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GENERAL SERVICE TO JOHN, PRECURSOR, PROPHET AND BAPTIST OF THE LORD.
For O Lord, I have cried, the Stichera, Tone 8. Similar to: O most glorious wonder...
O blessed John the precursor, sincere friend of the Master, who in the waters of the Jordan didst touch with thy hand His all-purest crown, do thou always bring up in love to the Lord my humble soul by thy holy intercessions, extinguish the fire of things that are sweet unto me, leading me to the performance of the divine injunctions and truly cleansing the senses of my heart, that I may glorify thee.
O thou, offspring of barrenness and Master's garden of purity, of men the ornament, the baptist of the Lord, all-praised John the precursor, the divine guardian of my humble soul, do vouchsafe unto me graciousness through thine intercessions, delivering me from the serpent, his crafty and wily slanders and attacks.
Thou art the sweetest of all and full of the divine sweetness, O prophet ever-glorious, and thou makest glad all those who come unto thee in faith, sweetening their senses both of the soul and body, and undoing for us the bitterness of maladies and afflictions, of attacks from the evil one, and of all the soul destroying dainties. [Glory...Tone 4:
To-day appeared the great precursor, that hath come from the barren womb of Elizabeth, a prophet, the greatest of all the prophets, there is no other, nor hath one ever arisen; since after the precursor -- the lamp there followed Light the most resplendent, and after the voice the Word, and after the Bridegroom's leader the Bridegroom. He was preparing for the Lord the multitude of people and was preliminarily cleansing them with water unto the Spirit; he was Zacharia's offspring and good pupil of wilderness, the preacher of repentance and of transgressions the cleansing. He hath announced unto those in the 48 hades the resurrection from the dead and doth intercede for our souls. Both now...The Theotokion of the resurrection: The Prophet David, that through thee hath become God's ancestor... The Entrance. The Prokeimenon of the day.
The Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (40, 1-3, 9; 41, 17-18; 45, 7-8; 48, 20-21; 54, 1).
Thus saith the Lord: Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith the God. Speak ye, priests, unto the heart of Jerusalem, cry unto her that her humiliation is at an end, since her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight the paths for our God. Get thee up into the high mountain, O Zion, that bringest good tidings; lift up thy voice with strength, O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift it up, be not afraid: I am the Lord God, I will hear the poor of Israel and will not forsake them, but will cause rivers to flow in high places and fountains in the midst of the fields. I will turn the wilderness into meadow and the dry land into water-springs. Let heaven above rejoice and let clouds sprinkle down righteousness; let the earth shine and let mercy shoot forth and let righteousness spring up together. With a voice of singing declare ye, and let it be heard, utter it even to the end of the earth, say ye: The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob, and if they thirst in the wilderness, He will cause water to flow out of the rock for them. Sing, O barren one, thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail, for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife.
The Reading from the Prophet Malachi (3, 1-7.12, 18; 4, 4-6).
Thus saith the Lord Almighty: Behold I will send My messenger before Thy countenance, and he shall prepare the way before Thee. And the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, but who may abide the day of His coming? for He shall come like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap, and He shall purify by consuming and purging as gold and silver. And He shall come unto you for judgment, and will be a swift witness against the evil ones, and against 49 the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that deprive the hireling of his wages, and against those that oppress the widows and push away the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Him, with the Lord Almighty, for I am the Lord your God and I will not change. And ye the sons of Jacob are gone away from the law and have not kept it. Wherefore return unto Me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord Almighty, and all nations shall call you blessed. Learn ye that I am the Lord that doth discern between the righteous and the wicked, in that day wherein I shall affectionately meet those that love Me. Learn then and remember ye the law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the Tishbite before the coming of the great and illustrious day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the father to his son and the heart of man unto his neighbour, lest I come and smite the earth swiftly, saith the Lord Almighty, the Holy God of Israel.
The Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon (Chapters 4, 7. 16. 17. 19-20; 5, 1-7).
