Ephraim, Apapphrat 1217
(Resp., Praise to Thee from every mouth on this Day of Thy Birth!)
1. Infants were slain because of Thy Birth, Thou Giver of life to all—But because He Who was slain was a King, our Lord the Lord of Kingdoms,—the tyrant in subtlety, gave for Him slain hostages,—clad in the mysteries of His slaying: the ranks ofheaven received,—the hostages that they of earth offered.
R., Blessed be the Kingwho magnified Him!
2. All the Kings of the house of David, transmitted and hauled on each to each,-the throne and crown of the Son of David, as guardian of a deposit.—In one they reached their bound and limit, when He came, the Lord of all things,—and took awayfrom them all things, and cut off the transmission of all things. ...
R., Blessed be He Who is clad in that which is His!
3. The doves moaned in Bethlehem, that the serpent destroyed their offspring.-The eagle betook himself to Egypt, to go down and receive the promises.—Egypt rejoiced in Him that there came, abundance for payment of debts,—which had failed thesons of Joseph. Among the sons of Joseph He laboured and paid—the debts of thesons of Joseph.
R., Blessed is He Who called Him out or Egypt!
4. The Scribes read daily, that the Star arises out of Jacob.—For the People were the Voice and the reading, for the nations the rising of the Star and the interpretation:-for them were the Books and for us the facts; for them boughs and for us fruits.—The Scribes read in things written; the Magi saw in things done, the outshining of that which was read.
R., Blessed be He Who added to us their books!
5. Who is able to tell, of the withdrawal and the appearings,—of the shining star that went, before the bearers of the offerings?—It appeared and proclaimed the crown; it was hid and concealed His Body.—It was for the Son in twofold wise, herald and guardian;—it guarded His Body, it proclaimed His Crown.
R., Blessed is He Who has given wisdom to them that proclaim Him!
6. The tyrant gazed on the Magi, as they asked “Where is the son of the King?”-While his heart was gloomy, he sought for himself a cheerful countenance.—With the sheep he sent wolves, that should kill the Lamb of God.—The Lamb went down to Egypt, that thence He might judge them,—whence He had saved them.
R., Blessed be He Who yet again subdued them.
7. The Magi declared to the tyrant, “When thy servants joined us,—the bright star withdrew itself, yea the paths hid themselves.”—The blessed ones knew not, that the king had sent bitter foes,—murderers as if worshippers, to destroy the sweet fruit,—whereof the bitter eat and are made sweet.
R., To Thee be glory, Medicine of life!8. When there the Magi received, commandment to go and seek Him.—it is written of them that they saw, that bright star and rejoiced.—Thus it is known that it had been withdrawn; therefore rejoiced they at its aspect.—It was hid and hindered the murderers, it arose and called the worshippers;—it overthrew a part and it called a part.
R., Blessed be He Who has triumphed in both parts!9. The abhorred one who slew the children, how did he overlook the Child?—Justice hindered him that he thought, the Magi would return to him.—While he stayed waiting to seize, the Worshipped and His worshippers,—everything escaped his hands, the offerings and the worshippers took flight,—from the tyrant to the Son of the King.
R., Glory to Him who knows all counsels!
10. The blameless Magi as they slept, meditated on their beds:—sleep became a mirror, and a dream rose on it as light.—The murderer they saw and trembled, as his guile and his sword flashed forth.—He taught the men guile, he sharpened the sword to sharpness:—the Watcher taught the sleepers.
R., Blessed is He who gives prudence to the simple!
11. The simple who believe have known, two Comings of Christ:—but the foolish scribes have not even perceived one Coming.—Yet the nations have life in the first, and shall rise again there in the second.—The People whose mind is blinded, the first Coming has dispersed;—the second shall blot out their memory.
R., Blessed be the King Who is come and is to come!
12. When the Saviour arose as the blind, the Sun showed forth his beams,—and they were clothed in darkness: the Brightness sent forth his light,—and He brought the sons of the stars, to make manifest the sons of darkness.—For lo! among you is the star, but on your eyes the veil.
R., To Thee be glory, newborn Sun!
13. Prophets declared concerning His Birth, but they made not plain the time thereof.—He sent the Magi, and they came and showed of its time.—Yet the Magi who made known the time, made not plain who the Child should be.—A star of splendid light, in its course showed who the Child was,—how splendid was His lineage.
R., Blessed be He Who by them all was pointed out!
