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Canon to All Saints of Britain

ODE ONE

Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

The sea became dry land for the Hosts of Israel
Who passed over singing the song of salvation:
And in the midst of these northern waters
The numberless saints of these islands
Join in the hymn of victory and triumph.

First Apostles and Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

He who revealed the Philip the Way, the Truth and the Life
Sent forth His Apostles into the uttermost lands
That even in their day their life-giving teachings
Might call the Isles of Britain to give praise to Christ.

Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Even from the womb, O God, Thou callest each by name.
Thou alone canst number the Saints of this land.
Grant then the aid of their mighty intercession
To us who feebly echo their hymn of victory.

Glory... Now and ever...

Set in Avalon, a church of wattles made by holy hands
The Son of God and of the Virgin Himself did dedicate
To the Mother of God, that in these northern lands
The first of churches should honour her
Who is the first among men and Angels.

ODE THREE

Protomartyrs and Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Among the first let us praise the martyrs
Alban the first-killed, with Julius and Aaron
And all those who by their blood baptised our land for Christ
The Immovable Rock of our confession.

Saint Pádraig and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

In thy youth, O Pádraig, seized from the house of thy parents,
Through the prayer of misery and exile thou didst find God
Who, delivering thee out of slavery, called thee
To be the ransoming of thy captors.

Saint Pádraig and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Nothing of this world or of its pleasures delighted thee
But to be bishop and apostle of the land of thy bondage
And to accomplish in the span of thine own life
The conversion of Ireland to worship the Trinity.

Glory... Now and ever...

The Virgin, consenting to the words of the Archangel,
Became the Mother of her own Creator.
The land of Ireland, in an image of this mystery, became the Teacher
of those who first taught her the way of Salvation.
Instead of thy fathers, sons are born unto thee.

ODE FOUR

Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Sufferings unnumbered beset Thy British Saints, O Lord,
And barbarous hordes arose to slaughter Thy baptised children.
But Thou didst not suffer the darkness to overcome
The light of the Gospel that Pádraig had kindled.

Saint Columcille and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Of exile, the headstrong prince made an Apostolate
And was called Columcille — the dove of good tidings,
Winning by love an army of souls for salvation
And lighting on Iona a lamp to lighten the Scots.

Saint Columcille and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Four and thirty years, O Columcille, didst thou labour in sowing
But who can count the years of reaping?
The unnumbered saints who took light from thy lamp,
Winning kings and kingdoms to the light of Christ.

Glory... Now and ever...

Blessed art thou in all generations, O Mother and Virgin,
Thou mountain overshadowed by the grace of God
Who didst bear for us Christ, the Light of the Gentiles.
Save us by thine intercessions.

ODE FIVE

Saint David, Saint Nonna and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Right early let us rise to seek after God and to honour David,
A dove among men, born of a saintly mother,
Who in Jerusalem was made a bishop
That he might gather the Welsh to the flock of Christ.

Saint Ninian and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

If all were to be numbered by name and by achievements
A hundred songs would not suffice for their praise.
Ninian and Petroc, Paulinus and Sampson
And countless others whose names are written in heaven.

Holy Virgins and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

The Virgins who follow Thee, let us praise them also,
Ebba and Ursula, Winefrede and Bega
With the holy abbess Hilda of Whitby
And White and Awdrey, whose holy relics still protect us.

Glory... Now and ever...

At Thy right hand is set the Queen in a vesture of gold.
O Virgin of virgins, alone mother and virgin,
Strengthen us by thy mighty intercession
Who with the hosts of the saints of Britain call thee blessed.

ODE SIX

Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

In the belly of the sea monster, the prophet Jonah
Cried out unto the Lord, and was delivered.
In tribulation, the church of Thy Saints, calling upon Thee,
Likewise found salvation out of captivity.

Saint Gregory and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Not as Angles, but as Angels in their beauty
The captives appeared to blessed Gregory in the slave market,
And, mourning that they should be in ignorance of the Gospel,
He resolved that they should be delivered from the wrath of God
And taught to sing 'Alleluia'.

Saint Augustine and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Proclaiming the song, 'Alleluia,' Augustine and his disciples
Carried Thy pure Ikon and Thy precious Cross before the king.
And he, edified both by their lives and their teaching
Was baptised into the Name of the Trinity.

