CANON FOR THE MAN
The canon for the feast of the Man Born Blind is by St Joseph of Thessaloniki [Feast day 14 July], the brother of St Theodore the Studite. He is also the author of the canons for the two preceding Sundays, that for the eve of the Assumption, commonly called the Ascension, and the second canon for the feast itself. He usually signs his compositions with his name JOSEPH as an acrostic in the ninth ode. This is preserved in the following translation.
Like all the canons for the Sundays of Pascha, this canon seems originally to have been intended to stand alone, since only one troparion deals with the subject of the feast, the others forming, in effect, a standard Resurrection canon.
The subject first troparion of all the odes is the Crucifixion and of the fourth the Blind Man, and every ode ends with a Triadikon and a Theotokion. The first two odes have a similar pattern, which is found elsewhere in the liturgical texts. The subject of the first troparion is the Cross, of the second the noble Joseph , of the third the Myrrhbearers and the fourth the Blind Man. Some of the later odes, with their allusions to Acts 1 and Luke 24, look forward to the coming feast of the Assumption.
I have not included detailed references to holy Scripture, though there are many in the text. The phrase right Spirit in the Triadikon of the 9th ode is a quotation from Psalm 50, but because it sounds somewhat strange in English I have placed it in inverted commas.
The Acrostic in the
A Composition of Joseph of Thessaloniki
Ode 1. Tone 5. The Irmos.
Israel passed dry-shod, O Lord, over earth on which the sun had never shone, had never seen; deep which the vault of heaven had never seen naked; and you led him to the mountain of your sanctification as he sang and chanted a song of victory.
By willingly accepting crucifixion in the flesh, you have become a source of blessing and life for the world, O Master, only all-blessed and Creator of all; therefore we bless you, we hymn and glorify you, as we sing and chant a song of victory.
When you were dead, O long-suffering, the noble Joseph laid you in the lowest pit and rolled a stone to the door of the grave; but you rose in glory, raising the world with you, as it sang and chanted a song of victory.
The Angel appeared and said to the holy women: Why do you bring spices with tears? Christ has risen! Run, tell the Disciples who have seen God, as they mourn and weep, so that they may leap and dance for joy.
Extraordinary wonders the Redeemer performs; he even cured a man blind from birth, anointing him with clay and saying: Go, wash in Siloam, that you may know that I am God who walk the earth bearing flesh because of my compassionate pity.
Honouring one Essence in three Persons, let us the faithful glorify the Father and the Son and the right Spirit, maker and Lord, and redeemer of all, one uncreated God, as we cry with the Bodiless hosts: Holy, Holy, Holy are you, O King!
Because of his compassionate pity the Lord dwelt in your womb that had not known wedlock, O Pure one, for he wished to save mankind which had perished through the wiles of the foe: implore him then that this city may be saved from every capture and invasion by foes.
Ode 3. The Irmos.
O Lord, make firm my heart, shaken by the waves of life, as God guiding it to a fair haven.
Long-suffering Lord, you made firm the hearts of those who are shaken when you shook the earth, by your hallowed Crucifixion, which you underwent in the flesh.
The noble Joseph laid you in a new tomb, O merciful; but you arose from the dead on the third day, renewing us all.
Why do you seek the Lord as a corpse? He has risen as he said, cried the Angel to the women, dazzling with his godlike form.
You once cured a man blind from birth who came to you, All-merciful, glorifying your dispensation and your wonders.
We worship God, Father without beginning, Son and divine Spirit, triple uncreated, three-personned nature, one God of all.
You gave birth from a virgin womb to God incarnate; implore him, all-holy Lady, to have pity on us.
Ode 4. The Irmos.
I heard your report, Lord, and I was afraid; I considered your dispensation and I glorified you, only lover of mankind.
By being placed on a Tree you, who are life, brought me, who had died through a tree, back to life through your great mercy. Therefore, O Word, I glorify you.
Marvellously assembled together with your Initiates, O Lord, you said to them: Go forth, proclaim my Resurrection everywhere.
Confirming your Rising from the grave, Lord, for many days you assembled together with your friends, and made them joyful.
You gave sight to a man Blind from the womb, Lord, when you said: Go, wash and receive your sight, and glorify my Godhead.
O Trinity, identical in honour, undivided in Essence, divided in Persons, save all who with fear faithfully glorify you.
We glorify your child-bearing above nature, O Immaculate, in faith blessing you, O all unblemished, as the one who gave birth to the God of all.
Ode 5. The Irmos.
Have pity on my wretched soul as it fights a night battle with the darkness of the passions, and make your rays clear as day shine in me, O spiritual Sun, to turn my night into light.
You were lifted up on a Tree, and lifting up all mortals with yourself, O merciful, you put to death the hostile serpent and, as only God of all, gave life to what your hands had fashioned.
Willingly you became a corpse and were laid in a tomb, immortal King, and you emptied all the palaces of Hell, raising the dead by your Resurrection.
