Hymns of the Resurrection

I love the Sunday celebration of the Resurrection. I have developed an even deeper appreciation for it since I have become responsible for putting my parish's Sunday services together, and I see how, whatever else we celebrate, it is permeated by the joy of the Resurrection, which reaches its climax in the exhilarating services of Pascha. Here are some of my favourite liturgical hymns of the Resurrection:

The Myrrh-Bearing Maidens anticipated the dawn and sought, as those who seek the day, their Sun, Who was before the sun and Who had once sat in the grave. And they cried one to another: "Come, O friends, let us anoint with spices his life-giving and buried body — the Flesh Who raised up fallen Adam, and Who now lieth in the tomb. Let us go, let us hasten, and like the Magi let us worship Him, offering myrrh as a gift to Him, Who is wrapped, not now in swaddling clothes, but in a shroud. And let us weep and cry aloud: Arise, O Lord, Who grantest Resurrection to the fallen.

- Ikos after Ode 6 of the Paschal Canon

When Thou didst descend unto death, O Life Immortal, then didst Thou slay Hades with the lightning of thy divinity; and when Thou didst raise the dead out of the nethermost depths, all the hosts of heaven cried aloud: "O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to Thee!"
- Sunday Resurrection Tropar, tone 2

Thou art risen from the tomb, O omnipotent Saviour! And Hades was terrified on beholding the wonder; and the dead arose; and creation at the sight thereof rejoiceth with Thee. And Adam also is joyful; and the world, O my Saviour, praiseth Thee for ever!
- Sunday Resurrection Kondak, tone 2

Let the heavens rejoice! And let the earth be glad! For the Lord hath wrought might with his arm; He hath trampled down death by death. He is become the First-born of the dead. From the belly of Hades hath He delivered us, granting to the world great mercy!

- Sunday Resurrection Tropar, tone 3

Thou didst destroy death by thy Cross; to the thief Thou didst open Paradise; the lamentation of the Myrrh-Bearing Women Thou didst turn into joy; and Thou didst command thine Apostles to proclaim that Thou, O Christ, art risen, granting to the world great mercy!
- Sunday Resurrection Tropar, tone 7

In thy Kingdom remember us, O Lord, when Thou comest in thy Kingdom.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

From paradise didst Thou drive our forefather Adam, who had broken thy commandment, O Christ; but, O Compassionate One, Thou didst cause to dwell therein the thief who confessed Thee on the Cross, crying aloud: "Remember me, O Saviour, in thy Kingdom!"

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

With the curse of death didst Thou condemn us who had sinned, O Lord, Bestower of life; yet having suffered in thy flesh, O sinless Master, Thou hast granted life unto mortals who cry aloud: "Remember us also in thy Kingdom!"

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.

In rising from the dead, Thou hast raised us up from the passions with Thyself through thy Resurrection, O Lord; and all the power of death hast Thou vanquished, O Saviour. Wherefore, with faith we cry aloud to Thee: "Remember us also in thy Kingdom!"

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

O Thou who as God grantest life, by thy three days in the tomb Thou didst raise up with Thyself the dead in Hades, and as One Who is good Thou hast poured forth incorruption upon all of us who with faith ever cry aloud: "Remember us also in thy Kingdom!"

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Risen from the dead, O Saviour, Thou didst first appear to the myrrh-bearing women, crying out: "Rejoice!" and through them Thou didst announce thy resurrection to thy friends, O Christ. Wherefore, with faith we cry aloud to Thee, "Remember us also in thy Kingdom!"

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in the heavens.

Moses, stretching out his arms on the mountain, prefigured the Cross and thus conquered Amelek. And, receiving it with faith as a mighty weapon against the demons, we all cry aloud: "Remember us also in thy Kingdom!"

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

O ye faithful, let us hymn the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, the one God, the one Lord, as from a single Sun; for the Trinity is thrice-luminous and enlighteneth all who cry aloud: "Remember us also in thy Kingdom!"

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Rejoice! O portal of God, through which the incarnate Creator passed without breaking thy seal. Rejoice! thou illumined cloud which bore Christ, the divine Rain. Rejoice! ladder and throne of heaven. Rejoice! honoured mountain of God, fruitful and unquarried.
- The Beatitudes, as sung at the Divine Liturgy on Sunday in week of tone 3

5 responses:

Ian Climacus said...

They are wondrous, aren't they? Thank you for sharing your favourites.

I adore the Evlogetaria ["Blessed are you O Lord, teach me your statutes."] at Sunday Matins with the wonderful verses on Christ's Resurrection. I find it popping into my head during the week

Michael said...

Goodness, Ian! That was quick. I'd barely clicked "Submit Post" :-)

My parish only does Vespers on Saturday and not the full Vigil, (and even that we only started last summer), so I'm largely unfamiliar with Matins. I have only encountered the Evlogitaria at funerals and panykhidas. Are they the same at Matins?

We may possibly try to introduce the vigil for our patronal festival this year, then perhaps we can expand in time to doing it for the Great Feasts, but it's still early days for us in our church so I think we should take it slowly.

Ian Climacus said...

Haste is my motto.

I believe they are different, but cannot be 100% sure. The ones we sing are, according to my faulty memory, as below.

My prayers for all of your wonderful work within the Church, and as you consider additional services or hymns. Taking it slowly sounds like a good idea.

God bless; in Christ,

Blessed are you O Lord, teach me your statutes.

The company of the angels was amazed when they beheld you numbered among the dead. Yet you O Saviour destroyed the power of death, with you raising up Adam and releasing all men from Hell.

Blessed are you O Lord, teach me your statutes.

Why, O women disciples, do you mingle sweet-smelling spices with your tears of pity?. The radiant angel within the sepulchre cried unto the Myrrh-bearing Women, "Behold the grave and understand for the Saviour is risen from the tomb."

Blessed are you O Lord, teach me your statutes.

Very early in the morning did the Myrrh-bearing Women run lamenting unto your tomb, O Saviour. But the angel came toward them saying, "The time for lamentation is passed; weep not, but announce unto the apostles the Resurrection."

Blessed are you O Lord, teach me your statutes.

The myrrh-bearing Women mourned as bearing spices they drew near your tomb O Saviour. But the angel spoke unto them saying, "Why number you the living among the dead? In that He is God He is risen from the grave."

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

We adore the Father as also His Son and the Holy Spirit; the Holy Trinity one in essence; crying with the Seraphim, "Holy, Holy, Holy are you O Lord!"

Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen

In that you bore the Giver of Life O Virgin, you redeemed Adam from sin, and gave Eve joy in place of sadness; and He who was incarnate of you, both God and Man, has restored to life those who had fallen therefrom.

Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. Glory to you, O God. [x 3]

O our God and our Hope, glory to You!

Joe S.R. said...

I couldn't help but notice that that first tropar, 'When Thou didst descend unto death', is a bit similar to an antiphon from Vespers of the Circumcision in the new Roman Breviary:

"When thou wast born all ineffably of the Virgin, then were the Scriptures fulfilled: As the rain upon the fleece didst thou descend to save mankind.We praise the, O our God."

Michael said...

Thank you, Ian. Yes, they are different. I'll have the opportunity to hear them next month as I'll be at the vigil at the cathedral, only they'll be in Slavonic. I should be able to recognise it, though.

Prayers appreciated. It's such a big learning curve.

Joe, yes, you're right. I can see the similar structure, beginning with the recollection of Christ's action and concluding with praise. I don't have time to search the liturgical texts now but I would not be at all surprised to find that this existed somewhere in the Byzantine Rite.

You may well have provided the meat for "From East to West: part five". :-)

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