writhing serpent, who dost trouble quiet hearts by thousandfold twisting and changing illusions.
Depart, Christ is here! Christ is here, vanish. The sign thou knowest thyself is damnation for all thy troop.
Though the weary body may lean back a little and lie down, we shall think on Christ even in our sleep.
Glory be to the Eternal Father and to Christ, the True King, and the Holy Comforter both now and for ever. Amen
142. From Matins in Passiontide
Most Mighty King of the angels, who of Thine own will became poor to make us rich for ever and bring us with Thee to Heaven,
Make the holy feast of the Cross be profitable to us and let us give thanks for Thy great mercy,
For bearing insults, gall, chains, spittle, blows and death, Thou didst reveal to us the glory of eternal life.
Now in the brightness of Thy Kingdom, remember us, we pray, that we may taste of the joys of Paradise with the good thief.
Hell, earth and stars tremble, worshipping and singing together of Thee and the Most Good Father together with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
143. From Matins in Passiontide
O Christ the King, Maker of all and Redeemer of the faithful, may the prayers of those that beseech, worship and praise Thee be pleasing unto Thee.
Thou, the Creator of the stars, suffered to be clothed in the flesh, deigning to endure this most unworthy form with its pain.
Thou wast bound in order to set free those who were caught in the iniquities of the decaying world, cleansing the many sins which the world had indeed dared to fall into,
Thou Whose Goodness and Kindness through Thy holy gifts loosed the heavy chains of the first father by Thy might.
As Redeemer Thou art nailed to the Cross, yet Thou makest all the earth to tremble. Thou dost yield up Thy mighty spirit and the whole world darkeneth.
Now Resplendent Victor on high in the Glory of the Father, defend us by the protection of the Spirit, Good King. Amen.
144. From Passiontide (Pange, Lingua by St Venantius Fortunatus)
Sing, O tongue, of the battle, the glorious struggle, and speak of the noble triumph on the sign of victory, the Cross, how the sacrificed Redeemer of the universe hath conquered.
Filled with compassion at the deception of our forefather, the first created man, when he tasted of the harmful fruit and perished by death, then He Himself honoured a tree, choosing to set us free from sin by a tree.
The deed was needed for the work of our salvation, that He might turn away the wiles of the many-shaped traitor with a wile and bring healing from where the Enemy had inflicted suffering.
Therefore when the holy time came to be fulfilled, the Son and Creator of the world was sent from the fastness of the Father and He came forth, made flesh in the womb of the Virgin.
The time of His incarnation, six times five years, passed by, He gave Himself up to voluntary suffering, his destiny from birth, and He was raised up on the wooden beam of the Cross, as a lamb for sacrifice.
Here are the vinegar, the gall, the reed, the spittle, the nails and the lance. His gentle body is pierced; blood and water flow forth, a stream by which the earth, the sea and the sky – the world – are washed clean.
Faithful Cross, tree one in honour among all others, no wood beareth such blossom among its leaves and boughs. The sweet wood beareth sweet nails and a sweet weight.
Glory and Honour be to God and to the Glorious Spirit, One with the Father and the Son on high; honour and power be to Him unto everlasting ages. Amen.
145. From Vespers of the Birth of the Virgin Mary
Make glad in Thine innermost heart, O Mother, Happy Church, Who dost celebrate again and again the holy feasts of Blessed Mary – may the stars, earth and sea greet Her,
Whose begetting is glorious, Whose life is famed for holy deeds, Whose life holdeth the highest and unceasing honour,
For a Virgin gave birth and She remaineth a Virgin, She gave suck with her own breasts to God and humbly bore in trembling arms the One Who upholdeth.
A Mother Blessed in manifold praise, the Door of Her King ever closed, the star of the changing world, the bough of royal blossom.
We humbly beseech Thee now, Holy Mother of God and Bride of the Eternal King, to protect us at all times and in all places by the gift of Thy mercy.
O Virgin, may Thou obtain for us the sweet safety of everlasting peace and the eternal gifts of the Blessed Kingdom by Thy holy prayers.
Grant and approve this, Sublime Father and the Only-Begotten Son of the Father together with the Spirit, Thou Who dost reign as One God for all time and ages. Amen.
146. A Hymn for the Holy Bishop Martin (C9)
Brethren bonded close together in one spirit, who every year partake with me of the light with which the sun in its course gloweth today, bringing to us once again the famed feast of Martin,
Let us sing together a pleasant and most noble song of the merits of Martin. Let the clergy sing together with the people, for it is our pleasure to sing with great joy,
Since Martin doth kindle faithful prayer granting us all good things.
He bestoweth fair wreaths of gold with gleaming stars on his servants who meetly sing.
A candlestick giving forth light to all, he drew them from the many shadows of death. He caused seeds of virtue to grow in those in whose hearts there had been sin.
As we are always succoured, let us sing our songs to our bishop. Let us praise with one voice that which he approveth, let us condemn with vigilant mind that which he disapproveth.
