Byzantine Hymn to the Mother of God

Translation for Chant and Choral Recitation
Fr. Paul M. Addison O.S.M.
Mater Ecclesiae Centre for Marian Study and Devotion
Via del Corso, 306 Rome


The foremost of the Angels
was sent down from Heaven
to say "Hail!" to the Mother of God.
At his greeting of spirit, not earth,
when he saw you made flesh in her womb,
saving Lord,
your Angel was joyful,
proclaiming your Mother's great praise:



through you is our joy made resplendent;
  Rejoice, through you is our curse now eclipsed.
  Rejoice, the saving of Adam who fell;
  Rejoice, annulment of tears of Eve.

inaccessible summit - beyond understanding;


wondrous deepness of depth - for the knowledge of angels.


holy place where the King - did establish His Throne;


who gave birth to the Life - and sustainer of all.

  Rejoice, the Star who announces the Dawn;
  Rejoice, the Womb wherein God is made Flesh.
  Rejoice, for through you is Creation made new;
  Rejoice, for its Maker is a Child born through you.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

Since well Mary knew of
her virginal calling,
with courage to th'Angel she spoke:
"Your singular word of announcement
seems strange for my spirit to grasp
and to know;
from the womb of a virgin
a child you fortell, as you cry:


The Virgin then pondered
to enter the mystery
and asked of the Angel of God:
"How then can my virginal womb
ever bring forth a child to the world?
You must say!".
Then the Angel most reverently
sang of her praises and said:

  Rejoice, the guide to the planning of God:
  Rejoice, the light of a mystery profound.
  Rejoice, the first of the wonders of Christ;
  Rejoice, in whom all His Truths are brought forth.

stair of Heaven, providing - the pathway for God;


for you span the great gulf - between Heaven and Man.


splendid sign whom the choirs - of angels proclaim;


fearful scourge of the legions - and powers of ill.

  Rejoice, o Bearer of ineffable Light;
  Rejoice, sole keeper of the means of this sign.
  Rejoice, ever greater than knowledge of sages;
  Rejoice, in the hearts of the faithful you shine.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

The Power of the Highest
o'ershadowed and made Mother
the Virgin unknowing of man:
Her womb thus awakened by God, did
become a good field of rich life
unto all
who are longing to welcome salvation
and sing forth in praise:


With the Lord in her womb,
holy Mary most caring,
paid visit and greeted her cousin.
The child whom Elizabeth bore
heard the words that the Virgin pronounced
and was glad,
and with dance for his song he gave praise
to the Mother of God:

  Rejoice, o branch of a root that is holy;
  Rejoice, the tree with most perfect of Fruit.
  Rejoice, you nurture the God of creation;
  Rejoice, producing the Planter of life.

holy field bearing fruit - of abundance of mercies;


too, the table o'erladen - with heavenly gifts.


for you bring shoots of life - to a land that was arid;


for you build for the faithful - a refuge secure.

  Rejoice, fine incense of all supplication;
  Rejoice, sweet pardon for sorrowing World.
  Rejoice, sign of mercy of God to our Race;
  Rejoice, sign of hope of our Race before God.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

With his heart in great turmoil,
his thoughts much opposed,
wise Joseph turned backwards and forth:
while secing you still ever pure,
he feared that you may have been faithless,
o Virgin!
But once having heard of your Child
through the Spirit, he exclaimed:


The Shepherds had heard
the great chorus of angels
singing of Christ in our Flesh.
They ran to behold Him the Shepherd,
and looked on Him, innocent Lamb
of the Lord,
being nourished by Mary the Virgin,
to whom they sang praise:

  Rejoice, o Mother of Shepherd and Lamb;
  Rejoice, the Fold for the Faithful of God.
  Rejoice, o bolt barring evil assault;
  Rejoice, the Key turning Heaven's own door.

for through you all the heavens - exult with the earth;


for through you do the earth - and the heav'n sing as one.


tireless voice of the chosen - Apostles of God;


restless longing of Martyrs - whose blood is for Christ.

