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December 18, 2011

Synaxarion for the Sunday Before the Nativity of Christ

On the Sunday that occurs on or immediately after the eighteenth of December, we celebrate all those who from ages past have been well-pleasing to God, beginning from Adam even unto Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, according to genealogy, as the Evangelist Luke has recorded historically (Luke 3:23-38) as well as the Evangelist Matthew (Matthew 1:1-17); we also commemorate the Prophets and Prophetesses, and especially the Prophet Daniel and the Holy Three Children.

(Due to the large number of verses below that are to be read on this Sunday, I have not yet made a full translation. This is therefore a work in progress.)


Commemoration of Adam and Eve, the first-formed.

I hymn the death of the founders of our living race,
The cause for which I both live and die.

Commemoration of the just Abel, Adam’s son.

Your blood and soul apart cry out to God,
O first of the dead, and first of the saved.

Commemoration of the just Seth, Adam’s son.

Seth the new offspring for his parents in Abel’s place,
A just man too, as Abel was.

Commemoration of the just Enosh, Seth’s son.

Many were inspired with zeal in hope,
Seeing Enosh great in hope.

Commemoration of the just Canaan, Enosh’s son.

Canaan was written of in Moses’ book,
So in the present book must he be written.

Commemoration of Mahalalel, Canaan’s son.

To you Mahalalel belongs the word,
Son of Canaan, without mentioning the word.

Commemoration of Jared, Mahalalel’s son.

Truly you are just among the multitude of the just,
And the just Jared we also commemorate.

Commemoration of the just Enoch, Jared’s son.

Enoch who had pleased God most visibly,
In lands invisible was made to dwell.

Commemoration of Methuselah, Enoch’s son.

That you were Enoch’s child I learned Methuselah,
And here for others wrote it down.

Commemoration of Lamech, Methuselah’s son.

Knowing two Lamechs I must honor one,
Not the murderer but the other one named Lamech.

Commemoration of the just Noah, Lamech’s son.

Adam brought mortals ruin from a tree,
But Noah through a tree saved all the race.

Commemoration of the just Shem, Noah’s son.

His father’s nakedness Shem rightly covered,
Finding that he had his father’s prayers as cover.

Commemoration of the just Japhet, Noah’s son.

Not running from the breadth of your fathers shame Japhet,
You enlarged you life by receiving the blessing of your father.

Commemoration of the just Arphaxad, Shem’s son.

Zῇ Κύριος ζῶν, οὐ τὸν Ἀρφαξὰδ λίπω,
Καὶ γὰρ χρεὼν καὶ τοῦτον ἐνταῦθα γράφειν.

Commemoration of the just Cainan, Arphaxad’s son.

Καϊνᾶν ἡμῖν ἐξεγήγερται νέος,
Τῷ πρὶν Καϊνᾶν, ἐμφερὴς ἐκ τοῦ τρόπου.

Commemoration of the just Shelah, Cainan’s son.

Συμπατριωτῶν ὁρμαθῷ καὶ συμφύλων,
Ἡ συγγένεια συνδέει καὶ τὸν Σάλα.

Commemoration of the just Eber, after whom the Jews are named Hebrews.

Eber is truly great for all the Jews;
He gave his own name to the Hebrew race.

Commemoration of the just Peleg, Eber’s son.

I keep high festival for Eber’s child;
For Moses tells that Peleg begot.

Commemoration of Reu, Peleg’s son.

Again conception and again new birth;
Peleg begets for us Reu his son.

Commemoration of the just Serug, Reu’s son.

Writing the offspring of ancients down,
Were I to miss out Serug, I would err.

Commemoration of the just Nahor, Serug’s son.

Γένους ὑπάρχειν τῶν ἄνω λελεγμένων,
Καὶ τὸν Ναχὼρ γνοὺς οὐ διϊστῶ τοῦ γένους.

Commemoration of the just Terah, Nahor’s son.

Terah came forth from Nahor as his son;
Father of many nations father he became.

Commemoration of the just Patriarch Abraham.

How shall I welcome Abraham with words,
To whom it was vouchsafed to welcome Angels?

