Monthly Archives: April 2013

Akathist to Saint Herman of Alaska


If reading alone, say first the following prayers:

Kontakion 1

O Chosen Doer of Wonders, most glorious favorite of Christ, our God bearing Father Herman, Alaska’s adornment, the joy of all Orthodox in America. We sing to you, our heavenly protector and powerful intercessor before God, these songs of praise. Cease not to pray for your children, who cry fervently to you:

Rejoice our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Ikos 1

Father Herman, the Creator of the angelic hosts called you to proclaim the Orthodox faith in a new land and to be the founder of the monastic way in the remote lands of the north. You were sent, as was the Apostle Paul, to those sitting in darkness so that the light of Orthodoxy might illumine all the ends of the earth. We, the inhabitants of the American continents, bring you, our heavenly protector, this thanksgiving and sing you this song of praise:

Rejoice, our Father Herman, our glory, our adornment;

Rejoice, bearer of the light of the true faith to our lands;

Rejoice, ascetic glorified by God;

Rejoice, most honored branch of Valaam Monastery;

Rejoice, praise and joy of the Church in America;

Rejoice, comforter and protector of all of us;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 2

In your early youth, O Venerable One, enkindled by the flame of love for the Lord, you desired to serve God and Him alone. As an offering, you dedicated your youth to God, beginning your journey from the hermitage of Valaam, where choirs of monastics sing ceaselessly to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

The Most High granted you spiritual wisdom in your youth that you might know the beauty and sweetness of heaven. For this reason, the wise Igumen Nazarius, teacher of the venerable Seraphim of Sarov, taught you God’s wisdom and the Lord’s way. Therefore, the Holy Church praises you:

Rejoice, glorious Herman dedicator of your youth to Christ;

Rejoice, disciple together with Seraphim of Sarov;

Rejoice, performer of spiritual labors in glorious Valaam;

Rejoice, honored by all the brethren of Valaam Monastery;

Rejoice, student of spiritual wisdom in Valaam;

Rejoice, glorified now by the Orthodox Church;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 3

The Most High directed the divinely-wise primate of the Church in Russia, Gabriel, to send missionaries of the Orthodox Faith to Alaska. The apostolic choice fell on you, O Venerable Herman, therefore, all the people enlightened by the Light of Christ through your labors and the personal example of your life, sing to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

Showing great zeal not only in your spiritual labors as a novice, but also in your Apostolic fervor as you preached to a people sitting in darkness, you, O Venerable Herman, revealed the light of Christ to them with great power. Remembering your apostolic labors and your efforts to preach, with love we praise you:

Rejoice, uncomplaining giver of obedience to your spiritual father;

Rejoice, preacher who brought the Good News from afar;

Rejoice, faithful son of Holy Russia;

Rejoice, adopted son of North America;

Rejoice, initiator of the monastic way in our land;

Rejoice, zealous preacher of the Orthodox Faith;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 4

O Venerable Father Herman, you endured storms of evil attacks and sorrows, by your efforts you persevered in this new land. Therefore, Christ glorified you with the gift of foresight, enriching you with miracles, granting you the Kingdom of Heaven where, together with the angels, you praise God in song: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Hearing of the miracles revealed to your people when a forest fire and tidal wave were made to cease by your prayers, we implore you from the depths of our hearts and entreat you to aid us who call toyou:

Rejoice, ascetic and prophet glorified by God;

Rejoice, holy favorite of God;

Rejoice, our intercessor and healer;

Rejoice, helper of many who called out to you;

Rejoice, healer of many afflicted and suffering;

Rejoice, our merciful and humble father;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 5

O Venerable One, you shone like the North Star on Spruce Island, the New Valaam, illuminating all of America with the brightness of your love and prayer, full of God’s power, so that from every cornerof it the Orthodox people will sing fervently to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

Observing your humility, all are in awe of you, O Father Herman, for your rigorous asceticism and perseverance in monastic struggles. In this you followed the example of Anthony of the Caves, the founder of monasticism in Russia, even as he that of Anthony the Great, the first monk of the world. You, the founder of monasticism in our land, chose in your great humility, the way of a simple monk. Therefore, the holy choir of hierarchs and hieromonks sings these songs of praise to you:

Rejoice, founder of monasticism in our land;

Rejoice, imitator of Anthony the Great and Anthony of the Caves;

Rejoice, crowned, as they were, with heavenly glory;

Rejoice, founder of a glorious hermitage;

Rejoice, source of holy relics for the faithful;

Rejoice, fountain of miracles for all the world;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 6

The wilderness of the north proclaims your works and miracles, revealing you to be a new branch of the vineyard of the Church of Russia in America. The forests and wilderness are permeated withyour prayers. Following the example of the ancient hermits, you cried out in the silence of the night to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

You enlightened a people who were living in darkness; you showed them an example of the monastic way of life. O our godbearing Father Herman, pray that we all, giving thanks to the Lord, mayceaselessly sing you these words of praise:

Rejoice, first saint of our land;

Rejoice, founder of the monastic way in our land;

Rejoice, faithful servant of the Holy Trinity;

Rejoice, humble founder of the church of the Resurrection;

Rejoice, glorious hermit of the hermitage of Spruce Island;

Rejoice, loving father of the children who came to him;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 7

The Lord chose you, O Venerable One, to bring the light of the knowledge of God to the land of the Aleuts and there to sow the seeds of the Orthodox faith. You taught all to embrace the true faith and tocall out to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Having reached the heights through prayer, O Venerable One, you did not forget the needs of others. You manifested great concern for homeless orphans, building an orphanage and a school for them andtaught them the commandments of the Lord. In gratitude to God for your labors, accept from us these praises:

Rejoice, defender of the poor and orphaned;

Rejoice, their good protector;

Rejoice, builder of a home for the orphaned;

Rejoice, servant to God with your labors;

Rejoice, provider of earthly bread to the orphaned;

Rejoice, nourisher of orphans with words of eternal life;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 8

The Lord who loves mankind, O Venerable One, gave you the gifts of foresight and healing in His desire to manifest through you a source of compassion for his people. You showed them the love of God through your works and many words of instruction. Illumined by the light of your spiritual labors, the people called to the Lord: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

The people transformed by the light of the Christian Faith, came to you in times of illness and sorrow. As a father who loved his children, you interceded for all, bringing forth healing and comfort to allwho came to you for help. Your glory has gone forth into all the earth and we, your spiritual children, glorify you with these words:

Rejoice, our merciful father;

Rejoice, our unmercenary and gracious physician;

Rejoice, merciful healer of our infirmities;

Rejoice, our speedy helper in time of trouble and need;

Rejoice, foreseer of coming events as of the present;

Rejoice, perceptive reprover of hidden transgressions;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 9

You spoke with the angels, O Venerable One, and revealed how angels came to you in your hermitage and you had sweet conversation with them. Now you are in the Kingdom of Heaven where with hosts of angels you pray ceaselessly to the Creator: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

Who can enumerate the miracles witnessed by your people? The waves of the sea and a fire in the forest were calmed by your prayers. When there was a great tidal wave, you caused the stormy seas to cease by your prayers before the icon of the Mother of God, saying: The water shall not go beyond this line.” Therefore, we sing to you thus:

Rejoice, wondrous pacifier of the waters;

Rejoice, deliverer from the threat of fire;

Rejoice, safe harbor for the hierarch Innocent who called to you from the sea;

Rejoice, for through your prayers the wind at sea was calmed;

Rejoice, source of many miracles during your life;

Rejoice, fount of many miracles even after your death;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 10

We bring to you a song of praise, O Venerable Father, concerning your righteous life. We sing praises of your honored death. You foreknew the day and hour of your blessed end. Most glorious also was your burial. For forty days a great storm raged at sea and your prophecy concerning your burial was fulfilled. Your disciple Gerasim, sensing a wondrous fragrance at the time of your death, sang to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

You were a most glorious doer of wonders during your life, O Father. At your death you manifested this wondrous miracle: your body remained incorrupt in the chapel for many days after your death. The Aleut people who saw a flaming pillar ascending to Heaven at the hour of your death, sang to you thus:

Rejoice, for your righteous end has assured us of your holiness;

Rejoice, for your ascension to Heaven was like a pillar of fire;

Rejoice, for your relics, exuding a fragrance of sanctity, remain as our inheritance;

Rejoice, for many miracles are made manifest at your reliquary;

Rejoice, for you have provided us with a source of holy water and healing;

Rejoice, for from this water many who are afflicted receive healing;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 11

O Holy Father, from your hermitage in the north, in the midst of the wilds of nature, you sang ceaseless praises to the Holy Trinity. Moved by the Spirit, you foresaw the great flowering of this vineyard planted in the soil of America and you called out with the angels of Heaven: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

To all future members of the monastic order, you are a source of light and inspiration. For you foretold, O Venerable One, the founding of a monastery and of an Archbishop’s throne in this land. Today a choir of hierarchs and of monastics glorifies you in these words:

Rejoice, instructor of monastics and converser with angels;

Rejoice, most glorious founder of the ascetic way in our land;

Rejoice, foreseer of the growth of this great vineyard of Christ;

Rejoice, fulfillment of this prophecy to the coming generations;

Rejoice, giver of a true image of the monastic way;

Rejoice, for your love is made manifest to all;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 12

Seeing your grace and your great boldness before God, we entreat you, O Venerable Father Herman, to pray fervently to the Lord, that He will protect His Holy Church from faithlessness and schism, from false teaching and willfulness, that we may sing to God Who has dealt bountifully with us: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

We praise your glorification, O Venerable One, we bless you, O most powerful intercessor and protector of our Church, and with love we sing to you:

Rejoice, protector of all who honor you;

Rejoice, speedy intercessor and helper to all;

