To Thee, the Champion Leader and Lord, Conqueror of death and Vanquisher of hades, I, Thy creature and servant, offer a song of praise, but as Thou art filled with ineffable mercy, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver me when I cry to Thee: Jesus Conqueror, have mercy on me.
Ramses conquered the Hyksos, Moses conquered the Amalekites, Hadrian vanquished the Jews, Alexander subdued Asia, Suleiman subdued both Europe and Asia, and Thou my Conqueror, Thou hast conquered the enemy of all the nations and all the stars; O Jesus Conqueror of death, glory to Thee! Behold the Hyksos come, and like Ramses I say: Indeed I will conquer them; behold the Amalekites attack, and like Moses I say: Armed with arrows and God I will confront them; behold Asia rises up like tidal waves of the sea, and like Alexander I say: Provide soldiers, soldiers and spears, and Asia will lie down at my feet like a tamed bear; behold Asia and Europe without lords, and like Suleiman I say: I will subdue and rule. But here comes death: What do I say? In whom do I place my hope? To whom do I call? Who will help me gain the victory over the one whom none ever dared to fight? Who will conquer that which conquered one and all – every living thing that ever raised its head in all the world? It is only to Thee, O Lord, only to Thee among all the powerless suns and mortal stars that I call; Thou art the only Living One in the graveyard of all conquerors Whom I entreat and magnify; Thou, O mighty Jesus, Champion above champions; O great Jesus, compared to Whom the world is very small; my meek Jesus, before Whom all pride vanishes like smoke. Jesus, Conqueror of death, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Angels.
When the Holy Trinity said, “let there be heaven and earth,” Thou, O Christ, didst serve as a Thought and a Tongue of the divine Trinity. Choirs of angels formed themselves on Thy voice, receiving their form from the multi-coloured light; thereupon many armies, as multi-coloured clouds, cried out as an echo of the divine glory and divine blessedness, and stood in ranks around Thee, their Leader, singing the triumphal hymn: Alleluia.
Everything in man is old, like a disease, like an old garment hung out on a thorn — such are all human victories and defeats; and when people think, when they speak, when they labor, they just bring their junk out into the bazaar; young men think like old men, old men think like the dead, the dead smell no worse than those living on earth. Everything is old, like the defeat of ones defeated long ago –defeated from the beginning, since even the beginning of history is itself a defeat. Thou art the only Novelty, my Conqueror; after the first man Thou art the only New Man. In the sleepy caravan of history, Thou art the only unexpected oasis; in the deaf-like, sultry, tedious expectation of death and burying of life, Thou art the only Thunder. Everything concerning Thee is new, my Jesus, from birth to death and from death to eternity. Everything concerning Thee is new: by Thy virginal birth Thou didst conquer the bodily passion from which all mortals are born as from a leprous itch; with Thy youthful humility Thou didst conquer the maddening self-love of mortal young men which makes the heads of parents prematurely grey; with Thy baptism Thou didst purify the water and all elements of the earth, so that now all things are pure to those who are pure; with Thy teaching Thou hast brought a divine flame from heaven into the earthly darkness so that the unknown might be known, the separated might come nearer, those grown cold might be warmed, those darkened might be enlightened, so that all might feel the closeness and mercy of the heavenly Father; through Thy miracles Thou hast revealed Thyself to be the Creator of the new, Creator of the pure, Creator of the beautiful and sublime; and also through miracles Thou has conquered the laws that enchained man because of sin. By Thy death Thou hast conquered all human wisdom, thereby revealing the eternal way of the eternal triumph, the new strategy for the true triumph. By Thy resurrection Thou hast conquered death, the final and fiercest enemy, undefeatable by any before Thee; and by Thy resurrection Thou hast subjected to Thyself both heaven and earth, unique Conqueror, Conqueror who rules the heavens, O light bearing Conqueror; therefore, may heaven and earth both glorify Thee forever and ever; O Jesus, my gentle knight, help me too to conquer; O Jesus Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Archangels.
