st. john the wonderworker

great vespers

GREAT VESPERS

We sing Blessed is the man, the first antiphon.

On Lord, I have cried, 8 stichera are sung.

 

Tone 6, to the special melody: Having set all your hope.

Who can say that the grace-filled power of the first apostles has left the earth, who can claim that the sanctity of the ancient ascetics is seen no more? For Thou, O Lord, hast now raised up a new and glorious apostle, a new ascetic who hath overcome the enemy's attacks and hath won the heavenly crown of victory.

Rejoice now, O Russian people, for from you a fiery pillar hath risen to heaven, where before the throne of God doth pray your new intercessor, a teacher of the Gospel to distant lands a pastor to all peoples, the holy Hierarch John.

Rejoice, O peoples of Serbia, China and the Philippines, and ye of Africa, France, Holland and America, for among you walked a living bearer of God, a saint enlightened by grace and touched by divinity, a visionary who beheld the realm outside of space and time, where he now doth pray for you.

Other Stichera, Tone 3.

Behold the strange wisdom of God, how the great and beautiful was manifested in a vessel small and unadorned, how the Creator's Mind was revealed to one whom the world considered mad: Behold, ye faithful, the life of John and know ye the ways of God.

Behold the world turned upside down, behold the wise and prudent put to shame, and all the secret and hidden things revealed to babes, to the guileless and childlike in faith, to those who believe in simplicity and warmth of heart, to the ever-memorable John.

What labors didst Thou not perform. O saint, what suffering didst Thou not endure for Christ's sake. Thou didst not withhold the love for God that was ever burning within Thee, but didst spread it to the ends of the world, enkindling the flame that ascends to the kingdom above.

The Lord did not light this candle to be put under a bushel, but to be placed on a candlestick, from where it doth enlighten the world with grace; wherefore, we do honor His servant, our blessed Hierarch John.

O worker of countless miracles, feeder of the hungry, healer of the infirm, protector of orphans, teacher of theology, Thou who didst occupy thyself in constant prayer, Thou who didst take on the garments of a fool to be clothed in the wisdom of God, Thou who didst penetrate the hearts and minds of men, Thou who didst see the future as if present: how abundant were the fruits Thou didst bring forth for Thy Creator! Pray that we also may not be found with our hands empty at the day of judgment.

Glory: Tone 6.

Before Thy precious relics, O holy Father, the faithful stand with reverence and awe, Thy loved ones cease not to speak to you, those who hurt you beg forgiveness, sinners are moved to repentance, those who sorrow are renewed with hope, the cold-hearted are warmed with love, those who stand at the abyss are drawn back by Thy gentle hand, those who are dying are given the breath of everlasting life, eyes which are closed in darkness are opened to the light of Christ, deafened ears are made to hear the voice of angels: O new apostle, pray that the Lord's grace may be sent even to us.

Both now: Dogmatic Theotokion, in the same Tone.

Who will not glorify Thee, O Most Holy Virgin; who will not hymn Thy most pure giving of birth; the Only-begotten Son, who hath shown forth from the Father before the ages, hath come also from Thee, O Pure One, unutterably incarnate, being in nature God, and having become in nature man for our sake not divided in two persons, but made known in two Natures without fusion, to Him pray, O pure and All-blessed One, that there may be mercy on Our souls.

Entrance. Prokeimenon of the day .

The Reading from the Book of Proverbs (10:7, 6: 3:13-16, etc.):