14. They scorned the trumpet of Isaiah, which sounded forth His pure Conception,-they silenced the lute of the Psalms, which sang of His Priesthood;—the harp of the Spirit they hushed, which sang again of His Kingdom;—under deep silence they closed up, the great Birth that joined the cry—of them above with them below.
R., Blessed be He Who appeared in the midst of silence!
15. His voice was the secret key that opened the mouths of the Magi.—Whereas preachers were silent in Judah, they made their voice sound through creation;—and the Gospel which those had scorned, these who came from far took and departed.—The scorners began to hear their own orders from strangers, who cried out the name of the Son of David.
R., Blessed be He Who by our voice has put them to silence!16. Whereas the People scorned offerings, and brought them not to Him the Son of the King,—He sent His herald to the nations, and caused them to come with theirofferings:—yet not all of them caused He to come, for it could not suffice for them,—the narrow bosom of Bethlehem; but the bosom of Holy Church,—enlarged itself and contained her children.
R., Blessed be He Who has made the barren fruitful!
17. The slayers of Bethlehem mowed down the tender flowers that among them—should perish the tender seedling, wherein was hidden the Bread of life.—But the ear of corn that has life had escaped, that it should come to the sheaves in harvest:—the grape that escaped when young, gave itself to the treading,—that its wine might give life to souls.
R., Glory to Thee, Treasury of life!
18. The murderers went into a paradise, full of tender fruits:—they shook off the flowers from the bough, blossoms and buds they destroyed,—unblemished oblations he offered, the persecutor unwittingly.—To him woe, but to them blessing! Bethlehemwas first to give, virgin fruits to the Holy One.
R., Blessed is He Who receives the first fruits!19. The Scribes were silenced in envy, the Pharisees in jealousy.—Men of stone cried out and gave praise, who had a heart of stone.—They applauded in presence of the Stone, the rejected that has become the Head.—Stones were made flesh by that Stone, and obtained mouths to speak; stones cried out through that Stone.
R.,Blessed be Thy Birth that has caused stones to cry out!
20. The Star that is written in Scripture, the nations beheld from afar,—that the People might be shamed which is near; O People instructed and puffed up! which by the nations hast been in turn instructed, how and where they saw,—that vision whereof Balaam spake; a stranger he who spread abroad concerning it,—strangers they who saw it.
R., Blessed is He Who has provoked to jealousy them of His own house!
21. Let my supplication draw nigh to Thy Door, yea my poverty to Thy Treasury! —Give to me my Lord without measure, as God unto man!—And though Thou increase gifts as Son of the Blessed, and though Thou add to them as Son of the King;—though I be thankless as are all creatures of dust, as Adam so is the son of Adam,—and as the Blessed so too is the Son of the Blessed.
R., Praise be to Thee Who art like unto Thy Father!
Resp.—Praise be to Him Who sent Him! (bis)
1). Blessed art thou, O Church, for lo! in thee is the sound,—of the great feast the festival of the King!—Sion is deserted, her gates are sore athirst,—and forsaken of festivals.—Blessed thy gates that are open yet not filled,—and thy halls that are enlarged yet suffice not!—In the midst of thee lo! is the sound, of the nations that cry out, and have put to silence the People.
2). Blessed art then, O Church, that in thy festivals,—the Watchers rejoice amid thy festivity!—for one night the Watchers gave praise,—on the earth which withheld and refused praise.—Blessed thy voices that have been sown and reaped,—and in Heaven stored up in garners!—Thy mouth is a censer, and thy voices as perfumes, breathing vapour in thy festivals.
3). Blessed art thou, O Church, that all oblations,—are brought unto thee in this feast.—The Magi once among traitors, offered them to the Truth.—Blessed thy abode that He bowed Himself and dwelt therein, Son of the King Who is worshipped with gifts!—Gold from the West, and spices from the East,—are offered in Thy Festivals.
4). Blessed art thou, O Church, that there is not with thee,—a tyrant King slayer of babes! for he killed in Bethlehem the little ones at random,—that he might put to death the Child that gives life to all.—Blessed thy children that are envied and worshipped,—by Kings, for those are promised for Thy worship,—the crowns of the East:—he who trod down thy dear ones, shall be trodden down by thy beloved.
5). Blessed art thou, O Church, for lo! over thee,—Isaiah too exults in his prophecy,—”Lo a Virgin shall conceive and bear,—a Son” Whose name is great mystery!—O interpretation revealed in the Church!—two names that were joined and became one;—”Emmanuel,”—God be with thee ever, Who joined thee with His members!
