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Canon to the Holy Martyr Dymphna (in times of mental illness or distress)

The Holy Martyr Dymphna (+7th Century) was an Irish princess and the daughter of a Christian mother and a pagan king, Damon. When only fourteen, Dymphna’s mother died, which drove Damon mad with grief. Seeing the resemblance of Dymphna to his wife, the king began to make advances on his own daughter. To preserve her virginity, she fled with her confessor, the priest Gerebran, to Flanders. Pursued by Damon, St Gerebran was murdered; the king begged his daughter to return with him, but when Dymphna refused, in a rage he beheaded her with his own sword. Today, the relics of Ss Dymphna and Gerebran can be found in Gheel (or Geel), Belgium and are a famous source of healing for all those suffering mental illness or distress. Indeed, the entire town has been known for its treatment of mental illness since medieval times and even today is renowned as a centre for mental health services.


St Dymphna is commemorated on the 15th/28th May. Below is a canon dedicated to her in downloadable form which can be said on her feast day or in any time of need. The canon is taken from Matins of the service dedicated to the martyr found at "Orthodox England", however here it has been adapted as a standalone service to be said at home.


Saint Dymphna has been known for centuries as an incredibly powerful intercessor for those in mental distress, but of course the canon here is intended as a supplement to professional mental health, not a replacement. It is very useful, however, to pray this canon on behalf of someone else.



Canon to the Holy Martyr Dymphna (bookle
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CANON TO THE HOLY MARTYR DYMPHNA

And the Priest-Martyr Gerebran, Who Suffered with Her.

(Each Song consists of an eirmos & four troparia, the acrostic wherof is “Dymphna shed her blood for purity’s sake.”)



Song 1. Tone 2.

Eirmos: Traversing the deep, the people of Israel sang unto Him Who is mighty in the strength of His arm, and Who crushed the battles of the tyrant Pharaoh: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Desiring to escape the tyrant's lust, Dymphna cast herself upon the depths of the sea, and with God as her helmsman she sailed to Flanders, chanting: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Ye faithful Christian people, praise the Lord, Who with His mighty arm guided the holy ones to safety, and with joyous voices never cease to chant: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Moses led Israel away from the tyranny of Pharaoh, to the land God had promised them; and Christ guided Dymphna and those with her away from her tyrannous father to safe haven in His kingdom on high.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Theotokion: Pleading, let us make entreaty to the Theotokos, who by her maternal mediation breaketh the snares of the enemy asunder and freeth those who chant: Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath He been glorified!


Song 3.

Eirmos: Establish us in Thee, O Lord Who hast slain sin by the Tree, and plant the fear of Thee in the hearts of us who hymn Thee.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Having Jesus, Who redeemed mankind on the Cross, as thine only Lord, O martyr, thou didst love Him above all.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Neither the unholy passion of thy father, nor the raging billows of the sea were able to shake thy steadfast heart, O holy one.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

As thou wast zealous for the Lord, O Dymphna, thou didst plant in thy heart the fear of God, the beginning of wisdom.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Sin didst thou uproot from thy heart like tares from a field, O holy maiden, reaping a goodly harvest of the virtues.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Having been given thee as our mother by the Lord as He hung upon the Tree, O Virgin, we make bold to call upon thee.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice).


Sedalion, tone 4:

Filled with grace by Him Who suffered on the Cross, thou healest those distressed of body and spirit, O virgin martyr Dymphna. Wherefore, we honor thy virtues and thy holy memory with faith.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Having been given thee as our mother by the Lord as He hung upon the Tree, O Virgin, we make bold to call upon thee.


Song 4.

Eirmos: I hymn Thee, O Lord, for I heard report of Thee, and I was afraid; for Thou comest to me, seeking me who have strayed. Wherefore, I glorify Thy great condescension toward me, O greatly Merciful One.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Edified by the instruction of the pious Gerebran, Dymphna was filled with the fear of God, Who in His mercy and condescension toward mankind deigned to suffer and die on the Cross for us who have gone greatly astray.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Dymphna heard report of her father's depraved intent, and was afraid; wherefore, she fled in haste by ship to a far land, seeking a place to dwell unmolested, in purity and chastity, hymning her greatly merciful Master.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Hearing from the minions he sent to seek out the place where his daughter hid herself, the ungodly king set forth to apprehend and enslave her to his degeneracy; but the pure maiden denounced his wickedness.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Eve of old fell by transgressing the single commandment of the Most High, and with Adam brought death upon our race; but, giving birth to the Vanquisher of death, the all-holy Mary hath restored us to lost paradise.


Song 5.

Eirmos: Dispelling the darkness of my soul, O my Savior, with the light of the commandments illumine me, in that Thou alone art the King of peace.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Rebuking the mindless king, Gerebran the priest sought to dispel the demonic darkness that clouded his reason, for which the pious one was beheaded.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Beholding the holy priest unjustly slain, Dymphna was in nowise dismayed, giving thanks in heart for his witness to the commandments of the King of all.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Lamps of virtue are the teachings of Christ the Savior, guiding fallen man to the mansions of heaven, as Gerebran bore witness with zeal till his martyrdom.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O Lady most pure, by thine intercessions lift from my benighted soul the gloom of the passions, and shine upon me the light of thy Son, the King of peace.


