Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Another 'Bi-Ritual' Feast - St Wenceslaus

As a convert from the East, another reason I love St Wenceslaus is that he's honoured in both East and West on the same day.

The picture of St Wenceslaus in the 
Sanctuary of my Parish Church,
St Wenceslaus.
From the West:

The Roman Martyrology - 

In Bohemia, the holy martyr Wenceslaus, Duke of that country, glorious for his holiness and his miracles, who was murdered in the house of his brother, and thus gained the palm of victory.

From Dom Prosper Guéranger - 

Wenceslaus recalls to us the entrance into the Church of a warlike nation, the Czechs, the most indomitable of the Slavonic tribes, which had penetrated into the very midst of Germany. It is well known with what bitterness and active energy this nation upholds its social claims as though its struggle for existence in the early days of its history had made it proof against every trial. The faith of its apostles and martyrs, the Roman faith, will be the safeguard, as it is the bond of union, of the countries subject to the crown of Saint Wenceslaus. Heresy, whether it be the native Hussite, or the ‘reform’ imported from Germany, can but lead the people to eternal ruin. May they never yield to the advances and seductions of schism! Wenceslaus the martyr, grandson of the holy martyr Ludmilla and great-uncle of the monk bishop and martyr Adalbert, invites his faithful subjects to follow him in the only path where they may find honour and security both for this world and for the next. The conversion of Bohemia dates from the latter part of the ninth century when Saint Methodius baptised Saint Ludmilla and her husband Borziwoi the first Christian duke of the line of Premislas. The pagan reaction during which Saint Wenceslas gained the palm of martyrdom was but short-lived.
* * * * *
You won your crown, O holy martyr, in the church of Saints Cosmas and Damian to which their feast had attracted you. As you honoured them, we now in turn honour you. We are also hailing the approach of that other solemnity which you greeted with your last words at the fratricidal banquet: “In honour of the Archangel Michael let us drink this cup, and let us beseech him to lead our souls into the peace of eternal happiness.” What a sublime pledge, when you were already grasping the chalice of blood! O Wenceslaus, fire us with that intrepid valour which is ever humble and gentle, simple as God to whom it tends, calm as the angels on whom it relies. Succour the Church in these unfortunate times. The whole Church honours you. She has a right to expect your assistance. But especially cherish for her the nation of which you are the honour, as long as it remains faithful to your blessed memory and looks to your patronage in its earthly combats, its wandering from the truth will not be without return.

Collect

O God, Who through the palm of martyrdom transported blessed Wenceslaus from an earthly dominion unto heavenly glory, keep us, by his prayers, from all harm and grant us to rejoice in his fellowship.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R. Amen.

From the East: 

An Eastern icon of 
St Wenceslaus

The Holy Duke Wenceslaus (Václav) of the Czechs was a grandson of the holy Martyr and Duchess Ludmilla (September 16), and he was raised by her in deep piety. He began to rule at age eighteen after the death of his father Duke Bratislav (+ 920).

In spite of his youthful age, he ruled wisely and justly and concerned himself much about the Christian enlightenment of the people. The holy duke was a widely educated man, and he studied in the Latin and Greek languages.

Saint Wenceslaus was peace-loving. He built and embellished churches, and in Prague, the Czech capital, he raised up a magnificent church in the name of Saint Vitus, and he had respect for the clergy. Envious nobles decided to murder the saint and, at first, to incite his mother against him, and later to urge his younger brother, Boleslav, to occupy the ducal throne.

Boleslav invited his brother to the dedication of a church, and then asked him to stay another day. In spite of the warnings of his servants, the holy duke refused to believe in a conspiracy and exposed his life to the will of God. On the following day, September 28, 935, when Wenceslaus went to Matins, he was wickedly murdered at the doors of the church by his own brother and his brother’s servants. His body was stabbed and discarded without burial.

The mother, hearing of the murder of her son, found and placed his body in a recently consecrated church at the ducal court. They were not able to wash off the blood splashed on the church doors, but after three days it disappeared by itself.

After repenting of his sin, the murderer transferred the relics of Saint Wenceslaus to Prague, where they were placed in the church of Saint Vitus, which the martyr himself had constructed (the transfer of the relics of Saint Wenceslaus is celebrated on March 4). The memory of Duke  Wenceslaus has been honoured from of old in the Eastern  Churches.

Troparion — Tone 3

Your holy martyr Wenceslaus, O Lord, / through his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. / For having Your strength, he laid low his adversaries, / and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. / Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Kontakion — Tone 2

(Podoben: “You sought the heights...”)
You appeared as a bright star announcing Christ with your radiance, / which is repulsive to this world, O Martyr Wenceslaus; / extinguishing the allure of false gods, / you enlighten the faithful, / always interceding for us all.

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