Athanasius was born in Alexandria in the year 296 A.D. and from his early childhood had an inclination to the spiritual life. He was a deacon to Archbishop Alexander and accompanied him to the First Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 325 A.D.]. It was at this Council that Athanasius became renowned for his learning, devotion to and zeal for Orthodoxy. He contributed greatly to destroy the heresy of Arius and to strengthen Orthodoxy. He wrote the Symbol of Faith [The Creed] which was adopted at the Council. Following the death of Alexander, Athanasius was elected Archbishop of Alexandria. In his calling as Archbishop of Alexandria, he remained for forty years, although not for the entire time on the archepiscopal throne of the archbishopric. With few exceptions, throughout his life he was persecuted by heretics. Of the emperors, he was persecuted mostly by Constantius, Julian and Valens; of the bishops, by Eusebius of Nicomedia and many others; and by the heretic Arius and his followers. Athanasius was forced to hide from his persecutors, even in a well, in a grave, in private homes and in the deserts. Twice he was forced to flee to Rome. Only before his death, did he live peacefully for a while as the good shepherd among his good flock who truly loved him. Few are the saints who were so mercilessly slandered and so criminally persecuted as St. Athanasius. His great soul patiently endured all for the love of Christ and, in the end, emerged victorious from this entire, terrible and long-lasting struggle. For counsel, for comfort and for moral support, Athanasius often visited St. Anthony, whom he respected as his spiritual father. For a man who formulated the greatest truth, Athanasius had much to suffer for that truth until in the year 373 A.D., the Lord gave him repose in His kingdom as His faithful servant. (Prologue of Ohrid)
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 7
10. Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
Who destroyed the power of death
and enlightened the human race;
and let us cry out with the angels:
Glory to You, our Creator and Saviour!
9. O Saviour, for our sake You suffered crucifixion and burial;
and, as God, You destroyed death by Your death.
Therefore, we adore Your resurrection on the third day
and we sing: Glory to You, O Lord!
8. On seeing the resurrection of the Creator,
the Apostles were amazed,
and they sang an angelic hymn of praise:
This is the glory of the Church,
this is the richness of the Kingdom!
O Lord, Who suffered for our sake, glory to You!
7. O Christ, although You were taken captive by Your enemies,
I still acknowledge You as my God,
and am not ashamed of You;
I will not hide the fact that You were nailed to the Cross.
Your death is my life, almighty Lord,
and I extol Your resurrection.
O Lover of mankind, glory to You!
In Tone 4
6. You braved dangers and patiently suffered persecution,
righteous Athanasius, divine orator.
You exposed the wicked lies of Arius and his followers;
you proclaimed the doctrine of the true faith:
the Son and Spirit are one essence with the Father,
most blessed priest!
5. The lightning-flash of your teaching
enlightens those in darkness.
You chase away all false doctrine.
You bore the brunt of battle for the faith,
Athanasius, uncompromised rock!
True shepherd and unshaken fortress of Christ’s holy Church!
Therefore we assemble in your honour,
rejoicing to magnify you, all-praised one!
4. You persistently advance in all virtue, God-inspired one;
divinely instructed and anointed by the Holy Spirit,
shepherd of truth and warrior of faith.
All the Church glorifies your memory;
through you she is perfected in holiness and glorifies the Saviour!
3. By the fire of your teachings, wise one,
the dry wood and chaff of heresy is burned away.
The host of the impious are drowned;
the faithless sink in the abyss of your teachings.
By your doctrine, blessed Cyril,
every member of the believing Church is adorned,
and with a mighty voice honours you.
2. Cyril, by the eloquence of your words,
the whole Church is adorned with piety.
Honouring the fruits your teaching has borne,
she glorifies your memory,
leader of the right-believing Fathers,
who defended the all-holy Theotokos as a champion at the council!
1. Cyril, using the staff of your teachings,
you chased the spiritual wolves from the Church.
You encircled her with the retaining wall of your words,
presenting her to Christ with unblemished doctrine.
Beseech Him to deliver us now from persecution and corruption
as we celebrate your honourable memory.
In Tone 6, Glory…
Assemble, lovers of feasts!
