Menaion

December 27

Post-festive day of the Nativity.

Six sticheraTHE HOLY APOSTLE, FIRST MARTYR, AND ARCHDEACON STEPHEN, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. First of seven deacons, whom the Apostles chose to be fellow-laborers in the ministry, he was also the first of the disciples of the Lord to pour out his blood at Jerusalem. He provided testimony for Christ Jesus, whom he saw standing in glory at the right hand of the Father. He was covered over by stones while praying for his persecutors.

Our venerable father and confessor Theodore the Branded of Apamea in Bithynia, a monk of the laura of St. Sabbas in Palestine, priest and martyr. In Constantinople with his brother St. Theophane (the Hymnographer) he endured much in the defense of the Holy Images. He endured scourging, prisons, exile, and even brands on his forehead, for which reason he was called Graptus. He expired in prison. (845)

At Vespers

music (samohlasen)

There are six stichera at "O Lord, I have cried": three for the holy apostle, and three for the venerable father.

Tone 4, special melody Jako doblja. Having been enlightened * by the grace of the Spirit, O Stephen, * in appearance you seemed to be an angel. * Your body was bright with inner splendor, * and you revealed a radiance of soul to the onlookers. * Because of that, you also had a vision of the Light; * heaven was most gloriously opened up for you, * O first of the great martyrs.

Your sufferings became the rungs * of the ladder into heaven. * When you entered, you saw the Lord standing at the right hand of the Father. * With his life-bearing right hand * He extended to you a well-deserved crown. * You are standing near to Him as a brave victor * and the first of the martyrs.

Shining brightly * with signs, marvels, and teachings, * you surpassed the assembly of the wicked. * You suffered death at their hands by stoning. * You prayed for their forgiveness * in accordance with the example of the Savior. * You handed over your spirit into his hands, * O holy Stephen.

Tone 4, special melody Jako doblja. O venerable Theodore, * to the wounds of scourging were added the wounds of your exile. * The one who unlawfully held the throne, * cruelly disdained the teachings of faith, * and hurled down the precious icon of the Savior, * was put to shame by you, O defender of Christ.

O Father Theodore, * neither prison, anguish, nor darkness; * neither wounds nor beatings * could separate you from the love of God; * neither harsh illness nor unbearable pain; * neither scarcity of food nor all you suffered, O preacher of God. * You foresaw the reward for your labors.

Instead of tribulation and pain, * you received rest and joy; * instead of darkness, radiance was granted to you. * Indeed, O wonderful one, * because of the markings that were carved on your face, * you were inscribed in the Book of life. * You were committed to the church of the first-born in the highest, * and you have joyfully joined the choir of the angels.

Glory – Tone 2.  Shining brightly, Stephen comes forth * to the King of the universe and the Master born on earth. * He is not adorned with precious stones * but with garments crimsoned with his own blood. * O lovers of the martyrs, come forth. * Let us make a bouquet of our sacred hymns; * with heads covered with flowers, let us sing: * O Protomartyr, you illumined your soul with wisdom and grace. * Ask Christ God to grant each of us peace and great mercy.

Now and ever – in the same tone.  A great and glorious miracle was wrought today: * the Virgin gives birth without corrupting her virginity; * the Word is made flesh without separation from the Father; * the angels and shepherds give praise, and we exclaim with them: * Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth.

The aposticha are for the post-feast:

Tone 1, special melody Nebesnych činov. The One who shone forth from the Father from all eternity, * and who is ever-present with the Father, * in these later times is now in the arms of a mother * as though seated upon a throne. * Let us now sing to Him * who is adored by the angels, shepherds, and Magi.

Before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.

O faithful, having come together in Bethlehem, * we see, lying in a crib, the Creator of all. * From the land of Chaldea comes an excellent triple gift; * it is offered to Him as King and God. * For our sake He was also dead for three days.

The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.

You were born of the Virgin in a cave; * the angels were present and cried out: * Glory to You, O God, in the highest; * for You were born from the womb of a Virgin and Mother ever-pure, * in the form of a servant who renewed the world.

