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After the 1st reading from the Psalter Kathismata of the Cross.

Tone 4.

By your precious blood you have re­deemed us from the curse of the law;  nailed to the Cross and pierced by the lance, you have become a source of immortality for all. Our Saviour, glory to you.

Verse: Exalt the Lord our God, and bow down before his footstool; for he is holy.

Model Melody

Lifted up on the Cross of your own will, grant your mercies, O Christ God, to the new commonwealth that bears your name. Make your faithful people glad by your power, giving them victory over their enemies. May they have your help in battle: a weapon of peace, an invincible tro­phy.

Glory. Both now. Cross-Theotokion.

When the pure Virgin perceived the voluntary slaughter of the Master, grieving she said with tears: ‘My Child so deeply loved, why have you chosen to die? Why are you con­demned to death among evil-doers, you by nature the just God? O my Son, I glorify your long-suffering’.

After the 2nd Psalter reading other Kathismata.
Model Melody.

Come quickly to help us, Christ our God, before we are enslaved by foes who blaspheme you and who threaten us; by your Cross destroy those who make war on us; let them know how strong is the faith of the Orthodox, at the prayers of the Mother of God, O only lover of mankind.

Verse: God is our king from of old; he has worked salvation in the midst of the earth.

Same melody

The Jews nailed you to a Cross, O Saviour, through which you sum­moned us of old from among the na­tions, Christ our God; on it you stretched out your hands by your own wish, and in the multitude of your mercies you deigned that your side be pierced by a lance, O only lover of mankind.

Glory. Both now. Cross-Theotokion. Same melody

Virgin most pure, Mother of Christ God, a sword passed through your all-holy soul when you saw your Son and God willingly crucified. Do not cease, O blessed one, to implore him to grant us pardon of of­fences.

After the 3rd reading from the Psal­ter, other Kathismata.
Come swiftly to help us

In your limitless mercy, you willingly endured Cross and death for us, O Good One, and the unjust judgement, that You might free from condemna­tion and the ancient curse all who had perished through deception; there­fore, O Word, we too worship your Crucifixion.

Verse: God is wonderful in his Saints, the God of Israel.

Of the Martyrs.

Today the armies of the Angels are at hand at the memorial of the Champi­ons to enlighten the minds of the faithful, and to make the whole world bright with grace; besought by them, O God, grant us your great mercy.

Glory. Both now. Cross-Theotokion.
Come swiftly to help us

O Word of God, when your immacu­late Mother saw you raised upon the Cross, lamenting as a mother, she cried out: ‘What is this strange new wonder, my Son? How can you, the life of all, be acquainted with death, who wish to give life to the dead as you are compassionate?’

Canon of the Cross, whose acrostic is:
Nailed to the Cross Christ destroys error. Joseph.

Ode 1. Irmos.

I will open my mouth and it will be filled with the Spirit, and I will utter a word to the Queen and Mother, and I shall be seen keeping glad festival, and rejoicing I will sing her won­ders.


You stretched out your divine hands on the Cross, O Long-suffering, and called the world which had perished to knowledge of your might, O Merciful; therefore we magnify your compassion.

Moses raised up the serpent which was an image, O Word without be­ginning, of your divine Crucifixion, through which the poisonous serpent, the cause of Adam's fall, has fallen .

Of the Martyrs.

You have been found worthy, O Martyrs, to dwell among the splen­dours of the Saints, for you have re­ceived the unshakeable Kingdom, as Paul clearly showed, and have be­come sharers in Christ's glory.

The rising waves of unbearable pun­ishments did not sink your ship, O Martyrs, for piloted by the King of all you reached the havens of rest.


A sword went through your heart, as Symeon said, when you saw Christ crucified and pierced by a lance, therefore with cries of grief you en­dured sufferings.

Another Canon, of the all-holy Mother of God.
A composition of Theophanes. Same Irmos.

He who is by nature uncreated and co-eternal with the Father, and above time and before the ages, became created from you, Sovereign Lady, and subject to time as man to save mankind.