Praise your leaders with spiritual songs!
They are our exalted patriarchs,
the all-radiant enlighteners of the world!
They have revealed the mystery of Christ to us.
Let us cry out to them:
Rejoice, wise Athanasius!
Your name means the immortal one.
Drawing a string from the lyre of your inspired doctrine,
you made a sling to drive Arius the wolf from the flock of Christ.
Rejoice, bright star, all blessed Cyril!
Champion of the ever-Virgin one!
In the midst of the council at Ephesus,
you defended the Theotokos with a roaring voice!
Rejoice, fountains of theology!
ever-flowing rivers of divine wisdom,
flooding your banks with knowledge of God.
Never cease to beseech Christ, thrice-blessed Fathers,
for those who keep your holy memory with faith and love!
In Tone 7, Now…
Immaculate Mother of God,
you became a mother outside the laws of nature,
remaining a virgin in a way that exceeds all description
and human understanding.
The wonder of your birth-giving could not be told in human language,
for your conception of Christ blinded intelligence,
and your birth-giving exceeded understanding:
for whenever God so desires, the laws of nature are broken.
Wherefore, we all firmly believe that you are the Mother of God,
and we eagerly beseech you to intercede for the salvation of our souls.
In Tone 7
O Saviour of the world, You arose from the grave,
and together with Your own flesh You raised up mankind.
O Lord, glory to You!
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
Come, let us worship Christ Who arose from the dead
and enlightened all creation.
For by His resurrection on the third day,
He set us free from the oppression of Hades,
granting us life and His great mercy.
For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.
O Christ, Lover of mankind,
You descended into Hades and destroyed death.
Then You arose on the third day;
and, together with Yourself You lifted up all of us
who glorify Your mighty resurrection.
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.
O Lord, what a fearful sight it was to see You lying in the tomb as if asleep.
Yet on the third day You arose in great power,
and at the same time You raised up Adam who joyfully cried out:
Glory to Your resurrection, O Lover of mankind!
In Tone 3, Glory…
Athanasius, named immortal
stands with us in the Church again
teaching us to adore the Trinity,
filling us with the understanding of God
and praying that our souls may be saved.
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 by 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 7
By Your cross You destroyed death;* You opened Paradise to the thief;* You changed the lamentation of the myrrh-bearers to joy,* and charged the apostles to proclaim* that You are risen, O Christ our God,* offering great mercy to the world.
In Tone 4, Glory…
God of our fathers, You always treat us fairly.* Deprive us not of Your mercy,* but by their prayers direct our lives in peace.
O Mother of God, the mystery hidden from all eternity* and unknown even to the angels,* was revealed through you to those on earth:* God took on our human nature* and united it to His divine nature in a perfect but unconfused union.* Then, He willingly accepted the cross for our sake* and thereby raised again the first created man,*and saved our souls from death.
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 7: By Your cross You destroyed death;* You opened Paradise to the thief;* You changed the lamentation of the myrrh-bearers to joy,* and charged the apostles to proclaim* that You are risen, O Christ our God,* offering great mercy to the world.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Kontakion, Tone 7: No longer shall the dominion of death be able to hold humanity,* for Christ went down shattering and destroying it s powers.* Hades is bound.* The prophets exult with one voice.* The Saviour has come for those with faith, saying:* “Come forth, O faithful, to the resurrection!”
Now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Theotokion, Tone 7: O all-praised treasury of our resurrection, we hope in you,* bring us up from the pit and depth of sin,* for you have saved those subject to sin* by giving birth to our Salvation,* O Virgin before childbirth, and Virgin in childbirth,* and still a Virgin after childbirth.
Prokeimenon, Tone 7
The Lord will give strength to His people;* the Lord will bless His people with peace.
verse: Bring to the Lord, O you sons of God; bring to the Lord young rams. (Psalm 28:11,1)
1 Timothy 4:9-15
Alleluia, Tone 7
verse: It is good to give praise to the Lord; and to sing to Your name, O Most High.
verse: To announce Your mercy in the morning, and Your truth every night. (Psalm 91:2,3)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 148:1)