Thou hast made us Thy vessels and filled us completely with Thy might and Thy wisdom; of ourselves we are nothing but in Thy mercy Thou hast made us Thy friends. Lucifer fell from our a archangelic rank and dragged all mankind into perdition but Thou, so as to remove that disgrace from our countenance, hast allowed us to share in Thy victory, the victory over Lucifer, by sending the Archangel Gabriel as herald of Thy descent into battle and Thy victory, thus in gratitude we praise and glorify Thee, singing: Alleluia.
Dulled by sin, the people supposed that Thou wert fighting against them, so they rejoiced when they raised Thee on the cross, rejoicing as victors over their enemy. But Thy battle was not against man, O. Lover of mankind, but against the prince of this world and his myriad of legions who hold mankind in their chains, who play a foolish game with every human body, immorally pouring poison into human souls. Since evil spirits are the parents of sin, and sin is the parent of death, so death is the parent of fear, and fear has become the everyday air of the human soul. No sooner is one fear exhaled than another is inhaled, until death terminates the entangling of the prayer ropes of our fears and hopes and tosses them into the fire. While the slaves who killed Thee rejoiced at the victory, the masters of the slaves were filled with fear because in Thy death they scented the seal of Thy victory over them. The evil spirits, having been expelled from Egypt, built their kingdom in Israel; but by Thy power Thou didst destroy their kingdom in Egypt and by Thy death Thou didst destroy their kingdom in Israel. Through power Thou didst manifest Thy power when Thou didst act through Moses and the prophets; through weakness Thou didst manifest Thy power when Thou didst Thyself descend onto the battlefield; to reveal the weakness of the evil spirits Thou didst choose death as the weapon in the battle against them. Having gained the victory over evil spirits Thou didst destroy sin, having destroyed sin Thou didst trample down death, having trampled down death Thou didst dispel fear, and that prison of slaves, the world, Thou hast proclaimed to be the home of freedom. O Jesus my Freedom, Jesus my Courage, Jesus my Light, Jesus my Friend, Jesus my Saviour, Jesus my Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Principalities.
With Thine incarnation Thou hast likened Thyself to a mother who leaps into a fire to save her child from fire; and with Thine incarnation Thou hast likened Thyself as meeker than a violet among thorns and a lamb in the slaughterhouse. Seeing Thy love for sinners the celestial powers burned even more brightly in their love for Thee. Indeed, all the celestial powers trembled on seeing Thine unprecedented humility. Hovering over the Bethlehem cave, they beheld the miracle of the Creator being born into the infirmity of His creature, and foreseeing Thy final victory, O Christ Conqueror, with love and fear they sang unto Thee: Alleluia!
Rejected by the people as unneeded, O most needed One, thrust away by the people as harmful, O most helpful One, Thou Thyself didst never reject or thrust aside the people, O Conqueror, Lover of mankind. Just as an ignorant child casts aside bread and tries to eat stones, so did the ignorant ones cast Thee aside, O most nutritious Bread, and attempted to feed themselves on stones. Indeed, every other food is stones except for Thee, every other drink is poison except for Thee, every other hope is sorrow outside of Thee, every other comfort is a lie outside of Thee, every other life is death outside of Thee. I too, the woeful one, had been biting on a stone instead of bread and had been sipping hot sand instead of water until Thou didst reveal Thyself to me, O Nourisher, whiter than the day and fresher than the morning dew. Why did the people reject Thee, O most needed One? Why did the people thrust Thee away, O most helpful One? The slaves did not recognize their Liberator and bound Him up, the lepers did not recognize their Healer and spat upon Him, but those who did recognize Him were set free and healed. From spiritual dullness the evildoers did what they did; dullness stems from sin, evil intent stems from dullness, and all three of these have sprouted from the root of disobedience. Thou hast forgiven the people, O benevolent Lord, but forgive them yet again, I pray Thee, for the sin of Deicide needs thousands of pardons and still may not be set aright. For a slave, the most difficult act is to forgive; but for a victor, the act of forgiving is already part of his victory, inseparable from his victory. Jesus, most experienced Commander, conquer me too; Jesus, most longsuffering Warrior, teach me Thy patience; Jesus, calm Lion, Who with one magnificent victory amasses all other small victories, teach me calmness in the small battles and decisiveness in the battle that is great and difficult; Jesus, Conqueror of death, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Powers.