The memory of the righteous man calleth forth for praises, and the blessing of the Lord is upon his head. Blessed is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver. and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than costly stones everything that is honored cannot be compared unto her. Length of days and years of life are in her right hand: and in her left hand riches and honor. Out of her mouth truth proceedeth, and law and mercy she carrieth on her tongue. Hear me, then, O children, for 1 will speak of excellent things; and happy is the man that will keep unto my ways, for my paths are the paths of life, and the desire is fashioned of the Lord. Wherefore I entreat you and put forth my voice before the sons of men, for with wisdom I set up everything; I have called forth counsel, understanding and knowledge. Counsel is mine and sound wisdom, mine is understanding and strength is mine. I love them that love me; and those that seek me shall find grace. Understand, then, O ye simple, the cunning, and ye uninstructed -- direct your hearts unto it. Hearken unto me again, for I will speak of honorable things, and the opening of my mouth shall be of right things, for my mouth shall speak truth and wickedness is an abomination to my lips All the words of my mouth are of righteousness; there is nothing forward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. For I will teach you the truth, so that your hope may be in the Lord and ye may be with the Spirit. The Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon (6: 12-16. etc.). The mouth of the righteous man bringeth forth wisdom and the lips Of the wise man know grace. The mouth of the wise man teacheth wisdom. and the truth delivereth from death. If a righteous man happeneth to die, hope is not lost. for the Son of a righteous man is born unto life, and in his good things doth he acquire the fruit of righteousness. There is ever light unto the righteous and they obtain both grace and glory of the Lord; the tongue of the wise acknowledgeth the good, and in their hearts resteth wisdom. The Lord loveth the hearts of the righteous, and acceptable unto Him are all undefiled in the way. l he wisdom of the Lord doth illumine the countenances of the wise. she preventeth them that desire her, in making herself first known unto them. she is easily seen of them that seek her. Whosoever seeketh her early shall have no great travail; and whosoever watcheth for her shall quickly be without care. For she goeth about seeking such as are worthy of her, showing herself favorably unto them in the ways, and meeteth them in every thought. Vice shall never prevail against wisdom, Wherefore I was a lover of her beauty; I loved her, and sought her out from my youth. I desired to make her my spouse, yea, the Lord of all things Himself loved her. For she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God and a lover of His works. Her labors are virtues, for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude; and which are such things, as men can have nothing more profitable in their life. If a man desire much experience, she knoweth things of old, and conjectureth aright what is to come. She knoweth the subtleties of speeches and can expound dark sentences; she forseeth signs and wonders, and the events of seasons and times; unto all she is a counselor of good things, since there is immortality in her, and she is a comfort in cares and grief. Wherefore I prayed unto the Lord, and besought Him, and with my whole heart I said: O God of my fathers, and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things with Thy word, and fashioned man in Thy wisdom that he should have dominion over the creatures which Thou hast made, ordered the world according to equity and righteousness! Give me wisdom that sitteth by Thy throne, and reject me not from among, Thy children for I arm Thy servant and the son of Thine handmaid O send her out of Thy holy heavens, and from the throne of Thy glory, that being present she may labor with me, that I may know what is pleasing unto Thee. And she shall lead me soberly in my doings and preserve me in her glory. For the thoughts of mortal men are miserable, and our devices are but uncertain.

The Reading from the Wisdom of Solomon (4:10-12; 6:21; 7:15-17; 22,26,29; 2:1, 10-17, 19-22)

