This is too beautiful not to share

This semester I’m taking a course on Greek Hymnody and for tomorrow we’re translating a few ἀπολυτίκια (Hymns sung all throughout the feast day). This is the one sung on Feb. 2nd, the presentation of Christ in the Temple.

Χαῖρε χεκαριτωμένη Θεοτόκε Παρθένε
ἐχ σοῦ γὰρ ἀνέτειλεν ὁ Ἥλιος τῆς διχαιοσύνης
Χριστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, φωτίζων τοὺς ἐν σχότει.
Εὐφραίνου καὶ σὺ Πρεσβύτα δίχαιε
δεξάμενος ἐν ἀγχάλαις τὸν ἐλευθερωτὴν τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν
χαριζόμενος ἡμῖν καὶ τὴν Ἀνάστασιν.

Hail Full of Grace, Virgin Mother of God!
From you the Sun of righteousness arose
Christ our God, lighting those in the darkness.
Be glad, righteous presbyter,
Holding in your arms the Liberator of our souls,
the One who grants the resurrection to us.

N.B.: Mary is not here being called a presbyter. The Greek Πρεσβύτα (Presbyter) is masculine. The latter half of the hymn is talking to Simeon (cf. Luke 2.21-35). **Edited with the help of Esteban’s comments!**



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3 responses to “This is too beautiful not to share

  1. Sad that one has to explain things such as you clarify in your note, isn’t it? And it isn’t merely the “unwashed masses” who require such explanations, but some scholars as well: my Exhibit A is Karen Jo Torjensen’s book When Women Were Priests, in which she displays her obliviousness to the fact that “Theodora Episcopa” refers not to a woman bishop, but to the wife of a Bishop (or perhaps in this case, to his mother).

    As for the apolytikion, a couple of notes:

    1) Θεοτόκε Παρθένε should be taken together, as it is a common liturgical name for the Mother of God in the Byzantine liturgy — so, “Virgin Mother of God.”

    2) Εὐφραίνου is a simple 2nd person singular present imperative, so it should simply be rendered, “Be glad.”

    3) καὶ is probably adverbial here, so “be glad also.”

    4) Πρεσβύτα doesn’t carry here the technical meaning of “presbyter,” but rather its first-thought meaning of “old man” — so, “righteous elder.”

    But I’m sure you already went over all of that and more!

  2. Joshua McManaway

    On 1) I’m glad for the correction. I don’t know much about Byzantine liturgies. On 2) I knew it was an imperative, but I guess I didn’t show that in my translation.

    Thanks for the corrections, though!

  3. No, not corrections — a colleague’s suggestions for improvement. 🙂

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