From the thrice-blessed Source of life, as from three infinite springs, didst Thou descend into the darkness and mortal shadow, as a mountain stream into a dead, sandy valley, to water and rejuvenate it. All the eternal Powers, knowing Thee to be the only Unknown One on earth, followed Thee in fear, with great praise, whereas the temporal creation encountering Thee split in two as once did the Red Sea: to Thy right stood the shepherds and the wise men from the East; to Thy left, Herod and the worshipers of the Law. Seeing Thee, a weak Infant in a manger, in temporal infirmity, the prince of darkness rose up in derision, inciting the armies of sinners against Thee, but eternity strode before Thee, piercing Thy way through all the demonic powers, O Christ Conqueror. By fleeing to Egypt Thou didst defeat Herod. Everything in Thee is new, newer than human habits; behold, an unheard of miracle for mankind: by fleeing, Thou hast amassed a victory.Therefore, the united celestial Powers sing to Thee: Alleluia.
Thou didst help Peter conquer his faithlessness and Thomas his unbelief; conquered by Thy love, Peter exclaimed: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life. Illumined by Thy victory over death,Thomas rejoiced and said: My Lord and my God. O my Victory-giver, grant me the victory Thou didst grant Peter and Thomas so that my soul may evermore be inhospitable to faithlessness and unbelief. – Thou didst help the host in Cana overcome his poverty and shame before his guests by changing water into wine, filling his empty vessels in abundance. Do Thou likewise change my carnality into spirit; baptize me who am already baptized with water, by fire and spirit that I too may come to the wedding feast of the heavenly Bridegroom with my vessel filled not with water but with wine. – Thou didst help Mary Magdalene conquer seven lustful demonic powers and the enslaved one became free, the impure pure, the darkened enlightened, the hardened sensitive. The more Thou dost lend Thy power to others, the more powerful Thou dost become, and by sharing Thy victory Thou dost multiply it the more. Conqueror of demons, conquer also the demons within me and lurking around me.Day and night they storm into my soul to make her their slave, and impure, darkened and hardened. Cast into the swine that which entered man from swine. O Victorious Lord, let just one drop of Thy victory fall into my soul and I will be raised up from Tartarus to Mount Tabor. – Thou didst help Zacchaeus conquer love of money and having expelled sadness from his home Thou didst usher in peace. The sound of money had been for him the only love-call until he heard Thy voice, and when Thy voice descended into his heart and melted the silver into a tear, the shadow of sinfulness fell from his countenance and he shone with the ancestral image of eternal beauty. O Lord of life, make my avaricious heart cry out too and with Thy celestial voice cause it to weep. Send down Thy fiery voice into the depths of my heart and melt all the idols of metal into a single tear, more precious than all the treasures of this world because that tear will save me; my Lord, verily I do not even need my heart: turn it entirely into a single tear wherein Thy voice will resonate day and night, Thy salvific voice which lifts up to God. – Thou didst help Nathaniel conquer the pride of a simpleton, Nicodemus the pride of an erudite, and the thief the pride of an evildoer; Thou didst strike with an axe at the root of pride, that evil which closed the door of Eden to our forefather and opened the door to exile. When the spirit of pride saw Thee wash the feet of Thine own creatures he was wounded in heart, and when he saw Thee crucified on the Cross he felt death suffocating him. O Victorious Lord, terminate my marriage with the spirit of pride because it is not a marriage but adultery; fill my soul with chastity and wed her to Thee, Thou Beauty above all the beauties of all the worlds, I pray Thee, hear me and save me. – Thou didst help Lazarus by raising him from the dead, Thou boast of the cherubim and seraphim. Behold, my soul too lies in the grave and cries out to Thee: Lord, I am already stinking in a bodily grave and there is no one to save me. Hadst Thou been wedded to my soul, my grave would not have been a grave but a bright wedding chamber but I distanced myself far from Thee and without Thee stench has overcome me, O my fragrant Myrrh, myrrh more fragrant than the roses of Sharon. When Thy friend Lazarus became putrid within four days without Thee, how unbearable and inexpressible then is the stench of my lamentable soul, distanced from Thee by hundreds of days? But even dead and buried, left behind and forgotten, still I cry out to Thee with an unimaginable, undaunted hope: Jesus Lover of mankind, visit my grave and resurrect my soul; Jesus Conqueror of death, have mercy on me.
