The Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain

7 October 12

Today at Liturgy the Liturgy this was the Gospel reading we heard was this:

11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

Father Theo spoke a beautiful sermon on this Gospel today and as much as I wish I had recorded it but sadly, I did not. I shall, however, attempt to paraphrase to the best of my ability the essence of his words whilst adding a few observations of my own.

The first thing I notice is that the Lord came to this city and his first impression is that of sadness and sorrow due to a funeral. People pass away and funerals happen, but in this case we are taken from a scene of sadness to a scene of joy. The Lord comes upon the funeral procession and at first it seems as if the Apostles inquired, and were informed of the goings on. A funeral, but not any funeral, a procession of a dead son, the only son of a widow.

I can not imagine the grief of a mother at the loss of her only son. This was one of the impressions that Father Theo made today. Imagine being a mother of only one son. You are a wife to a husband and he has died, and now you lose a son. The grief which that mother must have felt having to bury a son and to be therefore, all alone.

I find the following parallel interesting. At the time of the death of Christ upon the Cross He had already seen the passing of his earthly father, Joseph at some time prior to the start of his public ministry. For the rest of His earthly life Christ’s mother follows Him in His ministry, even to His Crucifixion on the Cross. She is there from the beginning all the way to the end. I wonder if, at the death of the Saviour, if He remembered this widow of Nain, and this is what prompted Him to give to His mother His beloved Apostle John. “Woman, behold your son, son behold your mother.”

Christ takes this opportunity, this hour of grief of this mother and it becomes for her and for all present a sign and a time of joy and revelation. Christ calls the son back to life and he sits up and Christ returns to the mother the son that she had lost. THIS is love. This is compassion. This is the Christ, the God we worship. Not out of fear or expectation of some expected reward. God is not a God of vengeance and pain, but a God of ultimate, sacrificial, never-ending love. The “fear tactics” others use to “bring people in” to their version of Christianity are a far cry from the LOVE that we see in the Gospels. Christ takes us from the pain of death and the separation that would befall us at death, and He raises us up and returns us to our proper place with our Father.

This is why I love Orthodoxy. If you are looking for another application of the above concept I recommend the video below, which was made by a good friend and fellow parishioner at the Mission Church I attend. Leave a comment and let me know what you think if you feel so inclined.

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Will the Heterodox Be Saved?

30 September 12

With reference to the above question, it is particularly instructive to recall the answer once given to an inquirer by the Blessed Theophan the Recluse. The blessed one replied more or less thus: “You ask, will the heterodox be saved… Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins… I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever.”

We believe the foregoing answer by the saintly ascetic to be the best that can be given in this matter.

Endnotes

* The Greek word for “heresy” is derived from the word for “choice” and hence inherently implies conscious, willful rejection or opposition to the Divine Truth manifest in the Orthodox Church.

From Orthodox Life, Vol. 34, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec., 1984), pp. 33-36.


The Port Arthur Icon of the Mother of God

18 September 12

Commemorated 18 September

Image of the Triumph of Our Lady of Port Arthur

It is not given to us to perceive what is awaiting the Church ahead. Woes and persecutions often accompany the life of a Christian. But the miraculous reappearance of the icon of the most Holy Theotokos proves her gracious Intercession for all Orthodox Christians. This will give us courage and selflessness in bearing our own cross.

-Archbishop Veniamin of Vladivostok and Primorye

In December 1903 an aged sailor who was one of the last defenders of Sevastopol during the Crimean War came to the city of Kiev to pray before the holy relics of the Lavra of the Caves.

One night some strange noise woke the old man up and he saw the Theotokos with angels around her, among them the Archangel Michael and the Archangel Gabriel. The Theotokos was standing upon two discarded and broken swords on the shore of a bay, with her back turned to the water. She was holding a white aer with blue fringe, upon which was an Image of the Savior, “Not-Made-By-Hands.” Angels in the clouds of blinding light were holding a crown above her head and the Lord of Sabaoth was sitting still higher on the throne of glory, encircled with the blinding radiance.

The old man was moved and experienced the uttermost awe, but the Theotokos comforted him and said, “Russia will soon be involved in a very difficult war on the shores of a far sea; many a woe is awaiting her. Paint an icon showing my appearance as it is now and send the icon to Port Arthur. If the icon is in that city, Orthodoxy will triumph over paganism and Russian warriors will attain my help, my patronage, and their victory.” The blinding light filled his room and the vision disappeared.

Port Arthur was a city named for a captain of the English vessel Algerino, founded in Manchuria in 1858 on the site of a former Chinese settlement, Lao Shun. Forty years later China leased this city (along with its nearby territories) to Russia because of the Japanese threat. Thus Russia became the intercessor and defender of the Far East territories. In 1902 the St. Nicholas Orthodox garrison church was built there.

This appearance was the first revelation of this kind in 20th century Russia. The 20th century has been called the time of the Russian Golgotha but also the Age of the Glory and Triumph of the Most Holy Theotokos, for in it the Theotokos manifested many miracles, signs, and revelations. The Most Pure One is ever present where her Son is being crucified. Therefore she did not forsake Russia’s Cross in that mournful time.

In Kiev they took heed of the old sailor’s story, and but two months after the appearance of the Theotokos it was spoken about all over Russia. In the beginning of 1904 the Russo-Japanese war broke out with the attack of Japanese torpedo boats on the Russian ships of the port of Incheon, Korea.

Russians remembered the behest of the Theotokos and began to raise money. Ten-thousand people donated, giving kopeck by kopeck, and the icon was executed exactingly according to the description of the old sailor. It was blessed during Holy Week and sent to St. Petersburg, being entrusted to the care of Admiral Verkhovsky. The people of Kiev expressed their hope that the admiral would make every possible effort, losing no opportunity to deliver the icon safely and as quickly as possible to the fortress of Port Arthur.

The icon was in the admiral’s house by Pascha, but he did not hasten to send it to the Far East. For several days his home was like an artist’s salon. Generals, senators, and representatives of the local authorities dropped by to have a look at the icon. Metropolitan Antony of St. Petersburg also paid a visit and reminded the admiral that the icon was rightly to have been delivered to Port Arthur and that he should have made haste to fulfill the will of Our Lady.

