May 8, 2016 </br>Sunday of the Fathers of the First Council of Nicea (325); Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

May 8, 2016
Sunday of the Fathers of the First Council of Nicea (325); Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian

GREAT VESPERS

Kathisma
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.

At Psalm 140

In Tone 6

Lead my soul forth from prison* that I may give thanks to Your name.

O Christ, You won the victory over Hades,
You ascended the Cross so that You might raise up with Yourself
all those who dwelt in the darkness of death.
Almighty Saviour, You are free from death
and bestow life by Your divine light.
We, therefore, beseech You to have mercy on us.

The just shall gather around me* when You have been good to me.

Today Christ has conquered Death.
He has risen from the grave as He had foretold,
bestowing great joy upon the world.
Therefore, let us all lift up our voices and sing:
O Fount of Life, O Light whom no one can approach,
Almighty Saviour, have mercy on us.

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord;* O Lord, hear my voice!

O Lord, where can we sinners flee from You,
for You are present in all creation?
You are present in heaven, for it is Your dwelling place.
You power prevails in Hades where You conquered Death.
O Master, Your sustaining hands touches even the depths of the sea.
Where, then, can we take refuge except in You?
We, therefore, prostrate ourselves before You and pray:
O Lord, risen from the dead, have mercy on us.

Let Yours ears be attentive* to the voice of my prayer.

Before the morning star You were begotten of the Father;
before the ages You were conceived without a mother,
even though Arius believed You to be created, and not God.
He shamelessly confused the Creator with his creatures,
thus deserving eternal punishment.
Yet the Council of Nicea proclaimed You as the Son of God
who is enthroned with the Father and the Spirit.

If You mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?* But with You forgiveness is that You may be revered.

Who has severed Your garment, O Saviour?
It was Arius who divided the Trinity
who is equal in glory and eternal majesty.
For he denied that You are one of the most Holy Trinity.
He taught the transgressing Nestorius
to say that the Virgin is not the Mother of God;
but the Council of Nicea proclaimed You as the Son of God
who is enthroned with the Father and the Spirit.

I have waited for You as You have commanded; my soul patiently relies on Your promise,* for it has trusted in the Lord.

Declaring that the Light could not be seen,
Arius fell into the pit of the impious ones;
his body was torn apart by the justice of God,
and he gave up his soul in a violent manner.
He was another Judas by his thoughts and deeds.
But the Council of Nicea proclaimed You as the Son of God
who is enthroned with the Father and the Spirit.

From the morning watch until night* let Israel trust in the Lord.

The foolish Arius divided the unity of the Holy Trinity
into three different and unequal substances.
But the God-bearing Fathers came together in Council.
Burning with the zeal of Elijah the Tishbite
and with the sword of the Holy Spirit,
they cut down these shameful blasphemies;
for they were directed by the Spirit.

In Tone 1

For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him there is plentiful redemption;* and He shall redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

The beholder of ineffable revelations
and recounter of the most sublime mysteries of God,
the son of Zebedee, who set down in writing the Gospel of Christ,
has taught us to theologize
concerning the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Praise the Lord, all the nations;* proclaim His glory, all you people.

The harp of heavenly songs played by God,
the recorder of mysteries, the divinely eloquent mouth,
beautifully chants the hymn of hymns;
for, moving his lips as though they were strings,
and using his tongue as a plectrum,
he prays that we be saved.

Strong is the love of the Lord for us;* eternally will His truth endure.

Proclaiming with your thunderous tongue
the hidden Word of divine wisdom, O beloved of God,
you ever cry out, continually moving your lips:
In the beginning was the Word!
And you instruct every man in the knowledge of God.

Glory…

Let us honour today those mystical trumpets of the Spirit,
namely, the God-mantled Fathers,
who speaking of divine things,
sang in the midst of the Church a hymn in unison,
teaching that the Trinity is one,
not differing in substance or Godhead,
refuting Arius and defending the orthodox faith.
They always intercede with the Lord
to have mercy on our souls.