Glory – Tone 6.  You showed yourself, O Apostle Stephen, * to be the first of the martyrs and of the deacons. * You are the glory of the just * and the pride of the faithful. * As one standing before the throne of Christ, the King of all, * in behalf of those who celebrate your memory, * pray that they be made worthy of the cleansing of sins * and of the heavenly kingdom.

Now and ever – in the same tone.  Angels rejoice in heaven, * and people exalt today, * and all creatures leap with joy * because of the birth of the Lord Savior in Bethlehem; * for all deceit of idolatry has ceased, * and Christ reigns forever.

Troparion of Stephen, Tone 4. First martyr and apostle of Christ, * you fought the good fight. * You convicted the tyrants of their wickedness. * When you were killed by stoning at the hands of sinners, * you received a crown from God’s right hand while you cried out: * Lord, do not hold this sin against them.

Glory – Troparion of Theodore, Tone 8. Guide to Orthodoxy, teacher of piety and holiness, * luminary for the world, * inspired adornments of monks, * O wise Theodore, Harp of the Spirit, * you enlightened all by your teachings; * intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.

Now and ever – Troparion of the Nativity, Tone 4. Your birth, O Christ our God, * has shed upon the world the light of knowledge; * for through it, those who worshipped the stars * have learned from a star to worship you, the Sun of Justice, * and to know you, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to you, O Lord!

At the Divine Liturgy

music

First Antiphon (Ps. 9:2, 110:1-3):
I shall praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I shall declare all your wondrous deeds.
Refrain: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, save us.

In the meeting of the just and their assembly, great are the works of the Lord, to be pondered by all who love them.
Refrain: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, save us.

Majestic and glorious his work, his justice stands firm forever.
Refrain: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, save us.

Glory... now and ever...
Refrain: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, save us.

Second Antiphon (Ps. 111:1-3):
Happy the man who fears the Lord and greatly delights in his commands.
Refrain: O Son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to you: Alleluia!

His posterity will be mighty upon the earth; the children of the upright are blessed.
Refrain: O Son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to you: Alleluia!

Riches and wealth are in his house; his justice stands firm forever.
Refrain: O Son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to you: Alleluia!

Glory... now and ever...
O Only-begotten Son and Word of God...

Third Antiphon (Ps. 94:1):
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim God our Savior!
Refrain: O Son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to you: Alleluia!

Entrance Hymn (Ps. 94:6):
Come, let us worship and bow before Christ.
Refrain: O Son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to you: Alleluia!

Troparion of the Nativity, Tone 4.  Your birth, O Christ our God, * has shed upon the world the light of knowledge; * for through it, those who worshipped the stars * have learned from a star to worship you, the Sun of Justice, * and to know you, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to you, O Lord!

Troparion of Stephen, Tone 4. First martyr and apostle of Christ, * you fought the good fight. * You convicted the tyrants of their wickedness. * When you were killed by stoning at the hands of sinners, * you received a crown from God’s right hand while you cried out: * Lord, do not hold this sin against them.

Glory, now and ever – Kontakion of Stephen, Tone 3.   Yesterday, in human flesh the Master came to us; * today, from the flesh, his servant departs. * Yesterday, the King was born in the flesh; * today, his servant is killed by stoning. * Thus the holy Stephen, the first martyr, is brought to perfection.

Prokeimenon, Tone 8 (Ps. 18:5,2). Through all the earth their voice resounds; * their message reaches to the end of the world.
V. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

Epistle:  Acts 6:8 – 7:5, 7:47-60

Alleluia, Tone 1 (Ps. 88:6,8). Alleuia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
V. The heavens declare your wonders, O Lord, and your truth in the assembly of the holy.
V. God is glorified in the council of the holy, great and awesome above all who surround him.

Gospel:  Matthew 21:33-42

Magnification. Extol, O my soul, Christ the King, born in a cave.

Irmos, Tone 1. I see a strange and marvelous mystery: heaven is a cave, * the cherubic throne a Virgin; * the manger has become the place * in which Christ, the incomprehensible God, lies down. * Let us praise him and extol him.

Communion Hymn of the Nativity (Ps. 110:9). The Lord has sent deliverance to his people. Alleuia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Communion Hymn for Stephen (Ps. 18:5). Through all the earth their voice resounds; * their message reaches to the end of the world.