September 16th - St. Euphemia


Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
Vespers Doxastikon.

It is interesting to note that this hymn appears two times (to my knowledge) during the Church Year.

In tonight's service (for September 16th) it is the Doxastikon of Vespers. This is, to my knowledge, St. Euphemia's "primary" commemoration.

In the Vespers service for July 11th, however, it is the Doxastikon of the Aposticha. This is also a commemoration of the Saint, but primarily it commemorates her miracle which occurred at the 4th Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon in 451 A.D., in which the Confessions of Faith of the two parties - the Orthodox and the Monophysite - were placed in the coffin which contained her relics. The coffin was then sealed, a guard was placed, and the two parties prayed and fasted intensely for 3 days. At the conclusion of the period of fasting and prayer, the coffin was opened, and the council saw that the scroll containing the Orthodox Confession of Faith was in St. Euphemia's right hand, whereas the Monophysite tome was at her feet. St. Euphemia, as though alive, sat up in her coffin and handed the Orthodox confession to the patriarch, who presided at the Council.

This, in my humble estimation of things, is the most convincing argument against the oft-repeated erroneous statement to be found even in published books that the entire Monophysite controversy was, by and large, a "linguistic misunderstanding" between the two parties, and that the two delegations were actually saying the same thing and simply being misunderstood by each other because of the linguistic barrier.

I somewhat doubt that St. Euphemia was similarly impeded by a "linguistic misunderstanding".



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Music Director at St. George, Albuquerque, NM
It is also worth noting that there is a very slight textual difference in this Doxastikon on the two different dates that it is used. Namely:

On September 16th, the last few lines of the Doxastikon of Vespers read:

Εὐφημία πανένδοξε, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχὰς ἡμῶν.

Which, being interpreted, is:

"O all-glorious Euphemia, that our souls be saved."

Whereas on July 11th, the last few lines of the Doxastikon of the Aposticha read:

Εὐφημία πανεύφημε, σωθῆναι τὰς ψυχάς ἡμῶν.

That is: "O all-famed Euphemia, that our souls be saved."

I don't know if the difference is simply due to a copyist's error, or if the change is intentional from one commemoration to the other.

My gut feeling is that the former (Εὐφημία πανένδοξε) might be an error, as Εὐφημία πανεύφημε is a play on the Saint's name - Euphemia meaning "the good-famed one", so "O all-famed good-famed one."

Thoughts/critical sources?

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