We are obliged, not only to venerate the saints and to seek the assistance of the saints, but also to imitate their life and holiness. All Christians are called to holiness by virtue of the sacrament of Baptism. Every person, regardless of status and condition of life, can become a Saint and is duty-bound to strive after holiness of life. Our Lord Jesus Christ addressed all people without exception when He said: “Therefore, be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). St. Paul also reminds us of our duty to pursue holiness: “This is the will of God- your sanctification” (1 Cor 4:3). What is holiness? Holiness is living according to the commandments of God and the Church; it is the daily fulfilment of God’s will, constant fidelity to the duties of one’s state, or more briefly – holiness is the Gospel translated into action. The Servant of God Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky speaks beautifully of the significance of the Gospel for our life and holiness:
“In my opinion,” he says, “the source of our failures and of all the plagues that afflict our church and national life, is our failure to apply ourselves seriously to living our Christianity and the teachings of the Gospel, and for this reason, we do not convey to others the aura of holiness … The Gospel is the road to heaven; it is a life without blemish, without reproach, without vice; it is a pure, innocent, holy life by which mortal man aspires to emulate the heavenly angels. The Gospel is the way of the cross leading to the hill of Golgotha. The Christian life is a life in which each person carries a cross, suffers, and follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ … Life according to the teachings of the Gospel is the supernatural life of God’s grace, a life of God’s love and of the sacrifice for God or in a word: it is a life in which each person seeks and aspires to holiness of life” (On Education).
The saints in heaven, then, are God’s beloved and intimate friends; and our protectors, intercessors and benefactors; our guides and models on the path to virtue and sanctity. (from A Byzantine Rite Liturgical Year by Fr. Julian Katrij, OSBM)
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 8
Lead my soul forth from prison* that I may give thanks to Your name.
O Christ, during this spiritual service,
we sing to You these evening prayers,
commemorating the mercy You have shown us
by Your resurrection.
The just shall gather around me* when You have been good to me.
O Lord, O Lord, do not cast us away from Your face;
but in Your kindness have mercy on us
through Your resurrection.
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord;* O Lord, hear my voice!
Rejoice, O holy Zion,
the Mother of Churches and the dwelling-place of God;
for you were the first to receive the forgiveness of sins
through the resurrection.
Let Yours ears be attentive* to the voice of my prayer.
Christ the Word was begotten by God the Father before all ages;
yet in these latter times,
He freely willed to take flesh from the Virgin who did not know man.
By His death on the cross and His resurrection,
He saved mankind from the ancient curse of death.
If You mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?* But with You forgiveness is that You may be revered.
O Christ, we glorify Your resurrection;
for by rising from the dead
You freed the race of Adam from the sufferings of Hades,
and as God You granted eternal life
and great mercy to the world.
I have waited for You as You have commanded; my soul patiently relies on Your promise,* for it has trusted in the Lord.
Glory to You, O Christ our Saviour,
the only-begotten Son of God;
for You were nailed to the cross,
and then arose from the dead on the third day.
In Tone 6
From the morning watch until night* let Israel trust in the Lord.
Through faithfulness the disciples of the Lord
became instruments of the Spirit
and were scattered to the ends of the earth
to proclaim His sacred word and the doctrine of truth.
From these roots, an army of Martyrs blossomed forth
by the grace of the Divine Gardener.
By their numberless torments and by fire,
they imitated the holy passion of Christ,
and now they intercede for our souls.
For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him there is plentiful redemption;* and He shall redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
Inflamed by the love of the Lord,
the venerable Martyrs of Christ despised the fire;
and being consumed as living coals,
they burned the dried grass of the arrogance of error;
they bridled the mouths of the beasts by their prayers;
and by their beheading, they severed the hosts of the enemy.
Having courageously shed their blood,
they watered the Church with the seed of their faith.
Praise the Lord, all the nations;* proclaim His glory, all you people.
Truly the heroic Martyrs have wrestled with beasts
and were torn apart by their claws;
they fell under the edge of the sword
and were mutilated and tortured;
they were thrown into fire and burned alive,
dismembered and pierced with swords.
All this they bore courageously,
seeing in advance what was to come:
the unfading crowns and the glory of Christ.
And now they intercede for our souls.
Strong is the love of the Lord for us;* eternally will His truth endure.
Let us celebrate with songs of praise
the deeds of all the Saints over all the earth,
honouring them, as it is fitting:
the Apostles and Martyrs,
the Bishops and Holy Women.
While living on earth, they joined with the heavenly spirits,
and by the grace of Christ,
they received immortality through their sufferings.
They shine as bright stars for us,
and now they intercede for our souls.
You are pillars of the Church
and the fulfilment of the Gospel,
O divine ranks of Martyrs.
By your deeds you have fulfilled the words of the Saviour;
for through you the gates of Hades,
once opened against the Church, have now been closed;
and through the shedding of your blood
you dried up the sacrifices poured out for the idols.
And having built up the faith of believers through your martyrdom,
you filled the heavenly spirits with admiration.
You stand before Christ, wearing your crowns;
intercede with Him for our souls.
In Tone 8, Now…
Out of his love for mankind
the King of heaven appeared on earth and dwelt with men,
for He assumed a human body from the pure Virgin
and was seen in the flesh He received from her.
He is the One and only God having two natures but not two persons.
Wherefore we profess and declare the truth
that Christ our God is perfect God and perfect Man.
O Mother, who knew not carnal union,
intercede with Him that He may have mercy on our souls.
(1) Isaiah 43:9-14; (2) Wisdom 3:1-9; (3) Wisdom 5:15-6:3
In Tone 1
With unity of faith, let us celebrate a solemn feast
of all those who from the ages have found grace before God.
Let us remember all the Saints:
the Patriarchs, and Apostles of Christ, the Martyrs, and the Ascetics of all ages;
they intercede unceasingly for the peace of the world
and for the salvation of our souls.
Come, O faithful, let us celebrate, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
the glorious memory of all the Saints:
the Baptist of the Lord, the Apostles and Prophets,
the Martyrs, the Bishops, and the Doctors of the Church,
the Blessed Ones, the Ascetics, and all the Just,
together with all the Holy Women.
Let us venerate their blessed memory,
and together, let us all sing:
O Christ our God and Supreme Goodness,
through their prayers grant peace to Your Church,
victory over the Enemy,
and salvation for our souls.
Come, let us celebrate the memory of the Saints, in the joy of the Holy Spirit;
for the day of their feast has arrived, filling us with divine gifts.
With purified conscience, let us cry out with joy
and let us sing in their honour:
Rejoice, O choir of Prophets who announce the coming of Christ,
and who clearly see that which is far away.
Rejoice, O Apostles of the Lord,
fishermen who gather the whole world in their nets.
Rejoice, O company of Martyrs,
gathered from all the world in the same profession of faith;
for this you suffered punishments and tortures
before receiving the crown of victory.
Rejoice, O multitude of Holy Fathers;
by your ascetic effort you subdued the body and put to death the passions of the flesh.
You have been carried in spirit, on the wings of divine love, to heaven
where you enjoy the eternal blessing with the angels whose joy you share.
Therefore, O Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs, together with the Ascetics,
intercede with the One who crowned you in heaven,
and pray unceasingly to Him that He may deliver from the Enemy,
all those who, with faith and love, celebrate your holy memory.
In Tone 5, Glory…
O faithful, today let us hasten to the feast
for a spiritual banquet has been prepared;
the mystical cup has been filled with the food of joy.
It is the virtue of Martyrs from throughout the world
who offered themselves valiantly to God through the torments they suffered in their bodies;
and as a spiritual sacrifice,
they offered the flower of their youthful years:
their heads were cut off, their hands were severed,
their members were mutilated and wrenched apart.
And together, all these holy ones
shared in the sufferings of Christ.
But in exchange for their miseries,
You have given them crowns in heaven, O Lord;
and now in Your love for us,
grant that we may imitate their virtues.
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,
wished 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 8
O Jesus, You descended from heaven
so that You might ascend the cross.
O immortal Life, You came to die.
You are the true light to those who live in darkness,
and You are the resurrection of the fallen.
Therefore, O Saviour of all, we glorify You.
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty.* Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
Let us glorify Christ, the Saviour of our Souls
Who arose from the dead.
For He took upon himself a soul and a body,
and during His passion He separated the one from the other.
His pure soul went down to conquer Hades,
while His holy body lay uncorrupted in the grave.
For He has made the world firm.* which shall not be moved.
O Christ, we glorify Your resurrection with psalms and hymns.
For by Your victory over death
You delivered us from the sufferings of Hades,
and as God You granted us eternal life and great mercy.
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord,* for length of days.
O Lord of all, Creator of heaven and earth,
You are above all understanding.
Through Your passion on the cross
You freed us from the sufferings of Hades.
And, after condescending to be buried, You arose in glory;
and with Your mighty arm You also raised up Adam.
O most merciful Lord, we glorify You;
for by Your resurrection on the third day
You granted us remission of sins and eternal life.
In Tone 6, Glory…
Come, O faithful, let us exalt with joy:
let us celebrate in faith on this day
the feast of all the Saints;
and let us venerate their glorious memory, saying:
Rejoice, Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs,
Bishops, O Just and Blessed Ones,
together with the ranks of the Holy Women.
Intercede with Christ for us,
that He may grant peace to the world
and great mercy to our souls.
Christ the Lord, our Creator and Redeemer,
came forth from your womb, O most pure Virgin.
He clothed Himself in our flesh
to set us free from the original curse of Adam.
Therefore, O Mary, we praise you, without ceasing,
as the true Virgin Mother of God,
and we sing with the angels:
Rejoice, O Lady, Advocate, Protector, and salvation of our souls.
Troparia (For Service Without Lytia)
In Tone 8
You came down from on high, O Merciful One,* and accepted three days of burial* to free us from our sufferings.* O Lord, our life and our resurrection,* glory be to You.
In Tone 4, Glory…
Your Church throughout the world, O Lord,* is clothed with the blood of Your Martyrs* as with fine linens and purple robes;* and so the Church cries out to You, O Christ our God:* Send down Your goodness upon Your people;* grant peace to Your Church and great mercy to our souls.
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 8: You came down from on high, O Merciful One,* and accepted three days of burial* to free us from our sufferings.* O Lord, our life and our resurrection,* glory be to You!
Troparion, Tone 4: Clothed as in purple and fine linen* with the blood of Your martyrs throughout the world,* Your Church cries out to You through them, O Christ God:* send down Your loving-kindness on Your people;* grant peace to Your community,* and to our souls great mercy.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 8: O Lord, Master of nature,* the world offers You the godly martyrs as the first-fruits of nature.* By their supplications, through the Mother of God,* preserve Your Church and Your people in profound peace,* O most merciful One.
Prokeimenon, Tone 8
Pray and give thanks to the Lord our God.
verse: In Judea God is known; His name is great in Israel. (Psalm 76:12,2)
Alleluia, Tone 4
verse: The just cried out and the Lord heard them, and delivered them out of their afflictions.
verse: The afflictions of the just are many, and out of them all will the Lord deliver them. (Psalm 33:18,20)
Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30
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.