The following is my translation of The Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. I’ve included the original Greek text for comparison, and as the notes refer to the Greek text. The Greek text is essentially that of the third edition (2003) of the Greek Triodion published by Apostoliki Diakonia, slightly altered in several places through comparison with the 10th century manuscript Sinai gr. 734-735. The translation is intended to clarify, in English, the somewhat complicated Greek of the troparia in the Canon, so it remains as accurate as possible concerning verb tense and so on, but the clauses have generally been rearranged to read more smoothly. Attentive comparison of the English and Greek is certainly encouraged.
15 May 2021: I have added commentary notes for Ode 2. –kpe.
«Βοηθὸς καὶ σκεπαστής, ἐγένετό μοι εἰς σωτηρίαν· οὗτός μου Θεός καὶ δοξάσω αὐτόν· Θεὸς τοῦ Πατρός μου καὶ ὑψώσω αὐτόν· ἐνδόξως γὰρ δεδόξασται».
He has always been my helper and protector in my salvation. He is my God and I will glorify him, the God of my father, and I will exalt him. Gloriously is he glorified!
Πόθεν ἄρξομαι θρηνεῖν, τὰς τοῦ ἀθλίου μου βίου πράξεις; ποίαν ἀπαρχήν ἐπιθήσω Χριστέ, τῇ νῦν θρηνῳδίᾳ; ἀλλ’ ὡς εὔσπλαγχνός μοι δός, παραπτωμάτων ἄφεσιν.
Where shall I begin to lament the actions of my wretched life? What firstfruit shall I now offer, O Christ, in my song of lamentation? As one compassionate, grant to me the forgiveness of all my faults.
“What firstfruit shall I now offer” alludes to the divine command that all firstfruits actually belong to God (Ex 22.29, 23.19, etc.). The speaker is saying he doesn’t know where to begin, as so many of his actions have been faulty. I have tried consistently to render πράξις and its forms with “action” and its related forms throughout the translation. By this time in ascetic and theological literature, the term was being used in a technical manner rather than as a simple description of “deeds,” or things done. In such a context, it connotes activity with the involvement of acting agent’s will.
Δεῦρο τάλαινα ψυχή, σὺν τῇ σαρκί σου τῷ πάντων Κτίστῃ, ἐξομολογοῦ· καὶ ἀπόσχου λοιπόν, τῆς πρὶν ἀλογίας, καὶ προσάγαγε Θεῷ, ἐν μετανοίᾳ δάκρυα.
Come, O wretched soul, with your flesh, to the Creator of all. Confess to him, and set aside the rest of your former foolishness, and offer to God your tears in repentance.
“Flesh” σάρξ first appears in biblical narrative in Gen 2.21 ff., in the account of the creation of Eve.
Τὸν πρωτόπλαστον Ἀδάμ, τῇ παραβάσει παραζηλώσας, ἔγνων ἐμαυτόν, γυμνωθέντα Θεοῦ, καὶ τῆς ἀϊδίου, Βασιλείας καὶ τρυφῆς, διὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας μου.
Rivalling the first-formed father Adam in rebellion, I know I have stripped myself naked of God and of the eternal Kingdom of delight, through my sins.
The reference here is to Gen 3. After Eve and Adam had eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, they realized they were naked, and hid themselves from God walking in the Garden in the evening breeze.
Οἴμοι τάλαινα ψυχή! τί ὡμοιώθης τῇ πρώτῃ Εὔᾳ; εἶδες γὰρ κακῶς, καὶ ἐτρώθης πικρῶς, καὶ ἥψω τοῦ ξύλου, καὶ ἐγεύσω προπετῶς, τῆς παραλόγου βρώσεως.
Alas, O wretched soul! How could you be like our first mother Eve? You wickedly looked and were bitterly wounded. You touched the tree, and selfishly tasted the unlawful food.
Again, this alludes to Gen 3.
Ἀντὶ Εὔας αἰσθητῆς, ἡ νοητή μοι κατέστη Εὔα, ὁ ἐν τῇ σαρκί, ἐμπαθὴς λογισμός, δεικνὺς τὰ ἡδέα, καὶ γευόμενος ἀεί, τῆς πικρᾶς καταπόσεως.
In place of a perceptible Eve, she became for me a mental Eve, showing me passionate images and pleasures in my flesh, and always tasting the bitter, swallowed bite.
Again, this is from Gen 3, in which Eve, though telling the crafty snake that God had told them to not even “touch” the tree, considers the snake’s words, looks at the Tree, finds it appealing, and then takes a fruit. Her finding it appealing is played upon here, as an image of internal desires. This alteration of view from “perceptible” or “sensible,” αἰσθητής, that is, observable by the senses, to “mental” νοητός (a by-form of νόος or νοῦς, “mind”) describes the sort of allegorical interpretation that appears throughout the Great Canon, exemplifying the primary mode of positive engagement with with Old Testament texts at the time, a centuries-long approach originating before the first century, as it is found in the writings of the New Testament and the works of Philo of Alexandria.
Ἐπαξίως τῆς Ἐδέμ, προεξεῤῥίφη ὡς μὴ φυλάξας, μίαν σου Σωτήρ, ἐντολὴν ὁ Ἀδάμ, ἐγὼ δὲ τί πάθω, ἀθετῶν διαπαντός, τὰ ζωηρά σου λόγια;
O Saviour, Adam was worthily cast out of Eden for not having obeyed your sole commandment. So what will I suffer, endlessly rejecting your living words?
Again, an allusion to Gen 3. Adam was given one law, broke it, and was exiled. The speaker had received many more, those of both the Old and New Testaments, and had broken many, so he fears some greater punishment than mere exile.
Τὴν τοῦ Κάϊν ὑπελθών, μιαιφονίαν τῇ προαιρέσει, γέγονα φονεύς, συνειδότι ψυχῆς, ζωώσας τὴν σάρκα, καὶ στρατεύσας κατ’ αὐτῆς, ταῖς πονηραῖς μου πράξεσι.
Taking up the murderous conduct of Cain, I became the murderer of my soul’s conscience, having enlivened my flesh, and having made war on it with my evil actions.
The allusion is to Gen 4, in which Cain kills Abel. The speaker has killed the conscience of his mind (Abel) with the evil actions of his flesh (Cain).
Τῇ τοῦ Ἄβελ Ἰησοῦ, οὐχ ὡμοιώθην δικαιοσύνῃ· δῶρά σοι δεκτά, οὐ προσῆξα ποτέ, οὐ πράξεις ἐνθέους, οὐ θυσίαν καθαράν, οὐ βίον ἀνεπίληπτον.
O Jesus, I have not emulated the righteousness of Abel in offering to you what is acceptable: not godly deeds, nor a pure sacrifice, nor an unblemished life.
In Gen 4, Abel offers the firstborn of his flock to God, which was proper.
Ὡς ὁ Κάϊν καὶ ἡμεῖς, ψυχὴ ἀθλία τῷ πάντων Κτίστῃ, πράξεις ῥυπαράς, καὶ θυσίαν ψεκτήν, καὶ ἄχρηστον βίον, προσηγάγομεν ὁμοῦ· διὸ καὶ κατεκρίθημεν.
O wretched soul, like Cain, we, too, offer up together, to the Creator of all, defiled actions, unacceptable sacrifice, and a worthless life, for which we, too, are condemned.
In Gen 4, Cain offers some of the produce that he has grown, but it does not say he offered the firstfruits ἀπαρχαί, which were the proper sacrifice. Then he killed his brother. Cain did nothing good.
Τὸν πηλὸν ὁ κεραμεύς, ζωοπλαστήσας ἐνέθηκάς μοι, σάρκα καὶ ὀστᾶ, καὶ πνοὴν καὶ ζωήν. Ἀλλ’ ὦ Ποιητά μου, Λυτρωτά μου καὶ Κριτὰ, μετανοοῦντα δέξαι με.
As a potter does the clay, you have formed me a living being, giving to me flesh, and bones, and breath, and life. Now, then, O my Maker, my Deliverer, and Judge, accept me, one who is repenting.
The allusion is to Gen 2.7, in which Adam (meaing, in Hebrew, “Man” in a general sense, or “Human”, generally translated in the Septuagint, when not in reference to the person Adam, with ἄνθρωπος) is made from soil χοῦς and given the “breath of life” πνοὴν ζωῆς by God. The “flesh and bones” comes from the account of Eve’s creation, in Gen 2.21-23.
Ἐξαγγέλλω σοι Σωτήρ, τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἃς εἰργασάμην, καὶ τὰς τῆς ψυχῆς, καὶ τοῦ σώματός μου πληγάς, ἃς μοι ἔνδον, μιαιφόνοι λογισμοί, λῃστρικῶς ἐναπέθηκαν.
O Saviour, I profess to you the sins which I have committed, and the wounds of my soul and body which, brigand-like, murderous thoughts inflicted upon me internally
This is an allusion to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.30-36, in which the traveller is beaten nearly to death by brigands.
Εἰ καὶ ἥμαρτον Σωτήρ, ἀλλ’ οἶδα ὅτι φιλάνθρωπος εἶ· πλήττεις συμπαθῶς, καὶ σπλαγχνίζῃ θερμῶς, δακρύοντα βλέπεις, καὶ προστρέχεις ὡς Πατήρ, ἀνακαλῶν τόν Ἄσωτον.
Even though I have sinned, O Saviour, I know that you are one who loves humankind. Sympathetically, you draw near in fervent compassion when you see my weeping, and you run out like the father calling back the Prodigal Son.
This is an allusion, obviously, to the parable of the Prodigal Son, in Lk 15.11-32, referring specifically to verse 20, in which the father sees the son at a distance and runs out to him to embrace him, crying in joy that his boy was home again.
Ἐῤῥιμμένον με Σωτήρ, πρὸ τῶν πυλῶν σου κἂν ἐν τῷ γήρει, μή με ἀποῤῥίψῃς, εἰς ᾍδου κενόν, ἀλλὰ πρὸ τοῦ τέλους, ὡς φιλάνθρωπός μοι δός, παραπτωμάτων ἄφεσιν.
O Saviour, being an outcast before your gates even in my old age, do not simply cast me into Hades. Rather, as one who loves humankind, grant to me, before my end, the forgiveness of my faults.
This seems to be a blended allusion drawing on elements of two parables, that of the inappropriately dressed dinner guest in Mt 22.2-13, and of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Lk 16.19-31. Lazarus waited at the gate of the Rich Man, and the dinner guest was cast out into darkness. Blending such elements is by no means rare or exceptional. It was the primary method used by early Christian writers in constructing a number of concepts which came to be generally accepted, having taken various elements in the texts as divine hints, of a sort, of moral, theological, eschatological, etc., realities.
Ὁ λῃσταῖς περιπεσών, ἐγὼ ὑπάρχω τοῖς λογισμοῖς μου· ὅλως ὑπ’ αὐτῶν τετραυμάτισμαι νῦν· ἐπλήσθην μωλώπων. Ἀλλ’ αὐτός μοι ἐπιστάς, Χριστὲ Σωτὴρ ἰάτρευσον.
In my thoughts, I am one who has fallen to thieves. I am now thoroughly wounded by them, full of bruises. Yet you came near to me, O Christ Saviour. Heal me.
This is another allusion to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.30-36. The meaning “came near” for ἐπιστάς is probably the intended meaning, though equally possible is “stood by,” as though a nurse watching over a patient. As the Samaritan doesn’t actually do this in the parable, I opted for “came near,” as the Samaritan was the only one to approach the badly beaten traveller.
Ἱερεύς με προϊδών, ἀντιπαρῆλθε, καὶ ὁ Λευΐτης, βλέπων ἐν δεινοῖς, ὑπερεῖδε γυμνόν. Ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐκ Μαρίας, ἀνατείλας Ἰησοῦς, σὺ ἐπιστάς με οἴκτειρον.
The priest, seeing me first, passed me by. Then came the Levite, seeing me in trouble, but despised my nakedness. Yet you, O Jesus, the one sprung up from Mary, you came near to me. Have compassion on me.
This is another allusion to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.30-36. The verb ἀνατείλας (an active aorist participle) is rich in meaning, meaning “rise” as in sunrise, moonrise, or the rising of any astronomical body, but also “to give birth.” (The former meaning being also connoted in the toponym Anatolia, “land of the rising sun,” i.e., the Eastern Land.) As the participle is active, the meaning is not “the one giving birth from Mary,” but rather “the one having risen like the sun from Mary.” Thus, my translation “sprung up” splits the difference, as the context simply intends to note the origin of Jesus from Mary, not to elaborate upon it.
Ὁ Ἀμνὸς ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ αἴρων πάντων τὰς ἁμαρτίας, ἆρον τὸν κλοιὸν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν βαρύν, τὸν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ ὡς εὔσπλαγχνός μοι δός, παραπτωμάτων ἄφεσιν.
O Lamb of God who takes away the sins of all, lift from me the heavy yoke, the one that is my sins, and grant to me, as one compassionate, the forgiveness of my faults.
The first clause is obviously a reference to John the Baptizer’s acclamation of Jesus in Jn 1.29, “See the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” The phrase “heavy yoke” appears several times in the description of Solomon’s labor conscription of Israelites found in 1Ki (3Kgdms) 12, in the episode of the majority of the kingdom being transferred to Jeroboam. The majority of this troparion is repeated in several following troparia.
Μετανοίας ὁ καιρός, προσέρχομαί σοι τῷ Πλαστουργῷ μου· Ἆρον τὸν κλοιὸν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν βαρύν, τὸν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ ὡς εὔσπλαγχνός μοι δός, παραπτωμάτων ἄφεσιν.
It is the moment for repentance. I come before you, to my Shaper. Lift from me the heavy yoke, the one that is my sins, and grant to me, as one compassionate, the forgiveness of my faults.
The phrase “moment for repentance” appears to be a paraphrase of Mk 1.15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” “Shaper” here is the interesting Πλαστουργός, “Fashioner,” or “Modeller,” literally “Form-maker,” calling back to Gen 2.7 and the creation of Adam, where the first stem is found in the verb ἔπλασεν, “he molded” or “he formed.”