On March 31st the commander of the Russian Navy, Stepan Makarov, perished not far from Port Arthur. During those days the Emperor Nicholas II wrote in his journal, “All the day long I could not come to myself because of this heartbreaking woe. Let God’s will abide in everything, but we shall ask for His mercy towards us who are sinful.”

Historical Background

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was fought on account of competing claims to dominion in north-eastern China and Korea. In February of 1904 Japan initiated war by attacking Port Arthur, the defense of which lasted into the beginning of 1905. The Japanese defeated the Russian Army in the general battle at Moukden, and the Russian Navy at the Korean Gulf (Susima Island).

When the War ended, Japan’s military resources were running short but Russia was only beginning her military actions. Nevertheless, the Portsmouth Peace Treaty left Port Arthur and half of Sakhalin island to Japan, brought Korea under Japanese influence, and completely liquidated the Russian Pacific Navy.

An American historian Dennett wrote in 1925:

Now very few suppose that Japan was deprived of the fruits of its forthcoming victories by concluding the Portsmouth peace treaty. The contrary opinion predominates: Japan had already been exhausted by the end of May and only that very treaty saved it from complete defeat in its collision with Russia.

Admiral Verkhovsky apparently did not see the tragedy of Makarov’s death as sufficent cause to deliver the icon the Triumph of the Theotokos. Thus it continued to be a decorative element of his apartment.

Admiral Nikolai Skryidlov was appointed to the position of the perished Makarov. When he was preparing to set out for the battlefield of Port Arthur, the Dowager Empress Maria (mother of Nicholas II) decided to take responsibility for the icon. After a short moleben the icon was delivered to the carriage-wagon of Admiral Skryidlov. He promised personally to bring the icon right to the cathedral of Port Arthur.

But the admiral’s train did not go immediately to the Far East, as he himself was busy straightening out home and family affairs. In the end of April of 1904 Port Arthur was besieged and as a result Skryidlov came to Vladivostok instead of Port Arthur.

One of his contemporaries commented in a written account of what came to pass, “The miraculous icon the Triumph of the Theotokos was temporarily placed in the Cathedral of Vladivostok on August 2, 1904.” This indicates that it was not placed in the Church for public veneration until ninety days after Admiral Skryidlov’s arrival. He, busied with concerns, simply forgot the icon. It was after a decree of Empress Maria that the icon was finally taken from the admiral’s house to the Dormition Cathedral.

An eyewitness wrote:

Kneeling people in tears and with deep faith were praying before the icon. Those from the navy and the infantry, from soldiers to the admiral and general fell down before the icon and were asking in their zealous prayers for the consolation, encouragement, and intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Bishop Evsevy of Vladivostok spoke these words August 6th before serving the first moleben before this miraculously revealed icon:

Though the icon has not reached Port Arthur, let not the heart of the old sailor who was made worthy of this vision nor the hearts of those who raised money for the icon be troubled. The Lord is All-merciful and Almighty, and though the icon of His Most Pure Mother is in Vladivostok she is able to help the warriors of Port Arthur, and all Russian warriors. Let us, citizens of Vladivostok, leap for joy to have such a holy thing.

But almost everyone felt that something wrong had been done. The publishing house of the Orthodox News and the military authorities received scores of letters daily. This one summarizes the people’s opinions:

As the icon has not come to the point of its final destination, it cannot give the grace-filled help and protection of the Theotokos. Now it is high time we asked for heavenly intercession, and if this help was promised upon the fulfillment of certain conditions, we ought not to have left things halfway done. Let every way of delivering the icon be attempted, however hazardous; this being the will of the Theotokos, Her icon is sure to get to Port Arthur. Even if it does not happen we will submit our will to the Theotokos, and there will be no reproach in our souls for our inattention to what the Heavenly Queen has told us through the old sailor.

A group of young Orthodox officers tried several times but failed to deliver copies of the icon to Port Arthur. In the Dormition Cathedral molebens before the icon did not cease, an eyewitness wrote that there were as many crying and praying people as ever and one could hear the oft repeated question: why did they not send the icon to Port Arthur after all? Why was there no person who out of sheer love for the Motherland could take on a perilous but noble quest of delivering the icon of the Theotokos?

It was then that the person appeared who could attempt such a noble deed: a retired officer, Nikolai Fyodorov. He was in his fifties and suffered from rheumatism and stomach disease, and surely never thought of any daring feats living as he did far from the Far East in Gatchina (near St. Petersburg). But then he came across the newspaper article expressing the view that nobody could fulfill the mission of taking the icon to its destination.

So Nikolai Fyodorov told his wife about his taking a risky journey to the Far East and immediately made for the city of Kronstadt to ask the blessing of the great pastor of the Russian land, St. John of Kronstadt. Later he recounted that during his travel many little miracles occurred and all the difficult problems were somehow easily solved. He said that it was not surprising, as he had St. John’s blessing.

On October 7th Nikolai arrived in Vladivostok. On the same day Admiral Skryidlov received from Copenhagen a telegram from the Dowager Empress, which said that he should let Mr. Fyodorov take further care of the icon.

Delivering the icon by land was out of question so Nikolai decided to take it first to the city of Shanghai, China. The Norwegian steamer Eric was to take the icon on November 22nd. The Diocese News wrote that during the entire time before the appointed date Fyodorov fasted, made confession, and took Holy Communion.

The steamer left and the believers waited hopefully for some news, but it did not come; Port Arthur fell on December 20th.

At last on January 11th a letter came to Vladivostok in which Fyodorov said that there had been no sail wind for some time and he had had to stop at Chifu. At that time four torpedo boats returned from Port Arthur with the most grievous news. Port Arthur had given up. But the ways of God are unknown, and so it was not God’s will for Fyodorov to reach the city.

The head of Russian Orthodox mission in Korea Archimandrite Pavel said:

Glory to God that there was a man in Russia who manifested the Christian courage and faith that we lack. Alas! The history of the icon of the Triumph of the Theotokos was a test for our faith, and the fact of its having been painted in Kiev is as unusual as the lesson which Port Arthur taught us.

