Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Today the Uncreated

Ποίημα Σωφρονίου Πατριάρχου Ιεροσολύμων
(Poem of Sophronios, patriarch of Jerusalem)
The full original Greek text is HERE.
Τριάς υπερούσιε, υπεραγαθε, υπέρθεε, παντοδύναμε, παντεπίσκοπε, αόρατε, ακατάληπτε

Triad beyond all being, beyond all goodness, beyond all godhead,
all-powerful, all-vigilant, invisible, incomprehensible;
Creator of the spiritual beings and rational natures,
innate goodness, unapproachable Light
that enlightens everyone coming into the world,
shine also in me your unworthy servant.

Enlighten the eyes of my mind that I may dare to sing
the praise of your measureless benevolence and power.
May my supplication for the people here present be acceptable,
so that my offences may not prevent the Holy Spirit
from being present here; but permit me now
without condemnation to cry out to you and say,

Master, lover of mankind, beyond all goodness,
Almighty, eternal King:
We glorify you, the Creator and Fashioner of the universe.
We glorify you, only-begotten Son of God,
without father from your Mother, without mother from your Father.
For in the preceding feast we saw you as a babe,
but in the present one we see you full and perfect man,
our God, made manifest as perfect God from perfect God.

For today
the moment of the feast is here for us
and the choir of saints assembles here with us,
and Angels keep festival with mortals.
Today the grace of the Holy Spirit
in the form of a dove dwelt upon the waters.
Today the Sun that never sets has dawned
and the world is made radiant with the light of the Lord.
Today the Moon with its radiant beams
sheds light on the world.
Today the stars formed of light make the inhabited world lovely
with the brightness of their splendour.
Today the clouds rain down from heaven
the shower of justice for mankind.

Today the Uncreated by his own will
accepts the laying on of hands by his own creature.

Today the Prophet and Forerunner draws near,
but stands by with fear seeing God’s condescension towards us.
Today the streams of Jordan are changed into healing
by the presence of the Lord.
Today all creation is watered by mystical streams.
Today the failings of mankind are being washed away
by the waters of Jordan.
Today Paradise is opened for mortals
and the Sun of justice shines down on us.
Today the bitter water as once for Moses’ people
is changed to sweetness by the presence of the Lord.
Today we have been delivered from the ancient grief,
and saved as the new Israel.
Today we have been redeemed from darkness
and are filled with radiance
by the light of the knowledge of God.
Today the gloomy fog of the world is cleansed
by the manifestation of our God.
Today all creation shines with light from on high.
Today error has been destroyed
and the coming of the Master makes for us
a way of salvation.
Today things on high keep festival with those below,
and those below commune with those on high.
Today the sacred and triumphant
festal assembly of the Orthodox exults.
Today the Master hastens towards baptism,
that he may lead humanity to the heights.
Today the One who does not bow
bows down to his own servant,
that he may free us from servitude.
Today we have purchased the Kingdom of heaven,
for the Kingdom of the Lord will have no end.
Today earth and sea share the joy of the world,
and the world has been filled with gladness.

The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and were afraid.
The Jordan turned back
when it saw the fire of the godhead
descending in bodily form and entering it.
The Jordan turned back
as it contemplated the Holy Spirit
in the form of a dove,
descending and flying about you.
The Jordan turned back
as it saw the Invisible made visible,
the Creator made flesh,
the Master in the form of a servant.
The Jordan turned back
and the mountains leapt
as they saw God in the flesh,
and the clouds uttered their voice,
marvelling at what had come to pass,
seeing Light from Light,
true God from true God,
the Master’s festival today in Jordan;
seeing him drowning the death from disobedience,
the goad of error and the bond of Hell in Jordan
and granting the Baptism of salvation to the world.

Therefore I too, a sinner and your unworthy servant,
recount the greatness of your wonders
and, seized with fear, in compunction cry out to you:

Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works,
and no word is adequate to sing the praise of your wonders.
Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you!
Μέγας ει Κύριε, και θαυμαστά τα έργα σου…

Today is the eve of Theophany, the 6th of January, arguably the third most important Feast Day after Pascha (Easter) and Nativity (Christmas), and in ancient times the second. The Feast of Christ's Nativity was originally celebrated together with His Theophany. Later, the Church separated the two, in order to emphasize the different aspects of Christ's first coming. The pagan holiday of Sol Invictus was replaced by Christmas.

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