Православная христианка желающая поступить в обитель, для испытания своего намерения должна пожить какое-то время в монастыре как трудница, не разрывая связи с миром.
Хорошо, если перед этим она успела приобщиться активной церковной жизни, что означает регулярное посещение храма, исполнение церковных послушаний, посещение святых мест, исповедь у постоянного духовника и приобщение Святых Христовых Тайн. Для поступления в монастырь желательно иметь благословение своего духовного отца.
Испытательный срок проживания в обители до поступления в сестричество устанавливается индивидуально.
Вопрос о поступлении в обитель, решается с настоятельницей монастыря.
Правила для желающих поступить в женскую обитель
Прежде всего, надо понять, что в монастырь идут не потому, что не могут жить в миру, а потому, что хотят стать монахами. Монашество — это не профессия, не способ существования, а Божественное призвание, сопряженное с усиленным и подвижническим трудом ради сугубого стяжания благодати Духа Святого.
Большинству обычных людей свойственно создавать семьи и жить в кругу своих семейных забот. К иноческой жизни призываются очень немногие. Целью монашества является теснейшее единение человека с Богом, достижение высшего духовного совершенства, которого невозможно достигнуть, живя в миру. Ради этого и оставляется мир со всеми его заботами и соблазнами. В стенах монастыря, живя в молитве и труде, монах ищет спасения у Бога.
Молитва является неотъемлемой частью жизни не только монашествующих, но и любого православного христианина. Молитвенное общение с Богом — есть сугубо религиозная потребность человека. В монашеской жизни ей уделено особенно важное место. Она является внутренним стержнем и основанием всей жизни для насельниц обители. Распорядок монастырской жизни начинается молитвой утром и заканчивается ею вечером, при начале и окончании всех дел и послушаний. Церковные Богослужения в монастыре отличаются большей продолжительностью.
В субботу, 13 Мая, монастырская община при Ново-Дивеево провела первый в этом году монастырский субботник. По окончании Божественной литургии отслужили под открытым небом молебен перед началом благого дела, и около 40 волонтеров принялись за расчистку леса между Собором Преподобного Серафима Саровского и монастырским поселком, окончивая начатые в прошлом году работы для создания монастырского парка “Саровский лес”. За несколько часов были срублены засохшие деревья и расчищены упавшие ветки, убран мусор, проложены дополнительные тропинки для паломников и насельников монастыря.
Были проведены и работы на кладбище. Участники субботника очистили от мусора и сухих и упавших деревьев территорию возле исторического военного кладбища, также были выровнены, отремонтированы и покрашены кресты на монашеском кладбище и в его окресностях. Всего было покрашено около 50 крестов. Также начали работы по расчиcтке территории в секции W и заполнили землей те секции кладбища, гда стояло много воды.
С радостью приняли участие в субботнике и дети. Монахиня Серафима провела познавательную беседу в церкви и рассказала детям о жизни и подвигах Серафима Саровского. Все слушали с большим удовольствием. После беседы у детей была возможность познакомиться и принять участие в росписи камней. Дети с легкостью увлеклись творчеством и создали замечательные и жизнерадостные работы. После занятий дети пошли помогать с покраской крестов.
В середине дня все труженики собрались на обед на лужайке в монастырском поселке, а затем вновь принялись за работу. Закончили субботник около 5 часов вечера. Следующий субботник планируется на осень этого года.
On Saturday, May 13, the monastic community at Novo-Diveevo held the first volunteer Saturday of the year. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a moleben was served before the start of a good deed in the open air. About 40 volunteers set about clearing the forest between the Cathedral of St. Seraphim of Sarov and the monastery village, completing the work begun last year to create the Sarov Forest monastery park. In a few hours, dried trees were cut down and fallen branches cleared, garbage was removed, additional paths were laid for pilgrims and monastery residents.
Additional work was also carried out at the cemetery. The participants of the event cleared the area near the historic section of the cemetery, from debris as well as dry and fallen trees, and the crosses in the monastic cemetery and its surroundings were also leveled, repaired and painted. Approximately 50 crosses were repaired. Also, work began on clearing the territory in section W. This section of the cemetery where there was a lot of water, was filled with an additional layer of soil.
The children also took part in the volunteer Saturday with joy. Nun Seraphima held an informative conversation in the church and told the children about the life and deeds of St. Seraphim of Sarov. Everyone listened with great pleasure. After the conversation, the children had the opportunity to get acquainted and take part in the painting of stones. Children were engaged in the creative activity and created wonderful and cheerful works.
Afterwards, the children went to help with the painting of the crosses. In the middle of the day, all the volunteers gathered for lunch on the lawn of the monastery village, and then again set to work. The day’s work was completed around 5:00 pm. The next Volunteer Saturday is planned for this fall.
Вчера, 31 октября, в монастыре Ново-Дивеево прошел семейный вечер, посвященный дню памяти святого праведного Иоанна Кронштадтского.
Незадолго до вечерней службы родители с детьми собрались для участия в детской программе – дети послушали истории из жизни отца Иоанна, посмотрели фотографии Иоанновского монастыря, где покоятся святые мощи, а после с интересом взялись за написания письма и просьбы о молитве дорогому Батюшке. В 5 часов началась праздничная полиелейная служба в честь Праведного Иоанна Кронштадтского, на которой смогли побыть и маленькие гости.
После вечерней службы Святому Праведному Иоанну Кронштадтскому взрослые и дети направились в главный зал монастыря, чтобы накрыть праздничный стол и испечь угощение к чаю. Дети были рады угостить игумению монастыря и духовенство сладким печеньем, которое они сами приготовили. После, духовенство и гости монастыря, смогли тепло пообщаться за совместной вечерней трапезой.
Yesterday, on October 31, a family evening was held in the Novo-Diveevo convent dedicated to the Feast day of St. John of Kronstadt.
Shortly before the evening service, parents and children gathered to participate in the children’s program – the children listened to stories from the life of Saint John, looked at photographs of the Ioannovsky Monastery, where His holy relics rest, and then they began to write a letters, draw pictures and prayer requests to St. John. At 5 o’clock the festive polyeleos service began in honor of the Righteous St. John of Kronstadt, where the children and their parents also attended.
After the evening service, adults and children went to the main hall of the monastery to set the festive table and bake cookies. The children were happy to treat the abbess of the monastery and the clergy with sweet cookies, which they themselves had prepared. Afterwards, the clergy and guests of the monastery were able to enjoy an evening meal together in the main convent hall.
В субботу, 15 октября, провели первый в этом году монастырский субботник. По окончании Божественной литургии отслужили под открытым небом молебен перед началом благого дела, и около 30 волонтеров принялись за расчистку леса между Собором Преподобного Серафима Саровского и монастырским поселком, закладывая основу для будущего благоустроенного парка “Саровский лес”.
За несколько часов были срублены засохшие деревья и расчищены упавшие ветки, убран мусор, проложены тропинки для паломников и насельников монастыря. Пока взрослые трудились в лесу, дети покрасили баки для сбора мусора на кладбище. В середине дня все труженники собрались на обед на лужайке в монастырском поселке, а затем вновь принялись за работу. Закончили субботник около 5 часов вечера.
Сердечно благодарим всех за молитвы и помощь монастырю, и приглашаем прогуляться в новосозданном монастырском парке!
On Saturday, October 15, we held the first monastic volunteer day this year. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, an open-air Molieben Before Beginning any Good Work, and about 30 volunteers set about clearing the forest between the Cathedral of St. Seraphim of Sarov and the monastery village. All the work done was a first step in the creation of the new “Sarov Forest” park.
In a few hours, fallen branches were cleared and dried trees were cut down, garbage was removed, paths were laid for pilgrims and members of the convent community of the monastery. On the same day, the children also painted the trash cans at the cemetery. After a lunch break in the monastery village, everyone returned to work. All work was completed by 5 p.m.
We sincerely thank everyone for their prayers and help to the monastery and invite you to take a walk in the newly created monastery park!