Thee, the exceedingly mighty One, Who didst lend us great power — with horror did we see clothed in infirmity and descending to earth; amazed by this we asked one another: Whither does the King of glory descend? – because the mystery of Thine incarnation was known only to the Holy Trinity. Yet when we saw Thee surrounded by people and preaching the good news of salvation, when we saw their darkened faces radiating joy upon encountering Thee, when we saw the blind with their eyes opened, the deaf with their ears opened, the paralytics raised up and the dead returned to life – we then danced with joy and proclaimed one to another: Behold, this is just as when the Creator formed mankind from dust in the first days; this is He. Therefore, we sing the song we sang at the time of creation: Alleluia.
The Choir of Authorities.
My neighbours sit in the sun as if on the hearth, retelling stories about past victories of man over man and nation over nation. What kind of joy is it for you, my neighbours, that the wheels of one man crush his rival, when the wheel of death has crushed them both? Which one of your heroes ever rose up under the wheel of death and stopped it from crushing God’s crop of life forever? So let us turn to the Hero of all heroes and let us sing: Thou art the only One worthy of glory and praise, O Conqueror of death. Thou didst declare death to death, giving as its only consolation the prophecy that Thou wouldst be held in it just as long as Jonas was in the whale. The godless stood on the side of death and, as allies of death, rose up against Thee; all sat on the wheel of death to weigh it down the more, to trample Thee in the dust, that same dust wherein their ancestors and their camels, the hearts of their soldiers and the hooves of their camels slept all alike. But Thou wast not frightened being left in the dust and in solitude – Thou didst breathe with solitude upon earth – neither did Thy might become weary from seeing even Thy friends by the side of Thine enemies. When the wheel of death drew near, Thou didst take it with force and stop it; the earth shook and groaned from such an unprecedented battle; the rocks split open from the unbearable pressure and oppression; the sun lost its radiance, frightened by the unseen duel; and the very ones Thou didst desire to free from death were continuously helping death press upon Thee: by piercing Thee, spitting on Thee, buffeting Thee with stones and thorns. Who would have ever thought death had so many friends on earth! And when Thou didst fall under the wheel in sweat, blood and agony, nearly defeated, all the allies of death rejoiced over Thy defeat, O undefeatable One. But Thou didst fall, O mighty One, only so that Thou wouldst the better capture the fatal wheel and break it. For three days Thou didst hold it fast, and on the third day Thou didst smash it to pieces; Thou didst arise into the heavens, standing upon the ruins of the wheel of death, to the joy and shame of the people, O Life-giving Conqueror. Therefore, all the living in heaven and the enlivened on earth rejoice at Thy Name; and so my mortal life too is illumined with hope for participating in Thy victory, O sweetest Jesus, sweeter than all human hopes; obedient Jesus, more obedient than all the sons of men; martyred Jesus, martyred more than all Thy creatures. Jesus, Conqueror of death, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Dominions.
