Saturday 17 October 2020

Matins for St John of Rila

19 October




God is the Lord (Ps 117) – Бог Господ

R: God is the Lord, and has shone over us. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LordPs 117

S1: Thank the Lord, for He is good, for his mercy lasts for ever.

S2: All the nations surrounded me, but I opposed them in the name of the Lord.

S3: This is the Lord's doing and it is wonderful in our eyes.

Apolytíkion – Tропар

Of St. John of Rila, Tone 1 (Покаяния основание)

O saint, equal to the angels, you were a model of repentance, an example of mercy, a standard of comfort and spiritual perfection. O father John, you lived with prayer, fasting and tears, so plead with Christ our God for our souls!

Glory: Both now: Theotokion in Tone 1 (Гавриилу вещавшу)

At the sound of Gabriels voice calling out to you: Hail, Virgin, the Master of all became incarnate in you the holy Tabernacle as David the righteous said. By bearing your creator, you have shown yourself to be more vast than the heavens. Glory to him who dwelled in you: glory to him who came forth from you; Glory to him who by your birth‑giving has set us free.

Small Litany

D: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord!

D: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by your grace.

D: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos, the ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life unto Christ our God!

P: For yours is the might, and yours is the kingdom and yours is the power, of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of agesAmen


Kathísma 1 Седален

Tone 4

You followed the call of your Lord, you left the world and all the worldly beauty, blessed Father John. You have endured the malice of the desert, and you have courageously repelled the demonic regiments. Therefore we continually and  faithfully praise your memory with songs.

Glory: Both now:

With your divine birth, O Pure One, you renewed us mortal, earthly beings who were corrupted by passions , and raised us from death to imperishable life. Therefore we all have a duty to praise you, Blessed Virgin, as you foretold. (Luke 1:48).

 Kathísma 2

Tone 5

You climbed the mountain, having moved from your native land, and left all earthly love, and ascended to heaven like a pillar, guiding men on the way of salvation (Exodus 13:21). In the same way you meekly dwelt in the earth (Matt. 5:5, Ps. 36:11), O our reverend father John.

Glory: Both now:

Through a strange sacrament, the salvation of the world was revealed from a Virgin, from whom God appeared seedlessly, and took flesh without decay. Lord, Who are joy for all, glory to You!

Glorification after Polyeleos – Величания след Полиелея

We bless you, Venerable Father John, and we honour your holy memory, because you pray for us to Christ, our God.

 Kathísma 3

Of St. John, Tone 8 (Седален на св. Йоан)

When you accepted a pastoral capacity, you wisely pastured your flock, O holy one, since you longed for the teaching of Christ with all your soul, in which you enlightened yourself, and raised all to zealousness for the angelic life, that they may together glorify the Lord. O blessed John, plead with Christ our God to grant forgiveness of sins to those who honour your sacred memory with love!

Glory, Both now:

O blessed Virgin, Mother of God, I pray that you will heal the fierce passions of my soul, and grant me forgiveness for my sins that I have done madly by defiling my soul and body, for I despair! Woe to me! What will I do at that hour when angels will separate the soul from my passionate body? Then be my helper and warmest advocate, for in you I hope as your servant!

Small Litany

P: For blessed is your name, and glorified is your kingdom, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy SpiritAmen

Anavathmoi. Tone 4, The Hymns of Ascent, Стъпални

Since my youth have many passions waged war against me. O my Saviour, nonetheless help me and save me. (2)

You, the haters of Zion, be put to shame by the Lord, for like thatch in fire you will be completely dried up. (2)


From the Holy Spirit every soul receives life, and through cleansing is lifted and brightened, in a hidden, sacred manner, by the trinal Monad.

Both now.

From the Holy Spirit do the streams of grace well forth; they irrigate everything created, so that life be engendered.

Prokeimenon, Tone 4. Psalm 116

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. (15) Verse: What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? (12)

Gospel Dialogue – Евангелски чин

D: Let us pray to the Lord.  Lord have mercy

P: For you, O God, are holy and rest in the Holy Place. We send up glory to you, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.  Amen.