On September 10, after the Divine Liturgy, the procession around the Holy Dormition Novo-Diveevo Convent took place. The clergy of the monastery, monastics, as well as pilgrims and members of the Orthodox Youth of New York participated in the procession. The procession was accompanied by the prayerful singing of all those participating, while the clergy blessed everyone with the Holy Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir and sprinkled everyone with Holy Water. After the procession, the guests of the monastery took part in a festive picnic.
A special part of the Divine Liturgy on the day of Pentecost is that immediately after the Liturgy, Great Vespers is served, during which three special prayers of St. Basil the Great are read while kneeling.
It is worth noting that from this very day, for the first time after Pascha, the Church allows for prostrations.
The kneeling prayers contain petitions for the mercy of God, for the sending down of the Holy Spirit, and also prayers for the souls of the reposed. These prayers have their own special symbolic meaning. They were introduced into church service in order to give strength to the faithful while keeping within the church mood of piety and humility, and also to enable them, following the example of the apostles, to be in constant vigilance to receive the Grace of God.
Text of the Kneeling Prayers at Pentecost Vespers:
O pure and blameless Lord, Who art without beginning, invisible and incomprehensible, unchangeable, immeasurable, and unbounded, Who art without evil and alone immortal, who dwellest in the unapproachable light, Maker of heaven and earth and the seas and all that was created therein, Who grantest to all their petitions before asking, to Thee we pray and of Thee we ask, O philanthropic Master, the Father of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the ever-virgin Mary, the noble Theotokos; Who first didst teach by word, and then gave testimony in deed while bearing the saving Passion, teaching us Thine unworthy, sinful, and miserable servants, to offer Thee our supplications with bent head and knee, for our sins and human ignorance.
Wherefore, O most merciful and philanthropic Lord, hear us on whatever day we call upon Thee, and especially on this day of Pentecost, whereon, after our Lord Jesus Christ had ascended into heaven and sat on Thy right hand, O God and Father, He sent down the Holy Spirit to his Disciples, the holy Apostles, Who alighted on each of them and filled them all with His inexhaustible and divine grace; and they did speak in strange tongues, prophesying Thy great deeds. Hear us who beseech Thee, and remember us, wretched and condemned. Deliver us from the (sinful) captivity of our souls by Thy loving intercession. Accept us, who kneel down before Thee and cry out: we have sinned. From birth, from the womb of our mother – we are Thine, O Lord – Thou art our God. But as our life passes in vanity, we have therefore been stripped of thine aid, and have become silent. Yet do we trust in Thy compassion and cry unto Thee. Remember not the sins of our youth and ignorance; cleanse us of our secret sins. Reject us not in our old age, and forsake us not when our strength fails. Before we return to the earth, prepare us to return to Thee. Measure our lawlessness with a measure of Thy generosity, and erect against our many transgressions a bottomless abyss of these generosities.
Look down from the height of Thy holiness upon Thy people who stand and await from Thee abundant mercy. Visit us with Thy goodness and deliver us from the force of Satan and preserve our life with Thy holy and solemn laws. Commit Thy people unto a faithful guardian angel. Gather us all unto Thy kingdom. Forgive those who put their trust in Thee, relinquish us and them from sin. Purify us by the operation of Thy Holy Spirit and remove from us the wiles of the adversary.
And the prayer: Blessed art Thou, Lord, Almighty Master, who illuminest the day with the light of the sun and the night with the glow of the moon, Who hast made us worthy to pass the course of the day and draw near to the onset of the night; hear our petitions and those of all Thy people. Forgive us all our sins, both voluntary and involuntary, and accept our evening supplications and send down the multitude of Thy mercies and compassions upon Thy people. Protect us with Thy holy angels. Arm us with the weapons of Thy truth. Envelop us with Thy righteousness. Preserve us by Thy power, and deliver us from every oppression and from every conspiracy of the cunning one. Grant us that this evening and the approaching night and all the days of our life may be perfect, holy, peaceful, sinless, without doubt and vain imaginings, by the intercessions of the holy Theotokos and all the saints who have done Thy will from the beginning of time.
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who residest with us in this life, and Who gavest mankind the world, and in Thine inalienable rule dost give to the true the gift of the Holy Spirit, this blessing Thou hast sent down more fully to Thy pupils and Apostles and dispensed into their mouths the fire of tongues, so that through them all mankind would receive knowledge of God and be enlightened by the light of the Spirit, being emancipated from seduction as from darkness and by their supernatural action learning to believe in the Son of God and to praise Him with the Father and the Holy Spirit as one Godhead, Power and Authority.
Wherefore, O Splendor of the Father, the Likeness of his Essence, His immutable and unchangeable Nature, Thou art the fountain of salvation and grace. Open my lips, sinner that I am, and teach me how and for what I should pray; for Thou dost know the multitude of my sins, but Thine unbounded compassion doth overcome the enormity thereof. Behold, I come and stand before Thee in fear and dismay, casting my soul’s despair into the depth of Thy mercy. Ordain my life, O Thou Who rulest the whole creation with ineffable wisdom. O tranquil Haven to those who are caught in the rages of winter, make known to me the way in which I should walk. Grant to my thoughts the spirit of Thy wisdom, and bestow upon my ignorance the spirit of Thy understanding. Overshadow mine acts with the spirit of Thy fear; a just spirit renew Thou within me, and by Thy Sovereign Spirit strengthen Thou mine unstable mind, that I may be worthy each day to do Thy commandments, being guided by Thy righteous Spirit into that which is profitable, ever mindful of Thy glorified (second) Coming, when we shall all be obliged to give an answer for our deeds. Let me not be led astray by the corrupting pleasures of this world, but strengthen me to delight in the treasures to come. For Thou, O Master, didst say, “Whatever ye ask in My Name ye shall receive” from God the Father co-eternal with Thee.
Therefore, I a sinner, implore Thy goodness on the day of the descent of Thy Holy Spirit. Grant Thou my request for salvation: yea, good Lord, Who grantest all riches and benevolence; for Thou art He, the merciful and pitying, Who givest us more than we ask, Who hast become a Partaker with us in the flesh without sin. Thou art He Who, for his love for mankind, dost have compassion for those who bend the knee to Thee, having become an offering for our sins. Grant, Lord, Thy compassion to Thy people, and incline Thine ear to us from Thy Holy heaven; sanctify us by the saving might of Thy right hand. Cover us with the shelter of Thy wings and turn not away from the product of Thy hands. Against Thee only do we sin, yet Thee only do we serve. We know not how to bow to a strange god, nor how to reach out to a different god. Pardon our iniquities, O Master, and accepting our requests on bended knee, extend to us all a helping hand, and accept the prayers of all as fragrant incense acceptable to Thy most righteous Kingdom.
And the prayer: Lord, Lord, Thou Who hast delivered us from every arrow (obstacle) that comes by day, save us from everything that walketh in darkness, and accept the lifting up of our hands as an evening offering. Consider us worthy to pass the night blamelessly and experience no evil. Deliver us from Satan. Free us from all confusion and fear. Grant our souls rapture, and our thoughts concern over our accountability at Thy just and terrible judgment. Transfix our flesh with Thy fear, and mitigate our members who are on earth, that in the tranquillity of sleep we may be enlightened by the meditation of Thy precepts. Drive from us every evil fancy and lasciviousness. Elevate us during our prayers, strengthened in faith and enriched by Thy commandments.
O Christ our God, the ever-flowing Spring, life-giving, illuminating, creative Power, co-eternal with the Father, Who didst divinely achieve the deed of saving mankind, and didst tear apart the indestructible bonds of death, break asunder the bolts of Hades, and tread down the multitude of evil spirits, offering Thyself as a blameless Sacrifice and offering us Thy pure, spotless and sinless body: Who, by this fearsome, inscrutable divine service didst grant us life everlasting, O Thou Who didst descend into Hades, and demolish the eternal bars, revealing an ascent to those who were in the lower abode; Who with the lure of divine wisdom didst entice the dragon, the head of subtle evil and with Thy boundless power bound him in abysmal hell, in inextinguishable fire, and extreme darkness.
