Pelagia was born in the town of Tarsus of pagan but distinguished and wealthy parents. Hearing about Christ and the salvation of souls from Christians, she burned with love for the Savior and, in her soul, was totally Christian. At that time there was a terrible persecution of Christians. It so happened that the Emperor Diocletian stopped off at Tarsus and during the time of his stay in Tarsus, his son, the crown prince fell deeply in love with Pelagia and wanted to take her as his wife. Pelagia replied through her nefarious mother that she had already been betrothed to her heavenly Bridegroom, Christ the Lord. Fleeing from the profane crown prince and her wicked mother, Pelagia sought and found Bishop Linus, a man distinguished for his holiness. He instructed Pelagia in the Christian Faith and baptized her. Then Pelagia gave away her luxurious garments, much wealth, returned home and confessed to her mother that she is already baptized. Learning of this and having lost all hope that he will gain this holy virgin for his wife, the crown prince stabbed himself with a sword and died. The wicked mother denounced her daughter before the emperor and turned her over to him for trial. The emperor was amazed at the beauty of this young virgin and, forgetting his son, became inflamed with impure passions toward her. But since Pelagia remained unwavering in her faith, the emperor sentenced her to be burned alive in a metal ox, glowing with a red-hot fire. When the executioner stripped her, St. Pelagia made the sign of the cross and with a prayer of thanksgiving to God on her lips, entered the glowing ox where, in the twinkling of an eye, she completely melted like wax. Pelagia suffered honorably in the year 287 A.D. The remains of her bones were acquired by Bishop Linus and he buried them on a hill under a stone. At the time of Emperor Constantine Copronymos (741-775 A.D) and, on that exact spot, a beautiful church was built in honor of the holy virgin and martyr Pelagia, who sacrificed herself for Christ in order to reign eternally with Christ. (The Prologue from 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.
7. Although You died and were buried,
the angel yet declared You as Master.
He said to the women: Come and see where the Lord was placed;
for He is risen as He foretold,
because He is almighty.
Therefore, we worship You, the only Immortal One,
and we beseech You to have mercy on us, O Giver of Life.
6. O Christ, You have abolished the curse of the tree by Your Cross;
You have destroyed the power of Death by Your burial;
and You enlightened mankind by Your resurrection.
Therefore, we cry out to You:
O God and Benefactor, glory to You!
5. O Lord, the gates of death opened before You in fear,
and the gatekeepers of Hades were filled with dread at the sight of You.
You smashed the gates of brass and crushed the posts of iron.
Then You burst our chains asunder
and led us out from the darkness, away from the shadow of death.
4. Let us all come and prostrate ourselves in the house of the Lord,
singing this hymn of salvation:
O Christ, You were crucified on the tree and rose from the dead;
and You now abide in the bosom of the Father.
Please cleanse us of our sins.
3. Early at dawn, the myrrh-bearing women arose,
and, carrying spices, they came to the tomb of the Lord;
and not finding what they expected,
the pious women pondered the removal of the stone.
They spoke to one another, saying:
Where are the seals of the grave?
Where is the guard which Pilate sent with great care?
And behold, a radiant angel appeared and proclaimed to them:
Why do you tearfully seek the Living One Who gives life to all mortal flesh?
Christ our God has risen from the dead.
He is the Almighty One
Who grants to all enlightenment, eternal life, and great mercy.
2. Why do you sprinkle your myrrh with tears, O women disciples?
The stone is rolled away, and the tomb is empty;
behold, Life has triumphed over Death.
The seals give brilliant witness:
that the guards of the godless have watched in vain,
that mortal nature has been saved by the flesh of God,
and that Hades is in mourning.
Hasten in joy, proclaiming to the apostles,
that Christ, the conqueror of Death, is the first-born of the dead.
He shall go before you into Galilee.
1. The myrrh-bearing women, O Christ, rose up early and hastened to Your tomb,
seeking to anoint Your most pure Body.
But when the glad tidings were brought to them by the words of the angel,
they hastened to the apostles as messengers of joy.
The Leader of our salvation has risen and conquered Death.
He grants the world eternal life and great mercy.
In Tone 6, Glory…
The myrrh-bearing women, O Saviour, came to Your grave;
and they saw that it was empty
but did not find Your most pure Body.
Therefore, they cried out and tears and said:
Who has robbed us of our hope?
Who has taken away a naked and anointed corpse.
The only consolation to His Mother?
How could they bury the One Who trampled down Hades?
But in Your own power, O Lord, arise after three days as You said
and grant great mercy to our souls.
(Dogmatikon, Tone 2)
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 Paschal Stichera are now sung in the customary manner:
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered.
