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Month of May

Composed by Reader Isaac Lambertson

At Vespers At Lord, I have cried, these stichera of the holy bishop, in Tone II: Spec. Mel.: When from the Tree

Sprung forth as a sapling from England's royal stock, O divinely wise and reverent Dunstan, warmed by the rays of the Sun of righteousness, and watered by countless tears of compunction, thou grewest in spiritual stature like a mighty cedar; and even after thou wast felled by death with thy fragrant redolence thou dost continue to preserve the Holy Church of Christ from Satan's minions, as from voracious vermin, O wondrous and holy one.

O Dunstan, namesake of that tawny rock wherewith the holy churches of God have oft been skillfully fashioned, with the sacred doctrines and dogmas of the Orthodox Faith as with blocks of stone thou hast greatly edified all faithful Christians, erecting for them a sacred habitation, not on the shifting sands of worldly principles, but on Christ, our firm Foundation, cut without the agency of the hands of men from the unquarried mountain of His Virgin Mother.

The city of Worcester exulteth in thy memory, O Dunstan, for there wast thou given charge of the sheep of Christ. London likewise rejoiceth in thy name, O holy one, for within its walls, as in a sheep-fold, didst thou shelter the lambs of the Lord from the spiritual wolf. But yet more is Canterbury gladdened, O saint, for unto it didst thou give the full measure of thine archpastoral zeal, nurturing thy flock on the wholesome pastures of Orthodox teaching.

Glory, of the holy bishop: Idiomelon, in Tone IV

Come, ye who love the saints of the Church, and with hymns and spiritual songs let us honor the holy hierarch Dunstan, for, from youth, he loved to hear the lives of the martyrs and favourites of Christ, and related them to the faithful with great delight. Wherefore, he now abideth eternally with them in the mansions of heaven, sharing with them the supernal vision of the divine Countenance, joining chorus with them before the all-splendid throne of the Godhead, and lifting up his voice with them in continual hymns of praise to the All-holy Trinity.

Now & ever, from the Pentecostarion; or Theotokion, or this Stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: As one valiant among the Martyrs

When she beheld Thee, the Lamb and Shepherd, upon the Tree, the ewe-lamb who gave birth to Thee lamented and cried out to Thee maternally: 'O my desired Son, Long-suffering One, how is it that Thou art suspended upon the tree of the Cross? How is it that Thy hands and feet have been nailed by the iniquitous, O Word, and that Thou hast shed Thy blood, O Master?'

Aposticha from the Pentecostarion or the Octoechos; and Glory, of the holy bishop: Idiomelon, in Tone VIII

Now let great England emerge from the slumber of error, roused by the voice of Dunstan, its holy primate, and let it spring forth to the wakefulness of the Holy Orthodox Faith in the full rays of Christ our Savior, the Sun of righteousness, and give voice, like the lark, unto goodly praise of our Author and Creator, the One God in three Persons the unoriginate Father, the Son Who is consubstantial with Him, and the Holy Spirit Who proceedeth from the Father alone. And worshipping the Most High in spirit and in truth, with the holy bishop let us cry aloud: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O Triune Godhead! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!

Now & ever, from the Pentecostarion; or theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: O all-glorious wonder

The unblemished heifer, beholding her Bullock nailed to the Tree of His own will, cried out, lamenting piteously: 'Woe is me, O most beloved Child! How hath the thankless assembly of the Jews recompensed Thee, desiring to leave me bereft of Thee, my Child, O most Beloved?'

Troparion of the holy bishop, in Tone VIII

By thee, O Dunstan, hath the whole land of England been wondrously adorned, for thou didst labor unceasingly to restore all the monastic houses laid waste by the heathen, to people them again with zealous monks and nuns, and to provide them with strict rules of pious order wherewith to govern their lives. Wherefore, the Church of Christ doth ever praise thine all-honorable name, O holy bishop.


At God is the Lord: If the feast fall within the period of Pentecost, the troparion of the Pentecostarion, twice; Glory, that of the bishop; Now & ever, as prescribed by the Pentecostarion. But if the feast fall after the Pentecost period, the troparion of the hierarch, twice; Glory, Now & ever: Theotokion.

Canon from the Pentecostarion, or those from the Octoechos; and that of the holy bishop, with 6 troparia, the acrostic whereof is Dunstan setteth us on the Rock of Faith, in Tone V

Ode I

Irmos: Treading the impassable path at the command of the Master, Israel sang, rejoicing: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Deign Thou to send down on me Thy grace, O All-holy Trinity, that, purified of my sins, I may hymn the holy Dunstan, who hath been glorified by Thee. Unto the wondrous Dunstan let us now lift our voices in praise, O ye faithful, for he was wholly consumed with love for chastity and all the monastic virtues.

Now doth the sacred Monastery of Glastonbury rejoice exceedingly, O Dunstan; for as its abbot thou didst adorn it again with reverent monastic Order. . Theotokion: Seeing thy Son suffering in agony on the Cross, O Theotokos, thou wast pierced with pain, as by a sword; but thou didst later rejoice in His resurrection.


