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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Feast of the Holy Relics

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco reposing in his coffin at his funeral.

Today on the Benedictine Calendar is the Feast of All the Holy Relics of the Saints which are preserved and venerated in the local church and, perhaps, one's home. As the Feast is placed in Paschaltide, it is a beautiful reminder of the General Resurrection, of which the Saints, in their incorrupt and wonderworking Holy Relics, serve as heralds. In honor of this feast, unique to the Orthodox West, we offer two Hymns, an Antiphon, a Collect, and several versicles.

V: Let the people tell of the wisdom of the Saints.
R: And let the Church show forth their praises, alleluia.

The incorrupt hand of the Holy Great Martyr Catherine of Alexandria and Sinai, the Patron Saint of the UW-Madison Orthodox Christian Fellowship.

V: The Lord forsaketh not His Saints, alleluia.
R: They are preserved forever, alleluia.

Hymn at Vespers

"Adeste, Sancti, plurimo"

Come, witness, O ye Saints on high
The incense-clouds of holy rite,
That circle round your relics nigh
And favor for our prayers excite.

The power of God doth not forsake
The bones reduced to helpless dust.
The while a mournful rest they take
God's might divine holds fast the trust.

For lo! a germ of life abides,
A hallowed presence in the tomb;
When passed these earthly times and tides
This dust will glory's robe assume.

These ashes buried, hidden here
Beneath our altars have the might
To heal the sick and crush with fear
The fiend and put his hordes to flight.

To Thee Who, dead, again dost live,
All glory, Lord Thy people give;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

V: I will comfort you, and your heart shall rejoice, alleluia.
R: And your bones shall flourish like an herb, alleluia.

Holy Relics of the Great Martyr St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki

V: God is glorious in His Saints, alleluia.
R: Grlorious in majesty, doing wonders, alleluia.

Antiphon on Benedictus Canticle

Let us present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God; always bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body, alleluia.

Hymn at Lauds

"O vos unanimes"

United Christian choirs, extol
With joyful song ancestral shrines
And ashes, spoils in aureole
Of Sainthood, heavenly glory's signs.

The joys the blessed souls possess
In heaven is equal to their deeds;
Due praise and honor is no less
For bones that shared life's toils and needs.

Though scattered wide, God gathers each,
To promise true, that all these bones,
Preserved by Providence will reach
Their places midst His chosen stones.

Yea, relics true and sacred shrines
As altars God the Victim rates;
Himself as Head to limbs He joins;
Himself with them He immolates.

O ye, whose ashes men revere
For their defense, with pious kiss,
Be urged by your clients' prayer
And aid us to eternal bliss.

That, when our mortal flesh will rise
In glorious frame to join the choir
Of spirits blest, God One and Thrice
May be our one and last desire. Amen.


O God, Who hast deigned to adorn this [Thy] most holy Church with the relics of so many Saints: do Thou increase our faith in the Resurrection, and make us partakers of that immortal glory, a pledge of which we venerate in their remains. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, unto ages of ages. Amen.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you: I was unaware of this.

And a very moving, for me, final stanza in O vos unanimes.

4:40 AM  

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