Commemoration of the Patriarch Isaac, Abraham’s son.

Bound for the slaughter Isaac was a type
Of God’s high Word who would to slaughter come.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Jacob, Isaac’s son.

By the Ladder which is the Virgin Jacob saw,
God coming down to earth before His birth.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Reuben, Jacob’s son.

Of Jacob’s honoured offspring I have known
Reuben to be the godlike, honored start.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Symeon, Jacob’s son.

Though only second Symeon in line,
From us no second honor does he bear.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Levi, Jacob’s son.

As godly servant of the the greatest God
What better glory, Levi, do you wish?

Commemoration of the Patriarch Judah, Jacob’s son, of whose tribe came the Christ.

Those who are saved will now sing Judah’s praise,
For Christ who is salvation came from him.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Zebulun, Jacob’s son, whose tribe lives by the sea shore.

Ἀκτὰς κατοικεῖν ὁ Ζαβουλὼν ἐκρίθη,
Γῆς καὶ θαλάττης εἰς ἓν ἄκρα συνδέων.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Issachar, Jacob’s son, whose tribe tills the soil.

Issachar sets himself to heavy toil,
Sustains his life by bringing bread from earth.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Dan, Jacob’s son, whose tribe is judge.

Λαοῦ κριτὴς Δάν, γλῶττα τῆς ἐξουσίας
Ζυγοῖς δικαίοις πᾶσιν ἐξάγων κρίσιν.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Gad, Jacob’s son, whose tribe robbed.

Γὰδ πειρατευθείς, πειρατεύων ἐκτρέχει,
Νίκαις δὲ πάντων πειρατῶν κατισχύει.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Asher, Jacob’s son, whose tribe is rich in wheat-bearing lands.

Ἀσὴρ δέ, φησί, πίονα πλουτεῖ στάχυν,
Τρέφει τε τοὺς ἄρχοντας ἄρτῳ πλουσίῳ.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Naphtali, Jacob’s son, whose tribe is very numerous.

Ὡς ἔρνος ὄντως Νεφθαλεὶμ ἀνειμένον
Εἰς πλῆθος αὐτῷ τῆς φυλῆς ἡπλωμένης.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Joseph, Jacob’s son, whose tribe is very glorious and very famous.

Ηὐξημένον σε, σὸς Πατὴρ εἶναι λέγων,
Δόξαν φυλῆς σῆς, Ἰωσήφ, διαγράφει.

Commemoration of the Patriarch Benjamin, Jacob’s son, whose tribe is gentle and not savage.

Φαγὼν τὸ πρωῒ Bενιαμίν, ὡς λύκος,
Πρᾶος φανεῖς, δίδωσι βρῶσιν ἑσπέρας.

Commemoration of Perez and Zerach, the twin sons of the Patriarch Judah.

Κοινῶς ἐπαινῶ σπέρμα κοινὸν Ἰούδα
Φαρὲς Ζαρά τε, τοὺς διδύμους συγγόνους.

Commemoration of Hezron, Perez’s son.

Ἐκ Φαρὲς Ἐσρώμ, ὥσπερ ἐκ ῥίζης κλάδος,
Ἄμφω δὲ ῥίζης Ἀβραὰμ θεῖοι κλάδοι.

Commemoration of Ram, Hezron’s son.

Γέγηθεν Ἐσρώμ, οὐ νοσῶν ἀτεκνίαν.
Ἀρὰμ γὰρ αὐτῷ τέκνον ἠγαπημένον.

Commemoration of Amminadab, Ram’s son.

Τὸν Ἀμιναδὰβ ἐξ Ἀρὰμ φῦναι λόγος.
Τούτου γὰρ υἱὸν ἡ Γραφὴ τοῦτον λέγει.

Commemoration of Nahshon, Amminadab’s son.

Εἷς καὶ Ναασὼν τῆς, Ἰούδα φατρίας,
Ἐξ Ἀμιναδὰβ τῆς φυλῆς ἐξ, Ἰούδα.

Commemoration of Salmon, Nahshon’s son.

