Service to our Holy Father Plegmund, Archbishop of Canterbury

Month of August

The 2nd Day
Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson

N.B.: If the superior or the rector so desire, the commemoration of our Holy father Plegmund may be transferred to another day; or alternatively, it may be combined with the service of the Protomartyr Stephen.

At Vespers

At Lord, I have cried, these stichera in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: Called from on high

Called from on high to the sublime angelic life, for the love of God and neighbour thou didst forsake family and friends, and didst betake thyself to the Isle of Chester, where, dwelling amid its reedy pools and streams, thou didst imitate the desert-dwellers of old, striving manfully against the demonic hordes, and subduing the uprisings of the flesh, until thy soul was purified by grace divine.

Called from the Kingdom of Mercia to beleaguered Wessex, thou didst place thy great learning and wisdom at the service of its kings and nobles, imparting goodly advice and counsel to them in time of need; thus, when the pious Archbishop Æthelred passed from this life, with one voice thou wast acclaimed the successor to his see. Wherefore, Canterbury was filled with jubilation, receiving another holy bishop into the choir of its saints.

Called from this vale of tears to the mountain of heavenly Sion, from whence cometh the help of our race, O divinely wise Plegmund, like a majestic eagle thou didst soar aloft, upborne on the Christian virtues as upon mighty pinions. And when thou didst attain unto the paradise on high, thou didst find rest in the arms Christ, as in the branches of the Tree of life, where thou hast found surcease of all thy sorrows and afflictions.

Glory: Idiomelon, in Tone II

Emulating Christ the Master, like as a hen gathereth her brood beneath her wings, so didst thou care for the harried Christians of England, when its realms were left desolate by the depredations of barbarians, who like foxes and jackals slaughtered them without pity. Wherefore, heartened by thy solicitude, all the people lifted up their voices, giving thanks unto God and praising thee, singing: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord!

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

Beholding Thee nailed to the Tree of the Cross, O Jesus, she who tasted not wedlock said, weeping: ‘O my sweet Child, wherefore hast Thou abandoned me who alone gave Thee birth? O unapproachable Light of the all-unoriginate Father, haste Thou and be glorified, that they who glorify Thy divine sufferings may receive divine glory!’

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

Come, ye Christians of the Isles, and with cries of exultation let us praise the wondrous Plegmund, the God-bearing bishop of the Church of Christ, the great primate of the England, the wonderworker of Mercia, the lamp which shone forth with brilliance from Plemstall, the luminary of Cheshire, who in his entreaties before the throne of the Holy Trinity doth ever mediate peace for his land, and prayeth without ceasing that the souls of those who with love honor his memory may be saved.

Now & ever: Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel. On the third Day

Pondering Thy seedless conception and ineffable nativity, I marvel exceedingly: How is it that it is Thy will to die as a malefactor, O my Son? the all-holy one cried out, weeping.

Troparion, in Tone V

The solitary life of stillness and contemplation didst thou leave behind in Cheshire when thou wast called by God and king to become the primate of the Church in Canterbury, O blessed one; yet thou hast left us thy most sacred well as a token of the Mystery of Holy Baptism and a surety of thine abiding care. O holy bishop Plegmund, never cease to pray that our souls be saved.

At Matins

At God is the Lord, the troparion of the holy bishop, twice; Glory, Now & ever: Theotokion, or stavrotheotokion.

Canon of the holy bishop, the acrostic whereof is ‘Cheshire rejoiceth in thee, O Plegmund’, in Tone VIII

Ode I

Irmos: Having traversed the water as though it were dry land, and escaped the evil of Egypt, the Israelite cried aloud: Let us sing unto our Deliverer and God!

Come, ye Christians, and joining chorus with the faithful of Cheshire, let us exalt the holy bishop Plegmund, who ever singeth unto our Deliverer and God!

Hermits and monks, recluses and anchorites rejoice exceedingly in the sacred memory of the blessed one, for his life of solitary toil and prayer inspireth all.

Eminent in the knowledge of the divine Scriptures and the writings of the fathers, Plegmund did not hide his light under the bushel of Plemstall forever.

Theotokion: So high is thy renown and dignity, O blessed and all-immaculate Mother of God, that it transcendeth the comprehension of the mind of men and angels.


Irmos: O Word of God, Who didst establish the heavens by Thine arm: with the enlightenment of the true understanding of Thee make steadfast the hearts of us who trust in Thee.

