From a good tree comes good fruit. This wonderful saint had noble and greatly eminent parents. Eleutherius was born in Rome, where his father was an imperial proconsul. His mother Anthia heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul and was baptized by him. Having been left a widow early, she entrusted her only son for study and service to Anicetus the Bishop of Rome. Seeing how Eleutherius was gifted by God and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him a deacon at the age of fifteen, a priest at the age of eighteen, and a bishop at the age of twenty. Eleutherius’s God-given wisdom made up for what he lacked in years, and this chosen one of God was appointed Bishop of Illyria with his seat in Valona (Avlona), Albania. The good shepherd guarded his flock well and increased their number day by day. Emperor Hadrian, a persecutor of Christians, sent the commander Felix with soldiers to seize Eleutherius and bring him to Rome. When the raging Felix arrived in Valona and entered the church, he saw and heard the holy hierarch of God; suddenly his heart changed, and he became a Christian. Eleutherius baptized Felix and departed for Rome with him, returning joyfully as if he were going to a feast and not to trial and torture. The emperor subjected the noble Eleutherius to harsh torture: flogging, roasting on an iron bed, boiling in pitch, and burning in a fiery furnace. But Eleutherius was delivered from all these deadly tortures by God’s power. Seeing all this, Caribus the Roman eparch declared that he also was a Christian. Caribus was tortured and then beheaded, and so was Blessed Felix. Finally, the imperial executioners cut off the honorable head of St. Eleutherius. When his mother, the holy Anthia, came and stood over the dead body of her son, she also was beheaded. Their bodies were translated to Valona, where even today St. Eleutherius glorifies the name of Christ by his many miracles. He suffered during the reign of Hadrian in the year 120. (Prologue of Ohrid)
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 5
10. With Your precious Cross, O Christ,
You have put the Devil to shame.
With Your Resurrection You have deadened the sting of Death.
We, therefore, glorify You, O only-begotten Son of God.
9. O Christ, Who granted resurrection to mankind,
You were led like a lamb to the slaughter.
Then the princes of Hades were struck with terror
as they saw the gates of their tearful domain being lifted up;
for Christ, the King of Glory, entered therein
and exclaimed to those in chains: Go forth from here!
And to those in darkness: Go forth into the light!
8. What a great wonder!
The Creator of invisible beings suffered in the flesh for mankind,
and rose from the dead as immortal.
Come, therefore, all you nations and adore Him;
for through His compassion we have been freed from the snares of the Devil,
and we have learned to praise the one God in three Persons.
7. We offer to You our evening worship,
O Light Whom the darkness of night can never extinguish.
For in these latter days Your radiance has appeared to the world,
shining in Your flesh as light reflected in a mirror.
Your brilliance has descended even to the depths of Hades and dissolved its gloom.
O Lord, Giver of Light, glory to You;
for You have shown the radiance of Your Resurrection to all the nations.
6. Let us glorify Christ, the Author of our Salvation;
for by His Resurrection from the dead,
the world has been delivered from the deception of Satan.
The choirs of angels rejoice as the treachery of evil spirits vanishes.
Fallen Adam arises, and the Devil is vanquished.
5. Those who guarded the tomb of Christ
were told by the evil men who hired them:
Take this silver and keep silent.
Tell no one of the Resurrection of Christ;
rather tell everyone that while you were sleeping His body was stolen.
But who has ever heard of a body being stolen,
a body which had already been anointed?
Why would anyone take a body from the grave naked,
and leave the burial shroud in the tomb?
Do not deceive yourselves, O people of Judea.
Study the teachings of the Prophets,
and you will come to understand that Jesus Christ is Almighty God,
and truly the Saviour of the world.
In Tone 8
4. Today we commemorate the Forefathers of Christ.
Sing with fervour a hymn of praise to Christ the Saviour
who exalted them among the nations.
He is the Lord who does wondrous deeds
because He is powerful and almighty.
From them He brought forth a royal sceptre,
the Immaculate Maiden of God and Virgin Mary.
From her, Christ our God came forth
to give life and eternal salvation for all.
3. O Lord and Master,
You rescued the three holy youths from the fire.
You saved Daniel from the mouths of the lions;
You blessed Abraham, Isaac Your servant, and Jacob his son.
You willed to be like one of us by choosing to be born from them
in order that You might save our Forefathers who had fallen.
By Your Cross and Resurrection You tore apart the bonds of death.
You raise up all those who for ages had been among the dead
and who bow to You, O Christ, the eternal King.
2. The three holy youths were refreshed by the Holy Spirit
when they walked in the fire as though in a cool place.
In them the Trinity and the Incarnation of Christ
were prefigured in a mystical manner.
By their wisdom and faith
they overcame the power of fire.
As for the just Daniel, he stopped the mouths of lions.
Through their intercession, we beseech You:
O Saviour and Lover of Mankind,
protect us from eternal fire
and make us worthy of Your heavenly Kingdom.
