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GENERAL SERVICE FOR THE FESTIVALS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
AS WELL AS PREPARATIONS THERETO AND OCTAVES THEREOF.
At the Vespers, for O Lord, I have cried, the Stichera, Tone 6. Similar to: O Lord, the grave of Lazarus...
Thou, O Lord, that dost fill up every thing with Thy Divinity and through Thy clemency hast united Thyself unto men, one of the two natures being invisible,--hast become visible after Thy coming out of the pure one and dost shew the image of Thy bodily form in Thy (name of the event) ; thereunto having come we adore Thee, O Master, and knowing Thee as the Maker, we pray: Blessed art Thou, O Saviour, have mercy upon us. Twice.
O Lord, the incomprehensible mystery of Thine economy which was forecast from the beginning, Thou dost in Thy coming make known and in assurance thereof hast Thou shewn unto the world Thy divine (name of the event); Thou hast filled everything with joy and renewed afresh the nature of man, desiring to save him: Blessed art Thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Twice.
O Lord, most glorious is the condescension of Thy compassion! Dwelling on high in the bosom of the Father as indescribable and incomprehensible, on Thy coming to the earth-born Thou wast seen now; wherefore we honour Thy festival (name of the event), that Thou mayest deliver us from passions who on account of it honour Thee, the Master, that hast revivified us from death through sins. Blessed art Thou, O Saviour, have mercy upon us. Twice.
O Lord, Thou didst become incarnate as Thou desiredst, having been pleased to show both our indigence and abundance of Thy 2compassion, whereby Thou hast deified me--the earth. We glorify Thee, O Lover of man, seeing the example of Thine economy in Thy (name of the event). Do grant therewithal unhindered entry into Eden unto Thy servants, overlooking all their sins. Twice.
Glory...Both now... Tone 8:
O Master, Lover of man! Great is the depth of Thine economy; from generation to generation dost Thou benefit Thy creation; without forsaking the bosom of the Father, as man in the flesh didst Thou appear on earth and hast come calling all to repentance. As the King and God we adore Thee, since Thou destroyest our enemies and savest Thine endurable people who celebrate Thy honoured (name of the event.) The Prokeimenon of the day.
The Reading from the Book of Exodus (20, 12-18).
The Lord said unto Moses: Come up to Me into the mount and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written that thou mayest teach them. And Moses and his minister Joshua rose up and went up into the mount of God, and Moses said unto the elders: Tarry ye here for us until we come again unto you; and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And the seventh day the Lord called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud and gat him up into the mount; and was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
The Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy. (4, 1. 6-15).
Moses said unto the people: Now hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments which I teach you for to do them, that ye may live. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the3nations, which shall hear all these statutes and say: surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for. And now take heed to yourselves, all ye the house of Israel, and keep your souls diligently, lest ye forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your hearts all the days of your life. But teach them your sons and your sons' sons, specially the day that ye stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me: Gather me the people together and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. .And ye came near and stood under the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude, only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform. Aid the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments that ye might do them in the land. The Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire.
The Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (5, 1-7. 9. 10. 23-26. 28; 6, 1. 2. 4. 5. 13. 18).
Moses called all Israel, and said unto them: Hear, O Israel the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them and keep and do them: The Lord God made a covenant with you in Horeb, not with your fathers alone did the Lord make His covenant, but with you also. The Lord talked face to face in Horeb out of the midst of the fire, and I stood between the Lord and you at that time to declare unto you the words of the Lord saying: I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; there are no others gods beside Me, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments. And it came to pass when ye heard the voice out of the midst of fire, and the mountain did burn with fire, that ye all came near unto me,4and ye said: Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us His glory, and we have heard His voice out of the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God doth talk with man and he liveth. Now, why should we die? for this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the Lord speaking out of the midst of the fire, and liveth? And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spoke unto me, and I said unto you all the commandments, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord commanded you that ye might fear all His statutes, that He may be merciful unto you and that ye may increase in the land. Hear, Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy thought, with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy might; thou shalt fear Him and serve Him alone, cleave unto Him, thou shalt swear by His name and shalt do that which is good in His sight, that it may be well with thee.