You alone, O Bride of God, carried incarnate in your arms the One who is seated in the highest; for from all the ages you were made a fitting vessel for the Almighty.

Come, let us all sing the praise of Mary the immaculate, as the one who alone bore Christ the Lord, who re­newed human nature, and alone re­mained a Virgin without blemish.

Ode 3. Irmos.

O Mother of God, as living and ungrudging source, establish those united in spiritual fellowship who sing hymns you of praise, and in your divine glory grant them crowns of glory.


The lawless people dragged you like a sheep to the slaughter, O Christ, who are the Lamb of God, and who wish to rescue from the bitter wolf the sheep whom you loved for you love mankind.

You stood judged before the unjust judge, you who judge justly the whole earth, and you endured blows, for you wished to free me, O Lord, who am enslaved to the evil ruler of this world.

Of the Martyrs.

Contending according to the laws, O Saints, you put to shame your lawless foes, and being willingly put to death for the resurrection of all you threw down the dragon, the cause of death.

The Martyrs have been lifted up from earth, already mounted as martyrs on true glory, and, filled with ineffable joy, though formed of matter, have been united with the immaterial Hosts. 

Cross Theotokion.

O truly Virgin, from you appeared the refashioning of Eve, God born in the flesh and raised on the Cross and routing demons, O Sovereign Lady full of God's grace.

Of the Mother of God. Another Irmos.

[Let us not boast in wisdom and power and wealth, but in you, O Christ, the empersonned wisdom of God the Father. For none is holy but you, O Lover of mankind.]


The One who fashioned me, man­kind, from clay in the beginning, is fashioned for me in your womb, O All-pure, so righting the former fall.

By conceiving Life, O Mother of God, you destroyed the might of death and the sentence of the ancient curse; therefore we honour your im­maculate Birth-giving.

O Mother of God, we honour you as her who gave birth to God, as we fit a title and a name suitable to your offspring, Sovereign Lady.

Ode 4. Irmos.

The Prophet Avvakoum, under­standing the unsearchable divine counsel of your incarnation from the Virgin, O Most High, cried out: Glory to your power, O Lord.


To free me from the bonds of sin, O Lover of mankind, willingly you were bound and died as a malefactor on a cross. Glory to your abundant com­passion.

You bore marks of nails, O Word of God, and a shameful death, so mak­ing immortal the nature of mortals put to death by passions. Glory to your abundant compassion.

Of the Martyrs.

About to inherit the joy of God, filled with joy in soul in the all-holy Spirit, you endured torments and most vio­lent death.

Hands and heads severed, the tongues that spoke of God cut out, deprived of sight, torn limb from limb, O Martyrs, you remained in­separable from Christ.

Cross Theotokion.

Now that you have been  pierced by the lance, O Master, the record of Adam’s debt has been torn up, cried the Mother of God, as she stood by the Cross, O Lord, and lamented in her grief.

Of the Mother of God. Another Irmos.

[The One seated in glory on the throne of the Godhead, Jesus, the One above all godhead, has come on a light cloud and with his unsullied palm has saved those who cry: Glory, O Christ, to your power!]


You became more beautiful than all the loveliness of the Angels, O Maiden, for you bore their Maker and Lord, who took flesh from your im­maculate blood and who delivers all who glorify him.

Rejecting every stain of the former eating, we are fed on the Bread of life from heaven which dawned from the earth of the Virgin; let us hymn her as cause of good things.

The holy Mother of God, the unsul­lied Tabernacle, the Gate of light, Table and golden Jar, the unhewn, shaded Mountain, who contained the Creator is called blessed.

O Bride of God, the streams of your gifts and springs of healing and distri­butions of divine wealth are given out from the open hand, source of life, of the Almighty who was born from your womb.

Ode 5. Irmos.

The universe was amazed at your divine glory, for you, O Virgin, who knew not wedlock held in your womb the God over all and gave birth to an eternal Son, who gives salvation as the prize to all who sing your praise.