Rejoice, founder of Orthodoxy in our land;

Rejoice, confirmation of those who come to the Orthodox Faith;

Rejoice, most glorious protector of the Church in America;

Rejoice, her first saint and her wondrous Father;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 13

O Most glorious favorite of God, Our Venerable Father Herman, accept this humble prayer we offer up in praise to you. Standing now before the Throne of the Almighty Lord, ceaselessly pray for us.  In joy we sing to God: Alleluia,


(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)

Rejoice, instructor of monastics and converser with angels;

Rejoice, most glorious founder of the ascetic way in our land;

Rejoice, foreseer of the growth of this great vineyard of Christ;

Rejoice, fulfillment of this prophecy to the coming generations;

Rejoice, giver of a true image of the monastic way;

Rejoice, for your love is made manifest to all;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 12

Seeing your grace and your great boldness before God, we entreat you, O Venerable Father Herman, to pray fervently to the Lord, that He will protect His Holy Church from faithlessness and schism, from

false teaching and willfulness, that we may sing to God Who has dealt bountifully with us: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

We praise your glorification, O Venerable One, we bless you, O most powerful intercessor and protector of our Church, and with love we sing to you:

Rejoice, protector of all who honor you;

Rejoice, speedy intercessor and helper to all;

Rejoice, founder of Orthodoxy in our land;

Rejoice, confirmation of those who come to the Orthodox Faith;

Rejoice, most glorious protector of the Church in America;

Rejoice, her first saint and her wondrous Father;

Rejoice, our Venerable Father Herman of Alaska, America’s most glorious doer of wonders.

Kontakion 13

O Most glorious favorite of God, Our Venerable Father Herman, accept this humble prayer we offer up in praise to you. Standing now before the Throne of the Almighty Lord, ceaselessly pray for us. In

joy we sing to God: Alleluia.


(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)


Akathist to St. Nectarios Wonderworker of Aegina and Pentapolis


If reading alone, say first the following prayers:

Kontakion 1

In joy of heart let us hymn with songs the newly revealed star of Orthodoxy, the newly erected bulwark of the Church; for, glorified by the activity of the Spirit, he pours forth the abundant grace of healings upon those who cry:
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Ikos 1

In the world you were shown to be a man of heavenly mind, O Nektarios, heirarch of Christ; for having passed through life in holiness, you were shown to be blameless, venerable and God-pleasing in all things. Wherefore, you hear from us such praises as these:
Rejoice, you by whom the faithful are edified;
Rejoice, you of whom the enemy is afraid!
Rejoice, emulator of the venerable fathers;
Rejoice, divine teacher of the Orthodox!
Rejoice, you for whom the Church joins chorus;
Rejoice, you in whom Aegina rejoices!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 2

Having adorned yourself with meekness of soul from your youth, O holy father, one fervent desire consumed your heart: to become a preacher of the Holy Gospel. From childhood you knew the Scriptures which are able to make man wise for salvation, teaching them to cry:

Ikos 2

When you left your home and traveled to Constantinople, you labored in the midst of worldly distractions. Yet you did not forsake the Faith which dwelt first in your grandmother and mother and also dwelt in thee, steadfastly dedicating yourself to prayer and to the sayings of the Fathers, which you wrote on packages and wrappings so that others might read them and receive spiritual profit. Wherefore, to one who was in the world but not of it, we the faithful cry aloud in thanksgiving:
Rejoice, most holy temple of the activity of God;
Rejoice, divinely inscribed book of new morals!
Rejoice, for you made yourself like unto the saints in perfection;
Rejoice, for you wisely spurned material things!
Rejoice, splendid victory of the Faith;
Rejoice, honored clarion of grace!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 3

As a fervent lover of the monastic life, you often visited the Monastery of the Holy Fathers, conversing there about the spiritual struggle with its holy founder, Elder Pachomios. As you aspired to the angelic habit, you were tonsured and dedicated yourself to prayer on behalf of the people as you sang:

Ikos 3

Wholly consumed with the love of heavenly knowledge, you received a blessing to continue your theological education to which you devoted yourself with zeal and self-denial. While living in Athens, you studied day and night, knowing no other roads but that to the school and to the Church. Wherefore, as to our instructor in heavenly theology, we your children joyfully cry:
Rejoice, great pillar of piety;
Rejoice, city of refuge for the faithful!
Rejoice, firm stronghold of Orthodoxy;
Rejoice, venerable vessel and praise of the Holy Trinity!
Rejoice, you who shone forth in these latter times like a never-setting sun;
Rejoice, you who pour forth the nectar of grace upon all believers.
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 4

Arrayed in true holiness and pure morals, Patriarch Sophronios of Alexandria saw in you great potential for service to Christ’s Holy Church. You were ordained to the sacred priesthood and elevated to the office of Bishop. O wise one, you offered your life to Christ as a pure sacrifice, ever chanting:

Ikos 4

In your position as Metropolitan of Pentapolis, you were deeply loved by the faithful, for clothed in the vesture of the hierarchy, you adorned your life with humility. Ever disdainful of material possessions, you opened your hand freely and distributed your alms to the poor. Like your Master, you willingly came not to be served but to serve and to give your life as a ransom for many. Conquered by your love, we who honor your holy memory cry unto you thus:
Rejoice, model of lambs and shepherds;
Rejoice, pure and honorable abode of holiness!
Rejoice, worthy converser with angels;
Rejoice, good guide of men!
Rejoice, for through you we are delivered from bodily passions;
Rejoice, for through you we are filled with spiritual delights!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 5

When the enemy of our souls saw you laboring in humility, he could not abide your holy presence among the people. Raising up slanders, inciting rumors, he sought to destroy your good name and to lead you to bitterness and anger. But you overcame all of his devices, for in all things you didst meekly chant unto God:

Ikos 5

Lacking even your daily bread, slandered on all sides, you prayed for your accusers, begging the Father to forgive them. Refusing to speak one word in your defense, you joyfully suffered according to the will of God, committing yourself to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. Wherefore, amazed by your long-suffering and steadfast endurance, we your children exclaim:
Rejoice, treasury of great mercy;
Rejoice, inexhaustible bread for the hungry!
Rejoice, container of great virtues;
Rejoice, model of spiritual meekness!
Rejoice, you who said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they have done;”
Rejoice, you who repaid evil with good!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 6

Having within you a strong desire for the life of stillness on the Holy Mountain, you could not abandon the people but heeded their call to remain in the world and to proclaim the words of salvation. Freely you received and freely you gave, calling all men to exclaim:

Ikos 6

With the words of your mouth you dropped heavenly sweetness into the hearts of those who accepted your words with faith, directing the minds of the faithful to seek those things which are above. The sacred writings of your teachings continually gladden the souls of the pious; for moved by the Holy Spirit, O Father, you wisely recorded words of grace and instruction for those who cry to you:
Rejoice, faithful servant of the Most Holy Trinity;
Rejoice, habitation adorned of the Holy Spirit.
Rejoice, light that illumines all the ends of the earth;
Rejoice, you who delivers people from the abyss of sin!
Rejoice, you who exalts truth;
Rejoice, you who dispells falsehood!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 7

Invited to assume the direction of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School, you brought peace where there once existed confusion, for you treated all as a loving father. Wherefore your students in gratitude sang to God:

Ikos 7

Strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, having received the words of Life, you committed these to faithful men who, because of your good instruction and spiritual example, were enabled to teach them to others. Enduring hardships as a good soldier of Christ, you did not entangle yourself in the affairs of this life but thought only how to please the Master. Therefore, as to a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, we cry out to you in words such as these:
Rejoice, teacher of the divine commandments;
Rejoice, you who makes wise the unwise by your teachings!
Rejoice, new Paul, who has bequeathed to us the pattern of sound words;
Rejoice, new Jude, who has given us the exhortation to contend earnestly for the faith!
Rejoice, new Chrysostom, who has poured forth upon the Church the heavenly nectar of piety;
Rejoice, new Damascene, who has defended the faithful from impious doctrines!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 8

Wisely adorned with understanding and meekness, you brought together venerable virgins in godliness, leading them to Christ by your words and the works of your blameless life, teaching them to sing:

Ikos 8

Listening to your prayers and earnest supplications, the Lord Who does the will of those who fear him, led you to the island of Aegina where you rebuilt the monastery which had been abandoned. Who can describe your labors and toils? Exercising vigilance in all things, you showed forth a model of divine virtue. Your spiritual daughters in thanksgiving cry to you thus:
Rejoice, pure and honorable abode of holiness;
Rejoice, all-luminous lamp, beloved by all!
Rejoice, worthy converser with angels;
Rejoice, good guide of men!
Rejoice, pious rule of faith;
Rejoice, holy purification of mortals!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 9

Worldly-minded men cannot understand your patience, for despite the many cares of the monastery, you did not cease writing edifying books for Christians living in the world. Wherefore, amazed at the great wisdom which you were given, we cry to God:

Ikos 9

Having settled at the Monastery in Aegina, you became all spirit and led an altogether spiritual life. Venerable, meek, kindly, humble, extremely compassionate and charitable, you carried on the good fight in order to lay hold of that which for which Christ Jesus laid hold of you. In your pious ways you blamelessly followed Dionysios, the godly pastor of Aegina. Now as you partake of heavenly glory with him, receive from us these praises:
Rejoice, you who despised the world and its delusive pleasures;
Rejoice, you who received in exchange heavenly blessings!
Rejoice, you who completely subdued your flesh to your spirit;
Rejoice, you who subjected your spirit to your sweetest Lord Jesus!
Rejoice, lover of the holy Fathers;
Rejoice, instructor in the prayer of the heart!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 10

