Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reclaiming St. David of Wales (Feast Day March 1)

Devotion to St. David of Wales (and to all the western saints) serves a very important role in the Orthodox Church—it rescues us from the accusation that we are merely “the Eastern Church” (as some textbooks describe us), the eastern half of a sundered and broken body.  Many in the west see Orthodoxy indeed as “the Eastern Church”—something exotic, foreign, exciting, mysterious.  A wonderful church to visit (all that enriching symbolism!), but, after all, not a good fit for the western heart and the western mind.  It can be the source of many good theological insights, a good corrective to a merely western perspective.  But, for those whose long history and culture is rooted in the west, it remains a foreigner, an unassimilated immigrant in the western world, a kind of Christian Zoroastrianism.  We Orthodox sometimes unwittingly play the part of the foreigner:  when one looks in the “Prologue from Ochrid”, a popular synaxarion (or Lives of Saints) and turns to March 17 expecting to find St. Patrick, he is not there.  One finds “St. Alexis, Man of God”, and “the Holy Martyr Marinus”.  But the Enlightener of Ireland and patron of New York City is nowhere to be found.  What can the western inquirer conclude, but that the Eastern Church is concerned only with eastern things and has no stake in the ecclesiastical history of the west?
            This is when we need St. David to come and rescue us.  And St. Lawrence, and St. Cyprian, and St. Alban, and St. Augustine (if we can look at him historically and not make him the whipping boy for everything we object to in the western Middle Ages), and St. Hilary, and St. Gregory the Great, and St. Boniface, and St. Martin of Tours, and many, many others.  It shouldn’t be too hard.  We already love St. Gregory the Great as “St. Gregory the Dialogist”.  We just need to let him dress in his western vestments once in a while.
            Some Orthodox have already begun the task of re-claiming the western part of our spiritual heritage in the saints (or “the Sanctorale” as it is called).  St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco had a great love and veneration for the western saints, and his work has been carried on to some extent by the Monastery in Platina in northern California.  The British Orthodox themselves are reclaiming their ancient heritage and venerating the saints of Ireland, Iona and Wales. 
            As a part of this movement of reclamation my (then) bishop once asked me to write a service for St. David of Wales, and of course I complied.  It is offered here for whoever may be interested, and with the conviction that the Orthodox Church is not simply the Eastern Church, but the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church confessed by all who use the Nicene Creed.  As the true catholic church, our concern is universal, and our embrace, global.  All of the saints belong to us, and we to them.  St. David, dying in Wales, prays for us no less than does St. Stephen of Perm, dying in Moscow after his long missionary work among the Zyrians.  Through the prayers of St. David may his Orthodox Faith spread even more throughout the west!

HYMNS for THE SERVICES to St. DAVID OF WALES (“Dewi Sant”)


HYMNS FOR GREAT VESPERS

“Lord I call” (Tone 4)

O blessed David, you preached the grace of God to those who gathered together with you, teaching them not to trust their works to save them but Christ alone, and the Divine Dove of the Spirit settled upon you.  Like a city set upon a hill, your good works could not be hidden, and the Lord revealed your wonderful life to all. Pray for us who honour your holy memory!

As a true son of the desert fathers, you glorified the monastic way among the hills of Wales, O blessed one, calling your monks to ascetic labours and to holy poverty. You did not permit them to use animals when they ploughed the land, nor to eat anything more than bread with salt and herbs, and you taught them to hold all things in common like the apostles of old.  Pray for us who honour your holy memory!

O blessed David of Wales, you taught us all to be joyful and keep our faith and our creed, doing the little things in life that you did before us, and thus inherit the heavenly Kingdom. Pray for us who honour your holy memory!

Glory...

O boast of Glastonbury and adornment of the Church of Wales, you are a light to those who love you.  By your prayers we prepare our souls to meet the Lord.  Pray unceasingly that all of us who honour your holy memory may be filled with joy in the Kingdom.

Now and ever…  (Dogmatic of the Tone of the Week)

Three Readings:  Isaiah 40:3-11, Wisdom 3:1-9, Sirach 39:1-11.
 Litya verses (Tone 2)
 You walked the hills of Wales, O blessed David, preaching the Gospel of the Incarnate God and calling all men to repentance, sanctifying the land by your holy prayers.  Sanctify our lives also by your ceaseless intercession as we honour your sacred memory!

