All of Creation Rejoices

O Full of Grace, all creation rejoiceth in thee! The angelic hosts sing thy praises with all mankind: thou hallowed temple, noetical paradise, and the glory of all virgins. Of thee was God made flesh - our God before all ages - and became a child. Of thy body a throne He made; He made thy womb more spacious than the heavens. All creation rejoiceth in thee, O Full of Grace: glory be to Thee!

- Zadostoinik from the Anaphora of St Basil

Ian's comment on a recent post reminded me of the reason for my choice of the new blog title. It is simply that the hymn from which it comes is among my favourite hymns of the Church, and a version of it may be found here. What I find most moving is the reference to the womb of the Mother of God having been made "more spacious than the heavens". The eternal God, the divine Logos, the Ancient of Days, Who in his divine essence is invisible, boundless, unimaginable, indescribable, in every way completely beyond our abilities of perception and beyond the limitations of created space and time - this uncircumscribable God whom the heavens could not contain - was contained within the womb of a young girl by the power of the Holy Spirit and through her willing obedience to the will of God. I find this absolutely mind-blowing and the expression "more spacious than the heavens" sums this up perfectly.

It's almost a pity that we only ever hear it on the Sundays of Great Lent and on the feast of St Basil. Of course, the other times of year that we serve the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great are Christmas (depending on which day the feast falls), and the old Paschal vigil on Great and Holy Saturday. On both occasions, the zadostoinik is replaced with one proper to the day. Roll on Lent!

I also love the "All of Creation Rejoices" icon of the Synaxis of the Mother of God (above), and can safely place it among the icons that most elevate my heart. Perhaps this ought to be next on my list of "nice things to get". There are a number of versions of this but among my favourites is a rather lovely one by Nikolai Tsai, and which can be viewed on his website.

Does anybody have any favourite settings to this hymn? I'd be very interested to learn some new ones.

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