Menaion

December 18-24

SUNDAY BEFORE THE NATIVITY

Sunday of the Ancestors

At Vespers

music (samohlasen)

We sing “Blessed is the man.” At "O Lord, I have cried", we sing six stichera of the Resurrection in the Tone of the Week, and four stichera for the ancestors of Christ. But on December 20-24, we sing three stichera of the Resurrection, three stichera of the pre-feast, and three stichera of the Ancestors. On December 24, we sing six stichera of the Ancestors, and four of the pre-feast, omitting the hymns of the Resurrection.

(Pre-feast) Tone 6, special melody Vsju otloživše.  The Neversetting Sun * is coming from the virginal womb * to enlighten everyone under the sun. * Let us meet him with pure hearts and with good works. * Let us prepare ourselves now through the Holy Spirit * to greet him who is coming to his own people * as he himself had willed. * He is being born in Bethlehem * so that through his compassion * he might bring back all of those * who were exiled from life in Paradise.

He who is carried * by the Cherubim * has taken human nature in the abode of the immaculate womb. * He has come to earth to be born of the tribe of Judah. * The holy cave has been adorned * like a splendid palace for the King of all; * the manger, like a ruby throne. * The Virgin will place the Child into it * for the renewal of his boundless creation.

Having conceived * in a manner beyond understanding, * the Virgin places you into the manger of the dumb animals, * O eternal Word of God, * because you come to pardon the ignorance * that I acquired through the envy of the serpent. * You come to be wrapped in swaddling clothes * in order to break the chains and fetters of my sins. * O only-blessed One and Lover of us all, * I most joyfully glorify, extol, and adore you * and your coming in the flesh; * for through you I have been freed.

(Ancestors) Tone 6, special melody Vsju otloživše.  The commemoration * of the Holy Fathers * is manifested to the ends of the world. * It is truly full of splendor, * and it glistens with the rays of grace; * for Christ the splendrous Sun has shone forth on high from afar. * He forms the assembly of stars which glisten with him, * and the star reveals that the birth of the God-man * will be in Bethlehem. * Therefore, we piously and faithfully clap our hands * and leap for joy at this nativity, * and we give praise before the feast.

The Holy Fathers * are adorned by the glory of the divine sharing of our nature. * Adam rejoices today, * since he is the foundation and the strength * of the wise Forefathers; * Abel leaps for joy as well. * Enoch is glad; Seth and Noah dance together. * The praiseworthy Abraham sings with the Patriarchs. * Melchisedek now sees from on high * the birth without a father.

The faithful and God-wise youths * are radiant with joy in the furnace. * They herald the birth of Christ on earth. * As the precious dew which the Lord sent down, * he now preserves the Virgin without stain * and enriches her with sublime gifts. * Therefore, Daniel, inspired by God, * is also happy and full of joy * because he had a clear vision * of the unhewn stone from the mountain. * He now zealously prays for our souls.

Glory –  Tone 6.  Daniel was a beloved man. * He saw you, O Lord, as the Rock * which was hewn without the use of a hand. * He foretold that you, the incarnate Word, * the Unchangeable God, and Savior of our souls, * would be born without seed * as a Child of the Virgin.

December 18-19:

Now and ever – the dogmatikon of Saturday evening in the Tone of the week

December 20-24:

Now and ever – Theotokion, Tone 6. O Cave, prepare yourself to receive the Mother * who bears Christ within her womb. * O manger, receive the Word who destroyed the sins of all. * O shepherds, keep watch and then bear witness to the awesome wonder. * O Magi, come from Persia, * and bring your gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the King. * For the Lord has appeared from a Virgin Mother; * yet she bowed to him as a servant * and spoke to him within her bosom, saying: * How were you conceived in me? * How did you grow in me, my God and Savior?

Entrance with censer, and prokeimenon of Saturday evening.  Then three readings:

A reading from Genesis (Genesis 14:14-20).

A reading from Deuteronomy, the Book of the Second Law (Deuteronomy 1:8-11,15-17).

A reading from Deuteronomy, the Book of the Second Law (Deuteronomy 10:14-21).

Litija stichera of the patron of the church, or for December 24, from the day itself. Then:

Glory – Tone 1 Bolhar.  The prophets of great renown, splendid in the rays of divine eloquence, are ever blessed, and, putting forth the sayings of the Spirit as fruit, they preached to all the ineffable birth of Christ God; and having lived most wondrously, they ended their lives in accordance with the Law.

Glory – Tone 3.  Come, O lovers of the feast, * let us sing a hymn of praise to the assembly of the Forefathers: * Adam, the father of the human race, * Enoch, Noah, Melchisedek, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. * Let us also honor those who came after the Law: * Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, and David; * together with Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, * Daniel, and the twelve minor Prophets; * likewise Elijah, Elisha, and all the others; * also Zechariah and the Baptist, * and all those who preached Christ, the life and the resurrection of our race.

December 18-19:

Now and ever – the aposticha theotokion of Saturday evening, in the same tone.

December 20-23:

Now and ever – Theotokion, Tone 3. Adorn thyself splendidly, O Bethlehem, for Eden has been opened! Make ready, O Ephratha, for Adam is restored, and Eve with him; for the curse is annulled, the salvation of the world has blossomed forth, and the souls of the righteous are adorned. And bearing hymns as a gift of offering instead of myrrh, they receive spiritual salvation and incorruption. For, behold! The one that lies in the manger commands before, that a spiritual hymn be chanted by those who cry out unceasingly: O Lord, glory to you!

