TRANSLATIONS FROM THE GREEK

CANON TO ST. ANDREW THE FOOL FOR CHRIST0

Ode 1. Having crossed the sea.

Andrew, earthly monk and companion1 of the glorious2 angels in Heaven:  Deem me worthy of their joy, as I wait for your divine grace.

Having conquered, Andrew, the evil one by intense asceticism,3 humility and prayer, you have indicated to us who bless you the noblest road to tread.

You were justly deemed worthy of imperishable gifts, Andrew, for you completed your life in nakedness and hunger, so that you might save all who take refuge in you from devastating hunger.

Wipe away my tears, O Mary, with the cloth of your warm prayers to your only-begotten Son, whom you bore marvelously, Mother of God.

Ode 3. Of the apse of Heaven.

Crowning you with mystic eulogies,4 we receive the benefits of your supplications to God, so that we may quickly trample underfoot the crafty devices5 of the enemy, ascetic beloved of God.

Comeliness6 of ascetics, as you mocked dispassionately the temporal life, Andrew, show to all of us who praise your achievements the best road which leads us to the ramparts of Heaven.

Having blossomed like a fragrant rose among the incorporeal angels of God, you have filled us all with fragrances who shout faithfully, Rejoice, Andrew, fervent intercessor with the Lord for those who bless you.

All-holy Virgin, healing of the sick and cure of the wounded:  With the medicine of your prayers, quickly heal the pains of our souls and bodies, immaculate Mother of God.

Inspired7 Andrew, being equal in zeal8 to the glorious angels, you took the road of the fool-for-Christ as a madman; deem us worthy of imperishable glory.

Ode 4.  I have heard, O Lord.

Direct me, namesake of courage, to the most fragrant garden of prudence and understanding, wondrous Andrew, garden of grace.

Joyfully we cry out to you, who before ascended to the divine height of revelations, strengthen your suppliants to reach the fullness of the laws of the Most High.

You received a calling from God, holy Andrew, to feign madness and the power to defend those who honor you.

Show that those who bless you regularly in the battles of life to be strong, O Queen, and grant your gift of virtue to those who seek out your Son.

 Ode 5. Illumine us.

As you saw the Mother of God protecting the faithful in the august temple of Blachernae, so protect all who honor you, Andrew.

Holy man, as you lived side by side with dogs and suffered persecutions, draw me, Andrew, towards eternal life.

Enable those who faithfully hymn you to come to know the saving commandments of God as a light of the knowledge of God.

Lead us up out of the earth to the pasture of Heaven, for we cry, Rejoice, Mother of God, protector of eternal joy.

 Ode 6.  I pour out my supplication.

Hearken to all who pray to you, inspired ascetic Andrew, for Anastasia the Anti-charmer9 and John the Theologian confirmed God’s pleasure in the ways of your strange folly.

As you adorned yourself, Andrew, with the splendors of the virtues and wisdom beyond speech, lived in the land of the meek and became one with the love of your Creator, unite us to the choirs of angels who love the Most High.

Drive away harsh diseases from those who honor you, divinely wise Andrew, and mitigate the sufferings of those who praise the ways of your folly, through which you truly received the prize of imperishable splendor.

We, the choirs of the faithful, bring to you a song, virgin Mother, for we take refuge in your firm protection and fervent intercession amid all the adversities of life and its temptations and sufferings, all-hymned Virgin.

Kontakion

Let us sing the praises of Andrew, entreating him with longing for his intercessions to the Lord, for he took up the cross of foolishness upon his shoulders and feigned folly, so that he might gain eternal life.

 Ode 7.  Those from Judea.

Greatly honored vessel of the Comforter, Andrew, as you were able to announce beforehand the things to come and see mystical sights in the vault of Heaven, send us abundantly the mercies of the Most High.

Deem us worthy, Andrew, to enjoy everlasting joy, for we celebrate you in song as one who lived with10 the angels and conversed with the order of the saints, who were protected by Christ from true folly.

Show your suppliants to be victorious quickly against the enemy that hates the good,  for they call on your divine intercessions with the merciful Lord, the light of whose all-holy form you enjoy.

Chanting to the pure Mother of God, who is the all-praised queen of the dwellings of glory and is higher than the heavens, we reverently cry, O Mother of God, you are the champion of Christians.

Ode 8.  The King.

Hymning you, God-bearing Andrew, as an ever-flowing spring of mercy, we seek your fervent prayers to our Creator.

Strengthened by the power of the Cross, you dissolved the deceits of the most hateful Devil, divinely shining Andrew, our divine healer.