With the Versicles, the Stichera, Tone 2. Similar to: O house of Ophrah...
The illumination hath come; the grace appeared and the deliverance arrived, the world hath been enlightened; be filled with joy, O ye people.
The Verse : God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. O sing ye, the kindreds of the nations, sending up praise and glory unto Christ the God, diligently hosting and glorifying Thy (name of the event)
The Verse: O Lord, I heard Thy speech and feared. The word of God by Whom all things were made, the Impassive and Ineffable, in one Hypostasis, but in two natures, hath come to save humanity.
Glory...Both now...Tone 8 : O Lord; desiring to fulfil what Thou host ordained from the beginning, Thou halt selected from among all Thy creatures ministers of Thy mystery: from angels -- Gabriel, from man --the Virgin, from heavens -- the star, from earth --the mountain, from wilderness -- the manger, from waters -- the Jordan in which Thou hast destroyed the impious deeds of5all; O our Saviour, glory to Thee. The Troparion of the Festival, but if there be none, say the general Troparion, Tone 2: Thine undefiled Icon we adore...
At the Matins, for God is the Lord, the same Troparion thrice.
After the 1 st Stichologia, the Cathisma, Tone 1. Similar to: Thy sepulchre...
Thy grace hath been poured upon us, O Saviour, when Thou, Incomprehensible One, becamest visible, and the darkness of illusion hath disappeared. Wherefore do Thou set our steps in the light of Thy countenance, so that, walking in accordance with Thy commandments, we may be made worthy to see Thee, the Light unapproachable. [Glory ...Both now ...the same.
After the 2nd Stichologia, the Cathisma, Tone 5. Similar to: The Co-unoriginate...
The Co-unoriginate Son of the Father and Ever-existing, Invisible in Thy nature and Intactable, having come under the conditions of time, Thou hast, through Thine ineffable goodness, left us, O Master, of Thy circumscribed body the sweet image in (name of the event) for the salvation of our souls. Glory ...Both now ...the same.
The Refrain (Magnificat) of the Festival.
After the Polyleon, the Cathisma, Tone 4. Similar to: Thou that hast ascended...
There is no longer lamentation in the countenance of Adam, since Adam was put on by His Maker, Who appeareth unto all in the likeness of Adam's countenance and moveth the communities of the pious unto love that they may with one voice hymn: Glory, O Master, Lover of man, to Thine extreme condescension.
Glory ...Both now...the Graduals, the 1st Antiphon of the
4th Tone. The Prokeimenon:
Lord, we shall walk in the light of Thy countenance, and in Thy name shall we rejoice unto the ages. The Verse : All the 6ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. The Gospel of the Festival that happeneth to be. After the 50th Psalm, the Sticheron, Tone 8. O Lord, desiring to fulfil.. . (see Glory...with the Versicles).
The Canon, Tone 4. The Heirmoi twice and the Troparia in 12.
Ode 1. The Heirmos :
Unto Him that of old hath instructed Israel running away from Pharaoh's bondage, and hath fed them in the wilderness, unto our God, the Deliverer, let us sing; for He is glorified.
On the day set apart for our festival let us, O people, open our mouths and expound with our tongues the divine manifestation of Christ our God in (name of the event) cheerfully singing: For He is glorified.
The Light Ever-existing, carrying out the words of the Father and desiring to shew His grace, hath taken the form of a servant for our sake and manifested Himself in the manner of His divine (name of the event), highly illumining us with light.
O come ye all, let us in faith celebrate Christ's (name of the event), and intelligently offering the divine melody, let us glorify Him and vociferate harmoniously: Christ is come unto the restoration of the darkened. Let us sing unto Him, for He is glorified. [The Theotokion :
This day's manifestation of the birth of the God incarnate we have truly learned through thee, O all-pure one, and honouring thee were accounted worthy to behold (name of the event) of thy Son; Whom supplicate to save us from every danger.