Having entered the 21st century we should not forget the will of the Most Pure One revealed to us one-hundred years ago. It was not fulfilled because some military officials lacked belief in her intercession. All of this left a sorrowful memory and a wound in the Russian heart. St. John of Kronstadt used to say that Russia failed because of negligence towards the holy icon.

Let us think: is it not because Russian people have left their religious unity and forsaken the ancient holy things and testaments of their forefathers that woes and disasters now torment Russia? The Lord bestowed upon our nation the role of a keeper and protector of holy things. These holy things are the religious and moral foundations for establishing one’s personal, family, and social life so as to draw away the evil and give an ample space for the good.

-Metropolitan John of St. Petersburg

Nikolai Fyodorov had to give the icon to his military commanders. Afterwards it returned to Vladivostok in May 1905, having been in the itinerant church of the commander-in-chief.

Following the revolution of 1917 the Dormition Cathedral was closed and then demolished. The icon of Port Arthur was lost in the whirl of tragic events that fell on Russia in the 20th century. There was much conjecture as to where the icon might be. Then the Lord was pleased to reveal yet another of His miracles.

Though many attempted to erase the memories of the past, a command of the Theotokos cannot be rescinded. On February 18th, 1998 pilgrims from Vladivostok came across the icon of Port Arthur in an antique shop in Jerusalem!

On May 6th, 1998 the Port Arthur icon of the “Triumph of the Theotokos” returned to Vladivostok. The joyful believers welcomed it with a Cross Procession and triumphant bell ringing. Now the original icon is in the chapel of the Vladivostok diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

On Pascha of 2003 the doors of a new church in honor of this icon opened in Vladivostok. The church began holding services during the year of the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the Theotokos. There then emerged a public movement called “Blessing the Far East.” Soon an exact copy of the icon was produced, and this copy was carried in a seaside Cross Procession along the coast of the Primorye Region.

In 2004 a second Cross Procession took place. A ship, the Pallada, delivered the icon to the city of Port Arthur (now Lushun, China). The Blessing the Far East organization, the church dedicated to the Port Arthur Icon, and the Far Eastern State Technical Fisheries University carried out this memorable event. The project was headed by Fr. Roman, the dean of the church dedicated to the Port Arthur Icon, as well as Dmitry Astapenko, the director of Russian club in Dalian, China. They, with the captain and crew of the Pallada, celebrated a triumphant service in the Russian cemetery of Port Arthur with prayers of penitence for those who had doubted the will of the Theotokos. Thus the Russian warriors who perished there received the icon after one-hundred years of waiting.

Another copy of this icon from St. Petersburg had visited the cemetery one year earlier on May 9, 2003. This copy was made the same year and traveled all over Russia, the Far East, Serbia, the Caucasus, and the Ukraine.

In January 2004 two guests from America, Dan Kendall and Gale Armstrong, of St. John Orthodox Community in Alaska, visited the Church of the Port Arthur Icon in Vladivostok. They became acquainted with the history of the icon. A copy, with inscriptions in English, was given to them after the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Nativity. Thus began the triumphant glorification of the icon all over North America.

In September 2006, the St. Innocent Orthodox Missionary Society of Toronto delivered a miracle-working copy of the icon to Canada that had been executed in the Archangel Michael Russian Icon Art Salon exclusively for the Orthodox Christians of North America. The director of the Blessing the Far East organization, Yuri Korsakov, and the chairman of Russian St. Innocent Society, Arkady Mukhin, supported this missionary project. The Bishop of Anchorage, Sitka, and Alaska was the first to welcome the icon on its way to Canada in his blessed land spiritually related to Russia. Then the akathist for the icon was translated into English in St. John’s Cathedral (Eagle River, Alaska). The Port Arthur Icon of the Triumph of the Theotokos began its triumphant tour across North America. Today this miracle-working copy has found its permanent home in Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, New York.

I am absolutely certain that during my journey I both physically and spiritually felt the Grace of God proceeding from the icon.

-Nikolai Fyodorov


A Hymn to the Great Martyr Euphemia

15 September 12

This hymn is sung by the Nuns of Saint Paisius in Safford, Arizona. This is from their CD “A Treasury of Spiritual Songs” which I HIGHLY recommend.


[Purchase CD]


Things to Remember #3

9 September 12

When you hear that Christ descended into hell in order to deliver the souls dwelling there, do not think that what happens now is very different.

The heart is a tomb and there our thoughts and our intellect are buried, imprisoned in heavy darkness. And so Christ comes to the souls in hell that call upon Him, descending, that is to say, into the depths of the heart; and there He commands death to release the imprisoned souls that call upon Him, for He has power to deliver us.

Then, lifting up the heavy stone that oppresses the soul, and opening the tomb, He resurrects us – for we were truly dead – and releases our imprisoned soul from its lightless prison.

St Symeon Metaphrastis (h/t: Holy Cross Monastery)


The Protoevangelium of James

8 September 12

The Protoevangelium of James
The Birth of Mary the Holy Mother of God,
and Very Glorious Mother of Jesus Christ

IN THE RECORDS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL was Joachim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: There shall be of my superabundance to all the people, and there shall be the offering for my forgiveness to the Lord for a propitiation for me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Israel were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Rubim, saying: It is not meet for thee first to bring thine offerings, because thou hast not made seed in Israel. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying: I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Israel, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Israel. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Israel. And he called to mind the patriach Abraham, that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac. And Joachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the desert, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.

2. And his wife Anna mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Judith her maid-servant said: How long dost thou humiliate thy soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for thee to mourn. But take this head-band, which the woman that made it gave to me; for it is not proper that I should wear it, because I am a maid-servant, and it has a royal appearance. And Anna said: Depart from me; for I have not done such things, and the Lord has brought me very low. I fear that some wicked person has given it to thee, and thou hast come to make me a sharer in thy sin. And Judith said: Why should I curse thee, seeing that the Lord hath shut thy womb, so as not to give thee fruit in Israel? And Anna was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth hour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying: O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as Thou didst bless the womb of Sarah, and didst give her a son Isaac.