When you had accomplished great marvels upon earth, O Word, a lawless people slew you; but, being alone powerful, Lord Christ, you rose, as you had foretold, from the dead.
Having opened the eyes of one who had not seen the natural light, you enlightened the pupils of his soul and led him to give glory when he recognised you as maker, through compassion seen as a mortal.
Let all us faithful glorify a Trinity in unity and a Unity in trinity, Father, Son and right Spirit, one God, truly creator of all.
How did you bear a child without knowing man, O Virgin-mother, full of Gods grace? How nourish creations nourisher? As he alone understands, who is maker of all and God.
Ode 6. The Irmos.
As you delivered the Prophet from the beast, O Lord, bring me too, I pray, from the deep of ungovernable passions; that I may look again towards your holy temple.
Crucified with thieves, O Master, from evil thieves and soul-destroying passions, you delivered us who praise in harmony your Crucifixion and your Rising, O Lord who loves mankind.
A lifeless corpse they laid you in a tomb, O Christ, who breathe life into all the dead; but you arose, Lord, emptying all the graves, O Word, by your sovereign power.
After your Rising, O Christ, you said to your friends: Tarry in Jerusalem, until you are clothed with invincible strength and sure support from on high.
You made clay, and anointed the eyes of the man Blind from birth, and you gave him the grace of sight as he hymned your immaculate power, through which you saved the world.
Three-personned Unity, Father unbegotten, Son begotten, Spirit proceeding, thrice-holy Lord, one Essence, one Power, save your whole people.
Who can recount your great things, O Pure one? For beyond nature you bore God in the flesh, who delivers the world from every sin through you, Virgin all-unblemished.
Ode 7. The Irmos.
Quencher of fire was the prayer of the young men; the furnace, herald of the marvel, refreshed and did not scorch, did not burn up those who hymned the God of our fathers.
When you were hung upon the Tree, O Saviour, the sun was quenched, the earth heaved, all creation was shaken, and the dead were raised from the graves.
When you rose from the dead, O King, the souls which slept there were raised with you and glorified your sovereign power, through which the bonds of death were loosed.
At dawn a choir of women came to anoint you, but learning that you had risen, Lord, they rejoiced with the sacred Disciples; through whom grant us redemption from evils.
You anointed with clay the eyes of the man born Blind and you ordered him to go to Siloam: having washed he gained his sight as he hymned you, O Christ, King of all.
Let us hymn the Father without beginning, the Son likewise without beginning and the all-holy Spirit: Holy, Holy, Holy, are you, O God, King of all.
After child-birth you were seen to be a virgin, O Pure one; for you gave birth, O Immaculate, to God who made natures new by his power; ever implore him that we may be saved.
Ode 8. The Irmos.
The King and creator of all, O assembly of Angels, congregation of mankind, priests praise, levites bless, people highly exalt unto the ages.
The ranks of Angels, seeing you hanging upon the Cross, O Christ, universal King, and altering all creation, were struck with fear as they hymned your love for mankind.
Hell, seeing you below, groaned aloud and rapidly gave back the dead whom it had held under guard since time began, O Christ, as they hymned your love for mankind.
Having accomplished extraordinary marvels, you were willingly lifted up on a cross and joined with the dead, O Christ, and you put Hell to death and with courage released all its prisoners.
You gave eyes to the Blind Man who came to you, O Christ, ordering him to wash in the spring of Siloam, to see and to proclaim you as God, manifest in the flesh for the salvation of the world.
O undivided Trinity, unconfused Unity, God of all and creator of all things, save from manifold temptations those who hymn and faithfully worship your might.
Immaculate Virgin, full of Gods grace, ever implore your Son not to put me to shame on the day of judgement, but to number me with the chosen sheep.
Ode 9. The Irmos.
For he that is mighty has done great things for you, showing you to be a pure virgin after child-birth, for you bore without seed your own maker: therefore, O Mother of God, we magnify you.
oined to the gallows of the Cross, Christ Saviour, you triumphed over all the hostile forces of the foe, and abolished the former curse; therefore as is right we magnify you.
n seeing you below with your soul, O Word, Hell groaned aloud and in fear released all the dead, who recognised the might of your authority; with whom as is right we magnify you.
eeing him accomplishing signs and dread wonders the people of the Hebrews in jealousy slew him who plundered Hell by his Resurrection, and as powerful raised all with him.
ven as you said, you rose from the dead, O Giver of Life, and appeared to the holy Disciples after your Rising, you who did signs and gave sight to the blind; with them to the ages we magnify you.
raise I give to Light, the Father, glory to Light, the Son, a hymn to Light, the right Spirit: one undivided Light, recognised in three Persons, God, King of all creation.
oly Virgin, you appear wider then the heavens for you contained and bore in a body God, the uncircumscribed, for the redemption of all those who sing your praise with undoubting faith.
All texts and
translations on this page are copyright to
This page was last updated on 03 November 2008