For the Catabasia either the Heirmoi of the Festival or the following :
Covered with divine darkness, the one slow of speech hath proclaimed the God-written law, for, having thrown the mire off his mental eye, he doth see the Existing One and acquireth knowledge of the Spirit, praising with divine songs.
Ode 3. The Heirmos:
Neither in wisdom, nor in power and riches we glory, but in Thee,O Christ, the Hypostatic Wisdom of the Father, for there is no one moreholy than Thou art, O Lover of man.
Master by nature, Thou, O Christ, didst unite Thyself unto7Thy servants and becamest visible, working for us various forms of salvation which we now glorify in Thy (name of the event), for there is no one more holy than Thou art, O Lover of man.
Thy people, O Christ, who are enlightened by the faith in Thee, brightly celebrate Thy divine festival (name of the event); honouring which we get delivered from dangers; vouchsafe unto us, O Saviour, the Kingdom of heaven also.
O Life Hypostatical ! Having now tasted of death in the flesh and thereby made life to flow unto the dead, Thou hast, O Christ, granted us as meditator of life Thine awaking and Thy (name of the event). [The Theotokion
The salvation hath before shone forth in the flesh out of thee in the world, and now unto the faithful through thee, O God's Mother, the life appeared in Christ's light-bearing (name of the event) ; for the sake thereof do, O Theotokos, supplicate thy Son to deliver us from dangers and from everlasting torments.
The Catabasia : The fetters of the childless womb, and the unbearable insults from a fruitful foe have of old been done away with in the case of Anna the prophetess solely by her prayer, brought with an afflicted spirit unto the Mighty One and God of wisdom.
The Cathisma, Tone 4. Similar to: Thou that wast
lifted up on the cross...
We implore Thee, O Master and Merciful Saviour, to deliver from all enemies both visible and invisible, from incursions of other nations and from all manner of dangers and confusion, us who in faith and with love celebrate Thy divine (name of the event) ; for the sake thereof do vouchsafe that we may obtain the enjoyment of eternal good things. [Glory ...Both now ...the same.
Ode 4. The Heirmos :
Perceiving the unfathomable divine council with regard to the incarnation from the virgin of Thee, the High One, the prophet Habbakuk called out: Glory to Thy might, O Lord.
The divine festival of One Who in the flesh drew so near unto men, as a light hath come to the newly elected Israel and enlighteneth to day the ends of the whole world by His (name of the event): Glory to Thy might, O Lord.
8Having been illumined, Moses was of old made worthy to see God's glory in Thy signs, and the new Israel doth now behold Thee, the Deliverer, clearly face to face: Glory to Thy might, O Lord.
Behold, all ye people, the wonderful things, rejoice now in spirit, hymning (name of the event) of Christ, Who hath appeared on earth unto men for their salvation: Glory to Thy might, O Lord. [The Theotokion
O most pure Theotokos, save us that flee unto thee and celebrate Thy Son's divine (name of the event), and always supplicate Him to grant us remission of sins. [The Catabasia
O King of Kings, Sole from the only One, the Only Word of the Uncaused Father, Thou in Thy bounty hast truly sent down Thy Co-equal in might Spirit upon the apostles that hymn Thee : Glory to Thy might, O Lord.
Ode 5. The Heirmos :
Thou Who hast dispersed the primordiate light that the works may in the light hymn Thee, O Christ, as the Creator, do in Thy light direct our paths.
Let us to-day clap our hands and shout with our voices the praises of the Lord, for, behold, He hath truly appeared, enlightening all the faithful with the divine (name of the event) of His most pure body.
The assemblies of the faithful are to-day enlightened and the bands of heretics put to shame at the sight of the adoration of (name of the event) of Christ, the Deliverer having assumed the bodily form.
The festivity is come and the great mystery hath shone forth light from the countenance of the Lord in the well-arranged festival of the divine (name of the event) of the Lord, for therewithal were granted unto all the captives peace and joy.
