The Day of Resurrection

March 27, 2016
Easter Day, Western Calendar
2nd Sunday of Great Lent, Eastern Calendar

As I was formatting the bulletins for Holy Week and Easter last week at the Episcopal Church where I work, I made a most amazing discovery. I had stated earlier how an Englishman in the middle of the nineteenth century was the first to translate the Orthodox hymns of Easter into English, specifically the Canon of Pascha (Easter). Well, this past week, I discovered where exactly in the Anglican hymnal exists both the words and the melody used. In the 1982 hymnal in the Episcopal Church, it is #210 to the tune Ellacombe:

1 The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad;
the passover of gladness,
fra_angelico_transfiguration606x750the passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
from earth unto the sky,
our Christ hath brought us over,
with hymns of victory.

2 Our hearts be pure from evil,
that we may see aright
the Lord in rays eternal
of resurrection light;
and listening to his accents,
may hear, so calm and plain,
his own “All hail!” and, hearing,
may raise the victor strain.

3 Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end.

Contrasted to this metered and rhyming version is the more literal translation of this Paschal Canon composed originally in Greek by St. John of Damscus. Notice that the word choice and order are different, but the substance is essentially the same!

It is the Day of Resurrection!
resurrection2Let us be radiant, O people!
Pascha! The Lord’s Pascha!
For Christ our God has
brought us from death to life,
and from earth unto heaven,
as we sing the triumphal hymn!
Christ is risen from the dead.

Let us purify our senses
that we may behold his radiance,
the unapproachable light of the Resurrection,
and we shall hear Christ clearly saying,
“Rejoice!” As we sing the triumphanl hymn!
Christ is risen from the dead.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad,
And let the entire world,
the visible and the invisible, keep the Feast.
For Christ has risen our everlasting joy!

So on this day, we say with our Western brothers and sisters, Christ is risen, and invite them all to worship with the Orthodox in a month or so when we celebrate our Holy Week, April 25-30, and Bright & Holy Pascha on May 1, 2016. Click here for an Orthodox Church or Monastery near you!

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