Menaion

December 29

Post-festive day of the Nativity.

The holy innocents killed by Herod in Bethlehem of Judea. The impious king did this in the expectation that, with them, the infant Jesus would perish. They have been honored as martyrs from the first ages of the Church, the first-fruits of all who would pour out their blood for God and the Lamb.

Our venerable father Marcellus, hegumen of the Akimetes (the “non-sleeping ones”) on the Bosporus in Constantinople. Day and night, without any interruption ever, he carried out the singing of the Psalms. (486)

At Vespers

music (samohlasen)

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

Tone 4, special melody Jako doblja.   The wicked seeker of the hidden Treasure * today slew the innocent children. * Rachel could not be comforted * when she saw the unjust slayings and the untimely death. * She then cried out bitterly: * They are happy, for they are in the bosom of Abraham.

In time, the wicked Herod sought the timeless King, * but he could neither find nor kill Him. * Instead, he killed the innocent children; * he made them martyrs without ever realizing it. * They are now residents of the Kingdom on high, * and they reprove his foolishness forever.

O eternal Lord, You were born of the Virgin, * and out of goodness You became an infant. * The choir of infants is brought about by the blood of martyrs. * You justly illumined the untroubled souls * which You settled in the dwellings of
those who live forever. * They continue to reprove the wickedness * and the harsh foolishness of Herod.

Tone 4, special melody Jako doblja.  As a monk, O God-bearing Marcellus, * you showed yourself to be a model of self-discipline. * Through it you became a fiery pillar. * O wise one, taking yourself up in spirit from earth to heaven, * you were also a friend of chastity. * You were truly a guardian of inner silence * and a living pillar of bravery. * Indeed you are a most excellent example of goodness.

O venerable one, you disciplined your passions * by mighty vigils and by the teachings of Scripture, * by heartfelt prayer and by the outpouring of tears. * Through this you revealed yourself to be a worthy abode for the Master. * You healed those who came to you in faith. * You are worthy of immortal happiness.

O all-blessed one, * you beamed with delight at the kindness of your Master, * and by his appearance to those who are weakened. * Pray that a chaste life may be granted * to those who praise your sacred memory * and to those who venerate you with psalms and hymns, * so that they may obtain mercy on the Day of Judgment.

Glory – Tone 8.  Seeing the star which was brighter than all creation, * the wicked Herod was enraged * and seized the new-born infants from the arms of their mothers. * Elizabeth took John away, and in prayer she said to the mountain: * Receive a mother with her child. * In answer, the mountain sheltered the Forerunner. * The crib protected the Treasure, * whom the star proclaimed and the Magi worshiped. * O Lord, glory to You!

Now and ever – in the same tone.  A glorious mystery has this day come to pass. * Nature is being renewed and God becomes flesh. * He remains that which He was; * and He assumes that which He was not, * while suffering neither confusion nor division.

The aposticha are for the post-feast:

Tone 6, special melody Tridneven.  I see the awesome mystery: * God who wonderfully preserves all creation has clothed himself in flesh. * In the manger of beasts, He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, * the same who wraps the sea in clouds.

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

The bodiless God now becames incarnate; * He who is without beginning is conceived. * He is now a dweller on earth. * He has emptied himself and becomes an Infant. * He who nourishes all creation * is nourished by the Virgin in a small cave.

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

The shepherds merrily rejoice in the nativity of Christ; * they give glory with the angels. * The star shines over the One whom the Magi adore, * and the human race is saved. * They all extol the Mother of God.

Glory – Tone 8.  When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, * the descendants of Judea lost their power. * May the Infants who were slain for Christ rejoice. * May the people lament because a cry was heard at Ramah: * Rachel was crying and bewailing her children, as it was written, * for the wicked king has slain the Infants, * thus fulfilling the Scriptures. * He has stained Judea with innocent blood. * Thus the earth is crimsoned with the blood of the Infants. * The church of the Gentiles is mystically purified * and is now clothed in beauty. * The Truth has come! * God has revealed himself to those sitting in darkness. * He is born of the Virgin to save us.

Now and ever – in the same tone.  O Lord, having come into Bethlehem, * You settled in a cave. * You have heaven for a throne, yet You are resting in a manger. * Hosts of angels surround it. * You have come down to the shepherds * so that as the compassionate One You may save all. * O Lord, glory to You!

Troparion of the innocents, Tone 1.  O Lord who love us all, accept the sufferings * which your saints endured for you. * As we pray, * heal all our pains.

Glory Troparion of the venerable father, Tone 8.  In you, O father, the divine imahe was strictly preserved; * taking up your cross, you followed Christ. * You taught us by example how to spurn the flesh, for it passes away, * and how to care for the soul, which is immortal. * Therefore, O venerable Marcellus, your souls rejoices with the angels.

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 - see the December Menaion

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 the innocents, Tone 1.  O Lord who love us all, accept the sufferings * which your saints endured for you. * As we pray, * heal all our pains.

Troparion of the venerable father, Tone 8.  In you, O father, the divine image was strictly preserved; * taking up your cross, you followed Christ. * You taught us by example how to spurn the flesh, for it passes away, * and how to care for the soul, which is immortal. * Therefore, O venerable Marcellus, your souls rejoices with the angels.

Glory – Kontakion of the innocents, Tone 2.   When the King was born in Bethlehem, * wise men came from the East and brought him gifts. * They had been led by a star on high. * As for Herod, he became exceedingly angry * and had the infants harvested like lamenting wheat; * for he sees his power coming to an end.

Now and ever – Kontakion of the venerable father, Tone 6.   You rose in the East like a glittering star, * and you thundered with virtuous deeds, O blessed Marcellus. * You were a standard for a community of monks, * and you have become a light for the capital, O venerable father. * This is why we sing to you: Rejoice, O most blessed father.

Prokeimenon, Tone 6 (Ps. 112:1,9).  Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. CONSIDER: Praise the Lord, you children, praise the name of the Lord.
V. To the childless wife he gives a home and gladdens her heart with children.

Epistle:  2 Corinthians 5:15-21

Alleluia, Tone 5 (Ps. 78:3,10). Alleuia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
V. They have poured out blood like water in Jerusalem; no one is left to bury the dead.
V. Let us see the nations around us repaid with vengeance for the blood of your servants that was shed.

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23

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