R: Let everything with breath praise the Lord. (x2)

Praise God in his saints; praise him in the firmament of his power. Ps 50

R: Let everything with breath praise the Lord.

D: And that we may be counted worthy to listen to the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord our God.  Lord have mercy (x3)

D: Wisdom. Stand up. Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

P: Peace be with you all.  And with your spirit

P: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

P/D: Let us be attentive.

R: Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you.


From Matthew (11:27-30)

Lord said to his disciples: “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

R: Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you.

Psalm 50

Glory: By the prayers of the venerable one…

Both now: By the prayers of Theotokos…

Sticheron from the Menaion, Tone 6

The holy triumph of your holy memory has shone out today, O godly Father John, for you have clung to God from an early age, and followed in His footsteps. You swam over the worldly rebellion, as though it were an essential sea storm, and you reached the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, we, who honour your relics, are truly glorifying Christ, who gave you to us as a zealous supplicant for us; we worship your holy memory with love.

Intercession – Литийна молитва

Спаси, Боже, твоите люде

Deacon: O God, save your people and bless your inheritance. Visit your world with mercy and compassion; exalt the horn of Orthodox Christians and send down on them your rich mercy, through the prayers of our all-pure Lady, Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary, by the power of the honourable and life-giving cross, through the protection of the honourable bodiless powers of heaven, through the prayers of the honourable, glorious, prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, of the holy, glorious, all-praised apostles, of the holy, all-praised and victorious martyrs, of our holy and God-bearing fathers, of the holy and just forebears of God, Joachim and Anna, of Saint John of Rila and of all the saints. We ask you, only merciful Lord: Listen to us sinners as we pray to you, and have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy.  (x12)

P: Through the mercy, compassion and love for the human race of your uniquely-fathered Son, with whom you are blessed, together with the all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.  Amen.

Canon - Канон

The canon of the Holy Father, Tone 8, with the acrostic “Rejoice, O John, Most Illuminated Lamp." The acrostic cannot be respected in translation. (Not finished jet.)

Ode 1, Irmos: Having crossed the water as though it were dry land, and escaped from the wickedness of Egypt, the children of Israel shouted aloud: Let us sing unto our Deliverer and our God.

Refrain: O reverend father John, entreat God for us!

The wise light of wisdom I ask you to give me now, O Holy Father, when I begin to sing your honest life, and fill my mouth with divine grace!

You have truly become like an angel, removed yourself from everything in the world, and fleeing with body and soul, settling in the wilderness, like Moses you beheld of God.

You have drunk from the fountain of the gospel waters, and now rivers of wonders, O holy father John, are flowing from you, and you are watering those who come with you by faith.

Theotokion: Your womb was inhabited by God the Word, pure Virgin, and He, like a drop falling on the earth, renewed with His dew the human nature that was burning with the flames of malice.

Ode 3, Irmos: You are the support of those who come to You, O Lord, You are the light of those in darkness, and my spirit glorifies You.

Refrain: O reverend father John, entreat God for us!

Filled with the Spirit and stretching out your mind to heaven, you have given up corruptible food, and have eaten angelic bread.

With the flows of your tears you have watered the desert land, and it has brought you unploughed chickpea.

As a bird that wants to fly to God, О Holy Father, you have made a nest for yourself in the tree, freeing yourself from earthly thoughts.

Theotokion:  Entreat Jesus, your Son, to be merciful to me, who does evil, Most pure one, so that I will not see His face turn from me!

Ode 4, Irmos: I have heard, Lord, the secret of Your providence, I have understood Your deeds and I have glorified Your Deity.

Refrain: O reverend father John, entreat God for us!

You have climbed the divine ladder of virtues, you have found God, and you have reposed from many of your labours and pains.

As a good shepherd hiding in the woods, they found you, Reverend Father, the sheep that had fled from their fence.

The shepherds that have found you, to all preached your strange patience, which you acquired, and gave glory to God in the heights.