Irmos: Upon the rock of Thy commandments establish me, who am whirled about; lift high my horn in the understanding of Thy precepts; that, rendering praise, I may cry unto Thee: There is none holy save Thee, O Lord of hosts!

Thy kinsman, the godly Æthelm, and the holy Oda, Archbishops of Canterbury, inspired thee, O Dunstan, to establish again in the monasteries of England the precepts of the venerable and God-bearing Benedict, father of monastics.

All the vanities of life at the court of the kings of England didst thou reject, O sacred bishop; wherefore, thou didst flourish greatly in the courts of our God, and ever criest aloud to Him: There is none holy save Thee, O Lord of hosts!

None is holy save Thee, O Lord of hosts! didst thou cry out in humility of mind, O blessed one, when thou didst receive the sacred tonsure and the angelic habit at the hands of the holy bishop Ælphege of Winchester.

Theotokion: Seraphim and cherubim, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, angels and archangels, and all the hosts of the bodiless spiritual beings stand in awe of thee, O most immaculate Mother of God, pure Ever-Virgin.

If the feast fall within the period of Pentecost, the kontakion & ikos of the holy bishop are sung here. But if the feast fall after the Pentecost period, the kontakion & ikos of the holy bishop are instead sung after Ode VI.

Kontakion of the holy bishop, in Tone III

Like a master helmsman, O Dunstan, thou didst ably pilot the ship of Church and state in England, skillfully avoiding the treacherous rocks and reefs hidden beneath the tides of thy times, and bringing it safely to the calm harbour of heaven, fully laden with its freight of men's souls, which thou didst deliver, rejoicing, to Christ thy Master.

Ikos: Like a deer panting in thirst, O venerable Dunstan, from childhood thou didst earnestly seek after the waters of wisdom and the knowledge of God; wherefore, moved by jealousy and hatred, the ignorant beset thee like a pack of savage dogs. But thou fleddest to the refuge of holy Glastonbury, where thou didst dedicate thyself wholly to devotion and piety; and ever after thou didst champion the true monastic rule, didst restore the ruined monasteries and convents of England, and didst defend them with all thy might, so that through thine efforts the Holy Church in thy land was adorned as with many splendid lamps, burning brightly with the oil of prayers offered up, rejoicing, to Christ the Master.

Sessional hymn of the holy bishop, in Tone V: Spec. Mel.: The Word Who with the Father and the Spirit is equally unoriginate.

With hymns let us honour the holy bishop of the Lord as a true man of prayer who smote the passions with the cudgel of abstinence, who with skill truly put the adversary to shame and set his arrogance at nought, and now prayeth earnestly that his native land be made steadfast in Orthodoxy.

Glory, Now & ever: Sessional hymn from the Pentecostarion; or this theotokion, in the same tone & melody

Awesome is the miracle of thy conceiving; and the ineffable image of the birthgiving known in thee, O pure Ever-Virgin, filleth my mind with awe and amazeth my thoughts. Thy glory hath spread over all, O Theotokos, unto the salvation of our souls.


Beholding Thee hanging of Thine own will upon the Cross between the thieves, O Christ, Thy Mother said, her womb rent with pain: 'O my sinless Son, how is it that Thou hast been unjustly nailed to the Cross like a malefactor, since thou desirest to bring life to the human race, in that thou art compassionate?'

Ode IV

Irmos: The workings of Thy dispensation filled the Prophet Habbakuk with awe, O Lord; for Thou didst issue forth for the salvation of Thy people, Thou didst come to save Thine anointed ones.

England boasteth in thy glory, O God-bearer; for in the workings of His dispensation the Most High raised thee to the primacy of its Church, for the salvation of His people.

Truly didst thou give good counsel unto kings and princes, O noble-minded Dunstan; for in humility and obedience thou didst receive wisdom, for the salvation of His anointed ones.

The godly King Edgar embraced thine excellent prudence and Christian virtue of soul, O holy Dunstan, and had thee consecrated Bishop of London, for the salvation of his pious flock.

Theotokion: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard the extent of thy mighty works, O Bride of God, nor can the tongue of man describe thy supernal beauties, which pass all human understanding.

Ode V

Irmos: Rising at dawn, we cry to Thee: Save us, O Lord! for Thou art our God, and we know none other than Thee.

The severed realm of England was united under the peaceable king, and thou, O saint, becamest its spiritual head.

Hallowed was the sceptered isle of England by thy great holiness and grace, O wondrous bishop Dunstan.

Unto our merciful God didst thou continually cry aloud: Save us, O Lord, for we know none other than Thee!

Theotokion: Save us from the talons of the evil dragon, our primordial foe, O Virgin, for we have none other help than thee.

Ode VI

Irmos: In the latter times Adam cried aloud: O my God, deliver me who have fallen! And having become like unto him, Thou didst come to save us.