Let the people of Gaul and our England now beseech Martin with worthy prayers. May Martin make our times to prosper. Thanks be to Thee, O Christ, Salvation of the world. Amen.
147. From the Third Hour of Christmas Day
O Christ, at this third hour fill us with Thy grace and make us and our near ones fervent in love.
May God the Comforter be with us in our hearts at this hour, He Who touched the shining Apostles with flames of fire.
Grant this O God the Trinity, One and Equal Deity, to Whom be Praise, Power and Glory now and for all ages. Amen.
148. From the Sixth Hour of Christmas Day
Thou, born of the Virgin for man in the sixth age, make us to partake of glory in the eighth age
And Thou Who sat at this hour at the mystical well, water us with Thy spring and enlighten us with Thy sun!
149. From the Ninth Hour of Christmas Day
O Jesus, We ask Thee, hearken to that which we sing at the ninth hour, which Thy death maketh most holy to mortal men.
At that hour the source of the Church flowed from Thy wound. May Thy gracious glory join us to the holy thief.
150. From the First Hour of Easter Sunday
To Thee, the Author of Light, resound the songs of this throng, which Thou hast filled with grace by the power of Thy Resurrection.
This day doth tell us that a last day will come and bid the dead arise and be restored to life.
The eighth day becometh the first, as death which abounded is abolished, as we are circumcised in mind and indeed born again,
When we behold our morning come again and our enemies conquered, when we scorn the lust of the world and partake of the bread of salvation.
Let this feast be holy, let this festival be bright, let it be celebrated with joy; day is reclaimed from Hades.
151. From Paschaltide (c 1000)
Let the choir of the new Jerusalem sing a sweet new sort of song and celebrate with sober joys the Paschal Feast,
At which, the dragon cast down, Christ riseth up like unto an unconquered lion and waketh the departed from death, calling forth with His living voice.
Cruel hell yieldeth up the prey that it hath devoured. The soldiers freed from captivity follow Jesus.
He is triumphant in splendour and worthy of celebration; from the lands of Heaven and earth He maketh One Commonwealth.
Let us pray in song to this King as his humble soldiers, that He may set us forth in His most radiant palace.
Glory and Honour be to the Father on high with the Son and the Holy Spirit for ages without end. Amen.
152. A Hymn to the Holy Trinity
Be with us, Holy Trinity, Equal in Glory and One God, Who art the Source of all things without end.
The heavenly hosts praise, worship and proclaim Thee and the threefold foundation of the world blesseth Thee throughout the ages.
And we, Thy humble servants, here worship Thee. May the prayers and petitions of those that beseech Thee be joined to the hymns of those that dwell in Heaven.
We believe that Thou art the One Light, Whom we also honour as Three. Let every spirit praise Thee, Whom we call Alpha and Omega.
Praise be to the Unbegotten Father, Praise to His Only-Begotten Son, Praise be to The Holy Spirit, to the God Who is One and Three. Amen.
153. From Vespers for St Edmund, King and Martyr (C10)
The glorious martyr Edmund, the most holy king of the English, on this day bore triumphant his noble palm of victory to Heaven.
It is the fruitful English land which brought forth this shining star in whom the whole world shineth and joy in Heaven groweth.
May He hear the plaints of the poor from among his people and bring them to the House of the King of Heaven as their good intercessor.
May he obtain the heavenly favour of Christ for our sins, that the heavy world may feel the gift of mercy.
May God the Father with the Son and with the Holy Spirit grant the prayers of those that beseech him unto the ages of ages. Amen.
154. From the Midnight Service for St Edmund, King and Martyr (C10)
In humble prayer we ask that Edmund the King, crowned in times of old with kingship and the adornment of this world, now be with his servants.
He taketh joy at the mysteries of Heaven, on this day when he gained the crown of victory, for he won the prize by his blood spilled by the sword of the tyrant Dane.
Beheaded, face down, a grim wolf cared and served, until the head was restored to his famed body, untouched by wounds.
Therefore O King and Martyr, great heir, whole in thy limbs and free of defilement, in such hymns thou makest glad at the honour fitting thy merits.
Ready and everlasting honour be to the Father, Who honoureth thy victory with signs. May He, One and Three, spare us in His Goodness won by thee. Amen.
155. From Matins for St Edmund, King and Martyr (C10)
Jesus, praise and crown of the soldiers who struggle for Thee, look upon the subjects of this King and Martyr on his day of victory.
On this day King Edmund, taken from the blood-stained arena, yielded himself up at his scourging and was taken into Heaven.
Tied to the cruel stake with leather strips all stained with blood, he curseth the council of the Danes and revileth their god.
The Danes drink of the blood of the King pierced with spears. We believe that he wished to die for his faithful followers.
May this day the King and Martyr Edmund make us ready for grace, that we shall thus enjoy the good things of those that dwell in Heaven through all ages. Amen.
156. From the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
Hail, O Holy Cross, Hail, glory of the world, our true hope, truly bringing joy, sign of salvation, salvation in peril, life-giving wood bearing the life of all.