The Theotokion : Let the clouds drop sweetness from above unto the earthly, at thine intercession, O most holy Virgin; having taken compassion of the world, thy Son and our God hath to-day raised the horn of the Christians ; to-day hath He granted salvation unto the faithful by his divine (name of the event). [The Catabasia :
O ye, illustrious children of the church ! Receive the fire-breathing dew of the Spirit for the perfect purification of sins, for now from Zion hath gone forth the law -- the grace of the Spirit in the shape of the tongues of fire.
9Ode 6. The Heirmos :
Celebrating this divine and all-honourable feast of the Mother of God, come ye Godly-wise, let us clap our hands, glorifying the God that was born of her.
Life hath shone forth unto the dead, and light hath come unto those that were already blind, and unto those grievously afflicted hath sprung up a cure, and salvation hath come nigh unto all through the lightbearing (name of the event) of Christ.
Let every intelligence rejoice, now clearly seeing the spiritual festival of the divine (name of the event), which doth shed enlightenment unto those that adore Him.
O Lord, the heavens, seeing Thee, declare Thy glory, O Jesus Christ, they call together all Thy faithful to the hymning of Thy divine (name of the event), and those that are to come unto the knowledge of true repentance. [The Theotokion :
O Mother of God ! there appeared unto the nations a sign and sure salvation, O pure Virgin, in the light of the honoured (name of the event) of Thy Son; Him supplicate to save us that recall Thee, and deliver from dangers and incursions of pagans with thine intercessions. [The Catabasia :
O Christ! Thou hast shone forth from the Virgin unto us, O Master, as propitiation and salvation, that, just as once the prophet Jonah out of the belly of a sea-monster, Thou mightest rescue from corruption Adam, fallen with all his race.
The Contakion of the Festival; but if there be none, say the
following Contakion, Tone 2:
O uncircumscribed Word of the Father! knowing Thine undrawn by hand, but God-made icon to be the trophy of Thine ineffable and divine economy respecting men and of Thine undoubted incarnation, we honour Thee in kissing it.
The Oikos: Giving assurance unto men of the mystery of His incarnation, the Lord becometh Himself circumscribed by His God-and-man form; the Archetype thereof doth He seat on the Father's throne to be worshipped of the bodiless angels, and the adoration of an image of the Archetype hath He granted unto us; which embracing with our souls and hearts, we honour Him in kissing it.10
Ode 7. The Heirmos :
The Abrahamic youths have once in Babylon trodden under their feet the flame of the furnace, calling out in songs: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.
Every city and country rejoice together with the new Zion in faithful celebration; for the King of her glory, Christ, hath come in the form of His venerable festival (name of the event) and saveth those that adore Him and vociferate: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.
The sayings of the God-voiced prophets have been fulfilled in the Holy Scriptures, for now we see the accomplishment in Christ's (name of the event); thereby is the world enlightened and with its brilliant shine are saved those that sing: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou. [The Theotokion :
With the earthly the heavenly are rejoicing, and the multitude of all the saints participate in the rejoicings ; both the kings and princes, the rich and poor -- we are all celebrating; for Christ hath prepared for us an enlightenment in the picture of His festival -- the god-effecting similitude which He hath received from the Virgin. (The Catabasia :
Harmoniously have once resounded the instruments in honour of the golden-made, lifeless idol, and the light-bearing grace of the Comforter doth animate to the vociferation : O Sole Trinity, equal in might, unoriginate, blessed art Thou.
Ode 8. The Heirmos :
The youths in Babylon, burning with the divine zeal, have manfully scorned both the tyrant and the flame, and being thrown into the midst of the fire, but bedewed, sung : Bless the Lord, all ye the works of the Lord.
Being perfect God by nature, Thou wast seen a perfect man also, preserving in both natures their properties, and as God giving assurance of the divine (name of the event) in the flesh; Him adoring we sing: Bless the Lord, all ye the works of the Lord.
