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Hymns of the Eastern Church
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ORTHODOXY SUNDAY.

The first Sunday in Lent is kept in memory: primarily, of the final triumph of the Church over the Iconoclasts in 842; and, incidentally, of her victory over all other heresies. It has a kind of commination appropriate to itself alone. The following Canon is ascribed to S. Theodore of the Studium, though Baronius has thought that it cannot be his, because it implies that peace was restored to the Church, whereas that hymnographer died while the persecution still continued. Very possibly, however, it was written on the temporary victory of the Church, which did occur in the time of S. Theodore; and then, in 842, may have been lengthened and adapted to the then state of things, perhaps by Naucratius, the favourite disciple of S. Theodore. It is, perhaps, the most spirited of all the Canons, though many of its expressions savour too much of bitterness and personal feeling to be well defended, and the reader must constantly bear in mind that the poet feels the cause, not so much of Icons, as of the Incarnation itself, to be at stake. I have only given about one-third of the poem. The stanzas are these: Ode 1. Tropar. 1, 2; III. 6; IV. 1, 2, 3; V. 1, 3, 4, 5; VI. 1; IX. 2, 3, 4, 5.

7,6,7,6

Theodore of the Studium, 826

Χαριστηριον ωδην.

A song, a song of gladness!

A song of thanks and praise!

The horn of our salvation

Hath GOD vouchsafed to raise!

A monarch true and faithful,

And glorious in her might,

To champion CHRIST’s own quarrel,

And Orthodoxy’s right!

Now manifest is glory;

Now grace and virtue shine:

Now joys the Church regaining

Her ornaments divine:

And girds them on in gladness,

As fits a festal day,

After long months of struggle,

Long years of disarray.

Now cries the blood for vengeance,

By persecutors poured,

Of them that died defending

The likeness of the LORD:

The likeness as a mortal

That He vouchsafed to take

Long years ago, in Bethlem,

Incarnate for our sake.

Awake, O Church, and triumph

Exult, each realm and land!

And open let the houses,

The ascetic houses stand!

And let the holy virgins

With joy and song take in

Their relics and their Icons,

Who died this day to win!

Assemble ye together

So joyous and so bold,

The ascetic troops, and pen them

Once more within the fold!

If strength again he gather,1919This is from the magnificent Emmanuel Ode sung at Great Compline on high festivals. “Having become mighty, ye have been subdued. “For God is with us. “And if ye shall again become mighty, again ye shall be subdued. “For God is with us. “And if ye shall devise any device, the LORD shall scatter it, “For God is with us.”

Again the foe shall fall:

If counsel he shall counsel,

Our GOD shall scatter all.

The LORD, the LORD hath triumphed:

Let all the world rejoice!

Hushed is the turmoil, silent

His servants’ tearful voice:

And the One Faith, the True Faith,

Goes forth from East to West,

Enfolding, in its beauty,

The earth as with a vest.

They rise, the sleepless watchmen

Upon the Church’s wall;

With yearning supplication

On GOD the LORD they call:

And He, though long time silent,

Bowed down a gracious ear,

His people’s earnest crying

And long complaint to hear.

Sing, sing for joy, each desert!

Exult, each realm of earth!

Ye mountains, drop down sweetness!

Ye hillocks, leap for mirth!

For CHRIST the WORD, bestowing

His blessed peace on men,

In Faith’s most holy union

Hath knit His Church again.

The GOD of vengeance rises:

And CHRIST attacks the foe,

And makes His servants mighty

The wicked to o’erthrow.

And now Thy condescension

In boldness may we hymn,

And now in peace and safety

Thy sacred Image limn.

O LORD of loving kindness,

How wondrous are Thy ways!

What tongue of man suffices

Thy gentleness to praise?

Because of Thy dear Image

Men dared Thy Saints to kill,

Yet didst Thou not consume them,

But bear’st their insults still.

Thou Who has fixed unshaken

Thy Church’s mighty frame,

So that hell-gates shall never

Prevail against the same;—

Bestow upon Thy people

Thy peace, that we may bring

One voice, one hymn, one spirit,

To glorify our King!


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