6). Blessed art thou, O Church, in Mi who cried out,—” A Shepherd shall come forth from Ephrata”:—for He came to Bethlehem to take—from thence the rod of Jesse and to rule the nations.—Blessed thy lambs that are sealed with His seal,—and thy sheep that are kept by His sword!—Thou art, O Church,—the abiding Bethlehem,—for in thee is the Bread of Life!3 7). Blessed art thou, O Church, for lo! in thee rejoices,—Daniel also the man beloved, —who foretold that the glorious Messiah shall be killed,—and the city of holiness be laid desolate at His killing!—Woe to the People that was rejected and is not converted—Blessed the nations that were called and turned not away!—The bidden guests refused,—and others in their stead enjoyed their banquet.
8). Blessed art thou, O Church, for on thy, lute, lo! King David sings psalms in thee! In the Spirit he sings of Him “Thou art My Son and I—this day have begotten Thee” in the glories of holiness.—Blessed thy ears that have been purged to hearHis day watch thou as His Body and call on Him;—be taught by Sion,—which saddened His Feast; make Him glad Who has gladdened thee.
9). Blessed art thou, O Church, that all festivals—have taken flight from Sion and sheltered with thee!—In the midst of thee the wearied Prophets have found rest,—from the labour and the reproach they bore in Judah.—Blessed the books unrolled in thy temples,—and the festivals celebrated in thy shrines!—Sion is forsaken,—and lo! today the nations shout in thy festivals.
10). Blessed art thou, O Church, in ten blessings,—which our Lord has given as a mystery complete:—for on ten all the numbers hang, therefore art thou perfect by ten blessings.—Blessed thy crowns that are twined—with all blessings mixed in every crown!—O blessed one,—with every blessing crowned, on me too send thy blessing!
11). Blessed art thou, Ephrata, mother of Kings, that from thee sprang the Lord of diadems!—Mi gave thee tidings that He is from everlasting, and the span of His times is not comprehended.—Blessed thine eyes which first of all discerned Him!—thee He deemed worthy to see Him when He appeared,—Chief of benediction,—and Beginning of gladness, thou didst receive first of all.
12. Blessed art thou, Bethlehem, that the towns envy thee,—and the fortified cities!—As they envy thee, so the women envy Mary,—and the virgins daughters of princes.—Blessed the maiden in whom He deigned to abide,—and the city wherein He deigned to sojourn;—a poor maiden,—and a small city, He chose Him to humble Himself.
13. Blessed art thou, Bethlehem, that in thee was the beginning,—for Him the Son Who from everlasting is in the Father!—It is hard to comprehend, that before Time He is,—Who in thee made Himself subject to Time.—Blessed thine ears, for in thee first was heard the cry—of the Lamb of God who exulted in thee!—Narrow though thy manger,—He spread Himself on all sides, and was worshipped of every creature.
14. Blessed art thou too, Mary, that thy name—is great and exalted because of thy child!—Thou canst tell then how and how long—and where He dwelt in thee, the great One in small room.—Blessed thy mouth that praised and enquired not,—and thy tongue that glorified and questioned not!—For His Mother was uncertain concerning Him,—even while she carried Him in the womb; who then shall suffice to comprehend Him?
15. O Woman, thou whom no man knew,—how can we behold the Son thou hast borne?—For no eyes suffice to stand—before the transfigurations of the glory, that is on Him.—For tongues of fire abide in Him—Who sent tongues by His Ascension.—Be every tongue warned,—that our questioning is as stubble, and as fire our scrutiny.
16. Blessed is he the priest who in the sanctuary,—offers to the Father the Son of the Father,—the fruit that is plucked from our tree, though it be wholly of the Divine Majesty!—Blessed the hands that are hallowed and offer Him!—and the lips that are spent in kissing Him!—The Spirit in the Temple—longed for His embrace; and at His Crucifixion rent the veil and went forth.
17. The Archangel gave thee greeting,—as the earnest of holiness—Earth became to him new Heavens,—when the Watcher came down and sang glory on it.—The sons of the Highest encompassed thy habitation—because of the Son of the King that dwelt in thee.—Thy abode below,—to the Heaven above was made like by the host of Watchers.
(Resp.—Blessed be thy Birth that gladdens all creatures!)
1. The first year wherein, our Saviour was born,—is source of blessing, and ground of life;—for by it are borne,—manifold triumphs, the sum of all help:—as the first day of “the beginning,”—the great pillar of all creatures,—bears the building of Creation;—so the year of the Firstborn bears help for man.
