Canon of the venerable martyr Winifred, wonderworker of Holywell, in Wales

Ode I

Irmos: The people of Israel, having fled across the watery deep of the Red Sea with dryshod feet, beholding the mounted captains of the enemy drowned therein, sang with gladness: Let us chant unto our God, for He hath been glorified!

With the waters of Winifred’s holy well are we cured of maladies of body and soul, for the Lord drew forth a wondrous spring where fell her severed head. Therefore, let us chant unto our God, for He hath been glorified!

Ineffable was the revival of the holy Winifred at the entreaties of the venerable Beuno; for, affixing her severed head to her lifeless body, the saint restored her to life. Wherefore, let us sing unto our God, for He hath been glorified!

Now let us praise Christ; for, honoring the holy maiden, He filleth her spring with an upwelling of grace, that those who immerse themselves in its watery depths may find ease for their pain and sorrows, for He is all-glorious.

Theotokion: In majesty doth thy Son reign over all, O most immaculate Virgin, and everlastingly doth He hearken with pity to thy maternal supplications, which thou dost unceasingly offer up before His throne, entreating Him on our behalf.


Irmos: The people of Israel drank from the hard and rough-hewn stone, which poured forth water at Thy command; and Thou, O Christ, art the Rock and Life whereon the Church is established, which crieth: Hosanna! Blessed art Thou Who comest!

Flourishing in the soil of Wales like a tree of comely form, laden with fruit of the virtues, O Winifred; and, watered abundantly by the pure doctrine of thy kinsman, the venerable Beuno, thou didst reserve thy precious virginity for Christ alone.

Rushing forth in great volume, the springs of thy holy well emerge from the rock of Wales and flow down to the sea, O virgin martyr, irrigating thy native land and watering with divine grace the souls of those who cry to Christ: Hosanna!

Ever did her noble parents, Terith and Wenlo, see the saint as a precious gem, sparkling with the grace of God, flawless in purity; wherefore, they entrusted her to the holy Beuno, who taught her to cry to Christ: Blessed art Thou Who comest!

Theotokion: Daily do we offer our entreaties to thee whom thy Son hath given to us, His servants, as a mediator and advocate before Him; and with thankful voices we cry out to thee: Blessed art thou among women! Hosanna to the Fruit of thy womb!

Sessional hymn, in Tone III: Spec. Mel.: Of the divine Faith

Adorned with zeal for the Faith, with piety, reverence and virginity, O Winifred, as a bride of Christ thou didst prefer to die rather than to submit to the accursed Caradoc; wherefore, glorified by God, thou ever prayest earnestly to Him, that He deliver us, His servants, from the disgrace of the passions.

Theotokion, in the same tone & melody

Thou wast the divine tabernacle of the Word, O only all-pure Virgin Mother, who hast surpassed the angels in purity. With the divine waters of thy supplications, O pure one, cleanse me who, more than all others, have become defiled by carnal transgressions, and grant me great mercy.


The unblemished ewe-lamb of the Word, the undefiled Virgin Mother, beholding Him Who sprang forth from her without pain suspended upon the Cross, cried out, lamenting maternally: ‘Woe is me, O my Child! How is it that Thou sufferest willingly, desiring to deliver man from the dishonor of the passions?’

Ode IV

Irmos: Thy virtue hath covered the heavens, and the earth hath been filled with Thy glory, O Christ. Wherefore, we cry out with faith: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

In the Christian virtues wast thou tutored and trained by thine uncle, the holy Beuno, O Winifred; wherefore, thou didst cry out with him: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Slain wast thou, O venerable one, when thou didst flee him who sought to outrage thy pure virginity, O venerable martyr; but he was destroyed by the power of the Lord.

Arrogant and lustful, the accursed nobleman pursued the holy one and slew her at the doors of the church; but the earth swallowed him alive by the power of the Lord.

Theotokion: What words suffice to hymn thy wondrous works, O all-hymned Theotokos? Wherefore, we cry out with faith and love to thy Son and God: Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Ode V

Irmos: Shine forth upon me the light of Thy precepts, O Lord, for my spirit riseth early unto Thee and hymneth Thee: for Thou art our God, and I flee to Thee, O King of peace.

Emitting the effulgence of the splendid precepts of the Lord, O martyred maiden, when wickedly pursued by the evildoer thou didst flee with haste to the King of peace.

Lord of hosts, King of peace, have mercy upon me, and deliver me from him who intendeth my ruination and spiritual destruction! the holy Winifred earnestly prayed.

Let the sword of the impious Caradoc free me from this vain world and its vile illusions, for I prefer the King of peace above all else! the holy maiden cried aloud.

Theotokion: Slain for piety’s sake, the holy Winifred joined the Theotokos at the right hand of her Son; but in His mysterious dispensation, the King of peace restored her to bodily life.

Ode VI

Irmos: Let not the watery tempest drown me, nor the abyss destroy me; for I have been cast into the depths of the heart of the sea. Wherefore, like Jonah I cry aloud: Let my life ascend to Thee out of the corruption of evils, O God!

Pouring forth thy martyr’s blood, O saint of God, thou didst dye in its streams a crimson robe, as vesture fit for the bridal banquet; and joining the wise virgins, thou didst enter, rejoicing, into the chamber of thy Lord, O Winifred.

