Akathist Hymn to the Martyrs Galaction and Episteme

Kontakion 1

O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we have been given another day to praise You and to learn of Your holy saints and martyrs. We see that the Martyrs Galaction and Episteme, husband and wife and yet monk and nun, tell an edifying story even before their birth, and so we begin by saying:

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Ikos 1

There was a pagan couple, Kletophon and Leukippe, who lived in the land of Syria. They were childless, and they paid the pagan priests for magic but to no avail. These pagans were powerless to impart life to the blessed Galaction who would one day join in prayer with the holy Episteme:

Praise God, for He knows us before we are born.

Praise God, for He creates us in His image.

Praise God, for His ways cannot be counterfeited.

Praise God, for His commandments have been given.

Praise God, for He is the Father in Heaven.

Praise God, for He is unto the ages of ages.

Praise God, for His love is unfathomable and perfect.

Praise God, for His mercy is incomprehensible and tender.

Praise God, for He makes a way where there is no way.

Praise God, for He shines light into the darkness.

Praise God, for His martyrs preferred death over betrayal.

Praise God, for His saints chose fidelity over dishonor.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 2

This was a time of persecution of the Christians, as Saints Galaction and Episteme themselves were killed for the Faith in the year 253, at that time under the Emperor Decian. Anyone who openly confessed the Galilean, that is, Jesus Christ, had to be prepared to say: Alleluia.

Ikos 2

Since persecution was rampant, many Christians desired martyrdom as an expression of total love for Christ. Some would voluntarily submit to torture and death, giving their lives in witness of Christ Who gave His divine flesh and blood for all of creation:

Praise God, for the martyrs praised God to the very end.

Praise God, for they spilled their blood into eternal life.

Praise God, for the tortured bore the marks of undying love.

Praise God, for they subdued their bodies to their souls.

Praise God, for the persecuted abide in unchangeable truth.

Praise God, for they suffered to obtain incorruptible crowns.

Praise God, and glorify Him with every breath.

Praise God, and exalt Him at the hour of death.

Praise God, and trust in His sovereignty always.

Praise God, and delight in His commandments only.

Praise God, and hasten to Him with a pure heart.

Praise God, and bow before Him with a clean conscience

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 3

In those days, in the city of Emesa where Saint Galaction was to be born, there was an old man who wandered the streets and begged for alms. His name was Onuphrius and he was a Christian priest and monk, disguising himself as a beggar and saying to any kindly soul: Alleluia.

Ikos 3

When the old man discerned that someone’s heart and mind were open to the message of the Gospel, he would talk to them about the uselessness of the pagan gods and the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. In this way, Onuphrius brought forth fruit amid the hazards of a pagan city:

Praise God, for Christ obeyed the Father and saved souls.

Praise God, for Christ came into the world for us sinners.

Praise God, for Christ is the New Adam.

Praise God, for Christ is before Abraham.

Praise God, for Christ is the Light of the World.

Praise God, for Christ is the Bread of Life.

Praise God, for Christ cursed the barren fig tree.

Praise God, for Christ expelled the moneychangers.

Praise God, for Christ walked on water.

Praise God, for Christ healed on the Sabbath.

Praise God, for Christ came as a servant.

Praise God, for Christ glorified the Father.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 4

In his holy wanderings, Onuphrius came upon the home of Leukippe, and he rejoiced that God had given him another day of priestly service. For, he detected an underlying sadness in Leukippe’s life. He gently inquired as to her wellbeing, and soon she would say with the Christians: Alleluia.

Ikos 4

Leukippe revealed that she was childless, and that the pagan priests had been ineffective in helping her. Onuphrius told her about God the Father, the God Who creates all life, the God Who answers the prayers of the faithful according to His own timeliness and tender mercy:

Praise God, for He sends His helpers to the heartbroken.

Praise God, for we are not bereft in our misfortunes.

Praise God, for He reaches down to the desperate.

Praise God, for we are not forsaken in our wretchedness.

Praise God, for He interconnects His people in salvation.