Never neglecting mental prayer but always crying from the depths of your heart, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” all bore witness that you had become completely spiritualized. Noticing in you an exceptional sweetness which radiated from your serene countenance, the faithful joyfully exclaimed:

Ikos 10

Knowing that the Most Holy Virgin is a bulwark for all saints and a joy to monastics, you often offered your intercessions to her with tears and commited yourself to her motherly protection. Writing beautiful hymns, you gave to the faithful the gift of your love teaching them to sing, “
Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!” Therefore, we cry to you:
Rejoice, precious chosen one of Christ;
Rejoice, unblemished fragrance of God!
Rejoice, you who showed flaming love for the Lord;
Rejoice, you who always honored His Holy Mother!
Rejoice, boast of the Orthodox Church;
Rejoice, you who work many miracles through the power of God!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 11

When the time came for you to depart to Christ to receive the Crown of righteousness laid up for thee in heaven, you endured severe pain and suffering with exemplary patience. Always thanking the Heavenly Father and blessing His all-holy name, you continually cried:

Ikos 11

The Lord, Who always glorifies those who glorify Him, did not allow your virtue to be hidden but desiring that those on earth know the glory He has given you in the heavens has revealed your relics as a well-spring of healings and miracles. For immediately after your repose, as your body was being prepared for burial, the Lord worked wonders through your sweater, raising up a man who had been paralyzed for many years. Therefore, together with him we also gratefully cry to you:
Rejoice, speedy helper of those in need;
Rejoice, constant stream of mercy by which we are cleansed!
Rejoice, physician of soul and body;
Rejoice, new pool of Siloam, healing the infirm!
Rejoice, sweet myrhh of compassion;
Rejoice, miracle worker of the faithful!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 12

Multitudes of the faithful from all lands continually flee to your shrine, O holy one, and from your precious relics faithfully obtain divine grace and answers for their every petition. O Father, as you know how, fulfill you also the petitions of those who now cry:

Ikos 12

Singing praises we glorify you, O all-praised Nektarios; for in you God Who is glorified in the Trinity is wonderfully glorified. But even if we were to offer you a multitude of psalms and hymns composed from the soul, O holy wonderworker, we should do nothing to equal the gift of your miracles, and amazed by them we cry unto you:
Rejoice, you who conquered all the snares of the Evil One;
Rejoice, you who were sanctified both in soul and body!
Rejoice, speedy helper of those in need;
Rejoice, restoration of health to the sick!
Rejoice, healer of diseases by the Grace of God;
Rejoice, helper of those that suffer cruelly!
Rejoice, O Father Nektarios, model of patience and lover of virtue.

Kontakion 13
As a partaker in the life of heaven and a dweller with the angels, O Father Nektarios, in that you labored to please God, accept our present offering, and unceasingly intercede for your flock and for all the Orthodox who honor you, that we may be healed of all diseases of both body and soul, that together with you in the eternal Kingdom we may unceasingly cry:  Alleluia!


(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)

Akathist to the Holy Hierarch Saint John the Wonderworker


If reading alone, say first the following prayers:

Kontakion I

Chosen wonderworker and superb servant of Christ, who pourest out in the latter times inexhaustible streams of inspiration and multitude of miracles. We praise Thee which love, and call out to Thee:
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Ikos I

An angel in the flesh wast Thou manifested in the latter times by the grace of God Who ever careth for men. Seeing the beauty of Thy virtues, we Thy children now cry out to Thee:
Rejoice, Thou who didst live in virtue from earliest childhood.
Rejoice, Thou who didst ever live in fear of God and do His holy will.
Rejoice, Thou who didst manifest the grate of God in numberless virtues.
Rejoice, Thou who didst mystically hear the distant prayers of those in distress.
Rejoice, Thou who wast filled with love for Thy fellow men and didst do all possible for their salvation.
Rejoice, Thou who dost bring joy to all who pray to Thee in faith and love.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 2
Seeing the abundance and variety of Thy virtues. O holy Hierarch, we see in Thee a living source of God’s wonders in our time. Thou dost refresh with Thy love and miracles all who cry in faith to God: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Being filled with love. Thou wast also filled with theology. O holy Father. And in Thee the knowledge of God flowed forth again in love for suffering men. Do Thou teach us also know the true God in love as we call out to Thee in admiration.
Rejoice. firm stronghold of Orthodox truth
Rejoice. precious vessel of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
Rejoice. righteous accuser of impiety and false doctrine
Rejoice ardent doer of the commandments of God
Rejoice. severe ascetic who gavest thyself no repose
Rejoice, loving shepherd of the flock of Christ
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 3

By God’s mercy Thou wast manifest as a father to orphans and instructor of the young, raising them in the fear of God and preparing them for the service of God. Therefore all Thy children look to Thee with love and cry out with gratitude to God:

Ikos 3

Dwellers in heaven should be praising Thee and not we on earth, for our words are feeble beside Thy deeds. Yet offering to God what we have we cry out to Thee thus:
Rejoice Thou who didst protect Thy children by Thy constant prayer.
Rejoice Thou who didst ever guard Thy flock by the sign of the Cross.
Rejoice, Thou whose love knew no bounds of country or race
Rejoice, bright luminary beloved by all.
Rejoice, model of spiritual meekness.
Rejoice, giver of spiritual consolation to those in need.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 4

Bewildered by Thy deeds of piety and love, we know not how to praise Thee worthily, O Hierarch John. Thou didst travel to the ends of the earth to save Thy people and preach the gospel to those in darkness. Thanking God for Thine apostolic labors, we cry out to Him:

Ikos 4

The people of many lands beheld Thy life and marveled at God’s mercies even in these latter times. And so we also, marveling, cry out in awe:
Rejoice, enlightener of those in the darkness of unbelief.
Rejoice, Thou who didst follow Thy people to the farthest East and West.
Rejoice, fountain of miracles poured out by God.
Rejoice, Ioving chastiser of those who have gone astray.
Rejoice, speedy comfort to those who repent of their sins.
Rejoice, support of those who go on the right path.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 5

Thou wast manifest as a vehicle of God s power to stop the destructive forces of fallen nature, O holy Hierarch, preserving Thy people on the island from the deadly wind and storm by Thy prayer and the sign of the Cross, So preserve us also who cry our in wonder unto God:

Ikos 5

All who have trusted in Thy help in desperate circumstances and adversities have found deliverance, O bold intercessor before the Throne of God. Therefore, we too do place our hope in Thee to protect us in dangers by Thy prayers before God as we call out to Thee:
Rejoice, Thou who didst stop the powers of nature from doing harm to Thy flock.
Rejoice, Thou who providest by Thy prayer for all in need.
Rejoice, inexhaustible bread for the hungry.
Rejoice, abundant wealth for those who live in poverty.
Rejoice, consolation for those in sorrow.
Rejoice, quick uplifting for those Who have fallen.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 6

Thou wast manifest as a new Moses, leading his flock out of slavery, O Hierarch John. Do deliver us also from slavery to sins and the enemies of God as we cry out to God:

Ikos 6

Thou didst do the impossible and persuade the authorities of this world to have pity on Thy flock, O good shepherd. Do pray for us now that we may live in peace and quiet, saving our souls as we gratefully cry to Thee:
Rejoice, helper of all who call upon Thee in faith.
Rejoice, Thou who deliverest from death and disaster.
Rejoice, Thou who preservest from lies and slander.
Rejoice, preserver of the innocent from bonds.
Rejoice, Thou who foilest the attacks of the unrighteous.
Rejoice, destroyer of lies and exalter of truth.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 7

O lover of the saints of East and West, Thou didst restore to the Orthodox Church the saints of the West, of lands which had fallen away from the truth. Now with these saints Thou dost pray for us to God as we on earth cry out to God:

Ikos 7

O fervent venerator of the holy Hierarchs of Gaul, Thou wast manifest in the latter times as one of them, exhorting Thy flock to preserve the same Orthodox faith that they confessed, and astonishing the peoples of the West by Thy holy life. Now preserve us in that same faith as we cry out to Thee:
Rejoice, new Martin by Thy miracles and ascetic feats.
Rejoice, new Germanus by Thy confession of the Orthodox faith.
Rejoice, new Hilary by Thy divine theology.
Rejoice, new Gregory by Thy love for God’s saints.
Rejoice, new Faustus by Thy gentle love and monastic fervor.
Rejoice, new Caesarius by Thy firm yet loving rule of the Church of God.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter Times .