3. And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow’s nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! who begot me? and what womb produced me? because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Israel, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord.

4. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shall bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran anti hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house.

5. And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest’s forehead will make it manifest to me. And Joachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest’s plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Joachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? and she said: A girl. And said Anna: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Anna was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Mary.

6. And the child grew strong day by day; and when she was six months old, her mother set her on the ground to try whether she could stand, and she walked seven steps and came into her bosom; and she snatched her up, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, thou shall not walk on this earth until I bring thee into the temple of the Lord. And she made a sanctuary in her bed-chamber, and allowed nothing common or unclean to pass through her. And she called the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews, and they led her astray. And when she was a year old, Joachim made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and all the people of Israel. And Joachim brought the child to the priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations. And all the people said: So be it, so be it, amen. And he brought her to the chief priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be for ever. And her mother snatched her up, and took her into the sanctuary of her bed-chamber, and gave her the breast. And Anna made a song to the Lord God, saying: I will sing a song to the Lord my God, for He hath looked upon me, and hath taken away the reproach of mine enemies; and the Lord hath given the the fruit of His righteousness, singular in its kind, and richly endowed before Him. Who will tell the sons of Rubim that Anna gives suck? Hear, hear, ye twelve tribes of Israel, that Anna gives suck. And she laid her to rest in the bed-chamber of her sanctuary, and went out and ministered unto them. And when the supper was ended, they went down rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Israel.

7. And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Joachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord send to us, and our offering be not received. And Anna said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Joachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Joachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Israel. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Israel loved her.

8. And her parents went down marvelling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of the priests, saying: Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, test perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.

9. And Joseph, throwing away his axe, went out to meet them; and when they had assembled, they went away to the high priest, taking with them their rods. And he, taking the rods of all of them, entered into the temple, and prayed; and having ended his prayer, he took the rods and came out, and gave them to them: but there was no sign in them, and Joseph took his rod last; and, behold, a dove came out of the rod, and flew upon Joseph’s head. And the priest said to Joseph, Thou hast been chosen by lot to take into thy keeping the virgin of the Lord. But Joseph refused, saying: I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl. I am afraid lest I become a laughing-stock to the sons of Israel. And the priest said to Joseph: Fear the Lord thy God, and remember what the Lord did to Dathan, and Abiram, and Korah; how the earth opened, and they were swallowed up on account of their contradiction. And now fear, O Joseph, lest the same things happen in thy house. And Joseph was afraid, and took her into his keeping. And Joseph said to Mary: Behold, I have received thee from the temple of the Lord; and now I leave thee in my house, and go away to build my buildings, and I shall come to thee. The Lord will protect thee.

10. And there was a council of the priests, saying: Let us make a veil for the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Call to me the undefiled virgins of the family of David. And the officers went away, and sought, and found seven virgins. And the priest remembered the child Mary, that she was of the family of David, and undefiled before God. And the officers went away and brought her. And they brought them into the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Choose for me by lot who shall spin the gold, and the white, and the fine linen, and the silk, and the blue, and the scarlet, and the true purple. And the true purple and the scarlet fell to the lot of Mary, and she took them, and went away to her house. And at that time Zacharias was dumb, and Samuel was in his place until the time that Zacharias spake. And Mary took the scarlet, and span it.

11. And she took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water. And, behold, a voice saying: Hail, thou who hast received grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women! And she looked round, on the right hand and on the left, to see whence this voice came. And she went away, trembling, to her house, and put down the pitcher; and taking the purple, she sat down on her seat, and drew it out. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her, saying: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all, and thou shalt conceive, according to His word. And she hearing, reasoned with herself, saying: Shall I conceive by the Lord, the living God? and shall I bring forth as every woman brings forth? And the angel of the Lord said: Not so, Mary; for the power of the Lord shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Most High. And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. And Mary said: Behold, the servant of the Lord before His face: let it be unto me according to thy word.

12. And she made the purple and the scarlet, and took them to the priest. And the priest blessed her, and said: Mary, the Lord God hath magnified thy name, and thou shall be blessed in all the generations of the earth. And Mary, with great joy, went away to Elizabeth her kinswoman, and knocked at the door. And when Elizabeth heard her, she threw away the scarlet, and ran to the door, and opened it; and seeing Mary, she blessed her, and said: Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? for, behold, that which is in me leaped and blessed thee. But Mary had forgotten the mysteries of which the archangel Gabriel had spoken, and gazed up into heaven, and said: Who am I, O Lord, that all the generations of the earth should bless me? And she remained three months with Elizabeth; and day by day she grew bigger. And Mary being afraid, went away to her own house, and hid herself from the sons of Israel. And she was sixteen years old when these mysteries happened.

13. And she was in her sixth month; and, behold, Joseph came back from his building, and, entering into his house, he discovered that she was big with child. And he smote his face, and threw himself on the ground upon the sackcloth, and wept bitterly, saying: With what face shall I look upon the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make about this maiden? because I received her a virgin out of the temple of the Lord, and I have not watched over her. Who is it that has hunted me down? Who has done this evil thing in my house, and defiled the virgin? Has not the history of Adam been repeated in me? For just as Adam was in the hour of his singing praise, and the serpent came, and found Eve alone, and completely deceived her, so it has happened to me also. And Joseph stood up from the sackcloth, and called Mary, and said to her: O thou who hast been cared for by God, why hast thou done this and forgotten the Lord thy God? Why hast thou brought low thy soul, thou that wast brought up in the holy of holies, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel? And she wept bitterly, saying: I am innocent, and have known no man. And Joseph said to her: Whence then is that which is in thy womb? And she said: As the Lord my God liveth, I do not know whence it is to me.

14. And Joseph was greatly afraid, and retired from her, and considered what he should do in regard to her. And Joseph said: If I conceal her sin, I find myself fighting against the law of the Lord; and if I expose her to the sons of Israel, I am afraid lest that which is in her be from an angel, and I shall be found giving up innocent blood to the doom of death. What then shall I do with her? I will put her away from me secretly. And night came upon him; and, behold, an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream, saying: Be not afraid for this maiden, for that which is in her is of the Holy Spirit; and she will bring forth a Son, and thou shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. And Joseph arose from sleep, and glorified the God of Israel, who had given him this grace; and he kept her.

