A Christmas Hymn from Germanus

A Christmas Hymn from Germanus

Here’s a Facebook find: A Christmas Hymn from Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople in the mid-8th century, shared by Andy Richard.


Ἰδιόμελον εἰς Χριστοῦ γέννησιν (Δεκ. 25)
A chant of Germanus for the birth of Christ (December 25th)
Anthologia Graeca Carminum Christianorum, pg. 98-99

Greek Text:
Δεῦτε ἀγαλλιασώμεθα τῷ κυρίῳ,
τὸ παρὸν μυστήριον ἐκδιηγούμενοι·
τὸ μεσότοιχον τοῦ φραγμοῦ διαλέλυται,
ἡ φλογίνη ῥομφαία τὰ νῶτα δίδωσι,
καὶ τὰ Χερουβὶμ παραχωρεῖ
τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς· κἀγὼ |
τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς μεταλαμβάνω, 
οὗ προεξεβλήθην διὰ τῆς παρακοῆς·
ἡ γὰρ ἀπαράλλακτος εἰκὼν τοῦ πατρὸς,
ὁ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ἀϊδιότητος αὐτοῦ,
μορφὴν δούλου λαμβάνει,
ἐξ ἀπειρογάμου μητρὸς προελθὼν,
οὐ τροπὴν ὑπομείνας·
ὃ γὰρ ἦν διέμεινε, |
θεὸς ὢν ἀληθινός·
καὶ ὃ οὐκ ἦν προσέλαβεν,
ἄνθρωπος γενόμενος διὰ φιλανθρωπίαν·
αὐτῷ βοήσωμεν·
ὁ τεχθεὶς ἐκ παρθένου θεὸς
ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
relating the present mystery:
the dividing wall of hostility is torn apart,
the flaming sword turns its back,
and the Cherubim move aside from
the Tree of Life; and I,
I partake of the luxurious paradise
whence I was cast out through disobedience.
For the exact image of the Father,
his eternal character,
takes the form of a slave,
coming forth from unwedded mother,
suffering no change:
for what he was he remained,
being true God,
and what he was not he assumed,
becoming a man on account of philanthropy.
To him let us cry out:
O Thou God born of a virgin,
Have mercy on us!

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