1. When the three holy youths stood in the flaming furnace
as if covered with dew,
they mystically prefigured Your coming from the Virgin,
giving light to us without being consumed.
And Daniel, the just and wondrous prophet,
clearly saw in a vision Your second divine coming.
He said: “I saw thrones set up and the Judge seated
and the river of fire flowing in His presence.”
Through their intercession
deliver us from this fire, O Lord.
In Tone 6, Glory…
O believers, let us give praise today
to all the fathers who lived before the Law:
Abraham who was beloved by God,
Isaac who was born according to the promise,
Jacob and the Twelve Patriarchs,
the very meek David and the favoured prophet Daniel.
Let us also glorify with them the three youths
who changed the fiery furnace into a place of refreshing dew.
Let us beg forgiveness of our sins from Christ our God
who is glorified in His Saints.
In Tone 5, Now…
A symbol of the undefiled Virgin and bride
was revealed in the Red Sea.
There, Moses divided the waters;
here, Gabriel is the messenger of the miracle.
There, the Israelites crossed the deep and their feet were not even wet;
here, the Virgin gives birth to Christ without human seed.
There, the sea remained uncrossed after the passing of Israel;
here, the immaculate remained incorrupt after giving birth to Emmanuel.
Therefore, O immortal God, who appeared in the flesh as true Man,
have mercy on us!
In Tone 5
O Christ our Saviour,
we lift up our voices to glorify You.
For, in Your love for mankind,
You became incarnate without leaving heaven;
You accepted the Cross and death;
You cast down the gates of Hades;
and on the third day You arose from the dead
for the salvation of our souls.
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
O Giver of Life,
streams of forgiveness, life, and salvation
poured forth from Your pierced side upon us all.
By accepting physical death, You granted us immortality;
by lying in the tomb, You freed us from Hades,
and as God, by rising from the dead,
You raised us with Yourself in glory.
Therefore, we cry out to You:
O Lover of mankind, glory to You!
For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.
O Lover of mankind,
Your crucifixion and descent into Hades are most wondrous.
For, as God, You thereby conquered the power of Hades,
and raised up in glory, with Yourself, those who were long imprisoned there.
You reopened Paradise and enabled them to enter.
Grant forgiveness of sins to us
who glorify Your Resurrection on the third day,
for You alone are all-merciful.
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.
O Lover of mankind,
You accepted suffering in the flesh
and rose from the dead on the third day.
Therefore, heal the passions of our flesh,
raise us from our dreadful iniquities, and save us.
In Tone 3, Glory…
Come, O lovers of the feast,
let us sing a hymn of praise to the assembly of the Forefathers:
Adam, the father of mankind,
Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Let us also honour those who came after the Law:
Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, and David;
together with Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel,
Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets;
likewise Elijah, Elisha, and all the others;
also Zechariah and the Baptist,
and all those who preached Christ, the Life and Resurrection of our race.
O Virgin Mother, you conceived the Son of God without seed
by the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
He was begotten of the Father, without a mother, from all eternity.
Yet for our sake, He was born of you in the flesh without a human father,
and you nursed Him as an infant with your milk.
Therefore, never cease to entreat Him to deliver our souls from affliction.
In Tone 5
Let us, the faithful, acclaim and worship the Word* co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit,* and born of the Virgin for our salvation.* For He willed to be lifted up on the cross in the flesh,* to suffer death and to raise the dead,* by His glorious Resurrection.
In Tone 2, Glory… Now…
By faith you justified Your ancestors* and through them in advance you betrothed the Church taken from the nations.* The saints exult in glory;* from their seed comes the blessed fruit, the one who bore You without seed.* By their prayers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us.
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 5: Let us, the faithful, acclaim and worship the Word* co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit,* and born of the Virgin for our salvation.* For He willed to be lifted up on the cross in the flesh,* to suffer death and to raise the dead,* by His glorious Resurrection.
Troparion, Tone 2: By faith You justified Your ancestors* and through them in advance You betrothed the Church taken from the nations.* The saints exult in glory;* from their seed comes the blessed fruit, the one who bore You without seed.* By their prayers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 6: Armed by the Being that defies description,* you defied the man-made idol, O thrice blessed youth.* In the midst of the unbearable flames you stood and cried out to God:* “In Your mercy, O gracious One, hasten and come to our aid,”* for You can do whatever You will.
Prokeimenon, Tone 4
Blessed are You, Lord God of our fathers,* and praised and glorified is Your Name forever.
verse: For You are righteous in everything that You have done to us. (Daniel 3:26,27)
Alleluia, Tone 4
verse: Moses and Aaron are among His priests and Samuel among those who call upon His name.
verse: They called on the Lord and He heard them. (Psalm 98:6)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest (Psalm 148:1).* Rejoice in the Lord, O you just;* praise befits the righteous (Psalm 32:1).* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia.