Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Ancient Byzantine Hymn

in the voice of the woman who annointed Christ's feet. Also known as the "Hymn of Kassiani" the 9th century Nun who wrote this song. (I love the way that in Orthodoxy we remember everyone's names.)

Sensing Thy divinity, O Lord,
a woman of many sins,
takes it upon herself
to become a myrrh-bearer
and in deep mourning
brings before Thee fragrant oil
in anticipation of Thy burial; crying:
"Woe to me! For night is to me,
a dark and moonless madness
of wild-desire, an eros of sin.
Receive the springs of my tears
Thou Who gatherest the waters of the oceans into clouds,
bend to me, to the sorrows of my heart,
Thou who bendedst down the heavens
in Thy self-emptying Incarnation,
I will kiss with my lips Thine immaculate feet
and dry them with the locks of my hair;
those very feet
whose sound Eve heard at the dusk in Paradise
and hid herself in fear.
Who shall count the multitude of my sins
or the depth of Thy judgment,
O Saviour of my soul?
Do not ignore Thy handmaiden,
O Thou whose mercy is endless".

My own prayer today joins with hers that I would have tears for my own sins and that I would find myself weeping at the feet of Christ: "Do not ignore Thy handmaiden, O Thou whose mercy is endless."

1 comment:

ry said...

I just went to the Bridegroom Matins for the first time last night! I'm glad you posted this; I was struck by the elegant contrast of Judas, the disciple betraying Christ, and the harlot repenting. I don't think I've heard this particular hymn before, though. It seems like the more I learn about Orthodoxy, the more I discover there is to learn :)