ON THE 4TH OF THE MONTH
Commemoration of the Seven Holy Youths in Ephesus
At Lord, I have cried we sing Prosomia.
Tone 4. As noblest of Martyrs.
Obedient to God the blessed Youths despised the lawless command, and being chained undid the chains of error, and rejecting worldly honour received the honour which made them all-glorious and brought them the enjoyment of the kingdom on high.
Bravely you stripped yourselves for the starting-blocks of the contest, O Saints; you were hidden in a cave, where you implored the Lord with ceaseless entreaties to grant you strength and power; but the Lover of mankind, by the judgements which he knows, commands you, by divine might, to sleep in peace.
A mystery of mysteries is set forth by the Saints; for as when they died they were not aware, so now when awakened they were clearly amazed; for this happened to confirm the resurrection of the dead, that those who deny it may, when they know, be fenced in by faith and glorify the Martyrs.
Glory. Both now.Theotokion.
All-holy Bride of God, ransom my wretched soul from condemnation and dread faults, deliver it from death by your prayers and grant that, purified before the end by streams of tears and by repentance, I too on the day of trial may find the justification which the ranks of Saints have found.
When she saw you, the Lamb and Shepherd, upon the Tree, the ewe-lamb who bore you lamented, and as a mother cried aloud, My Son, so deeply loved, how have you been fixed to the tree of the Cross, O long-suffering? How have you been nailed through hands and feet by lawless men, and how poured out your blood, O Master?
Apolytikion. Tone 4.
Your Martyrs, O Lord, by their struggle obtained crowns of incorruption from you, our God; for with your might they destroyed tyrants and shattered the feeble insolence of the demons: at their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.
The usual Reading of the Psalter and the Canons from the Oktoichos with the following one of the Saints, whose Acrostic is as follows: 1
To [sev]en Youths rightly I sing praise.
Ode 1. Tone 2. Irmos.
[Come, you peoples, let us sing a song to Christ our God, who parted the sea and guided the people that he had brought up from the slavery of the Egyptians, for he has been glorified.]
Come, let us honour faithfully the precious glowing stones, in number seven, for they burn more brightly in the Church of Christ than the lamp of the law with its seven lights.
The seven Youths, who formerly lived for Christ by slaying the flesh, leapt up wondrously, taking death for sleep, maintaining the doctrine of the Resurrection.
Jericho fell to the blast of seven trumpets; now the uprising of error has gone down to Hell by the faith of the Champions with its seven lights and has been destroyed.
You Seven Holy Youths have truly received a double crown, for you laid waste error and the denial of the rising of all, the one before your death, the other by your rising.
New was the child-bearing that you made new, Bride without bridegroom; for the eternal Word, without beginning with the Father, by the divine Spirit was incarnate from you without change and without mixture.
Ode 3. Irmos.
[Establish us in you, O Lord, who put sin to death by a Tree, and plant your fear in the hearts of us who sing your praise.]
You appeared, O Victors, as seven unerring stars, shining by faith, and you point those swimming in the deep of error to the harbour of salvation.
Standing stoutly like the Maccabees of old before a tyrants judgement seat, you exchanged the armys perishable glory by soldiering for Christ.
Holy Youths fittingly you were shown to be an acceptable sacrifice of prayer to Christ, and a most sweet savour, as you stoutly put to shame the foul stench of error.
The bush on Sinai prefigured the wonder of your child-bearing, O Virgin; for when you faithfully accepted the fire of the godhead in your womb, you were not consumed by its flame.
Establish us in you, O Lord, who put sin to death by a Tree, and plant your fear in the hearts of us who sing your praise.
Kathisma. Tone 4. Lifted up on the Cross.
They despised the things of the world as corruptible, and received incorruptible gifts; dying they remained beyond corruption, therefore they rose up after many years and buried all the unbelief of the hostile. As we believers celebrate them today with praise, let us honour Christ in song.
Glory. Both now.Theotokion.
As a natural lover of sin I implore you, Honoured One who gave birth to God who takes away the sin of the world, take pity on my soul of many sins, and wipe away my many sins; for you are the propitiation of sinners, the salvation and succour of the faithful.
