Feast Day: July 28th
The Life of Saint Irene: Saint Irene often read the Lives of the Saints in her Cell, imitating their Virtues to the best of her ability…
Apolytikion: Not a temporal kingdom on Earth didst thou obtain, but Christ, thy most comely Bridegroom, vouchsafed thee Heavenly Crowns, and thou reignest as a Queen with Him Eternally; for thou didst dedicate thyself into Him with all thy Soul, O Irene, our Venerable Mother, thou boast of Chrysovalantou, and mighty help of all the Orthodox.
Kontakion: Leaving all the world behind with its impermanent glory, thou wast wedded unto Christ, the King Immortal and Holy, bringing Him as precious dowry thy maiden beauty and thy trophies won through abstinence over demons. O Irene, our Venerable Mother, entreat thy Bridegroom to show His Mercy to us.
Megalynarion: The beauty of Cappadocia, leading Chrysovalantou without error, the fountain pen of Heavenly Peace, Venerable Irene, we honour thee with hymns.
Doxastikon: Come, all the faithful, let us hasten with diligence to Irene the God-Bearer, for behold, she stands among us at the annual feast of her Memory, granting the gifts of peace, distributing to each as they are worthy, as we have all been Blessed by her gifts, and we behold the Grace-filled mind with which she was rightly made worthy of. The lamp of Virginity, the treasury of dispassion, the overflowing vessel of Mystical fragrances, for in the House of God, she received this anointing, having the honour of rest. Therefore, she was adorned like the Angels with the Angelic Glory with which she was made worthy, and she ceaselessly intercedes with God, the Bestower of Peace, to grant peace to the world, and to save our Souls.
Saint Irene received the blessing and guidance of Saint Ioannikos the Great, who told her of God’s Will for her to go to the Monastery of Chrysovalantou. Saint Irene rejoiced and became a Nun, a Bride of Christ.
“Therefore let us leave all the sweet pleasures of the world as false and short-lived, that what we may inherit is true and ageless.”
Saint Irene was chosen to become the Abbess of the Monastery. She accepted with great fear knowing her responsibility over the Souls of the Sisterhood, and she increased her Prayers and Asceticism.
“The Lord, seeing that her goal was a good one, immediately heard her request and sent to her from the heavens a light-bearing Angel who appeared to her dressed in a stunning white garment… This Angel would appear to her, conversing with her as a friend each time it was needed for her to know something secret. This gift was given to her not only for all the Nuns who were under her spiritual care, but also for the many that came to her seeking to hear her golden words.”
Because of her great Ascetic struggles and humility, Saint Irene was constantly troubled during her life, particularly during her Prayers. However she remained so strong and overcame all the temptations coming to her.
“Wooden Irene, wooden feet hold you up. For how long will you torture our race, how long will you burn us with your Prayers and how long will you hurt and make us sad?” Our Venerable Mother remained unfazed. This audacious demon then lit a candle from the votive lamp and continued to light the mantle and veil of the Saint herself on fire. The flames reached down to the ground and burned not only the Saint’s clothing, but deep into the skin on her shoulders, chest, and back. Her entire body would have surely burned had it not been for one of the Sisters who rushed it to put the fire out after smelling it from her own cell down the hall. Unbelievably, the Saint continued to stand unfazed by the whole event. Irene stood tall, hands still in the air and Praying to our Lord above. “My child”, Irene said to the frightened Nun, “why did you do such a bad thing and interrupt the good that was taking place? We shouldn’t think about the human things, but rather about the Divine. An Angel was standing in front of me weaving a wreath of various marvellous and fragrant flowers and as he stretched out his hand to place this wreath on my head, you came in. You thought that you were committing a praiseworthy act but instead committed a most unpraiseworthy act. The Angel saw you and left. You brought to me sorrow and I lost a great opportunity.”
Saint Irene had a beautiful habit, on great Feast Days she would keep vigil in the Monastery courtyard, Praying under the night sky full of stars. This remained unknown to the Aisters of the Monastery, until one night one Aister saw Saint Irene Praying, raised off the ground and two trees bent in Prayer with her.
One day, Saint Irene saw her most beloved Christ, surrounded by Angels.
Saint Irene received three apples from Saint John the Beloved Disciple of Christ. She shared them with the Sisters of her Monastery, giving thanks to God and Saint John for this beautiful gift.
“Then the old man walked across the water and entered the ship. He gave the sailor three apples which God was sending to the Patriarch “from His Beloved Disciple John.” Then the old man gave the sailor three more apples for the Abbess of Chrysovalantou. He told the sailor that if Irene ate the apples, all that her Soul desired would be granted, “for this gift comes from John in Paradise.”
Knowing about her upcoming dormition, Saint Irene fasted, Prayed and ate a piece of the third apple each day. When the day of her Blessed Repose came, she saw the Angels who came to receive her Soul, and she smiled.
“The Lord has ordained that for a little labor, which we temporarily endure in this life, we shall be granted the Kingdom of the Heavens, life everlasting, ineffable delights, and endless rest.”
Saint Irene had such powerful Prayers when she was living in her Monastery – she helped everyone who would come to her and the demons had no power against her and her intercessions to Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. She continues her Miracles today, healing both bodily and Spiritual ailments. Saint Irene Chrysovalantou is especially wondrous in her intercessions for couples having trouble conceiving. Through her Prayers countless babies have been born into this world.