Friday, March 25, 2016

Foundation Stones

As Easter mirthmotes (celebrations) for the Western churches (Catholic and Protestant) draw near, a certain sadness creeps in with them.  Sadness in what has been lost in the West by its falling away from the wholeness of the Orthodox Faith in exchange for rationalist, philosophical constructs about God and/or emotionalist approaches to Him (which can never bring a man to true union with God).  One of the greatest losses has been the Saints, those holy, living stones from whom God’s Grace, His Love, overflows and who are such strong supports in the edifice of the Church, whose work helps join us poor strugglers to the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets and to the cornerstone of Christ Himself, that we might know the Father in Him through the Holy Ghost.

Soþlice (Truly), if they are not present among a people claiming to be Christian, then the society they are building has no strong supports and is in danger of collapsing/falling apart.

So it is in the South and Western Europe in this age:  They are full of material wonders but bereft of divine-human ones, who can help us escape the Kingdom of Man (which is hell) and enter the Kingdom of God.

Bearing this in mind, let us repent and take note of a few particularly important Saints for the South and Western Europe who reposed in February and March.  Let us learn to love and honor them as wonderfully wrought men and maidens of the Father’s Kingdom, our beloved kinsmen, from whom the beauty of the All-Holy Trinity flows forth.

1 February:  St Brigid of Kildare (Ireland)

Come, ye faithful, from the west and from the north, from the sea and from the east: let us make haste to the radiant feast, glorifying the wise enlightener of the Irish land and praising her struggles; and, clapping our hands, let us cry aloud: Glory to Thee, O Christ God, Who art wondrous in Thy saints!

Having brought to thy homeland the light of Orthodoxy, which is that of the threefold Sun, and which heralded the day of salvation, O venerable one, by thy life didst thou instruct the people who, having been enlightened by faith, cried out: Glory to Thee, O Christ God, Who art wondrous in Thy saints!

Forsaking princely rank and spurning earthly glory, thou didst choose slavery to Christ and voluntary poverty, desiring the angelic rank. Wherefore, having found thee to be a new and fervent intercessor, we cry out in thanksgiving: Glory to Thee, O Christ God, Who art wondrous in Thy saints!

 . . .

Instructed by the discourse of the holy Patrick, thou didst arrive at the uttermost west, heralding the Orient Who hath visited us from on high. Wherefore, we bless thee, O venerable mother Brigid, and cry out to thee: Pray thou in behalf of our souls

 . . .

Rejecting thy noble rank, and loving the godly monastic life, from oaken wood didst thou build a convent, the first in thy land; and having there united a multitude of nuns to God, thou didst teach the surrounding lands to cry to the Lord: Have mercy on us!

 . . .

Source: , accessed 25 March 2016

1 March:  St David of Wales

O all-glorious wonder! From childhood thou didst adorn thy life with virtue, and having been made a priest of Christ wast truly shown to be a luminary for His flock. Wherefore, having vanquished the demons by thy tireless spiritual warfare, in soul thou hast ascended on high, where thou beholdest thy Lord and Master face to face in the splendour of His glory.

O all-glorious wonder that human flesh could be so mortified! For, following the ascetics of the desert thou didst lay waste thy body, resisting all the temptations of the flesh and putting away from thee all carnal thoughts, O David blessed of God; wherefore, arrayed in garments of purity as for a wedding feast, thou hast entered, rejoicing, into the joy of thy Lord.

O all-glorious wonder, the grace of God which doth sanctify and deify filled thy humble soul, O David, and thou didst preach with eloquence against the accursed Pelagius, refuting his vile heresy, watchfully fending off from the faithful from its pernicious harm, and leading them in gladness into the splendid courts of Christ, to the mansions of the righteous.

 . . .

