Akathist Hymn to Saint Evfrosiniya of Suzdal

Kontakion 1

God radiantly shone His light upon the earth when He brought forth the holy nun, Saint Evfrosiniya of Suzdal, for she professed the Faith and embraced the monastic life.  Let all the monks and nuns find inspiration in her exemplary life of prayer, let all the people hasten to her for wise guidance and glorious encouragement, and let the young and the old marvel at her virtues, saying:

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Ikos 1

Your parents, Prince Michael of Chernigov and Princess Theophania, remained childless until you were born.  In their longing for a child, they would visit the Monastery of the Kiev Caves and pray to the Mother of God and to Saint Anna.  With deep faith in the Life-Giving Trinity, and with devotion to the compassionate Virgin Mother, their piety provided the path for your entrance into this life.  We therefore honor you as one who was immersed in prayer from the beginning, even before birth, and we say:

Rejoice, for zealous prayers preceded your birth.

Rejoice, for thoughts of you imbued a holy monastery.

Rejoice, for your parents implored the Virgin Mary for a child.

Rejoice, for she is the Mother of the Christian people.

Rejoice, for everything proceeds according to God’s timeliness.

Rejoice, for all things are possible with God.

Rejoice, for your parents were devout believers.

Rejoice, for they lived in hope of God’s provision.

Rejoice, for your father gave alms to the poor.

Rejoice, for your mother managed a pious household.

Rejoice, for trust in God is essential.

Rejoice, for His grace is sufficient.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 2

The prayers of Prince Michael and Princess Theophania were heard, and the Mother of God revealed herself to them three times.  The third time, she appeared with Saints Anthony and Theodosius of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves.  The holy Birthgiver of God foretold the birth of a daughter who was to be named Theodulia, and that the daughter would be filled with the Holy Spirit.  The thankful parents-to-be then said: Alleluia.

 Ikos 2

After you were born, you were baptized at the Monastery of the Kiev Caves and you were named Theodulia.  As a young girl, you would eat only bread and vegetables, and drink only water.  Your parents cherished you, for you had a sweet disposition and your company gave them great comfort.  Together with all the monks and nuns throughout the world, now as in former times, we offer these praises to the wondrous nun-to-be:

Rejoice, for you were surrounded by kindheartedness.

Rejoice, for you were your parents’ sacred treasure.

Rejoice, for you were known of the Holy Spirit from the start.

Rejoice, for you were earnest and sincere before God.

Rejoice, for you were baptized by the abbot of a holy monastery.

Rejoice, for you would also become the head of a monastery.

Rejoice, for the Theotokos foretold your birth and named you.

Rejoice, for Saints Anthony and Theodosius welcomed you.

Rejoice, for you began your ascetic endeavor in childhood.

Rejoice, for you were fortified by the Life-Giving Trinity.

Rejoice, for you were thankful for your life and for the Church.

Rejoice, for you glorified the God Who brought you into being.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 3

Your future, Theodulia, seemed to be arranged by your parents who had chosen a husband for you.  However, you wanted to become a nun and, just like your parents who had prayed for a child, you prayed to the Mother of God to help you become a nun.  She appeared to you and said, “Honor your father and mother, and do not resist them.”  Nonetheless, the Ever-Virgin Mary also gave you reassurance that the marriage was not to be, and you obeyed and said: Alleluia.

 Ikos 3

On the day of your wedding, your fiancé departed this life to the Lord.  You then went straightway to the Monastery of the Placing of the Robe of the Mother of God, and asked the abbess for permission to enter within the walls of prayer.  Before long, you were tonsured and given the name of the saint whose feast was celebrated on that day: Saint Euphrosinia of Alexandria.  We therefore sing praises to you for your complete trust in the Providence of the Father Almighty:

Rejoice, for you were obedient to your parents and to the Theotokos.

Rejoice, for the Mother of God kept you under her holy protection.

Rejoice, for your quest to live the life of prayer was acceptable to God.

Rejoice, for all things work together for the good of those who love Him.

Rejoice, for you never boasted of your royal background.

Rejoice, for you served only the King of kings.

Rejoice, for you withdrew from your family birthright.

Rejoice, for you sought only a crown in Heaven.