O thy pastoral boldness, O holy one! For thou didst in no wise hesitate to rebuke even kings for the benefit and salvation of their immortal souls.

Never shall we cease to sing thy praises, O holy bishop; for thou didst raise up that which was fallen, unto the salvation of men¹s immortal souls.

Thy love of inner stillness and monastic prayer filled the whole land of England with the sweetness of grace, O thou who art rich in grace divine.

Theotokion: Help us, O Sovereign Lady, for we are all perishing in sore distress. As thou hast boldness before thy Son, come unto us, and save us.

If the feast fall within the Pentecost period, the kontakion & ikos from the Pentecostarion are sung here; otherwise, the kontakion & ikos of the holy bishop (see after Ode III) are sung at this point.


Irmos: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers, Who quenched the fiery furnace in Babylon and preserved the children therein as in a bridal-chamber!

Edward the king found shelter under the wings of thy wise counsel, O Dunstan; wherefore, in his martyr's death he shone forth radiantly.

Returning the monasteries of England to true monastic discipline, O saint, thou didst restore them in goodly order unto Christ the Lord.

Over the great Council of Winchester thou didst preside, O venerable one, codifying the rule and order of monastic life and governance.

Theotokion: Celts and Britons, Angles and Saxons, Picts and Scots, all lift up their voices in sweet hymnody, praising the all-pure Mother of the King of all.


Irmos: Hymn the Author of creation, of Whom the angels are in awe, O ye people, and exalt Him supremely for all ages.

King Edward's relics didst thou reverently escort from Wareham to the Convent of Shaftesbury, O saint.

Overcome with grief at the depredations of the heathen, Dunstan immersed himself in prayer, withdrawing farther from the world.

Full of years, the holy bishop received the divine Mysteries and surrendered his soul into the hands of his Lord.

Theotokion: Fain would we offer thee goodly praises, O Queen, yet our tongues of clay produce no sounds fit for thy praise

Ode IX

Irmos: We magnify Thy most immaculate and pure Mother, O Christ, for she gave birth to Thee in the flesh supernaturally, delivering us from all deception and corruption.

All thy thoughts didst thou fix upon Christ, O sanctified Dunstan, at the end of thine earthly life, and thou didst yearn for the sight of His all-radiant countenance.

In thy primatial cathedral at Canterbury was thy precious body solemnly entombed, O saint, to await and serve as a token of the universal resurrection of all men.

Through the centuries did thy holy relics shine like a radiant lamp, O holy one; yet for our sins, and to awaken our conscience, God let the ungodly remove them, we know not whither.

Theotokion: Hither have we come with haste, O Bride unwedded, to venerate thy holy icons and to extol thee with hymns of praise. Wherefore, be thou ever merciful unto us sinners.

Exapostilarion of the holy bishop: Spec. Mel.:Heaven with stars

Like as the night skies are resplendent with numerous stars, their constellations unerringly guiding travelers, so do the sainted archbishops of Canterbury adorn the skies of the English Church like the Pleiades, the great Dunstan shining most brightly in their midst.

Glory, Now & ever, from the Pentecostarion; or this Theotokion

Let me, who have fallen through manifold transgressions, glorify thine indisputable grace, O all-pure one; and by thy might rescue me from my sinful falls; for by thine invincible power thou savest those whom thou desirest to rescue from all tribulations.

Aposticha from the Pentecostarion or Octoechos; and Glory, of the holy bishop, Idiomelon, in Tone I

Aaron, the first high priest of the Most High, wore a breastplate designed by God, and wrought of gold and many costly stones; but in spirit the great bishops of England were themselves like precious jewels adorning the breast of the One Church of Christ, and in their setting Dunstan shone forth with splendor, more brilliant than a diamond, reflecting the light of the Sun of righteousness, and filling the faithful with delight by the supernal beauty and grace of his wondrous soul. Wherefore, let us offer high praise unto him, who by his supplications on our behalf doth enrich us beyond all measure.

Now & ever, from the Pentecostarion; or theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion: Spec. Mel.: O most praised martyrs

When she beheld the Lamb upon the Cross bereft of form and beauty, the most immaculate ewe-lamb and Mistress said, weeping: Woe is me! Where hath Thy comeliness gone, O Thou Who art most sweet? Where is the shining grace of Thine image, O my Son most beloved?

At the Liturgy

Prokimenon of the holy bishop, in Tone I

My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.

Stichos: Hear this, all ye nations; give ear, all ye that inhabit the world.

Epistle to the Hebrews, §318 (Heb. 7: 26-8: 2)

Brethren: Such a High Priest became us, Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.. For the law maketh men high priests who have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, Who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such a High Priest, Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Alleluia of the holy bishop, in Tone II

Stichos: The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak of judgment.

Stichos: The law of God is in his heart, and his steps shall not be tripped.

Gospel according to John, § 36 (Jn. 10: 9-16)

The Lord said to the Jews who came to Him: I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Communion verse of the holy bishop

In everlasting remembrance shall the righteous be, he shall not be afraid of evil tidings. .

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