The righteous man if he happen to die early shall be at rest, and the dying righteous man shall bring judgment unto the wicked living, for they will see the end of the righteous one and will not understand what is destined for him. And the Lord will hurl the wicked down voiceless and will remove them from their foundations, and they shall pass away unto the last in sorrow and their memory shall vanish, for they shall come in dread unto the realization of their sins, and their transgressions shall convict them to their faces. Then the righteous man will stand up in great boldness before those who offended him and despised his works. At the sight of him they will be agitated with great fear and will feel astonished at his glorious salvation; for, repenting and sighing from the oppression of the spirit, they shall speak within themselves, saying: this is he whom we laughed at and held in scorn; we were so foolish as to account his life as madness and his end dishonourable;50 how, then, is he now numbered unto the sons of God and his lot is cast among the holy? We have therefore wandered away from the right path, and the light of truth bath not illumined us, and the sun hath not shone unto us; we were full of the wicked ways and perdition, and walked in the unpassable paths, but did not comprehend God's ways.
For Versicles the Stichera, Tone 2:
Do thou, O proclaimer of Christ and baptist, angel, apostle, martyr, prophet, precursor, lamp, nearest friend, of prophets the seal, the most honoured among the born ones, mediator of both the ancient and the new covenant, joyful voice of the Word, -- with thy holy intercessions support our prayerful exertions before the Merciful God.
The Versicle: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel. He hath visited and hath wrought the deliverance unto His people. Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world -- hast cried out thou, O blessed precursor, when thou didst see Christ walking on earth; Him, therefore, entreat to grant the remission of sins unto those that honour thee, for thou, O Baptist, dost truly possess a great boldness as the mediator of the law and the grace.
The Versicle : And thou, O youth, shalt be called blessed. Make haste and snatch me away from temptation, O glorious prophet of the Lord, I implore thee, for in vain have arranged themselves against me the bitter demons that are fighting me and seeking to seize up the soul of thy servant as a poor bird, --do not forsake me to the end, but rather let them understand, O most blessed one, that thou art my refuge.
Glory ...Tone 4: O Godly illustrious voice, lamp of the Light, precursor of the Lord, testified to by Christ, the first among the prophets! Whilst interceding with thine entreaties for the world, do thou particularly remember thy flock in order to preserve it in safety. Both now ...the Theotokion of the resurrection : Behold fulfilled is now the prophecy of Isaiah... The Troparion, Tone 2 :
The memory of a righteous one calleth forth for praises, and as to thee, O precursor, the Lord's testimony alone sufficeth ; for thou didst truly shew thyself to be even more honourable than 51 the prophets, since thou wast found worthy to baptize in the streams Him Whom thou hadst preached; therefore, having joyfully suffered for the truth, didst thou announce also to those in hades the glad tidings of God that was manifested in flesh, that took up the sin of the world and granteth us great mercy.
Glory ... Both now ... the Theotokion.
At the Matins, for God is the Lord, the same Troparion. After the 1st Stichologia, the Cathisma, Tone 4. Similar to : Amazed was Joseph...
To-day hath unto us sprouted forth the off-spring of Zachariah and bringeth intellectual joy unto the thoughts of the faithful, -- an ornament of the desert and the basis of the prophets, wherefore he appeared as the precursor of Christ and true witness of His coming; let us therefore harmoniously cry out unto the baptist in spiritual odes: O prophet and proclaimer of the Truth, supplicate that we may be saved. Twice. Glory...Both now ...the Theotokion :
We hymn thee, O God's Bride, Mother of Christ the God, glorifying thine incomprehensible bringing forth, wherewith we were delivered from the deceit of the devil and from every misfortune, and in faith we cry out unto thee, O Sovereign-Lady Theotokos : Have mercy upon thy flock, O all-hymned one.
After the 2nd Stichologia, the Cathisma, Tone 2. Similar to: Being of the mercy...
For the sake of compassion through mercy, hast Thou, O Good One, come down to save Thy creation, and inclined down the heavens in Thy descent, wherefore hymning Thine awful economy, we cry out unto Thee, O Christ: Through the intercessions of Thy precursor grant us the cleansing of sins, as the only Compassionate One. Twice. Glory ...Both now...the Theotokion :
As a warm defense of Christians, do, O Theotokos, ever pray unto Thy Son, that we may be rescued from every evil deed and affliction of the wrestler, and that He may grant us the remission of transgressions for the sake of abundance of mercies, through thine entreaties, O Mother Virgin.52
After Praise ye the name of the Lord, the following Refrain for the Nativity of the Precursor:
We magnify thee, the precursor of the Saviour, John, and honour thy most glorious birth from a barren one.