Theotokion: Immaculate Mother, through you the arrival of our God was known, Who from your pure blood took on a human form.

Kontákion of St. John, Tone 8. To Thee The Champion Leader:

Desiring an angelic life, O Holy Father, and leaving all earthly things, you came to Christ, and being surrounded by His commandments, you became a steadfast pillar against enemy attacks. Therefore, we cry to you: Rejoice, Father John, illuminated light.

Oikos: You shone upon the earth in words and deeds, the earthly angel and heavenly man, the glorious John, let all we faithful come together in praise, singing to him and saying: Rejoice, sapling from Sredets; rejoice, desert’s disciple! Rejoice, you who have loved God from your youth; rejoice you who accepts nothing from this world! Rejoice, you who have shown the higher way by the shepherd's work; rejoice you, who with the spear of your patience overthrew the evil dragon! Rejoice you, who shone above the mountains like the sun; rejoice you, who is full of scents of mountains and hills! Rejoice you, who enlightened with wonders cities and villages; rejoice you, who illumines with virtue all countries! Rejoice, solid fence of your flock; rejoice you, a godly victory for the devout! Rejoice, Father John, most shining light!


In this month, on the nineteenth day, we celebrate the transfer of the revered relics of our holy reverend father John the Wonderworker of Rila, from Rila monastery to the city of Sredets (Sofia) in year 980. By his prayers, Christ our God, have mercy and save us! Amen.

Katavasías – Катавасии, Tone 4

Отверзу уста моя

1: I will open my mouth and be filled with the spirit. I will sing a song to the Queen and Mother. I will come, rejoice in the feast and praise all her glory. 

3: O Theotokos, living and inexhaustible fountain, strengthen those who are united in spiritual fellowship and who sing your praises. Make them worthy to receive crowns of glory in your divine glory. 

4: The counsel of God cannot be scrutinised. The Most High was incarnate from a Virgin. The prophet Habakkuk foresaw this and cried, “Glory to your power, O God!” 

5: O Virgin, all creation was amazed at your divine glory, for you knew no man. You held thee God of all in your womb and gave birth to the eternal Son. You order salvation for all those who praise you. 

6: O devout people, come and clap hands while we observe this divine and most precious feast of the Mother of God. Let us glorify God who was born from her. 

7: The devout youths worshipped the Creator rather than created things. They courageously trampled on the threatening fire and joyfully sang, “Blessed are you, most praised Lord, the God of our fathers.” 

8: Let us praise, bless and worship the Lord.  

The Lord who was born from the Theotokos saved the holy children in the furnace. The one who was then prefigured has now been born on earth and gathers the whole inhabited earth to sing, “All you works of the Lord, bless the Lord and exalt him above all for ever“.

Ode 9 – Честнейшую

Priest: The Theotokos, the Mother of Light, in hymns let us now glorify.

S1: My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.  

R: You are more honourable than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim. You gave birth to God the Word without defilement; O true Theotokos, we glorify you.

S2: For he has regarded his servant’s humility; see, from now all generations will call me blessed.  R: 

S3: For the Almighty has accomplished great things for me, and his name is holy. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him.  R:

S4: He has accomplished strength with his arm, and scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  R:

S5: He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the humble. He has satisfied the hungry with good things, and dismissed the rich with nothing.  R:

S6: He has helped his servant Israel in remembering his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed for ever.  R

Canticle 9 of Katavasías

(Всяк земнородний)

Let every mortal born on earth, radiant with light, in spirit leap for joy; and let the host of the angelic powers celebrate and honour the holy feast of the Theotokos, and let them cry: Rejoice! Pure and blessed Ever-Virgin, who gave birth to God.

Small Litany

P: For all the powers of heaven praise you, and to you we send up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.

Exaposteilárion – Светилен – (Hymn of Light)

Listen, O Women:

Rejoice, O desert of Rila! Rejoice, O heritage of monastics! Come, all you faithful to surround the sanctuary of the saint’s relics, which pours out streams of healing. With praises we cry out to him: Rejoice, sapling from Sredets and good growth of the desert!