Rejoice, for your parents then understood that you had to do what was pleasing to God.

Rejoice, for you belonged in the monastery with the saints and angels and with the sisters.

Rejoice, for you renounced the world and put off your old self.

Rejoice, for you crossed the monastic threshold in a second baptism.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

Kontakion 4

In the monastery, Saint Evfrosiniya, you were faithful to the traditions of work and prayer, sacred reading, non-acquisition, kindness toward the sisters and denial of self-will.  You were fortified in your commitment when Christ appeared to you in a vision.  You asked Him why He, the immortal and unfathomable God, became incarnate.  Our Lord replied that He did so in accordance with mercy.  Jesus then encouraged you to be vigilant and to be of good cheer, and you cried out: Alleluia.

 Ikos 4

Not only did Christ appear to you, Venerable Evfrosiniya, but Satan and his demons began tormenting you.  Satan tried to cajole you by appealing to the passions of pride and vanity, and to discourage you with obscene suggestions and depictions. Satan’s goal was to convince you to leave the monastery and return to the ways of the world.  Saint Evfrosiniya, you were not swayed by Satan’s deceit, but instead prayed to the Life-Giving Trinity for help.  Then, the earth opened and Satan and his hordes were cast into the pit.  In amazement at your feats of piety, we offer you these praises:

Rejoice, for you flourished in simplicity and virginity.

Rejoice, for you crucified yourself to all attachments for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rejoice, for you undertook rigorous spiritual struggles.

Rejoice, for you underwent purification of soul and acquired the virtues.

Rejoice, for you made a straight path for Jesus Christ: like Saint John the Baptist and the Angel of the Desert.

Rejoice, for you wished to conquer all impurities: like Saint Anthony the Great and the founder of monasticism.

Rejoice, for you worshipped in the chapel daily: as though in Heaven.

Rejoice, for you prayed unceasingly: in solidarity with the monastic way.

Rejoice, for you overcame the persuasive powers of the demons.

Rejoice, for the angels were watching when you became a nun.

Rejoice, for you remained in the monastery until the end of your days.

Rejoice, for you faithfully served God, the sisters, and the pilgrims.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 5

Saint Evfrosiniya, worthy disciple of Christ, you took a vow of obedience when you put on the robe of a nun.  In gladness you submitted your will to the guidance of your abbess.  In meekness you learned from all the sisters whether novices or longstanding. You found the word of God in every person and place:  in the Psalms and in the holy fathers, in the community and in the abbess, and in the green fields and in the drifting clouds. You found blessedness in all facets of God’s creation and manifestations, saying: Alleluia.

 Ikos 5

In praise of obedience, we see that Jesus Christ was obedient when He became incarnate according to the will of the Heavenly Father and for the sake of us sinners.  As a child, Jesus obeyed the righteous Joseph and the immaculate Mary, living in a harmonious household of duties, talents, and love for one another.  As a man, the obedience of Jesus was even unto death on the Cross.  Saint Evfrosiniya, as a nun you also yielded to the will of God, always remembering the hour of death and preparing for eternal life in the Kingdom. We therefore sing praises to you for your love of Christ and of your holy vows:

Rejoice, instrument of God.

Rejoice, imitator of Christ.

Rejoice, indwelling of the Spirit.

Rejoice, inspiration of nuns.

Rejoice, testimony of Scripture.

Rejoice, torch of faith.

Rejoice, temple of prayer.

Rejoice, totality of virtue.

Rejoice, mother of holiness.

Rejoice, mantle of wisdom.

Rejoice, might of silence.

Rejoice, morning of tranquility.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 6

When you took the vow of chastity, Saint Evfrosiniya, you dedicated your entire being to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  You joyously conquered sensual desires and renounced worldly pleasures, giving your heart only to Christ and directing your eyes only to His Cross.  You never looked back, but walked forward on the straight path, saying: Alleluia.

 Ikos 6

This world is defiled with infidelity of all kinds: idolatry and adultery, distractions and ambitions, and cravings and hankerings.  Come then, all followers of Christ and seekers of truth, let us repent of our impure ways and confess our iniquities, that we may together praise the holy nun, Venerable Evfrosiniya:

Rejoice, star shining in obedience to the Creator of the heavens.