The selected Psalm : Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.
For the Conception the same Psalm, but for the Decollation and the Finding this Psalm: Blessed is the man that feareth God...The end of the Refrain: and all honour the decollation of thevenerable head. For the Finding: And all honour the finding ofthy venerable head. For the Assembly: and all honour thineall-venerable assembly. After the Polyeleon, the Cathisma, Tone5. Similar to: The Word Co-unoriginate...
Let us loudly praise in hymns him that from the womb was manifested as God's prophet and as a lamp of the world came out of a barren one, the baptist of Christ and victorious sufferer -- the precursor John, for he entreats God that our souls may be saved. Twice. Glory ...Both now...the Theotokion: O bride, pure of marital intercourse, O most pure God's parent, that hast changed Eve's sorrow into joy, we always hymn thee and glorify, since thou hast delivered us from the first curse; do also now unceasingly entreat, O most hymned one, thy Son and God to save us.
The Graduals, the 1st Antiphon of the 4th Tone. The Prokeimenon. : And thou, O youth, shalt be called prophet of the Most High. The Verse : Blessed be the Lord God of Israel... Let every breath... The Gospel, Matt. 11, 2-15.
After the 50th Psalm the Sticheron, Tone 1.
Proclaimer wast thou of the Lamb of God the Word, O John the prophet and precursor, for thou dost foretell the future and declareth unto the ends beforehand: Behold, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world and granteth unto all peace and great mercy.
The Canon of the Theotokos in 6, and of the Precursor in 8.
Tone 4. Ode 1, the Heirmos :
Do Thou that wast born of the Virgin, drown in the depth of impassivity the triformity of my soul -- those mighty strongholds, I implore Thee, that in the mortification of flesh as on a tymbal I may melodize a triumphant hymn unto Thee.
As a great star of the Sun, hast thou, O precursor, illumined 53 the earth with thy brightness, O Baptist; wherefore I call unto thee: enlighten also my heart blinded with the dark shadows of the numberless transgressions.
Thou hast once, O blessed one, loosed in thy birth the bonds of barrenness; wherefore I implore thee, through thine intercessions, to make my soul, desolate through the barrenness of passions, appear fruitful, bringing forth offsprings of virtues.
Thou hast prepared the ways for the Redeemer, going before Him in the power of Elijah, O most glorious baptist; do thou direct also to Him the emotions of my soul, delivering me with thine intercessions from every temptation and the flame of passions.
The Theotokion: Do thou, O cloud of light, dispel, through thy bright mediations, the many and dark clouds from off my soul, that I may see the dawn of Him Who hath shone forth from thee, and that I may with light receive the Light never setting.
Ode 3. The Heirmos :
The bow of the mighty hath become impotent and the infirm have girded themselves with strength ; wherefore my heart hath become strengthened in the Lord.
Every virtue hast thou manifested, and every evil deed hast thou heartily hated, and shewn unto man the path of penitence, O all-blessed one.
Of the incarnate Word great precursor didst thou appear; wherefore I implore thee to free me from irrational passions, by leading me to impassiveness.
Whilst still living in the flesh, thou, O precursor, hast made the life of the bodiless manifest, and to approach that hast thou, O God-bearing one, with thine intercessions strengthened us.
The Theotokion :The world that through transgression hath become worthless, was pardoned through thee, O Mother-Virgin; wherefore as in duty bound it doth bless thee in hymnal odes.
The Cathisma, Tone 1 : In the wilderness hast thou dwelled, O precursor of Christ, just as did Elijah ; wherefore, O all-blessed one, do establish my heart. Twice. Glory...Both now...the Theotokion:
As Queen and pure Virgin doth David proclaim thee, O most54pure one; wherefore I implore thee do make me the heir of the heavenly Kingdom, that I may bless thee.
Ode 4. The Heirmos :
For the sake of Thy love, for Thine image hast Thou, O impassionate One, ascended the cross and the nations were moved, for Thou, O Lover of man, art my strength and praise.