When she, who in the last times gave you birth, O Christ, begotten from the Father without beginning, saw you hanging on a Cross, she cried aloud, Alas! My Jesu, dearly loved, how can you, who as God are glorified by Angels, now willingly be crucified by lawless mortals? I sing your praise, O long-suffering.
Ode 4. Irmos.
[I heard the report of your dispensation, Lord, and I glorified you, only lover of mankind.]
Let us praise the seven Youths, a most holy band, honoured with the number seven.
The Youths of Ephesus showed the impious king of error to be senseless with his empty sophistries.
Holy Youths, in the faith you appeared truly as unblemished offerings and sacrifices of the Lord.
Immaculate and ever-blessed, do not neglect to intercede that we may be delivered from every trouble.
Ode 5. Irmos.
[O Lord, the giver of light and maker of the ages, guide us by the light of commands, for we know no other but you.]
Once unperceived you died a common death on earth, Ephesian Youths. But beyond nature you then rose again, clearly confirming the Resurrection of the dead.
Made sacred to God by true confession of the Faith, wise Martyrs, as trained athletes of the Lord you were delivered from iron bonds and scourges, and bore off the crown.
Far-famed Martyrs, you stoutly vanquished the error of idols and the doctrine of impious heresy, and now you ever protect those who confess the Resurrection of the dead.
You, who are above all being, appeared in two natures and one person as perfect mortal without confusion and perfect God, born from a Holy Mother.
Ode 6. Irmos.
[Surrounded by a deep of offences, I call on the unfathomable deep of your compassion, O God, bring me up from corruption.]
Let the seven Holy Youths, equal in number to Wisdoms pillars, be praised, who crushed the tyrants godless decree with words as with stones.
Guarded by the law of divine foreknowledge, you accepted the cave, a temporary tomb, in which, O Saints, you appeared dead yet incorrupt for many years.
Associates of incorruption, O Martyrs, you drive out dead and destructive faith and you intercede to God for those who hope in the Resurrection.
Now womans nature rejoices, for grief has ended and joy has flowered; for Mary has given birth to joy, the Saviour and Lord.
Surrounded by a deep of offences, I call on the unfathomable deep of your compassion: O God, bring me up from corruption.
On the 4th of the same month, commemoration of the seven holy Youths of Ephesus, Maximilian, Exakustodianos, Iamblichus, Martinian, Dionysios, John and Constantine.
Septet the choir of Martyrs that I praise,
Who showed the world the Rising of the dead.
Seven the dead who arose, and together they died on the fourth day.
On the same day, commemoration of the translation of the relics of our Venerable Mother, the Martyr Evdokia.
Whence this sweet fragrance? Evdokias corse
Comes with the sweet scent of her struggles grace.
And as a corpse she was brought on the fourth Evdokia, the noble.2
On the same day the Holy Martyr Thathouel died, hanged from a apple-tree.
Die, Thathouel, hanged from an apple- tree,
On the same day, commemoration of the Holy Martyr Ia and her companions.3
Fragrance of violets [ia] Martyr Ia breathes,
Of blood deep-dyed in scarlet from her wounds.
At their holy intercessions, O God, have mercy and save us. Amen.
Ode 7. Irmos.
[When the golden image was being worshipped on the plain of Deira, your three Youths trampled down the godless decree; cast into the midst of fire, refreshed with dew they sang: Blessed are you, the God of our fathers.]
The Youths appeared as pure and chosen vessels of Christ; through them false doctrine was driven from the Church and true belief shone out: that there will be a Resurrection of every soul and flesh as they were born.
As truly valiant before death in your struggle, Holy Youths, so again you appeared alive after death strengthened with divine glory, devoutly confirming in yourselves the truth of the Resurrection.
There will be a resurrection of spirits along with physical bodies; for as no soul is born to come forth into the world without a body, so too outside the body no soul is glorified or tested, said the All-praised Martyrs.
By giving birth to God, the Saviour of all, you have become, Mary, the righting of the desperate, the assistance of the lost, the hope of the hopeless and the help of those who sing, Blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Ode 8. Irmos.