O Great Wisdom of the despairing! Overcomer of misfortunes – eminent helper, Who came and lit the way for those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; Thou art the Lord of everlasting glory, the beloved Son of the Most High Father, eternal Light of eternal Light, Thou Sun of truth! Hear Thou us who beseech thee, and lay to rest the souls of Thy servants, of those who have died heretofore, and those of our fathers and brothers and other kinsmen in flesh and all others through faith, for whom we now celebrate this memorial; for Thou hast power over all, and in Thy hands Thou holdest all the boundaries of the earth.
O Almighty Master, God of our fathers, Lord of mercy and Creator of all the races of men, the living and the dead, and of all nature, animate and inanimate, Who appeared and resided here on earth and again departed into the other world, Who settest the years for the living and appointest the time for the dead, Who bringest down to Hades and raisest to bliss; who bindest with weakness and loosest with power; Who arrangest the present as is meet and Who directest the future towards usefulness, Who consolest with the hope of resurrection those who feel the sting of death 3/4 Thou art the Master of all, our God and our Savior, O Hope of all the boundaries of the earth and of those who are away on the seas, O Thou who on this last and great day of salvation, the day of the Feast of Pentecost, hast revealed to us the mystery of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial and co-eternal, indivisible and immiscible, Who didst send down the Holy and life-giving Spirit in the form of tongues of fire on His holy Apostles, revealing them as proclaimers of our godfearing faith, making of them true confessors and preachers of the word of God, Who makest us worthy that our propitiatory prayers, of this all-perfect day of salvation, be acceptable for those who are imprisoned in Hades, and Who grantest those imprisoned therein a great hope in receiving from Thee consolation and relief of their confining grief.
Hear us, disconsolate and wretched, who beseech Thee, and give rest unto the souls who have formerly departed, and make them to repose in a resplendent place, a place of verdure and coolness, where there are no ills nor sorrow nor sighs. And array their souls in the tabernacles of the righteous, and make them worthy of peace and repose; for it is not the dead who praise Thee, O Lord, nor do those who are in Hades venture to offer unto Thee confession, but we, the living, do bless Thee and supplicate Thee, O Lord, and offer unto Thee prayers of purification and sacrifices for their souls’ sake.
And the prayer: O great eternal God, holy and loving toward mankind, Who dost make us worthy to stand at this hour before Thine unapproachable glory, praising and glorifying Thy wonders, forgive us, unworthy sinners, and grant us grace that from a humble and contrite heart we may offer Thee the thrice-holy glorification and gratitude for Thy great gifts which Thou didst grant and dost still steadfastly grant unto us. Remember, Lord, our weakness and destroy us not in our iniquities; but in accordance with our humility show unto us Thy great mercy, that being delivered from the darkness of sin, we may walk in the day of truth, equipped with the armor of light, and freed from all the evil attacks of the wicked one, glorifying Thee in all things, O only true God and Lover of mankind.
For in truth, O Master and Creator of all, Thine is the great and original Mystery; the temporary death of Thy creatures, and their restoration thereafter unto eternal repose. In all things we acknowledge Thy favor, at our entrance into this world and at our going out therefrom, O Thou Who by Thy unfailing promises didst hold out to us the hope of everlasting life, resurrection, and incorruptible life, which shall be ours to enjoy at Thy Second Coming; for Thou, Lord Christ, art the fountain of our resurrection, the mankind-loving and incorruptible judge of the deceased and those worthy of reward. Thou hast assumed, with utmost condescension, our flesh and blood, and through Thine undying love for us, didst not dismiss Thy suffering, willingly submitting to torture; so that, having been tempted, Thou, as promised, became the helper to those who are tempted, elevating us to Thy dispassion.
Wherefore, O Master, accept our prayers and supplications, and grant repose to our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, blood relatives, and kinsfolk, and all those who have gone to their final rest with the hope of resurrection and life everlasting. Inscribe their names in the Book of Life; in the bosoms of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; in the land of the living, the Kingdom of Heaven, in the paradise of delight, leading all into Thy Holy dwelling places by Thy radiant angels, and raise their bodies on the day that Thou hast appointed, according to Thine unfailing Holy promises; for there is no death, O Lord, to Thy departing servants who cast off their bodies and come unto Thee, O God, but a transition from sorrowful things to pleasant and benign, to repose and joy. And if they have sinned (in any respect) against Thee, forgive them, and be Thou compassionate unto them and us; for there is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thou alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and because of Thee we all trust to attain mercy and the remission of sins.
Therefore, O God, through Thy grace and love of mankind, weaken, remit and forgive our sins and theirs; overlook both our voluntary and involuntary offenses, which we have committed either willfully or through ignorance, openly or in secret whether by word, deed, or thought and all our wrathful dealings which we have committed during our lifetime. As for those who have preceded us, grant them emancipation and repose. To those of us who are here, bless us, and give us and all Thy people a blessed and peaceful end to life. At Thy fearsome and dreadful coming open to us Thy fathomless love of mankind, making us worthy of Thy Kingdom.
And the prayer: O Thou most exalted God, Who alone dost possess immortality, Who dwellest in the unapproachable light, Who in wisdom didst bring into being all creation, who didst separate between the light and the darkness, setting the sun to rule the day, and the moon and stars to rule the night, Who on this day didst vouchsafe us sinners as worthy through confession to present ourselves before Thy countenance and to offer to Thee our evening prayers.
And the prayer: O philanthropic God, set our prayers like incense before Thee, and receive them as a sweet fragrance. Grant that this evening and the approaching night may be peaceful and serene for us. Clothe us with the armor of light, and deliver us from nightly fears and from everything that walketh in darkness. Vouchsafe that the slumber which Thou didst grant us for rest from our weakness be also free from every satanic vision. Yea, O Master, Who providest good things for all, grant that in our lodgings, amid the night, we may with fervor recall Thy most Holy Name. Grant that being enlightened by the teachings of Thy commandments, we in spiritual joy would rise up to glorify Thy goodness, offering for Thy compassion petitions and supplications for our sins and those of all people, for which Thou, through the intercession of the Holy Theotokos, visitest upon us with mercy!
We cry out with heartfelt emotion to the chosen Virgin Mary, far nobler than all the daughters of the earth, Mother of the Son of God, Who gave salvation to the world: Look at our life which is filled with every sorrow and remember the sorrow and pain which thou didst suffer as one born on earth with us, and do with us according to thy merciful heart, that we may cry unto thee: Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
An angel announced the birth of the Saviour of the world to the shepherds in the Bethlehem and with the multitude of the heavenly hosts praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will among men!” But thou, O Mother of God, having nowhere to lay thy head, since there was no room in the inn, gave birth to thy first-born Son in a cave and, wrapping Him in swaddling clothes, laid Him in a manger. Knowing the pain in thy heart, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, for thou wast warmed by the breath of thine own beloved Son! Rejoice, for thou didst wrap the eternal Child in swaddling clothes! Rejoice, for thou didst nourish with thy milk the One who sustaineth the universe! Rejoice, for thou didst turn a cave into a heaven! Rejoice, for thou didst make thy throne upon the Cherubim! Rejoice, for thou didst remain a virgin both in giving birth and after birth! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Seeing the eternal Child swaddled and lying in a manger, the shepherds of Bethlehem came to worship Him and to relate that which the Angels told them about the Child. But Mary kept all these things in her heart. And after eight days had passed Jesus was circumcised, according to the law of Israel, as a man. Hymning thy humility and patience, O Theotokos, we sing to the Good God Eternal: Alleluia!
Having their understanding based on God and keeping the Law of the Lord, on the fortieth day when the days of purification were complete, His parents took Jesus to Jerusalem so that they could present Him before the Lord and offer sacrifice for Him according to the decree in the Law of the Lord. But we sing out to thee, O Theotokos, thus: Rejoice, for thou didst take the Creator of the universe to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the Law! Rejoice, for thou didst there meet the Elder Simeon with joy! Rejoice, thou only Pure and blessed one among women! Rejoice, for with humility Thou didst carry thy cross adorned with sorrows! Rejoice, for thou didst never disobey the will of God! Rejoice, for thou didst reveal thyself as a model of patience and humility! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Thou wast strengthened with power from on high, O Mother of God, when thou didst hear the words of the Elder Simeon, when he said to thee: “Behold, this Child is destined to be the rise and fall of many in Israel. This is a sign which will be spoken against, and a sword will pierce thy very soul so that the thoughts of many may be revealed.” And great sorrow entered the heart of the Theotokos, and with grief she cried out to God: Alleluia!