As a dove that announceth beforehand unto the world the true spring in the truest words, accounting thee, we bless thee, O ever-glorious precursor.
Utterly wrecked with the temptations of the deceitful one, do thou as the mediator of the old and the new covenant, wholly renew me hymning thee, O precursor.
Do thou that wentest into the wilderness to lead the irreproachable life, call up with thy divine intercessions, O precursor, my mind, made desolate with all kinds of transgressions. The Theotokos: As cleansing and redeeming hath become known unto us thy Son, O Virgin; Him entreat also to save the souls of those who feelingly bless thee.
Ode 5. The Heirmos :
Thine enlightenment do send down unto us, O Lord, and free us from the mist of transgressions, O Good One, granting us Thy peace.
Whilst I am inflamed with the burning coals of wilderness and with the assaults of passions, do thou, O child of wilderness, bedew me with thine intercessions and keep me free from the noxious effects of the flame.
Under thy holy right hand, O all-blessed one, was baptized the Divine Right Hand of the Father that saveth us from the hand of the deceiver, through thy holy intercessions.
A refuge and mighty shelter and a great wall the whole world possesseth in thee, O precursor; do deliver us with thine intercessions from every oppression.
The Theotokion : God hath loved in thee, O youthful Virgin, the good qualities of Jacob, adorning through thee all that were darkened by the original trangression.
Ode 6. The Heirmos :
I have reached the depths of the sea and the storm of many sins hath submerged me, but as God do Thou, O Greatly-merciful, bring up my life from the deep. 55 Thou stoodest baptizing in the rapids the Master that taketh away the sins of all men; cease not, O precursor, to entreat Him to take compassion on our souls.
Thou wast manifested as the preacher of repentance; therein do thou, O precursor, preserve also my heart polluted with pernicious sins and having no recuperation.
Thou hast, O blessed one, proclaimed unto the souls in the impassable wilderness the Word that came down from above; wherefore every church with never-silent voices blesseth thee.
The Theotokion:The types of the law were explained through thine awful bringing forth, O God's Bride, and their fulfilment now contemplating we worthily honour thee, O Sovereign-Lady. The Contakion to be found in the Typicon. But if there be no Typicon, say the following Contakion. Tone 8.
Unto thee who art truly greater of all the saints I, unworthy, sin much more than all the lawless ones, but nevertheless I bring unto thee a hymn, O John the precursor, and since thou possessest boldness before the Lord, I implore thee to free me from all misfortunes that I may call unto thee: Hail thou the proclaimer of grace.
The Oikos:Whilst I begin an ode unto thee, O God-hymned, blessed John, I am full of joy and yet dread through the fear of thy remembrance and am frightened at not finding the words, O precursor. Strengthening me, do thou thyself grant me that I may worthily speak: Hail thou for whose sake the gladness came; hail thou for whose sake the curse was destroyed; hail thou, the teacher of the ends of the world; hail thou, the proclaimer of Christ's wonders; hail thou, the height of conscience that reacheth the heavens; hail thou, the breadth of purity that cleanseth all the earth; hail thou, since thou hast seen the Holy Trinity; hail thou, since thou hast despised the doubleness of the matter; hail thou., the star that sheweth the Sun; hail thou, the luminary that illuminateth all under the sun; hail thou, by whom Christ hath been proclaimed; hail thou, by whom Satan was hated; hail thou, the proclaimer of grace.56
Ode 7. The Heirmos :
The youths of Abraham have once in Babylon trodden down the flame of the furnace, calling up in hymns: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.
Greater than all born didst thou appear, O prophet; with thy great intercession do thou deliver me so much sinning against God, from the great flame and everlasting darkness.
A barren fig-tree I have appeared and am afraid of being cut down; make me firm and fruitful with thine intercession, O precursor of the Saviour, that I may bless thee.
Lull asleep every storm of the enemy that is raised against those who in faith have recourse unto thee, O precursor John, with thy watchful entreaties onto the Deliverer of all.
The Theotokion : From the attacks of the deceiver and from wickedness and demons' thraldom do thou, O Virgin, deliver thy servants that with their souls and tongues ever glorify thee.
