Saints Thyrsus and Leucius were honorable citizens of Caesarea of Bithynia, the former being baptized and the latter being a Christian catechumen. Callinicus, however, was a pagan priest. When Emperor Decius’s heir, Cumbricius, began to mercilessly torture and murder Christians, the fearless Leucius appeared before him and, reproaching him, said: “Why have you waged war against your own soul, O Cumbricius?” The enraged judge ordered that he be flogged, tortured and finally beheaded. The tortured Leucius went to his beheading as joyfully as if he were going to a wedding. Witnessing the death of the courageous Leucius, blessed Thyrsus, inflamed with divine zeal like that of Leucius, also appeared before the judge and reproached him for his evil crimes and for his unbelief in the One True God. He also was flogged and cast into prison. The invisible hand of God healed him of his wounds, opened the prison door and led him out. Thyrsus immediately went to Phileas, the Bishop of Caesarea, to be baptized by him. After his baptism, he was again seized and tortured, but he endured the tortures, bearing them as though in a dream and not in reality. By the power of his prayer, many idols fell down. The pagan priest Callinicus, upon seeing this, converted to the Christian Faith, and both he and Thyrsus were condemned to death. Callinicus was beheaded, and they placed Thyrsus in a wooden coffin to be sawn in half. However, the power of God would not permit this, and the saw was unable to cut into the wood. Then St. Thyrsus arose from the coffin and prayed to God, rendering Him thanks for the tortures, and he peacefully gave up his soul to his Lord. At the end of the fourth century, the Emperor Flavian built a church to St. Thyrsus near Constantinople and placed his holy relics in it. The saint appeared in a vision to Empress Pulcheria and counseled her to bury the relics of the Forty Martyrs alongside his. (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.
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 the human race 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.