Today a sacred Pascha is revealed to us: a new and holy Pascha; a mystical Pascha; a Pascha which is Christ the Redeemer; a blameless Pascha; a great Pascha; a Pascha of the faithful; a Pascha which has opened for us the gates of Paradise; a Pascha which sanctifies all the faithful.
As smoke vanishes, let them vanish!
Come from that scene O women bearers of glad tidings, and say to Zion: Receive from us the glad tidings of joy of Christ’s Resurrection: Exult and be glad, and rejoice, O Jerusalem, seeing Christ the King who comes forth from the tomb like a Bridegroom in procession!
So let sinners perish before the face of God, but let the righteous scatter rejoice!
The myrrh-bearing women at the break of dawn drew near to the tomb of the Life Giver. There they found an angel sitting upon a stone, he greeted the, with these words: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why do you mourn in the incorrupt amid corruption? Go, proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples.”
This is the day which the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Pascha of beauty! The Pascha of the Lord! Pascha! A Pascha worthy of all honour has dawned on us. Pascha! Let us embrace each other joyously! Pascha, ransom from affliction! For today as from a bridal chamber Christ has shown forth from the Tomb, and filled the women with joy saying: “Proclaim the glad tidings to the Apostles!”
In Tone 5, Glory…
O Lord, who clothes Yourself with light as with a garment,
Joseph and Nicodemus took You down from the Cross,
and seeing You without life, without a garment, and without a grave,
in their compassion they wept and lamented:
Woe is me, most sweet Jesus.
The sun was covered with darkness
when it saw You suspended upon the Cross.
The earth quaked with fear,
and the veil of the Temple was torn in two.
I see that You willingly endured death for my sake.
How then shall I bury You, O my God?
With what linens shall I cover You?
With what hands shall I touch Your most pure body?
What hymns shall I sing at Your death?
Therefore, O compassionate Lord, I glorify Your passion,
and I praise Your burial and Your resurrection, crying out:
O Lord, glory to You!
This is the day of Resurrection, let us be illumined by the Feast! Let us embrace each other! Let us call “brothers and sisters” even those that hate us and forgive all by the Resurrection, and so let us cry:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs, giving life. (3)
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!
The noble Joseph took down Your most pure Body from the tree.* He wrapped it with a clean shroud and aromatic spices,* and placed it in a new tomb.* But on the third day You arose, O Lord,** granting the world Your great mercy.
The angel stood by the tomb and cried out to the women bringing ointment:* Ointments are for the dead,* but Christ has shown Himself not subject to corruption.* So now cry out: The Lord is risen,** bestowing great mercy upon the world.
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 powers of heaven cried out:* O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to You!
Troparion, Tone 2:The noble Joseph took down Your pure body from the tree.* He wrapped it with a clean shroud and aromatic spices and placed it in a new tomb.* But on the third day You arose, O Lord,* granting the world Your great mercy.
Kontakion, Tone 2:You commanded the myrrh-bearers to rejoice, O Christ God,* and ended the grief of our mother Eve by Your Resurrection.* You ordered the apostles to proclaim to all:* The Saviour is risen from the tomb.
Kontakion, Tone 8:Though You descended into a tomb, O Immortal One,* yet You destroyed the power of Hades;* and You rose as victor, O Christ God,* calling to the myrrh-bearing women: Rejoice!* and giving peace to Your Apostles:* You, who grant resurrection to the fallen.
Prokeimenon, Tone 6
Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance.
verse: Unto You I will cry, O Lord my God, lest You turn from me in silence.
Alleluia, Tone 8
verse: You have shown favour to Your land, O Lord; You have brought back the captives of Jacob.
verse: Mercy and truth have met; righteousness and peace have embraced.
Hymn to the Mother of God
The Angel cried out to the One full of Grace: O chaste Virgin, rejoice! And again I say, Rejoice! Your Son has risen from the tomb on the third day, and raised the dead. Let all people rejoice! Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem! for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you! Exult now and be glad, O Sion! And you, O chaste Mother of God, take delight in the resurrection of your Son.
Receive the Body of Christ;* taste the fountain of immortality.* Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest Alleluia. (3)
Instead of Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, we sing: Christ is risen.
Instead of We have seen the true light we sing: Christ is risen.
Instead of May our lips be filled, we sing Christ is risen, thrice.
Instead of Blessed be the name of the Lord we sing Christ is risen thrice.
After the priest sings: Glory to You, Christ God, the people sing: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death, and to those in the tombs, giving life. Lord, have mercy, thrice. Give the blessing. Then we sing Christ is risen, thrice. At the end the following is sung: And to us He granted life eternal, we bow down before His resurrection on the third day.