Praise God, for we are never abandoned regardless of our solitude.

Praise God, for He assembles His faithful with the saints in prayer.

Praise God, for we are never deprived regardless of our hardships.

Praise God, for He blesses each one with a guardian angel.

Praise God, for we are not deserted even in danger.

Praise God, for He consecrates each one with a patron saint.

Praise God, for we are not unknown even in a crowd.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 5

O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Your ways are wondrous and surpass the gods devised by mortal man. Leukippe listened to the wise and humble Onuphrius, and she was secretly baptized a Christian. Then, she had a dream about giving birth to an exceptional son, and she said: Alleluia.

Ikos 5

After the birth of her son, who was named Galaction, the new mother told her husband of her dream and of her Baptism. Because of the blessed birth of his child, and through the grace of God, and with the admirable example of his wife, Kletophon also became a Christian:

Praise God, for He joins spouses in spirituality.

Praise God, for He brings children into Christianity.

Praise God, for He is the Father of all fathers and mothers.

Praise God, for He is the Creator of all boys and girls.

Praise God, for the Mother of God is maternally attentive.

Praise God, for the Virgin Mary is the Mediatress of the world.

Praise God, for the Handmaid of God is lovingly sympathetic.

Praise God, for the Theotokos is the Protectress of believers.

Praise God, for He renders the faithful productive.

Praise God, for He makes the barren fruitful.

Praise God, for He is the source of all goodness.

Praise God, for He is the cause of every blessing.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 6

Saint Galaction, your parents loved God and they taught you to be a Christian, under the supervision of Onuphrius. Since they were wealthy, they also provided you with an excellent education in academics and business. You dutifully responded to their labors and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 6

You were thereby equipped to begin a lucrative career, but you leaned toward a life of worship and prayer. You thought it not a waste to forego marriage and family, to renounce money and things, and to dedicate your being and your entire life to unceasing prayer:

Praise God, for the saints are virtuous and lead us forward.

Praise God, for the martyrs are victorious and point us Heavenward.

Praise God, for there are holy examples from all walks of life.

Praise God, for there are courageous witnesses to this very day.

Praise God, for the theologians appear in every epoch.

Praise God, for the elders arise in various places.

Praise God, for we are supplied with knowledge and wisdom.

Praise God, for we are provided with instruction and direction.

Praise God, for the Church is indestructible.

Praise God, for the Cross is invincible.

Praise God, for there is forgiveness and redemption.

Praise God, for there is healing and deification.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 7

As the years went by, Saint Galaction, your mother departed this life and then you and your father were without her companionship. Your father wanted you to marry, and he betrothed you to a remarkable maiden named Episteme. However, you deferred to God’s will and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 7

Saint Galaction, your father was sensitive to your prayerful disposition, and he postponed the wedding for a while. In the meantime, you talked to Saint Episteme about your love for Jesus Christ, and her heart also was filled with a love for Christ above all other loves:

Praise God, Saint Galaction, for you were true to your utmost longings.

Praise God, young man of chastity and goodwill.

Praise God, for you were faithful to the path of prayer.

Praise God, wondrous soul of purity and lucidity.

Praise God, for you were devoted to a life of righteousness.

Praise God, steadfast pupil of humility and obedience.

Praise God, Saint Episteme, for you heard the Heavenly call to worship.

Praise God, young woman of inmost beauty.

Praise God, for you radiated the splendor of everlasting truth.

Praise God, worthy receptacle of divine grace.

Praise God, for you illumined the region with glorious love.

Praise God, faithful branch of the sacred vine.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 8

Saints Galaction and Episteme, you mutually agreed to pursue lives of unceasing prayer even after married. You secretly planned to enter monasteries, telling only Episteme’s servant Eutolmius who was also baptized. Eutolmius then prayed for your victory, and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 8

In the night, you left your home in Emesa and headed for the monasteries on Mount Publion. However, you parted at the crossroads: Galaction went to the men’s monastery and Episteme to the women’s monastery. Thus, you continued your lives as brother and sister in Christ:

Praise God, holy pair who knew sacrificial love.