Having cultivated all the Christian virtues and adorned his life with piety, the venerable Plegmund produced the fruit of goodly works an hundredfold for his Lord.

In storing up wisdom in the granaries of thy soul, thou wast replete with divine knowledge; and the pious king, availing himself thereof, was greatly edified by thee.

Royal advisor wast thou to King Alfred, O saint, and thy mastery of the sacred writings brought great profit to him and his dominion; wherefore, they rejoiced in thee.

Theotokion: Everlasting is the fame of thy virginity, O Bride of God, and eternal is the glory of thine ineffable birthgiving; for He Who was born of thee is the preëternal Word.

Sessional hymn, in Tone I: Spec. Mel.: Thy Tomb, O Savior

Long vanished is thy tomb, which stood in many-spired Canterbury, where it ineffably filled the faithful with the sweet savor of miracles and healings, O holy bishop Plegmund; but now it is from thy well that we derive the grace which shineth forth through thee from on high.

Glory, Now & ever: Theotokion, in the same melody

O all-holy Virgin, thou hope of Christians: with the hosts on high unceasingly entreat God, to Whom thou gavest birth in manner past understanding and recounting, that He grant remission of all sins and amendment of life unto those who ever glorify thee with faith and love


The unblemished ewe-lamb, beholding the Lamb and Shepherd hanging dead upon the Tree, said, weeping and bitterly exclaiming: ‘How can I bear Thine ineffable condescension, O my Son, and Thy voluntary suffering, O all-good God?’

Ode IV

Irmos: Thou didst mount Thy steeds, Thine apostles, O Lord, and didst take their bridles in Thy hands; and Thy chariot hath become salvation for those who sing with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Reining in the passions of thy soul by fasting and ascetic feats, O Plegmund, by the virtues thou didst mount from glory to glory; wherefore thou dost cry out with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Ecstasy, divine awe and sublime delight filled thy soul, O venerable father, when, full of the grace of God, thou didst sing unto Him Who loveth mankind: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

In the marshes of the Isle of Chester didst thou abide in great stillness and solitude, O God-bearer, working out thy salvation with fear and trembling, and crying aloud: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Theotokion: O save thy desperate people, for the waters of our sins have gone over our heads, O blessed Maiden, Mother of God, that, rescued therefrom, we may cry out with thee: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Ode V

Irmos: Rising at dawn out of the night, unto Thee, the never-waning Light,we hymn Thee, O Good One Who lovest mankind, for we know none other God thanThee.

If thou hadst not given to Alfred the King goodly counsel enlightened by Christ the Light, how then would England have fared in those years of darkness, O saint?

Chosen by God from among all the pious, to guide the Christian people of England in perilous times, O holy one, thy divine election was confirmed by all the faithful

Elected by king and people to assume the see of the holy Augustine, O Plegmund, thou didst journey afar, unto Old Rome, to receive episcopal consecration.

Theotokion: The Theotokos and Mother of the never-waning Light do we extol with hymns, for she gave birth supernaturally unto the only Good One, Who loveth mankind.

Ode VI

Irmos: As Thou didst deliver the prophet from the uttermost abyss, O Christ God, in that Thou lovest mankind deliver me from my sins, and direct my life, I beseech Thee.

Having received consecration at the hands of Formosus of Rome, O hallowed one, thou didst return to thy beloved homeland, to serve Christ God with diligence.

In the sacred relics of the holy hieromartyr Blaise thou didst bring back to England a great spiritual treasure, a never-failing fount of healings for all, O Plegmund.

Navigating the depths of thy dark times, like an able helmsman thou didst bring the ship of the Church into calm harbor, delivering it from destruction, O holy one.

Theotokion: The weight of temptations beareth me down into the abyss of my many sins, O Theotokos; but steer me through its billows, and pilot me to the haven of thy Son.

Kontakion, in Tone VIII

Toiling tirelessly to purify thy soul by prayer and ascetic feats, O saint, thou didst preach Christ in Orthodox manner throughout the English realm; and, manifestly chosen by the Most High, thou wast called by the king and all the people to the primacy of the Church of thy land. Wherefore, as thou standest now amid the choirs of holy bishops, entreat Christ God, O Plegmund our father, that our souls be saved.