Now…

Who would not call you blessed, O Virgin most holy?
Who would not sing a hymn of praise
to the glory of your giving birth without pain or travail?
The Only-begotten Son Himself,
begotten of the Father before all ages,
was made flesh out of you in a manner
that cannot be explained, O Woman most pure!
And for our sake, He Who is God by nature
assumed the nature of a man.
He is not divided into two persons;
He is understood to have two natures
without commixion or confusion.
O noble and blessed Woman,
intercede with Him that He may mercy on our souls.

Readings
(1) Genesis 14:14-20; (2) Deuteronomy 1:8-11, 15-17; (3) Deuteronomy 10:14-21; (4) 1 John 3:21-4:6; (5) 1 John 4:11-16; (6) 1 John 4:20-5:5

Lytia

In Tone 1

Rivers of theology poured forth from your honoured mouth, O apostle,
and the Church of God, watered thereby, worships the consubstantial Trinity in Orthodoxy.
Pray now to the Trinity, O theologian John,
that our souls be made steadfast and saved.

The garden of purity has emitted for us the myrrh of sweet fragrance on this present feast,
that we may cry out to him: O Apostle John,
who reclined against the Master’s breast,
who has rained down discourse upon the world
and preserved the Virgin as the apple of your eye,
beseech Christ, that He grant us great mercy.

O disciple of the Saviour, virgin and theologian, when Christ God was crucified
He committed the Virgin Theotokos to your care, in that you are virginal;
and you preserved her as the apple of your eye.
Wherefore, pray that our souls be saved.
As an eyewitness to ineffable mysteries, you cried out, exclaiming:
“In the beginning the pre-eternal Word was with God, and He was God!”
O Apostle John, intimate and faithful friend of Christ,
delight of the Trinity, unshakable confirmation of Ephesus and Patmos, our help.
Pray, O most blessed theologian, that the people who ever celebrate your memory with faith
be delivered from wicked enemies, material and noetic.

In Tone 5

O venerable father, having heard the voice of the Gospel of the Lord,
you forsook the world, holding riches and glory to be as naught.
Wherefore, you cried out to all:
“Love God and you shall find eternal grace.
Prefer nothing to His love, that when He shall come in His glory,
you shall find rest with all the saints.”
By his supplications, O Christ, preserve and save our souls.

In Tone 4, Glory… Now…

Reclining against the breast of Christ the Teacher at the Lord’s supper,
O beloved disciple, you thereby came to know ineffable things,
and has thundered forth your heavenly voice for all to hear,
saying: “In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God:
Christ God, the Saviour of our souls,
the Light of truth Who enlightens every man
who comes into the world.”

Aposticha

In Tone 6

O Christ our Saviour,
the angels in heaven sing the praises of Your Resurrection;
make us, on earth, also worthy
to extol and glorify You with a pure heart.

The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.

Almighty God, You destroyed the brazen gates and bars of Hades
and raised up fallen mankind.
Therefore, with one accord, we cry out:
O Lord, risen from the dead, glory to you!

For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.

Christ willed to renew us from our corruption of old
by being nailed to a Cross and placed in a tomb.
When the women came to anoint His body, they tearfully cried out:
O, what sorrow afflicts us!
O Saviour of all, how could You consent to occupy a grave?
If You truly willed this, then why did You allow Your body to be stolen?
How were You removed?
What place now conceals Your life-bearing body?
O Lord, appear to us as You promised
and put an end to our tears.
As they were lamenting, an angel appeared and cried out to them:
Do not weep, but tell the apostles that the Lord is risen,
granting sanctification and great mercy to the world.

Holiness befits your house, O Lord, for length of days.

O Christ, You were crucified of Your own free will,
and by Your burial You imprisoned Death.
As God, You rose in glory on the third day,
granting life and great mercy to the world.

In Tone 4, Glory…

O believers, let us come together today
to celebrate in faith and true worship
the remembrance of the God-inspired Fathers
who had come together from throughout the world,
in the splendid city of Nicea.
They rejected the doctrine of the impious Arius
and banished him from the universal Church
by a decree of the Council.
They instructed all to openly profess the Son of God,
that He is consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father before eternity,
and they clearly wrote this in the Symbol of Faith.
Therefore, following their divine doctrines,
let us worship the Son in true faith,
together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
the Trinity consubstantial in one Godhead.