Kontakion 8

At the end of Thy life, O holy Hierarch, Thou wast called to the New World, to offer there Thy witness of ancient Christianity and to suffer persecution for Thy righteousness, thus perfecting Thy soul for heaven. Now marveling at Thy patience and long-suffering, we all cry out to God:

Ikos 8

O laborer of Christ’s vineyard who knew no rest even at the end of Thy much-toiling life, help us now in our labors as we strive to be faithful to Christ, crying out in praise to Thee:
Rejoice, Thou who didst endure to the end and so attain salvation
Rejoice, Thou who wast deemed worthy to die before the icon the Mother of God.
Rejoice, Thou who didst keep Thy faith and courage in the midst of unjust persecution.
Rejoice. Thou who didst labor to the end for Thy flock and meet death sitting as a hierarch.
Rejoice Thou Who didst return through the air to be buried amidst the flock.
Rejoice Thou who workest Wonders for those who come to Thy Sepulchre with faith and love.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 9

All angel-kind rejoiced at Thy soul’s ascent to their celestial home marveling at the wonders Thou didst perform on earth through the action of the Holy Spirit. to whom we sing:

Ikos 9

Orators find it impossible to describe Thy life of sanctity with their many and eloquent words, O righteous John for Thou didst become a living house for the power of the ineffable God. Yet, unable to fall silent at the wonder shown to our age of feeble faith, we glorify Thee:
Rejoice, divine palace where from the counsel of the Good King is given.
Rejoice, small and humble abode containing the spacious beauty of angels mansions.
Rejoice Thou who didst gain a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Rejoice, infirmary wherein all manner of diseases are divinely healed.
Rejoice closet wherein Thy holy labor of prayer was hidden.
Rejoice, blessed temple of the Holy Spirit.
Rejoice O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 10

Wishing to save the world, the Saviour of all hath sent a new saint among us and through him hath called us out of the dark recesses of sin. Hearing this call to repentance, the unworthy ones in turn cry out to God:

Ikos 10

Thou art a wall sheltering us from adversity, O Hierarch John, for through Thy heavenly intercessions we are delivered from the attacks of demonic passions and from afflictions which beset us on earth. Before Thy firm support of prayer, we cry with faith:
Rejoice, sight to the blinded.
Rejoice, strength and life to those on the bed of death.
Rejoice, God-revealed advice to those in doubt and confusion.
Rejoice, refreshing water to those perishing in the heat of sorrow .
Rejoice, Ioving father to the lonely and abandoned.
Rejoice, holy teacher of those who seek the Truth.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 11

Thy life was a hymn to the Most Holy Trinity, surpassing others in thought, word and deed, O most blessed John. For with much wisdom Thou didst explain the precepts of the true Faith, reaching us to sing with faith, hope and love to the one God in Trinity:

Ikos 11

We see Thee as a radiant lamp of Orthodoxy amidst the darkness of ignorance, O God-chosen pastor of Christ’s flock, our Father John, For even after Thy repose Thou dost speak the truth to the ignorant and give instruction to those who seek guidance and to all who cry to Thee:
Rejoice, radiance of divine wisdom to those in ignorance. Rejoice, rainbow of quiet joys for the meek.
Rejoice, thunder to stubborn sinners.
Rejoice, lightning of the zeal of God.
Rejoice, rain of God’s dogmas.
Rejoice, shower of theological thoughts.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 12

Grace hath been poured out in the last days upon us a11. Beholding this grace come forth from a holy hierarch who once did walk among us, let us receive it with reverence and thanksgiving, crying to God:

Ikos 12

Singing in praise to God, the heavenly choir of saints rejoiceth that He hath not forsaken the fallen and unbelieving world, but hath manifested His almighty power in Thee, his meek and humble servant. O blessed John, with all the saints we greet Thee and give honor to Thee:
Rejoice, new star of righteousness shining in heaven s firmament.
Rejoice, new prophet who wast sent before the final unleashing of evil.
Rejoice, new Jonah warning all of the wages of sin.
Rejoice, new Baptist drawing all to a life of prayer and repentance.
Rejoice, new Paul suffering to preach the gospel in the spirit of truth,
Rejoice, new apostle whose miracles instill in us faith and awe.
Rejoice, O holy Hierarch John, wonderworker of the latter times.

Kontakion 13

O holy and most wondrous Hierarch John, consolation for all the sorrowing, accept now our prayerful offering that through Thy prayers to our Lord we may be spared gehenna and by Thy God-pleasing intercession we may cry eternally: Alleluia!


(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)

Akathist to Saint Panteleimon

Kontakion 1

 Chosen passion-bearer of Christ and gracious healer, who freely grantest healing to the sick, we praise thee in songs as our protector. As thou hast boldness with the Lord, free us from all harm and sickness who cry with love to thee:

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Ikos 1

We know thee, glorious Panteleimon, as an earthly angel and heavenly man. For adorned with angelic purity and martyrdom thou hast passed from earth to Heaven, where with the angels and all the saints standing before the throne of the Lord of Glory, thou prayest for all of us on earth who venerate thee with these invocations:

Rejoice, torch of piety!

Rejoice, most glorious lamp of the Church!

Rejoice, adornment of venerable martyrs!

Rejoice, support of the faithful in unflinching endurance!

Rejoice, outstanding boast of youth!

Rejoice, warrior of Christ of invincible courage!

Rejoice, thou who having grown up in the world wast not of the world!

Rejoice, angel in the flesh, surpassing mortals!

Rejoice, vessel of divine knowledge!

Rejoice, thou by whom faith has been exalted!

Rejoice, thou by whom delusion has been dethroned!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 2

Seeing thee to be a chosen vessel, the Lord loved the beauty of thy soul; for, despising all earthly glory and pleasure, thou didst long to adorn thyself with the crown of martyrdom, wounded with divine love and singing inspiringly: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

Possessing divinely inspired knowledge, O valiant warrior Panteleimon, thou didst astound the Emperor Maximian by the courage of thy soul and by the words with which thou didst fearlessly preach Christ. Wherefore, praising thy boldness we say to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst despise Maximian’s threats!

Rejoice, thou who didst not yield to the advice of the godless!

Rejoice, propagator of true adoration!

Rejoice, uprooter of demon worship!

Rejoice, accuser of the fury of torturers!

Rejoice, overthrower of the delusion of idols!

Rejoice, thou who didst disperse the assembly of the godless!

Rejoice, thou who didst exchange corruptible for heavenly joy!

Rejoice, converser with immaterial angels!

Rejoice, fellow-chorister of longsuffering saints!

Rejoice, thou by whom Satan was put to shame!

Rejoice, thou by whom Christ is glorified!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 3

 By the power of the Most High given to thee and by thy strong patience thou didst render powerless the torturer’s insolence, O valiant victor, undaunted by fire, wild beasts, and the wheel. When beheaded with the sword, thou didst receive the crown of martyrdom, wounded with divine love and singing inspiringly: Alleluia!

 Ikos 3

The monastery which hath thy precious head as a great treasure, O divinely wise martyr, is filled with joy over it, and praising with love the Grace of healing given thee by God, thankfully crieth to thee:

Rejoice, all-radiant lamp of Nicomedia!

Rejoice, unsleeping guardian of the monastery that honoreth thee!

Rejoice, thou through whom godlessness grew cold!

Rejoice, thou through whom the knowledge of God hath increased!

Rejoice, bright glory of passion-bearers!

Rejoice, joyous report of the Orthodox!

Rejoice, gracious source of healings!

Rejoice, container of great gifts!

Rejoice, fragrant myrrh that doth sweeten souls!

Rejoice, for thou dost help those who call upon thee!

Rejoice, thou who didst give sight to the blind!

Rejoice, thou who didst cause the lame to walk!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

  Kontakion 4

 Possessed by a storm of polytheistic thoughts, the impious Emperor was confused on learning from the doctors who were jealous of thee that thou healest all kinds of incurable illnesses by the name of Christ. And we, glorifying with gladness our wonderful God in thee, cry to Him: Alleluia!

  Ikos 4

 When the people of Nicomedia heard of thy great compassion for the suffering and of thy free healing of all illnesses, all rushed to thee with faith in the healing Grace in thee, and receiving swift healing of all their diseases they glorified God and magnified thee, their most gracious healer, crying to thee:

Rejoice, thou who art anointed with the myrrh of Grace!

Rejoice, sanctified temple of God!

Rejoice, great glory of the pious!

Rejoice, firm wall of the oppressed!

Rejoice, thou who surpassest the wise in knowledge!

Rejoice, thou who enlightenest the thoughts of the faithful!

Rejoice, recipient of divine gifts and source of many of the Lord’s mercies to us!

Rejoice, speedy helper of the suffering!

Rejoice, harbor of the storm-tossed!

Rejoice, instructor for those astray!

Rejoice, thou who dost heal the sick freely!

Rejoice, thou who dost impart healing abundantly!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

 Kontakion 5

 The Lord worked a glorious miracle through thee when, through His servantHermolaus, He called thee into His marvelous light. For after thy prayer to Christ a child who had died from snakebite at once revived and stood up healed. Then recognizing the Lifegiver as the true God of all, with firm faith thou didst cry to Him:Alleluia!

 Ikos 5

 The blind man whom thou didst touch with prayer in the name of Christ recovered his sight O glorious martyr. Then, renouncing thy father’s polytheism, thou wastbaptized by the priest Hermolaus and didst embrace thy mother’s religion with which thou didst also enlighten thy father. Therefore we cry aloud to thee as to a glorious servant of God and wonderful healer:

Rejoice, thou who hast great devotion to God!

Rejoice, thou who art ever aflame with the fire of divine love!

Rejoice, attentive listener to the teachings of the priest Hermolaus!

Rejoice, thou who didst follow the advice of thy mother Eubule!

Rejoice, thou who didst give away everything to obtain Christ!

Rejoice, thou who didst vanquish love for the world by love for God!

Rejoice, for instead of the pleasures of the world thou didst accept for Christ cruel sufferings!

Rejoice, for thou didst become a partaker of Christ’s Passion!

Rejoice, thou who didst overcome all the passions!

Rejoice, thou who through Grace wast adorned with dispassion!

Rejoice, thou who dost fill with joy those who hasten to thee!

Rejoice, thou who dost heal all freely by the Grace of Christ!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 6

 The blind man enlightened by thee in body and soul became a preacher of the truth for, like the blind man of the Gospel, he boldly preached Christ to all as the true light that enlighteneth every man. But for reproaching the impious Emperor and the pagan gods he was beheaded and rose to the unwaning light in Heaven to sing to God: Alleluia!

 Ikos 6

Standing before the Emperor’s tribunal with a radiant face thou didst boldly declare in the hearing of all, thrice-blessed martyr: Mine all-healing power and glory is Christ, the true God, the Lord of all, Who raiseth the dead and healeth all infirmities. For this confession we bless thee and say:

Rejoice, thundering mouth of the deity of Christ!

Rejoice, mellifluous tongue that declareth His plan of salvation!

Rejoice, orator of sublime theology!

