We celebrate the glorification of our beloved father Tikhon tomorrow, who did much to establish and organize the Church in America, but also guided the Russian Church through some of the most tumultuous times in its history, the Russian Revolution.
It is likely too late for this to be of help to anybody for this particular Sunday in October of 2022, and it reveals to you all how late these things are prepared here in Bend, Oregon, but hopefully, it will be of use later. I was tempted to not go to the trouble of “cleaning this service up”, but there were just too many awkward phrases that would not be understood, especially when sung in our services, that I could not resist going through and rewording: moving phrases around, placing particular words to be emphasized by the music, and similar other changes.
It is important that we pray, but hard to know what or how to pray, especially in such difficult circumstances. The following prayers are intended to give us a way to pray both for the peaceful repose of those who died, and also for those effected by this dreadful event. If you do not have access to this, you could also just pray the psalm by itself, or even more simply, the Jesus Prayer: Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
40-Day Prayer for the City of Bend
Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us. Amen. Glory to thee, our God, glory to thee.
O heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all things, treasury of blessings, and giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O good one.
Without a doubt, the spirit and tone of some of our hymnography comes across wrong to today’s hearer, especially when it comes to women. I do not condone the rewriting of hymns to just to pacify modern sensitivities, but rewording (and even just re-punctuating) can often bring out the original, beautiful intent of the text.
Here is one example and how I reworded it:
The tears of Mary were not shed in vain; for, behold! she was counted worthy of having angels instruct her and Jesus Himself appear to her. But, as a weak woman, she thought earthly thoughts. Wherefore, she was turned away and commanded not to touch Christ. Yet was she sent as a herald to Thy disciples, bearing glad tidings to them and announcing Thine ascension to the portion of the Father. With her count us worthy, 0 Lord and Master, of Thine appearance. (The 8th Evangelical Sticheron from Sunday Matins)
As we near his celebration next week, on July 26th, I am posting the full service for St. Jacob Netsvetov, enlightener of the peoples of Alaska, below. It includes Vespers, Matins, and Liturgy material. You may either use the PDF below, which has pointed text to save you time in preparation, or, if you would like to remark it for your own musical needs, you may follow the link to the digital file, make a copy, and re-point the text as needed.
Initially, I could only find pieces of the service for St. Jacob of Alaska, so I compiled what I found and edited the language throughout the service to give it the same style and smoothing some of the phrasing to better fit the music. Only near the end of the process did I find what I think is the original service written for him, from 1995 at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, and considering he was canonized in 1994, it would make sense if it were the first service written for him.
December 20th begins the Forefeast of the Nativity. The liturgical structure is similar to the Holy Week preceding Pascha. The Orthodox Church sees the birth of the Son of God as the beginning of the saving ministry which will lead Him, for the sake of man’s salvation, to the ultimate sacrifice of the Cross. Of the services proscribed for this celebration, St. Jacob Parish will gather beginning on the Eve of Nativity:
December 24, 1:00p – Vespers with Divine Liturgy of St. Basil Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served with Vespers. At these services, the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s birth are chanted.
December 24, 7:00p – Vigil for the Nativity of Christ The Vigil of Christmas begins with Great Compline because Vespers has already been served. At Compline, there is the singing of the Troparion and Kontakion of the feast with special hymns glorifying the Saviour’s birth. There are also the special long litanies of intercession and the solemn blessing of the five loaves of bread together with the wheat, wine, and oil. The faithful partake of the bread soaked in the wine and are also anointed with the oil. The order of Matins is that of a great feast. Here, for the first time, the full Canon “Christ is born,” is sung while the faithful venerate the Nativity icon.
December 25, 10:00a – Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of Christ (preceded by the Hours @ 9:30p) Concluding the celebration of the Nativity of Christ is the Liturgy. It begins with psalms of glorification and praise instead of the three normal Antiphons. The Troparion and Kontakion mark the entrance with the Book of the Gospels. The baptismal line from Galatians 3:27 once again replaces the Thrice-Holy. The Epistle reading is from Galatians 4:4-7, the Gospel reading is the familiar Christmas story from Matthew (2:1-12).
Twelve days of Christmas The second day of the feast starts a two-day celebration of the Synaxis of the Theotokos. Combining the hymns of the Nativity with those celebrating the Mother of God, the Church points to Mary as the one through whom the Incarnation was made possible. St Stephen, the First Martyr, is also remembered on these two days. We will gather again: December 26, 6:00p – Great Vespers December 27, 8:30a – Matins 10:00a – Divine Liturgy for the Sunday after the Nativity On the Sunday after Christmas, the Church commemorates James the Brother of Our Lord, David the King, and Joseph the Betrothed. Eight days after the Nativity, is the feast of Circumcision of our Lord. The period of Christmas rejoicing extends to Epiphany during which time the Christmas songs are sung and fasting and kneeling in prayer are not called for by the Church.
Throughout this time, it is the custom of Orthodox Christians to greet each other with the words: “Christ is Born!” and the response, “Glorify Him”