Praise God, blessed couple who withdrew into prayer.

Praise God, for you fulfilled the will of God.

Praise God, for you lived to please the Father.

Praise God, solemn worshippers at the foot of the Cross.

Praise God, meek contributors to the harvest of the Church.

Praise God, for you were not deceived by the pagans.

Praise God, for you were not overcome by the demons.

Praise God, joyful partakers in the monastic tradition.

Praise God, grateful participants in the daily spirituality.

Praise God, for you joined together with the saints and angels.

Praise God, for you expressed through prayer the fullness of life.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 9

From that point, you never saw each other again. Rather, you lived under the direction of the abbot and abbess of your respective monasteries. You flourished in the routine of work and prayer, hidden in Christ, and thereby united with all worshippers in the Church, and you said: Alleluia.

Ikos 9

You remained in your monasteries for the rest of your lives, and you were worthy examples of patience and kindness toward everyone. Saint Episteme had a dream in which both of you received crowns from Christ: for, you would indeed encounter each other once more in martyrdom:

Praise God, devoted worshippers in the chapel.

Praise God, dependable intercessors for the faithful.

Praise God, for you rose early to begin morning prayers.

Praise God, for you took your places in the choir.

Praise God, consistent laborers for the upkeep of the monastery.

Praise God, pleasant helpers to the elderly confined in bed.

Praise God, for you swept and cooked and laundered.

Praise God, for you planted vegetables as well as flowers.

Praise God, committed followers of Christ through all trials.

Praise God, perpetual students of the Christian virtues.

Praise God, for you voluntarily nailed yourselves to the Cross.

Praise God, for you crucified yourselves to the world with its lusts.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 10

Saints Galaction and Episteme, your daily routine was to be obstructed on earth but rewarded in Heaven above. Christians were being persecuted, and the pagans located the monasteries on Mount Publion and sent soldiers there. Nonetheless, you trusted in God and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 10

Upon sight of the advancing soldiers, many monks and nuns escaped into the hills. But the two of you, Saints Galaction and Episteme, preferred to face the soldiers and accept torture and martyrdom, yes, to freely and joyfully suffer for Christ Who never failed you:

Praise God, wonderful soldiers under the Kingship of Christ.

Praise God, magnificent warriors for the Majesty of God.

Praise God, for you never came down from the Cross of Christ.

Praise God, for you always looked upward to the Throne of God.

Praise God, fruitful monastics throughout life and at the end.

Praise God, bountiful believers whether in safety or in danger.

Praise God, for you beseeched your patron saints for purity.

Praise God, for you supplicated your guardian angels for fidelity.

Praise God, inward peace amid outward threats.

Praise God, interior calm amid exterior menace.

Praise God, for you turned to the Virgin Mary as the Mother of Christians.

Praise God, for you kept in mind the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 11

Though your fellow monks ran away, Saint Galaction, you chose to stay in the monastery. You went only as far as your cell, and you began reading the Gospel. When the soldiers found you, they captured you and took you back to Emesa for trial, but you faced everyone and said: Alleluia.

Ikos 11

Saint Episteme, you also stayed behind, with the reluctant blessing of your abbess. For, you had spotted the soldiers taking Saint Galaction and you wanted to be with him. Together once again, the crossroads having been reset in martyrdom, you both went forward in total sacrifice:

Praise God, for He gives us inspiration from Church history.

Praise God, for we relate to one another across the centuries.

Praise God, for He offers us comfort from all of Heaven.

Praise God, for we communicate with those who departed before us.

Praise God, for He establishes interconnections in but not of the world.

Praise God, for we endeavor to see His image in one and all.

Praise God, and let not His adversaries define reality.

Praise God, and permit not His opponents to alter theology.

Praise God, and step not into the dungeon of depravity.

Praise God, and stumble not onto the path of perdition.

Praise God, and gaze not upon the attraction of superiority.