Rejoice, wise sower of piety!

Rejoice, sweet-sounding flute of faith!

Rejoice, glorious preacher of Orthodoxy!

Rejoice, thou who wast shown to be marvelous before thy death!

Rejoice, seer of Christ’s glory!

Rejoice, listener to those who pray to thee!

Rejoice, giver of help to those who need it!

Rejoice, obtainer of blessings for those who honor thy memory!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 7
Myrrh was poured out on thy soul, O divinely wise healer, from the Comforter Spirit, wherefore after thy death thy venerable relics, by their fragrance banish the stench of the passions and give healing to those who with faith cry to God: Alleluia!
Ikos 7
When the worshippers of idols beheld, O Saint, the paralyzed man raised and walking through thy prayer many believed in Christ; but the demon’s priests, consumed with jealousy, incited the Emperor to anger. Therefore, to thee who wastmercilessly tortured and burnt for Christ, we cry with compunction:
Rejoice, thou who didst despise earthly pleasures!
Rejoice, thou who wast above material comforts!
Rejoice, for thou didst regard as nothing all the beautiful things in this world!
Rejoice, for thou didst shake thyself free of fleeting glory!
Rejoice, thou who didst remain free from the nets of the devil!
Rejoice, thou who didst vanquish the wiles of the torturers!
Rejoice, thou who didst not spare thy life for Christ!
Rejoice, thou who wast shown to be an enemy of hostile flesh!
Rejoice, thou who didst oppress the spread of polytheism!
Rejoice, thou who by the power of God didst defeat the idols!
Rejoice, sharp arrow by which enemies are wounded!
Rejoice, mediator who defendest the faithful!
Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 8

 The Lord appeared to thee in a wonderful way, encouraging and upholding thee in the tortures for His name. For in the person of the priest Hermolaus He cooled the boiling lead into which thou was thrown, and in the sea He untied the great stone from thy neck and brought thee unharmed to land. But thou, having been brought again before the Emperor, didst sing triumphantly to Christ our God: Alleluia!

  Ikos 8

While dwelling noetically wholly in Heaven, thou leavest not those below on earth but remainest with us through the relics of thy holy skull, O great passion-bearer of Christ, receiving from the Lord enlightenment and sanctification and giving it to those who cry to thee thus:

Rejoice, thou who art filled with divine wisdom!

Rejoice, discerner of God’s providence!

Rejoice, delight of minds made wise by God!

Rejoice, gladness of souls who love God!

Rejoice, bright pearl of Christ!

Rejoice, thou who wast sanctified in soul and body!

Rejoice, dweller in the courts of the firstborn in Heaven!

Rejoice, inhabitant of the ever-blessed bridal halls!

Rejoice, beholder of the light of the Trinity!

Rejoice, fervent mediator in thy prayers to God for us!

Rejoice, thou who grantest illumination to souls!

Rejoice, thou who sendest comfort to the afflicted!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

 Kontakion 9

All nature marveled, O Panteleimon, at the radiance of Grace and wealth of virtues in thee: thine angelic purity, thy great courage in cruel sufferings, thy strong love for Christ and great compassion for people, for whom thou doest glorious things that they may sing: Alleluia!

 Ikos 9

Eloquent orators cannot worthily praise thy struggles, O glorious victor, as by the invincible power of God, though young in years thou didst conquer the ancient, primordial enemy and didst put to shame the delusion of idols. But we, filled with wonder, cry to thee:

Rejoice, joyful sight of angels!

Rejoice, reverent wonder of men!

Rejoice, thou who didst shed thy blood for Christ, and in death didst shed milk!

Rejoice, thou who didst give up thy body to a martyr’s death for His sake!

Rejoice, model of confession!

Rejoice, valiant warrior of the King of kings!

Rejoice, thou who didst conquer the ruler of darkness!

Rejoice, thou who by thy victory didst gladden Heaven and earth!

Rejoice, blessed inhabitant of the world above!

Rejoice, wise pilgrim of the world below!

Rejoice, tree adorned with the fruits of the gifts of Grace!

Rejoice, thou who carriest palms of victory!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

 Kontakion 10

 Filled with compassion, as a true imitator of the Lord, the Giver of mercy, O venerable martyr, thou wast renamed by Him Panteleimon (that is, all-merciful), for thou pourest mercy on all who resort to thee; pour it also abundantly on us who cry to God concerning thee: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

 Finding thee a strong wall impregnable to all kinds of torture, the torturer tried to crush thy strength by the teeth of wild beast and the spikes of the torture-wheel, but all to no effect. For the power of Christ subdued the fierceness of the beasts and the frightful wheel, on which thy body was turned, immediately broke to pieces. So to thee, invincible passion-bearer, we cry:

Rejoice, precious chosen one of Christ!

Rejoice, unblemished fragrance of God!

Rejoice, firm diamond of the Church!

Rejoice, unshakable tower reaching to Heaven!

Rejoice, tamer of visible beasts!

Rejoice, crusher of invisible dragons!

Rejoice, thou who wast stained with thy blood shed for Christ, mixed with milk!

Rejoice, thou who hast received unfading crowns!

Rejoice, thou who causest joy to angels and men!

Rejoice, thou who hast been glorified by God in Heaven and on earth!

Rejoice, celestial one, who singest in choir with the martyrs!

Rejoice, thou who art satisfied with the sweet vision of Christ!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

 Kontakion 11

A funeral song we offer to thy sacred immolation for Christ, in which milk instead of blood flowed from thee, Great Martyr, and the olive tree under which thou wast beheaded was all covered with healing fruit. Wherefore we cry fervently to Christ Who wonderfully glorifieth those who glorify Him: Alleluia!

 Ikos 11

A luminous ray wast thou, O divinely wise one, to those sitting in the darkness of polytheism, leading them to the Sun of righteousness, Christ God. Him do thou entreat that we who offer thee these glad praises may ever live in the light of His commandments:

Rejoice, bright star, shining in the noetical firmament!

Rejoice, ray of light shining for Christian people!

Rejoice, thou who wast mystically illumined by the Sun, Christ!

Rejoice, thou who in spirit roamest the earth!

Rejoice, beautiful tabernacle of the Most Holy Spirit!

Rejoice, honorable vessel that poureth out healing!

Rejoice, treasury of purity!

Rejoice, namesake of mercy!

Rejoice, heir of the Heavenly Kingdom!

Rejoice, partaker of eternal glory!

Rejoice, patron of those in distress on the sea of life!

Rejoice, unmercenary healer who helpest those who invoke thee with faith!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

 Kontakion 12

Thou didst receive an abundance of Grace, thrice-blessed one, according to the greatness of thy love for Christ God, Who also showed thee to be a source of healing, for thou curest free of charge the sicknesses of soul and body of those who come to thee with faith and cry to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

Chanting of thy long-suffering labors for Christ, O glorious passion-bearer, we praise thy great patience, we bless thy martyr’s death, and we honor thy holy memory, O our defender and healer, and in praise we cry to thee:

Rejoice, sweet-sounding trumpet of piety!

Rejoice, sword which cuts down impiety!

Rejoice, thou who wast scraped on a tree for Him Who stretched out His arms on the tree of the Cross!

Rejoice, for, being burnt for Him, thou didst extinguish the furnace of delusion!

Rejoice, thou who didst wound the enemies by thy wounds!

Rejoice, thou who didst dry the streams of idolatrous blood by thy blood!

Rejoice, thou who wast thrown into boiling lead for Christ!

Rejoice, thou who wast sunk in the sea for His name!

Rejoice, thou who didst remain unharmed therein by the providence of God!

Rejoice, thou who didst pass through tortures of fire and water into the peace of Heaven!

Rejoice, thou who didst pour unfailing streams of mercy on the faithful!

Rejoice, gracious and compassionate physician who grantest healing through Grace!

Rejoice, Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon!

Kontakion 13

O, our long-suffering and wonderful Passion-bearer of Christ and HealerPanteleimon! Graciously accept from us this small offering, heal us of our many and various ailments, and through thy intercession protect us from enemies visible and invisible and pray to the Lord that we may be delivered from eternal torment, that we may continually sing in His Kingdom: Alleluia!


(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)


Akathist to Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg by the hand of Matthew Garrett, 2009

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg by the hand of Matthew Garrett, 2009

If reading alone, say first the following prayers:

Kontakion I

O holy and blessed Mother Xenia, chosen favorite and fool for the sake of Christ, who elected to undergo the struggle of patience and the suffering of affliction, we who honor your holy memory offer you hymns of praise. Help us against our enemies, visible and invisible, that we may cry unto you: Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Ikos I

After the death of your husband, O blessed Mother, you sought the life of the angels and rejected the beauty of this world and all that is in it—the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life; and you acquired the understanding of Christ. Wherefore, you hear these praises which we offer unto you:

Rejoice, for you were the peer of Andrei, the fool for the sake of Christ!
Rejoice, for you renounced your own name, referring to yourself as dead!
Rejoice, for you assumed foolishness and took the name of your husband, Andrei!
Rejoice, for you called yourself by a man’s name, renouncing woman’s weakness!
Rejoice, because for the sake of Christ you accepted voluntary poverty!
Rejoice, for you distributed all your substance to good people and to the poor!
Rejoice, for by your foolishness you have taught us to reject the vain wisdom of this age;
Rejoice, good comforter of all who have recourse to you in prayer!
Rejoice, for you were full of wisdom transcending the world!
Rejoice, for you preferred mockery and ridicule to earthly glory!
Rejoice, for you have been glorified by God;
Rejoice speedy helper in times of trouble and despair!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 2

Perceiving your manner of life as strange, for you spurned your home and all worldly riches, your kinsmen in the flesh thought you deranged; but the people of Saint Petersburg, seeing your humility, lack of acquisitiveness, and voluntary poverty, sang unto God: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