15. And Annas the scribe came to him, and said: Why hast thou not appeared in our assembly? And Joseph said to him: Because I was weary from my journey, and rested the first day. And he turned, and saw that Mary was with child. And he ran away to the priest? and said to him: Joseph, whom thou didst vouch for, has committed a grievous crime. And the priest said: How so? And he said: He has defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord, and has married her by stealth, and has not revealed it to the sons of Israel. And the priest answering, said: Has Joseph done this? Then said Annas the scribe: Send officers, and thou wilt find the virgin with child. And the officers went away, and found it as he had said; and they brought her along with Joseph to the tribunal. And the priest said: Mary, why hast thou done this? and why hast thou brought thy soul low, and forgotten the Lord thy God? Thou that wast reared in the holy of holies, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel, and didst hear the hymns, and didst dance before Him, why hast thou done this? And she wept bitterly, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, I am pure before Him, and know not a man. And the priest said to Joseph: Why hast thou done this? And Joseph said: As the Lord liveth, I am pure concerning her. Then said the priest: Bear not false witness, but speak the truth. Thou hast married her by stealth, and hast not revealed it to the sons of Israel, and hast not bowed thy head under the strong hand, that thy seed might be blessed. And Joseph was silent.

16. And the priest said: Give up the virgin whom thou didst receive out of the temple of the Lord. And Joseph burst into tears. And the priest said: I will give you to drink of the water of the ordeal of the Lord, and He shall make manifest your sins in your eyes. And the priest took the water, and gave Joseph to drink and sent him away to the hill-country; and he returned unhurt. And he gave to Mary also to drink, and sent her away to the hill-country; and she returned unhurt. And all the people wondered that sin did not appear in them. And the priest said: If the Lord God has not made manifest your sins, neither do I judge you. And he sent them away. And Joseph took Mary, and went away to his own house, rejoicing and glorifying the God of Israel.

17. And there was an order from the Emperor Augustus, that all in Bethlehem of Judaea should be enrolled. And Joseph said: I shall enrol my sons, but what shall I do with this maiden? How shall I enrol her? As my wife? I am ashamed. As my daughter then? But all the sons of Israel know that she is not my daughter. The day of the Lord shall itself bring it to pass as the Lord will. And he saddled the ass, and set her upon it; and his son led it, and Joseph followed. And when they had come within three miles, Joseph turned and saw her sorrowful; and he said to himself: Likely that which is in her distresses her. And again Joseph turned and saw her laughing. And he said to her: Mary, how is it that I see in thy face at one time laughter, at another sorrow? And Mary said to Joseph: Because I see two peoples with my eyes; the one weeping and lamenting, and the other rejoicing and exulting. And they came into the middle of the road, and Mary said to him: Take me down from off the ass, for that which is in me presses to come forth. And he took her down from off the ass, and said to her: Whither shall I lead thee, and cover thy disgrace? for the place is desert.

18. And he found a cave there, and led her into it; and leaving his two sons beside her, he went out to seek a widwife in the district of Bethlehem. And I Joseph was walking, and was not walking; and I looked up into the sky, and saw the sky astonished; and I looked up to the pole of the heavens, and saw it standing, and the birds of the air keeping still. And I looked down upon the earth, and saw a trough lying, and work-people reclining: and their hands were in the trough. And those that were eating did not eat, and those that were rising did not carry it up, and those that were conveying anything to their mouths did not convey it; but the faces of all were looking upwards. And I saw the sheep walking, and the sheep stood still; and the shepherd raised his hand to strike them, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the current of the river, and I saw the mouths of the kids resting on the water and not drinking, and all things in a moment were driven from their course.

19. And I saw a woman coming down from the hill-country, and she said to me: O man, whither art thou going? And I said: I am seeking an Hebrew midwife. And she answered and said unto me: Art thou of Israel? And I said to her: Yes. And she said: And who is it that is bringing forth in the cave? And I said: A woman betrothed to me. And she said to me: Is she not thy wife? And I said to her: It is Mary that was reared in the temple of the Lord, and I obtained her by lot as my wife. And yet she is not my wife, but has conceived of the Holy Spirit. And the widwife said to him: Is this true? And Joseph said to her: Come and see. And the midwife went away with him. And they stood in the place of the cave, and behold a luminous cloud overshadowed the cave. And the midwife said: My soul has been magnified this day, because mine eyes have seen strange things — because salvation has been brought forth to Israel. And immediately the cloud disappeared out of the cave, and a great light shone in the cave, so that the eyes could not bear it. And in a little that light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and went and took the breast from His mother Mary. And the midwife cried out, and said: This is a great day to me, because I have seen this strange sight. And the midwife went forth out of the cave, and Salome met her. And she said to her: Salome, Salome, I have a strange sight to relate to thee: a virgin has brought forth — a thing which her nature admits not of. Then said Salome: As the Lord my God liveth, unless I thrust in my finger, and search the parts, I will not believe that a virgin has brought forth.

20. And the midwife went in, and said to Mary: Show thyself; for no small controversy has arisen about thee. And Salome put in her finger, and cried out, and said: Woe is me for mine iniquity and mine unbelief, because I have tempted the living God; and, behold, my hand is dropping off as if burned with fire. And she bent her knees before the Lord, saying: O God of my fathers, remember that I am the seed of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; do not make a show of me to the sons of Israel, but restore me to the poor; for Thou knowest, O Lord, that in Thy name I have performed my services, and that I have received my reward at Thy hand. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by her, saying to her: Salome, Salome, the Lord hath heard thee. Put thy hand to the infant, and carry it, and thou wilt have safety and joy. And Salome went and carried it, saying: I will worship Him, because a great King has been born to Israel. And, behold, Salome was immediately cured, and she went forth out of the cave justified. And behold a voice saying: Salome, Salome, tell not the strange things thou hast seen, until the child has come into Jerusalem.

