Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hymn of Kassiani

It really goes with Holy Wednesday, but as I don't know if I'll have the chance to post anything tomorrow, I thought I'd post a paraphrase of Kassia's famous Mary Magdalen hymn:

O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins,
perceiving Your divinity,
took the part of a myrrh-bearer;
weeping, she brings oils of myrrh
before your burial.

"Woe to me," she says, "for night
is a frenzy of license to me,
a dark, moonless love of sin.

"Receive the fountains of my tears,
O You who gather the sea-waters into clouds
Incline to the groanings of my heart,
O You who laid low the heavens by Your humility.

"I shall kiss Your immaculate feet,
wipe them again with the hair of my head,
those feet at whose sound Eve in Paradise hid for fear.

"The multitude of my sins, the depths of your judgments,
who can search them out, O Savior of souls?
Do not despise me, Your handmaiden,
O You whose mercy admits of no measure."

The original Greek is here. You can read a musical analysis of it here (example 4). Here (PDF) is an English translation with sheet music. You can hear an English version here. But to get a sense of the power of it, you have to hear it in Greek.

Last year I gave a rough-and-quick summary of the events of Holy Week, for those who are interested.

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