Menaion

December 20

Six sticheraPre-festive day of the Nativity.

The holy martyr Ignatius the God-bearer, a bishop and a disciple of St. John the Apostle. He ruled the Church of Antioch second after St. Peter and, condemned to the beasts under the Emperor Trajan, he was sent to Rome and there was crowned with a glorious martyrdom. On his trip, while under guard and experiencing their ferocity as if of leopards, he wrote seven letters to various Churches, by which he beseeched his brothers to serve God in unity with the bishops and not to keep him from being sacrificed as a victim for Christ. (107)

At Vespers

music (samohlasen)

There are six stichera at "O Lord, I have cried": three for the the pre-feast, and three for the holy martyr.

Tone 1 samohlasen. O faithful, let us celebrate beforehand the nativity of Christ; * let us raise up our minds to Bethlehem, * and we shall be raised up in spirit. * We shall meditate upon the Virgin * who is on the way to the cave * to give birth to the Lord of all, and our God. * Joseph saw the magnitude of Christ's miracles, * for He lowered himself to be revealed as a man * and to be wrapped in swaddling clothes as an infant. * Joseph understood from the events that Jesus was the true God * who grants great mercy to our souls.

O faithful, let us celebrate beforehand the nativity of Christ; * let us raise up our minds to Bethlehem, * and we shall be raised up in spirit. * We shall gaze upon the great mystery in the cave: * Eden is opening up, and God is coming forth from the pure Virgin. * He is perfect in divinity and in humanity. * Therefore, let us call out: * O holy God, O unbegotten Father, * O holy and mighty One, O Incarnate Son, * O holy immortal One, O comforting Spirit, * O holy Trinity, glory to You!

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! * Behold, the Son and Word of God the Father * is coming that He may be born of the undefiled Virgin without pain, * through the good will of the One who begot Him * and by the action of the Holy Spirit. * O Bethlehem, prepare yourself! * O Eden, open your gates * since He becomes that which He was not! * The Author of all creation is being formed, * and He gives great mercy to the world.

Tone 4, special melody Zvannyj svyše byv.   O blessed Ignatius, * you were worthily called Godbearer. * When the Master embraced you, * He revealed the teachings of the highest philosophy. * Then you absorbed the bright beam of the divine light * as a sponge absorbs water. * You were enlightened when you drew from these depths. * In this you followed in the footsteps of Christ our God who called you. * Implore Him to save and enlighten our souls.

O most holy Father, * you were completely wounded by perfect love. * When the yearning for salvation inflamed your soul, * it drove you to go to the Master. * Then you shouted the renowned words: * I am the wheat of my Creator; * it is fitting that I be ground by the teeth of the beasts * so that I may become the purest bread for the Word and our God. * Implore Him to save and enlighten our souls.

O teacher of the mysteries, * when you were crucified for Christ, you cried out: * My beloved is crucified, * and I am hastening to share his sufferings * O Ignatius, from here you went out to enlighten all, * even as the sun travels from the east to the west. * You brought yourself to Christ, * and then you were adorned with a royal crown. * Implore Him to save and enlighten our souls.

Glory – Tone 8.  O God-bearing Ignatius, * having embraced your beloved Christ, * you received the recompense of your priestly work * in the service of the Gospel of Christ, * and your life was sealed with your blood. * In this you were the wheat of the divine Gardener. * You were ground by the teeth of beasts * and became the bread agreeable to the Lord. * O blessed martyr, implore Him in our behalf.

Now and ever – Tone 8. O Bethlehem, receive the City of God * because the unsetting Light is coming to you to be born. * O angels, be amazed in heaven; * O people, glorify on earth; * O wise men from Persia, offer a glorious gift; * O shepherds, sweetly sing the thrice-holy hymn. * Let every living creature praise the Creator of all things.

But if the prefestive day falls on Saturday, then at Vespers on Friday evening, at Now and ever, we sing the dogmatikon of Saturday evening in the Tone of the week.

The aposticha are for the pre-festive day:

Tone 2 samohlasen.   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, * listen, for Christ is coming * that he may save his creation * because he is the Lover of us all.

God comes from Ternan; the Holy One from Mount Paran.

O Bethlehem, O land of Judah, * you are the bright abode of the One-Who-Is. * Prepare the cave, for God is to be born in the flesh * from the holy, undefiled Virgin * to save the human race.

O Lord, I heard your voice and I was afraid; I knew your deeds and I was terrified.

Come let us faithfully celebrate beforehand the birth of Christ. * Let us sing spiritual hymns of praise. * With the shepherds, let us cry out: * The Savior of all has come from a Virgin, * and He summons all the faithful.

Glory – Tone 1. O blessed Ignatius, worthy of all praise, * how firm and unyielding was your soul * because you had an unceasing yearning for your Beloved One. * And you said: There is no fire in me desiring to be fed; * but there is within me a water that lives and speaks, * saying inwardly: Come to the Father! * Therefore, inflamed by the divine Spirit, * you chose the beasts to separate you quickly from the world * and to send you to the beloved Christ. * Implore Him to save our souls.

Now and ever – in the same tone.  O faithful, let us celebrate beforehand the nativity of Christ; * let us raise up our minds to Bethlehem, * and we shall be raised up in spirit. * We shall meditate upon the Virgin * who is on the way to the cave * to give birth to the Lord of all, and our God. * Joseph saw the magnitude of Christ's miracles, * for He lowered himself to be revealed as a man * and to be wrapped in swaddling clothes as an infant. * Joseph understood from the events that Jesus was the true God * who grants great mercy to our souls.

Troparion of the martyr,  Tone 4. You shared in the apostles’ way of life * and succeeded to their throne, * divinely inspired bishop. * You found access to contemplation in the active life. * Therefore, you rightly taught the word of truth * and struggled for the faith to the shedding of your blood. * O priest-martyr Ignatius, * pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Alternate translation: You sat on the chair of the apostles and exercised their powers. * You are the inspiration of prelates and the glory of martyrs. * You faced savage beasts, fire, and sword all for the sake of the faith. * You made the course of truth straight, even at the price of your own blood. * O priest-martyr Ignatius, beg Christ our God to save our souls.

Glory, 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.

At the Divine Liturgy

music - see the December Menaion

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.

Troparion of the martyr,  Tone 4. You shared in the apostles’ way of life * and succeeded to their throne, * divinely inspired bishop. * You found access to contemplation in the active life. * Therefore, you rightly taught the word of truth * and struggled for the faith to the shedding of your blood. * O priest-martyr Ignatius, * pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Glory – Kontakion of the martyr, Tone 3.   The moving celebration of your successful fight * is like an announcement of the One who is to be born of the Virgin. * Because of your eagerness to possess him forever, * you hastened to be devoured by ferocious beasts. * Therefore, O glorious Ignatius, you were caled the God-bearer.

Now and ever – Kontakion of the pre-feast, 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.

Prokeimenon, Tone 7 (Ps. 63:11,2). The just man will rejoice in the Lord, * and will put his trust in him.
V. Hear my voice, O God, when I pray to you.

Epistle:  (of the day?)

Alleluia, Tone 4 (Ps. 91:13,14). Alleuia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
V. The just man will flourish like the palm tree * and grow like a cedar of Lebanon.
V. Planted in the house of the Lord, he will flourish in the courts of our God.

Gospel: (of the day?)

Communion Hymn (Ps. 111:6,7). The just man will be remembered forever; evil news he will not fear. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!