21. And, behold, Joseph was ready to go into Judaea. And there was a great commotion in Bethlehem of Judaea, for Magi came, saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him. And when Herod heard, he was much disturbed, and sent officers to the Magi. And he sent for the priests, and examined them, saying: How is it written about the Christ? where is He to be born? And they said: In Bethlehem of Judaea, for so it is written. And he sent them away. And he examined the Magi, saying to them: What sign have you seen in reference to the king that has been born? And the Magi said: We have seen a star of great size shining among these stars, and obscuring their light, so that the stars did not appear; and we thus knew that a king has been born to Israel, and we have come to worship him. And Herod said: Go and seek him; and if you find him, let me know, in order that I also may go and worship him. And the Magi went out. And, behold, the star which they had seen in the east went before them until they came to the cave, and it stood over the top of the cave. And the Magi saw the infant with His mother Mary; and they brought forth from their bag gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by the angel not to go into Judaea, they went into their own country by another road.

22. And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them: Slay the children from two years old and under. And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled Him, and put Him into an ox-stall. And Elizabeth, having heard that they were searching for John, took him and went up into the hill-country, and kept looking where to conceal him. And there was no place of concealment. And Elizabeth, groaning with a loud voice, says: O mountain of God, receive mother and child. And immediately the mountain was cleft, and received her. And a light shone about them, for an angel of the Lord was with them, watching over them.

23. And Herod searched for John, and sent officers to Zacharias, saying: Where hast thou hid thy son? And he, answering, said to them: I am the servant of God in holy things, and I sit constantly in the temple of the Lord: I do not know where my son is. And the officers went away, and reported all these things to Herod. And Herod was enraged, and said: His son is destined to be king over Israel. And he sent to him again, saying: Tell the truth; where is thy son? for thou knowest that thy life is in my hand. And Zacharias said: I am God’s martyr, if thou sheddest my blood; for the Lord will receive my spirit, because thou sheddest innocent blood at the vestibule of the temple of the Lord. And Zacharias was murdered about daybreak. And the sons of Israel did not know that he had been murdered.

24. But at the hour of the salutation the priests went away, and Zacharias did not come forth to meet them with a blessing, according to his custom. And the priests stood waiting for Zacharias to salute him at the prayer, and to glorify the Most High. And he still delaying, they were all afraid. But one of them ventured to go in, and he saw clotted blood beside the altar; and he heard a voice saying: Zacharias has been murdered, and his blood shall not be wiped up until his avenger come. And hearing this saying, he was afraid, and went out and told it to the priests. And they ventured in, and saw what had happened; and the fretwork of the temple made a wailing noise, and they rent their clothes from the top even to the bottom. And they found not his body, but they found his blood turned into stone. And they were afraid, and went out and reported to the people that Zacharias had been murdered. And all the tribes of the people heard, and mourned, and lamented for him three days and three nights. And after the three days, the priests consulted as to whom they should put in his place; and the lot fell upon Simeon. For it was he who had been warned by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death until he should see the Christ in the flesh.

And I James that wrote this history in Jerusalem, a commotion having arisen when Herod died, withdrew myself to the wilderness until the commotion in Jerusalem ceased, glorifying the Lord God, who had given me the gift and the wisdom to write this history. And grace shall be with them that fear our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory to ages of ages. Amen.


Akathist to St. John the Theologian

2 September 12

Akathist to the
Holy Apostle and Evangelist
JOHN the Theologian

Saint John the Theologian

Kontakion 1

Chosen from fisher nets for the preaching of the Gospel, and from catching fish to catching men into the light of the true knowledge of God, O great Apostle, disciple, friend, and devoted companion of Christ, implore the one true Lover of mankind whom thou didst love with seraphic love to have mercy on us who seek thine intercession with Him and cry to thee:

Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Ekos 1

When the Sovereign Creator of the angelic hosts and of the whole universe took our flesh and appeared on earth for our salvation, on seeing Thee, O blessed John, as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He called thee with thy brother to Apostolic labor; and thou didst leave thy fisher nets and thy father in the boat, and from then on thou didst follow unswervingly in the Saviour’s footsteps. Therefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, thou who for the love of Christ didst leave thine earthly father!
Rejoice, thou who found in Christ the heavenly Father!
Rejoice, thou who didst despise the world and its delusive pleasures!
Rejoice, thou who didst receive in exchange heavenly blessings!
Rejoice, thou who didst completely subdue thy flesh to thy spirit!
Rejoice, thou who didst subject thy spirit to thy sweetest Lord Jesus!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 2

Seeing the spotless purity of thy heart, undarkened by carnal pleasures, Christ the Lord judged thee to be worthy of the vision of mystic revelations, by which thou wast able to fathom the depths of theology and the knowledge of God and couldst preach it for all the world to hear. Therefore He called thee a son of thunder when thou didst call to Him: Alleluia!

Ekos 2

Enlightening thy soul with an understanding of the true knowledge of God, thou didst follow thy good and gracious Master, learning the wisdom that flowed from His lips. On account of thy perfect innocence and virginal chastity, thou was beloved of Christ thy Lord. So hearken to us who cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, zealot of guilelessness!
Rejoice, guardian of virginity and purity!
Rejoice! teacher of love for God and neighbor!
Rejoice, instructor of good morals!
Rejoice, mirror of humility!
Rejoice, light of Divine Grace!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 3

Thou didst clearly realize the power of Christ’s divinity hidden under the cloud of weak human nature when He raised to life the daughter of Jarius and then was transfigured on Tabor and chose thee with only two other disciples to be witness of such glorious wonders. Then, knowing that Christ was the True God, from the depths of thy heart thou didst cry to Him: Alleluia!