Seeing You hanging upon the Cross, O Master, the sun withdrew its rays, not having the strength to shine when you, O Saviour, had set and were guiding with light those who slept in the night of error, and who wor­shipped your might.

You are crucified and save me through your compassion, Lord; you accept the taste of vinegar and gall, so delivering us, in your goodness, from the pleasurable taste, by which we were led astray and fell subject to corruption.

Of the Martyrs.

Godly Martyrs, you banished the winter of error with the warmth of the Holy Spirit, and rejoicing reached the spring of repose, closely protect­ing all who are in distress.

You watered the whole earth, holy Martyrs, with showers of godly blood, drying up the showers of godlessness; therefore you have now made your dwelling by the water of life, as you intercede on behalf of all.


When you saw Christ whom you had borne in the flesh, hanging on the tree, O Full of God's grace, you were filled with grief and truly amazed at his long-suffering.

Of the Mother of God. Another Ir­mos.

[The impious will not see your glory, O Christ, but we, who rise early in the dawn, sing your praise Only-begotten radiance of the Father’s Godhead, Lover of humankind.]


The spiritual Sun dawned from you, and unfolded the far-shining rays of his Godhead on all, O Mistress, Mother of God; therefore we all glorify you.

We name you the all pure Mother of God, for you bore in the flesh for us the true God, the Only-begotten of the Father, fitting the name which suits your child-bearing.

The only-begotten Son, the Most High, of the same nature and same form as the Father, willingly became of the same race as mankind, taking flesh from your womb, O Virgin-Mother.

Ode 6. Irmos.

Come godly-minded people, as we celebrate this divine and honoured feast of the Mother of God, let us clap our hands as we glorify the God who was born of her.


Robbed by the pains you underwent, putting an end to the pains of human­ity, you lead all to the life without pain, O compassionate Lord.

The blaze of the sun was hidden, the splendour of the temple torn apart, the earth was shaken, the rocks were rent with fear, unable to contemplate the Creator on the Cross.

Of the Martyrs.

The serpent died seeing the godly Martyrs dead from tortures and truly inheriting eternal life by God's grace.

Countless, everliving multitudes of Martyrs, you underwent countless tortures and won countless prizes; therefore diminish the multitudes of my evils.


Be for me a haven, All-spotless One, who am tossed on a sea of fearful troubles, you who have now saved all shipwrecked nature by your giving birth, O Maiden Mother of God.

Of the Mother of God. Another Irmos.

[Prefiguring your burial for three days, the Prophet Jonas, as he prayed within the whale, cried out, Deliver me from corruption, Jesus, Kings of Powers!]


Finding you the pure dwelling-place of chastity, the Master dwelt purely in your womb, wishing, O Virgin, to purify human nature.

All Spotless One, you have made heavenly the earthly nature of man­kind, renewed it when it was corrupted; therefore you alone we honour with never silent voices.

You conceived in your womb, O Mother of God, God the Word with­out beginning, who for us men be­come as us, acknowledged as un­changed in two natures.

Ode 7. Irmos.

The godlike Children did not wor­ship creation instead of the Creator, but bravely trampling on the threat of fire, rejoicing they sang: O highly exalted Lord and God of our fathers, blessed are you!


The enemy was routed and thrown headlong as a corpse, when Christ was raised on the tree and he who of old was condemned was saved and cried to him: O Lord and God of our fathers, blessed are you!.

By dying on a tree you made me, who was slain through a tree, divine, and by your divine wounds you healed the wounds of my heart. O highly exalted Lord and God of our fathers, blessed are you!

Of the Martyrs.

Martyrs of Christ, your bodies were disfigured, struck by countless scourges, but the beauty of your souls was shown to be truly lovelier, as you cried: O Lord God, blessed are you!

Shipwrecked in your blood the enemy with his myriads was destroyed; but you, all-honoured Martyrs, sang out with joy: O Lord and God of our fa­thers, blessed are you!


All-pure One, you were shown to be a spotless Bride, a palace for the Creator, a throne formed of fire, earth untilled; therefore we cry to you: Hail Sovereign Lady who made mortals divine by your divine child-bearing.