O blessed Xenia, you hid the understanding given to you by God under an apparent mindlessness; and amid the vanity of the great city you lived like a desert-dweller, unceasingly offering your prayers up to God. And, marveling at your manner of life, we cry out to you in praise:

Rejoice, for you took upon your shoulder the heavy cross of foolishness which God had given you!
Rejoice, O blessed one who bore it without hesitation!
Rejoice, for you hid the radiance of grace under an assumed insanity!
Rejoice, for your foolishness was most wise!
Rejoice, for through extreme humility and feats of prayer you acquired the gift of clairvoyance!
Rejoice, for you showed forth this gift for the benefit and salvation of the suffering!
Rejoice, for you beheld the sufferings of the people clairvoyantly, as from afar!
Rejoice, for your prayers brought relief to those in pain and distress!
Rejoice, for you prophesied to the good woman the birth of a son!
Rejoice, for you entreated God, that He grant that woman a child!
Rejoice, for you hurry to entreat the Lord on behalf of your neighbors!
Rejoice, for you have taught all to flee to God in prayer!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 3

By the power given to you by God from on high, you manfully endured burning heat and bitter cold, crucifying your flesh and the passions and lusts. Wherefore, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, you cried out unceasingly unto God: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

With the sky as your roof and the earth as your bed, O blessed one, you spurned the comfort of the flesh for the sake of the Kingdom of God. And we, beholding your manner of life, cry out to you with compunction:

Rejoice, for you gave your earthly home to the people!
Rejoice, for you sought and received the shelter of heaven!
Rejoice, for you possessed nothing that was earthly, but enriched all spiritually!
Rejoice, O treasurehouse of the gifts of heaven!
Rejoice, for you accounted every material thing as nothing!
Rejoice, for you were thus freed from every loss!
Rejoice, for you endured hunger and cold in ragged clothing!
Rejoice, for by your life you teach us endurance!
Rejoice, for you showed forth the love of God for all!
Rejoice, for you have been adorned with the fruits of piety!
Rejoice, for you showed the world patience and guilelessness!
Rejoice, O our fervent intercessor before the throne of the Most High!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 4

The tempest of life which assailed Saint Petersburg you weathered by meekness and guilelessness, O blessed Mother, and you acquired dispassion toward this corrupt world; therefore, you sing unto God: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

Hearing of you, that, having endured a multitude of afflictions for Christ’s sake, you comfort the sorrowful, strengthen the weak and guide the lost to the straight path; the suffering hasten to your aid, singing unto you:

Rejoice, for you loved the path of Christ with all your heart!
Rejoice, for you joyfully bore the Cross of Christ!
Rejoice, for you endured every offense offered you by the world, the flesh, and the devil!
Rejoice, for you thus emulated the ascetics of the desert!
Rejoice, for you were full to overflowing with the gifts of God!
Rejoice, for you freely bestow spiritual gifts upon those in need!
Rejoice, for you showed love for your neighbors!
Rejoice, for you offered consolation to the suffering!
Rejoice, for you shed unceasing tears of repentance!
Rejoice, for you wipe away the tears of those who weep!
Rejoice, for you sought neither comfort nor warmth for yourself!
Rejoice, for you were wondrously warmed by the grace of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 5

Your holiness, O blessed Xenia, was like a divinely guided star illumining the sky of Saint Petersburg; for unto all perishing in the madness of sin you showed the path of salvation, calling all to repentance, that they might cry out to God: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

Seeing your feats of prayer and your endurance of heat and cold, pious folk sought to alleviate your sufferings, offering you clothing and food; but you distributed all these things to the poor, desiring to maintain your struggle. And we, marveling at your voluntary poverty, cry out to you thus:

Rejoice, for you willingly endured burning heat and freezing cold the sake of Christ!
Rejoice, for you were warmed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit!
Rejoice, for you remained continually in prayer!
Rejoice, for you never tire in interceding for mankind!
Rejoice, for by all-night vigils in prayer you preserved Saint Petersburg from misfortunes!
Rejoice, for many times you averted from it the wrath of God!
Rejoice, for every day of the year you prayed at night in a field!
Rejoice, for by your fervent tears you warmed the cold earth!
Rejoice, for you tasted the sweetness of paradise in poverty of spirit!
Rejoice, for in this sweetness you left behind all earthly things!
Rejoice, for you abide wholly in God!
Rejoice, for you delight in the bridal banquet of your Master!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 6

All who have been delivered by you from different ailments, misfortunes and sorrows—the rich and the poor, the old and the young—proclaim the holiness of your life, O blessed one of God; therefore, and glorifying you, we cry out unto God: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

The glory of your struggles shone forth, O blessed Mother, when at night you secretly carried stones for those who were erecting the Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, lightening the tasks of the builders; and mindful of this, we sinners cry out to you such things as these:

Rejoice, for you teach us to perform virtuous deeds in secret!
Rejoice, for you call all to feats of piety!
Rejoice, for you aided those who were building the churches of God!
Rejoice, for you loved the holiness of the Church!
Rejoice, for you labor for the Lord of the vineyard!
Rejoice, for you ease our labors on the path of salvation!
Rejoice, for you continually call upon the name of the Lord!
Rejoice, O speedy helper of those who have recourse unto you!
Rejoice, for you have found rest in Christ your Master!
Rejoice, O good comforter of all the sorrowful!
Rejoice, for you sanctified your city by your painful footsteps!
Rejoice, O heavenly aid of the city of Saint Petersburg!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 7

Desiring to deliver from sorrow the mourning physician who had buried his wife, you commanded a certain maiden to hasten to Okhta, there to take him as her husband and to console him. And they did as you said, singing unto God in joy: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

A new wonder you revealed in your prayer, O blessed Mother, when you said unto a pious woman: “Take a five-kopek piece, and it will go out!” thus prophesying that fire would strike her house; and at your supplication the flame of the fire was extinguished. Therefore, mindful of these things, we cry out praises unto you:

Rejoice, for you unceasingly grieved over your sins!
Rejoice, for you extinguish the sorrows of the people!
Rejoice, for you bore suffering in body and soul!
Rejoice, for before God you show forth boldness for the suffering!
Rejoice, O inextinguishable lamp burning brightly in prayer to God!
Rejoice, O our intercessor amid misfortunes and perils!
Rejoice, for you save from perdition those beset by the passions!
Rejoice, for you turn pious virgins away from marriage with unbelievers!
Rejoice, for you crucified your flesh with constant mortification!
Rejoice, for you deliver from despair those who have been wounded by a curse!
Rejoice, for your defender was the Most High!
Rejoice, O speedy defender at an unjust trial!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 8

As a homeless wanderer you trod the path of your life in the capital city of Russia, bearing afflictions and reproaches with great patience; and, abiding now in the heavenly Jerusalem, in joy you sing unto God: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

You were all things to all, O blessed Xenia—comfort for the sorrowful, protection and defense for the weak, joy for the grieving, clothing for the poor, healing for the sick; therefore, we cry out unto you:

Rejoice, for you dwell in the mansions on high!
Rejoice, for you pray there for us sinners!
Rejoice, O good one, who shows us a model of service to God!
Rejoice, O provider of our every need!
Rejoice, O protectress of the persecuted and oppressed!
Rejoice, for you by your supplications help the Orthodox people!
Rejoice, for you endured much affliction and grief!
Rejoice, for you defend the afflicted who pray to you!
Rejoice, for you rebuke those who abuse their fellows!
Rejoice, for you put to shame unbelievers and those who babble!
Rejoice, for you were clothed in rags and tatters!
Rejoice, for God has adorned you with the splendid raiment of righteousness!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 9

O blessed Mother, you endured all illness, bodily poverty, hunger and thirst, and the reproach of iniquitous people who considered you to be insane; yet, praying to the Lord, you continually cried out to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

Even the most eloquent of orators are unable to understand how by your foolishness you reproved the madness of this world, and by your weakness you put the mighty and wise to shame, for they do not know the power and wisdom of God which are in you; but we, receiving your aid, sing to you such things as these:

Rejoice, O bearer of the divine Spirit!
Rejoice, for with the Apostle Paul you boasted in your weakness!
Rejoice, for you reproved the world by your feigned foolishness!
Rejoice, for you spurned the glamour of this world for the sake of salvation!
Rejoice, for you disdained the beautiful things of this earth!
Rejoice, for you loved the good things of heaven with all your heart!
Rejoice, for you were attentive unto the inner voice of the Lord!
Rejoice, for you call us to the path of salvation!
Rejoice, O dread denouncer of drunkenness as a sin!
Rejoice, for you were renowned for your kindness and love!
Rejoice, O holy protectress of the Orthodox family!
Rejoice, for in Christ you found comfort for your sorrows!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 10

Desiring to save your soul, you crucified your flesh with its passions and lusts; and, utterly denying yourself, you set your cross upon your shoulder and followed after Christ with all your heart, singing unto Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

You are a firm rampart and an unassailable refuge for those who pray to you, O Mother Xenia; therefore, by your supplications help us against our enemies, visible and invisible, that we may cry to you:

Rejoice, for you worked diligently in the garden of Christ!
Rejoice, for you move us to spiritual labor!
Rejoice, for through steadfastness of faith you escaped the devil’s snares!
Rejoice, for you deliver us from the snares of the enemy!
Rejoice, for you offered yourself unto God like incense in a censer!
Rejoice, for you bring the peace of God into the hearts of the people!
Rejoice, for you shed rays of Christian love upon all!
Rejoice, for you extinguish the spirit of malice in the hearts of the oppressed!
Rejoice, for you impart blessing unto good children!
Rejoice, for by mystic supplication you heal their ailments!
Rejoice, for through foolishness you attained heavenly wisdom!
Rejoice, for you have shown forth the wisdom of God to the afflicted world!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 11