You founded monasteries and churches throughout the Welsh land, O holy David, shepherding the flock of Christ with skilful hands, in imitation of your namesake of old [Ps. 78:72].  Look down from heaven upon your earthly church and bless us as we honour your sacred memory!

As a bishop and divine steward you administered to your congregations the saving truths of the glorious Gospel, praying to Christ the Chief Shepherd for those in your care.  Pray for us also who rely on your pastoral care and who honour your sacred memory!

Apostika  (Tone 6)

Like King David of old, the sweet psalmist of Israel [2 Sam. 23:1], you sang the praises of the Incarnate God, and in you the Lord found a man after His own heart [1 Sam. 13:14].   Now that you have joined the heavenly choir of the saints, O holy David, do not cease praying for us that God might grant us great mercy!

Vs. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.

King David fought valiantly against the enemies of the People of God, and you, O holy one, fought valiantly against the Satanic enemy of our souls, winning the victory through your fasting and prayers.  Now that you stand before the heavenly King, do not cease praying for us that God might grant us great mercy!

Vs. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.

King David repented with tears after he sinned with Bathsheba, praying that God would deliver him from bloodguilt and accept his sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart [Ps. 51:14, 17].  Through your holy ascetic labours, O blessed one, you also show us the royal and joyful way of repentance.  Now that you rejoice before the Judge of all, do not cease praying for us that God might grant us great mercy!

Glory…

Solomon, the son of King David, inherited his father’s wealth and built the holy Temple for God’s glory, and we, your spiritual children, O blessed David, have inherited the your priceless example of sanctity, and are built together as a temple of the Lord [Eph. 2:21-22].  Now that you reign with the saints on high in the heavenly Temple, do not cease praying for us that God might grant us great mercy!

Now and ever… (Theotokion)

HYMNS FOR MATINS

“God is the Lord” (Tone 4)

Tropar for St. David of Wales (Tone 4)

You appeared before your flock as a rule of faith, a preacher of repentance and a beacon of sanctity.  Because of your zeal, the Divine Dove rested upon you; because of your lowliness, God raised you above all.  You taught us to be steadfast and joyful, and to keep our faith and our creed, doing the little things that you showed us.  O holy bishop David, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Kathisma Hymns (Tone 3)

O blessed Father David, as a good shepherd, you guided your flock to the green pastures of Christ.  You drove away the spiritual wolves, and made Christ’s sheep lay down in safety by the waters of rest.   You provided them with a rich banquet of His teaching. Now you stand before the throne of the Great Chief-Shepherd.  Intercede with Him for the salvation of our souls!

O blessed Father David, you drank deeply from the well of the Divine Scriptures.  Christ fed you with His hidden manna [Rev. 2:17], and nourished your spirit with His words.  Now that you have become strong through the Word of God [1 Jn. 2:14], mightily intercede with Christ for the salvation of our souls!

Polyeleion
 Magnification
 We magnify you, O blessed Father David,
and we honour your holy memory,
for you brought the people of Wales into the sheepfold of Christ,
and even now you pray to Christ our God for those who honour you.

verse: Hear this, all nations; give ear, all inhabitants of the world!
verse: My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding!

Sessional Hymn  (Tone 4)

O holy David, by your apostolic labours you kindled the fire of the Spirit in the Welsh land, and by your prayers you warm cold hearts with the love of God.  Pray to Christ our God for us who honour your sacred memory that the divine Spirit may rest upon us also.

Prokeimenon (Tone 4)

Precious in the sight of the Lord/ is the death of His saints!

verse:  What shall I render to the Lord, for all His bounties to me?

Gospel:  John 10:9-16

Canon (Tone 6)

Ode 1 Irmos:  When Israel passed on foot over the sea as if it were dry land, and beheld their pursuer Pharaoh drowning in the sea, they cried aloud unto God, “Let us sing a song of victory!”

Refrain:  O blessed Father David, pray to God for us!

The night in which you were born was full of storms, O blessed Father David, and our lives also are battered by tempest and sorrow.   Now that you stand before the One who stilled the storm on Lake Galilee, pray that He will still the storms which afflict us, and grant us great mercy.

The land in which you were born was full of pagan darkness and ignorance of the true God, and you walked its hills preaching the Gospel and calling all to the knowledge of the Trinity.  Now that you stand before the true and eternal Light, pray that our souls be illumined and granted great mercy.

Ode 3 Irmos:  There is none so holy as You, O Lord my God, who has exalted the power of Your faithful, O Blessed One, and have established us upon the rock of Your confession.

O blessed Father David, you were baptized by the Irish monk Elvis, educated in the monastery of Hen Fynyw, and taught the ways of holiness through the elderly monk Paulinus.   O holy father, wise in the ways of the ascetic life, and now exalted in heaven, do not cease to pray for us!

O blessed Father David, God rewarded your humility and your monastic labours by sending you the Dove of the Divine Spirit, and making you a vessel of His grace.  O holy father, full of the Spirit of God and now exalted in heaven, do not cease to pray for us!

Ode 4 Irmos:  “Christ is my power, my Lord and my God”, the venerable Church sings, honouring God, with a pure understanding, feasting in the Lord.

After ordination, you healed the blindness of your elderly teacher by your faith and by making the Sign of the Cross over his eyes.  Through the power of Christ, heal our spiritual blindness also by your holy prayers, O blessed David!

As a priest you brought to earth the power of the heavenly God, healing our infirmities by your mighty and fervent intercession.  Through the power of Christ, strengthen us also in our weakness by your holy prayers, O blessed David!

Ode 5 Irmos:  Illumine with Your divine light, O Good One, the souls of those who keep vigil in love, so that they may know You, O Word of God, as the true God who recalls them from the darkness of sin!

The Welsh land was dark before you were born, O blessed David, as in languished in sin and idolatry.  Through you Christ shone upon it with His saving light, calling its people to become the children of God, for you walked throughout the land like an earthly angel, founding churches and bringing to all the heavenly hope of eternal life. 

The land of Wales suffered under the tyranny of the demons before you were born, O blessed David.  Through you Christ put the power of Satan to flight, liberating its people and striking off the shackles of sin, for you preached to all the good news, calling them to the glorious freedom of the children of God [Rom. 8:21].

Ode 6 Irmos:  Beholding the sea of life surging with the storm of temptations, and taking refuge in Your calm haven, I cry unto You, “Raise up my life from corruption, O greatly-merciful One!”

Like a new Paul, you preached the good news of God’s grace to the people of Wales, O holy David, denouncing the errors of Pelagius and exalting the saving mercy of Christ.  As a fearless apostle of the divine truth, you saved your people from error, teaching them to keep their faith and their creed.

Like a true soldier of Christ, you wielded the sword of the Spirit [Eph. 6:17], O blessed David, cutting down the weeds of heresy which the Enemy planted in the field of Christ [Mt. 13:28].  By your zeal you taught us to preserve the apostolic faith pure and undefiled and so win a full reward [2 Jn. 8].

Kontakion  (Tone 1)

O wise David, you shine forth on earth with rays of wonder, and in heaven you reflect the glory of the transcendent Lord.  Beseech Him to deliver from every difficulty your servants who honour your sacred memory, O elect among the fathers!

Ikos

O holy Father David, you illumined the land of Wales with the eternal light of Christ, saying to the prisoners, “Come forth!” and to those in darkness, “Show yourselves!” [Is. 49:9].  Beseech the Lord to shine upon us also who honour your sacred memory, O elect among the fathers!

Ode 7 Irmos:  An angel made the furnace cool with dew for the godly youths, and God’s command to burn Chaldeans made the tyrant cry, “Blessed are You, O God of our fathers!”

You founded many monasteries in Wales, O blessed David, kindling the flame of holiness that it might shine as a beacon to all, bringing the land to Christ.  By your intercession kindle that saving fire in our hearts also, that we may cry to God, “Blessed are You, O God of our fathers!”

You became a father of monks and a foundation of holiness, O blessed David, sinking the roots of sanctity deep within the fertile Welsh soil.  By your intercession grant that we also may bear the fruit of good works and glorify the Lord, crying aloud, “Blessed are You, O God of our fathers!”