Glory... Now and ever...

Rejoicing sevenfold in Augustine and his successors
Let us praise among them that new apostle from Tarsus,
The blessed Theodore, who, by his endeavours,
United this land to bless the Mother of God.

ODE SEVEN

Saint Aidan and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Aidan the blessed, by his preaching of the Gospel,
Made holy the island of Lindisfarne; by his bishopric
Made of the Northumbrian nation a Christian people
And won two kings to the ranks of the martyrs
So that kings, priests and people might bless God for ever.

King and Martyr Oswald and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

In the sight of the heathen, Oswald, the holy king and Martyr,
Set up Thy Cross, O Christ, for an emblem of victory,
Beseeching Thy mercy against an arrogant and savage enemy,
And trusting to Thee the just cause of his nation
So that kings, priests and people might bless God for ever.

Saint Cuthbert and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Seeking solitude, O Cuthbert, to crown thy monastic labour,
Choosing the sea for thy desert and Christ alone for thy consolation;
At whose call, taking up thy cross, thou becamest a bishop,
So that kings, priests and people might bless God for ever.

Glory... Now and ever...

Even death could not diminish thy light, O Cuthbert,
For thine uncorrupt relics, set on a hill in Durham,
Shone like a lamp for a people thou hadst not forsaken,
Proclaiming to them the incorruptible victory of Christ our God,
Whom magnifying we call the Virgin blessed.

ODE EIGHT

Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

To Him who saved the three children in the midst of the furnace,
Come, raise with us a hymn, O Birinus, Paulinus
And all ye coequal of the Apostles, who to every kingdom of the British
Sounded the voice of your preaching. Come also, ye godly kings
Who nurtured the increase of their teaching;
Cross-exalting Oswald among their number, and Edmund, disciple of the Crucified
Who, as a lamb for the slaughter, offered his life for his people:
Come, bless, praise and exalt God above all for ever.

Saint George and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Holiness upon the head, like Aaron, true high priests have ye appeared,
O holy bishops, shepherds of the sheep of Christ in these lands;
Swithin and Chad, Melitus, good John of Beverley
And all ye bishops, ye wonder-workers also,
Hermits, holy abbots and ye who shone in the monastic life;
Come, join with all the martyrs of these lands, who sing
With George the triumphant, our Patron, and with all the saints,
Blessing, praising and high-exalting God for ever.

Saint Andrew and all Saints of Britain, pray to God for us.

Even as wise stewards receiving the Talents of the Gospel,
Ye missionary saints, like merchants, have traded your treasure
And in other lands have brought forth fruits of your labours:
Come then, ye late apostles, and with Andrew the first-called,
Who sanctified this land by his relics,
And with all who blessed these islands in an age of faith:
Aid us by your prayers, who in these latter days
Sing, bless, praise and exalt God above all for ever.

Glory... Now and ever...

Even the Angels dare not contemplate the mystery
Of thy maternity, O Theotokos,
Which the burning furnace prefigured of old;
For in thy womb God and human nature were united,
Suffering neither confusion nor division:
And we also, the inheritors of this mystery,
Emboldened by the protection of thy prayers,
Bless, praise and exalt God above all for ever.

We praise, bless and worship the Lord, singing praises and exalting Him for ever.

ODE NINE

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

To thee, the Bride who knewest not the embrace of a husband,
The Virgin and Mother who gave birth to God,
These islands raise a song of thanksgiving.
By thy prayers save thine own people, O Theotokos.

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

As a vesture of pure gold, O Theotokos,
Accept the beauty of these islands,
And as an adornment of divers jewels
The saints who therein have glorified thy Son.

Most holy Theotokos, save us.

O Theotokos, the boldness of the apostles
Who in divers ages preached in this our land,
Succour in our confession us, the inheritors of their teaching,
For we are made strong, O Virgin, by thy prayers.

Glory... Now and ever...

O joy of our martyred kings, aid of our wonder-workers,
Shepherd of our bishops, succour of all our saints:
Grant that to their number we also may be gathered
By thy mighty intercession, O Theotokos.

Source: Monastery of St Seraphim, Walsingham