Holy Week in Hymns. Holy and Great Saturday

The services of Passion Week are a musical feast for the ears and the soul. Russian liturgical tradition is rich in special melodies for certain hymns of this most important week of the liturgical year, and if the services are also sung by a good choir, they are that much more memorable.

The Sretensky Monastery in Moscow is fortunate to have a world famous male choir singing at all of these beautiful services. We would like to share some highlights of this singing with our English language readers, and have therefore provided the English texts to match the hymns. While Church Slavonic is the consistent language used in Russian and other Slavic services, our English texts vary by translation. We have chosen to provide texts (excluding the Old Testament readings, which were taken from the Septuagint) from the classic Lenten Triodion translated by Mother Mary and Archbishop Kallistos Ware, which was re-printed by St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press.

Some of these MP3 files come from compact disc recordings of the Sretensky Monastery Choir, while others are live recordings from the actual services of previous years.

    

On Holy Saturday, we venerate the symbolic Burial Shroud (in Greek: Epitaphion, in Slavonic, Plashchanitsa) of Christ in the center of the Church. The Matins service takes place traditionally at 1:00 am on Saturday, but in most churches today it is celebrated Friday evening.

Joseph of Arimathea and the Myrrh-bearing women are remembered in the troparia at the beginning of the service.

Matins

Troparia

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Благообразный Иосиф с древа снем Пречистое Тело Твое, плащаницею чистою обвив и благоуханьми, во гробе нове покрыв положи.

Слава Отцу и Сыну и Святому Духу:

Егда снизшел еси к смерти, Животе безсмертный, тогда ад умертвил еси блистанием Божества: егда же и умершия от преисподних воскресил еси, вся силы небесныя взываху: Жизнодавче Христе Боже наш, слава Тебе.

И ныне и присно и во веки веков. Аминь:

Мироносицам женам, при гробе представ, Ангел вопияше: мира мертвым суть прилична, Христос же истления явися чуждь.

Noble Joseph, taking down Thy most pure body from the Tree, wrapped it in clean linen with sweet spices, and he laid it in a new tomb.

Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Going down to death, O Life immortal, Thou hast slain hell with the dazzling light of Thy divinity. And When Thou hast raised up the dead from the their dwelling place beneath the earth, all the powers of heaven cried aloud: “Giver of Life, O Christ our God, glory to Thee.”

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Angel stood by the tomb, and to the women bearing spices he cried aloud: “Myrrh is fitting for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption.”

Troparia of the Resurrection, Tone 5

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Благословен еси, Господи, научи мя оправданием Твоим.

Ангельский собор удивися, зря Тебе в мертвых вменившася, смерти же, Спасе, крепость разоривша, и с Собою Адама воздвигша, и от ада вся свобождша.

Благословен еси, Господи:

Почто мира с милостивными слезами, о ученицы, растворяете? Блистаяся во гробе Ангел мироносицам вещаше: видите вы гроб и уразумейте, Спас бо воскресе от гроба.

Благословен еси, Господи:

Зело рано мироносицы течаху ко гробу Твоему рыдающия, но предста к ним Ангел и рече: рыдания время преста, не плачите: Воскресение же апостолом рцыте.

Благословен еси, Господи:

Мироносицы жены, с миры пришедшия ко гробу Твоему, Спасе, рыдаху, Ангел же к ним рече, глаголя: что с мертвыми Живаго помышляете? Яко Бог бо воскресе от гроба.

Слава, Троичен: Поклонимся Отцу, и Его Сынови, и Святому Духу, Святей Троице во Едином Существе, с Серафимы зовуще: Свят, Свят, Свят еси, Господи.

И ныне, Богородичен: Жизнодавца рождши, греха, Дево, Адама избавила еси, радость же Еве в печали место подала еси: падшия же от жизни к сей направи из Тебе воплотивыйся Бог и Человек.

Аллилуиа, трижды.

Refrain: Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy statutes.

The assembly of the Angels was amazed to behold Thee, O Savior, numbered among the dead, Thou Who didst raise Adam with Thyself, and didst deliver all from hell. R.

Why do you pitifully mingle myrrh with your tears, O women disciples? cried the radiant Angel in the tomb to the Myrrhbearers. Behold the grave and rejoice, that the Savior has risen from the tomb. R.

From early in the morning, the Myrrhbearers ran lamenting to Thy tomb. But an Angel floated towards them and said: The time for lamentation has come to an end. Weep not, but announce the Resurrection to the Apostles. R.

