Archive for the ‘Hymnography’ Category

We praise Thee, O God;
we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels cry aloud;
the Heavens. and all the Powers therein.
To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy Glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee;
the Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true, and only Son;
also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man,
Thou didst humble Thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.

Thou sittest at the right hand of God,
in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants,
whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints, in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people, and bless Thine heritage.
Govern them, and lift them up forever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
and we worship Thy Name, ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let Thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

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Cristi anax, se prvton, epei logon heri dvka,
dhnaion katecwn, fqegxom apo stomatwn,
(Dactylic hexameter, and pentameter.)

O Christ the King! since breath pent up so long
I have outpoured, Thou first shalt be my song;
May this my word, the current of my mind,
If lawful thus to speak, acceptance find,
And unto Thee as holy incense rise
Of holiest priest, a grateful sacrifice!
The Father’s Brightness, Word of the Great Mind,
Who cannot be by power of speech defined,
High Light of highest Light, the Only Son,
Image and Seal of the Immortal One,
Without beginning; from same Fount of Light
With the Great Spirit; infinite in might:
All-glorious Thou, and Author of all good:
From age to age Thy truth hath firmly stood.
Enthroned Thou reignest high in heaven above,
Almighty Breath of Mind and Lord of Love.
Throughout this framed universe Divine
Whatever is, or shall be, all is Thine:
Thou madest all, to all Thou givest life,
And all Thou guidest: nowhere fault or strife,
Nor error in Thy workmanship is found:
The whole in willing chain to Thee is bound.
Thou laid’st the world’s foundation: and Thy nod
All things obey, and own their Sovereign God.
For Thee the lofty sun, the king of day,
Quenching the stars, holds on his fiery way.
For Thee, for so Thou bidst, the eye of night,
The moon, waxes and wanes, full orb of light.
For Thee the belt of heaven, all-dancing ring,
And seasons kindly mingling, laugh and sing.
For Thee the fixed stars and planets shine
In course, and speak Thy wisdom all divine.
Thy light they are, the heavenly minds that be,
All sing on high the glorious Trinity.
Man is Thy glory too, angel below,
Here placed to sing, O Light, Thy beauteous glow.
Immortal, fleshless, glory’s highest ray,
Who mortal flesh yet took’st, man’s woes to stay,
For Thee I live, for Thee my songs arise,
For Thee I am a breathing sacrifice;
For this, of all things once possessed by me,
Alone remains, and this I give to Thee.

I tie my tongue, and loose it at Thy will;
In either, what Thou wouldst may I fulfil,
Speak what is right, nor think aught else beside:
From mire select the pearl, with Thee my Guide;
Gold from the sand, the rose from thorny brake,
From straw-encumbered ears the pure grain take.
To Thee, O Christ, this wreath of uttered praise,
As firstfruits of my loving toil, I raise.

For from the dead, with whom He mingled lay,
Great Christ arose, upon this gladsome day;
Gates of grim Hades He did open fling;
And broke death’s power, and robbed him of his sting;
Rushed from the tomb, appeared to speaking men,
For whom, once born, He died and rose again;
That we new-born might rise, from death set free,
And ever live, ascending Lord, with Thee.
This day glad Heaven with acclamation rings,
And choir angelic crowning anthem sings.
This day my closed lips I loose in song
To Thee, to whom my lute and breath belong.

Of mind to Mind, of word to the true Word,
I here have offered what I could afford:
Hereafter, if He will, I hope to bring
To the Great Spirit worthier offering.

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eyeusamhn se thn alhqeian, loge,
(Iambic trimeter.)

O Thou, the Word of truth divine!
All light I have not been,
Nor kept the day as wholly Thine;
For Thou dark spots hast seen.

The day is down: night hath prevailed:
My Lord I have belied;
I vowed, and thought to do, but failed;
My steps did somewhere slide.

There came a darkness from below
Obscuring safety’s way.
Thy light, O Christ, again bestow;
Turn darkness into day.

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What follows is a selection of Psalms by St. Ephraim the Syrian. They can be found in the book A Spiritual Psalter, published by St. John of Kronstadt Press. This little book is very edifying and uplifting, and is highly recommended.

How to Relieve the Conscience of Inner Anxiety

O Lord and Master! O God of heaven and earth! Show Your favor and open to me the door of repentance, I pray You with my afflicted soul.

Regard me according to Your great mercy; incline Your ear to my prayer and forgive me, who am guilty of falling into many sins; forgive me all of the wretched things I have done, for I have been conquered by my own evil will.