Now…

O Lord most merciful,
after fulfilling the mystery hidden from all eternity,
You, the Creator and Master of all,
went up to the Mount of Olives with Your disciples and Your Mother.
For the one who, at the sight of Your Passion,
had suffered more than anyone else in her motherly heart,
had more than anyone else the right to share the joy that fills us
as we witness Your ascending into heaven.
We glorify Your infinite mercy overflowing upon us.

Troparia

In Tone 1
Hail, Mother of God, Virgin Mary full of grace!* The Lord is with you.* Blessed are you among women,* and blessed is the fruit of your womb.* For you have borne Christ, the Saviour* and Deliverer of our souls. (2)

In Tone 2
O beloved apostle of Christ our God,* hasten, deliver a people without defense.* He who received you when you leaned upon His breast accepts you as you bow in prayer.* Implore Him, O Theologian, to scatter the cloud of nations that besets us,* asking peace and great mercy for us. (1)


DIVINE LITURGY

Antiphon 1
Clap your hands, all you nations;* shout to God with the voice of joy.
Through the prayers of the Mother of God, O Saviour, save, us.
For the Lord most high is awesome,* a great king of all the earth.
Through the prayers…
He has subdued peoples to us,* and nations under our feet.
Through the prayers…
God ascended amid shouts of joy;* the Lord at the sound of the trumpet.
Through the prayers…
Glory… Now…  Only-Begotten Son…

Antiphon 3
Son of God, who ascended in glory, save us who sing to You: Alleluia.

Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 6: Angelic powers were upon Your tomb* and the guards became like dead men;* Mary stood before Your tomb* seeking Your most pure body.* You captured Hades without being overcome by it.* You met the Virgin and granted life.* O Lord, risen from the dead,* glory be to You!

Troparion, Tone 8: Christ our God, You are glorified above all, You established our fathers as beacons on earth and through them guided all of us to the true faith. Glory to You, most compassionate Lord.

Troparion, Tone 2: O beloved apostle of Christ our God,* hasten, deliver a people without defense.* He who received you when you leaned upon His breast accepts you as you bow in prayer.* Implore Him, O Theologian, to scatter the cloud of nations that besets us,* asking peace and great mercy.

Kontakion, Tone 8: The apostles’ preaching and the Fathers’ doctrine confirmed the Church’s one faith, and wearing the garment of truth woven from theology that descends from on high, she rightly imparts the mystery of godliness and sings its glory.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Kontakion, Tone 2: O virgin apostle, who can recount your mighty works?* For you pour out wonders and healings* and you pray for our souls as Theologian and friend of Christ.

Now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Kontakion, Tone 6: When you had fulfilled Your plan for us* and united things on earth with those in heaven,* You ascended in glory, O Christ our God,* in no way distant, but remaining in separable,* You cried to those who love You:* I am with You and there is none against you.

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.

Prokeimenon, Tone 8
Their utterance has gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

Epistle
Acts 20:16-18, 28-36; 1 John 1:1-7

Alleluia, Tone 1
verse: The God of gods, the Lord, spoke and summoned the earth from the rising of sun to its setting.
verse: Gather to Him His devout ones, who with sacrifice make covenant with Him.
verse: The heavens shall confess our wonders, O Lord, and Your truth in the church of the saints.
verse: God is glorified in the assembly of the saints

Gospel
John 17:1-13; John 19:25-27; 21:24-25

Hymn to the Mother of God
O my soul, magnify the Lord who in glory ascended bodily into the heavens.** O Mother of God,* you transcended both mind and word,* and in time, ineffably bore the Timeless One:* it is you who, with one accord,* we, the faithful, magnify.

Communion Hymn
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him the highest.* Rejoice in the Lord, O you just; praise befits the righteous.* Their utterance has gone forth into all the earth,* and their word unto the ends of the world.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia.

Instead of “We have seen the true light” and “Let our mouths be filled,” we sing:
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, above all the earth be Your glory.

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