The Myrrhbearing Women came with myrrh to Thy tomb, O Savior, and mourned. But an Angel said to them distinctly: Why number the living among the dead? For as God He has risen from the tomb.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

We adore the Father and His Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity in one essence, crying with the Seraphim: Holy, holy, holy art Thou, O Lord.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou, O Virgin, who didst give birth to the Lifegiver, hast redeemed Adam from his sins, and in place of grief hast granted joy to Eve. He Who was incarnate of thee, both God and Man, has restored to life those who had fallen from it.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. (Thrice)1

Stichera sung as the faithful venerate the Epitaphion (Burial Shroud)

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Приидите, ублажим Иосифа приснопамятнаго, в нощи к Пилату пришедшаго и Живота всех испросившаго: даждь ми Сего страннаго, Иже не имеет где главы подклонити: даждь ми Сего страннаго, Егоже ученик лукавый на смерть предаде: даждь ми Сего страннаго, Егоже Мати зрящи на кресте висяща, рыдающи вопияше и матерски восклицаше: увы Мне, Чадо Мое! увы Мне, Свете Мой и утроба Моя возлюбленная! Симеоном бо предреченное в церкви днесь собыстся: Мое сердце оружие пройде, но в радость воскресения Твоего плачь преложи. Покланяемся страстем Твоим, Христе (трижды), и Святому Воскресению.

Come and let us bless Joseph of everlasting memory, who came to Pilate by night and begged for the Life of all: “Give me this stranger, who has no place to lay His head. Give me this stranger, whom His evil disciple delivered to death. Give me this stranger, whom His Mother saw hanging on the Cross, and with a mother’s sorrow she cried weeping: “Woe is me, my Child! Woe is me, Light of mine eyes and beloved fruit of my womb! For what Simeon foretold in the temple is come to pass today: a sword pierces my heart, but do Thou change my grief to gladness by Thy Resurrection.”

We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ.

We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ.

We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ, and Thy Holy Resurrection.

Vespers and Liturgy

On Saturday morning, the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is served. This service presents us with Old Testament witness to the power of God, the Savior of those faithful to Him. Lengthy readings culminate, first with the Song of Moses as he passes through the Red Sea to save the people of Israel, and second with the Song of Daniel and the Three Holy Children, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, which they sang in the Babylonian furnace. Special hymns are sung in place of the Trisagion, Alleluia, and Cherubic Hymns of the Liturgy that are only used on Holy Saturday. These triumphal hymns mark Christ’s descent into Hades and harrowing of it, and His glorious Resurrection.

The Song of Moses, sung during the Old Testament readings

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Стихи песни Моисея

Чтец глаголет: Поим Господеви:

И поют на глас 5: Славно бо прославися.

И чтец коемуждо лику стихи предглаголет:

Коня и всадника вверже в море. Поим Господеви:

И людие на оба лика поют: Славно бо прославися.

Помощник и Покровитель бысть мне во спасение. Поим Господеви:

Сей мой Бог, и прославлю Его: Бог отца моего, и вознесу Его. Поим Господеви:

Господь сокрушаяй брани, Господь имя Ему: колесницы фараоновы и силу его вверже в море. Поим Господеви:

Избранная всадники тристаты потопи в Чермном мори. Поим Господеви:

Пучиною покры их, погрязоша во глубине яко камень. Поим Господеви:

Десница Твоя, Господи, прославися в крепости. Поим Господеви:

Десная Твоя рука, Господи, сокруши враги, и множеством славы Твоея стерл еси сопротивных. Поим Господеви:

Послал еси гнев Твой, пояде я яко стеблие, и духом ярости Твоея разступися вода. Поим Господеви:

Огустеша яко стена воды, огустеша и волны посреде моря. Поим Господеви:

Рече враг: гнав постигну, разделю корысть, исполню душу мою, убию мечем моим, господствовати будет рука моя. Поим Господеви:

Послал еси Духа Твоего, покры я море: погрязоша, яко олово, в воде зельней. Поим Господеви:

Кто подобен Тебе в бозех, Господи? Кто подобен Тебе? Прославлен во святых, Дивен в славе, творяй чудеса? Поим Господеви:

Простер еси десницу Твою, пожре я земля. Наставил еси правдою Твоею люди Твоя сия, яже избавил еси. Поим Господеви:

Утешил еси крепостию Твоею во обитель святую Твою. Слышаша языцы и прогневашася, болезни прияша живущий в Филистиме. Поим Господеви:

