Saturday, August 05, 2006

Phôs Hilaron Φως Ιλαρον

Φως ιλαρον αγιας δοξης αθανατου Πατρος,
Ουρανιου, αγιου, μακαρος Ιησου Χριστε,
Ελθοντες επι την ηλιου δυσιν, ιδοντες φως εσπερινον,
Υμνουμεν Πατερα, Υιον, και Αγιον Πνευμα, Θεον,
Αξιον σε εν πασι καιροις υμνεισθαι φωναις αισιαις,
Υιε Θεου, ζωην ο διδους,
Διο ο κοσμος σε δοξαζει.

This is an ancient Christian hymn, perhaps the oldest Christian hymn we have, dating from the 3rd or 4th century.

Here is a very literal translation:

O-light cheerful of-the-holy glory of-the-immortal Father,
Of-the-heavenly, holy, blessed, O-Jesus Christ,
We-having-come to the of-the-sun setting, we-having-seen (the) light evening,
We-sing-to (the) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God,
Worthy (are) you (sing.) at all times to-be-sung-to with-voices auspicious,
O-Son of-God, life the-one giving,
Wherefore the world you (sing.) glorifies.

A better translation (mine again):

O Joyous Light of the holy glory of the immortal Father,
(Light) of the heavenly, holy, blessed, O Jesus Christ,
Having come to the setting of the sun, and having beheld the evening light,
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God.
Worthy art Thou to be hymned at all times with favorable voices,
O Son of God, who gives life,
Wherefore the whole world glorifies Thee.

1 comment:

  1. We sing this song when a new liturgical day begins, at Vespers. It is an invitation to praise the One God in three "hypostas" at the moment when the physical light disappears and a new one should be lit: the light of wisdom.
    This "gladsome" light is not blinding, but with the help of it whe can see almost only the shadows and the shape of things. In the same way, we cannot see God face to face now, but we see Him "like in the mirror".
    Good moment to reflect on spiritual things is the time of Vespers and the byzantine liturgical tradition.