By Thy dominion do we have dominion, and by Thy blessedness are we blessed in eternity, because Thou hast, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, crowned us from the beginning with dominion and blessedness; but what a horrible tremor shook us when we saw Thee crying out on the path of pain, whipped and spat upon by the smallest of Thy servants; from horror, all the heavenly Dominions would have fled had the Merciful Trinity not sustained us with new streams of strength and wisdom, and it is through the strength and wisdom of the Merciful Trinity that we understand Thy path of pain as the path of victory, which we now celebrate with Thee and Thy chosen people, and with sweetness and a song we glorify Thee: Alleluia.
People fight with others beside themselves, with nature around them, and with themselves within; people fight flesh and blood. People fight illnesses and sufferings, hunger and ignorance, disorder and despair. This is the battle against someone’s sentries and the war against particular consequences; this is wrestling against each wave in the stormy sea in an attempt to calm the sea itself. Thy fight was against the very wind that lifts up the waves of the sea, Thy war was not against sentries but against the main force of the enemy, Thy conquest was not of the results but of the causes and Thy wrestling was not against flesh and blood but against the bearer of all the malice under the sun which he infuses into flesh and blood, by which he causes all the evils in the world, by which he has been stirring up the sea of the created world from the beginning. He pointed human eyes to look in a manner that blinds them, ears to listen in a manner that deafens them, hands to work in a manner that withers them, feet to walk in a manner that cripples them, the tongue to speak in a manner that makes it dumb, the entire body to act crazed and make it leprous, and human reason to think in a manner that dulls it and drives it to madness. How glorious art Thou in Thy victory, O Christ Conqueror! Thou didst speak to the intruders in the mad Gadarene, and those intruders fled into swine while the man sat meekly at Thy feet; Thou didst say a word to the intruders who were dwelling in Mary Magdalene, and seven absconded and she was left healed and cleansed. Thou didst touch with Thy hand leprous bodies and they became clean and rejuvenated. Thou didst touch the eyes of the blind and the blind received sight, the ears of the deaf and they could hear, the mouths of the dumb and they could speak; Thou didst command the one with a withered hand to stretch it forth and it was made whole, and the one lame to walk and he walked. Using Thy victory the lame threw away their crutches, the blind let go of their guides, the deaf stopped speaking with their hands, the lepers ceased fleeing from people, the lame quit their begging and their tears, and the lunatics left their fellowship with beasts and began keeping company with men. Jesus, glorious Conqueror of the one who through sin had brought blindness to man’s eyes and deafness to man’s ears and uncleanness to the tongue; Jesus, almighty Conqueror of the one who through sin did strike man’s body with leprosy and his mind with darkness; Jesus, most beloved Conqueror of the one who through sin disturbed the sea of the created world; Jesus, dearest Conqueror of death, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Cherubim.
Virginity, Holiness and Wisdom in Triune Unity are seated above us, the many-eyed Cherubim, in the eternal and undisturbed flame of love which gives light to our eyes and life to our souls. So as to show the same love toward both mortal and immortal, toward mankind and cherubim, Thou – O Son, being One of the Triune Flame – wast incarnate as a man, being born on earth from the most holy Virgin and the Holy Spirit, while begotten in eternity from the most holy virginity of the Father along with the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from Him. As Thou art God of God in the Holy Trinity, so too show Thyself Cherub among the cherubim, Angel among the angels and Man among men, so that all creatures may know Thee and having known Thee may live by Thee. As the Victorious Jesus, Thou hast appeared among the race of man, and by opening the gates of immortality to them Thou hast made them our brethren, therefore we joyously glorify Thee: Alleluia.