Resurrected from the dead when Beuno prayed to God and joined again thy severed head to thy virginal body, O pure maiden, thy remaining life didst thou dedicate to thy Master, in every way avoiding the corruption of evils.

In the doctrines of piety did the venerable Eleri undertake to tutor thee, O holy one, that having been rescued from the abyss of hades thou mightest ever cry: Let my life ascend to Thee out of the corruption of evils, O God!

Theotokion: Never shall we cease to extol thy manifold wonders, O compassionate Lady, nor shall we ever tire of magnifying thy mighty deeds, for thou dost ever rescue us from the depths of the sea of evils wherein we are drowning.

Kontakion, in Tone IV: Spec. Mel.: Thou hast appeared

Thou hast appeared today, O Winifred, pouring forth grace divine through the water of thy well upon all who partake of it with faith and who, trusting in thy boldness before God, immerse themselves therein with goodly hope.

Ikos: Grace divine poureth forth in torrents from Holywell, for there did the holy Winifred shed her blood for Christ, and as a sign of His good pleasure with her great sacrifice, He caused a spring to arise where her severed head fell to the ground. Wherefore, O ye Christians, let us draw forth its waters as a great blessing from God; and, ever mindful of the words of the Savior, that whosoever shall give drink unto his neighbor a cup of cold water shall in nowise lose his reward, let us immerse ourselves in these wondrous waters with goodly hope.


Irmos: Of old in Babylon, the Angel, descending into the Chaldæan furnace, bedewed the children; wherefore, they sang: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Gwitherin boasteth in thee exceedingly, O saint of God, for in its convent thou didst live a life of piety, singing unceasingly: Blessed is the God of our fathers!

Obediently didst thou shoulder the monastic yoke, O venerable one, submitting to the blessed Abbess Tenoi, singing: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Fittingly didst thou succeed the holy Tenoi, O Winifred, and in Gwitherin didst stay until thine own repose, singing: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Theotokion: Gazing down upon us from on high, O sovereign Lady, let thy pity fall upon us like rain, that we may cry unto thy Son: Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!


Irmos: O Almighty Deliverer of all, descending into the midst of the flame Thou didst bedew the pious youths and didst teach them to sing: Bless and hymn the Lord, all ye works!

O strange mystery! She who was slain by the sword, her head cut from her body, is restored to life, and liveth on for many years, crying: Bless and hymn the Lord, all ye works!

Death had no dominion over thee, O glorious Winifred, for as thy well gusheth forth miraculous cures continually, so did thy grave become a wellspring of healing for the afflicted.

Shrewsbury was adorned with thy sacred relics, O wondrous Winifred, for they were translated thither with great solemnity, as our blessed and all-hymned Lord allowed.

Theotokion: Glory adorneth thee, O Theotokos, and as a Queen thou art arrayed in spiritual raiment, inwrought with gold and varied colors, and thou dost teach us to cry: Bless and hymn the Lord, all ye works!

Ode IX

Irmos: With hymns we all magnify the Theotokos, the Chaldæan furnace which of old bore a dew-laden fire, and the bush on Sinai which burned without being consumed.

Resembling in grace the heavenly dew which quenched the Chaldæan flames, the waters of the holy Winifred¹s well quench the burning of fevers and the fires of the passions.

As God sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust without distinction, so hath He made the waters of His saint’s well to pour forth healings upon all who partake of them.

Come, O ye Christians, and let us praise our Most High God, for in His love for mankind He hath given us Winifred, His favored one, as an intercessor and advocate before Him.

Theotokion: Even our most eloquent hymns and orations, adorned with every ornament of human speech, fail utterly to describe the magnitude of thy goodness, O Mother of God.

Exapostilarion: Spec. Mel.: Having fallen asleep in the flesh

Having fallen straightway into the sleep of death while fleeing corruption, O venerable martyr Winifred, Thou wast straightway restored to life by the power of Christ, Who is the salvation of the world.


O Mistress, pure Virgin, deliver us from all evils, entreating Him Who hath nailed our sins to the Cross; and vouchsafe that we may stand with thee and Winifred at His right hand, when He cometh in His glory.

After the Praise stichera: Glory: Idiomelon, in Tone IV

As of old the desert rock gushed forth water for thirsting Israel when the staff of Moses smote it, so did the rocky ground of Wales put forth a torrent of grace-filled water when, falling, the severed head of the martyred virgin Winifred struck it. The one quenched the bodily thirst of the children of God; while the other, O the wonder! healeth the manifold infirmities of their souls and bodies. Ye Christians, let us lift up our voices in praise of God for the mighty miracles He hath wrought for us through the pure waters of Holywell and the entreaties of His saint!

Now & ever: Theotokion, or this stavrotheotokion, in the same tone: Spec. Mel.: As one valiant among the martyrs

When the ewe-lamb, Thy Mother, beheld Thee nailed to the Cross, O Lord, she marvelled and cried aloud: “What is this that I see, O my Son most desired? How hath the disobedient and iniquitous assembly recompensed Thee, which enjoyed Thy many wonders? But glory to Thine ineffable condescension, O Master!”



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