I seek peace and do not find it, for my conscience is stained; there is no tranquility in me due to the multitude of my iniquities.

Hearken, O Lord, to a heart which cries out to You with affliction. Do not pay attention to my deeds, but to the affliction of my soul, and hasten to heal me who am cruelly wounded. Grant that I may soon come to my senses according to the grace of Your love for humanity.

Take from me the burden of my sins and grant me not that which my deeds merit, that I may not perish in the end, and that I may not be altogether deprived of thought and concern for my restoration.

I fall down before Your compassion; have mercy on me who am cast into the dust by the judgement of my deeds.

O Master, summon me, a captive who is held and bound by his deeds as with chains, for You alone know how to free those who are bound and how to heal the invisible sores that are known only to You Who know all mysteries.

Show Your favor and stretch out Your hand to me. Draw me out of the mire of my iniquities, O You Who does not rejoice at the destruction of man, and Who does not turn Your face from those who cry to You with tears.

Hearken, O Lord, unto the voice of Your servant, who cries to You; show Your face to me, for I am beclouded; enlighten me with the coming of Your Holy Spirit.

Grant me, O Lord, diligence, for I have become defiled, and turn my labor into joy.

Tear up my slackness and gird me with gladness; may the door of Your kingdom open to me that, having entered therein, I may glorify Your all-holy name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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ti soi qeleiV genesqai;
(Iambic dimeter catalectic.)

O soul of mine, repining,
What wouldst have done for thee?
Speak, great or small defining:
Granted thy wish shall be.

Of all bright things, prized highest,
Beneath the rolling sun,
Tell that for which thou sighest;
For thee it shall be done.

Wouldst thou assume the measure
Of Gyges, Lydia’s king,
To hide or show at pleasure
By power of magic ring?

Wouldst thou rich Midas follow?
“All gold I touch,” he cried:
‘Tis given! e’en gold to swallow:
So all of gold he died.

Wouldst shine in brilliant trammels,
With pearls and jewels grand?
Have flocks, and herds, and camels,
And acres of fat land?

Such things we will not barter:
To thee they were a snare:
They are not in our charter,
Nor would I have them there.

For since to God advancing
I came at His own call,
Such cares the soul entrancing,
I have abandoned all.

Wouldst have the nations bending
Beneath thy yoke to day,
To-morrow thyself lending
To grace another’s sway?

The sway of one, once marching,
It might be, at thy side;
Or menial base, now arching
His neck in lofty pride?

Wouldst thou in Love’s sweet anguish,
In indolence and ease,
Let truth and honour languish,
And change with changing breeze?

Wouldst wed a fair Heth’s daughter,
Fair progeny to see?
Ah me! of woes and slaughter
Progenitor to be!

Wouldst have the commons sounding
The greatness of thy fame,
And theatres rebounding
With echoes of thy name?

Wouldst thou in courts o’erflowing
With legal mockery,
Justice and truth o’erthrowing,
Pillage, and pillaged be?

Wouldst take a martial bearing,
And sport with blood and gore?
Or, Pythian garlands wearing,
Defy the lion’s roar?

Wouldst have the town applauding,
And statues reared to thee?
The world thy merits lauding,
Wouldst thou its idol be?

Vain wish! a shadowy dreaming,
A moan of wind hence bound,
Whiz of an arrow gleaming,
A hand-clap’s dying sound.

Such things will fade to-morrow,
However bright to-day:
And he must sleep in sorrow
Who makes them his heart’s stay.

Toys common! bad men’s heaven!
And ah! when hence they go,
To none is it then given
To carry aught below.

What then, O soul repining,
Since these things nothing be,
Substantial good defining,
Wouldst thou have done for thee?

Wouldst be a god, presiding
At God’s own side most high,
Angelic chorus guiding,
All radiant o’er the sky?

Go thou, on pinions gliding
Of vehement desire,
On rapid whirlwind riding
Whither thou dost aspire.

To plume thy wing I’m trying,
Nor spare the friendly goad:
Mount upward, bird-like flying
On thine ethereal road.

But earth’s own child on crutches,
Since, I am yoked to thee,
As queen in butchers’ clutches,
Just tell how this must be;

Whom wilt thou have abettor,
To be upheld in breath?
For I’m no more thy debtor,
Nor heed vain threats of death.

Or wouldst thou perfumed table,
With dainties covered o’er,
So art cuisine be able
To stimulate thee more?

