15 May 2010

'Stars of the Spiritual Firmament'—A Hymn for the Fathers of Nicæa


At the Vigil this evening I was struck by the Doxasticon at Lauds, by George of Nicomedia (I quote Archimandrite Ephrem’s translation):

The choir of holy Fathers, hurrying together from the ends of the inhabited world, taught the one essence and nature of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and clearly handed down to the Church the mystery of theology. As we praise them with faith, let us call them blessed as we say: O godly camp, inspired soldiers [note the Greek actually says ‘hoplites’!] of the Lord’s array; stars with many lights of the spiritual firmament; the indestructible towers of the mystical Sion; the sweet-scented flowers of Paradise; the all-golden mouths of the Word; Nicæa’s boast; adornment of the inhabited world, intercede unceasingly for our souls.

Τῶν ἁγίων Πατέρων ὁ χορός, ἐκ τῶν τῆς οἰκουμένης περάτων συνδραμών, Πατρός, καὶ Υἱοῦ, καὶ Πνεύματος ἁγίου, μίαν οὐσίαν ἐδογμάτισε καὶ φύσιν, καὶ τὸ μυστήριον τῆς θεολογίας, τρανῶς παρέδωκε τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ· οὓς εὐφημοῦντες ἐν πίστει, μακαρίσωμεν λέγοντες· Ὦ θεία παρεμβολή, θεηγόροι ὁπλῖται, παρατάξεως Κυρίου, ἀστέρες πολύφωτοι, τοῦ νοητοῦ στερεώματος, τῆς μυστικῆς Σιὼν οἱ ἀκαθαίρετοι πύργοι, τὰ μυρίπνοα ἄνθη τοῦ Παραδείσου, τὰ πάγχρυσα στόματα τοῦ Λόγου, Νικαίας τὸ καύχημα, οἰκουμένης ἀγλάϊσμα, ἐκτενῶς πρεσβεύσατε, ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν.

The imagery of the Church’s poetry is incomparably beautiful. In Orthodox Tradition, the Fathers are not doctrinal police, as the modern mindset seems to think, but ‘soldiers’, ‘stars’, ‘towers’, ‘flowers’ and ‘all-golden mouths’.

5 comments:

Fr. Aidan said...

It makes me happy when people attend the beautiful Vigil service. Here in Austin our Vigil this afternoon/evening was beautiful. I think the Fathers of the Council were helping us.

Cheers from "northern Mexico."

The Ochlophobist said...

In the icon you post here there are shapes - shapes on top of other shapes; shapes inside other shapes. The Masons also make such a use of shapes in their images. How dare you use an image with shapes, like the Masons?

Anonymous said...

Is that "sub rosa" language?

Mark Christian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Christian said...

A timely reminder that right teaching is a good and beautiful gift - thank you!

And Glory to God!