Of the Mother of God. Another Ir­mos.

[You saved in the fire your Youths, of Abraham’s line, and destroyed the Chaldaeans with the snare with which they had unjustly trapped the just. O Lord highly exalted, the God of our Fathers, blessed are you.]


The Word who was in the beginning dwelling in your womb, O Virgin, took flesh, calling us back who were imprisoned, he the Lord who loves mankind, the blessed God of our fa­thers.

You appeared as the spiritual Gate of the Dayspring from on high who ap­peared for mankind on earth from you, O Bride of God, beyond reason and understanding, he the blessed God of our fathers.

Clothed in a robe of many virtues you stood at the right hand of the King of all who became incarnate from your blood, O Bride without bridegroom, who intercede unceasingly that we be delivered from every constraint.

By your mother’s boldness, O Virgin, break the chains of the offences of those who sing with devotion and love to your Offspring: O highly ex­alted Lord and God of our fathers, blessed are You!

Ode 8. Irmos.

The Offspring of the Mother of God saved the innocent Youths in the fur­nace. Then he was prefigured, but now in reality he gathers the whole world which sings: All you works praise the Lord, and highly exalt him to all the ages.


Master beyond time, you loose me from timeless bonds, becoming sub­ject to time and given up of your own will and banishing the proud foe in indissoluble bonds, and you save me by your Cross and Passion: therefore I bless you, O Christ, to all the ages.

O Word, highly exalted, without be­ginning, invisible, you were willingly raised on the Cross, raising all crea­tion with you and making a spectacle of all the principalities and powers of darkness, O Christ, by your Passion; therefore we praise you to all the ages.

Of the Martyrs.

Martyrs of all the world, you mounted your own blood like a chariot and were carried to dwellings above the world, receiving fitting prizes from Christ, and crying: Praise the Lord, and highly exalt him to all the ages.

Raised on gallows and hurled into pits, thrown to beasts and torn apart by fire and water the victorious Mar­tyrs sang with joy: You works praise the Lord and highly exalt him to all the ages.


When she saw you sleeping on the Tree, who grant divine and saving awakening to all, your all-pure Mother loudly lamenting cried out: What is this newest wonder? He who gives life to all is dying willingly.

Of the Mother of God. The same Irmos.

The Creator, who is unapproachable by all the ranks above, dwelt in your womb, keeping you unharmed by fire and incorrupt after child-birth; to him we now cry out: You works praise the Lord and highly exalt him to all the ages.

Pure of stains and taints and a shrine of all holiness you bore the all-holy Word, who makes all things holy and is without beginning with the Father; therefore, O Virgin, we praise and highly exalt you to all the ages.

Knowing you by mouth and mind to be Mother of God we confess you, O immaculate; for you gave birth, all-pure, to the Creator clothed in flesh, Christ the Lord and King; therefore, O Virgin, we praise and highly exalt you to all the ages.

O Mother of God, the all-holy Ark, overshadowed by the divine Spirit, who bore the eternal and everlasting Word, who through ineffable com­passion became incarnate, we praise and highly exalt you to all the ages.

Ode 9. Irmos.

Let all born of earth bearing torches, in spirit leap for joy; let the nature of the immaterial spirits hon­our and celebrate the wondrous sa­cred festival of the Mother of God, and let them cry: Hail, all-blessed Mother of God, pure and Ever-Virgin!


He stands judged who is going to judge the universe, O Lover of man­kind; you willingly bind on a crown of thorns, O Saviour, plucking up the thorn of disobedience by the roots, O Christ, and implanting in all the knowledge of your compassion

Oh how does the unjust people, darkened by envy, betray you to a cross, O just and blameless and Giver of life. Seeing your passion the sun grows dark and the splendour of the Temple is rent and the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Of the Martyrs.

Holy Martyrs, you are called compan­ions of the sufferings of Christ and fellow heirs of the King­dom and the glory; therefore, O wise ones, give light to those who hymn you, scattering the gloom of sin and manifold disasters.