When the righteous man is praised the people rejoice, for his memory is undying, since he is acknowledged both of God and man, and his soul pleased the Lord. Love, therefore, O ye men, wisdom, and ye shall live; desire her and you shall be instructed, for the very beginning of her is love and the keeping of the law. Honor wisdom, that ye may reign for evermore. l will tell you and will not hide God's mysteries from you, for He it is that leadeth unto wisdom and directeth the wise; in His hands is all wisdom and knowledge of workmanship; and wisdom, which is the worker of all things, will teach you all, for in her is a spirit understanding and holy, brightness of everlasting, light, and image of the goodness of God. She maketh people friends of God and prophets, she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all order of stars; being compared with the light, she is found before it. she hath freed from diseases those that pleased her, and hath set them in the right paths; she hath given unto them understanding to keep in holiness, saved them from those lying in wait, and granted them strength of power, so that all may understand that the most powerful of all is piety, and that vice shall never prevail against wisdom, nor shall judgment pass away without convicting the evil. But the ungodly, reasoning with themselves not aright, said: let us oppress the righteous man, let us not spare the widow, neither need we be ashamed of the ancient gray hairs of the aged. Let our strength be the law, and let us lie in wait for the righteous. because he is not off our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings; he upbraideth us with our offending the law and objecteth to our infamy the transgresslngs of our education; he professeth to have the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. He was made to reprove our thoughts; he is grievous to us even to behold, for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of another fashion; we are esteemed of him as counterfeits, he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, he pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed. Let us see if his words be true let us prove what shall happen in the end of him. Let us examine him with despitefulness and torture, that we may know his meekness and prove his patience; let us condemn him unto a shameful death, for by his own saying he shall be respected. Such things did they imagine and were deceived, for their own wickedness hath blinded them. As for the mysteries of (Sod, they knew them not, neither did they discern that Thou art the Only God that hast the power of life and death, that savest in the time of tribulation and deliverest from every evil. that Thou art compassionate and merciful, granting to the just Thy grace, and setting Thy might against the haughty.

At the Lity: Sticheron of the Temple. And of the Saint. Tone 2

Heavenly apostle of Christ, Thou didst ever set Thine affection on things above, Thy mind being sent aloft and estranged from things below; Thou didst ascend in prayer unto realms infinite and beyond understanding, for which we do yearn with hope. Glory: in the same Tone. Seeking neither glory nor power from men, Thou, O blessed one, didst exalt the weak with the strength and majesty of God, Thou didst make the pour rich with the incorruptible treasures of virtue, Thou didst bring Thy fatherless orphans to the Father above all worlds, and didst receive a resplendent crown of glory.

Both now: Theotokion, in the same Tone.

Darkened by the stains of sins, we seek Thine aid O Most Pure Mother of God. Wash us clean by Thy prayers, that we may be a fit habitation of grace.

Aposticha, Tone 5. To the special melody: Rejoice, Life-giving Cross.

In triumph didst Thou enter God's Kingdom O blessed John, having denied thyself on earth according to the Lord's word, and having loved the Lord more than Thine own breath; and Thy surpassing love was requited with the surpassing gifts of heaven.

Verse: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

Armed with vigilance and vigor of prayer, Thou didst pass through the traps of earthly desire and the snares of pleasure! and didst escape the assaults of demons; wherefore, Thou didst gain the house not made with hands: the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Thee.

Verse: What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?

Thy mind set free from the disturbance of unquiet and vain thoughts, Thou didst behold as in a mirror the good things of eternity, abiding in the peace of Christ and passing from death unto everlasting life.

Glory: Tone 6

Keeping within Thy heart the word of God like a paradise, Thou didst ever enjoy its grace: holding it fast, Thou wast held fast, and guarding it Thou wast guarded. By the Truth Thou wast sanctified, for the Lord's word is Truth.

Both now: Theotokion, in the same Tone.

My Creator and Redeemer, O Most Pure One, Christ the Lord, having come forth from Thy womb and become clothed in flesh like mine, hath delivered Adam from the primal curse. Wherefore, to Thee. O Most Pure One, as Mother of God and Virgin, we cry out ceaselessly in truth: Rejoice like the angels rejoice. O Sovereign Lady, intercession and protection and salvation of our souls.

Troparion, Tone 6.

Glorious apostle to an age of coldness and unbelief invested with the grace-filled power of the saints of old divinely-illumined seer of heavenly mysteries, feeder of orphans, hope of the hopeless, Thou didst enkindle on earth the fire of love for Christ upon the dark eve of the day of judgment; pray now that this sacred flame may also rise from our hearts.

Glory. Both now: Theotokion, in the same Tone.

He Who called Thee Mother and blessed went up of His own will to suffer, and wishing to search out Adam, He made light shine with the Cross. saying unto the angels: Rejoice with Me for I have found the lost piece of silver. Glory unto Thee, O God, Who hast ordered all things wisely.