Month of May
THE 26th DAY
Commemoration of Our Father among the Saints Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury & Enlightener of the English
Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson
On “Lord, I have cried …”, these stichera of the holy hierarch, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: “When from the Tree …” –
Ye Christian people, clap your hands with gladness today, and with hymns and psalms celebrate the splendid memorial of Augustine the holy hierarch, the great apostle to the English, who by his peerless preaching and miracles brought myriads to believe in the one true God; and who having borne the easy yoke of Christ upon his shoulders, likewise raised up at Canterbury the Cross of the Lord, wherein all England doth boast with glory.
Sicily was hallowed by thy birth, O blessed one, and Rome was sanctified by thy monastic struggles; Gaul exulted exceedingly, receiving the impress of thy beautiful feet; but England hath been gladdened more than all in thy preaching: for, leaving everything for the sake of Christ, like a new apostle thou didst proclaim His name among the nations, and didst win for Him a new flock. Wherefore, O Augustine, the Holy Church ever honoureth thy sacred memory.
Sent forth by the most holy Gregory to toil in a new and tare-filled field, with those with thee thou grewest faint of heart because of the magnitude and perils of the task, O holy Augustine, and thou didst return to Rome in trepidation; but the blessed hierarch bade thee be of good cheer, and sent thee back to thy labours, mindful that no man who putteth his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven.
Glory … : Idiomelon, the same tone –
When mighty Augustus reigned supreme in Rome, the Word of God came and dwelt among men, desiring to redeem them from slavery to death and sin; and when in later times the most blessed Gregory presided over the Church of Rome, he was filled with pity and compassion on seeing Angles and Saxons as slaves, and greatly desired to redeem their immortal souls for Christ his Master: wherefore, he sent the humble Augustine as a shepherd for them, to free them from Satan’s bitter servitude and to make them children of the Most High, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe the saving precepts of Christ, that, deified by vision divine, they might dwell forever amid the bliss of paradise. Great is Thy mercy, O Thou Who lovest mankind! Glory be to Thee!
Now & ever … , from the Pentecostarion; or theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: “When from the Tree …” –
The light of the sun and moon dimmed, obscured by the noetic Light Who hung naked upon the Cross; for that which is lesser is ever vanquished by the greater, and the lower giveth place to the higher. “How then can it not be fitting for perceptible radiance to hide itself before the radiant Christ?” the all-pure one asked the worthy bodies of light, when she gazed upon Thee.
Aposticha from the Pentecostarion or the Octoechos; and Glory … , for the holy hierarch: Idiomelon, in Tone IV –
As thy boat was troubled by the waves of the sea when thou didst traverse the stormy Channel, O Augustine, so was thy soul buffeted by the billows of temptations; for Satan, the liar and father of lies, desiring to hold men in vile subjection, sought to turn thee from thy holy purpose. But, full of the power of the Almighty, O ever-memorable one, thou didst rebuke and expel him forthwith, unto the salvation of those deceived by his falsehoods.
Now & ever … , from the Pentecostarion; or theotokion, or stavrotheotoion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: “As one valiant among the martyrs …” –
When she beheld Thee nailed to the Cross, O Lord, the Ewe-lamb, Thy Mother, marvelled and cried out: “What is this that I see, O my Son most desired? Thus art Thou repaid by the disobedient and iniquitous assembly, which enjoyed Thy many miracles. But glory to Thine ineffable condescension, O Master!”
Troparion of the holy hierarch, in Tone IV –
Awed by the grandeur and majesty of the holy Augustine, with reverence let us honour him with hymns of praise; for, filled with the effulgence of grace divine, at the behest of the glorious Gregory h e brought the light of Christ to the English people. Wherefore, he dwelleth now in splendour with all the choirs of the saints and angels of God.
At “God is the Lord …”: If the feast fall within the period of Pentecost, the troparion of the Pentecostarion, twice; Glory … , that of the hierarch; Now & ever … , as prescribed by the Pentecostarion. But if the feast fall after the Pentecost period, the troparion of the hierarch, twice; Glory … , Now & ever … : Theotokion.
Canon from the Pentecostarion, or those from the Octoechos; and that of the saint, with 4 troparia, the acrostic whereof is “Praise ye the august Augustine in song”, in Tone II –
Irmos: At the parting of the waters Israel crossed over with dryshod feet; and they showed forth the Cross and burial by their entry, and the divine resurrection by their issuing forth, chanting in praise a hymn of victory unto the Deliverer.