Those who have been saved from misfortunes, sorrows and all dangers offer you hymns of praise, O blessed Xenia, and with you joyously sing unto God: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

Your life, O holy Mother, has been shown to be a radiant light illumining the people amid the darkness of this life; for you have delivered those who have fallen into the mire of sin and directed their path to the light of Christ. Therefore, we cry out to you:

Rejoice, O favorite of Christ, who, while in the world, lived above the world!
Rejoice, for you enlighten the Orthodox with the light of God!
Rejoice, for you by your many labors acquired great grace!
Rejoice, for you shone forth with the grace of God in the darkness of sin!
Rejoice, for you set your hope upon the Almighty!
Rejoice, for on the path of salvation you give a helping hand to the desperate!
Rejoice, for you were clad in the brilliant robe of unwavering faith!
Rejoice, for you strengthen those who are weak in the Faith!
Rejoice, for you were renowned for your kindness and love!
Rejoice, for you put to shame the spirits of malice!
Rejoice, for your ways were those of an ascetic of the wilderness!
Rejoice, for by your manner of life you amazed the angels!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 12

You pour forth grace in abundance upon those who honor your memory and flee to your protection, O blessed Xenia; therefore, upon us who pray to you do also pour forth streams of healing from God, that we may cry out to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

Hymning your many wonders, O blessed Mother, we praise you and entreat you with all our heart: Forsake not us sinners amid our grievous circumstances, but beseech the Lord of hosts, that we fall not away from our Orthodox Faith, but that, strengthened in it by your prayers, we may cry out to you:

Rejoice, for you teach us to have sympathy for the suffering!
Rejoice, for you bear our infirmities with all your heart!
Rejoice, for you instruct us to crucify the flesh, together with the passions and lusts!
Rejoice, for you come to our aid amid every spiritual battle!
Rejoice, for you hear our every supplication!
Rejoice, O intercessor and protectress of those who honor your memory!
Rejoice, for you traveled the path of tribulation!
Rejoice, for you thereby obtained everlasting salvation!
Rejoice, for you give joy to those who hasten to your tomb!
Rejoice, for you are a speedy helper in every misfortune!
Rejoice, for your light has shone forth before all!
Rejoice, for you ever mediate the salvation of your people!
Rejoice, O blessed Xenia, who ever intercedes for our souls!

Kontakion 13

O holy and blessed Mother Xenia, who bore a heavy cross during your lifetime: Accept from us sinners this entreaty offered unto you. By your supplications protect us from the assaults of the spirits of darkness and from all who plot evils against us. Beseech our most compassionate God, that He grant us power and might, that we may bear our own crosses and, following Christ, may go forth, singing with you to Him: Alleluia!


(Repeat Ikos 1 and then Kontakion 1)

Prayer 1

O blessed wanderer Xenia, heir to the Kingdom of the Father, who was homeless on the earth and most simple in the manner of your life: Like those who in the past fell down before your tomb, so do we, who have recourse unto you, now ask: Pray that, as the Lord says, our steps may be guided rightly toward the doing of His commandments, and that the soul-corrupting iniquity sown by the godless may not prevail over our generation. O you who hid yourself from the wise of this age, yet were known to God, ask humility, meekness and the pledge of love for our hearts, faith in prayer, hope in repentance, strength in labors, the mercy of healing in sickness, and restoration of our whole life from this time forward, that, blessing you, we may with compunction confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the consubstantial and indivisible Trinity, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer 2

O holy and most blessed Mother Xenia, who lived under the protection of the Most High and was strengthened by the Mother of God, and who endured hunger and thirst, cold and burning heat, oppression and persecution: You have received from God the gift of clairvoyance and the power to work miracles, and you rest under the shelter of the Almighty. The Holy Church now glorifies you as a fragrant blossom. Praying before your holy icon, we ask you, as one who is alive and with us: Accept our petitions, and offer them up before the throne of the loving Father of heaven; and, since you have boldness before Him, for those who have recourse unto you, ask eternal salvation, compassionate blessing upon our good works and undertakings, and deliverance from all misfortunes and sorrows. In your holy supplications before our most merciful Savior, intercede for us, the unworthy and sinful. O holy and blessed Mother Xenia, help our children to receive illumination by the light of holy baptism and the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit; raise our youths and maidens in faith, honesty, and the fear of God, and grant them success in their studies; heal the infirm; send down love and concord upon families; account monastics worthy to fight the good fight and protect them from oppression; make our pastors steadfast in the might of the Holy Spirit; preserve the Orthodox faithful in peace and tranquility; and pray for those who at the hour of their death are deprived of the communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. You are our trust and hope, speedily hearkening to us and delivering us, and unto you do we ascribe thanks, and with you do we glorify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse, on Prayer, Homily 4


Delivered 20 December, 1864

Three times I have spoken to you about prayer{footnote}See the preceding homilies: 1, 2, and 3.{/footnote}: about how to read prayers with attention, about how to ascend to God mentally and in your heart, and how to stand constantly before God with a burning spirit. The Lord instructed us in various degrees and types of prayer, so that each, according to his strength, could be a partaker in the goodness of prayer. For the work of prayer is a great work. It is, as I have said, the testimony of the spiritual life, and also the food of the spiritual life. Therefore one must work towards perfection in prayer more than all other things.

I have reminded you how to succeed in each type of prayer. Now I want to remind you, as a warning, that it is difficult, if not impossible, to succeed in prayer, if we do not at the same time work on other virtues.

If we compare prayer to a perfume, and the soul to a bottle for perfume, then we will understand that as perfume does not keep its fragrance in a container full of holes, also the soul cannot continue to pray if there is a lack of virtue. If we compare someone who prays to the whole body, then we see the following lesson: as it is impossible for a man without legs to walk, even if the rest of his body is healthy, so it is impossible to approach God, or reach God in prayer, without active virtue. Look in the apostolic teachings, and you will see that in them prayer does not stand alone, but together with a whole host of virtues. For example, the apostle Paul arms a Christian in spiritual battle and dresses him in the full armor of God. Look at what this is: The belt is truth, the armor is righteousness, the shoes are the gospel of peace, the shield is faith, the helmet is hope, the sword is the word of God ({bible}Eph 6.14-17{/bible}). Such weapons! After all of this he places his warrior in prayer as if in some sort of fortress: “pray at all times in the spirit with all sorts of prayer and petition” ({bible}Eph 6.18{/bible}). It is, of course, possible for prayer alone to defeat all enemies, but in order to be strong in prayer, one must be successful in faith, hope, truth, righteousness, and all the rest. In another place, the same apostle adorns the soul with bridal clothing as the bride of Christ, saying, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” ({bible}Col 3.12-16{/bible}). In many other places in the word of God, prayer is bound up tightly with all the other virtues, as their queen, after which they all strive, and which draws all of them after itself, or even better, as their fragrant flower. As it is necessary for a flower to be covered with leaves as well as having a stem, branches and root, in order to attract attention, it is also necessary for prayer to be accompanied by other good spiritual inclinations and labors in order to blossom like a flower in the soul; faith is the root, active love is like a stem and branches, and labors of a spiritual-physical nature are like leaves. When such a holy tree is planted in the soul, then in the morning, and in the evening, and during the course of the day, according to its state, the flowers of prayer will freely blossom and fill all of our inner chambers with fragrance.

I remind you of all of this, so that no one would think: “I labor in prayer, and that is enough”. No – one must work and be zealous for all things together, both praying and working at all the virtues. It is true that it is impossible to succeed in virtues without prayer, but it is also necessary to work at the virtues while praying, so that the prayer can show its cooperation in these virtues. In order to succeed in prayer, one must pray, but the labor of prayer should be used as the means to virtues. One must be concerned about all things, and always strive to be on the right side. The same thing happens in a clock. A clock works properly and shows the correct time only when all of the gears and other parts inside are complete and in their correct place, and joined together properly. This is the same in our inner spiritual mechanism: the striving of the soul will be true like an arrow, directed straight toward God, when all other parts of the soul are whole and are established in their correct places, so to speak, put in place by virtue.

I will teach you what sort of virtues should surround your prayer, or what sort of prayerful, virtuous life a Christian should plant in himself, not in my own words, but in the words of the holy hierarch Dimitri of Rostov, who briefly lists these things in the following instructions (from Christian Spiritual Instruction, part 1, p. 288):

1. When you wake up, let your first thought be about God, your first word be a prayer to God your creator and keeper of your life, Who is always able to give life or destroy it, who can strike with illness and heal, and who can save or destroy.

2. Bow and give thanks to God Who raised you from sleep, and Who did not allow you to perish in your sins, but with long-suffering awaited your repentance.

3. Make a start for better things, saying with the Psalmist: “I said, now I have made a beginning” ({bible}Ps. 76.11{/bible}) For no one completes the path to heaven except he who makes a good beginning everyday.

4. From the morning pray like the Seraphim, act like the Cherubim, and be surrounded with angels.

5. Do not waste time any longer. Do only those things which are necessary.

6. In all deeds and words, keep your mind in God; do not write anything in your mind except Christ, and let no image touch your pure heart except the pure image of Christ our God and Savior.

7. Awaken yourself to the love of God in all things, whenever you are able, especially say to yourself with the Psalmist: “in my meditation a fire was kindled” ({bible}Ps. 38.4{/bible}).

8. You desire to love God, Whose visitation you always see and gaze upon with your interior eyes, therefore turn away from all evil deeds, words, and thoughts. Do, say, and think all things honorably, humbly, and with the fear of a son.