Hastening to destroy the Child, Herod ordered the killing of all children in Bethlehem and its environs, from two years of age and under according to the time that he determined from the Magi. And behold, according to the command of God, the Elder Joseph was informed by an angel in a dream to flee with the Holy Family to Egypt and to remain there until the death of Herod. Therefore with compunction, we cry out to thee, O Theotokos: Rejoice for thou didst bear the entire turmoil of exile! Rejoice for all the idols fell in the land of Egypt not being able to endure the power of thy Son! Rejoice for thou didst remain for seven years among the dishonorable pagans! Rejoice, for thou didst arrive in Nazareth with the first-born Youth and with thy betrothed! 5 Rejoice, for thou didst live with the Elder Joseph the carpenter in poverty! Rejoice, for thou didst spend all thy time in hard labors! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften our hearts and those of evil men!
A storm of sorrows whirled about the most pure Mother when they returned from Jerusalem, not finding the young man Jesus in the caravan. For this reason they returned to look for Him, and after three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. And His Mother asked Him, “Child, why hast Thou done this to us? Behold, Thy father and I suffered greatly looking for Thee.” And Jesus answered them, ” Why were ye looking for Me? Do ye not know about those things which My Father has entrusted unto Me?” And Thou, O Most Pure One, kept all these sayings in Thy heart, crying out to God: Alleluia!
The Mother of God heard that Jesus traveled through all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing all kinds of illness and infirmity among the people. And His reputation spread through all of Syria and they brought Him every kind of illness and the suffering and those tormented by demons and the paralyzed and He healed them. But thou, O Mother of God, knowing the prophecy, sorrowed in thy heart, knowing that very soon the time would come when Thy Son would present Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. For this reason we bless thee, much- sorrowing Mother of God, crying out: Rejoice, for thou didst give thy Son to the service of the Jewish people! Rejoice, for thou didst sorrow in thy heart, but didst submit to the will of God! Rejoice, for thou didst save the world from the deluge of sin! Rejoice for thou didst crush the head of the ancient serpent! Rejoice, for thou didst offer thyself as a living sacrifice to God! Rejoice, O blessed one, the Lord is with Thee! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Preaching the Kingdom of God on earth, Jesus exposed the arrogance of the Pharisees who imagined themselves to be righteous. So when they heard His parables they understood it was about themselves that He was speaking and they sought to arrest Him, but they feared the people who considered Him to be a prophet. Seeing all of this, the Mother of God sorrowed for her beloved Son and feared that they would kill Him, in affliction crying out: Alleluia!
Some of the Jews, seeing the resurrection of Lazarus, went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. And Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, said, “It will be better for us that one man die for the people, so that the whole nation would not perish.” From that day on they took counsel about how they would kill Him. But we cry out to thee, O Most Pure One: Rejoice, thou who gavest birth to the Saviour of the world! Rejoice, source of our salvation! Rejoice, for thou wast chosen from birth to be the Mother of our Saviour! Rejoice, Mother of God, destined for suffering! Rejoice, O blessed one, who dost preside as Queen of Heaven! Rejoice, O blessed one, thou who always prays for us! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Once a preacher of the Word of God, and now a traitor, Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, went to the high priest to betray his Teacher. They listened to him, were exceedingly pleased and promised to give him thirty pieces of silver. But thou, O Mother of God, didst sorrow for thy beloved Son, and didst cry out in grief to God: Alleluia!
Taking part in the Last Supper with the disciples at which the Teacher washed their feet, thereby revealing an example of humility, Christ said to them, “One of you will betray Me.” But we, suffering with the Mother of God, cry out to Her: Rejoice, Mother of God, languishing with the torture of thy heart! Rejoice, Thou who didst suffer all in this most sorrowful vale! Rejoice, Thou who didst find comfort in prayer! Rejoice, joy of all who sorrow! Rejoice, Thou who dost save us from the mire of sin! Rejoice, vessel filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit! Rejoice, much- sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Desiring to show His love for the human race, the Lord Jesus Christ at the Mystical Supper, blessed and broke bread, and gave it to His disciples and apostles, saying: “Take, eat, this is My Body.” And taking the chalice and giving praise gave it to them saying: “All of you drink of this, this is My Blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Thanking the compassionate God for His ineffable mercy to us, we sing to Him: Alleluia!
The Lord revealed a new sign of His mercy to His disciples when He promised to send them the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who would descend from the Father and would witness concerning Him. But to thee, O Mother of God, sanctified again on the day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit, we cry: Rejoice, mansion of the Holy Spirit! Rejoice, brilliantly-illuminated bridal chamber! Rejoice, spacious dwelling place of God the Word! Rejoice, thou who didst open for us the gates of paradise by Thy giving of birth! Rejoice, thou who didst reveal the sign of divine mercy Himself to us! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
It is at once very strange and sorrowful for us to hear how Judas Iscariot betrayed his Teacher and Lord with a kiss. Then the crowd and the commander and the servants of the Jews arrested Jesus, and bound Him, and led Him first to the chief priest Ananias, and then to the high priest Caiaphas. But thou, O Mother of God, expecting the death sentence for thy beloved Son, cried out to God: Alleluia!
All of the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium to Pilate, saying that He was a criminal. But Pilate, after questioning Him, told them that he could not find any fault at all in Him. But we cry out to thee with compunction, O Mother of God, who saw the slander of Thy Son: Rejoice, thou whose heart was broken by woe! Rejoice, for thou didst shed tears for thy Son! Rejoice, thou who didst see thy beloved Child given over to trial! Rejoice, for thou didst suffer everything without complaint like a true handmaiden of the Lord! Rejoice, despite thy weeping and lamentation! Rejoice, O Queen of Heaven and earth, who dost accept the prayers of thy servants! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
All generations bless thee, who art more honorable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, our Lady and the Mother of our Redeemer, for thy birth-giving has brought joy to the whole world. But thou didst suffer the final great sorrow when thou saw thy beloved Son insulted, whipped, and sentenced to death. For this reason we present our heartfelt hymn to thee, O Most Pure One, singing to God Almighty: Alleluia!
Loquacious orators are not able to describe all of the suffering which Thou endured, our Saviour, such as when the soldiers placed a crown woven out of thorns on Thy head and dressed Thee in a purple robe, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and slapped Thee across the face. But we, Mother of God, recognizing thy suffering, cry out to thee: Rejoice, thou who didst behold thy Son slain for our sake! Rejoice, seeing Him dressed in purple and wearing a crown of thorns! Rejoice, seeing Him tortured, whom thou didst nourish with thy milk! Rejoice, thou who didst suffer His Passion together with Him! Rejoice, thou who didst watch all His disciples forsake Him! Rejoice, thou who didst see Him condemned by the judgement of the unrighteous! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Wanting to save Jesus, Pilate said to the Jews, “We have a custom to release a prisoner on the feast of Passover. Do you want me to give you the King of the Jews?” All of them shouted, saying, “Not Him, but Barabbas!” We praise the great mercy of the Heavenly Father, Who so loved the world, that He gave His onlybegotten Son to death on the Cross in order to redeem us from eternal death, as we cry out to Him: Alleluia!
Be a wall and a fortification unto us, O Lady, who are overburdened by sorrows and suffering. For thou thyself didst suffer hearing the Jews shouting, “Crucify, crucify Him!” Now hear us crying out unto thee: Rejoice, Mother of mercy, who wipest away every tear from those who suffer cruelly! Rejoice, thou who grantest us tears of heartfelt compunction! Rejoice, thou who savest lost sinners! Rejoice, Protection of Christians that cannot be put to shame! Rejoice, thou who savest us from our passions! Rejoice, thou who grantest comfort to broken hearts! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
We offer a hymn of heartfelt sorrow to the Saviour of the world for His voluntary Passion and carrying His Cross to Golgotha to be crucified. Standing at Jesus’ Cross are His Mother, Mary Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. But Jesus, seeing His Mother and His disciple whom He loved standing there, said to His disciple, “Behold thy mother!” And from that time the disciple took her into his family. But thou, O Mother of God, seeing Thy Son and Lord on the Cross was devastated, and cried out to God on high: Alleluia!