December 24:

Now and ever – Theotokion, Tone 3. O Mother of God, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, since you remained a virgin both before and after giving birth. For it was God who was born of you to restore our human nature. Therefore, do not overlook your servants who supplicate you in your temple. Since you have held the merciful Lord in your arms, be compassionate toward your servants, and beseech him to save our souls

TThe aposticha are from the Octoechos for Sunday. Then, for the Ancestors:

Glory – Tone 2.  Rejoice, O illustrious prophets! You firmly established the Law of the Lord, and you faithfully manifested yourselves to be invincible and unshakable pillars. You have been taken to heaven and have shown yourselves to be mediators of the new Law of Christ. Implore him to give peace to the world and to save our souls

December 18-19:

Now and ever – Theotokion, Tone 2. We now behold a new wonder greater than the wonders of old. For who has ever known a mother to bear a child without the help of man? Who. has known a mother to hold within her arms the Source of all creation? It was God’s own will to be born in this manner; and you, O most pure Virgin, carried him as an infant in your arms. Because of this, you can approach God with the boldness of a mother. Therefore, we venerate you and ask you to always beseech him to have mercy on us and save our souls.

December 20-24:

Now and ever – Theotokion, Tone 2. Behold, the time of salvation is drawing near. * O Cave, prepare yourself, * for the Virgin is coming to give birth. * O Bethlehem, O land of Judah, * adorn yourself and be happy * since the Lord will shine forth from you. * O mountains and hills and lands around Judah, * hearken, for Christ is coming * that he may save his creation * because he is the Lover of us all.

The troparia:

Troparion of the Resurrection, in the Tone of the Week.

Glory – Troparion of the Fathers, Tone 2. Great are the accomplishments of faith: * the three holy youths rejoiced in the streams of fire as if in refreshing waters; * and Daniel the prophet shepherds lions like sheep. * Through their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Now and ever – Troparion of the Pre-feast, Tone 4. Bethlehem, make ready, * Eden has been opened for all. * Ephrathah, prepare yourself, * for the Tree of Life has blossomed from the Virgin in the cave. * Her womb has become a spiritual paradise * in which divinity was planted. * If we partake of it we shall live and not die like Adam. * Christ is born to raise up the likeness that had fallen.

But if bread is blessed: sing "Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos", twice, Glory, now and ever, and the troparion of the Fathers, once; or for December 24, the troparion of the Fathers, twice, Glory, now and ever, and the troparion of the pre-feast.

At the Divine Liturgy

music

Troparion of the Resurrection, in the Tone of the Week.

Troparion of the Fathers, Tone 2. Great are the accomplishments of faith: * the three holy youths rejoiced in the streams of fire as if in refreshing waters; * and Daniel the prophet shepherds lions like sheep. * Through their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

December 20-23:
Troparion of the Pre-feast, Tone 4. Bethlehem, make ready, * Eden has been opened for all. * Ephrathah, prepare yourself, * for the Tree of Life has blossomed from the Virgin in the cave. * Her womb has become a spiritual paradise * in which divinity was planted. * If we partake of it we shall live and not die like Adam. * Christ is born to raise up the likeness that had fallen.

December 24:
Troparion of the Vigil, Tone 4. At that time Mary registered in Bethlehem * with the elder Joseph who was of the house of David. * She had conceived without seed and was with child, * her time to give birth had come. * They found no room at the inn, * but the cave became a pleasant palace for the Queen. * Christ is born to raise up the likeness that had fallen.

December 18-19:

Glory, now and ever – Kontakion, Tone 6.   You did not worship a man-made image, O thrice-blessed youths. * You armed yourself with uncreated divinity. * You were glorified in the trial by fire. * Withstanding the flames, you stood and called out: * Hasten, O compassionate God, and hurry to help us in your mercy. * For you can do whatever you will.

December 20 and 24:

Glory, now and ever – Kontakion, Tone 3.   Today the Virgin is coming to the cave * to give birth to the eternal Word * in a manner beyond expression. * Let the world dance when it hears the news; * with the angels and shepherds glorify the eternal God * who chose to appear as a newborn child.

December 21-23:

Glory, now and ever – Kontakion, Tone 2.   As we see the One who holds the world in his hands * now wrapped in swaddling clothes in Bethlehem, * let us offer our hymns in anticipation to the one who gave him birth; * for with a mother's joy she cradles the Son of God.

Prokeimenon, Tone 4 (Daniel 3:26,27). Blessed are you and praiseworthy, O Lord, * the God of our Fathers, * and glorious forever is your name.
V. For you are just in all you have done for us.

Epistle:  Hebrews 11:9-10, 17-23, 32-40

Alleluia, Tone 4 (Ps. 42:2:8). Alleuia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
V. O God, we have heard with our own ears; our fathers have told us the deed you did in their days.
V. You saved us from those who oppressed us; and those who hated us you put to shame.

Gospel:  Matthew 1:1-25

Communion Hymn for Sunday (Ps. 148:1). Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the highest. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Communion Hymn for the Ancestors (Ps. 32:1). Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is fitting. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!