2. In the second year, of our Saviour’s Birth,—the Magi exult, the Pharisees mourn:—treasures are opened,—kings are hastening, and infants are slain.—For in it are offered in Bethlehem,—oblations precious and terrible;—for while love made offering of gold,—hatred offered infants by the sword.
3. The day of the All-Lightening, exults in His birth;—a pillar of radiance, which drives away, by its beams—the works of darkness. After the type of that day, wherein light was created,—and sundered the darkness that spread—over the fair beauty of Creation;—the radiance of our Saviour’s birth—came in to sunder the darkness that was on the heart.
4. The first day the source and the beginning,—orders the roots, to make all things grow.—Our Saviour’s day—is praised far above it, a tree planted in the world.—For His Death is as the root in the earth; His Resurrection as the head in heaven; on all sides His words reach as boughs; likewise His Body as fruit for the eaters.
5. Let the second day, sing praise to the Birth—of the second Son, and His voice which first—commanded the firmament and it was made,—divided the waters that were above, and gathered the seas that were under.—He Who divided waters from waters, divided Himself from the Watchers and came down to man.—For the waters which at His command were gathered.—He cleft the fountain of life and gave drink.
6. Let the third day weave with divers hymns—the crown of psalms and with one voice present it—for His Birth who gave growth—of buds and flowers, on the third day.—But now He the All-giver of growth,—has come down and become the All-holy Flower; from the thirsting earth has sprang forth and gone up,—that he may decorate and crown the conquerors.
7. Let the fourth day praise, first among the four,—His Birth Who created as the fourth day—the two lightgivers,—which fools worship, and are sightless and blind.—The Lord of Lightgivers has come down,—and from the womb has shone on us as the Sun.—His splendours have opened the eyes of the blind:—His rays have given light to the wandering.
8. Let the fifth day laud Him Who created—on the fifth day creeping things and Dragons—of whose kind is the serpent.—He deceived with guile our mother, a maid void of counsel.—The deceiver who had mocked the maid,—by the Dove was exposed as false,—which from a virgin bosom sprang, and came forth—the Wise that trod down the crafty.
9. Let the sixth day laud Him who created—on Vesper-day Adam, whom Satan envied; as a feigned friend—cheered him in offering poison in his food.—The medicine of life reached them both,—put on a body and came near to both.—The mortal tasted Him and lived through Him;—the devourer who ate Him was left void.
10. Let the seventh day hallow the Holy One,—Who halloweth the Sabbath, and gave rest to all that live.—The Blessed One Who wearied not—has care for mankind, and has care for the beasts.—When Freedom fell under the yoke,—He came to the Birth and became bond to make it free:—He was smitten on the face by servants in the judgment hall;—He broke the yoke that was on the free, as Lord.
11. Let the eighth day, which circumcised the Hebrews,—praise Him Who commanded his namesake Joshua—to circumcise with a flint—the people circumcised in body, while the heart was profane within.—Lo! as the eighth day, as a Babe,—to circumcision He came Who circumcises all.—Though the sign of Abraham is on His Flesh,—the blind daughter of Sion had defiled it.
12. Let the tenth day sing, praises in its turn.—For God the first letter of Jesus (goodly name!), is ten in numbering.—He Who is as a lamb, turns back the numbers.-For when the number goes up to ten, it is turned back to begin again from one. O great mystery of that which is in Jesus, Whose might turns all creation back again!
13. The All-Purifier Firstborn in the day of His purifying,—purified the purification of the firstborn and was offered4 in the Temple:—the Lord of offering needed offerings,—to make offering of birds.—In His Birth were fulfilled the types,—in His purification and circumcision the allegories.—He came and paid over debts in His coming down;-in His Resurrection He went up and sent down treasures.
1 See p. 177 n.
2 The word used for “bosom” in this stanza, also means “wing.”
3 Bethlehem=House of Bread.
4 Sc., in the Presentation, St. Lc 2,22.
(Translated by Rev. A. Edward Johnston, B.a)).
Resp.—To Thee be praise from Thy flock in the day of Thy Epiphany!
1. The heavens He has renewed, for that fools worshipped all the luminaries:—He has renewed the earth, for that in Adam it was wasted.1 —That which He fashioned has become new by His spittle:—and the All-Sufficing has restored bodies with souls.
2. Gather yourselves again ye—sheep and without labour receive cleansing!—for one needs not as Elisha—to bathe seven times in the river, nor again to be wearied as the priests are wearied with sprinklings.