Ηὔξησε σειρὰν Ἀβραμιαίου γένους
Σαλμὼν προελθὼν τῆς Ναασὼν ὀσφύος.

Commemoration of Boaz, Salmon’s son.

Evangelist, whom do you write as son
Of Salmon here? Boaz, he says, I write.

Commemoration of Obed, Boaz’ son, born of Ruth.

Obed of Ruth, a Moabite by tribe,
But yet of Boaz, a true Israelite.

Commemoration of Jesse, Obed’s son.\

Jesse give birth, and let your race give birth
Until from it a Child, great God, is born.

Commemoration of King David, Jesse’s son.

What shall I say, the Lord bears witness here,
I have found David after my own heart.

Commemoration of King Solomon, David’s son.

Σοφὸς Σολομὼν πρῶτος ἐν σοφοῖς βίου,
Ἔχων τὸ πρῶτον τῶν καλῶν τῶν τοῦ βίου.

Commemoration of King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son.

Ἐγκώμιόν σοι Ῥοβοάμ, πλέκω μέγα,
Σὸν πάππον εἶναι τὸν μέγαν Δαυῒδ λέγων.

Commemoration of King Abijah, Rehoboam’s son.

Βοᾷ Ῥοβοὰμ πρὸς τὸν Ἀβιὰ λέγων·
Ἐγὼ Πατὴρ σός, καὶ σύ μου τὸ τεκνίον.

Commemoration of King Asa, Abijah’s son.

Εὐθῆ τὸν Ἀσὰ μηνύει Βασιλέα,
Ἡ τετράτιτλος τῶν Βασιλειῶν βίβλος.

Commemoration of King Jehoshaphat, Asa’s son.

Ἰωσαφὰτ τὰ πάντα χρηστὸς ἐν βίῳ
Εὑρὼν ἀφορμάς πατρόθεν χρηστοῦ βίου.

Commemoration of King Joram, Jehoshaphat’s son.

Ἰωρὰμ ἡμῖν ἐξ Ἰωσαφὰτ ἔφυ·
Ὑιὸς Βασιλεύς, ἐκ πατρὸς Βασιλέως.

Commemoration of King Ahaziah, Joram’s son.

Ἀνῆκε καρπὸν εὐγενῆ τὸν Ὀζίαν,
Ἄναξ Ἰωράμ, Ἰωσαφὰτ ὁ κλάδος.

Commemoration of King Jotham, Uzziah’ son.

Τὸν Ἰωάθαμ, ὡς νεοττὸν Ὀζίου,
Τῆς βασιλείας ἡ καλιὰ λαμβάνει.

Commemoration of King Ahaz, Jotham’s son.

Τὸ τῆς κεφαλῆς στέμμα Ἰωάθαμ,
Στέφει κεφαλὴν εὐπρεπῶς καὶ τὴν Ἄχαζ.

Commemoration of King Hezekiah, Ahaz’s son.

Σοβεῖ τελευτὴν δακρύσας Ἐζεκίας.
Τοσοῦτον ἰσχύουσι ῥεῖθρα δακρύων!

Commemoration of King Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son.

Σωτηριῶδες πρὸς μετάγνωσιν βάθρον,
Μανασσῆς ἡμῖν τὴν προσευχὴν πηγνύει.

Commemoration of King Amon, Manasseh’s son.

Ἀμμὼν κυηθεὶς τῆς ἁλουργίδος μέσον,
'Ἦν καὶ Βασιλεύς, καὶ Βασιλείας τέκνον.

Commemoration of King Josiah, Amon’s son.

Ἰωσίας ἔναντι τοῦ Θεοῦ μέγας,
Ὃν γνοὺς ἐπαινεῖν, δειλιῶν μὴ σμικρύνω.

Commemoration of King Jeconiah, Josiah’ son.

Ἐν Βαβυλῶνος τῇ μετοικίᾳ λόγος,
Ἰεχονίαν ἐμπαροικῆσαι βίῳ.

Commemoration of Shealtiel, Jeconiah’ son.

Πρῶτον μέτ' αὐτὴν τὴν μετοικίαν τέκνον
Τὸν Σαλαθιὴλ Ἰούδα φυλὴ φύει.

Commemoration of Zerubbabel, who rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem which had been burned down.

Nαβουζαρδὰν ἔκαυσε Ναὸν Κυρίου,
Οὗ καύσιν ἦρε κτίσματι Ζοροβάβελ.

Commemoration of Abiud, Zerubbabel’s son.

Ἀβιοὺδ ὅρπηξ, οὗ φυὴ Ζοροβάβελ.
Ὡς τὴν φυὴν οὖν, καὶ τὸν ὅρπηκα γράφω.

Commemoration of Eliakim, Abiud’s son.

Τὸν Ἐλιακεὶμ Ἀβιοὺδ γράφει γόνον,
Ματθαῖος ἡμῖν, ἀκριβὴς γονογράφος.

Commemoration of Azor, Eliakim’s son.

Ὁ θεῖος Ἀζὼρ ἐξ Ἐλιακεὶμ ἔφυ,
Θεία Γραφὴ λέγουσα τοῦτο πεισάτω.

Commemoration of Zadok, Azor’s son.

Ἀζὼρ κυΐσκων τὸν Σαδὼκ οὐ λανθάνει,
Ὃν συγγραφεὺς γνοὺς ἐκκαλύπτει τὸν τόκον.

Commemoration of Achim, Zadok’s son.

Τοῖς τοῦ Σαδὼκ ζητοῦσιν υἱόν, Ματθαῖος,
Δείξει τὸν Ἀχείμ, ἐκβαλὼν τὸ βιβλίον.

Commemoration of Eliud, Achim’s son.

Τεχθεὶς ἀπ' Ἀχείμ, Ἐλιοὺδ ὤφθη τέκνον,
Ὀφθήσεται δὲ καὶ πατὴρ τεκνοτρόφος.

Commemoration of Eleazar, Eliud’s son.

Ἰδοὺ τεκόντα καὶ τὸν Ἐλιοὺδ ἔγνων,
Ἐλεάζαρον τέκνον· εἰ βούλει, μάθε.

Commemoration of Matthan, Eleazar’s son.

Ἐλεάζαρ δὲ τὸν Ματθὰν γεννᾶν λέγει,
Μαιευτρίας ἄκουε, Ματθαίου Βίβλου.

Commemoration of Jacob, Matthan’s son.

Καὶ Ματθὰν εἰσήνεγκεν υἱὸν εἰς βίον
Τὸν Ἰακωβ γὰρ εἰσενεγκὼν εὑρέθη.

Commemoration of Joseph, the Betrothed, Jacob’s son.

To Joseph, the Betrothed, the Spirit shows
That his betrothed, before they wed, conceives.

Commemoration of the just Melchizedek.

No father and no mother Scripture gives
To you, Melchizedek, as type of Christ.

Commemoration of the just Job.

Having the Most High to give fitting praise,
Job therefore has no need of earthly praise.

Commemoration of the Prophet Moses, and the priests Hur and Aaron.

Aaron with Hur depicts Christ’s suffering,
Both raising Moses arms up like a Cross.

Commemoration of Joshua, Nun’s son.

Ὑμνεῖν Ἰησοῦν ποῖος ἀρκέσει λόγος,
ᾯ συλλαλῶν ὑπῆρχε καὶ Θεὸς Λόγος;

Commemoration of the Holy Prophet Samuel.

Ὀφθαλμὸν ἡμῖν εὐμενῆ Θεοῦ τίθει,
Ὀφθαλμὲ θεῖε, καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα βλέπων.

Commemoration of the Prophet Nathan.

Ἁμαρτιῶν ἔλεγχος ὀξὺς ὢν Νάθαν,
Ἡμάρτομεν λέγουσι, συγγνώμην νέμοις.

Commemoration of the Holy Prophet Daniel.

Καὶ θηρία φρίττουσιν ἀρετῆς φίλον.
Ἔργοις Δανιὴλ τοῦτο πιστοῦται μέγας.

Commemoration of the three Holy Youths.

The furnace fire was fire and also dew;
For the Youths, the ungodly fire was dew.

