08-18-19 Vespers

9TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST—Tone 8


Afterfeast of the Dormition.

Martyrs Florus and Laurus of Illyria (2nd c.).


Vespers

At "Lord, I Call", sing the stichera verses (4) of the Resurrection in Tone 8. 


Then the following stichera (3) for the Afterfeast in Tone 2.


With what unworthy lips shall we bless the Theotokos?  She is more honored than the creation, and more holy than the Cherubim and all the Angels.  She is the immovable Throne of the King, the Abode in which the Most High has dwelt.  She is the salvation of the world, the Holy Place of God,// Who richly grants unto the faithful great mercy on this her holy feast.


What songs filled with awe did all the Apostles of the Word offer thee, O Virgin, as they stood round thy deathbed and cried aloud in wonder:  “The Palace of the King withdraws; the Ark of Holiness is raised on high.  Let the gates be opened wide, that the Gate of God may enter into abundant joy,// she who without ceasing asks great mercy for the world!”


What spiritual songs shall we now offer thee, O most holy one?  For by thy deathless Dormition thou hast sanctified the whole world, and hast been translated to the places above the world, there to perceive the beauty of the Almighty, and, as His Mother, to rejoice in it exceedingly.  Thou art attended by ranks of Angels and by the souls of the just, O pure Virgin.// Join them to ask for us peace and great mercy!


Then these stichera (3) for the Martyrs Florus and Laurus in Tone 4.


Revealed as perfect stones cut by martyrdom and quarried by torments, O holy ones, you fashioned yourselves into a church of the Lord, casting the temples and worship of the idols down to the ground.  Therefore, we call them blessed as inhabitants of Paradise// and offerings of the temple of heaven.


Touching the relics of the holy martyrs Florus and Laurus, we draw grace and receive enlightenment, gladness and mercy, for the divine work of healing richly flows from them.  Let us bless them as favorites of the Lord,// and earnestly cry out: “Glory to Thee, our God!”


You were imprisoned in a pit and buried in the earth at the command of the tyrant.  By divine speech and the revelation of the Holy Spirit you have been revealed to us as stars shining with portents, wonders and gifts of healing,// O brother athletes and fellow citizens with the Angels.


After “Glory …” in Tone 4 (Afterfeast)


At your departing, O Virgin Theotokos, to Him Who was ineffably born of you, James, the first bishop and brother of the Lord, was there, and so was Peter, the most honored pinnacle of the theologians, and the whole sacred choir of the Apostles.  In words of theology that showed forth heavenly things, they sang the praises of the divine and amazing mystery of the dispensation of Christ, and they rejoiced, O all-praised Virgin, as they buried your body, the source of Life, which had received God.  On high, the all-holy and most venerable angelic Powers, in amazement at the wonder, bowed and said to one another:  “Lift up your gates, and receive her who bore the Creator of heaven and earth!”  So we too celebrate your memory and cry out to you, all-praised Lady:// “Raise up the horn of Christians, and save our souls!”

After “Now and ever…” sing the Dogmatic in Tone 8 

The King of heaven, because of His love for man, appeared on earth and dwelt with men.  He took flesh from the pure Virgin; and after assuming it, He came forth from her.  The Son is one:  in two natures, yet one person.  Proclaiming Him as perfect God and perfect man, we confess Christ our God!  Entreat Him, O unwedded Mother, to have mercy on our souls! 


At the Aposticha, sing the verses of the Resurrection in Tone 8.  


After “Glory ... now and ever …” in Tone 5 (Afterfeast)


Come, all who love to keep the feasts, come, let us form a choir!  Come, let us crown the Church with songs, as the Ark of God goes to her rest!  For today heaven opens wide as it receives the Mother of Him Who cannot be contained.  The earth, as it yields up the source of Life, is robed in blessing and majesty.  The hosts of Angels, present with the fellowship of the Apostles, gaze in great fear at her who bore the Author of life, now that she is translated from life to life.  Let us all venerate and implore her:  “O Lady, forget not your ties of kinship// with those who keep in faith the feast of your all-holy Dormition!”    


Resurrectional Troparion, Tone 8  


Thou didst descend from on high, O Merciful One!  Thou didst endure the three-day burial to free us from our sufferings!  O Lord, our Life and Resurrection:  glory to Thee!


Troparion, Tone 4 (Martyrs Florus and Laurus)


Let us praise as is meet, you faithful, the most comely, radiant and divinely wise martyrs:  Most blessed Florus and all venerable Laurus, who proclaimed to all the uncreated Trinity.  Suffering unto bloodshed, they were adorned with brilliant crowns.// Entreat Christ our God to save our souls!


Troparion, Tone 1 (Dormition) 


In giving birth, you preserved your virginity.  In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.  You were translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.



The Martyrs Florus and Laurus were brothers by birth not only in flesh but in spirit. They lived in the second century at Byzantium, and afterwards they settled in Illyria [now Yugoslavia]. By occupation they were stone-masons (their teachers in this craft were the Christians Proclus and Maximus, from whom also the brothers learned about life pleasing to God). 

The prefect of Illyria, Likaion, sent the brothers to a nearby district for work on the construction of a pagan temple. The saints toiled at the structure, distributing to the poor the money they earned, while they kept strict fast and prayed without ceasing. 

Once, the son of the local pagan-priest Mamertin carelessly approached the structure, and a chip of stone hit him in the eye, severely injuring him. Saints Florus and Laurus assured the upset father, that his son would be healed. 

They brought the youth to consciousness and told him to have faith in Christ. After this, as the youth confessed Jesus Christ as the true God, the brothers prayed for him, and the eye was healed. In view of such a miracle, even the father of the youth believed in Christ. 

When the construction of the temple was completed, the brothers gathered the Christians together, and going through the temple, they smashed the idols. In the eastern part of the temple they set up the holy Cross. They spent all night in prayer, illumined with heavenly light. Having learned of this, the head of the district condemned to burning the former pagan priest Mamertin and his son and 300 Christians. 

The martyrs Florus and Laurus, having been sent back to the prefect Likaion, were thrown down an empty well and covered over with earth. After many years, the relics of the holy martyrs were uncovered incorrupt, and transferred to Constantinople. In the year 1200 the Novgorod pilgrim Anthony saw them. Stephen of Novgorod saw the heads of the martyrs in the Pantocrator monastery around the year 1350.