Tuesday 18 October 2022

St. John of Rila (Matins)

19 October


Prepared and translated by priest Trayan Goranov

Bulgarian Western and Central European Diocese



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.

S4: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. (Matt.21:42)

Apolytíkion – Tропар

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

Your life was a foundation of repentance and a model of compunction, an image of consolation and spiritual perfection, equal to the angels, O venerable one. You persevered in prayer, fasting and tears, O Father John; intercede with Christ 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 birthgiving 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.

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 to 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!

Small Litany

Ecphonesis: For You are our God, and to You we give glory, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

Sessional hymn, tone 8

You appeared to be a peer of the monks, O wise one, and an imitator of Antony in the recent years, O blessed one, enlightening the faithful with the light of miracles, O reverend one, healing the sick and driving out demons, the Heavenly God glorifies you, O rich one. Therefore, today we have gathered all the faithful in your memory to beg for the grace of healing our passions, and together we cry to you: implore Christ God, to grant forgiveness of sins to those who honour your holy memory with love!

Glory, Both now, Theotokion:

You are a reasonable cloud of the Sun, a gold-forged luminary of the divine Light, undefiled, unblemished, completely immaculate Mistress, I ask you to enlighten my soul, blinded by passions, with the dawn of dispassion. And wash my defiled heart in the streams of mercy, repentant tears and cleanse me from my dark deeds, so that I can call you with love: Mother of God, ever Virgin, implore Christ God, to grant me forgiveness of sins, because in you I have hope as your slave.

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.

Ode 5, Irmos: From dawn we call to You, Lord, save us, for You are our God and we know no one but You.

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

Having listened to your pastoral words, Reverend Father, God-loving souls hastened to you in the desert.

Like the voice of one crying in the wilderness, spreading everywhere, your glory called to you those who were afar off.

Alone like a bird in the tree, blessed Father, you did not cease to fulfil God's decrees, nor did you stop your prayers to God.

Theotokion: You carry within you the One God, written in you as in a scroll, O Pure One; write me also in the book of the righteous.

Ode 6, Irmos: Cleanse me, Saviour, from my many iniquities and deliver me from the depths of evil, I beseech you, for I cry to you: hear me, God of my salvation.

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

You are doing the works of Elijah the Tishbite, O reverend Father, you entertain many with a little bread and nurse until you are full with miracles.

Many desired to live with you, Blessed one, scorning the pleasures of this world and zealously imitating your exemplary life.

Having received healing power from God, you give light to the blind, hearing to the deaf, walking to the lame, and health to all who come in faith.

On your head flowed myrrh and on your beard the oil of joy, which guarded the unquenchable lamp of your heart, O venerable one.

Theotokion: Chosen pure Lamb, You gave birth to the fearful Lion, Who as a voiceless Lamb was led to the slaughter and took upon Himself my iniquities.

Small Litany: Ecphonesis: For You are the King of peace and the savior of our souls, and to You we give glory, to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

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.

Ode 7, Irmos: The young men who once came from Judea to Babylon through the faith in the Holy Trinity, trampled the flame of the furnace, singing: blessed are you, God of our fathers!

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

You raised a holy church as a fence for the verbal sheep, turning yourself into a living church of the Lord, to whom you sing: blessed are you, God of our fathers!

When you crucified the world in yourself and killed your bodily earthly members (Col.3:5), you no longer lived, but Christ lived in you, and you sang to Him: blessed are you, God of our fathers!

The correct constitution of your soul could not be destroyed by sweat, nor diseases, nor physical exhaustion, nor overworked old age, but loving your Lord, you constantly cried out: blessed are you, God of our fathers!

Theotokos: Dewy fleece, Virgin, put out the flame of my sins; unburnt bush, burn away the thorns of my passions, giving me life by the waters of rest and freeing me from the fire of hell.

Ode 8, Irmos: The Chaldean torturer seven times kindled the power of the furnace for the worshipers, but when he saw them saved by the higher power, he cried out to the Creator and Redeemer: Boys, bless, priests, sing, people, exalt Him in all ages!

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

Oh, bright sun, when you realised that you were approaching the sunset of earthly life, you instructed your disciples and established them in the fear of God, announced to them the reward of their sufferings and, rejoicing, surrendered your spirit to the Lord.

Death did not deprive your body of the divine grace operating in you, but after forty days you appeared yourself and ordered you to be buried in the ground, emitting streams of miracles.

Seeing the abyss of your wonders, we consider your monastery a precious treasure; for all who suffer from infirmities, as soon as they come into it, quickly receive health from your relics and praise the God who glorified you.

Theotokion: As brighter than sunlight, we accept the bright radiance of your virginity, O Pure One, because you received in your womb the eternal Light and the Creator of the sun; He shone forth from you and banished the darkness of deception and enlightened the whole world with the light of God-knowledge.

Ode 9, Irmos: The heavens were amazed and the ends of the earth were terrified because God appeared in the flesh of man and your womb became wider than the heavens; therefore, Mother of God, the angelic hosts and the human multitudes glorify you.

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

Your venerable body, laid in the grave, untied from the natural ties and surrendering your spirit to God, smells sweet to all and glorifies God with miracles, O blessed John.

The monastics and the multitudes of the faithful regard him as an ardent intercessor, who destroys the malice of the enemy and fulfils their petitions; because God exalted you as His faithful servant, healing men and cattle through you.

Fill my heart with desire, O fountain of wonders; bestow on me your grace, delivering me from every temptation, and at the future Judgment enter me into the Paradise of Eden through your prayers, because I brought you a song from a burning heart.

Theotokion: Living in the Holy of Holies, where you were nourished by an angelic hand, you completely prepared and purified yourself to give birth to the God for men, Who took flesh from your pure blood and kept you a virgin, as it was before His birth.

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: Мore 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.

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)

Your life was a foundation of repentance and a model of compunction, an image of consolation and spiritual perfection, equal to the angels, O venerable one. You persevered in prayer, fasting and tears, O Father John; intercede with Christ God for our souls.


Apolytíkia - Troparia

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

Your life was a foundation of repentance and a model of compunction, an image of consolation and spiritual perfection, equal to the angels, O venerable one. You persevered in prayer, fasting and tears, O Father John; intercede with Christ 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 others 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.”

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