Commemoration of the just Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

A barren nature by God’s will o’erthrown,
A child is witness too of Sarah’s pains.

Commemoration of the just Rebecca, Isaac’s wife.

Noblest of husbands found to share his bed
Rebecca, who was noblest of wives.

Commemoration of the just Leah, Jacob’s first wife.

The Lord did not make Leah fair of face,
But gave her womb the gift of motherhood.

Commemoration of the just Rachel, Jacob’s second wife.

Her father’s gods through longing Rachel steals,
But at the last she longs for God the Word.

Commemoration of the just Asenath, the most upright Joseph’s wife.

The sun exceeds in beauty all the stars;
For me Asenath maids beneath the sun.

Commemoration of the just Mariah, Moses’ sister.

Let’s sing, she said, and sing unto the Lord,
Now Mariah beats the timbrel of the soul.

Commemoration of the just Deborah, who judged Israel.

Ὑπὲρ γυναῖκας ἡ Δεβόρρα τὴν φρένα,
Βάθει φρενὸς κρίνουσα λαὸν Κυρίου.

Commemoration of the just Ruth.

Leaving her nation and her gods behind,
The Nation and God of Moses Ruth then found.

Commemoration of the just woman of Sarepta, to whom Elijah was sent.

Ἄσπαρτον εἶχε τὴν τροφὴν Σαραφθία,
Kαινὸν λαχοῦσα λήϊνον τὸν Ἠλίαν.

Commemoration of the just Shunamitess, who gave lodging to Elisha.

Ἐλισαῖος σοι κλεῖθρα νηδύος λύει,
ᾯ κλεῖθρα Σωμανῖτις ἤνοιξας δρόμου.

Commemoration of the just Judith, who slew Holofernes.

Ὃν πᾶς ἀνὴρ ἔφριττε, δεινὸν ὁπλίτην,
Γυνὴ καθεῖλεν, Ἰουδίθ, Ὀλοφέρνην.

Commemoration of the just Esther, who saved Israel from death.

Ἔσωσεν Ἐσθὴρ ἄνδρας Ἰσραηλίτας,
ᾍδου κυνὴν μέλλοντας ἐνδῦναι πάλαι.

Commemoration of the just Hannah, mother of the prophet Samuel.

Εὐχῆς τέκνον τεκοῦσα Σαμουὴλ μέγαν,
Νικᾷ Φενάνναν, Ἄννα πολλὴν ἐν τέκνοις.

Commemoration of the just Susanna.

Kανὼν πρόκειται σωφρονούσαις ἐν βίῳ,
Ὁ τῆς Σωσάννης σωφρονέστατος βίος.

Through their holy prayers, O God, have mercy and save us. Amen.

Holy Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Make ready, Bethlehem, Eden has been opened to all. Prepare Ephratha, for the Tree of Life has blossomed in the cave from the Virgin. Her womb was a spiritual paradise whence came the Divine Plant. If we eat it we shall live and not die like Adam. Christ is born to raise up the image that of old had fallen.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Today the Virgin is coming to the cave to give birth to the eternal Word. Rejoice at the message, O earth; with the Angels and Shepherds give glory to Him Who was willing to be seen as a Child/ while remaining God throughout all ages.

Apolytikion in the Second Tone
Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as in refreshing water, the Three Holy Children rejoiced. And the Prophet Daniel proved a shepherd of lions as of sheep. By their prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.

Kontakion in the First Tone
O Bethlehem, rejoice! Make ready, Ephratha! The ewe is hastening to give birth to the Great Shepherd Whom she carries in her womb. The God-bearing Fathers rejoice at seeing Him, and the Shepherds praise the Virgin who suckles Him.

Seeing the dazzling radiance of your conceiving, O Virgin, Abraham the friend of God, noble Isaac, Jacob and the whole choir of saints chosen by God rejoice; and they bring creation to meet you with words of joy. For you appeared as the source of joy, since you conceived in your womb him who once appeared in Babylon and beyond all understanding preserved unburned the Youths unjustly cast into the furnace. And so they also raise the song as they hymn a Virgin who gives suck.