On the Rock of Thy Commandments

This hymn is a translation of Ode III of the Canon at Orthros on St. Thomas Sunday, which is the First Sunday following Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) in the Byzantine Liturgy.

This is the original text of this hymn as it appears in Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862). There are no variations in the text in the 5th edition:

On the rock of Thy commandments
Fix me firmly, lest I slide:
With the glory of Thy Presence
Cover me on every side;
Seeing none save Thee is holy,
God, for ever glorified!

New immortal out of mortal,
New existence out of old;
This the Cross of Christ accomplished,
This the Prophets had foretold:
So that we, thus newly quickened,
Might attain the heavenly fold.

Thou Who comprehendest all things,
Comprehended by the tomb,
Gav’st Thy Body to the graveclothes
And the silence and the gloom:
Till through fast-closed doors Thou camest
Thy Disciples to illume.

Every nail-print, every buffet,
Thou didst freely undergo,
As Thy Resurrection’s witness
To the Twelve Thou cam’st to show:
So that what they saw in vision,
Future years by faith might know.

Words: St. John of Damascus, ca. 8th Century; tr. John Mason Neale, 1859.
Tune: “Sieh, Hier Bin Ich” Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Darmstadt, 1698.
Meter: 8.7.8.7.8.7

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

Κανών α’, ᾨδὴ γ’, τῆς Ἑορτῆς 
Ἦχος α’ 
Ὁ Εἱρμὸς
«Στερέωσόν με Χριστέ, ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν τῶν ἐντολῶν σου, καὶ φώτισόν με φωτὶ τοῦ προσώπου σου· οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ ἅγιος, πλήν σου φιλάνθρωπε».

Καινοὺς ἀντὶ παλαιῶν, ἀντὶ φθαρτῶν δὲ ἀφθάρτους, διὰ Σταυροῦ σου Χριστέ, τελέσας ἡμᾶς, ἐν καινότητι ζωῆς πολιτεύεσθαι, ἀξίως προσέταξας.

Ἐν τάφῳ περικλεισθείς, τῇ περιγράπτῳ σαρκί σου, ὁ ἀπερίγραπτος, Χριστὲ ἀνέστης, θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων δὲ ἐπέστης, σοῦ τοῖς Μαθηταῖς, παντοδύναμε.

Τοὺς μώλωπάς σου Χριστέ, οὓς ἑκουσίως ὑπέστης, ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τοῖς Μαθηταῖς σου φυλάξας μαρτύριον, τῆς σῆς ἔδειξας, ἐνδόξου Ἀναστάσεως.
Καταβασία
«Δεῦτε πόμα πίωμεν καινόν, οὐκ ἐκ πέτρας ἀγόνου τερατουργούμενον, ἀλλ’ ἀφθαρσίας πηγήν, ἐκ τάφου ὀμβρήσαντος Χριστοῦ, ἐν ᾧ στερεούμεθα».

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, English Translation of Non-English Hymn, Greek Hymns, Horologion, Hymns By The Greats, John Mason Neale, Liturgies of the Various Eastern Churches (Byzantine, etc.), Non-English Hymns, Orthros, 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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