3. Seven times Elisha purified himself in a mystery of the seven spirits;—and the hyssop and blood are a mighty symbol.—There is no room for division;—He is not divided from the Lord of all Who is Son of the Lord of all.
4. Moses sweetened in Marah the waters that were bitter,—because the People complained and murmured:—Thus he gave a sign of baptism,—wherein the Lord of life makes sweet them that were bitter.
5. The cloud overshadowed and kept off the burning heat from the camp;—it showed a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which overshadows you in baptism—tempering the flaming fire that it harm not your bodies.
6. Through the sea the People then passed, and showed a symbol—of the baptism wherein ye were washed. The People passed through that and believed not:—the Gentiles were baptized in this and believed and received the Holy Ghost.
7. The Word sent the Voice to proclaim before His Coming,—to prepare for Him the way by which He came,—and to betroth the Bride till He should come,—that she might be ready when He should come and take her from the water.
8. The voice of prophecy stirred the son of the barren woman,—and he went forth wandering in the desert and crying,—”Lo! the Son of the Kingdom comes!—prepare ye the way that He may enter and abide in your dwellings!”
9. John cried, “Who comes after me, He is before me:—I am the Voice but not the Word;—I am the torch but not the Light;—the Star that rises before the Sun of Righteousness.”
10. In the wilderness this John had cried and had said,—”Repent ye sinners of your evils,—and offer the fruits of repentance;—for lo! He comes that winnows the wheat from the tares.”
11. The Lightgiver has prevailed and marked a mystery, by the degrees he ascended:—Lo! there are twelve days since he ascended,—and to-day this is the thirteenth:—a perfect mystery of Him, the Son, and His twelve!
12. Darkness was overcome to make it manifest that Satan was overcome;—and the Light prevailed that he should proclaim—that the Firstborn triumphs: darkness was overcome—with the Dark Spirit, and our Light prevailed with the Lightgiver.
13. In the Height and the Depth the Son had two heralds.—The star of light proclaimed Him from above;—Jn likewise preached Him from beneath:—two heralds, the earthly and the heavenly.
14. The star of light, contrary to nature, shone forth of a sudden;—less than the sun yet greater than the sun.—Less was it than he in manifest light;—and greater than he in secret might because of its mystery.
15. The star of light shed its rays among them that were in darkness,—and guided them as though they were blind;—so that they came and met the great Light:—they gave offerings and received life and adored and departed.
16. The herald from above showed His Nature to be from the Most High;—likewise he that was from beneath showed His Body to be from humankind, mighty marvel!-that His Godhead and His Manhood by them were proclaimed!
17. Thus whoso reckons Him as of earth, the star of light—will convince him that He is of Heaven: and whoso reckons Him as of spirit,—this John will convince him that He is also bodily.
18. John drew near with his parents and worshipped the Sun,—and brightness rested on His Face.—He was not moved as when in the womb.—Mighty marvel! that here he worships and there he leaped!
19. The whole creation became for Him as one mouth and cried out concerning Him.—The Magi cry out in their gifts;—the barren cry out with their children;—the star of light, lo! it cries out in the air, “Behold the Son of the King!”
20. The heavens are opened, the waters break forth, the dove is in glory!—The voice of the Father is stronger than thunder,—as it utters the word, “This is My Beloved”;—the Watchers brought the tidings, the children acclaimed Him in their Hosannas.
(Resp.—To Thee be praise Who in this feast makest all to exult!)
1. In the time of the King whom they called by the name Semha2 —our Lord was manifested among the Hebrews.—Thus Semha and Denha reigned together,—the King on earth and the Son on high—blessed be His power!
2. In the days of the King who wrote down men in the taxing,—our Saviour came down and wrote down men in the Book of Life; He wrote and was written;—on high He wrote us, on earth He was written; glory to His Name!
3. His Birth was in the days of the King whose name was Semha.—Symbol and truth met one another;—King and King, Semha and Denha.—That kingdom bore His Cross; blessed be He Who took it up!
4. Thirty years abode He on earth in poverty.—Voices of praise in all measures,—let us weave my brethren for our Lord’s years;—thirty crowns for thirty years; Blessed be His number!
5. In the first year, mistress of treasure and filled with blessings,—let the Cherubin give thanks with us, they who bear—the Son in glory Who gave up His glorious state,—and toiled and found the sheep that was lost;—to Him be thanksgiving!
6. In the second year let the Seraphin multiply thanksgiving with us;—they who cried “Holy” to the Son, and turned and saw Him—among unbelievers put to shame.—He endured scorn and taught us glory; to Him be glory given!
7. In the third year let Michael and his hosts give thanks with us;—they who were wont to serve the Son on high,—and saw Him on earth doing service.—He washed men’s feet and cleansed men’s souls; blessed be His meekness!
8. In the fourth year let all the heavens give thanks with us! Too narrow for the Son it shall burst to see—how He lay on the couch of despised Zaccheus.—He filled the couch and had filled the heavens;—to Him be thanksgiving!
9. In the fifth year let the Sun that burns the carth with its heat—give thanks to our Sun that He straitened His largeness,—and tempered His force that the eye might endure to see Him;—the inward eye of a pure soul; blessed be His radiance!
10. In the sixth year again let all the air give thanks with us,—in the vastness whereof all things exult.—It saw its great Lord that He became—a little babe in a lowly bosom; blessed be His honour!
11. In the seventh year let the clouds and winds sound the trumpet with us,—they whose dew sprinkles the faces of the flowers,—yet saw they the Son that He subdued His brightness,—and endured scorn and shameful spitting;—blessed be His salvation!
12. Yet again in the eighth year let Creation give glory,—from whose fountain the fruits draw nurture.—She adored when she saw the Son at the breast,—pure babe nurtured by pure milk; blessed be His good pleasure!
13. In the ninth year let the earth give glory, which when her lap is watered then brings forth the root.—She saw Mary an unwatered soil—whose fruit that she yielded isa mighty sea; to Him be exultation!
R., To Thee be glory, Son of the Lord of all, Who givest life to all!
14. In the tenth year let Mount Sinai give glory, which melted—before its Lord! It saw against its Lord—stones taken up: but He took stones—to build the Church upon the Rock; blessed be His building!
15. In the eleventh year let the great sea give thanks—to the hand of the Son Who measured it! And it wondered to see how He came down and was washed—in humble waters, He that cleanses Creation; blessed be His triumph!
16. In the twelfth year let the holy Temple give thanks—which beheld the Child as He sat—among the elders: the doctors were silenced—as the Lamb of the feast bleated in the feast; blessed be His atonement!
17. In the thirteenth year let diadems with us give thanks—to the King Who triumphed and was crowned—with a crown of thorns: He wove for man—a mighty diadem at His right hand; blessed be He That sent Him!
18. In the fourteenth year let the Passover of Egypt give thanks—to the Passover that came and made passover for all,—and instead of Pharaoh overwhelmed Legion,-and instead of horsemen drowned demons; blessed be His retribution!
19. In the fifteenth year let the lamb of the flock give thanks,—that our Lord slew it not as did Moses,—but redeemed by His Blood mankind.—He the Shepherd of all died for all; blessed be He That begat Him!
20. In the sixteenth year let the seed-corn in mystery give thanks—to that Husbandman Who gave His Body for seed—in a barren soil that corrupts all things.—It proved fertile and yielded new bread; blessed be He that is pure!
21. In the seventeenth year let the Vine give thanks to our Lord,—the Vineyard of truth, wherein souls were—as the scions. He gave peace to this vineyard, but laid waste that vineyard which bare wild grapes; blessed be the Uprooter!
22. In the eighteenth year let our leaven give thanks—to the leaven of truth that penetrates and draws—all minds and makes them to become—one mind in one doctrine; blessed be His doctrine!
23. In the nineteenth year let the Salt give thanks for Thy Body.—O blessed Babe it is the soul—that is the salt of the Body, and Faith—the salt of the soul whereby it ispreserved; blessed be Thy preservation!
R., Glory to Thy Epiphany, 0 God and Man.!
24. In the twentieth year let temporal wealth with us give thanks,—which men that are perfect have cast off and abandoned—because of the “Woe”; and have gone and loved—poverty because of its beatitude; blessed be He Who desired it!
25. In the one-and-twentieth year let the waters give thanks that were sweetened—in a mystery of the Son. In the honey of Samson—the nations tasted bitterness therein that destroyed them:—they had life in the Cross that redeemed them; blessed be its pleasantness!
26. In the two-and-twentieth year let arms and the sword give thanks,—for they could not slay our Adversary.—Thou art He Who slew him as Thou art He Who restored—the ear that Simon’s sword cut off; blessed be Thy healing!
27. In the three-and-twentieth year let the ass likewise give thanks,—that gave the colt whereon He should ride;—He opens likewise the mouth of wild asses,—the offspring gave Him praise; blessed be the praise of Thee!
