Saturday, 28 March 2015

"The day of resurrection" Composer: John of Damascus, ? -780

EASTERTIDE brings a worldwide joy, and its coming is celebrated in many different ways. Dean Stanley once penned a description of an Easter celebration in the Greek Church in which the hymn, "The day of resurrection," was sung in the original Greek, as it was first written, and with all of its original beauty: 

"As midnight approached, the Archbishop with his priests, accompanied by the king and queen, left the church and stationed themselves on the platform, which was raised considerably from the ground, so that they were distinctly seen by the people. . . . Suddenly a single report from a cannon announced that twelve oclock had struck, and that Easter Day had begun. Then the old Archbishop, elevating the cross, exclaimed in a loud, exulting tone: Christos anesti. And instantly every single individual of all that host took up the cry, . . . with a shout, Christ is risen ! Christ is risen ! 

"At the same moment the impressive darkness was succeeded by a blaze of light from thousands of tapers. . . . Everywhere men clasped each other's hands and congratulated one another and embraced with countenances beaming with delight, as though to each one separately some wonderful happiness had been proclaimed; and so in truth it was. And all the while, rising above the mingling of many sounds, each one of which was a sound of gladness, the aged priests were distinctly heard chanting forth this glorious old hymn of victory m tones so loud and clear that they seemed to have regained their youth to tell the world that Christ is risen from the dead." 

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