These two wonderful men were martyred for the name of Christ during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. They were severely beaten, then burned on an iron grid, then tied to horses’ tails and dragged over rocks and thorns. They were thus torn to pieces and gave up their holy souls to God. Their relics are buried in Pentapolis.
Matrona was from Perga in Pamphylia. Matrona’s marriage to Dometian, a nobleman of Constantinople, soon became unbearable to her. Disguised in men’s clothing, she fled and adopted the name Babylas, then entered the Monastery of St. Bassian in Constantinople. Because her husband searched for her constantly, she was forced to move repeatedly. Altogether, she moved to Emesa, Sinai, Jerusalem and Beirut, and finally returned to Constantinople. Matrona was tonsured a nun at age twenty-five, and lived the ascetic life for seventy-five years. In all she lived a hundred years, and died peacefully in the year 492 as abbess of a monastery in Constantinople, taking up her abode in the joy of her Lord. (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.
In Tone 8
6. Martyred athlete, blessed Onisphorus, you confessed Christ God,
suffering greatly before the tribunal of evil!
You endured the wounds of blows and the immolation of your body!
Therefore you have been crowned with the wreath of victory
by the hand of the Creator of life, all-praised one!
5. Martyred athlete Porphyry, by the grace and power of the Spirit,
you dyed a purple robe for yourself in the bath of your blood.
Thus clothed, you were revealed in splendour,
reigning with our one God who reigns forever!
Beseech Him now, glorious one, that we all may be saved!
4. Martyrs, victorious indeed for the life of all:
you were slain in a sacred manner!
Rejoicing, you were stretched on the searing flame;
chained to horses and dragged;
thus you received a blessed end!
You are glorified, all blessed ones who ever pray for us!
In Tone 4
3. You nobly subjected the uprising of the flesh to the soul
through ascetic feats of fasting,
and you followed Christ, Matrona,
living devoutly with those who fast,
quenching the burning of pleasure with divine showers of tears,
kindling a fervent desire for the Creator!
2. You built hallowed tabernacles in many souls for the use of God!
You yourself were a temple of the Spirit, all-wise one,
guiding souls by your spiritual purity to the healing struggles of fasting!
You brought saved souls to the Master as a dowry, Matrona!
Together with them we honour you in faith!
1. The maidens loved the Bridegroom and Lord, submitting to His teaching!
In the Spirit, they disdained the weakness of the flesh,
struggling with diligence to restrain the passions!
They have been led with you, Matrona, ever rejoicing,
into the heavenly bridal chamber of God!
In Tone 5, Glory… 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.
O most pure Virgin,
you are the temple, the gate, the palace, and the throne of the King.
Christ, our Redeemer and Lord,
appeared through you to those who slumbered in darkness.
For He, as the Sun of Righteousness,
wishes to enlighten those whom He created with His own hands
according to His own image.
Therefore, O Lady, whom we always praise in song,
we beseech you to intercede with Christ for the salvation of our souls;
for, as His Mother, you can approach Him with the greatest confidence.
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 1
Be swayed by the pains that the saints have suffered for You, O Lord,* and heal all our pains,* O Lover of mankind, for this we pray.
In Tone 8, Glory…
In you, O venerable mother Matrona, the faithful image of God shone forth,* for you carried your cross and followed Christ.* You taught by your deeds how to spurn the body, for it passes away;* and how to value the soul, for it is immortal.** Therefore, your soul is forever in happiness with the angels.
O gracious Lord, for the sake of mankind You were born of a virgin;* through Your death on the cross You conquered death;* and through Your resurrection You revealed yourself as God.* O merciful Lord, do not disdain those whom You have created with Your own hands,* but show forth Your love for mankind.* Accept the intercession which the Mother, who bore You, makes in our behalf.* O Saviour, save Your despairing people!
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.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Kontakion, Tone 5: You, my Saviour, descended to Hades,* and as the Almighty, You shattered its gates.* With Yourself You, as the Creator, raised the dead and shattered the sting of death,* and delivered Adam from the curse, O Lover of Mankind.* And so we cry out: “Save us, O Lord.”
Now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Theotokion, Tone 5: Rejoice, O rampart and protection of those who have recourse to you!* Rejoice, O tranquil haven and Virgin,* who gave birth in the flesh to your Maker and God!* Fail not to intercede for those* who sing and worship the Child you bore.
Prokeimenon, Tone 5
You, O Lord, will guard us and will keep us* from this generation and for ever.
verse: Save me, O Lord, for there is no longer left a just man. (Psalm 11:8,2)
Alleluia, Tone 5
verse: Your mercies, O Lord, I will sing for ever; from generation to generation I will announce Your truth with my mouth.
verse: For You have said: Mercy shall be built up for ever; in the heavens Your truth shall be prepared. (Psalm 88:2,3)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 148:1)