“O my Son and Pre-eternal God, Fashioner of all creation! O Lord, how canst Thou endure the suffering on the Cross?” the pure Virgin cried, saying: “By Thy awesome birth, O my Son , I have been exalted above all mothers, but woe is me! Now when I see Thee, my womb burns within me.” But we shed tears remembering thee, and cry out to thee: Rejoice, thou who was deprived of joy and merriment! Rejoice, thou who didst see the voluntary passion of thy Son on the Cross! Rejoice, thou who didst see thy beloved Son sore wounded! Rejoice, ewe lamb, seeing thy Son as a lamb being led to slaughter! Rejoice, thou who didst see the Deliverer of the wounds of soul and body covered with wounds! Rejoice, thou who didst see thy Son rise from the dead! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
O All merciful Saviour, grant us mercy, breathing out Thy Spirit on the Cross and tearing up the handwriting of our sins. “Behold, my good Light, my God, is extinguished on the Cross!” the Virgin in great anguish exclaimed. “O Joseph, hasten to Pilate, approach him and ask him to take thy Teacher down from the Cross.” “Seeing Thy wounded Body, naked and without glory, on the Cross, O my Child, a sword has pierced my soul according to the prophecy of the Elder Simeon,” said the Mother of God, singing: Alleluia!
Hymning Thy mercifulness, O Lover of mankind, we bow down to Thy generous mercy, O Master. The Most Pure one said, “Wishing to save Thy creature, thou hast given Thyself over to death.” But by Thy resurrection, O Saviour, have mercy on all of us, while we address Thy most pure Mother: Rejoice, thou who didst see the most good Lord dead and without breath! Rejoice, thou who didst kiss the body of thy beloved Son! Rejoice, thou who didst see thy Light as a naked and wounded corpse! Rejoice, thou who didst place the Light of the world in the tomb! Rejoice, thou who didst wrap His body in a new shroud! Rejoice, thou who beheld His Resurrection from the dead! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Kontakion XIII (Thrice)
O All-hymned Mother, crushed by thy sorrow at the Cross of thy Son and God, accept our tears and expressions of sorrow and save from every sorrow, affliction, and eternal death, all those who hope in thine ineffable kindheartedness and cry out to God: Alleluia!
An angel announced the birth of the Saviour of the world to the shepherds in the Bethlehem and with the multitude of the heavenly hosts praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will among men!” But thou, O Mother of God, having nowhere to lay thy head, since there was no room in the inn, gave birth to thy first-born Son in a cave and, wrapping Him in swaddling clothes, laid Him in a manger. Knowing the pain in thy heart, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, for thou wast warmed by the breath of thy own beloved Son! Rejoice, for thou didst wrap the eternal Child in swaddling clothes! Rejoice, for thou didst nourish with thy milk the One who sustaineth the universe! Rejoice, for thou didst turn a cave into a heaven! Rejoice, for thou didst make thy throne upon the Cherubim! Rejoice, for thou didst remain a virgin both in giving birth and after birth! Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
We cry out with heartfelt emotion to the chosen Virgin Mary, far nobler than all the daughters of the earth, Mother of the Son of God, Who gave salvation to the world: Look at our life which is filled with every sorrow and remember the sorrow and pain which thou didst suffer as one born on earth with us, and do with us according to thy merciful heart, that we may cry unto thee: Rejoice, much-sorrowing Mother of God, turn our sorrows into joy and soften the hearts of evil men!
Prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God “The Softener of Evil Hearts”
O much-sorrowing Mother of God, more highly exalted than all other maidens, according to thy purity and the multitude of thy suffering endured by thee on earth: Hearken to our sighs and soften the hearts of evil men, and protect us under the shelter of thy mercy. For we know no other refuge and ardent intercessor apart from thee, but as thou hast great boldness before the One who was born of thee, help and save us by thy prayers, that without offence we may attain the Heavenly Kingdom where, with all the saints, we will sing the thriceholy hymn to One God Almighty in the Trinity, always now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion 1 O Chosen by the pre-eternal God, Queen of heaven and earth higher than all creation, who hast in days past entered praying into the Church of the Blachernae we, offering Thee with thanksgiving due veneration, flee with faith and compunction under Thy shining vestment for we lie in darkness. And Thou who hast invincible power dost set us free from every affliction that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Ikos 1 Archangels and angels with John the Forerunner, John the Divine and the choir of all the saints, were present with Thee, their Queen, in the Church of the Blachernae and hearing Thy moving supplication for all the world, they cried out with wonder as follows: Rejoice, O pre-eternal good will of God the Father Who has no beginning of days. Rejoice, timeless and most pure who contained God the Son. Rejoice, Thou chosen dwelling-place of God the all-holy Spirit. Rejoice, Thou never-ceasing wonder of the angelic hosts on high. Rejoice, Thou all-threatening terror of the dark forces of hell. Rejoice, Thou whom the many-eyed cherubim meet in the air. Rejoice, Thou to whom the six-winged seraphim ascribe praises. Rejoice, Thou whose most precious veil we born on earth thankfully venerate. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 2 Saint Andrew with Epiphanios having seen Thee inside the Church praying God in the air for all Christians, acknowledged Thee to be the Mother of Christ our God Who ascended into heaven and falling to the ground they joyfully venerated Thine all-precious veil, crying: Alleluia!
Ikos 2 Thou, O Theotokos Virgin art knowledge unknowable in defense of Orthodox people. Therefore our enemies know not how strong is the prayer of the Mother of God: while we well aware of Thine all-mighty protection cry to Thee with tender feeling: Rejoice, Most merciful Comforter of all the afflicted and heavy laden. Rejoice, never sleeping Guide of all those who have strayed and gone blind. Rejoice, Thou who by Thy supplication dost swiftly appease the wrath of God rightly poured out on us. Rejoice, Thou who by an all-powerful behest dost tame our evil passions. Rejoice, strong waker of sleeping consciences. Rejoice, easy overcomer of sinful practices. Rejoice, Thou for whose sake hell groans and the spirits of evil tremble. Rejoice, Thou for whose sake the gates of paradise are opened to all. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 3 Power from on high overshadows those who run for refuge with faith and reverence to Thy precious protection: for to Thee alone, O all holy and all pure only Mother of God is it given that every petition of Thine be fulfilled. Therefore the faithful of all ages glorify Thee and Thy Son, crying: Alleluia!
Ikos 3 O Lady, having a never-failing wealth of mercy, Thou dost stretch the hand of help to all the ends of the earth: and dost give healing to the sick, relief to the suffering, sight to the blind, and to all everything that is expedient for them as they cry aloud in thanksgiving: Rejoice, indestructible fortress and bulwark of Orthodox kingdoms. Rejoice, principle adornment of holy churches and altars. Rejoice, truest guard of holy monasteries. Rejoice, vigilant Helper of stouthearted city governors. Rejoice, unconquerable Leader of Christian captains and armies. Rejoice, holy mirror of justice for judges who take no bribes. Rejoice, perfect knowledge for teachers and those who bring up children. Rejoice, Blessing of pious homes and families. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 4 O Lady, Thou dost help us held fast by a storm of many afflictions: for Thou dost stand before the altar of the Lord, lifting Thine hands and praying that the Lord of glory look down on our unworthy prayer and hearken to the petitions of those who call upon Thy holy Name crying to Thy Son: Alleluia!
