Catherine was the daughter of King Constus. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother in Alexandria. Her mother was secretly a Christian who, through her spiritual father, brought Catherine to the Christian Faith. In a vision, St. Catherine received a ring from the Lord Jesus Himself as a sign of her betrothal to Him. This ring remains on her finger even today. Catherine was greatly gifted by God and was well educated in Greek philosophy, medicine, rhetoric and logic. In addition to that, she was of unusual physical beauty. When the iniquitous Emperor Maxentius offered sacrifices to the idols and ordered others to do the same, Catherine boldly confronted the emperor and denounced his idolatrous errors. The emperor, seeing that she was greater than he in wisdom and knowledge, summoned fifty of his wisest men to debate with her on matters of faith and to put her to shame. Catherine outwitted and shamed them. In a rage, the emperor ordered all fifty of those men burned. By St. Catherine’s prayers, all fifty confessed the name of Christ and declared themselves Christians before their execution. After Catherine had been put in prison, she converted the emperor’s commander, Porphyrius, and two hundred soldiers to the true Faith, as well as Empress Augusta-Vasilissa herself. They all suffered for Christ. During the torture of St. Catherine, an angel of God came to her and destroyed the wheel on which the holy virgin was being tortured. Afterward, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to her and comforted her. After many tortures, Catherine was beheaded at the age of eighteen, on November 24, 310. Milk, instead of blood, flowed from her body. Her miracle-working relics repose on Mount Sinai.
When Emperor Decius once waged war against the barbarians, there was in his army the commander of an Armenian regiment called the Martenesians. This commander was named Mercurius. In battle, an angel of the Lord appeared to Mercurius, placed a sword in his hand, and assured him of victory over his enemies. Indeed, Mercurius displayed wonderful courage, mowing down the enemy like grass. Following this glorious victory Emperor Decius made him chief commander of his army, but envious men reported Mercurius to the emperor for being a Christian, a fact which he did not hide but openly acknowledged before the emperor. Mercurius was tortured harshly and at length; he was cut into strips with knives and burned with fire. An angel of God appeared to him in prison and healed him. Finally, the emperor proclaimed that General Mercurius be beheaded in Cappadocia. When they beheaded him, his body became as white as snow and emitted a most wonderful incense-like fragrance. His miracle-working relics healed many of the sick. This most wonderful soldier of Christ suffered for the Faith sometime between the years 251 and 259 and took up his habitation in the Kingdom of his King and God. . (Prologue of Ohrid)
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 2
10. Come, let us adore God the Word,
Who was born of the Father before all ages,
and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary;
for of His own free will He suffered the Cross
and submitted Himself to burial,
and arose from the dead to save me, a sinful one.
9. Christ our Saviour cancelled the decree that was written against us,
by nailing it to the Cross;
and He abolished the dominion of Death.
Let us glorify His Resurrection on the third day.
8. Let us, together with the archangels, sing of Christ’s resurrection;
for He is the Redeemer and Saviour of our souls.
He will come again in awesome glory and mighty power
to judge the world which He has fashioned.
In Tone 1
7. Today, let us dance, O faithful,
singing to the Lord in psalms and hymns
and honouring His sanctified Tabernacle, the living Ark,
that contained the Word Who cannot be contained;
for in wondrous fashion she is offered to the Lord
as a young child in the flesh,
and Zachariah, the great High Priest, joyfully receives her
as the dwelling place of God.
6.Today the living Temple of the holy glory of Christ our God,
the pure Maiden who alone is blessed among women,
is offered in the Temple of the Law
that she may make her dwelling in the Holy Place.
Joachim and Anna rejoice with her in spirit,
and choirs of virgins sing to the Lord,
chanting psalms, and honouring His Mother.
5.You are the preaching of the Prophets, O Virgin Mother of God;
the glory of the Apostles and the boast of Martyrs,
and the renewal of all the earth-born,
for through you, we are reconciled to God.
Therefore, being saved by your intercessions,
we honour your coming into the Temple of the Lord;
and with the Angel we all cry out to you in song:
“Rejoice, O all-revered Lady!”
In Tone 1
4. The city of Alexandria adorned today.
O Martyr, it your burial shroud in the holy church.
O Catherine, we also devoutly celebrate your precious memory.
Pray for all those who venerate you..
3. Let us now celebrate the memory of Catherine,
for by word and deed she mightily defeated
the opposing orator and the powers of the enemy.
Deliver us, O God, from godless enemies.
In Tone 4
2. O sufferer of the passion, Mercurius,
by a fighting spirit you conquered the foe.
Like an invincible soldier,
by the armour of faith you cut down thousands of learned Moors.
Because you finished your battle
you have been crowned with all the martyrs,
O most blessed Martyr.
1. At the command of the Divine Spirit,
and angel was sent from heaven to heal your wounds.
O worthy one, they were caused by the piercing of burning irons.
You also underwent a lashing and hanging.
O Martyr, your suffering body was covered with blood.
Tone 2, Glory…
All who love the martyrs,
let us hasten joyfully to the feast of the divinely-wise Martyr Catherine!
Let us crown her with praises as with flowers, crying out to her:
“Rejoice, for you denounced the insolence of foolish orators
filled with ignorant thoughts and led them to the divine Faith!