Imprisoned by the wall of the past and the wall of the future, mankind lived in the narrow dungeon of today, helplessly guessing what had happened and what will happen; yet with the purity of Thy heart the thick walls became thin sheets of glass through which Thy gaze as Lord spread forth from the beginning of the past to the end of the future. Thou didst watch over the created worlds – which were, and are, and will be – as a governor watches over his property, and Thou didst know that the heavenly holy Father gave it entirely into Thy hands. Men measured Thee by their own height and by their own knowledge, and this is why they remained dumbfounded by Thine accuracy regarding what was before and what will be, and in amazement said: a Great Prophet has appeared among us! – Thou didst see Nathaniel under the fig tree from afar, at a distance from which no one could have seen him, and by telling him this Thou didst convert him to Thy saving Gospel; Thou didst perceive the past and the present of the Samaritan woman, and manifesting Thyself to her as the Messiah didst raise her up above sin; Thou didst perceive Peter’s threefold denial and also his death in chains, thus Thou didst bring him to the humility that raised him up to heaven; Thou didst perceive Judas’ betrayal, and the eternal damnation that follows betrayal, and by this didst give warning to all those born of women not to traffic with God’s truth; Thou didst foresee all that would happen to Thee up to death and after death – and the Apostles with other righteous ones witnessed the fulfilment of all the prophecies. Thou didst foretell to the holy Apostles the whole thorny path they would have to walk, from the moment of being separated from Thee on earth to the earned meeting with Thee in the heavenly Kingdom. Thou didst prophesy the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the desolation of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the people of Israel – and millions of people witnessed the fulfilment of Thy prophecy and trembled. Thou didst cast Thy gaze far into the past and didst see Thyself in the time before Abraham, and Thou didst cast Thy gaze even further into the past and didst see Thyself before time and the creation of the world, in eternity and in Thy Father; Thou didst cast Thy gaze far into the future and didst see the end of the world and of time, and didst cast Thy gaze even further and didst see Thy glory and the glory of Thy holy ones in eternity. Thou didst perceive the entire course of Thy holy Church unto the end of time and didst reveal beforehand all its sufferings, the sufferings as of a woman in travail, but also her final victory in light and her mighty triumph over hell. Jesus, clairvoyant Prophet of the dark heights of the future; Jesus, clear-sighted Seer of the unreachable vastness of the present; Jesus, bright-eyed Knower of the foggy depth of the past; Jesus, my exalted Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Seraphim.
We are the first light of Thy light and the first song of Thy voice; all the angels’ tongues together cannot express the glory and light of the seraphim, just as we seraphim cannot express Thy glory and radiance, Thou only begotten One, Beloved of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Among seraphim Thou art Seraph, among cherubim Thou art Cherub, among angels Thou art Angel, among men Thou art Man. Thou art all in all; and since Thou art all in all, Thou art servant of all and Lord of all; therefore, we who rule countless worlds below us serve in humility amid the unburning flame of the Divinity of the Trinity, carrying Thy love downward to Thy creatures and the love of the creatures upward to Thee, singing the triumphant hymn: Alleluia.
People seek knowledge, the world yearns for knowledge, the whole of nature cannot satisfy this human thirst for knowledge; but Thou didst bring heavenly knowledge to the people, knowledge not just to be known but lived, filling life with joy and causing it to shine with hope. Thou didst pour forth knowledge upon earth which had been known only to angels, and the earth glistened with Thy knowledge as from numerous gem stones: Thy teaching expounded the glorious beginning of the world and announced the victorious triumph for wounded mankind; Thy teaching revealed to us the closeness of God: Friend above friends to the sorrowing, Healer above healers for the sick, victorious Avenger of the oppressed, good Giver of gifts to those who love God, most merciful Rewarder to those who love mankind, almighty Resurrector for the dead. What are all the discoveries of mortals, which dry one bitter tear and create two? By Thy revelation more bitter tears have been dried than there is water in the clouds, and numerous tears of gratitude have flowed forth; by Thy teaching Thou didst shatter human loneliness, where doubt and death were the sole companions; Thou didst reveal God to the people as the Friend closer than death; all the most excellent presumptions of the generations Thou hast actualized, and all intuited joys Thou hast shown as reality; Thou didst purify the murky stream of human knowledge and ignorance, thus when man beheld himself in the purified brook he saw his own image to be in the likeness of God. Truly, Thy teaching is healing, Thy words miraculous. Lord, I have heard and believed, I have understood and been enlivened. Illumine me with Thy divine knowledge, most wise Jesus; feed my hungry mind to satiety with Thy heavenly teaching; reveal to me the salvific mysteries of Thy words, Words of the wonder-working Holy Trinity; O Thou Who art wiser than the angels, greater than life, stronger than death, brighter than light, better than goodness, sweeter than sweetness, Jesus my Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Thrones.