Pardon mine iniquities, O merciful Deliverer, and disdain not the meagre praises I offer Thee for the sake of the holy Augustine, who fearlessly proclaimed thy suffering and resurrection to the heathen and now chanteth a hymn of victory.
Repentance and atonement didst thou master under the tutelage of the holy hierarch Gregory in his Monastery of the Holy Apostle Andrew, O blessed Augustine; wherefore, he sent thee to teach Christian doctrine and the virtues to the English
All Sicily boasteth in thy birth, O glorious Augustine, and the great city of Rome boasteth that thou didst sojourn therein. But more than these hath England been gladdened exceedingly by thy preaching and courageous witness for Christ.
Theotokion: In songs and hymns let us offer laudation to the all-pure Mother of God and Theotokos, O ye faithful, crying with the celestial herald: Rejoice, O thou who art full of the grace of God! The Lord is with thee, now and for all eternity!
Irmos: O Christ God, Who didst stretch out heaven like a tent and found the dry land upon the waters at Thy divine behest: in the Orthodox Faith establish me who cry aloud: There is holy save Thee!
Sent forth by the holy Dialogist, O Augustine, the members of thy company were affrighted on hearing of the perils which confronted them; yet, encouraged by the great Gregory, thou didst cry: There is none holy save Thee, O Lord!
Even though thou wast daunted by fearsome rumours, yet didst thou maintain thy firm commitment to thy holy task, O thou who art most rich, and with thy company of two score didst boldly traverse Gaul to reach the land of the Angles and Saxons.
“Ye people of Cé, why do ye call us gods?” cried Augustine; “We are men of like passions with you, even though ye have seen the resplendent effulgence of the true God illumine us. Believe on Him alone, and ye too will be enlightened!”
Theotokion: Eagerly do we hasten to thy miraculous icons and shrines, O all-pure Maiden, for there do we draw forth strength of spirit and healing of body and soul, as from ever-flowing springs and fountains; wherefore, we call thee blessed.
If the feast fall within the period of Pentecost, the kontakion & ikos of the holy hierarch are chanted here. But if the feast fall after the Pentecost period, the kontakion & ikos of the holy hierarch are instead chanted after Ode VI.
Kontakion of the holy hierarch, in Tone VI –
Like Paul, Christ’s chosen vessel, thou didst journey afar, preaching the glad tidings of thy heavenly Master, O Augustine. Wherefore, taking ship in Gaul, thou didst sail to England, O great hierarch, where, in obedience to the Lord, thou didst bring the heathen people to knowledge divine, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Trinity and making them children of the light and grace.
Ikos: The great city of Canterbury exulteth exceedingly, having as its guardian and protector the most eminent Augustine, who ever standeth in heaven before the throne of the Most High, offering up supplications without ceasing in behalf of the English nation, and begging pity and mercy of Him for all of us Orthodox Christians, who with faith venerate his monastic struggles and apostolic labours, and who, filled with gladness, entreat him earnestly as a father in the Faith, since through baptism we are become children of the light and grace.
Sessional hymn of the holy hierarch, in Tone VIII: Spec. Mel.: “Of the Wisdom …” –
All the cities of England adorn themselves today for the solemn memorial of the holy hierarch Augustine; for through him was the light of the peerless Christian Faith brought unto them, and by him were worthy and godly men made bishops to instruct them in the ways of piety. Wherefore, let all the lands of the English rejoice today and give thanks to God, that He hath bestowed upon them so great a guide to lead them to His city on high by the straight and narrow path of His righteousness.
Glory … , Now & ever … : Sessional hymn from the Pentecostarion; or this theotokion, in the same tone & melody –
Let us hymn the portal and ark of heaven, the all-holy mountain, the radiant cloud, the bush unburned, the noetic paradise, the restoration of Eve, the great treasure of the whole world, for within her was the salvation of the world and the remission of the ancient transgressions wrought. Wherefore, let us cry out to her: Entreat thy Son, that He grant remission of transgressions unto those who piously worship thy most holy Offspring.
