On the 4th of August, commemoration of the Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus, Maximilian, Exakoustodianos, Iamblichus, Martinian, Dionysios, John [some say Antoninus] and Constantine.
The septet choir of Martyrs I honor,
Who showed the world the Rising of the dead.
On the fourth the seven who rose from the dead together died.
Tone 4. As noblest of Martyrs.
Obedient to God the blessed Youths despised the lawless command, and being chained undid the chains of error, and rejecting worldly honour received the honour which made them all-glorious and brought them the enjoyment of the kingdom on high.
Bravely you stripped yourselves for the starting-blocks of the contest, O Saints; you were hidden in a cave, where you implored the Lord with ceaseless entreaties to grant you strength and power; but the Lover of mankind, by the judgements which he knows, commands you, by divine might, to sleep in peace.
A mystery of mysteries is set forth by the Saints; for as when they died they were not aware, so now when awakened they were clearly amazed; for this happened to confirm the resurrection of the dead, that those who deny it may, when they know, be fenced in by faith and glorify the Martyrs.
Apolytikion. Tone 4.
Your Martyrs, O Lord, by their struggle obtained crowns of incorruption from you, our God; for with your might they destroyed tyrants and shattered the feeble insolence of the demons: at their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.
Or, in the same tone.
Great is the wonder of faith! The seven holy youths abode in the cave as in a royal chamber, and died without falling into corruption; and after much time they arose as from sleep, as an assurance of the resurrection of all men. Through their supplications, O Christ God, have mercy on us.
Ode 1. Tone 2.
Come, let us honour faithfully the precious glowing stones, in number seven, for they burn more brightly in the Church of Christ than the lamp of the law with its seven lights.
The seven Youths, who formerly lived for Christ by slaying the flesh, leapt up wondrously, taking death for sleep, maintaining the doctrine of the Resurrection.
Jericho fell to the blast of seven trumpets; now the uprising of error has gone down to Hell by the faith of the Champions with its seven lights and has been destroyed.
You Seven Holy Youths have truly received a double crown, for you laid waste error and the denial of the rising of all, the one before your death, the other by your rising.
You appeared, O Victors, as seven unerring stars, shining by faith, and you point those swimming in the deep of error to the harbour of salvation.
Standing stoutly like the Maccabees of old before a tyrant’s judgement seat, you exchanged the army’s perishable glory by soldiering for Christ.
Holy Youths fittingly you were shown to be an acceptable sacrifice of prayer to Christ, and a most sweet savour, as you stoutly put to shame the foul stench of error.
Kathisma. Tone 4. Lifted up on the Cross.
They despised the things of the world as corruptible, and received incorruptible gifts; dying they remained beyond corruption, therefore they rose up after many years and buried all the unbelief of the hostile. As we believers celebrate them today with praise, let us honour Christ in song.
Let us praise the seven Youths, a most holy band, honoured with the number seven.
The Youths of Ephesus showed the impious king of error to be senseless with his empty sophistries.
Holy Youths, in the faith you appeared truly as unblemished offerings and sacrifices of the Lord.
Once unperceived you died a common death on earth, Ephesian Youths. But beyond nature you then rose again, clearly confirming the Resurrection of the dead.
Made sacred to God by true confession of the Faith, wise Martyrs, as trained athletes of the Lord you were delivered from iron bonds and scourges, and bore off the crown.
Far-famed Martyrs, you stoutly vanquished the error of idols and the doctrine of impious heresy, and now you ever protect those who confess the Resurrection of the dead.
Let the seven Holy Youths, equal in number to Wisdom’s pillars, be praised, who crushed the tyrants’ godless decree with words as with stones.
Guarded by the law of divine foreknowledge, you accepted the cave, a temporary tomb, in which, O Saints, you appeared dead yet incorrupt for many years.
Associates of incorruption, O Martyrs, you drive out dead and destructive faith and you intercede to God for those who hope in the Resurrection.
Kontakion. Tone 4.
They that scorned all things in the world as corrupted and found the gifts that nothing ever corrupteth, behold, they died, and yet corruption touched them not. Wherefore after many years once again they all rose up, burying all unbelief of malicious revilers. Ye faithful, let us laud the seven youths with hymns of praise on this day, while extolling Christ.
The Youths appeared as pure and chosen vessels of Christ; through them false doctrine was driven from the Church and true belief shone out: that there will be a Resurrection of every soul and flesh as they were born.
As truly valiant before death in your struggle, Holy Youths, so again you appeared alive after death strengthened with divine glory, devoutly confirming in yourselves the truth of the Resurrection.
There will be a resurrection of spirits along with physical bodies; for as no soul is born to come forth into the world without a body, so too outside the body no soul is glorified or tested, said the All-praised Martyrs.
The godlike Youths cut off a root of bitter heresy and error that had fearfully sprung up. Now they deck it with fruit of the faith, alive yet buried, and truly rising again.
The princes of the Ephesians and champions of the Church of Christ, seven holy Youths, were divinely declared to be faithfully a rampart of the kingdom; we highly exalt them throughout the ages.
Brave athletes the Youths appeared, equal in number to the wandering stars, yet taking the unerring path of true religion as they cried, ‘O Christ we highly exalt you throughout the ages.’
Light and resurrection of life was wondrously granted from God to the Youths in the cave; and those previously dead rose up, and living cried, ‘O God, save those who sing your praise with faith.’
Happiness of mysteries and revelation of divine wonders now appears: the resurrection of the Saints. For those who of old died in the flesh a natural death, have now risen incorrupt, clothed like ones who sleep.
A store of strength and seal of firm faith the cave of the Saints appears, foretelling the glory of the coming Resurrection, not Lazarus four days dead, but the dead from every age will rise.
The Youths surely appeared by number and by faith as honoured eyes of the Church of Christ, blazing more brightly than the stone of Zorobabel. Let us in spirit praise their godlike spirits.
You contested bravely and received the crown of martyrdom, O seven Youths, pillars of God’s wisdom and rising of the doctrines of orthodoxy. You have been declared champions of the Church and intercessors for those who sing your praise.
Exapostilarion. With the Disciples let us go.
Before the judgement seat of the tyrant, O seven Martyr Youths, with boldness you proclaimed Christ as God of all, as Saviour and Creator. For you lay dead according to nature for many years in a cave by divine foreknowledge and beyond nature rose again as from sleep so stopping the mouths of every heretic.
In songs let us sing Iamblichus, John, Martin and Constantine, Maximilian and Dionysios, with famous Exakoustodianos, as we radiantly celebrate their radiant memory, that by their prayers and the intercessions of the Mother of God we may find release from offences from Christ the Saviour.