Ikos 4 The Lord God heard Joshua, son of Nun, praying and He commanded the sun to stand still until he defeat the enemy. The Lord Jesus now hears Thy supplication, O chosen dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore we sinners, putting our trust in Thy protection, make bold to say to Thee, Mother of God: Rejoice, Thou who art lit by the Sun of the mind and who dost enlighten us with the light that never sets. Rejoice, Thou who hast illumined the whole earth by the brightness of Thy most pure soul. Rejoice, Thou who hast made glad the whole heavens by the purity of Thy body. Rejoice, Protector and Provider of the holy monasteries of Christ. Rejoice, Thou who art the strength and understanding of the pastors of the Church. Rejoice, Guide of God-fearing monks and nuns. Rejoice, untroubled rest of the pious aged. Rejoice, secret gladness of pure virgins and widows. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 5 When Moses who saw God lifted his arms while the battle with Amalek raged, Israel overcame and when he let his hands fall, Amalek was victorious and strengthened by those who hold up his arms, Israel defeated the enemy: and Thou, O Mother of God, having raised Thine hands in supplication, even though no man hold them up, dost always conquer the enemies of Christ and art an invincible shield for us who cry: Alleluia!
Ikos 5 The assemblies of saints when they had seen Thee in the air inside the church of the Blachernae stretching Thy hands in prayer to Thy Son and God, sang Thee a song in thanksgiving with the archangels and angels: while we, our hands fortified by Thee made stronger than the arms of Moses, cry aloud with compunction: Rejoice, Thou whose love and mercy towards us alone hold up Thine hands for us. Rejoice, Thou before Whom our enemies, visible and invisible, cannot stand. Rejoice, Thou who drivest away the dark hordes of our passions and lusts. Rejoice, Thou who holdest in Thine hand without being consumed, the divine fire of Christ and who with it dost set us in our coldness aflame. Rejoice, Thou who crownest with a fair crown of chastity those who fight against the flesh. Rejoice, Thou perpetual Converser with those who strive in fasting and silent prayer. Rejoice, Thou speedy Comforter of those who fall from despair and sadness. Rejoice, Thou who dost by grace provide us with humility and patience. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 6 Saint Roman the Melodion, appeared as an unfailing proclaimer of Thy grace and mercy when he had received from Thee in a dream a paper roll to swallow: for thereby made wise, he began to sing with skill in Thine honour and to write praises for the saints, calling out with faith: Alleluia!
Ikos 6 O Virgin, Maid of God, who hast shone forth the Dawn from the true Sun of righteousness, enlightening all with the wisdom of Thy God and Son and who leadest all to knowledge of the truth those who cry to Thee: Rejoice, Thou who hast given birth to Christ in the flesh, Power of God and wisdom of God. Rejoice, Thou who hast confounded the foolish wisdom of this world, and who hast guided those blinded by it on the way of truth. Rejoice, Preserver of our holy faith and teacher of Orthodox dogma. Rejoice, Uprooter of impious heresies and corrupting divisions. Rejoice, Thou who well knowest secret and unforeseen difficulties and dost tell those whom it is proper about them. Rejoice, thou who puttest to shame false seers and vain divining. Rejoice, Thou who in the hour of perplexity dost put a good thought in our hearts. Rejoice, Thou who dost turn us from perilous purposes and senseless desires. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 7 The all-seeing, long-suffering Lord, wishing to manifest the unsearchable deep of His mercies and love for mankind, chose Thee alone to be His Mother, and made Thee into an invincible defense for His people: that even though one of them appear worthy of condemnation by the righteous judgement of God, yet all the more shall he be preserved for repentance by Thy mighty protection, crying: Alleluia!
Ikos 7 O Lord, Thou hast shown in Thine all-pure Mother, how wonderful are Thy works when Her most marvellous veil was revealed in Her hand shining brighter than the rays of the sun and with it She protected the people in the Church of Blachernae: for hearing of such a sign of Her defense, held by fear and joy, all say: Rejoice, thou veil not made by hand of man that is spread over the whole world like a cloud. Rejoice, Thou who dost hold in Thine hands the banner of Thy Son, the pre-eternal Bishop. Rejoice, Thou who hast thereby made manifest a new mercy and new grace in the Orthodox Church. Rejoice, pillar of cloud who protects all of us in the world from temptations and scandals. Rejoice, pillar of fire amidst the darkness, showing us all the path of salvation. Rejoice, visible strength of manifest strivers for godliness. Rejoice, secret Giver of understanding to the secret servants of God in this world. Rejoice, Thou who also leavest not without Thy grace and protection me who am stripped of all good works. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 8 Angels sang Thy praises when Thou didst appear in wondrous wise from heaven in the Church of the Blachernae and apostles gave Thee glory. The choir of holy Bishops and monks and the band of holy women extolled Thee, the Forerunner with John the Divine venerated Thee, and the people present in the Church cried aloud with joy: Alleluia!
Ikos 8 The Lord Who reigns over all things above and below, when He had seen Thee, His Mother, standing in the Church and praying with tender feeling to Him, said: Ask, O my Mother, because I shall never turn from Thee but will fulfil all Thy petitions and teach all to sing to Thee in thanksgiving: Rejoice, Ark of the law in which is kept the sanctification of all mankind. Rejoice, all-holy Jar in which the bread of eternal life is preserved for those who hunger for righteousness. Rejoice, all-golden Vessel in which the flesh and blood of the divine Lamb are prepared for us. Rejoice, Thou who dost receive in Thine all-powerful arms those forsaken by the physicians. Rejoice, Thou who dost raise from their bed of sickness those crippled in body but not in spirit and faith. Rejoice, Thou who givest a new and better understanding to those who are perishing from infirmity of mind. Rejoice, Thou who dost wisely trip us up on the stubborn path of sin and passion. Rejoice, Thou who dost turn to mercy the cruelty of our unrepentant hearts. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 9 The whole assembly of angels offers Thee praises, Thou true Mother of God and Defender of all who run to Thee, knowing how with Thine unfailing protection Thou dost Rejoice the righteous, protect and deliver the poor, and pray for all the faithful crying: Alleluia!
Ikos 9 The wordy orators, become as dumb fish, are at a loss as to how to praise as is due, the great feast of Thine all-precious protection: for all the things said by them about Thee suffice not to number Thy mercies alone. And we, seeing Thy good works without number, cry with gladness: Rejoice, Thou who dost guard us from the deadly plague in which all perish. Rejoice, Thou who dost preserve cities and villages from sudden earthquakes. Rejoice, Thou who dost lead us out with Thy strong arm from flood and drowning. Rejoice, Thou who by the dew of Thy prayers dost deliver us from the kindling of fire. Rejoice, Thou who dost provide against hunger of soul and body by the Bread of life. Rejoice, Thou who dost lead away from our heads the blows of lightning and thunder. Rejoice, Thou who dost save us from the attacks of strangers and secret murderers. Rejoice, Thou who dost guard us with peace and love against family quarrels and the enmities of those of our own blood. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 10 Wishing to save mankind from the error of the enemy, the Lord Who loves mankind gave us on earth Thee His Mother to be our help, protection and defense, for Thee to be the Comforter of those that sorrow, the Joy of the afflicted, the Defender of the injured, and to raise all from the depth of sin, singing: Alleluia!
Ikos 10 “O King of heaven,” spoke the all-pure Queen in prayer as She stood with the angels, “do Thou accept every man praying to Thee and calling upon my name for help, that he go not away from my face empty and unheard.” Hearing this most good supplication, the assemblies of the saints cried in thanksgiving: Rejoice, Thou who crownest with blessed fruits the husbandmen pure in hand and heart. Rejoice, Succour and righteous Rewarder for all those who honestly trade. Rejoice, Reprover before all nations of those who keep not their oaths and whose gains are unjust. Rejoice, unexpected Helper of those in distress in their travels by land and water. Rejoice, Thou who makest glad with the fruits of faith and the spirit childless couples. Rejoice, unseen Tutor of motherless orphans. Rejoice, strong Defender of those in captivity and exile. Rejoice, ever-watchful Guardian of those sitting in bonds and prison. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 11 Hearing a most moving song and attending to Thy prayer for us, we beg Thee, O Virgin Theotokos, look not away from the voices of Thy servants for we run to Thee in assaults and affliction and in our distress we pour out our tears before Thee, crying: Alleluia!