Rejoice, for you gave your body over to torments for love of your Creator and were not destroyed,
for you were an invincible woman!
Rejoice, for you have inherited the mansions on high
as the reward for your struggles!”
Now you delight in eternal glory.
Desiring this glory, may we who hymn you not lose our hope in it!
In Tone 2, Now…
O Virgin, the shadow of the Law passed away
with the realization of grace.
For as the bush had burned without being consumed,
so you gave birth while a virgin
and you remained a virgin.
Instead of the pillar of fire there rose the Sun of Justice.
Instead of Moses, Christ God came forth,
the Saviour of our souls.
In Tone 2
Your Resurrection, O Christ our Saviour,
has enlightened the whole universe;
and, through it, You call back to Yourself all Creation.
Almighty God, glory to You!
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
By the wood of Your Cross, O Saviour,
You have abolished the curse of the tree;
by Your burial You have destroyed the power of death;
and by Your Resurrection You enlightened the human race.
We, therefore, cry out to You:
O Christ our God, Giver of Life, glory to You!
For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.
O Christ, when You were nailed to the Cross,
the distorted nature of creation was made manifest.
The soldiers showed their inhumanity by piercing Your side with a lance,
and the people showed their ignorance of Your power
by asking that Your tomb be sealed.
But, in Your mercy, You accepted burial
and then arose on the third day.
O Lord, glory to You!
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.
O Christ, Giver of Life,
You freely endured the Passion for the sake of mortals.
In Your power You descended into Hades;
and snatching, as from a mighty monster, the souls of those who awaited Your coming,
You placed them in Paradise.
Therefore, show Your great mercy to us who glorify Your Resurrection,
and cleanse our souls.
In Tone 8, Glory… Now…
David foretold you, O all-pure one,
as he foresaw the sanctification of your entry into the Temple.
Thus, all the ends of the earth feast today and glorify you, O all-praised one.
For, O Mother of the Word of Life,
a virgin before giving birth and remaining incorrupt after giving birth,
Zachariah is joyful and accepts you in the Temple, O Lady.
The Holy of Holies rejoices and receives you, the wellspring of our life.
Therefore, we also cry out in songs to you:
“Beseech your Son and our God in our behalf, that He grant us great mercy!”
In Tone 2
When You went down to death, O Life Immortal,* You struck Hades dead with the blazing light of Your divinity.* When You raised the dead from the nether world,* all the powers of heaven cried out:* “O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory be to You!”
In Tone 4, Glory…
By your virtues as by rays of the sun you enlightened the unbelieving philosophers,* and like the most bright moon you drove away the darkness of disbelief from those walking in the night;* you convinced the queen, and also chastised the tyrant, God-summoned bride, blessed Catherine.* You hastened with desire to the heavenly bridal chamber of the fairest Bridegroom of Christ,* and you were crowned by Him with a royal crown;* Standing before Him with the Angels, pray for us who keep your most sacred memory!
In Tone 4, Now…
Today is the prelude of the good pleasure of God,* and the proclamation of salvation for the human race.* In the Temple of God* the Virgin is clearly revealed,* and beforehand announces Christ to all.* To her, then, let us cry aloud with a mighty voice:* Rejoice, fulfilment of the Creator’s plan.
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 2: When You went down to death, O Life Immortal,* You struck Hades dead with the blazing light of Your divinity.* When You raised the dead from the nether world,* all the powers of heaven cried out:* “O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory be to You!”
Troparion, Tone 4: Today is the prelude of the good pleasure of God,* and the proclamation of salvation for the human race.* In the Temple of God* the Virgin is clearly revealed,* and beforehand announces Christ to all.* To her, then, let us cry aloud with a mighty voice:* Rejoice, fulfilment of the Creator’s plan.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Kontakion, Tone 2: You rose from the tomb, O almighty Saviour;* and Hades, seeing this wonder, was stricken with fear; and the dead arose.* Creation saw and rejoices with You, and Adam exults.* And the world, my Saviour, sings Your praises for ever.
Now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 4: The Saviour’s pure temple,* the precious bridal chamber and Virgin,* the sacred treasury of the glory of God,* is brought today into the house of the Lord;* and with her she brings the grace of the divine Spirit.* God’s angels sing in praise of her:* She is indeed the heavenly dwelling-place.
Prokeimenon, Tone 2
The Lord is my strength and my song of praise, and He has become my salvation.
verse: The Lord has indeed chastised me, but He has not delivered me to death. (Psalm 117:14,18)
Alleluia, Tone 2
verse: The Lord will hear you in the day of tribulation; the name of the God of Jacob will shield you.
verse: Lord, grant victory to the king and hear us in the day that we shall call upon You. (Psalm 19:2,10)
Hymn to the Mother of God
Seeing the entrance of the pure one, angels marvel in wonder how the Virgin could enter the holy of holies
And the Irmos, Tone 4: Let no hand of the profane touch God’s living ark,* but instead let the lips of those who are believers* sing out ceaselessly in the words of the angel,* crying out with great joy to the Mother of God:* O pure Virgin,* you are truly higher than all.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 148:1)