28. In the font-and-twentieth year let wealth give thanks to the Son!—Treasures were amazed at the Lord of treasures,—how He grew up among the poor.—He made Himself poor that He might make all rich; blessed be His participation!
29. In the five-and-twentieth year let Isaac give thanks to the Son—Who in the mount saved him from the knife,—and became in his stead the lamb to be slain.—The mortal escaped, and He died Who gives life to all; blessed be His offering!
30. In the six-and-twentieth year let Moses with us give thanks,—who feared and fled from the slayers;—let him give thanks to the Son, for He it was Who on His feet —entered Sheol and spoiled it and came forth; blessed be His Resurrection!
[31. In the seven-and-twentieth year let the eloquent Orators—give thanks to the Son, for they could not find—means whereby we should prevail in our judgment:—He was silent in judgment and made our judgment prevail; to Him be applause>
32. In the seven and twentieth year let all Judges give thanks,—who as being just have put to death illdoers;—let them give thanks to the Son Who instead of the evil —died as being good, though He was Son of the Just One; blessed be His mercies!
33. In the eight-and-twentieth year let them give thanks to the Son,—all the mighty men who saved us not—from the captors. One is to be worshipped,—Who was slain and laid hold and saved us; blessed be His deliverance!
34. In the nine-and-twentieth year let Job with us give thanks,—who bare sufferings in his own behalf:—but our Lord bare on our behalf—the spitting and the stripes, the thorns and the nails; blessed is His compassion!
35. In the year that is the thirtieth let them give thanks with us;—the dead that have lived through His dying,—the living that were converted in His Crucifixion,—and the height and the depth that have been reconciled in Him! Blessed be He and His Father!
(Resp.—Christ with chrism, lo! lie is sealing the newborn lambs in His flock!)
1. Christ and chrism are conjoined; the secret with the visible is mingled: the chrism anoints visibly,—Christ seals secretly, the lambs newborn and spiritual, the prize of His twofold victory; for He engendered it of the chrism, and He gave it birth of the water.
2. How exalted are your Orders! For she that was a sinner anointed, as a handmaid, the feet of her Lord). But for you, as though His minister, Christ by the hand of His servants, seals and anoints your bodies. It befits Him the Lord of the flock, that in His own person He seal His sheep.
3. Since then she, that sinner, stood in need of forgiveness, the anointing was for her an offering, and by it her love reconciled her Lord. But you who are the flock, among the profane and unbelievers, the Truth by the chrism is your seal, to separate you from the strayed.
4. From the peoples he separated the People, by the former seal of circumcision; but by the seal of anointing, the peoples He separates from the People. When the peoples were in error, the People He separated from the peoples; now when the People has erred from Him, He separates the peoples from thence.
5. Of the dust of the pure soil, Naaman bore away and returned to his place; that he by this holy dust, might be separated and known from the unclean. The chrism of Christ separates, the sons of the mystery from strangers: and by it they that are within are separated, and known from them that are without.
6. The oil which Elijah multiplied, might be tasted with the mouth; for the cruse was that of the widow, it was not that of the chrism. The oil of our Lord that is in the cruse, it is not food for the mouth: the sinner that was a wolf without, it makes him a lamb in the flock.
7. The chrism of the meek and lowly One, changes the stubborn to be like its Lord. The Gentiles were wolves and feared, the severe rod of Moses. Lo! the chrism sealsthem and makes, a flock of sheep out of the wolves! And the wolves that had fled from the rod, lo! they have taken refuge in the Cross!
8. The leaf of olive arrived, brought as a figure of the anointing; the sons of the Ark rejoiced to greet it, for it bore good tidings of deliverance. Thus also ye rejoiced to greet it, even this holy anointing. The bodies of sinners were glad in it, for it brought good tidings of deliverance.
9. The oil again that Jacob poured, upon the stone when he sealed it, that it should be between him and God, and that he might offer there his tithes; lo! in it is a symbol of your bodies, how by chrism they are sealed as holy, and become temples for God, where He shall be served by your sacrifices.
10. When Moses had sealed and anointed, the sons of Aaron the Levite, the fire consumed their bodies; the fire spared their vestments. But ye my brethren blessed are ye, for the fire of grace has come down, has consumed utterly your offences, and cleansed and hallowed your bodies!
11. As for the anointing of Aaron my brethren, it was the vile blood of beasts, that it sprinkled in the horns of the altar. The anointing of truth is this; wherein the living and all-lifegiving Blood, is sprinkled inwardly in your bodies. is mingled in your understandings, is infused through your inmost chambers.12. The anointed priests used to offer, the slain bodies of beasts; Ye, O anointed and excelling, your offerings are your own bodies. The anointed Levites offered, the inward parts taken, from beasts: ye have excelled the Levites, for your hearts ye have Consecrated.