Rejoice, river flowing in submission to His divine plan of salvation.

Rejoice, myrtle adhering to the manger with fragrant foliage.

Rejoice, rose blossoming at the foot of the Precious Cross.

Rejoice, snowflake of purity falling gently into a monastery dedicated to the Mother of God.

Rejoice, incense of prayer abundantly filling that monastery with vitality and unity.

Rejoice with the benevolent saints and vigilant angels.

Rejoice with the pious sisters and the blessed abbess.

Rejoice with Saint Pachomius and Saint Basil the Great.

Rejoice with Mount Athos and the Kiev Caves.

Rejoice, for you are not of this world.

Rejoice, for the Kingdom is at hand.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 7

In pursuit of the life of prayer, Saint Evfrosiniya, you also took a vow of poverty — meaning, non-acquisition of personal or earthly possessions, because these require much attention and worry.  You even wore tattered garments, and your only adornment consisted of the virtues of humility, meekness, forgiveness, longsuffering and silence.  You truly lived without delusions of worldly happiness, saying: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Saint Evfrosiniya, gracious nun, in poverty of possessions and in rejection of materialism, you trusted in Jesus Christ to fulfill all your needs and safeguard your spiritual growth.Through emptiness, you became satisfied. Through lack, you became charitable. Through struggles, you became victorious.  Through stillness, you became angelic.  We therefore unworthily bring these praises to you:

Rejoice, soldier of Christ.

Rejoice, shield of virtues.

Rejoice, mainstay of nuns.

Rejoice, mover of mountains.

Rejoice, armor of vows.

Rejoice, ark of grace.

Rejoice, diligence of labor.

Rejoice, daybreak of prayer.

Rejoice, gatherer of sisters.

Rejoice, gate of monasticism.

Rejoice, reaper of visions.

Rejoice, richness of poverty.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 8

In your vow of stability, Saint Evfrosiniya, you never wavered in your commitment to the monastic way.  You remained in the monastery, worshipping God and supporting the needs of the sisters.  You became a link in the history of the unbroken chain of monks and nuns, never placing yourself above others and never refusing the lowliest task.  Every day, in work and in prayer, you said: Alleluia.

 Ikos 8

Venerable Evfrosiniya, we beseech you to come to our aid, for we live in a world of instability and in a culture of decay.  Guide us to the unchanging Gospel.  Lead us to a dependable routine of prayer.  Help us to develop pious households, and encourage the thirsty souls to become monks and nuns.  In thanksgiving for your intercession, we offer you our heartfelt praises:

Rejoice, preservation of the prayers of the Church: acceptable to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Rejoice, rock of the monastic routine: acceptable to the Protectress of monks and nuns.

Rejoice, bread of mercy toward the sisters: acceptable to the Body of Christ.

Rejoice, water of hospitality for the pilgrims: acceptable to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rejoice, for you wore the garment of salvation.

Rejoice, for you ended each day in peaceful relations.

Rejoice, for you mended all internal divisions.

Rejoice, for you refrained from needless conversation.

Rejoice, for you endured personal privations.

Rejoice, for you thanked God for all situations.

Rejoice and arise.

Rejoice and shine.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 9

The abbess of the monastery would often listen to you, Saint Evfrosiniya, for she presided over the nuns not to be served but to serve.  She discerned the wisdom and sobriety which God had granted you.  In meekness of soul and for the benefit of the community, she would consult with you, marveling at your spiritual gifts and saying: Alleluia.

 Ikos 9

The abbess, now elderly, and so humble that we do not even know her name, became gravely ill.  You had foreseen her death, and approached her with that awareness while she was still strong. She therefore blessed you and confirmed the grace that was within you, telling you that Jesus Christ would always direct your words and deeds to His glory.  The abbess peacefully departed this life to the Lord.  You then became the head of the monastery, Venerable Evfrosiniya, and hence we chant praises to you:

Rejoice, beloved of the abbess.

Rejoice, for she took you into the monastery while you were still young.

Rejoice, chosen nun of Christ.

Rejoice, for He moved the sisters to elect you as their next superior.

Rejoice, angelic woman of prayer.

Rejoice, for you sustained the monastic tradition for another generation.