  Rejoice, o powerful foundation for Faith;
  Rejoice, o wonderful ensign of Grace.
  Rejoice, for through you evil Hell was laid bare;
  Rejoice, for through you were we clothed in God's glory.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

In heaven a star
pointing out the Eternal
was followed by Wise Men in light.
For them a sure lantern of guidance,
it helped them to seek You, o God,
the Most High.
On attaining the Lord unattainable
great was their cry:

In the hands of His Mother
they saw Him at last,
the great God, whose own hand made us all.
Full well did they know He was Lord,
though hidden in form of a servant,
and gifts
did they offer in kindness and said
to His Mother so blest:
  Rejoice, o Mother of Sun without setting;
  Rejoice, the dawning of spiritual Day.
  Rejoice, extinguishing firebrands of falsehood;
  Rejoice, o beacon to Trinity's Truth.

for you darken the throne - of the Tyrant so hated;


for you show us the Christ - of great mercy as Lord.


you absolve us from cruel - and terrible rites;


for you save us from murk - and the squalor of fate.

  Rejoice, the worship of fire you destroy;
  Rejoice, the burning of vice you extinguish.
  Rejoice, clearest guide for the mind of believers;
  Rejoice, purest joy of the world and its peoples.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

The heralds of God
did the Magi become
on the path back to Babylon bound.
Your prophecy, Lord, they fulfilled,
and your Name, saving Christ, they announced
to the world,
ever heedless of Herod, the foolish,
who never could sing:


Shining forth into Egypt
the splendour of Truth,
you drove out the darkness of error:
at your Power of God, blessed Lord,
the Idols fell down in their weakness
made naught.
And men being saved
to the Mother of God sang in praise:

  Rejoice, raising up of humanity fallen;
  Rejoice, tearing down of the Underworld's Reign.
  Rejoice, the trampling of lies and of error;
  Rejoice, unmasking idolatry's fraud.

blessed ocean engulfing - the Pharaoh supreme;


blessed rock pouring forth - the sound waters of Life.


fiery pillar, a light - in the darkness for all;


never cloud of protection - will shield us like you.

  Rejoice, you give us the Manna of Heaven;
  Rejoice, you serve us the holiest of Food.
  Rejoice, ever spiritual Land of His Promise;
  Rejoice, ever flowing with honey and milk.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

On the point of departing
this world so deceiving
was Simeon, the watchman, inspired.
As a baby presented, so small,
yet as Lord in perfection he knew You,
o Christ,
and moved by the Wisdom Eternal,
he cried out in praise:


The Maker of all
made Creation anew
to appear amid us, His dear children:
the Lord blossomed forth from the Virgin,
whose Womb He preserved ever pure
and unstained.
Thus thrilled by this wonder
we sing to the Virgin with joy:

  Rejoice, bright flower of a life uncorrupted;
  Rejoice, chaste crown of possession of self.
  Rejoice, awarding a glimpse of the Risen;
  Rejoice, unveiling the life of the angels.

fairest plant bearing fruit - to be food of the Faithful;


tree of beauty, whose shade - is protection for all.


in your Womb you bore Him - who would guide those who wander;


you brought forth to the light - the Releaser of slaves.

  Rejoice, People's plea to the righteous Judge;
  Rejoice, forgiveness for all who are lost.
  Rejoice, welcome garment for souls stripped of grace;
  Rejoice, fullest love more than any desire.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

Enthralled by His birth
we go forth from this world
to consider the wonders of heaven.
In humanity's lowliest likeness,
He came and was born in our midst,
the Most High,
to lead to the heavens all those
who acclaim Him with joy:


He came to His earth
yet the heav'ns still were filled
by God's Word in His infinite glory.
Our God, not by changing His place,
but inclining most hambly in love
to our race,
was born of the Virgin, the Mother,
to whom we declare:

  Rejoice, o Throne of the infinite God;
  Rejoice, the door of the Mystery sublime.
  Rejoice, sure Truth which unsettles th'incredulous;
  Rejoice, reliable boast for believers.

holy dwelling more holy than - throne of the Cherubim;


precious vessel more blessed than - throne of the Seraphim.


for in you are extremes - of greatness united;


for together as one - you are Virgin and Mother.