In the eternal bliss of the closeness of Thy breath, breath of life, breath of love, wonder-working breath, we can say the least because we feel Thee the most; we live in self-forgetfulness constantly beholding Thee, constantly breathing by Thee, constantly adoring Thee. We are the foremost strings of Thy Word and the greatest candles of Thy heavenly altar, the first miracle of Thy creation, and the first object of Thy love. As the strongest of the Heavenly Powers we are the most silent, since silence is the characteristic of the strong, silence in communion with Thee and reflection on Thee; we interrupt our silence only with the sweetest song, O Victorious Creator, with the thunderous song: Alleluia.
Slaves of the law and servants of nature – for countless generations upon generations – cried for the Hero, the Master of the Law and the Tamer of nature; and Thou didst appear stronger and more beautiful than anything the dreams of the prophets could have portrayed or the desires of the yearning generations could have imagined. By Thy unique birth Thou didst reveal Thine authority over one law; by turning water into wine, over a second; by multiplying bread, over a third; by stopping the winds, over both a third and another. Who could count all Thy mighty deeds, when even Thy most beloved disciple could not count them, declaring that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. O inconceivable victory! Thy birth moved the heavenly stars, Thy death shook the earth and darkened the sun. O awesome victory! At Thy word fish gathered into empty nets, at Thy wish the sea became a pathway for Thy feet. O most beautiful victory! Thou hast resurrected from the dead – where is that most immutable law? Thou hast passed through a locked door – where is the impenetrable law? Thou hast ascended into the air-truly where is the law and where is nature? Thy fingers were medicine for the lepers, clay in Thy hands became a laver of healing for the blind. Thy words were commandments for the dead. Truly, where is the law and where is nature? Jesus, Master of the law; Jesus, Tamer of nature; Jesus, incomparable Wonder worker; Jesus, unsurpassed Lover of mankind; Jesus, irresistible Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Saints and Martyrs.
By Thy sacrifice Thou didst cleanse all of us who were once sinful and unclean. By Thy suffering Thou didst encourage us who were once fearful and weak of faith. By Thy love Thou hast made us fall in love with Thee we who once cleaved to the earth through passion. By Thy teaching Thou hast illumined the pathway for us who were once lost sheep. By Thy tears Thou hast watered us who were once seed covered in dung, and having sprouted forth are now flowers exuding Thy fragrance and beauty. By Thy victory over sin and the laws of sin Thou hast made us victorious. Numbered now among the ranks of angels according to Thy mercy, we pray to Thee for the rest of our brethren on earth, and with the angels we sing to Thee the song of victory: Alleluia.
The Sower went into the field and sowed seed; neither did the soil sense what beauty was hidden beneath its surface, nor the sun what flame would shoot up from the tilled soil to face its own rays. In the midst of the greatest storm Thou didst sow divine seed, O Heavenly Sower; all the winds rose up against that sowing and all the earthly powers were in arms against Thy seed. Resigned to despair and obedient to death, old sowers of the earth were shouting at Thee: “A cold field is the earth for the seed of love which Thou sowest, and upon her only thorns of the law will sprout and grow; our earth is decayed because of death, and upon her no godly life sprouts or grows, neither will it blossom nor ripen.” But Thou, with knowledge as the experienced Master of the estate, hast planted; and with authority as the Lord, didst command the earth to be calm, and the sun to provide warmth; thus the seed sprouted and grew – a flaming crop of holiness and love. Thou hast planted the seed of holiness, and entire armies of saints sprouted forth from that seed; the world erupted against them like a volcano, yet Thou didst walk with them through history, and with Thee they overcame the world. Thou hast planted the seed of martyrdom, and multitudes of martyrs have sprouted from that seed; all these multitudes were trodden down like a green crop, trodden down yet not defeated; for Thy Name were they trodden down and by Thy Name they conquered. Jesus, comprehensive Sense of every sower of the land; Jesus, Strength of every good seed; Jesus, Pride of every good fruit; Jesus, Burier of death; Jesus, Resurrector of life; Jesus my Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of the Holy Virgin with the Virgins.