Already, wise Martyrs, you have made your dwelling in heaven itself, receiving eternal glory and deified by sacred participation in God's life; remember us all who honour with faith your all-sacred and revered memory, O all-praised.


Enlighten, O pure one, those who hymn and magnify you with longing; destroy the darkness of our passions, O Maiden; end the tempest; take from our midst the stumbling blocks of the evil one; subdue the children of Hagar to our devout King by your prayers.

Of the Mother of God. Another Irmos.

[Eve by the sickness of disobedience gave entrance to the curse; but you, Virgin Mother of God, by the offshoot of your child-bearing made blessing flower for the world; therefore we all magnify you.]

Pure Bride of God, the spiritual coal which Isaias saw you carry in your arms, O Mother of God, united with our form and a beacon of salvation for the world; therefore we all mag­nify you.

The Prophets proclaimed in advance the symbols of your birth-giving, in­structed in these mysteries from afar, and by the divine inspiration of the Spirit proclaiming them loudly to the world; at whose fulfilment we now marvel.

Lovely in his beauty and fairer than all is he fruit of your womb, for you, Virgin Mother of God, gave birth to God incarnate that he might save mankind; therefore we all magnify you.

Aposticha of Lauds. Of the Cross.

May your Cross be a wall for us, Jesu our Saviour; for we faithful have no other hope but you who were nailed to it and who grant us your great mercy.

Model melody.

You have given as a sign to those who fear you, Lord, your precious Cross, through which you triumphed over the principalities and powers of darkness and brought us back to our ancient blessedness; therefore we glorify your loving dispensation, O Jesu all-powerful, the Saviour of our souls.

Of the Martyrs.

Who is not amazed, holy Martyrs, seeing the good fight that you fought; how while still in the body you con­quered the bodiless foe, confessing Christ and armed with the Cross? Therefore you were fittingly named routers of demons and enemies of barbarians, as you intercede unceas­ingly that our souls may be saved.

Glory. Both now. Cross Theotokion.

As noblest of Martyrs.

When the Virgin, your Mother, saw You hanging on the Cross, O Lord, she was amazed and cried out with yearning: My Son, so well-beloved, why have you been fixed to the tree of the Cross, O Long-suffering One? Why have your hands and feet been nailed by lawless men, O Word? Why have you shed your blood, O Master?


The Beatitudes

Through a tree Adam became an ex­ile from Paradise, but through the Tree of the Cross the Thief made Paradise his home; the one by tasting rejected the commandment of his Maker, the other, crucified with him confessed the hidden God, crying: Remember me in your kingdom.

The Powers of heaven, at a loss through fear, were amazed seeing you stretched on the Cross, O only Long-suffering; the earth was shaken and the beauty of the great lights was quenched; Adam the condemned was justified when you were judged un­justly, O Lover of mankind, and he praised your loving kindness.

Lifted up on Calvary you destroyed the curse of the foe; by dying on the Tree you gave life to those who had died through the fruit of the tree, O Master, and declared them citizens of Paradise, who ceaselessly sing your praise, Christ our God, and cry to you: Remember us also in your king­dom.

Of the Martyrs.

Holy Martyrs, having taken up the Cross as a weapon you marched out with noble intent against the ranks of the foe, and having destroyed them you were garlanded with victors' wreathes and gained glory and divine splendour, O admirable ones; there­fore with faith we all call you blest.


To show your compassion for us openly, O Saviour, who are one with the Father and the Spirit, you were nailed to the Cross; and endured the sponge and reed, blows and stripes, for you wished to deliver from ever-living fire us who cry: Remember us also in your kingdom.

Both now. Theotokion.

The wholly uncontainable dwelt without constraint in your holy womb, O Mother of God, immaculate Lady, and by dying on a Tree became a source of life for the world. Implore him to slay our carnal thoughts and save us all as he loves mankind.

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Archimandrite Ephrem ©

This page was last updated on 03 November 2008