[The God who came down into the furnace for the Hebrew Youths and changed the flame to dew, you his works, praise as Lord and highly exalt him to all the ages.]
The godlike Youths cut off a root of bitter heresy and error that had fearfully sprung up. Now they deck it with fruit of the faith, alive yet buried, and truly rising again.
The princes of the Ephesians and champions of the Church of Christ, seven holy Youths, were divinely declared to be faithfully a rampart of the kingdom; we highly exalt them throughout the ages.
Brave athletes the Youths appeared, equal in number to the wandering stars, yet taking the unerring path of true religion as they cried, O Christ we highly exalt you throughout the ages.
Light and resurrection of life was wondrously granted from God to the Youths in the cave; and those previously dead rose up, and living cried, O God, save those who sing your praise with faith.
Pure Virgin Mother of God, none who with right belief has gained the hopes of faith perishes, save those who refuse to worship the form of your likeness.
The God who came down into the furnace for the Hebrew Youths and changed the flame to dew, you his works, praise as Lord and highly exalt him to all the ages.
Ode 9. Irmos.
[From your virgin loins ineffably you gave a body to the great light before the sun, God who shone forth and lived among us in a body. Blessed and all pure Mother of God, we magnify you.]
Happiness of mysteries and revelation of divine wonders now appears: the resurrection of the Saints. For those who of old died in the flesh a natural death, have now risen incorrupt, clothed like ones who sleep.
A store of strength and seal of firm faith the cave of the Saints appears, foretelling the glory of the coming Resurrection, not Lazarus four days dead, but the dead from every age will rise.
The Youths surely appeared by number and by faith as honoured eyes of the Church of Christ, blazing more brightly than the stone of Zorobabel. Let us in spirit praise their godlike spirits.4
You contested bravely and received the crown of martyrdom, O seven Youths, pillars of Gods wisdom and rising of the doctrines of orthodoxy. You have been declared champions of the Church and intercessors for those who sing your praise.
Pure Mary, highly glorious, you kept your body and your soul unspotted, therefore Christ the King loved your beauty, and declared you to be Mother of his incarnation, as he ever accomplishes my salvation.
From your virgin loins ineffably you gave a body to the great light before the sun, God who shone forth and lived among us in a body. Blessed and all pure Mother of God, we magnify you.
Exapostilarion. With the Disciples let us go.
Before the judgement seat of the tyrant, O seven Martyr Youths, with boldness you proclaimed Christ as God of all, as Saviour and Creator. For you lay dead according to nature for many years in a cave by divine foreknowledge and beyond nature rose again as from sleep so stopping the mouths of every heretic.
In songs let us sing Iamblichus, John, Martin and Constantine, Maximilian and Dionysios, with famous Exakoustodius, as we radiantly celebrate their radiant memory, that by their prayers and the intercessions of the Mother of God we may find release from offences from Christ the Saviour.
The rest of the Office as usual and the Dismissal.
1. The l, the second letter of the word Clement in Greek as in English, is missing, because there are only eight Odes. The first three letters of the word seven [epta] are also missing, which suggests that the canon originally had nine odes. This phenomenon is frequent in the canons of the Menaia. The Irmi would, in practice, never be sung, but we have included the full text in parentheses.
2. The line is a heroic hexameter, rather than an iambic trimeter. This is normal in the last line of the verse notices for the first entry each day, which mentions the date, as in the preceding notice for the Seven Sleepers. The language in both grammar and vocabulary is homeric.
3. Since the name Ia means violets, there seems no reason why Violet should not be used as an Orthodox name in English.
4. The Menaion has the following note: The sacred Hymnographer refers to the saying of Gods Angel to the prophet Zachary concerning Zorobabel, Why was someone scornful over small days? They will rejoice and see the stone made of tin in the hands of Zorobabel. These are the seven eyes of the Lord that look upon the earth [Zach. 4,10]. Anybody who wants to know more precisely the meaning of this prophetic passage should read the commentaries of the Fathers on it.
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This page was last updated on 10 May 2009