The ewe-lamb, beholding the Lamb, Shepherd and Deliverer upon the Cross, exclaimed, weeping, and bitterly lamenting, cried out: “The world rejoiceth, receiving deliverance through Thee, but my womb doth burn, beholding Thy crucifixion, which Thou endurest in the loving-kindness of Thy mercy. O long-suffering Lord, Thou abyss and inexhaustible well-spring of mercy, have pity and grant remission of offences unto those who with faith hymn Thy divine sufferings!”
Irmos: In his foresight, the prophet, the initiate of Thy mysteries, was filled with awe at Thine advent, which he foretold, crying: The earth is full of Thy praise; for as God Thou hast not disdained our poverty, but hast come and saved us!
The turbulent Channel didst thou safely, traverse, the angels of God guiding thy boat from Gaul to the shore afar off, where thou didst come to land at Ebbsfleet in Kent, which received the imprint of thine apostolic foot, O godly father Augustine.
“Hither have we been sent, O king, by the successor of the Apostles,” said Augustine to King Ethelbert, “that thou and thy benighted people might see the true light of Christ, the great Messiah, Who hath come and saved us.”
Exclaiming psalms and sacred hymns, in procession the holy Augustine and his companions went forth to greet the king, bearing before them the Cross of the Saviour and His precious icon; and, ineffably moved, the ruler granted them shelter and sustenance.
Theotokion: All creation rejoiceth in thee, O most immaculate Lady; for the preëternal Logos, disdaining not our poverty, made His abode within thy material womb, taking human flesh of thy precious blood, that He might save us.
Irmos: Washed clean of the poison of the dark and vile enemy by the cleansing of the Spirit, we have set out upon a new path which leadeth to joy inaccessible, which only they attain whom God hath reconciled with Himself.
Utterly forsaking his false gods, King Ethelbert was moved to repentance, and on the great feast of Pentecost received holy baptism at thy hands, O Augustine, emerging, reconciled with God, from the layer of regeneration.
Gladly did the holy prelate Virgil of Arles consecrate thee a bishop at the behest of the great hierarch of Rome, O Augustine, and by his sacred prayers thou didst eagerly return to thine assigned field, where thou didst bring countless souls to Christ.
Untold myriads of Saxons didst thou instruct in the Faith and cleanse of their sins in the holy font of baptism, O most blessed one, on the great feast of the Nativity of the Lord; and they were like good seed cast upon fertile soil, producing a rich harvest.
Theotokion: Seeing thee, a virgin, bearing the Creator of all things within thee, O pure and all-immaculate one, Joseph was at a loss; but the angel of the Lord told him not to fear, but to cherish and guard thee, O all-holy one, and thy divine Offspring.
Irmos: Lead me up from the abyss, Jonah cried to Thee. He is an image of burial and resurrection, which Thou hast given us, O almighty Saviour.
The king gave thee the old Church of Saint Martin, O sacred one, wherein thou didst celebrate the divine Eucharist, that Christians might partake of the Body and Blood of the almighty Saviour.
All his might did the devil exert to prevent thee from turning the temple of false gods into a Christian church, O Augustine; but at thy prayers he was utterly expelled.
Unto the great martyr Pancratius didst thou dedicate this new church, O sacred hierarch; and nigh unto it thou didst found the great Monastery of the Preëminent Apostles.
Theotokion: Greatly – yea, beyond measure – dost thou surpass all the incorporeal beings in glory and majesty, O Virgin Theotokos; for thou ever standest at thy Son’s right hand.
If the feast fall within the Pentecost period, the kontakion & ikos from the Pentecostarion are chanted here; otherwise, the kontakion & ikos of the holy hierarch (see after Ode III) are chanted at this point.
Irmos: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers, Who of old extinguished the thunderous furnace and bedewed the children with by an outpouring of the Spirit.
Upon the monastic virtues and Orthodox doctrine didst thou found thy soul, as upon firm rock, O glorious Augustine; wherefore, in chastity and humility thou wast exalted.
Suffering from blindness and paralysis, a beggar besought healing of thee, O holy one, and thou didst straightway cure him by the grace of God which poured forth from thee.
The signs and wonders poured out through thee bore true witness to the Christian Faith; wherefore, multitudes became children of the Holy Trinity through thee, O saint.
Theotokion: In thee did the divine Word come to dwell, at the Father’s behest and through the outpouring of the Spirit, O Bride of God; wherefore, we hymn thee forever.