We ever praise Thee, O Life-Giving Cross, Who art to be adored, for we were redeemed in Thee, sweet glory of the world. Enslaved by a tree and set free by the same, we ever sing to Thee.
O Christ, destroying ancestral sin on the Cross, cleanse us also of evil defilement. Take pity on frail mankind and by Thy Holy Cross grant forgiveness to those who have fallen.
Protect, heal, bless and hallow all the people by the sign of the cross. Turn away disease of body and soul. Before this sign no peril shall stand.
Praise be to God the Father in the Cross of the Son, Equal Praise be to the Holy Spirit. May the Exaltation of the Cross be joy to the angels that dwell on high and honour to the world. Amen.
157. From Vespers of the Holy Bishop Oswald
King of the Angels, Sovereign of the world, Prize, Glory and Crown of the Saints, praise to Thee for Bishop Oswald who shineth amid the stars.
Like a star descending from the fastness of Heaven, O Christ, Thou bade him enlighten the people, meetly enthroned as a bishop.
Mild, chaste, humble and generous, a jewel of life and mirror of the law, he shone with light for the good of many and for a crown for himself.
After ascending worthily to the brightness of Heaven in joy, in churches he bestowed gifts of healing upon the sick who cannot move their limbs.
May he mightily intercede for us with Thee, to Whom be Praise, Power and Eternal Honour, and Who reigneth as God, One and Three, unto all ages. Amen.
158. From the Midnight Service of the Holy Bishop Oswald
Let us sing with sweet and joyful songs of our springlike home in the heavens, of the great glory of light and of Holy Oswald,
Who, while still in this life, shone like a jewel on the vine, an Archbishop ever intent on his angelic purpose.
He was a golden ladder, bringing the many to the stars, where he is victorious before the throne of the Lord Most High.
The wonders now coming down from Heaven have brought us to faith, granting healing beyond price to the sick in his land.
By his prayer may we receive the favour of Christ the Lord, Whom all the ages praise as God One and Three.
159. From Matins of the Holy Bishop Oswald
O famed father, mighty above the stars, Holy Oswald, beloved of the Lord and holy bishop, Hail, thou who art ever to be revered by the world.
Through Christ on high we pray thee, cleanse us of all our sins and as our holy father govern us, thy pupils.
Raise us who lie in our sins, grant us thy fatherly succour and drive away all evil in thy mercy, O noble shepherd.
May all good gifts be ours through thee, may the peace of the Lord grow in our life and may the bright palace of Heaven receive us in the life to come.
May God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, grant this, may every breath speak His praise, for the Trinity ruleth over all in Goodness. Amen.
160. From the Feast of a Holy Bishop
O sublime and holy confessor and intercessor, as the wheel of the year turneth, each season is restored. It is time for us to celebrate the feast consecrated to thee.
O Bishop excellent and famed for thy merits, thy servants, the holy throng of clergy and people, beseech thee as father with humbled heart and devotion.
Take the prayers of all up to the court of the Eternal King and succour both clergy and people, for thou wast their good shepherd on earth.
Lamenting and sighing, all tell of their sinful deeds and with tears reveal the evil sins of their wicked minds and black souls,
Which fitting chastisement will call back to us in the hour when we are compelled by the dread wrath of heaven to reveal our wretched deeds, after the world hath changed.
Keep feared misfortune far away from us, drive away sin and fury. We pray that plague and sickness draw back from us and that those in the world be kept from them.
Guide our life in all our ways and bestow on us a serene and quiet mind. May our hearts ponder on the weapon of virtue by the gift of Christ.
Grant abundant fruits and ample rains, O Holy One, whenever thou art asked. We believe that thou art able to grant all things by Divine favour.
We believe that Christ gaveth thee the prize for thy labours, the just reward for thy blessed striving, even though thy limbs are resolved to death.
Let us open our mouths and sing loud glory to Christ, Giver and Sovereign, Who can do such things, One God in Three. Amen.
161. From the Feast of St Augustine of Canterbury
O truly blessed man, O truly glorious one, who in times of old subdued the stormy ocean in battle, when sent to preach the Gospel of Christ,
Whose realms feast Augustine the theologian, by whose teaching they praise Christ Who reigneth unto the ages. Let us together with them also sing Amen for evermore.
162. From the Feast of St Mary Magdalene
Let us sing praises with songs and heartfelt melodies to Christ Who made Mary the sinner His most holy bride.
Seven demons were driven out of her, she was filled with the sevenfold Spirit, the Father and the Son, the Trinity, One God.
Therefore moistening and bathing the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ with tears, she anointeth outwardly the One Who cleanseth her inwardly.
The Lord goeth up to the Cross. Mary followeth mourning. She seeth Him suffer, she seeth Him die, and watcheth as He is entombed in the grave.
She bringeth spices to the tomb and hastening to embalm Him, she was the first worthy to see Him Risen again from the dead.
Therefore, Mary, beloved of the Lord, the Son of God, obtain for us wretched ones that which thou hast obtained by thy tears.
Glory, Praise and Honour be to the Lord, the Father and His Only-Begotten Son with the Holy Spirit. Amen.