9. Let meekness with praise and humility with honor be together.

10. Let your words be quiet, humble, honorable, and useful. Let silence decide the words that you say. From henceforth, let no empty or rotten word escape your lips.

11. If something funny happens, allow yourself only a smile, and this not often.

12. You will fall into prodigality through anger, wrath, and arguing: keep yourself moderate in anger.

13. Always observe moderation in eating and drinking.

14. Be condescending in all things, and God will bless you, and people will praise you.

15. You must pray about your death, which is the end of all things.

See what sort of wonderful life is taught to the praying Christian. It is true that in one place we have spoken more about prayer, that is, of mental and heart-felt turning to God, but in another place, other virtues have been mentioned, and yet without all of them together, it is impossible to get a foothold in prayer. Let everyone strive in knowledge: standing in prayer and exercising is according to your instruction. How can you stand to pray if you are weighed down with intemperance, or carried away with anger, or if you do not stand in peace, or you are distracted by work and lack of attention and so on? If we are to avoid these things, then we are to strive to attain the opposite: that is, virtue. For this reason, St. John of the Ladder speaks of prayer, saying that it is the mother and the daughter of virtues.

Hearing this, some might say, “what great demands! What a heavy burden! Where can I ever find time and the strength?” But be strong, brethren! Very little is necessary, and one must only take up one thing: zeal for God and salvation in Him in your soul. By its nature, the soul has much good in it and it is only misdirected into all evil things. As soon as zeal for salvation and the pleasing of God is born in one’s soul, all of the goodness gathers around this zeal, and immediately no small amount of good appears in the soul. Then zeal, strengthened by the grace of God, with the help of this initial good, begins to find more goodness, and enriches itself with it, and all begins to grow by degrees. Zeal itself has the beginnings of prayer already. It is fed at first by natural virtue, and then begins to feed on the works of virtue that it engendered, and grows and becomes strong, and blossoms and begins to sing and hymn God with a harmonious and prayerful song in the heart.

May the Lord help you succeed in this. Amen.

St. Theophan the Recluse, on Prayer, Homily 3


Delivered 29 November, 1864

I have explained to you briefly two aspects or two levels of prayer, namely: prayer which is read, when we pray to God with the prayers of others, and one’s mental prayer, where we ascend mentally to God through contemplation of God, dedicating all to God, and often crying out to Him from our hearts.{footnote}See the previous two homilies in this series: homily 1 and homily 2.{/footnote}

But this is still not all. There is a third aspect or level of prayer, which makes up true prayer, and for which the first two aspects are only preparation. This is the unceasing turning of the mind and heart to God, accompanied by interior warmth or burning of the spirit. This is the limit to which prayer should aspire, and the goal which every prayerful laborer should have in mind, so that he does not work uselessly in the work of prayer.

Remember how the Word of God talks about prayer: “Be vigilant and pray,” says the Lord ({bible}Matt 26.41{/bible}). “Be sober and bold,” teaches the apostle Peter ({bible}1 Pet 5.8{/bible}). “Be patient in prayer, and be bold in it” ({bible}Col 4.2{/bible}). “Pray without ceasing” ({bible}1 Thess 5.17{/bible}). “Pray with all prayer and petition at all times in the spirit” ({bible}Eph 6.18{/bible}), the apostle Paul commands, explaining in other places the reason to be this way. “Because”, he says, “our life is hidden with Christ in God, and because the Spirit of God lives in us, in which we cry, ‘Abba, Father’.” ({bible}1 Cor 3.16{/bible}) From these instructions and commands it is impossible not to see that prayer is not something done once, and in an interrupted way, but is a state of the spirit, constant and unceasing, just like our breathing and heartbeat.

I will explain this to you by examples. The sun is in the middle, and all of our planets go around it, all are drawn in toward it, and all turn some side of themselves towards it. What the sun is in the material world, God is in the spiritual world – the rational sun. Bring your thoughts to heaven, and what will you see there? Angels, who, according to the word of the Lord, ever see the face of their heavenly Father. All bodiless spirits and all saints in heaven and turned towards God, all direct their mental eyes toward Him, and do not wish to turn away from Him, because of the ineffable blessedness which flows from this vision of the face of God. But what the Angels and saints do in the heavens, we should learn to do on earth: get used to the angelic, unceasing standing before God in our hearts. Only he who reaches this state is a true man of prayer. How can we attain this great good thing?

I will answer this briefly as follows: one must labor in prayer without hesitation, zealously, hopefully, trying to obtain a burning spirit through sober attention to God, as if it were the promised land. Work in prayer, and praying about everything, pray even more about this limit of prayer – a burning spirit – and you will truly attain that which you seek. We are assured of this by St. Makarios of Egypt, who labored and tasted the fruit of prayer. “If”, he says, “you do not have prayer, work at prayer, and the Lord, seeing your labor, and seeing how you are patient in the labor and wholeheartedly desire this good thing, will grant you this prayer (Conversation 19)”. The labor has this as its only end. When the fire is kindled, about which the Lord speaks: “I have come to bring fire upon the earth, and what is it to Me if it were already kindled?” ({bible}Luke 12.49{/bible}) – then the work comes to an end. Prayer becomes easier and freer.

Do not think that we are talking about something very lofty which is an unattainable state for living people. No. It truly is a lofty state, but attainable by all. Does not everyone at some time feel warmth in their hearts in prayer, when the soul separates itself from all things and deeply enters into itself and prays hotly to God? This movement of the prayerful spirit, although it was once only temporary, must be made into a constant state, and it will reach the limits of prayer.

The means to this, as I have said, is the work of prayer. When one rubs two sticks together, they warm up and catch fire. Similarly, when the soul is rubbed in the work of prayer, it eventually leads to prayerful fire. The work of prayer consists of a proper completion of the two types of prayer of which I have already spoken, namely – pious, attentive, and feeling completion of our usual prayers, and then training of the soul to frequently ascend to God through divine contemplation, turning of all things to the glory of God, and frequent crying to God from the heart. We pray in the morning and the evening: there is a great distance between them. If we only turn to God at these times, then even if we pray whole-heartedly, during the day or night, everything will fall apart, and when it is time again to pray, the soul will feel cold and empty, as before. One can pray again whole-heartedly, but if you become cold and fall apart again, what use is it? This is just building and destroying, building and destroying; it is only labor. If now we resolve not only to pray with attention and feeling in the morning and the evening, but also to spend every day in contemplation of God, doing all things to the glory of God, and frequently calling to God from our hearts with short words of prayer, then this long period between morning and evening prayers and from evening to morning prayers will be filled with frequent turnings to God and pure prayerful actions. Although this prayer is not yet unceasing, it is still prayer repeated very frequently, and the more often it is repeated, the closer it comes to being constant. All of this work is towards this final and necessary goal. For if we resolve to do this work every day, without fail, without hesitation, look, what will become of our souls?

The fear of God is born from divine contemplation. For the fear of God is in and of itself the attainment of pious thought and the perception of God’s eternal perfection and action. From turning all of our works to the glory of God, we obtain a constant remembrance of God, or in other words, walking before God. Walking before God consists of doing nothing without remembering that you are in the presence of God. Finally, from frequent calling out to God, or from frequent pious movements toward God in our hearts we will constantly call upon the name of God with warmth and love. When these three things: the fear of God, the remembrance of God, or walking before God, and this turning of the heart toward God with love (loving repetition of the sweet name of the Lord in the heart) then certainly the spiritual fire of which I spoke earlier will catch in the heart, and it will bring with it profound peace, constant sobriety, and living boldness. At that point, a man enters into that state where he needs no longer to desire anything greater or unnecessary on earth, and which is truly the beginning of the blessed state which awaits all in the future. Here, in fact, that which the apostle said is fulfilled: “our life is hidden with Christ in God” ({bible}Col 3.3{/bible}).

Add these three things to your prayerful work. They are at the same time the reward for labor and the key to the hidden temple of the Kingdom of Heaven. Having opened the doors, go inside, approach the foot of the throne of God and you will be vouchsafed a good word and an embrace from the heavenly Father, and from the depth of your being you will say: “O Lord, O Lord! Who is like Thee?” Pray about this in your work of prayer, and let each one cry out, “when will I come and appear before Thy face, O Lord? My face has sought Thee; I seek, O Lord, Thy face.”

I will briefly answer him who wants to know how these three things: fear of God, remembrance of God, and this loving, constant calling on the name of God, are perfected: begin to seek them, and the work itself will teach you how to find its perfection. Hold to only one law: cast aside everything that gets in the way of these things, and earnestly seek out that which aids them. The work itself will teach you how to tell which things are which. I add to this only the following instruction:

When you begin to be contained in your heart as you are contained in your body, surrounded by warmth on all sides, or when you begin to conduct yourself as you conduct yourself around some important person, that is, with fear and attention so that you would not offend him, regardless of your desire to walk and act freely, or if you see, that your soul is beginning to remain with the Lord as a wife with her beloved husband, then know, that the Visitor of our souls is near, at the doors, and He will enter in and feast with you within yourself.

And these few signs, I think, are enough for zealous seekers. All of this is said only with the goal that those of you who pray wholeheartedly would know the limit of prayer, and having worked only a little and obtained only a little you would not think that you have obtained everything. Do not weaken your labor because of this, and thus put a limit on your further progress in the steps of prayer. Just as markers are placed on the sides of large roads so that those passing by them would know how far they have gone and how far remains, so in the spiritual life there are certain signs which indicate the degree of perfection of a life, which are also there, so that those who are zealous for perfection do not stop halfway and deprive themselves of the fruits of their labor, because they know how far they have come and how far remains to go. The fruit may be only a few turns away.

I conclude my word with the serious prayer, that the Lord would give you reason in all things, that you may become a perfect man, in the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ. Amen.