Sunday, 29 March 2015

Eastern Hymn to the Holy Spirit

Tsaryu nebesnyi

King of the Heavens, Lord God Almighty,
Advocate, Spirit, Truth from above:
Fill with Your blessing all things in bounty,
Set every heart on fire with Your love.

King of the Heavens, Treas’ry of graces,
Good One, bestowing life in Your might.
Dwell now within us, enter all places;
Shine in our darkness Your cleansing light.

King of the Heavens, in truth and virtue
Come as Christ promised, Life-giving Fire.
Save us and make us holy, to meet You;
Strengthen our service, our hearts’ Desire.

O. Nyzhankov’skyy, 1919, from a sticheron of the Holy Spirit
Trans. Anon., adapted and revised © Mark Woodruff 2014

"Heavenly King" is prayed at the beginning of nearly all Liturgies and services in the Byzantine rite outside the season of Pascha. There is an existing versification, very popular in Ukrainian, with a beautifully haunting tune, but the traditional English translation known in North American is only a loose rendering of both the Ukrainian hymn and the Byzantine chant on which it is based. As it is a custom sometimes to sing metrical hymns and carols before and after the Divine Liturgy in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, we wanted to embrace something that would be engaging to our English-speaking worshippers familiar with hymns from Western traditions. So last year, the adaptation above was made, for the faithful to sing prior to the Divine Liturgy in English at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London, which takes place on the second Saturday of each month.

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