Come, O ye assembly of the faithful, and with reverent voices let us praise the holy bishop David, who as a good shepherd guided his flock to the Faith with the word of Truth, by his virtues teaching them to tread the straight and narrow path which leadeth to paradise. Truly, for his obedience the Almighty hath bestowed upon him manifold spiritual gifts, which he freely imparteth to those who bless his holy memory, entreating Christ to have pity on us and grant us remission of sins.

 . . .

Let the Christians of Wales join in gladsome chorus, uplifting their voices in joyous jubilation, as we celebrate the feast of the wondrous David, their holy father and enlightener, who now dwelleth with the saints on high, and doth ever earnestly intercede for us sinners.

 . . .

O thou who didst willing take up thy cross and follow Christ the Lord, and didst fill thy land with new communities dedicated to Him, send down from heaven the grace of God, O great and wondrous David, that we Christians may prevail over all heresies, having thee as an invincible ally amid our struggle for piety.

 . . .

17 March:  St Patrick, Apostle of Ireland

Troparion — Tone 3

Holy Bishop Patrick, / Faithful shepherd of Christ’s royal flock, / You filled Ireland with the radiance of the Gospel: / The mighty strength of the Trinity! / Now that you stand before the Savior, / Pray that He may preserve us in faith and love!

Kontakion — Tone 4

From slavery you escaped to freedom in Christ’s service: / He sent you to deliver Ireland from the devil’s bondage. / You planted the Word of the Gospel in pagan hearts. / In your journeys and hardships you rivaled the Apostle Paul! / Having received the reward for your labors in heaven, / Never cease to pray for the flock you have gathered on earth, / Holy bishop Patrick!

Here is his wonderful Breastplate prayer:

I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever, by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation; His baptism in the Jordan river; His death on cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spicéd tomb; His riding up the heavenly way; His coming at the day of doom: I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim; the sweet "Well done" in judgement hour; the service of the seraphim;

confessors' faith, apostles' word, the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls; all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven, the glorious sun's life-giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks, the stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need;

the wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; the word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard...
...against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force, the natural lusts that war within, the hostile men that mar my course;

of few or many, far or nigh, in every place, and in all hours against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles, against false words of heresy, against the knowledge that defiles against the heart's idolatry,

against the wizard's evil craft, against the death-wound and the burning the choking wave and poisoned shaft, protect me, Christ, till thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me;

Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name, the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.

Of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word: praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord.

20 March:  St Cuthbert the Wonderworker of Lindisfarne

Loving chastity and meekness from thy youth, O Cuthbert, with steadfast intent thou didst acquire pure love for Christ, and thereby hast drawn nigh unto God. Wherefore, entreat Him now most earnestly, that He deliver from all afflictions those who celebrate thy yearly memorial.

Assembling today, O ye Orthodox, with psalms and hymns let us praise the holy Cuthbert, crying out to him with reverence: O blessed and most glorious one, boast of hierarchs and monastics, beseech the Lord in our behalf, that He take pity and save our souls.

O venerable hierarch Cuthbert, the multitudes of pilgrims who piously have recourse to thee in prayer are filled with joy and gladness; for the shrine of thy precious relics is shown to be a fount of healing for all the afflicted who approach with faith and love unfeigned.

 . . .

O successor of the godly apostles of Christ, steadfast pillar of the Orthodox Faith, teacher and defender of true piety, holy hierarch Cuthbert! Like a good shepherd thou didst watch over thy flock with vigilance, for which cause thou hast won great favor with Christ, the Chief Shepherd, and standest now with the sheep at His right hand in glory. Wherefore, intercede thou for all of us who honor thy holy memory as is meet.

 . . .

O Cuthbert, boast of monastics and true model for the servants of God, by thy struggles and pure manner of life thou hast come to shine forth like the brilliant sun upon the faithful; for Christ hath enriched thee with the gift of miracles. Wherefore, O venerable hierarch, we cry out to thee most fervently: In thy supplications be thou ever mindful of those who honor thy most splendid memory with faith and love!

 . . .

Source:, accessed 25 March 2016

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