And lyre, and whirl so maddening
Of rapid foot and hand,
And things to tell too saddening,
Known to the revelling band?

Art thou for such things wrangling?
Have thy desire!–but wait:
Such things, not life, but strangling,
To friends insatiate!

For thee, a house abideth,
A rock with self-formed dome;
Nature herself provideth:
We give thee such a home!

Or if thy fancy leadeth
To build thyself a cell,
But little toil it needeth,
Where thou mayst safely dwell,

The body claims small payment,
Ere it returns to dust:
Skins, camel’s hair, for raiment
Sufficed of old the just.

And grass, or straw, as chances,
Make thou thy humble bed:
And purple heath, or branches,
Thy coverlet be spread.

Such for my guests is meetest:
No fear to great or small:
Plain table: odours sweetest,
Kind earth’s free gifts to all.

Thus housed, we will thee nourish,
As best we can afford:
Wouldst eat? take bread and flourish:
Take meal, if on the board.

Here’s salt: and thyme we scant not:
Such source no toil requires:
More luxuries we want not,
Whate’er the world desires.

Or drink wouldst thou? there springeth
An everflowing bowl:
No bane the fountain bringeth,
Bright cheerer of the soul.

But wouldst unbend in season,
And not, o’erstrained, repine?
We grant in this is reason,
Nor grudge the rough-made wine.

But thou dost spurn all measure,
And wouldst the vessel bore,
And take huge draughts of pleasure
Till thou couldst hold no more.

Then seek another helot,
All lengths with thee to go,
No idler I, nor zealot,
To nurse domestic foe.

A frozen reptile taken,
And with fond warmth caressed:
See! it to life doth waken,
And wound me in the breast.

Wouldst boundless gold-roofed mansions,
Gemmed paragons of art,
And master-piece expansions,
To life which almost start?

Colours with colours blending
In opposite array;
Rare tablets, softness lending,
Or shining bright as day?

Dost long for robes wide-flowing,
Pride of the untouched great;
And wealth on fingers glowing,
Incredible to state?

Art thou at beauty aiming?
The wise would scorn to win:
More I than all, proclaiming
That beauty is within.

Thus I to men benighted,
of earth the creatures fond,
For time alone quick-sighted,
With not a thought beyond.

But ye who soar up higher,
A noble life to live;
Who would to heaven be nigher,
Behold what God doth give!

In poorest clay there dwelleth
That which can never die:
With this my bosom swelleth:
For this I food supply!

God-minded, thyself harden!
Meet calm the flashing sword!
Plant trees for God’s own garden!
Be worker, with the Lord!

Up! living words be building,
In God’s blest truth secure.
Not robbed by foe’s false gilding
Through pleasure’s baneful lure!

Again of life eternal,
Approach the blessed tree
The way, O Thou Supernal,
I’ve found in knowing Thee.

Past, present, never-ending,
The One great Light in Three;
To whom all things are tending:
To Thee, all glory be!

To self the wise thus speaketh,
Turning his eyes within;
And eager there he seeketh
To find out lurking sin.

But who to speak refuseth,
Will pass his days in vain:
Nay, more! the ease he chooseth,
May end in greatest pain.

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Gregory Nazianzen
   'W pantwn epekeina . ti gar qemiV allo se melpein;
   (Dactylic hexameter.)

   O Thou, the One Supreme o'er all! [22]
   For by what other name
   May we upon Thy greatness call,
   Or celebrate Thy fame?

   Ineffable! to Thee what speech
   Can hymns of honour raise?
   Ineffable! what tongue can reach
   The measure of Thy praise?

   How, unapproached, shall mind of man
   Descry Thy dazzling throne;
   And pierce, and find Thee out, and scan,
   Where Thou dost dwell alone?

   Unuttered Thou! all uttered things
   Have had their birth from Thee:
   The One unknown! from Thee the springs
   Of all we know and see!

   Mindful, and mindless, all things yield
   To Thy parental sway
   For Thou to all art life and shield:
   They honour and obey.

   For round Thee centre all the woes
   Of night and darkling day,
   The common wants and common throes;
   And all to Thee do pray.

   And all things as they move along
   In order fixed by Thee,
   Thy watchword heed, in silent song
   Hymning Thy majesty.

   And lo! all things abide in Thee,
   And through the complex whole,
   Thou spread'st Thine own Divinity,
   Thyself of all the goal.

   One Being Thou, all things, yet none,
   Nor one nor yet all things;
   How call Thee, O mysterious One?
   A worthy name who brings?

