Synaxis of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Twelve Apostles
Commemorated on June 30
Hymn of Praise
the Holy Apostles
As a dry desert, the whole world was;
Across it [the world] the chariot of the Spirit flew
A fiery vision, the Holy Apostles;
The All-holy Spirit, through them, the universe rebuilt.
The rivers of wondrous grace flowed,
The dead desert, to life converted.
Wonderful Apostles, watery clouds,
Simple ones, wise ones, fishermen, heroes!
From the Ganges to the Thames, they carried the torch,
From the Nile to Pontus, holiness they proclaimed,
From variegated Persia to bronze Gaul,
Where the feet walk or the galleys sail
Everywhere, the miracle of the Incarnate God, brought,
Everywhere, the Name of the Resurrected Christ proclaimed,
Without complaint and fear, without any confusion:
Mountains and seas, to them were not obstacles,
The sword did not frighten them, nor persecution prevent them,
Neither all the fires of Hades which, against them, erupted.
Truth guided them and not a false fable:
Our life is Christ, and death a beautiful gain!
Thus, they spoke. To such as these, what could be done?
Crucify their bodies? Scrape their skins?
That, the world did, but what kind of harm did it do them?
To reign eternally! Thus, God judged.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič for Old Calendar date June 30, and New Calendar date July 13.
on Paul, the prisoner
… I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1).
Brethren, this apostle of Christ calls himself the “prisoner of Christ.” How is it that an apostle can be a prisoner? Is not a prisoner bound? Yes, and the Apostle is bound-bound by love to the Lord Jesus so strongly that he feels that no comparable bond exists on earth. The Apostle is bound in his mind to the Lord Jesus so strongly that he cannot think of anything except Jesus Christ the Lord. The Apostle is so firmly bound by his will to the Lord Jesus that, in essence, he does not have a will of his own but has submitted his will completely to the Lord Jesus. And so, he loves that which Christ loves, thinks that which Christ thinks, and does that which Christ wills. Is this not imprisonment? O blessed imprisonment, which is not unto shame but glory, and is not unto destruction but salvation! Thus, Christ is the complete Lord of the Apostle’s life, both outwardly and inwardly. For outwardly and inwardly, Christ permits him to be tempted; outwardly and inwardly, He reveals to him the wonders of His providence; outwardly and inwardly, He guides him to perfect good for the sake of his salvation, and for the sake of the salvation of many others.
Brethren, let us also commit ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ as did His Apostle, and then we will be in the most secure hands and on the most secure path.
O Lord Jesus Christ, great and wonderful Lord, bind us to Thee, imprison us in Thee forever and ever in both worlds.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue from Ohrid: Lives of Saints by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
Let us also recall how each of these Holy Apostles ended hisearthly life:
Saint Peter was crucified upside down.-June 29 and January 6
Saint Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross.-November 30
Saint James the Son of Zebedee was beheaded.-April 30
Saint John the Theologian reposed in a miraculous manner.-September 26 and May 8
Saint Philip was crucified.-November 14
Saint Bartholomew was crucified, flayed and beheaded.-June 11 and August 25
Saint Thomas was pierced with five spears.-October 6
Saint Matthew the Evangelist was burned alive.-November 16
Saint James the son of Alphaeus was crucified.-October 9
Saint Thaddaeus or June the Brother of St.James was crucified.-June 19
Saint Simon the Zealot was crucified.-May 10
Saint Matthias was stoned and then beheaded after death.-August 9
Saint Paul was beheaded.-June 29
[Source: St. Nicholai Velimorovic, The Prologue of Ohrid-Volume One.]
Apolytikion of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, . Tone 3
O holy Apostles of Christ Pray to our merciful God, That He may grant us remission of our sins.
Kontakion Hymn. Tone 2
Today Christ the Rock gladly glorifies the rock of faith, The chosen disciple, together with Paul and the entire company of the Twelve. As we celebrate their memory, We glorify Him Who has glorified them!
Tone 4. As noble among Martyrs.
As eye witnesses and ones who testified to the incarnation of the Word, O truly happy disciples, you are called blessed, for shining like flashes of lightning, you appeared to the world, and like spiritual mountains you dripped sweetness; divided like ever-flowing rivers of Paradise, you water the churches of the nations with divine streams.
Kathisma. Tone 8. The Wisdom and Word.
With the net of the divine words you caught the rational fish and brought them as first-fruits to our God, and longing to put on the marks of Christ you were revealed as imitators of his Passion, glorious Apostles; therefore we have come together and honour as is fitting your all-festive memorial, and with one voice we cry out to you: Intercede with Christ God to bestow forgiveness of faults on those who celebrate with love your holy memorial.