Rejoice, dear one of the Theotokos.

Rejoice, for she found in you a pure heart that loved her Son.

Rejoice, caretaker of the needs of others.

Rejoice, for you found the image of God in all people.

Rejoice, gifted-one of the Holy Trinity.

Rejoice, for you used these gifts toward the building of the Kingdom.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 10

Throughout Suzdal and beyond, the people heard of your ability to teach and counsel, and that you were clairvoyant and a worker of miracles.  Many young women, after talking with you and beholding your holy countenance, remained in the monastery and became nuns.  For this reason, Saint Evfrosiniya, you cried out: Alleluia.

 Ikos 10

You had much sympathy for the people, Venerable Evfrosiniya, and you healed them of various illnesses in the Name of Jesus Christ and through prayer to His holy Mother.  You were also able to cast out demons, and such was the case with Sister Thais.  At the request of her mother, who promised in return to offer her daughter to the Virgin Mary, you banished an evil spirit from her.  The daughter then became Sister Thais and glorified God forever in the monastery.  Along with all those who received healings, we rightfully sing these praises to you:

Rejoice, for you healed all those who came to you with infirmities.

Rejoice, for you cast out the demons from the tormented.

Rejoice, for you attributed these miracles to the Lord Jesus and to His Virgin Mother.

Rejoice, for you served as a vessel of divine compassion and mercy.

Rejoice, for the glorious light of God shone upon you.

Rejoice, for His tender love illuminated your path and the people around you.

Rejoice, for the power of God poured forth through your pure heart.

Rejoice, for His Begotten Son pardoned sins and healed diseases when you called upon Him.

Rejoice, for the beauty of the Theotokos veiled you.

Rejoice, for you were devoted to her from your youth.

Rejoice, for you upheld the holiness of the monastery dedicated to her.

Rejoice, for you desired the salvation of all the nuns and pilgrims.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 11

In those days, the Tatars, led by Batu Khan who was the grandson of Genghis Khan, began invading Russia, burning churches and towns and killing the people. Many girls fled to the monastery, seeking protection under the Mother of God.  You prayed fervently, Saint Evfrosiniya, for the country and the city, and with deep faith in the Life-Giving Trinity you continued to say: Alleluia.

 Ikos 11

Venerable Evfrosiniya, our Lord and King appeared to you and revealed that the Tatars would destroy Suzdal, but that the monastery dedicated to His Mother would be spared.  Nonetheless, some nuns fled and were killed or taken captive, whereas others returned to the monastery.  Then a radiant light in the shape of a cross shone above the monastery, while a dark cloud obstructed the view of the Tatars.  Although the land had been devastated, you were able to maintain your life of prayer and your vows, and now we sing praises to you:

Rejoice, for you put your trust in the promise of Jesus Christ.

Rejoice, for you turned to Him in ardent prayer for the people.

Rejoice, for the monastery was secure while civilization collapsed.

Rejoice, for the life of prayer persisted within those sacred walls.

Rejoice, for the days were filled with evil, but the monastery was saved and everyone in it.

Rejoice, for once again, life was bestowed upon you by the Holy and Life-Giving Trinity.

Rejoice, for you sheltered all those whom God had given you.

Rejoice, for none were lost who remained under y0ur care.

Rejoice, for you were a holy mother to all the nuns and pilgrims.

Rejoice, for you preserved a place of peace in a time of war.

Rejoice, for you comforted the nuns and led them in prayer.

Rejoice, for you always bowed before the Protectress of nuns.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 12

The brutal Tatars also struck the region of Chernigov, the land of your childhood.  Your father, Prince Michael, had gone to the Kingdom of Hungary to try to form alliances, and then he returned to face Batu Khan on Russian soil.  The Tatars tried to make Prince Michael and his Boyar Theodore reject Christ and forsake the Church, by forcing them to bow to the pagan gods.  However, they professed their belief in Jesus Christ, saying: Alleluia.