Guide us to the salvific pastures, O blessed Andrew, for you by your folly directed yourself to the divine dwellings.

Pure Mother of God, enable us who hymn and praise your immaculate Son to prevail over the passions of the flesh.

Ode 9.  In a fitting manner the Mother of God.

Having made a fool of the teacher11 of evil, Andrew, by your pretenses to folly, make wise your suppliants, showing God to us.

Equal in zeal to the martyrs and equal in honor to all saints, inspired Andrew:  Pray that our all-merciful Creator be merciful to us.

Above terrestrial and mutable things, Andrew, show us who hymn you to be disdainful of every temporary situation and every material and vain attachment.

Never stop entreating your Son, Full of Grace, with the all-revered Andrew, on behalf of those who bless you with euphonious hymns.

 

Endnotes

  1. See a synaxarion for the background to St. Andrew the Fool for Christ (October 2).
  2. συνόμιλε is a tricky word. Liddell-Scott offers two examples from the Classics.  “Living with” might work but is difficult to put into English idiomatically.  “Associate” is too businesslike.  Lampe’s “consorting with” definitely does not work; “constant companion” is closer but has the wrong overtone and might create alliteration problems.  Schrevellius’ Latin translation confabulator (“converser with”) is nice, but, like “living with” presents idiom problems; sodalis (Batman’s “chum,” almost “fraternity pal”) may hit bull’s eye, but is hardly appropriate for liturgical English.
  3. Lit. “of the glory of the angels.” It eventually dawned on me that this was a case of hendiadys.  Hendiadys takes an adjective describing a noun and turns it into another noun, then links the two either by a conjunction or (as here) by the genitive.  In the prayer behind the ambo, one modern translation has us praying for “the complement of the church,” which not only retains hendiadys when we most desire an attributive adjective but also mistranslates πλήρωμα.  The proper translation is “the whole church.”
  4. According to Lampe, ασκήσις in general refers to spiritual exercise, training or discipline. In particular, it can mean the study of Scripture; the practice of piety, e.g., virtue; more generally, it can refer to the devout life or religious practice, including worship.  Finally, it can refer to the austere life, i.e., asceticism, “in gen., involving restraint in food.”
  5. According to my esteemed editor, this troparion alludes to the pagan practice of crowning athletes metaphorically with encomia.

5.  μηχανή, according to Liddell-Scott, can be a machine, such as a crane, a contrivance, shift, device, engine of war; in the pl., it can mean arts or wiles.  Cf. Milton, who has Satan invent cannons,  at whose discharge the forces of Heaven fell down “by [the] thousands, Angel on Arch-Angel rolled” (PL, vi, 594).  Whereas an educated Greek reader automatically entertains “machine,” “device,” “wiles” as possible meanings of μηχανή, we English speakers must pick one.

  1. Here again my editor remarks on the allusion to the ancient Greek custom of praising victorious athletes for their beauty.
  2. πνευματοφόρε: “spirit-bearing” or “inspired”?  A kenning, acc. to the OED, is a periphrastic expression used instead of the simple name of a thing, esp. used in Old Teutonic poetry.  E.g., Old English hordweard means literally “guardian of treasure,” but in Beowulf it means “dragon” (which is what dragons seem to do in fairy-tales) or “king” (since a king can be his own Secretary of the Treasury).  “Spirit-bearing,” then, is a kenning for “inspired.”  In the same vein, we should never refer to St. George as the Trophy-bearer, but as Victorious (because it is the victor who bears the trophy).
  3. ομόζηλε: lit., “of like zeal.”  Another tricky word, since English has no noun meaning the same thing.  I opted to treat it like a circumstantial participle.  It could also be translated “as one who was equal, etc.”
  4. Φαρμακολυτρίας: “one who cures wounds; epithet of St. Anastasia” (Lampe).  Sophocles defines as “anti-charmer.”  Since there is evidently no word in English which captures this Greek word, and the usual circumlocution—“deliverer from potions”—is unbearably clunky, I voted for “anti-charmer.”
  5. Liddell-Scott defines σύσκηνος as “one who lives in the same tent, messmate.” Schrevellius defines σύσκηνος as contubernalis. This prompted me to recall Jn. 1.14 (ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν “he dwelt among us,” not “he encamped among us”), which led me to render σύσκηνον as a verb.  For good measure I did the same for the troublesome συνόμιλον (see n. 1).
  6. σοφιστής is not a value-neutral word for teacher—but how to work “sophist” into the translation? Who ever heard of a “sophist of evils”?  It might be better to render it as “evil sophist”—appealing again to hendiadys—but then the reader might not realize that it’s the Devil that is being referred to.

 

 

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