Song 6.

Eirmos: Whirled about in the abyss of sin, I call upon the unfathomable abyss of Thy loving-kindness: Lead me up from corruption, O God!

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Overturned was the balance of the evil king's mind, and, enraged by his holy daughter's rejection, he slew her, falling into the dire abyss.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Demented and deranged was the holy one's father, and reason and sanity had departed from him, for he cut down his own child with the sword.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Freed from the bonds of the flesh by her father's sword, the virgin Dymphna, her purity unsullied, escaped corruption at his abominable hands.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: O the depths of our depravity! O the magnitude of our iniquity! But by thy prayers lead us up from corruption, O compassionate Maiden.

Lord, have mercy. (Thrice).

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Kontakion (Tone I): When thou wast entombed in a cave, and the mouth thereof was sealed for many years, O Dymphna, thy grave was opened by the pious, and thy sacred relics were found untouched by decay. Wherefore, we cry out to Him Who exalteth thee: Glory to Thine loving-kindness, O Christ! Glory to Thy kingdom! Glory to Thy compassion, O Thou Who art wondrous in Thy saints!


Ikos: Throughout the world many are afflicted with madness, raging uncontrollably, prey to baseless terrors and obsessions, or afflicted by palsies and like disorders. But the Lord, Who loveth mankind, hath given His holy martyr the grace to cure such maladies, in token of her courage and sacrifice. Wherefore, availing ourselves of her bold mediation, we cry unto the Merciful One: Glory to Thine omnipotence, O Christ! Glory to Thy kingdom! Glory to Thy compassion, O Thou Who art wondrous in Thy saints!


Song 7.

Eirmos: The command of the iniquitous tyrant, opposed to God, raised up a lofty flame; but Christ, Who is blessed and all-glorious, spread a spiritual dew upon the pious youths.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Refusing the iniquitous command of the tyrant, opposed to the law of God, Dymphna surrendered her pure soul into the blessed and all-glorious hands of her Lord.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Pious and blessed maiden, enable us also to withstand the fire of temptation and the flames of the passions, through the spiritual dew of the grace that dwelleth in thee.

Glory to the Father, and to the Sore, and to the Holy Spirit:

Upborne by the angels of God, the pure soul of the virgin maiden soared aloft to the habitations of the saints, to dwell forever with Christ, Who is blessed and all-glorious.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Rest from the toils of this life and relief from the burden of our struggles do thou grant us, O all-immaculate Theotokos, Mother of God Who is blessed and all-glorious.


Song 8.

Eirmos: God Who is glorified in the heavens with angelic voices let us forever praise with our words, O ye mortals.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: In the heavens doth the wondrous Dymphna stand in glory, joining her pure voice to that of the angelic hosts.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Those afflicted with the falling sickness and palsy are cured of their maladies by Dymphna's intercessions.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Ye Christians, with the angels let us glorify the Holy Trinity our God—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Sing praises, and with angelic hymnody let us magnify Mary, the Queen of the angels, for she prayeth for us.


Song 9.

Eirmos: The Church of the faithful people hath been magnified, for the Creator of all, dwelling therein, reneweth it unto life.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

Troparia: Saved from the ravages of time and war, the sacred relics of the martyr still give forth miracles like rays of uncreated light.

Holy Martyr Dymphna, pray to God for us!

At Gheel of Flanders the tombs of Dymphna and Gerebran pour forth grace, unto the renewal of men's health and life.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

Keep us free from indwelling passions, O saint, and fend off from us all the dire assaults of demonic temptations.

Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion: Exalted to the heavenly choirs, Dymphna, virgin and martyr, standeth with the Virgin Theotokos, hymning our Creator.


Prayer after the Canon

O holy-martyr Dymphna, thou who didst imbibe of the saving doctrines of the Christian Faith at thy pious mother's breast, and flourished amid thorns like a beauteous lily: perfume us who run to thee with the sweet fragrance of reverence. Heeding the great apostle who dost thus admonish the faithful – “Ye are the temple of the living God Wherefore, be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” – thou didst flee headlong from thy heathen father, desiring to escape the most vile profanation of the temple of thy body; teach us, O venerable martyr, to hearken also unto the Apostle’s commandments that we might flee from all unbelieving thoughts and evil suggestions.

Through many ages, pious Christians have journeyed from afar, to venerate thy precious relics, O holy virgin, for like an ever-flowing fountain thy tomb is a source of countless miracles. Wherefore, Gheel rejoiceth, as the place where thou didst lay down thy life for Christ; and all Flanders is filled with gladness, having thee as its glorious protectress. But we beg thee, blessed Dymphna, that through thy unceasing holy prayers the Lord send beams of grace upon us and all the faithful throughout the world. May all of us who suffer the darkening and delusion of mind find in thee a steadfast advocate and a wellspring of wondrous healing. Wherefore, thus healed, may we with a clear mind give glory, worship and honour to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

(Be at peace and know that the Holy Martyr Dymphna hears your prayer).

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2 Comments


Helen.than99
Apr 01, 2023

Thanks 🙏 St Dymphna you truly can help us come out of depression- you are amazing - please pray for all of us Amen ✝️

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Zee Fehler
Zee Fehler
Mar 21, 2021

Beautiful!


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