Praise God, and peer not into the gratification of vainglory.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 12

Saints Galaction and Episteme, you were tortured even as you sang praises to God for your Baptism into the Holy Church, for the gift of faith, for everything you gained from your lives of prayer in the monastery, and for everyone you met who taught you to say: Alleluia.

Ikos 12

Finally, you were beheaded, and your bodies were properly buried by Eutolmius. Today, on the Mountain of Saints Galaction and Episteme, there is a small hermitage. And, in the Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai, there are icons of these martyrs whom we hold so dear:

Praise God, for He invigorates the old and sick among us.

Praise God, for He forgives our sins whether dreadful or subtle.

Praise God, for He purifies the unholy tendencies that plague us.

Praise God, for He upholds our beginning efforts no matter how small.

Praise God, for the weary find strength.

Praise God, for the hungry find nourishment.

Praise God, for the lost find direction.

Praise God, for the empty find fulfillment.

Praise God, for He blesses the patient and merciful.

Praise God, for He answers the faithful and prayerful.

Praise God, for He renews the severely afflicted.

Praise God, for He restores the deeply wounded.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Kontakion 13

Saints Galaction and Episteme, you light our way even on the gloomiest days in this world and in the most dismal corners of existence. Your martyrdom revitalizes our purpose and rejuvenates our faith, for we are sorely tested in our times. With your help we say: Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

(Repeat Kontakion 13 three times.)

Kontakion 1 (repeated)

O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we have been given another day to praise You and to learn of Your holy saints and martyrs. We see that the Martyrs Galaction and Episteme, husband and wife and yet monk and nun, tell an edifying story even before their birth, and so we begin by saying:

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

Ikos 1 (repeated)

There was a pagan couple, Kletophon and Leukippe, who lived in the land of Syria. They were childless, and they paid the pagan priests for magic but to no avail. These pagans were powerless to impart life to the blessed Galaction who would one day join in prayer with the holy Episteme:

Praise God, for He knows us before we are born.

Praise God, for He creates us in His image.

Praise God, for His ways cannot be counterfeited.

Praise God, for His commandments have been given.

Praise God, for He is the Father in Heaven.

Praise God, for He is unto the ages of ages.

Praise God, for His love is unfathomable and perfect.

Praise God, for His mercy is incomprehensible and tender.

Praise God, for He makes a way where there is no way.

Praise God, for He shines light into the darkness.

Praise God, for His martyrs preferred death over betrayal.

Praise God, for His saints chose fidelity over dishonor.

Praise God, Saints Galaction and Episteme, joyful martyrs for Christ.

A Prayer

Saints Galaction and Episteme, we pray to know and live by truth, even if it means to be inconvenienced in our daily lives or to be persecuted by those around us. We pray to have the love of Christ working within us, such that we live in Him and cherish the Holy Cross on which He died for us. We pray to find all meaning and purpose in doing the will of the Heavenly Father and glorifying Him with everything we say and do.

We ask for strength and courage as we interact with unbelievers and with the worldly, for we endeavor to be voices in the wilderness as well as to see the image of God in all people. We ask for the ability to express gratitude to those who help us, and to pray for both our helpers and the lost. We ask to be examples of purity of heart and clarity of mind, that we might never again betray our Baptism with inappropriate words or actions.

Grant us, Saints Galaction and Episteme, the wisdom to guide children in the Faith, to choose committed Godparents, and to seek advice in difficult situations. Grant us the prospect to enter monasteries if called by God to do so, and to acquire grace and holiness. Grant us the desire to pray throughout the day, while performing our tasks or in moments of quietude, so that the pressures and distractions of our environment do not dominate us.

Saints Galaction and Episteme, we honor you and turn to you, for you lived in Godliness under all conditions and you preferred death over consent to evil. We have a God Whose mercy is beyond comprehension, and we wish to partake of that goodness and not fall prey to the cunning of Satan. We beseech you to lead us into goodness and joy, and to accept our heartfelt gratitude for your loving-kindness. Amen.

 

Copyright © 2018 by Natalia J. Garland

Batch 33, Version 1

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

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