Тогда потщашася владыки Едомстии и князи Моавитстии, прият я трепет: растаяша вси живущий в Ханаане. Поим Господеви:

Да нападет на ня страх и трепет, величием мышцы Твоея да окаменятся. Поим Господеви:

Дондеже пройдут людие Твои, Господи, дондеже пройдут людие Твои сии, яже стяжал еси. Поим Господеви:

Ввел насади я в гору достояния Твоего, в готовое жилище Твое, еже соделал еси, Господи, святыню, Господи, юже уготовасте руце Твои. Поим Господеви;

Господь царствуяй веки, и на век, и еще. Егда вниде конница фараонова с колесницами и всадники в море, и наведе на них Господь воду морскую. Поим Господеви:

Сынове же Израилевы проидоша сушею посреде моря. Поим Господеви:

Слава, Поим Господеви: И ныне. Поим Господеви:

И последи чтец поет тожде: Славно бо прославися.

The Song of Moses

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying Let us sing to the Lord, for he is very greatly glorified (refrain):

Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.

He was to me a helper and protector for salvation:

this is my God and I will glorify him; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The Lord bringing wars to nought, the Lord is his name. He has cast the chariots of Pharaoh and his host into the sea,

the chosen mounted captains: they were swallowed up in the Red Sea.

He covered them with the sea: they sank to the depth like a stone.

Thy right hand, O God, has been glorified in strength; thy right hand, O God, has broken the enemies.

And in the abundance of thy glory thou hast broken the adversaries to pieces: thou sentest forth thy wrath, it devoured them as stubble.

And by the breath of thine anger the water parted asunder; the waters were congealed as a wall, the waves were congealed in the midst of the sea.

The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils; I will satisfy my soul, I will destroy with my sword, my hand shall have dominion.

Thou sentest forth thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty water.

Who is like to thee among the gods, O Lord? who is like to thee? glorified in holiness, marvelous in glories, doing wonders.

Thou stretchedst forth thy right hand, the earth swallowed them up. Thou hast guided in thy righteousness this thy people whom thou hast redeemed, by thy strength thou hast called them into thy holy resting-place.

The nations heard and were angry, pangs have seized on the dwellers among the Philistines.

Then the princes of Edom, and the chiefs of the Moabites hasted; trembling took hold upon them, all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.

Let trembling and fear fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm, let them become as stone; till thy people pass over,

O Lord, till this thy people pass over, whom thou hast purchased.

Bring them in and plant them in the mountain of their inheritance, in thy prepared habitation, which thou,

O Lord, hast prepared; the sanctuary, O Lord, which thine hands have made ready.

The Lord reigns for ever and ever and ever. For the horse of Pharao went in with the chariots and horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought upon them the water of the sea, but the children of Israel walked through dry land in the midst of the sea.

Song of the Three Children (Daniel 3:1-66)

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Стихи песни трех отроков

Господа пойте и превозносите во вся веки.

Чтец же глаголет стихи:

Благословите, вся дела Господня,

И мы: Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, Ангели Господни,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки

Благословите, небеса,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, воды вся, яже превыше небес,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, вся силы Господни,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, солнце и луна,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, звезды небесныя,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, всяк дождь и роса,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, вси дуси,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, огнь и вар,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, студь и зной,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, росы и инеи,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, нощи и дние,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, свет и тьма,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, лед и мраз,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, сланы и снези,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, молния и облацы,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Да благословит земля,

Господа да поет и превозносит Его во веки.

Благословите, горы и холми,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, вся прозябающая на земли,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, источницы,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, моря и реки,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, кити и вся движущаяся в водах,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, вся птицы небесныя,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, зверие и вси скоти,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, сынове человечестии,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Да благословит Израиль,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, иереи Господни,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, раби Господни,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, дуси и души праведных,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, преподобнии и смиреннии сердцем,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, Анания, Азариа и Мисаил,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословите, апостоли, пророцы и мученицы Господни,

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Благословим Отца, и Сына, и Святого Духа,

Господа поем и превозносим Его во веки.

И ныне, и присно, и во веки веков, аминь.

Господа пойте и превозносите Его во веки.

Хвалим, благословим, покланяемся Господеви,

Поюще и превозносяще во вся веки.

Praise the Lord and exalt him above all for ever (refrain).

O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord, O ye apostles, prophets and martyrs of the Lord, bless ye the Lord. Praise the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.

Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore: For thou art righteous in all the things that thou hast done to us: yea, true are all thy works, thy ways are right, and all thy judgments truth.