Irmos: The inseparable children of the Trinity, spurning the beauty of the image, and rejecting its soul-destroying deception, bedewed from heaven cried out to Christ the hymn: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Neither beatings nor mockery dissuaded thee from preaching in Dorset, O holy Augustine, and as thou didst pray, they who abused thee were smitten with sores and boils, until they cried: Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord!
Entering an unpeopled region, O beneficent Augustine, thou didst behold a glorious vision of the Lord at Cernel, such as Moses beheld in the wilderness of Sinai; and like him thou wast filled with surpassing radiance.
In thirst didst thou petition the Saviour, and He caused a fountain of pure water to spring forth for thee in that place, as of old He provided for the children of Israel during their flight from Pharaoh, O eminent one.
Theotokion: Nazareth exulteth as thine earthly residence, O Virgin; Jerusalem rejoiceth as the place of thy nativity and thy glorious repose; and the Garden of Gethsemane is filled with gladness by the presence of thy tomb.
Irmos: What is this great and all-glorious mystery within thee, O daughter of Adam and Mother of the Most High? With unceasing hymnody we, the faithful, magnify thee, the Theotokos, as the only bridge to God for the faithful, which we cross without stumbling.
Salvific were all thy works, O glorious one; for, rejecting all vainglory and pride, thou didst walk humbly in thy ways, bearing the glad tidings of the word of God to those sitting in darkness, that they might cross over to the true Light.
Over the length and breadth of the island realms of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes didst thou journey, O saint, bearing the light of grace to those who languished in the shadow of death; and they cast away their idols and embraced the Saviour.
Now let the Holy Church celebrate in England with hymns of praise the repose of the godly Augustine; for, a faithful husbandman of the divine vineyard, he laboured greatly for his heavenly Master, and hath received from Him a rich reward.
Theotokion: “Great things hath the Mighty One done to me; and holy is His name!” the all-immaculate Virgin cried out. Wherefore, according to her word, may His mercy be upon all of us who fear Him, from generation to generation.
Exapostilarion of the holy hierarch: Spec. Mel.: “Hearken, ye women …” –
Hearken, ye Christian peoples, and give glory unto the Almighty, Who with His omnipotent right hand hath crowned the wondrous athlete Augustine with a never-fading wreath; for he ran the good race and fought the good fight until the end: wherefore, he abideth in heaven amid splendour divine.
Glory … , Now & ever … , from the Pentecostarion; or this Theotokion –
With sublime effulgence the light of grace shone forth through thy birthgiving, hath illumined the whole world with its rays and utterly destroyed the cruel princes of darkness, O all-pure Theotokos, thou boast of the angelic hosts and salvation of all men, who magnify thee continually, as thou didst foretell.
Aposticha from the Pentecostarion or Octoechos; and Glory … , of the holy hierarch, Idiomelon, in Tone VIII –
Come let us honour the ever-memorable hierarch of Christ, the great high priest of the Christian Church, the peer of the holy disciples of the Lord, the great Augustine, enlightener of the English peoples. For, full of apostolic zeal, he went forth boldly to bring the glad tidings of salvation to brethren whom he knew not; and like a good shepherd he left behind the ninety and nine to seek the lambs lost in the mountains of pagan falsehood. These he found by mighty labours and toils; and as a true pastor, and not a hireling, he brought them back to the fold of Christ the Chief Shepherd, entering with gladness into the joy of his Lord.
Now & ever … , from the Pentecostarion; or theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: “O all-glorious wonder …” –
“What is this sight which I see, which mine eyes behold, O Master? Thou Who upholdest all creation hast been lifted up upon a Tree, and Thou diest, imparting life unto all!” weeping, the Theotokos said when she beheld the God and man, Who had shone forth from her ineffably, suspended upon the Cross.
Prokimenon of the holy hierarch, in Tone I –
My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
Stichos: Hear this, all ye nations; give ear, all ye that inhabit the world.
Epistle to the Hebrews, § 318
[Heb. 7: 26-8: 2]
Brethren: Such a High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. For the law maketh men high priests who have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, Who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a High Priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Alleluia of the holy hierarch, in Tone II –
Stichos: The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment.
Stichos: The law of God is in his heart, and his steps shall not be tripped.
Gospel according to John, § 36
[Jn. 10: 9-16]
The Lord said to the Jews who came to Him: “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
Communion verse of the holy hierarch –
In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be, he shall not be afraid of evil tidings.