Ikos: Thy native Mercian lands boast exceedingly of thy birth, O venerable father, for amid their wild marshes and pools thou gavest thyself over to ascetic labors, perfecting thyself in the Christian virtues through fasting, vigil and prayer, and fending off the assaults of the demonic hordes by the grace of God which filled thy soul. And the lands of Wessex likewise exult greatly in thee, O holy one, for thither wast thou called to give heart to its downtrodden people and to aid the beleaguered king with wise counsel and godly knowledge. But more than these doth the land of Kent rejoice, for from Canterbury, its great city, thou didst govern the Church of Christ in the English dominions. Wherefore, as thou standest now amid the choirs of its holy bishops, entreat Christ God, O Plegmund our father, that our souls be saved.


Irmos: O Lord, make us imitators of Thy three children, opposing sin and trampling the fire of the passions underfoot, and singing: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Having mastered both secular letters and divine knowledge, thou didst avidly help the pious king to translate the dialogues of the blessed bishop Gregory of Rome.

Erring sheep, beset by the spiritual wolves, didst thou wisely tend, O wondrous pastor, helping the king to render into English the Pastoral Care of the great Gregory.

Ever laboring as a good steward of things spiritual, O holy bishop, thou didst invest thy talents well, richly endowing the Holy Church with lands for its material support.

Theotokion: Overcome by the fire of the passions, we cry to thee, O most holy Virgin, that, rescued by thy loving-kindness, we may utterly trample the spiritual flames underfoot.


Irmos: Thou Who coverest Thy chambers with waters and settest the sands as a bound for the sea: Thee doth the sun hymn; Thee doth the moon glorify; and unto Thee doth all creation offer a hymn forever, as to the Creator of all.

Pious Alfred the King committed his soul to the Creator of all, and thou, O holy bishop Plegmund, as primate of the English Church, didst in royal Winchester reverently commit his earthly remains to the grave.

Let the waters of the Thames leap up, and let Kingston exult in gladness; for there, as senior bishop of the English realm, the saintly Plegmund placed the crown of kingship upon the brow of the elder King Edward.

Ever is lowly Plemstall imbued with thy grace, O Plegmund, for there the waters yet stand in thy well, and the site of thy dwelling-place is cherished still; while in Canterbury thy tomb hath vanished utterly from men’s sight.

Theotokion: Glory and majesty adorn thy pure brow, O Mary Theotokos, as thou sittest at the right hand of thy Son, Lord and God, the Author of all creation, the Fashioner of the heavenly luminaries. Wherefore, we ever call thee blessed.

Ode IX

Irmos: Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace, who wast raised in the holy of holies and gavest birth to the Light of the universe! We magnify thy birthgiving with hymns!

Multitudes of healings and miracles poured forth from thy holy tomb, O gracious Plegmund, for since thou didst serve thy Lord with gladness, He hath magnified thee.

Unto Canterbury did the pious hasten, having recourse to thy sacred relics, O holy bishop and receiving the answers to their prayers, they magnified thee with hymns.

Now, for our sins, hath God permitted the ungodly to remove thy hallowed body, O thou who art rich in grace; yet with compunction we magnify thee with hymns.

Theotokion: Deign thou to lift us up out of the pit of perdition, O Mistress of angels and men, and raise us up into the light of paradise, that we may magnify thy birthgiving with hymns

Exapostilarion: Spec Mel.: ‘Hearken, ye women….’

How can anyone who loveth the saints have enough of their divine memorials? as Basil the Great once asked. Before us now is laid, like a sumptuous feast, the memory of the holy bishop Plegmund; wherefore, giving thanks unto God, let us share in his banquet.


O Virgin who gavest birth unto the hypostatic Wisdom, the transcendent Word, the Physician of bodies and souls: heal thou the grievous and heavy stripes and wounds of my soul, and ease thou the pain of my heart.

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

Pure water did the Most High provide to slake thy thirst, O Plegmund, when thou didst labor tirelessly for Him in the wilderness of Chester, withstanding the temptations and tribulations of the demons like the burning heat of day; wherefore, drawing forth the waters of thy sacred well, and laving our limbs and faces therewith, we imbibe the divine grace which, for thy sake, our merciful God imparteth thereto as a sign of the favor wherein He holdeth thee forever.

Now & ever: Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: O most praised martyrs

The ewe-lamb and immaculate Mistress, when she beheld her Lamb bereft of form and comeliness, said, lamenting: ‘Woe is me! Whither hath Thy beauty departed, O Thou Who art most sweet? Where is the radiant grace of Thine image, O my Son most beloved?’

At the Liturgy

Prokimenon of the holy bishop, 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 bishop, 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 bishop.

In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be, he shall not be afraid of evil tidings.