Ode 8 Irmos:  You made dew flow from the flame for the godly youths, and the sacrifice of a righteous man You consumed with water!  You make all things, O Christ, as You desire!  We exalt You throughout all ages!

You inspired your monks with your zeal, O blessed David, calling them to share your ascetic labours.  You insisted that they pull the plough themselves without using animals, that they might subdue their flesh and learn the gentle yoke of Christ.  Marvelling at your wisdom, we exalt Christ throughout all ages!

You led your monks in a blessed poverty, O holy David, allowing them to eat only bread with salt and herbs, and to spend their evenings in prayer, reading, and writing, while refusing them to own anything.  By these labours they drew near to God in sobriety of spirit and unquenchable joy.  Marvelling at your zeal, we exalt Christ throughout all ages!

Ode 9 Irmos:  It is not possible for men to see God, upon whom the ranks of angels dare not gaze.  But through you, O all-pure one, was the Word Incarnate revealed unto men, whom magnifying, together with the heavenly hosts, we call you blessed.

You loved the courts of the Lord and His altars, O blessed one [Ps. 84:2-3], serving as a priest and adorning the altar of Glastonbury abbey with a great sapphire.  Now that you stand before the Lord of Hosts in His heavenly courts, do not cease to pray for us who venerate your memory with love.

Like a prophet you knew in advance the time of your departure, O holy one, and after your repose at a great age your holy relics came to rest in the Glastonbury abbey you loved.  Now that your soul has come to rest with the Lord in heaven, do not cease to pray for us who venerate your memory with love.

Expostilarion

Like a mighty miracle, Your holy servant David rose like a sun in the west, illumining Your children who sat in the darkness of sin, shining on them with the light of Your truth, preaching to all men the radiant glory of Christ our God.

The Praises (Tone 6)

Praise Him with trumpet sound!  Praise Him with psalms and harp!

Let us praise the Lord for our holy father David, foremost of God’s Preachers, and Trumpet of the truth!  Through the trumpet call of his teaching, the people of Wales prepared themselves for spiritual battle [1 Cor. 14:8] and put to flight the ancient foe. 
Praise Him with timbrel and dance!  Praise Him with strings and pipe!

Let us praise God for our holy father David, whose Gospel preaching turned the mourning of the Welsh into dancing, and girded them with gladness in the Lord [Ps. 30:11].  Through his prayers may we also rejoice in the Lord.

Praise Him with sounding cymbals!  Praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!  Let every breath praise the Lord!

Let us praise the Saviour for our holy father David, whose apostolic labours led the people of Wales to rejoice in the true and living God, so that every breath praises Him.   Through his intercession may we also ceaselessly praise the Lord.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

Let us praise the Holy Trinity for our holy father David, thrice-blessed apostle of God’s grace in Wales.  The God who sent His Son to save us, and His Spirit to bring us to the Son, also shone upon the whole earth, even to the land of Wales in the far west.  Through the prayers of holy David, may we also stand with joy before the heavenly God.

Now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

O most-blessed Virgin Theotokos, pray for us who seek shelter in you, for we trust in your ceaseless love matchless intercession.


HYMNS FOR THE DIVINE LITURGY

Tropar for St. David of Wales (Tone 4)

You appeared before your flock as a rule of faith, a preacher of repentance and a beacon of sanctity.  Because of your zeal, the Divine Dove rested upon you; because of your lowliness, God raised you above all.  You taught us to be steadfast and joyful, and to keep our faith and our creed, doing the little things that you showed us.  O holy bishop David, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

Kontakion for St. David of Wales  (Tone 1)

O wise David, you shine forth on earth with rays of wonder, and in heaven you reflect the glory of the transcendent Lord.  Beseech Him to deliver from every difficulty your servants who honour your sacred memory, O elect among the fathers!

Prokeimenon (Tone 1)
My mouth shall speak wisdom,/  and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
      verse:  Hear this, all nations; give ear, all inhabitants of the world!

Epistle:  2 Cor. 4:1-12

Alleluia (Tone 6)
verse: Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments.
verse: His descendants shall be mighty on the earth.

Gospel:  John 10:1-9

Communion Verse:  The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance; he shall not fear evil tidings.



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