Ikos 11 Seeing Thee in the air inside the Blachernae Church burning in prayer as a candle aflame with light, I gave voice together with a multitude of people there present: how can this be that the Mother of my Lord has come to me? And Saint Andrew with Epiphanios prayed warmly to Thee, crying: Rejoice, abundant Giver of all spiritual and bodily gifts. Rejoice, true Advocate of sinners who have started to repent. Rejoice, perpetual Champion of those fighting with enemy passions and intents. Rejoice, invisible Tamer of cruel and bestial masters. Rejoice, secret Rest and Consolation of humble and suffering servants. Rejoice, most longed-for Fulfiller of blessed marriages. Rejoice, swift and painless relief of mothers in childbirth. Rejoice, our only Help in the hour of death. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 12 Ask Thy Son to give us divine grace; stretch towards us a helping hand; ward off from us every enemy and adversary and give our lives peace that we parish not grievously without repentance, but accept us, O our Protector, in the eternal mansions, that, rejoicing we may cry to Thee: Alleluia!
Ikos 12 Singing the praises of Thy mighty protection, we praise Thee for Thou art to us all our firm Advocate and we venerate Thee who dost pray for us: for we believe and we trust that Thou wilt beg of Thy Son and God eternal and temporal good things for all who cry thus to Thee with love: Rejoice, strong Defense of the whole inhabited earth. Rejoice, sanctification of all the earthly and heavenly elements. Rejoice, Thou Blessing of all the seasons of the year. Rejoice, Thou Conqueror of all assaults and temptations that come from the world, the flesh and the devil. Rejoice, unhoped for Reconciliation of those who are at daggers drawn. Rejoice, Amendment without their knowledge of unrepentant sinners. Rejoice, Thou who dost not turn away those despised and forsaken by all. Rejoice, Thou who dost pluck from the pit of destruction those that indeed despair. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 13 [3 times] O all-praised Mother, Most pure Lady, Virgin, Theotokos, to Thee do I lift up the eyes of my soul and body, to Thee do I stretch forth my hands grown feeble and I cry from the depth of my heart: look down on the faith and humility of my soul; shelter me with Thy almighty protection, that I be saved from all assault and distress, and in the hour of my death, be by me, O Thou all-blessed, and deliver me from the torment prepared for me because of my sins, that, venerating Thee, I may ever cry: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ikos 1 Repeated Archangels and angels with John the Forerunner, John the Divine and the choir of all the saints, were present with Thee, their Queen, in the Church of the Blachernae and hearing Thy moving supplication for all the world, they cried out with wonder as follows: Rejoice, O pre-eternal good will of God the Father Who has no beginning of days. Rejoice, timeless and most pure who contained God the Son. Rejoice, Thou chosen dwelling-place of God the all-holy Spirit. Rejoice, Thou never-ceasing wonder of the angelic hosts on high. Rejoice, Thou all-threatening terror of the dark forces of hell. Rejoice, Thou whom the many-eyed cherubim meet in the air. Rejoice, Thou to whom the six-winged seraphim ascribe praises. Rejoice, Thou whose most precious veil we born on earth thankfully venerate. Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
Kontakion 1 Repeated O Chosen by the pre-eternal God, Queen of heaven and earth higher than all creation, who hast in days past entered praying into the Church of the Blachernae we, offering Thee with thanksgiving due veneration, flee with faith and compunction under Thy shining vestment for we lie in darkness. And Thou who hast invincible power dost set us free from every affliction that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by Thy precious Veil.
O all-holy Virgin, Mother of the Lord of the hosts on high, Thou Queen of heaven and earth and almighty Defender of our country, accept from us Thine unworthy servants this song of praise and thanksgiving and bring our prayer up to the throne of Thy God and Son, that He be merciful towards our unrighteousness, and extend His grace to those who honour Thy name and venerate with faith and love Thy wonder-working ikon. For we are not worthy to be forgiven by Him hadst Thou, O Lady, not made Him merciful towards us, for all things from Him are possible to Thee. Therefore we run to Thee as Thou art our swift and undoubted Protector. Hear us who pray to Thee: overshadow us with Thine almighty veil and ask from Thy God and Son zeal and vigilance for our shepherds, wisdom and strength for the souls of those who govern our cities, righteousness and impartiality for our judges, understanding and humility for our leaders, love and concord for the married, obedience for our children, patience for those who have been offended, the fear of God for those that offend, stoutheartedness for the afflicted, restraint for those that rejoice, and for all of us the spirit of understanding and godliness, the spirit of mercy and meekness, the spirit of chastity and truth. Yea, O all-holy Lady, be merciful towards Thy feeble people: gather together the dispersed, guide on the right way those that have gone astray, uphold old age, make the young pure, bring up the children and look down upon all of us with the care of Thy merciful protection. Raise us from the depth of sin and enlighten the eyes of our hearts to see salvation. Be merciful to us both here and yonder, during our wandering in the land of this earth and at the Last Judgement of Thy Son: and make our fathers and brothers who have departed this life live the eternal life with the angels and all the saints. For Thou, O Lady, art the glory of those in heaven and the trust of those on earth. After God, Thou art the hope and Defender of all who flee to Thee with faith. We then pray to Thee and to Thee as our almighty Helper, do we commend ourselves and one another, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
The special service at the end of the All-night vigil or the rite of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was established in Jerusalem shortly after the Finding of the Cross. In memory of that event and the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Lectionary of the 5th century in Armenian language tells about the rite of the Exaltation of the Cross in front of the praying masses. In the Georgian version of the Lectionary of the 5-7th centuries there is a detailed description of this rite. It was held on September, 14(old calendar) and began at the third hour after the sunrise. The priests came into the sacristy, then vested, decorated the Cross (sometimes even three Crosses) and laid it on the altar stone. The rite included three episodes of exaltation (elevation) of the Cross. Each elevation was preceded by the prayers and chants and was accompanied by fifty “Lord, have mercy upon us” prayers. After the third elevation, the Cross was washed with aroma water, and people were allowed to venerate the Holy Cross. Then the Cross was placed into the altar stone again and the liturgy began.
By the 6th century the rite of the Exaltation was already known and performed not only in Jerusalem, but in other corners of the Christian world as well. According to the post-iconoclastic Great Church Typicon, in the Saint Sofia Church the Exaltation rite was held during the matins after the troparions to the Cross. The rite itself is described shortly: the Patriarch was standing on the ambon (a small rise with the stairs in the center of the church) while raising the Cross, at the same time people were exclaiming “Lord, have mercy upon us”. This was repeated three times. The picture of the priest raising the Cross became the traditional image of the feast’s iconography.
The Constantinople rite is described in the Dresden and Paris copies of the Great Church Typicon: during the matins the Patriarch with the Cross went to the ambon accompanied by the skevophylax or chaltulary and the singers (who sang the troparion to the Cross). When the Patriarch reached the ambon, he put the Cross on a small table and made three prostrations. Then the Patriarch began the rite, which consisted of three cycles. Each cycle included 5 raisings of the Cross. At first, the Patriarch came to the eastern side of the ambon and raised here the Cross. At the same time the deacons and all the other people exclaimed “Lord, have mercy upon us” 100 times. During the last three times of reading the prayer, the Patriarch made the sign of Cross to the East three times. Then the Cross was raised in the same manner to the South, the West, the North, and aging to the East. After a short rest, the Patriarch repeated the same actions, but the prayer was read 80 times for the second cycle and 60 times for the third cycle. After that people sang the Kontakion to the Cross and then the liturgy began.
In the Typicon of the Studite tradition, the rite of Exaltation is based on the Constantinople type, but is slightly simplified. It is included into the final part of the matins. Instead of three cycles there was only one, consisting of five raisings – twice to the East and one time for the other sides of the world.
According to the Studite-Alexian Typicon the rite was held in the end of matins after the reading of the Trisagion, the Troparion to the Cross and bowing to the Cross. The rite began with singing the three Troparions; the Cross was elevated by father superior in the altar from different sides of the world (the East, the North, the West, the South, and again the East). After the rite a litany was proclaimed and the first hour began.
According to the Typicon of Evergetis the rite was held not in the altar, but in the church. After the Troparion to the Cross the priest made three times the sign of the Cross to the East and sang loudly “Lord, have mercy upon us” three times as well. Then he was raising the Cross slowly while singing the rest 97 times. After that the sacred action repeated to the other sides of the world: South, West, North, East. In the Typicon of Saint George the Hagiorite describes two versions of the rite. The first one corresponds to the one described in the Typicon of Evergetis (but the order of the sides is different: East, North, West, South, East). The second version tells that the rite was held by the Patriarch, and its features underline the connection with the Great church (the chants after the entrance during the praises).