Ekos 3

Having great boldness towards Christ, the Son of God, Who loved thee, thou didst lean upon His breast at the celebration of the Mystical Supper. When the Lord foretold who His betrayer would be, it was only thee who didst have the courage to ask for his name. Therefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, beloved disciple of Christ!
Rejoice, true friend of His!
Rejoice, thou who wast chosen by Heaven to lean on the Lord’s breast!
Rejoice, thou who didst boldly inquire about the secret of the betrayal!
Rejoice, thou who was nearest to Christ of all of the disciples!
Rejoice, for Christ revealed to thee far more of the divine mysteries than to the other disciples!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 4

When in a storm of rage and bestial fury the hard-hearted and ungrateful Jews rose up against Christ, the Sn of God, then all His disciples were seized with fear, forsook Him, and fled. But thou didst love Him so much more than the others, witnessed all of His tortures, and remained with Him constantly even to the Cross, and thou didst suffer in heart with the Virgin Mother of God as she wept and mourned. Amazed at the extreme compassion and long-suffering patience of God, thou didst cry to Him who suffered for mankind: Alleluia!

Ekos 4

Hanging on the Cross to which He was nailed to for our sins and seeing thee and His Mother standing before Him, the Saviour of the world have thee to the Most blessed Virgin Mother of God as Her son, saying, Behold thy Mother. Ad we rightly venerate such honor shown to thee as we sing praises such as these:

Rejoice, thou who wast granted to be the son of the Mother of God!
Rejoice, thou who wast thereby made in a special way a kind of spiritual relative of Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst worthily serve and take care of the Mother of God!
Rejoice, thou who didst sustain and maintain Her throughout Her life on Earth!
Rejoice thou who at Her falling sleep didst accompany Her precious and holy body to the tomb!
Rejoice, thou who didst walk before Her bier with the shining branch brought by the Archangel Gabriel!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 5

Thou didst appear as a divinely moving star in Asia, where thou didst go to preach the Word of God, as the land indicated to thee by lot. But first he Lord allowed thee to be plunged in the sea. God’s Grace that always remained with thee kept thee alive in the deep, and after fourteen days He commanded a foaming sea wave to cast thee ashore. And then thy disciple Prochorus who was already bewailing thy death cried out with a loud voice to the wonderworking God: Alleluia!

Ekos 5

When the inhabitants of Ephesus saw the glorious miracles thou didst work in raising Domnus who had been killed by a demon while bathing, they loudly praised the power of the God Whom thou wast preaching to them and Who delivered them from their abominable idolatry, and they cried to thee:

Rejoice, servant of the true God!
Rejoice, expeller of demons!
Rejoice, thou who didst raise the dead by the power of Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst restore them to life and health!
Rejoice, thou who didst call those in mental and spiritual darkness to the light of truth!
Rejoice, thou who by the enlightenment of the right faith didst guide men to virtue!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 6

As a God-bearing preacher of the Word of God in Ephesus, zealous to spread the Grace of the glorious Gospel, thou didst confirm thy teaching with awe-inspiring signs and wonders that staggered human comprehension. By prayer alone thou didst overthrow the shrine of Diana, so that seeing this the idolaters might know and discern the true God, to Whom we cry: Alleluia!

Ekos 6

When the full radiance of the light of Christ Whom thou wast preaching  was already shining in Ephesus, godless Domatian raised a persecution against the Christians. Then the provincial prefect sent thee bound with chains to Rome as an ardent preacher of the name of Christ, where thou didst undergo terrible tortures, on account of which we piously exclaim to thee:

Rejoice, thou who was flogged for confessing Christ!
Rejoice, thou who didst drink unharmed a cup of poison!
Rejoice, thou who didst survive unburned in a cauldron of burning oil!
Rejoice, thou who wast preserved whole by the power of Christ during cruel tortures!
Rejoice, thou who by thy supernatural immunity didst terrify Caesar who was torturing thee!
Rejoice, thou who didst convince the people there of the greatness of the God worshipped by Christians!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 7

When the torturer saw that even the cruelest tortures he could invent were powerless to kill thee, he took thee to be immortal and condemned thee to exile on the island of Patmos. But thou didst surrender thyself to the providence of God Whose Will it was to so order things, and thou didst thankfully sing to God Who makes all things work together for good: Alleluia!

Ekos 7

Thu didst show new wonders to the worshippers of idols, seeking to convert them to the faith of Christ when, sailing to thy exile, by thy command the sea cast up alive on the ship’s deck a young lad who had fallen overboard and had been drowned, a storm was lulled to a calm, sea-water was turned into fresh drinking water, a soldier was healed of a stomach ulcer and after thine arrival in Patmos, thou didst cast a diving spirit out of Appolonides. All who saw such wondrous signs accomplished through thee came to an understanding of the one God in three Persons and were baptized. We, however, honor thee:

Rejoice, thou who dost command sea and storm!
Rejoice, thou who dost expel satanic spirits from men!
Rejoice, thou who dost heal diseases by word alone!
Rejoice, thou who dost give help to all in need!
Rejoice, thou who didst save from being drowned in the sea!
Rejoice, who dost win unbelievers to the true faith!
Rejoice, Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 8

Amazing it was for the priests of Apollo to see that thou by a single word didst reduce to a heap of rubble the temple of their god and the idol in it. Astounded and enraged by thine audacity, they went to a magician who had the great power of Satan in himself, and requested him to avenge the dishonor of their god. In his spiritual blindness, not knowing the power that dwelt in thee, he tried to terrify thee by various phantoms, and to turn the people against thee. Afterwards, however, the wretched man himself sank into the sea and perished, the demons being powerless to save him; for thou didst put them under ban by the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom the people glorified, having witnessed the miracle, chanting: Alleluia!

Ekos 8

Completely filled to overflowing with divine love, thou wast a repository of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thou didst foretell future events, speaking of distant things as if they were close to hand, thou didst heal the sick and give relief to the wife of the governor of Patmos, the moment thou didst enter the house, while she was suffering, unable to give birth to her child. So accept from us sinners these praises:

Rejoice, repository of the Grace of God!
Rejoice, habitation of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, river flowing with miraculous powers bringing healing to the sick!
Rejoice, fountain of instruction that leadeth to understanding of the right faith!
Rejoice, thou who dost expose the cunning of evil Satan!
Rejoice, thou who dost defend the faithful from his snares!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 9

Zealously rooting out every sin from among the people to who thou wast sent, thou didst convict by thy word alone the deception of the idol worshippers who honored the demon which appeared to the people in the form of a large wolf, and thou didst lead any of them to belief in Christ. Also thou didst destroy the temple of Bacchus by thy prayers and thou didst tun the magician and his household to repentance by thy miracle. And having turned from sin to salvation they cried out to God: Alleluia!