13. The anointing of the People was—a foreshadowing of Christ; their rod a mystery of the Cross; their lamb a type of the Only begotten; their tabernacle a mystery of your Churches; their circumcision a sign of your sealing. Under the shadow of your goodly thing, sat the People of old.
14. Thus the truth is likened, to a great shadowing tree: it cast its shade on the People; it struck its root among the peoples. The People abode under its shadows, whose shadows were its mysteries; but the Gentiles lodged on its bough, and plucked and ate of its fruits.
15. As for the anointing of Saul to be king; the sweeter was its savour, so much fouler was the savour of his heart. The Spirit struck him and fled. Your anointing which ye have is greater; for your minds are censers, in your temples the Spirit exults, a chamber forever shall ye be unto Him.
16. As for the anointing of David my brethren; the Spirit came down and made sweet savour, in the heart of the man wherein He delighted; the savour of his heart was as the savour of his action. The Spirit dwelt in him and made song in him. Your anointing which ye have is greater, for Father and Son and Holy Ghost, have moved and come down to dwell in you.
17. When the leper of old was cleansed, the priest used to seal him with oil, and to lead him to the waterspring. The type has passed and the truth is come; lo! with chrism have ye been sealed, in baptism ye are perfected, in the flock ye are intermixed, from the Body ye are nourished.
18. What leper when he has been cleansed, turns again and desires his leprosy? Ye have put off transgressions—forsake it! None puts on the leprosy he had put off. It has fallen and sunk—let it not be drawn out! It is wasted and worn—let it not be renewed! Let not corruption come out upon you, whom the chrism of Christ has anointed!
19. The vessel moulded of clay, gains beauty from the water, receives strength from the fire; but if it slips it is ruined, it cannot be afresh renewed. Ye are vessels of grace; be ye ware of it, even of justice, for it grants not two renewals.
20. How like are ye in comparison, with the Prophet whom the fish yielded up! The Devourer has given you back for he was constrained, by the Power Which constrained the fish. Jonah was for you as a mirror, since not again did the fish swallow him, let not again the Devourer swallow you: being yielded up be ye like Jonah!
21. Goodly ointment on the head of our Lord did Mary pour; its savour was fragrant through all the house. Likewise the savour of your anointing, has been fragrant and perfumed the heavens, to the Watchers on high; doing pleasure to Satan its savour is overpowering; to God its odour is sweet.
22. The crowds in the desert were like unto sheep that have no shepherd. The Merciful became their shepherd, and multiplied to them the pasture of bread. Yea, blessed are ye that are perfect, that are sealed as lambs of Christ, that of His Body and Blood are made worthy; the Pastor Himself is become pasture for you!
23. Out of water He made the wine, He gave it for drink to the youths in the feast. For you who are keeping the fast, better is the unction than drink. In His wine the betrothed are wedded, by His oil the wedded are sanctified. By His wine is union; by His oil sanctification.24. The sheep of Christ leaped for joy, to receive the seal of life, that ensign of kings which has ever put sin to flight. The Wicked by Thy ensign is routed, iniquities by Thy sign are scattered. Come, ye sheep, receive your seal, which puts to flight them that devour you!
25. Come, ye lambs, receive your seal, for it is truth that is your seal! This is the seal that separates, them of the household from strangers. The steel circumcised alike, the gainsayers and the sons of Hagar. If circumcision be the sign of the sheep, lo! by it the goats are signed.
26. But ye, who are the new flock, have put off the doings of wolves, and as lambs are made like to the Lamb. One by changing has changed all; the Lamb to the wolves gave Himself to be slain; the wolves rushed and devoured Him and became lambs; for the Shepherd was changed into a Lamb; likewise the wolf forgot his nature.
27. Look on me also in Thy mercy! be not branded on me the seal, of the goats the sons of the left hand! let not Thy sheep become a goat! For though to justify myself I sufficed not, yet to be a sinner I willed not. Turn thine eyes, 0 my Lord, from what I have done, and seek not only what I have willed.
28. From them that write and them that preach, from them that hear and them that are sealed, let glory go up to Christ, and through Him to His Father be exaltation! He Who gives words to them that speak, and gives voice to them that preach, has given understanding to them that hear, and consecrates chrism for him that is sealed.
Ephraim, Apapphrat 1217