In the Jerusalem statute, adopted in the Orthodox Church in 13-15th centuries, the rite preserves the features, which are known from the Studite scriptures: it is held at the matins after the great praise and the Troparion to the Cross. The sign of Cross is made five times and the Cross is raised to the sides of the world (East, South, West, North, East). But there is an important change – five petitions by a deacon are included (at the time when the sign of Cross is made), and after each of them “Lord, have mercy upon us” is sung. Moreover, according to the Jerusalem statute, before raising the Cross the priest has to lean to the floor so that his head will be not higher that 20 cm above the floor. In the second part of the 17th century, when the liturgical literature was corrected in Russian Church, the order of the sides of the world was changed. The new order was: East, West, South, North, East. This order remains even today.
The rite of the Exaltation of the Cross is an inalienable part of the festal service. This can be proved by the variety of features, described in different scriptures. In some of them it is stated, that the rite can be held only by the Patriarch with the clergy, but according to the others a priest with a deacon can do this as well. For example, in 1301 the fathers of the Constantinople cathedral gave the answer to the question of Theognostus, the bishop of Saraysk, in which it was stated, that the rite can be led not only by a bishop, but also by a father superior. Saint Cyprian of Moscow wrote in his letter to the clergy of Novgorod, that the Cross should be elevated in any church, even if there is only one priest. The handwritten monastic Typicon of the 17th century says, that the rite should take place annually only in cathedrals, while in all other churches the rite in should be held only in case when the feast falls on Saturday or Sunday.
In old Moscow Typicon of 1641 it was written, that the Cross should be elevated only in cathedral churches and monasteries, while in average churches only worshipping of the Cross should take place. That instruction was later transferred to the new version of Typicon of 1682. Since that it is stated in all publications of the Russian Typicon. Nowadays in the Russian Church the rite takes place in all the cathedrals, while in monasteries and parishes it can be held with permission of the eparch. In the Church of Greece the rite can take place in any church.
According to certain manuscripts, when the rite of the Exaltation is held, the ektene of the matins can be cancelled, because some prayers of it are also included in the rite. Just like in the Jerusalem, the Cross is washed with aromatic water during the Exaltation.
The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death. – St. Irenæus
In our contemporary times, we unfortunately experience an increasing estrangement to the basic events of life and death. Both events are handed over more and more to people that offer their services, so that we don’t have to take care of it. While on one side, this is certainly a help and sometimes a necessity, in most cases, we get so distant to the beginning and end of life that we have more difficulties to relate to it; and especially when it comes to the end of life the ability to cope and grieve in the appropriate way, and keep a Christian attitude towards it.
In the Orthodox Church we believe that God is our Creator and the only Giver of Life, and the One that has the only authority to allow our death. Founded in this basic truth, the Orthodox Church is guiding her children from their birth, throughout their life, and until the grave.
When it comes to the end of our life, it is important to know how the Orthodox Church is providing for her members and what steps one should know how to plan for this (as much as one is able to plan for it). The following guide is an attempt to give some guidance. Specific steps might need adjustments in specific cases. Your priest is the one that can guide you in those cases.
The care of a dying person actually starts before death occurs. If a person is ill, and cannot attend church anymore, a priest should be contacted so that he is able to visit on a regular basis throughout the sickness. He is there to give comfort in prayer, offer confession, and holy communion to the sick.
The mystery of Holy Unction should also be considered. This mystery is offered for severe illnesses and is usually administered only once during an illness. It should not be treated as a “last rite” mystery, but rather administered during the earlier stages of the illness. This mystery does not require a terminal illness, but is for severe illnesses where we beseech God in a special way to ask for healing and comfort.
If death is imminent, a priest should again be called immediately; if the death is sudden, then as soon as one has knowledge about it. The priest will come and say prayers for the departing of the soul from the body, listen, and offer comfort to the person about to die, and of course to the people present with him. If the person is still conscious, confession and Holy Communion will again be offered.
After the death, the priest will serve the first panakhida (memorial service) for the departed right at the place of death.
There is no reason to rush to get a funeral home. There is time for the people present to say their good byes and get adjusted about what happened. As it was normal to hold someone’s hands while they were sick, it is perfectly fine to touch the body after the soul departed it.
A funeral home will most likely take care of preparing the body for the funeral. In some states it is required to engage a funeral director, but which particular services one asks for are not regulated by law. Some funeral homes have their own in-house regulations, but it can widely differ from funeral home to funeral home, and most of the time it can also be negotiated.
To spare doing this at the time of death, where one is more vulnerable and occupied by a grieving mind, it is best to plan this ahead of time, with, for example, a funeral plan.
In planning for the funeral, the following considerations should be observed for an Orthodox funeral:
Out of deep respect for the creation of God, as that body was created by God Himself, and was the “temple of the Holy Spirit” by Holy Chrismation, the Orthodox Church is not allowing cremation. A funeral with cremains is not possible, and neither is a funeral where it is known that the body will be cremated afterwards.
It is very common in the U.S. to embalm bodies. Embalming is not the preferred way to treat a body in the Orthodox Church, but it would not be considered a hinderance to an Orthodox funeral. Funeral Home regulations will often prevent having an open casket funeral if the body is not embalmed, but it should be noted clearly that there is no federal or state law that requires embalming. Alternative ways of slowing down the decomposition of the body (refrigeration, dry ice) are preferred.
Especially if death was sudden, we are often tempted to make up our loss in elaborate outward adornment, specifically the casket. However, for an Orthodox Christian it is far more important to pray for the soul of the deceased. The casket should be simple, and modest, but dignified. A simple wooden pine casket with a cross on the lid is most appropriate. It would be ideal if the lid of the casket can be totally removed during the funeral. The person should be dressed in modest clothing, according to the choice of the relatives.
A simple cross, a burial shroud and a chaplet that will be put on the deceased after the funeral should be available. Icons of the Savior, the Theotokos, and the patron saint of the deceased are customary put into the casket as well.
It is customary to bring the body to the church, at the latest, the evening before the funeral. The casket is placed in the middle of the church, and the deceased is facing the altar. A panakhida is served and there is an opportunity to visit the deceased. When there is no service, family can participate in psalm reading which will provide a prayerful environment. The psalm reading can continue through the whole night with the deceased remaining in the church until the time of the funeral.
The next morning the funeral service will be held by the priest. The funeral service is a service for the deceased who needs our prayers, and equally for the attendees who will be educated what a Christian life is, and be comforted in their grief with the hope of the general resurrection. A sermon will be held by the priest. A eulogy by family and/or friends is not customary practice at an Orthodox funeral. If this is desired, there is time for this at the grave side after the committal of the body into the earth. At the end of the funeral, the priest will say the prayer of absolution over the deceased and everyone will come forward and give the “last kiss” to the deceased.
After the funeral service we will escort the body to the burial side while singing the Trisagion, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal have mercy on us!” Pall bearers can be chosen from family and friends.
Arriving at the place of burial, the priest will bless the grave (if it is not an Orthodox Cemetery) and a short burial service is be held. Ideally the casket will still be open at the grave side, so that the priest can anoint the body with oil. If that is not possible the priest will do that at the end of the funeral service in the church. The casket will be then lowered into the grave, and everyone will come forward to give their last respect in form of throwing dirt into the grave. In a traditional setting, if possible, the attendees of the burial will help close the grave while singing hymns of the resurrection. The grave side should be marked with a cross. The position of the casket should be that way that the deceased will be facing the cross on the burial side.
People who have attended an Orthodox funeral can testify that it is one of the most beautiful and rich services that the Orthodox Church offers. It is rich in theology and a bright witness of our faith in the resurrected Christ, the overthrow of eternal death, and the hope of the general resurrection. It reinforces that death will not separate us from our deceased, and that as we cared for them in their lifetime, we also care for them in their death, while our brethren are now waiting as planted seed of wheat in the ground, to be reunited in soul and body.