Both now, the Theotokion.

The only impassable door (Ezekiel 44:2), the flourishing olive tree (Ps. 51:10), the golden censer (Heb. 9:4, Ex. 30:1-3), carrying the divine fire, the jar of the heavenly manna (Heb. 9:4; Exodus 16:33), the Holy Theotokos, let us all glorify!

Praises, Tone 4 – Всякое дихание from Menaion 4

Let everything with breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. To you, our God, belongs a song.

2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his powers. To you, our God, belongs a song.

S4: Praise him with cymbal and dance; praise him with strings and flute

Blessed are you, because, when you had heard the words of the one who, for His many mercies and immense kindnesses, desired to save the human race, you despised delusion. You readily left your native land, fellowship with your relatives and transitory pleasures, and followed in the footsteps of Christ our God, whom you ask to save and enlighten our souls!

S3: Praise him with tuneful cymbals; praise him with joyful cymbals. Let everything with breath praise the Lord

Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ, О blessed saint – neither worldly ornament, nor native land, nor relationship with loved ones, nor vain glory, because all this is nothing to you. Like a deer burning with thirst, you went to the fountain of living water, Christ our God, whom you ask to save and enlighten our souls!

S2: O Lord God, rise; let your hand be exalted, and never forget the poor. The Lord has chosen you as unique among the saints and among the ascetics. O most God-like father, and multiplier of talents among the faithful servants, your spirit now rejoices in the joy of your Lord, and your venerable body belongs to us, exuding fragrances and bringing healing, through the grace of Christ our God, whom you ask to save and enlighten our souls!

S1: O Lord, I will thank you with all my heart; I will recount all your wonders.

With restraint you have conquered the passions of the flesh in your rational soul. You were adorned with the wings of dispassion, and accepted grace to heal human infirmities and to cast out the deceitful spirits. Therefore, blessing you, the assemblies of monks, and the company of believers, celebrate your memory. We praise the glorious Christ our God, whom you ask to save and enlighten our souls!

Glory, Tone 8:

O chosen flock of Christ, come and join us in the veneration of the memory of the Blessed John, who revealed in the Rila desert! Here his honourable body lies before us, as the confirmation of our faith, the jewel of the monastics, the shame of heretics, but for believers, the resurrection. Even after his death he gives the blind insight, makes the lame walk, straightens the stooped, strengthens the weak, banishes demons, and fortifies the faithful against their adversaries. As he stands in spirit before the Lord's throne, he always prays to the Lord for those who, with love and faith, celebrate his holy memory.

Both now: Theotokion

O Lady, accept the prayer of your slaves, and deliver us from every need and sorrow. 

Great Doxology – Велико славословие

Triságion – Светий Боже


Tone 1 (Покаяния основание)

O saint, equal to the angels, you were a model of repentance, an example of mercy, a standard of comfort and spiritual perfection. O father John, you lived with prayer, fasting and tears, so plead with Christ our God for our souls!


Apolytíkia - Troparia

Of St. John of Rila, Tone 1 (Покаяния основание)

O saint, equal to the angels, you were a model of repentance, an example of mercy, a standard of comfort and spiritual perfection. O father John, you lived with prayer, fasting and tears, so plead with Christ our God for our souls!

Of the Church,

Kontákion, Tone 6

(Предстательство христиан)

O unfailing protection of Christians and unchanging mediator before the Creator, do not despise the prayers of us sinners, but in your goodness extend your help to those of us who faithfully cry to you, “O Theotokos, you always protect those who honour you, so hurry to intercede for us and hasten to plead for us.”


Prokeimenon. Tone 7, Ps. 116

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.

Verse: What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?

The Epistle

Galatians 5:22-6:2

Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

Alliluia, tone 6

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. (Ps.111)

His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.

The Gospel

Luke 6:46-49

The Lord said: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Prepared and translated by priest Trayan Goranov

Bulgarian Western and Central European Diocese

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