Ode 8. The Heirmos :
Thou, the Almighty Deliverer of all, having come down, didst bedew those that in the midst of the flame continued their piety, and hast taught them to sing: Bless the Lord, all ye the works and sing unto Him.
Whilst I am being held by the sleep of despair and darkened with the mist of malice, do thou, O precursor, restore me with thy bright intercession and grant that I may beseemingly walk as in the clay of virtues.
The winter of temptations holdeth me and the storm of passions troubleth me; reach me thy hand, O precursor, which may lead up the ship of my soul unto the haven of penitence, through thine intercessions.
Him that taketh away the sins of the world, hast thou baptized in waters of the river; do thou dry up, O blessed John the precursor, with the streams of thine intercessions the abyss of my evil deeds.
Having seen the Holy Spirit, thou hast heard the voice of the Begetter testifying to Jesus Whom thou wast ineffably baptizing, O precursor; Him also entreat to save us.
The Theotokion : As the source of our restoration, do thou entirely renew me broken through the attacks of the serpent, that I may in faith and with love bless thee, O Theotokos and all-spotless Virgin.57
Ode 9. The Heirmos :
Whereas Eve by her failing of disobedience hath brought in the curse, thou, O Virgin Theotokos, through the sprouting of the fruit of thy womb, hast flowered forth the blessing unto the world, wherefore we all magnify Thee.
My strength and song is Christ the Lord; do thou, O blessed precursor, entreat Him to fortify me against passions and all the attacks of the demons, and to vouchsafe unto me the performance of the divine will, that I may ever and with love bless thee.
As a beautiful. turtle-dove, as a swallow sweetly-spoken hast thou appeared, O divine precursor, announcing Christ -- the Divine Spring; Him entreat to deliver me from the soul-corruptive winter and from the storm of sins, I implore thee.
Having leaped in thy mother's womb for joy, thou hast announced Him that shone forth from the Virgin; Him entreat to mortify the emotions of my flesh that are killing me, and to fill up with joy my heart, that I may hymn thee, O divine precursor.
The Theotokion:Having given birth unto the Greatly-loving God; do thou, O greatly-loving Theotokos, entreat Him to deliver me from every evil and to make my heart solicitous for Him and averse to fleshly voluptuousness, that I may magnify thee in odes.
The Photagogicon: As a morning hast thou shone forth God beseemingly before the Sun of Glory, O blessed precursor, from the very old, barren one and an old priest; thou hast announced the Lord's birth from the Virgin for the redemption of mankind; wherefore we do lovingly hymn and adore, O baptist, thy most honoured (name of the event.)
The Theotokion: The prophets have announced, apostles have taught, martyrs have clearly and God-wisely confessed thy Son, O most pure Theotokos, as the God of all, Who through thee hath delivered us from the ancient condemnation; together with those we magnify thee.
With the Lauds the Stichera. Tone 4:
Possessing boldness unto God and being the greatest of all men, do thou, O precursor, ever entreat Him for those that in 58faith call unto thee, to grant us invocation and cause for repentance that we ever being saved may hymn thee. Twice:
Thou, O precursor, wast called a prophet from the mother's womb, from the bosom a preacher and apostle; and whereas I am given over unto the demons and am a hard-working slave of sin, do thou deliver me from both, as a powerful warrior, that may declare thy speedy intercession.
Being the fan of the Divine Spirit, do thou cast away from my heart the chaff-like inclinations, and the divine works as wheat do gather from me into the God's granary that I may become unto the Master an acceptable food, O blessed one, being enriched by thine intercession, O Baptist of Christ.
Glory ... Tone 8 Unto John becometh sweet smell, unto the baptist befitteth the beauty of hymns, for he hath announced the commencement of our salvation, when he leaped in the womb, and whilst crying in the wilderness: Repent ye; he -- the Sovereign's warrior, the precursor of grace that proclaimeth the Lamb and entreateth the Saviour for our souls.
Both now... The Theotokion: Do thou, O Sovereign-Lady, accept the prayers of thy servants and deliver us from every want and sorrow. The Great Doxology. And the Dismission. At the Liturgy with the Beatitudes the 3rd, and 6th Odes of the Canon.
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