In all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst thou bring all these things upon us because of our sins. For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from thee. In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us. Wherefore all that thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done to us, thou hast done in true judgment.

And thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the world. And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants; and to them that worship thee.

Yet deliver us not up wholly, for thy name’s sake, neither disannul thou thy covenant: And cause not thy mercy to depart from us, for thy beloved Abraham’s sake, for thy servant Isaac’s sake, and for thy holy Israel’s sake; To whom thou hast spoken and promised, that thou wouldest multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that lieth upon the seashore. For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the world because of our sins. Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before thee, and to find mercy.

Nevertheless in a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted. Like as in the burnt offerings of rams and bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs: so let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after thee: for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in thee.

And now we follow thee with all our heart, we fear thee, and seek thy face. Put us not to shame: but deal with us after thy lovingkindness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.

Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord: and let all them that do thy servants hurt be ashamed; And let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken; And let them know that thou art God, the only God, and glorious over the whole world. And the king’s servants, that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood; So that the flame streamed forth above the furnace forty and nine cubits. And it passed through, and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace.

But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the flame of the fire out of the oven; And made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them. Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed, God in the furnace, saying,

Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. And blessed is thy glorious and holy name: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.

Blessed art thou in the temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever. Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art thou on the glorious throne of thy kingdom: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever. Blessed art thou in the firmament of heaven: and above all to be praised and glorified for ever.

O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever, O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O every shower and dew, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever, O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: bless and exalt him above all for ever. O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye things that grow in the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye mountains, bless ye the Lord: Praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye seas and rivers, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye fowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O Israel, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever. O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever: for he hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning flame: even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us. O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious: for his mercy endureth for ever.

We bless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We praise the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.

Both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen. Praise the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.

We praise, bless and worship the Lord. We praise the Lord and exalt Him above all for ever.

In place of Alleluia, verses, Tone 7

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Воскресни, Боже, суди земли, яко Ты наследиши во всех языцех

Стих: Доколе судите неправду и лица грешников приемлете?

Воскресни, Боже:

Стих: Судите сиру и убогу, смиренна и нища оправдайте.

Воскресни, Боже:

Стих: Измите нища и убога, из руки грешничи избавите его.

Воскресни, Боже:

Стих: Не познаша, ниже уразумеша, во тьме ходят.

Воскресни, Боже:

Стих: Да подвижатся вся основания земли. Аз рех: бози есте, и сынове Вышняго вси. Вы же яко человецы умираете и яко един от князей падаете.

И паки: Воскресни, Боже, суди земли, яко Ты наследиши во всех языцех.

Arise, O God, Judge Thou the earth: for Thou shalt have an inheritance in all the nations.

God stood in the assembly of gods: He shall judge among the gods.

Arise, O God…

How long will ye judge unjustly: and accept the persons of the wicked?

Arise, O God…

Defend the fatherless and poor: do justice to the humble and needy.

Arise, O God…

They have not known, nor understood, but walk in darkness: let all the foundations of the earth be shaken.

Arise, O God…

I said: ye are gods, and ye are all the children of the most High: but ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

Arise, O God…

In place of the Cherubim, Tone 5

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Да молчит всякая плоть человеча и да стоит со страхом и трепетом, и ничтоже земное в себе да помышляет: Царь бо царствующих и Господь господствующих приходит заклатися и датися в снедь верным. Предходят же Сему лицы Ангельстии со всяким Началом и Властию, многоочитии Херувими и шестокрилатии Серафими, лица закрывающе и вопиюще песнь: аллилуиа, аллилуиа, аллилуиа.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and stand with fear and trembling; and let it take no thought for any earthly thing. For the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, draws near to be sacrificed and given as food to the faithful.

Before Him go the choirs of angels with all the principalities and powers, the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim, which cover their faces as they sing this hymn: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.


In place of “It is truly Meet”, Irmos 9 of the canon for Matins

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Не рыдай Мене, Мати, зрящи во гробе, Егоже во чреве без семене зачала еси Сына: востану бо и прославлюся, и вознесу со славою не.престанно, яко Бог, верою и любовию Тя величающия. Weep not for Me, O Mother, beholding in the sepulcher the Son whom thou hast conceived without seed in thy womb. For I shall rise and shall be glorified, and as God I shall exalt in everlasting glory those who magnify thee with faith and love.

Translation: Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Timothy Ware, The Lenten Triodion (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1978).

4/18/2014

1 (Text from the Old Jordanville Prayer Book.)
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