Into The Dim Earth’s Lowest Parts Descending

This hymn is a translation of Ode VI of the Canon for Easter Sunday from the Pentecostarion in the Byzantine Liturgy. This is used in what we would think of as the Easter Vigil in the Western Church.

Here is the original text as it appears in the first edition of Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862). The variations in the text of the 5th edition are as indicated below:

Into the dim earth’s lowest parts descending,
And bursting by Thy might the infernal chain
That bound the prisoners, Thou, at three days’ ending
As Jonah from the whale, hast risen again.

Thou brakest not the seal, Thy surety’s token,
Arising from the tomb, Who left’st in birth
The portals of virginity unbroken,
And op’st the gates(1) of heaven to sons of earth.

Thou, Sacrifice ineffable and living,
Didst to the Father, by Thyself atone
As God eternal: resurrection giving
To Adam, general parent, by Thine own.

Words: St. John of Damascus, 8th Century; tr. John Mason Neale, 1862.
Tune: “Morning Star” James P. Harding, 1892.
Alternate Tune:Welwyn” Alfred Scott-Gatty, 1902.
Meter: 11.10.11.10

(1) the beginning of this line is rendered as follows in the 5th edition: “Op’ning the gates”

Here is St. John of Damascus’ original Greek text:

ᾨδὴ ς’ Ὁ εἱρμὸς
«Κατῆλθες ἐν τοῖς κατωτάτοις τῆς γῆς, καὶ συνέτριψας μοχλοὺς αἰωνίους, κατόχους πεπεδημένων Χριστέ, καὶ τριήμερος ὡς ἐκ κήτους Ἰωνᾶς, ἐξανέστης τοῦ τάφου».

Φυλάξας τὰ σήμαντρα σῷα Χριστέ, ἐξηγέρθης τοῦ τάφου, ὁ τὰς κλεῖς τῆς Παρθένου μὴ λυμηνάμενος ἐν τῷ τόκῳ σου, καὶ ἀνέῳξας ἡμῖν, Παραδείσου τὰς πύλας.

Σῶτέρ μου τὸ ζῶν τε καὶ ἄθυτον, ἱερεῖον, ὡς Θεός, σεαυτὸν ἑκουσίως, προσαγαγὼν τῷ Πατρί, συνανέστησας, παγγενῆ τὸν Ἀδάμ, ἀναστὰς ἐκ τοῦ τάφου.
Καταβασία 
«Κατῆλθες ἐν τοῖς κατωτάτοις τῆς γῆς, καὶ συνέτριψας μοχλοὺς αἰωνίους, κατόχους πεπεδημένων Χριστέ, καὶ τριήμερος ὡς ἐκ κήτους Ἰωνᾶς, ἐξανέστης τοῦ τάφου».

About Noah

musings of a young Catholic aspiring to be faithful to his Lord and God Jesus Christ through His Holy Catholic Church
This entry was posted in Ancient & Mediaeval Hymns, Byzantine Liturgy, Easter, Easter Vigil, English Translation of Non-English Hymn, Greek Hymns, Hymns By The Greats, John Mason Neale, Liturgies of the Various Eastern Churches (Byzantine, etc.), Non-English Hymns, Pentecostarion, Saints of the Church (Canonized or Beatified), St. John of Damascus, The Church Year, The Liturgy of the Church and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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