   All-named from attributes Thine own,
   How call Thee as we ought?
   Thou art unlimited, alone,
   Beyond the range of thought.

   What heaven-born intellect shall rend
   The veiling clouds above?
   Be Thou propitious! ever send
   Bright tokens of Thy love!

   O Thou the One Supreme o'er all!
   For by what other name
   May we upon Thy greatness call,
   Or celebrate Thy fame?


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Se kai nun eulogoumen,

And now again at night,
O Christ, the living Word,
Thou Light of the Eternal Light,
Be Thou by us adored.

Thou dost the Spirit give,
Third Light, in glory one;
His grace, by whom alone we live,
Thou dost refuse to none.

Thou didst the darkness scatter,
Thou mad’st the light to shine,
That now through all primeval matter
Might spring delight divine.

It, a rude mass before,
From Thee took order new;
And shapely form, and steadfast law,
So beautiful to view.

And mind of man with light
From heaven Thou didst endow,
By word and wisdom that he might
Thine image bear below;

And lighted in his soul,
Thine own great Light might see;
And thenceforth not in part, but whole,
Himself all light might be.

And heaven Thou didst array,
With those bright orbs above;
And day to night, and night to day,
Proclaim Thy law of love;

Yielding in turn; the one
To worn-out flesh brings rest!
The other calls, “Let work be done!”
Such work as Thou lov’st best.

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Gregory Nazianzen.

Se ton afqiton monarchn
(Dimeter ionicus.)

O Thou, the One Supreme,
O thou, the deathless King,
Be Thou my only theme:
Grant me Thyself to sing.
To Thee the hymn, to Thee the praise,
Celestial choirs for ever raise.

For Thee the ages run
In order as was given;
For Thee shines forth the sun,
The day-born eye of heaven:
For Thee the moon, and grand array
Of stars, hold on their nightly way.

With reasonable soul
For Thee learns favoured man
His passions to control,
And the Divine to scan;
For Thou of all Creator art,
Thou madst the whole and every part.

All march in ordered band:
O’er all Thou hold’st the reins:
All creatures of Thy hand
Thy Providence sustains.
For Thou the word didst speak–’twas done–
That Word of Thine is God the Son.

For of same honour He,
Thine own begotten Son,
In form and quality
With Thee the Father one:
Who placed all things in harmony,
That over all He King might be.

And all Thy works infolding
In bonds of love and truth,
The Spirit all-upholding,
Renews creation’s youth
Foreseeing, He for all provides,
And Guardian over all presides.

Thee, Thee, the Triune King,
The One Eternal Lord,
Thee evermore I’ll sing,
By earth and heaven adored,
The Three in One, the One in Three,
The ever-living Trinity.

Immovable of mind,
Of ways past mortal ken,
The boundless, undefined,
Wisdom’s deep origin,
Upholder of the heavenly towers,
Ruler of all created powers.

Beginning none, nor end:
The self-sprung Light art Thou:
We cannot comprehend,
But to Thy Brightness bow,
Whose eye, repelling mortal gaze,
All things above, below, surveys.

Unseen, yet ever near,
Father, propitious be:
This my petition hear,
This boon accord to me:
That Light to serve through endless day,
And have my sins all washed away;

That I, with conscience clear
From every evil thought,
May love with filial fear,
And worship as I ought,
Pure holy hands and heart upraising,
And Christ the Lord for ever praising.

To Thee I bend the knee;
When He shall come, grant me,
That I His glory see,
That I His servant be:
When He shall come–shall come again;
When He shall come–shall come to reign.

Father, propitious be!
On me Thy mercy show!
Bow down Thine ear to me,
On me Thy grace bestow;
For Thine the glory, Thine the grace,
While countless ages run their race.

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One of the beautiful things about Orthodoxy is the multitude of love-filled hymns. Here is one written by St. Nectarios in praise of the Theotokos – the Mother of God.

O Virgin Pure
by St. Nectarios
Plagal First Tone (Tone 5)

Refrain: O Rejoice, Bride Unwedded.

O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament/ and pure than the sun’s light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav’nly armies.
O Rejoice, Bride Unwedded.

O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon’rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.

O Rejoice, Bride Unwedded.

Rejoice, O song of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flower of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality

O Rejoice, Bride Unwedded.

I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/ O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.

O Rejoice, Bride Unwedded.

I found this at Fr. John Whiteford’s Blog

I must say, it is one of my favorite hymns.

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