Once the earth was pure and most pure in its first created state and Thou didst bring her to life and bless her with Thy holy breath, O Life-creating Trinity; just so didst Thou espouse me, O God, to Thy Holy Spirit, like the first-created earth; through me Thou hast conquered the sin of woman, as Thou, through obedience unto the Cross, didst conquer the chief malefactor of mankind, and through resurrection didst overcome death, my sweet Jesus. Through disobedience Eve became the channel for the fall and suffering, through my obedience to Thee Thou hast made me the channel for mankind’s salvation. For this Thou hast exalted me above all the heavenly powers and hast made me an object of love for both heaven and earth. Yet my greatest joy is that Thou dost hear my prayers for the sick and suffering repentant ones, O my Son and my God, and my greatest gift is that Thou hast surrounded me with a vast army of virgins, saved by Thy grace through my prayers; therefore I glorify Thee with the choir of my virgins, and we sing to Thee, Jesus Conqueror of sadness and suffering: Alleluia.
The longer I watch the world, the more I see Thee and the less I see of the world; the longer I listen to the noise of the world, the less I hear the noise of the world and the more I hear Thy still voice; the more I sin, the better I know that sin is neither my path nor goal, but Thee, O Source of light. Like a sleepwalker who walks on the edge of the roof yet does not fall, steadied by the moon, so I too walk on the edge of the abyss of non-existence, and steadied by Thee I do not fall. Neighbours who do not know Thee arouse me, saying: “Awake from a dream into reality, the abyss is below thee, deep and ravenous.” O prisoners, so long was I imprisoned in your prison of reality; now freedom has entered me and my dream is now my reality and my only salvation; you are observing the moon reflected in the lake, thinking you are closer to it than I, whom am looking at it in the sky. Which is closer? – the light on the cupola of the cosmos or its shadow beside your feet. Jesus, Upholder of the world, Thou art closer to me than all the dancing shadows at my feet. Behold, a barren woman respects herself because of herself, and a mother respects herself because of the child within her; I say that I am now like a mother since I have come to know Thee within me, and I am awake over Thee like a mother over her child; if I respect myself, I respect myself because Thou art within me. Jesus, my Helmsman on the stormy sea; Jesus, silken Thread of all my days; Jesus, Healer in my sickness; Jesus, Strength in my weakness; Jesus, Vigil-lamp in my midnight; Jesus, sweet Companion in my loneliness; Jesus, Song of my voice; Jesus, Life of my life; Jesus Conqueror, have mercy on me.
The Choir of Heaven and Earth.
Of Thy being Thou hast lent being to us all, and life from Thy life, and wisdom from Thy wisdom. Therefore we pray to Thee – Trinity, Co-essential and Life-giving and with joy and gratitude we venerate Thee; and to Thee – the Eternal Son of God, Who art the Center of the all-encompassing heavenly and earthly drama of creation and salvation, the Protagonist of this drama, Who hast raised man to heaven by Thy humanity and hast lowered heaven to earth by Thy Divinity, having made peace between them by Thy meekness, having set them both aflame with Thy love, and having adopted them both by Thy victory – to Thee, Jesus Christ the Conqueror, do we now sing and will sing unto eternity: Alleluia. (Thrice.)
And again: Ikos One.
And again: To Thee the Champion Leader.