Ekos 9

No eloquence of human wisdom can express, nor can the mind of carnal man comprehend what thou hast told us about the eternal being of the one God in thee Persons without beginning. For like Moses on the mountain amid thunder and flashes of lightning, thou didst receive from God the mystery and secret of theology, and thou didst proclaim to the world: He Who in the beginning was the Word, ever inseparably united to the Father, having the light of life is the cause of all existing creation, and the darkness can never swallow him. Illumined with the radiance of the divine life of truth, we honor thee as an intimate friend of the unoriginate Trinity, and we sing praises to thee as the most perfect theologian:

Rejoice, eagle that didst fly yo God’s fiery throne itself!
Rejoice, trumpet that didst proclaim to the world the pre-eternal and unoriginate God!
Rejoice, thou who didst reveal to us God’s heavenly mysteries!
Rejoice, thou who didst declare to us Christ’s humanity and divinity!
Rejoice, thou who didst teach us love for God and our neighbor!
Rejoice, thou who didst promise in return for this love, God’s indwelling presence!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 10

Wishing to save en’s souls, thou didst teach people by all possible means to believe in Christ as the Son of God, to keep a clear conscience, and to love one another, so as not only here but also in the abodes of the righteous to sing majestically to Almighty God: Alleluia!

Ekos 10

Beholding the walls of the heavenly Jerusalem in revelation, thou didst reveal to us what thou saw and what is to be, until the end of the world, telling us this in metaphorical and figurative language, so that only those that have wisdom can understand it. Marvelling at such supernatural wisdom given thee by God, we sing to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst transcend human nature by thy knowledge!
Rejoice, container of mysteries uncontainable by the human mind!
Rejoice, thou who didst see ineffable revelations of God that can not be told!
Rejoice, thou who givest them to the faithful!
Rejoice, thou who didst experience the joys of the saints while still in this life!
Rejoice, thou who dost now enjoy them to a supreme degree!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 11

A song of thanksgiving and a heartfelt sacrifice of praise was offered to thee, O Apostle John, by that Christian who reduced to poverty and not having the means to pay debts he owed his creditors, fell into despair and was looking for a way of putting an end to his life by a violent death. But thou, in thy love and compassion for mankind, wishing to save him from temporal and eternal death, didst by the Sign of the Cross didst turn hay into gold and didst hand it to the poor man, so that he might pay his debts with that gold and maintain his household, and through thee who had shown him this kindness we sing to God: Alleluia!

Ekos 11

Thy radiant soul, on reaching maturity and the stature of the perfect man, knew that the time had come for thine appointed transition, for the corruptible nature to inherit the promised incorruption and what is mortal to be clothed with the promised immortality. Thus thou didst order thy disciples to bury thee alive, but when they came to thy grave in the morning and dug it out, they found it empty. Only then they realized that thou hadst accomplished thy transition by an unusual human death or falling asleep, and they sang to thee:

Rejoice, eagle who didst renew thy youth by drawing near to the Sun of the Divine Glory!
Rejoice, thou who didst transcend all the laws of human nature by such a transition!
Rejoice, thou who didst take thy seat on one of the twelve thrones as thy gracious Master promised!
Rejoice, thou who thus seated dost judge the New Israel of God’s people!
Rejoice, thou who dost enjoy the vision of the Sweetest Jesus on Whose breast thou didst lean before His Passion and Resurrection!
Rejoice, thou whose intercession dost obtain all blessing for us from His gracious compassion!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 12

Grace is given by God to the place where thy body was committed to the earth, so that n the day of thy burial it emitteth a fine dust for the healing of the sick, showing by this miracle how God glorifieth those who love
Him, that all who see it may unceasingly cry day and night to Him with heart and soul: Alleluia!

Ekos 12

While singing of thine apostolic labors and the miracles and healings which thou hast showered upon us and which thou dost continue to lavish upon us by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, we praise God Who dwelt in thee and Who hath given us such a leader to guide us  on the way of salvation, and Who showeth mercy to us in our infirmities. So accept from us, O holy Apostle, these praises:

Rejoice, most fervent proclaimer of faith in Christ!
Rejoice, outstanding teacher of Christ’s Church!
Rejoice, beginning and foundation of theologians!
Rejoice, revealer of divine mysteries!
Rejoice, model of virgins and rule of chastity!
Rejoice, speedy help and protector of the faithful who have recourse to thine intercession!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 13

O most glorious and all-praised apostle and Evangelist, devoted friend of Christ, beloved John! By thine all-powerful intercession with thy most gracious Teacher and our Master and Lord, implore for us all temporal and eternal blessings and a Christian end to our life, that with thee in the tabernacles of the righteous and with the angelic choirs, we may chant to the one God in three Persons: Alleluia!

Ekos 1

When the Sovereign Creator of the angelic hosts and of the whole universe took our flesh and appeared on earth for our salvation, on seeing Thee, O blessed John, as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He called thee with thy brother to Apostolic labor; and thou didst leave thy fisher nets and thy father in the boat, and from then on thou didst follow unswervingly in the Saviour’s footsteps. Therefore we cry to thee:

Rejoice, thou who for the love of Christ didst leave thine earthly father!
Rejoice, thou who found in Christ the heavenly Father!
Rejoice, thou who didst despise the world and its delusive pleasures!
Rejoice, thou who didst receive in exchange heavenly blessings!
Rejoice, thou who didst completely subdue thy flesh to thy spirit!
Rejoice, thou who didst subject thy spirit to thy sweetest Lord Jesus!
Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!

Kontakion 1

Chosen from fisher nets for the preaching of the Gospel, and from catching fish to catching men into the light of the true knowledge of God, O great Apostle, disciple, friend, and devoted companion of Christ, implore the one true Lover of mankind whom thou didst love with seraphic love to have mercy on us who seek thine intercession with Him and cry to thee:

Rejoice, Apostle John, devoted friend of Christ and Theologian!