December 18, 2016 </br>Sunday before the Nativity of Christ – Sunday of the Holy Fathers; Octoechos Tone 6; Martyr Sebastian and others

December 18, 2016
Sunday before the Nativity of Christ – Sunday of the Holy Fathers; Octoechos Tone 6; Martyr Sebastian and others

GREAT VESPERS

Kathisma reading
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.

At Psalm 140

In Tone 6

  1. 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.

  1. 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 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.

  1. 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.
Your power prevails in Hades where You conquered Death.
O Master, Your sustaining hand 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.

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

We exult in Your Cross, O Christ,
and we sing the glory of Your Resurrection.
For You are our God, and we have no other Lord but You.

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

Glory to Your might, O Lord,
for You have conquered the power of death.
You have renewed us through Your Cross,
granting us life and incorruption.

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

We forever bless the Lord and praise His resurrection,
for by suffering crucifixion,
He has destroyed death by His death.

In Tone 8

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

The commemoration of the holy Fathers
is manifested to the ends of the world.
It is truly full of splendour,
and it glistens with the rays of grace;
for Christ the splendorous Sun has shone forth on high from afar.
He forms the assembly of stars which glisten with Him,
and the star reveals that the nativity of the God-man will be in Bethlehem.
Therefore, we piously and faithfully clap our hands
and leap for joy at this nativity,
and we give praise before the feast.

  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 commemoration of the holy Fathers
is manifested to the ends of the world.
It is truly full of splendour,
and it glistens with the rays of grace;
for Christ the splendorous Sun has shone forth on high from afar.
He forms the assembly of stars which glisten with Him,
and the star reveals that the nativity of the God-man will be in Bethlehem.
Therefore, we piously and faithfully clap our hands
and leap for joy at this nativity,
and we give praise before the feast.

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

The Holy Fathers are adorned
by the glory of the divine sharing of our nature.
Adam rejoices today,
since he is the foundation and the strength of the wise Forefathers;
Abel leaps for joy as well.
Enoch is glad; Seth and Noah dance together.
The praiseworthy Abraham sings with the Patriarchs.
Melchizedek now sees from on high
the birth without a father.

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

The faithful and God-wise youths
are radiant with joy in the furnace.
They herald the nativity of Christ on earth.
As the precious dew which the Lord sent down,
He now preserves the Virgin without stain
and enriches her sublime with gifts.
Therefore, Daniel, inspired by God,
is also happy and full of joy
because he had a clear vision of the unhewn stone of the mountain.
He now zealously prays for our souls.

In Tone 6, Glory…

Daniel was a beloved man.
He saw You, O Lord, as the Rock
which was hewn without the use of a hand.
He foretold that You, the Incarnate Word,
the Unchangeable God, and Saviour of our souls,
would be born without seed
as a Child of the Virgin.

In Tone 6, 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

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 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 out 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 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 2, Glory…

Rejoice, O illustrious Prophets!
You firmly established the Law of the Lord,
and you faithfully manifested yourselves
to be invincible and unshakeable pillars.
You have been taken to heaven
and have shown yourselves to be mediators of the new Law of Christ.
Implore Him to give peace tot he world
and to save our souls.

Now…

We now behold a new wonder
greater than the wonders of old.
For who has ever known a mother to bear a child without the help of man?
Who has known as mother to hold within her arms the Source of all creation?
It was God’s own will to be born in this manner;
and you, O most Virgin, carried Him as an infant in your arms.
Because of this, you can approach God with the boldness of a mother.
Therefore, we venerate you and ask you to always beseech Him
to have mercy on us and save our souls.

Troparia

In 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 to You!

In Tone 2, Glory…
Great are the achievements of faith!* In the fountain of flames, the three holy youths rejoiced as by the water of rest,* and the prophet Daniel was revealed shepherding lions like sheep.* Through their intercession, O Christ God, save our souls.

Now…
O Mother of God, the mysteries which surround you are exceedingly glorious * and beyond the power of understanding. * For you retained the seal of purity, * and your virginity remained inviolate; * yet you are acknowledged without doubt, * to be the Mother who gave birth to the true God. ** We beg you, therefore, to entreat Him to save our souls.

 


DIVINE LITURGY

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 to You!

Troparion, Tone 2: Great are the achievements of faith!* In the fountain of flames, the three holy youths rejoiced as by the water of rest,* and the prophet Daniel was revealed shepherding lions like sheep.* Through their intercession, O Christ God,* save our souls.

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)

Epistle
Hebrews 11:9-10,17-23,32-40

Alleluia, Tone 4
verse: O God, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us the work You did in their days.
verse: You saved us from our oppressors and put to shame those who hate us. (Psalm 43:2,8)

Gospel
Matthew 1:1-25

Communion Hymn
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.

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