 Ikos 12

Saint Evfrosiniya, you sent a letter to your father and encouraged him in his sufferings for Christ.  You told him that he must please only Christ the King and not worship an earthly ruler or false god.  Prince Michael was fortified by your words. He and Theodore were then tortured and beheaded for their loyal commitment to Jesus Christ, and the Tatars were amazed at their faith.  Both men are saints and represent the unconquered True Faith through the blood of martyrdom, and we therefore offer these praises to them and to you:

Rejoice, Martyr Michael who had prayed with faith for a child.

Rejoice, for your faith was later reinforced by that very child.

Rejoice, Martyr Theodore who had educated Saint Evfrosiniya during her youthful days in Chernigov.

Rejoice, for you properly taught a child and then supported her father in his hour of need.

Rejoice, father and daughter, saints of God.

Rejoice, Prince and Boyar, martyrs of God.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, steadfast nun.

Rejoice, sober ascetic.

Rejoice, strong daughter.

Rejoice, spiritual mother.

Rejoice, sacred counselor.

Rejoice, sublime healer.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Kontakion 13

You had reassured your father with a passage from Scripture, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”  This is the truth of Christianity and the right way of life for all Christians in all circumstances.  Saint Evfrosiniya, when it was time for you to depart this life to the Lord, the Martyrs Michael and Theodore appeared to you and announced that Christ was calling you into eternal light and joy.  You gave your final instructions to the sisters, and then committed your spirit to Jesus Christ.  Since you continue to comfort and heal us sinners on earth, we thank you for your compassion and say: Alleluia.  Alleluia.  Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

 Kontakion 1 (repeated)

God radiantly shone His light upon the earth when He brought forth the holy nun, Saint Evfrosiniya of Suzdal, for she professed the Faith and embraced the monastic life.  Let all the monks and nuns find inspiration in her exemplary life of prayer, let all the people hasten to her for wise guidance and glorious encouragement, and let the young and the old marvel at her virtues, saying:

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 Ikos 1 (repeated)

Your parents, Prince Michael of Chernigov and Princess Theophania, remained childless until you were born.  In their longing for a child, they would visit the Monastery of the Kiev Caves and pray to the Mother of God and to Saint Anna.  With deep faith in the Life-Giving Trinity, and with devotion to the compassionate Virgin Mother, their piety provided the path for your entrance into this life.  We therefore honor you as one who was immersed in prayer from the beginning, even before birth, and we say:

Rejoice, for zealous prayers preceded your birth.

Rejoice, for thoughts of you imbued a holy monastery.

Rejoice, for your parents implored the Virgin Mary for a child.

Rejoice, for she is the Mother of the Christian people.

Rejoice, for everything proceeds according to God’s timeliness.

Rejoice, for all things are possible with God.

Rejoice, for your parents were devout believers.

Rejoice, for they lived in hope of God’s provision.

Rejoice, for your father gave alms to the poor.

Rejoice, for your mother managed a pious household.

Rejoice, for trust in God is essential.

Rejoice, for His grace is sufficient.

Rejoice, Saint Evfrosiniya, venerable nun and miracleworker.

 A Prayer

Saint Evfrosiniya, virtuous woman of prayer and faithful follower of Christ, we pray to you for strength in these chaotic times and for loyalty to the Church.  We desire to worship God not with timidity, but in confidence and unity, and with courage amid the political and cultural pressures of our era. We especially pray for the monks and nuns in every land, that their witness will shine forth through the grace of God and impede the encroachment of the world. Venerable Evfrosiniya, keep us, unworthy though we are, within your loving shelter and beseech Jesus Christ for our salvation. Amen.

Copyright © 2014 by Natalia J. Garland

Batch 25, Version 5

This material may be reprinted and redistributed for personal and non-profit uses only.

ADDENDUM #1: (June 24, 2017)

1) Regarding kos 5, verse 2: some people might disagree with the use of the word imitate or imitator, on the grounds that the imitation of Christ is in conflict with the Eastern Orthodox concept of theosis. For a scholarly yet readable treatment on this subject, the reader might consider Fellow Workers with God: Orthodox Thinking on Theosis, by Norman Russell, published in 2009 by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press as a part of the Foundation Series.

2) Regarding Ikos 5: the word immaculate is used as a synonym for pure, clean, or virgin. It does not refer to the ‘Immaculate Conception.’ Please note that the word immaculate is never capitalized in my hymns, and is always used as an adjective and not as a religious theory.

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