From a canon for the forefeast

December 22, 2009

Translated from Joseph Schirò and Athanasius Kominis, eds., Analecta Hymnica Graeca e codicibus eruta Italiae inferioris: IV. Canones Decembris (Rome 1976), pp. 569, 573 f.

In profestum nativitatis Iesu Christi (22 dec.)

Κάθισμα. (Ἦχος γ´. Πρός· Θείας πίστεως ὁμολογία) Kathisma. (Tone 3. To the tune of: The confession of divine faith.)
Θεῖον σπήλαιον, προευτρεπίζου
τὸ πολίτευμα τὸ κατὰ σάρκα,
ἐν ᾧ Θεὸς ἐξ ἁγνῆς μέλλει τίκτεσθαι
καὶ ὡς βρέφος εἰληθήσεται σπάργανα,
άνακλινεῖται δὲ φάτνῃ ὡς νήπιον·
πτωχεύει γὰρ ἑκών,
ἵνα πλουτίσῃ καὶ σώσῃ ἡμᾶς ὡς φιλάνθρωπος.
O cave divine, make ready for
the citizenship according to the flesh
in which God of holy maiden shall be born
and as a babe be wrapped in swaddling clothes
and in a manger laid as tiny infant;
for it is his will to take on poverty
to enrich and save us, as the lover of mankind.
✜ ♥ ✜
✜ ♥ ✜
ᾠδὴ η´. Χεῖρας ἐκπετάσας Δανιὴλ. Ode 8: When Daniel stretched out his hands.
Τῆς ἀρχαίας λύεσθαι ἀρᾶς
τὸ ἐπιτίμιον
σήμερον ἄρχεται
καὶ τῆς χαρᾶς ἡμῖν ἅπασι
τὰ ἐνέχυρα ἐγγράφεσθαι
τοῖς τοῦ δοτῆρος τῶν καλῶν
τὴν γέννησιν
καὶ Θεὸν τοῦτον καὶ κτίστην δοξάζουσιν.
The penalty of the ancient curse
begins to be nullified
and pledges of joy
begin to be registered to the account
of all of us, who, in expectation,
celebrate the birth
of the bestower of blessings
and who glorify him, our God and Creator.
Σήμερον ἀνοίγειν οὐρανὸς
τῇ ἀνθρωπότητι
πύλας τὴν γὴν ὁρῶν χαίρουσαν
καὶ τῷ κτίστῃ ἑτοιμάζουσαν
θείαν ἐπίβασιν· μεθ᾽ ἧς
τούτῳ βοᾷ ἐκτενῶς·
πάντα τὰ ἔργα Κυρίου τὸν Κύριον.»
Today heaven makes
initial preparations
to open its gates to humankind
while it sees the earth rejoicing
and making ready, for the Creator,
a divine arrival; and with it
it cries to him eagerly,
“Bless the Lord,
all you works of the Lord!”
Ἔχοντες ἀστέρα φαεινὸν
τοῦ γεννωμένου Χριστοῦ
τὴν θείαν ἔλλαμψιν
πρὀς τοῦτον ἅπαντες σήμερον
οἱ πιστοὶ τὰ διαβήματα
δι᾽ ἀρετῶν τῶν τῆς ψυχῆς
«πάντα τὰ ἔργα Κυρίου τὸν Κύριον.»
We who possess the divine illumination
of Christ as a shining star
as now he comes to birth,
let us all, the faithful, today
make ready, directing
our footsteps towards that same star
by the virtues of the soul,
as we cry: “Bless the Lord,
all you works of the Lord!”
Ὁ ἐκ σοῦ τεχθεὶς ὑπερφυῶς
Υἱὸς καὶ Λόγος Θεοῦ,
παρθένε ἄχραντε,
τὴν κτίσιν ἅπασαν σήμερον
προκοσμεῖ ταῖς θείαις χάρισι
καὶ εὐφροσύνης καὶ χαρᾶς
πληροῖ τοὺς κράζοντας·
πάντα τὰ ἔργα Κυρίου τὸν Κύριον.»
He who has his birth from you in a manner
beyond nature, O spotless Virgin,
the Son and Word of God,
today adorns beforehand all creation
with divine graces,
and with joy and gladness
he fills those who cry:
“Bless the Lord,
all you works of the Lord!”

3 Responses to “From a canon for the forefeast”

  1. bedwere Says:

    Beautiful. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  2. bedwere Says:

    Isn’t an εὐλογεῖτε missing in the 3rd stanza of Ode 8?

  3. bekkos Says:


    One would think so, yes. But that is how the text reads in Schirò’s and Kominis’s edition. The word ἐκβοῶντες occupies the place in the meter that εὐλογεῖτε occupies in the second and fourth stanzas. I have supplied the imperative verb “Bless,” because without it the passage makes no sense (otherwise we would be crying, “The Lord, all you works of the Lord”). That is to say, I take the verb as understood from the surrounding context.

    A Merry Christmas to you, too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: