Menaion

December 23

Pre-festive day of the Nativity.

The holy ten martyrs of Crete of Gortyna, who, in the persecution of the Emperor Decius, publicly refused to sacrifice when ordered to do so during the dedication of the temple of the goddess Fortuna. They suffered tortures and were beheaded. (250)

The commemoration of the dedication of the Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople.

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 martyrs.

Tone 4, special melody Jako doblja. Let us sing out the prefestive hymns of the birth of Christ * because He is equal in honor to the Father and to the Spirit. * Out of compassion He clothed himself in our flesh, * and He is to be born in Bethlehem. * His nativity is beyond expression. * O shepherds and angels, hasten to Him.

We shall strike the cymbals; * we shall sing out in praise. * The appearance of Christ is revealed, * and prophecies have been fulfilled. * They foretold the One who is to assume our human nature. * He is born in the holy cave * and lies as a child in the manger, * wrapped in swaddling clothes.

O Bethlehem, prepare yourself. * O Eden, open up the gates. * Heavens, rejoice because the all-holy One is coming to give birth. * Let everyone leap for joy. * Life is in the manger in the cave. * He has taken upon himself the lowliness of Adam. * He comes with great mercy.

Tone 4, special melody Jako doblja.  The God-chosen luminaries, * the ten bright stars and the solid pillars, * those who made the earth a heaven * are praised and exalted today.

May Theodulus, Zoticus, Pompey, and Basilides, * Eupor, Agathopus, Saturninus, and Gelasius, * Evaristus, together with Eunichian be praised. * May they be venerated, * for they confounded error * and received the crown of victory.

Let us venerate the ten holy martyrs of Crete. * They were precious and sweet-scented flowers of Paradise, * steadfast adornments of the faithful, * the seed of the Church, * and the sacrificial offerings of the heavenly temple.

Glory – Tone 8.  Behold, the feast of the martyrs * is the forerunner of the nativity of Christ. * It announces the Sun from the sun, * God in the flesh from the Virgin. * The ten martyrs suffered courageously to the end, * and they received crowns of victory in heaven. * Let us cry out to them: * O chosen holy choir and holy martyrs, * implore Christ in behalf of all the faithful * who keep your precious memory.

Now and ever – in the same tone. O Bethlehem, adorn yourself because Paradise is opened. * Prepare yourself, O Ephrathah, * because Adam is renewed and Eve with him; * the curse is destroyed. * Salvation blossoms in the world, * and the souls of the just are made beautiful, * as they carry their gifts of hymns instead of myrrh, * and they receive in exchange eternal salvation. * Behold, while lying in the manger, * He invites the singing of spiritual hymns * from those who cry out without ceasing: * O Lord, glory to You!

The aposticha are for the pre-festive day:

Tone 6, special melody Tridneven.   The wisdom of God is without limit; * his love is beyond understanding. * Christ is formed from Mary; * He desires to be born in the flesh * and to lie in the manger in a cave.

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

O Christ, You revealed as much of yourself to the prophets * as they could behold of You, the Creator. * In later times You showed yourself as a man * to all those in Bethlehem.

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

The star crossed the skies and revealed to the Magi * that Christ, the Sun of Justice, * was in the town of Bethlehem. * The angels told the good news to the shepherds. * Let us hasten with them to our God.

Glory – Tone 2. Today Crete celebrates the prefestive day * of the nativity of Christ * and the memory of the martyrs. * Through their prayers, O Lord, save our souls.

Now and ever – in the same tone.  Behold, the time of salvation is drawing near. * O Cave, prepare yourself, * for the Virgin is coming to give birth. * 0 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.

Troparion of the martyrs,  Tone 4. Your holy martyrs, O Lord our God, * in their struggles, received an incorruptible crown from you. * With your strength, they brought down the tyrants * and broke the cowardly valor of demons. * Through their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Or this troparion:

Troparion of the martyrs,  Tone 3. Let us express our great admiration for Crete which brought forth these precious Christians, * pearls of Christ and offspring of martyrs, and in particular, these blessed Ten. * Although they were few, they overcame all the guiles of powerful demons. * Therefore, these valiant martyrs of Christ have been crowned.

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 martyrs,  Tone 3. Let us express our great admiration for Crete which brought forth these precious Christians, * pearls of Christ and offspring of martyrs, and in particular, these blessed Ten. * Although they were few, they overcame all the guiles of powerful demons. * Therefore, these valiant martyrs of Christ have been crowned.

Glory – Kontakion of the martyrs, Tone 4.   The noble struggle of the martyrs shines forth like the morning star * and sheds brilliant like for us on the One who was born in the cave, * to whom the Virgin * has given birth without human seed.

Now and ever – Kontakion of the pre-feast, 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 (Ps. 15:3,8). To all the saints in his land, * the Lord has shown all the wonders of his will.
V. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Epistle:  (of the day, or Hebrews?)

Alleluia, Tone 4 (Ps. 33:18,20). Alleuia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
V. The just cried out and the Lord heard them, and rescued them from all their distress.
V. Many are the trials of the just, but from them all the Lord will rescue them.

Gospel: (of the day?)

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