Exalt the horn, O Word of God, of those who confess Thee to be God and man and who glorify Thy (name of the event), wherewith Thou hast vouchsafed unto all the faithful the life eternal and made of no effect the rage of the pagans, haters of Thy divine might.
The new law shineth and the church is adorned, for the light11of Thy divine glory, O Christ the God, hath gone forth and manifested Thy light-like countenance in Thy (name of the event) unto the salvation of Thy people that vociferate unto Thee: Bless the Lord, all ye the works of the Lord. [The Theotokion:
O Thou, restoration of the fallen, joy of the despairing, instructress of those gone astray, healer of the sick and salvation for all Christians -- do preserve, O Sovereign-Lady Theotokos, us that honour (name of the event) of Thy Son; supplicate of Him that we may be delivered from the incursions of foreign nations.
The Catabasia: The triply-shining form of Godhead looseth the chains and bedeweth the flame; the youths hymn and the whole creation blesseth the Only Saviour and Maker as Benefactor.
Ode 9. The Heirmos :
Thy bringing forth hath proved incorrupt : God hath passed out of thy loins, as flesh-bearer did He appear on earth and hath lived among men ; wherefore we all magnify thee, O Theotokos.
Let us sing an ode of thanksgiving unto the Lord who was pleased to grant us exceedingly abundant riches in (name of the event) of His divine flesh which in battles affordeth so strong a support and honouring which we the faithful magnify Thee.
O the wonders above understanding which Thou, O Lord, hast made for us that trust in Thee! For just as (name of the event) was, Thou hast ineffably and awfully shown unto all the image thereof; do deliver those that honour it, from every anger and fall.
O Word of God, Wisdom and Might and Image of the Father! O God comprehensible! Do make us worthy to accomplish the joyful celebration of Thy festival (name of the event) in the light of good works, spiritually magnifying Thee.
The Theotokion : Truly thy height, O most pure one, is that of the mystery of God and the depth that of the divine and ineffable wisdom. For the Most High was unspeakably born of thee and the Invisible One became Visible in His fleshly (name of the event); adoring which we the faithful magnify thee.
The Catabasia : Hail thou, O Queen, the glory of both mother and maiden, for no mouth, however fluent and well-spoken, can be so eloquent as worthily to hymn thee, and every mind faileth to comprehend thy bringing forth; wherefore we with one voice glorify thee.12
The Photagogicon. Similar to: Hear, O ye women...
A mystery -- the greatest and withheld from angels, through the benevolence of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit was accomplished as a fulfilment of prophecy: the Unoriginate Word having accepted an origin, as a man was born of the Virgin for the salvation of the world and unto the redemption of mankind. Thrice.
With the Lands, the Stichera. Tone 1. Similar to: Of the heavenly orders...
O come ye all, let us in faith celebrate Christ's (name of the event), and offering intelligent hymns expressive of divine doxology, let us with one voice call out: Christ is come -- the salvation and restoration unto the earth. [Twice.
O come, let us with festive odes and mental rectitude glorify the (name of the event) of Christ, for being of equal honour with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He hath put on our compound on account of His commiseration; which we unspeakably celebrate together with the angels.
Let us with our mouths proclaim, on cymbals and in odes acclaim: The (name of the event) of Christ hath appeared; the preaching of the prophets hath found its fulfilment, since they foreannounced His appearance in the flesh among men, for our salvation and restoration.
Glory ...Both now... Tone 1. The Idiomelic Sticheron:
O come, let us, O people, celebrate Christ's (name of the event), let us concentrate our minds and feelings and we shall see Him who hath taken His flesh from the pure Virgin, being perfect Son both in his Godhead and humanity; wherefore let us call: O Holy God -- the Father Unoriginate, O Holy Mighty -- the Son Incarnate, O Holy Immortal -- the Comforting Spirit -- the Holy Trinity -- glory to Thee.
The great Doxology and the Dismission. At the Liturgy, with the Beatitudes, the Odes 3rd and 6th of the Canon.13
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