  Rejoice, in you came forgiveness of sin;
  Rejoice, in you Heaven's gates were flung wide.
  Rejoice, blessed key of the Kingdom of Christ;
  Rejoice, hopeful way to the tressure of God.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

Amazed were the angels
to witness the awesome
event of your bless'd Incarnation:
inaccessible God above all
they saw giving access to us
in our Flesh,
and dwelling with us, so that each
can acclaim You and cry:


The finest of speakers
are silent as fish
before you, holy Mother of God.
Never word from their lips will express
how a Mother you are, yet a Virgin
But we, full of wonder can sing
of the Mystery in faith:

  Rejoice, o vessel of Wisdom Eternal;
  Rejoice, the treasure of God's loving care.
  Rejoice, you show how the clever are foolish;
  Rejoice, you send into silence the wise.

before you subtle schemes - of disputors are stupid;


before you mortal myths - and their makers are empty.


all the sophists are snared - in confusion by you;


simple fishermen catch - their fulfillment in you.

  Rejoice, you draw us from depths of dark error;
  Rejoice, great lighthouse to lead us to Truth.
  Rejoice, saving vessel for those who seek Rescue;
  Rejoice, port and haven on seaways of life.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

To save the creation
the Lord of the universe
freely came down to the earth.
The God, who was always our Shepherd,
now chose to appear in our midst
as the Lamb;
in our image He called us
whose image we are, thus we pray:

Defender of virgins
who follow your way,
are you, blessed Virgin and Mother:
for thus, Purest Creature, He made you,
the Lord who holds sway over Heaven
and Earth,
as He dwelt in your Womb while inviting us
all to proclaim:
  Rejoice, blest column of holy virginity;
  Rejoice, o passage and portal to Rescue.
  Rejoice, beginning of birth for the spirit;
  Rejoice, bringing forth all the bounty of God.

you have given back Life - to those born in disgrace;


for in you have the foolish - found fulness of wisdom.


the Seducer of Hearts was made - pow'rless by You;


the Begetter of Chastity - touched us through you.

  Rejoice, where Heaven and Earth are encoupled;
  Rejoice, where Faithful and Lord are made one.
  Rejoice, loving Woman: you nourish all virgins;
  Rejoice, holy Maid: you lead brides to the Groom.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

No song has been written
that ever could equal
your numberless graces, o Lord.
Indeed, were we offering canticles
countless as grains in the sand
of the sea,
we never could compass your gifts
to your servants, who sing:


We look to the Virgin
most holy, the beacon
who brightens the camp of our darkness.
In her shines the light of God's presence:
she shows us the way to the knowledge
of God.
A splendour is she for our minds
as all praise her with song:

  Rejoice, bright ray of the Sunlight of Heaven;
  Rejoice, the beam of a Light never setting.
  Rejoice, clear lightning to flash in our minds;
  Rejoice, o thunder of fear for our foes.

for from you comes the Light - who illumines the world;


blessed spring giving - manifold waters of Life.


Pool of Healing where people - were bathed as of old;


for in you comes the One - who now washes our sins.

  Rejoice, bless'd Font where our souls are made pure;
  Rejoice, the cup overflowing with joy:
  Rejoice, pleasant fragrance of Christ who anoints us;
  Rejoice, from whose life comes the Mystical Banquet.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

His wish to redeem
that most ancient of Debts
brought the Saviour to dwell in our midst.
In His person was payment for all,
who had lost every title to gift
of God's Grace.
He cancelled Sin's charter and therefore
we chant in His praise:


At the birth of your Son
all His creatures rejoice,
Living Temple, o Bearer of God.
Your Womb was the worthiest dwelling
of Him who holds all in His hand
as the Lord.
Most haly and glorious He made you
and taught us to sing:

  Rejoice, o Tent where God's Word finds repose;
  Rejoice, excelling the “Holy of Holies”.
  Rejoice, the Ark that the Spirit has burnished;
  Rejoice, unfailing rich treasure of Life.

precious crown: saintly Rulers - acclaim you their glory;


noble banner: good priests all - proclaim you their boast.


mighty fortress defending - the Church of the Lord;


wall of strength for protecting - the Nations of God.

  Rejoice, through you spoils of vict'ry are raised;
  Rejoice, through you the great enemies fall.
  Rejoice, healing remedy, curing my weakness;
  Rejoice, for my soul finds salvation with you.
  Rejoice, holy Virgin and Bride!

O merciful Mother:
who bear us the greatest
of Saints, God's own Word ever holy:
accept, in your kindness, our song!
From every misfortune and malice
preserve us!
From threatening punishment free us,
your children who call:




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