Μὴ βδελύξῃ με Σωτήρ, μὴ ἀποῤῥίψῃς τοῦ σοῦ προσώπου, ἆρον τὸν κλοιόν, ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν βαρύν, τὸν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ ὡς εὔσπλαγχνός μοι δός, παραπτωμάτων ἄφεσιν.
O Saviour, do not despise me; do not turn your face away. Lift from me the heavy yoke, the one that is my sins, and grant to me, as one compassionate, the forgiveness of my faults.
The precise phrase μὴ βδελύξῃ appears only in Sirach 11.2, though Prov 28.9 may be in mind here (“One who turns his ear away not to listen to the law has also made his prayer detestable.”). “Do not turn your face away” appears in Ps 50.13 in an almost identical form: μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς με ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου σου “Do not turn me away from your face.”
Τὰ ἑκούσια Σωτήρ, καὶ τὰ ἀκούσια πταίσματά μου, καὶ τὰ φανερά, καὶ κρυπτὰ καὶ γνωστά, καὶ ἄγνωστα πάντα, συγχωρήσας ὡς Θεός, ἱλάσθητι, καὶ σῶσόν με.
O Saviour, forgive my faults, both voluntary and involuntary, both visible and hidden, both the known and all the unknown, having forgiven as God, and save me.
None of the combinations of antonyms here (voluntary-involuntary, etc) are found in the biblical texts in reference to faults, sins, etc., though “visible” and “hidden” along with “known” do appear in a fairly similar context in Mk 4.22 and Lk 8.17; cf. the Luke version: οὐ γάρ ἐστιν κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ φανερὸν γενήσεται οὐδὲ ἀπόκρυφον ὃ οὐ μὴ γνωσθῇ καὶ εἰς φανερὸν ἔλθῃ. “For there is nothing hidden which will not become visible, nor any hidden thing which will not be known and come to visibility.”
Ἐκ νεότητος Σωτὴρ, τὰς ἐντολάς σου ἐπαρωσάμην, ὅλον ἐμπαθῶς, ἀμελῶν ῥαθυμῶν, παρῆλθον τὸν βίον· διὸ κράζω σοι Σωτήρ· κἂν ἐν τῷ τέλει, σῶσόν με.
O Saviour, from my youth, I have rejected your commandments, being wholly impassioned, neglectful, and lazy, wasting my life. So, I cry to you, O Saviour, even if only at its end: save me.
This may be a contrastive allusion to Ps 70.17: ἐδίδαξάς με, ὁ θεός, ἐκ νεότητός μου, καὶ μέχρι νῦν ἀπαγγελῶ τὰ θαυμάσιά σου. “You have taught me, O God, from my youth, and up until now I proclaim your wonders.” The “it” of “its end” is implied, referring to “my life.”
Τὴν οὐσίαν τῆς ψυχῆς, καταναλώσας ταῖς ἁσωτίας, ἔρημός εἰμι, ἀρετῶν εὐσεβῶν· λιμώττων δὲ κράζω· Ὁ Πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν, προφθάσας σύ με οἴκτειρον.
Having wasted the substance of my soul in prodigalities, I am empty of all pious virtues. So, starving, I cry out: O Father of compassions, yourself, come quickly: have compassion on me.
This is another reference to the parable of the Prodigal Son, not only through the use of a form of the standard adjective applied to the son in Patristic texts: ἁσωτίας “prodigalities”, with the “Prodigal” as in “Prodigal Son” being Ἄσωτος, as he is described in Lk 15.13 as having lived ἀσώτως “dissolutely.” (Prodigal” does not mean “returning,” as it is commonly misconstrued, but rather “wasteful.”)
Σοὶ προσπίπτω Ἰησοῦ· Ἡμάρτηκά σοι ἱλάσθητί μοι, ἆρον τὸν κλοιόν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ τὸν βαρύν, τὸν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ ὡς εὔσπλαγχνος μοι δός, δάκρυα κατανύξεως.
O Jesus, I prostrate myself before you. I have sinned against you, forgive me. Lift from me this heavy yoke, the one that is my sins, and grant to me, as one compassionate, tears of compunction.
The “prostrate myself before” προσπίπτω, literally “fall before,” was originally synonymous with προσκῠνέω “prostrate oneself,” but the latter gradually came to take on the more general meaning of “worship” rather than an act of obeisance once made to rulers and gods. It is an act in which a person lays flat on their front with arms stretched before them, though with one knee still bent up to facilitate rising. Numerous sculptural and painted depictions, particularly from Egypt, have been preserved showing various individuals prostrating themselves. It did not mean “kneel,” whether on one knee or two, or “bow,” as though bending at the waist, but is much more of an expression of abasement before whoever or whatever is the object of obeisance.
Μὴ εἰσέλθῃς μετ’ ἐμοῦ, ἐν κρίσει φέρων μου τὰ πρακτέα, λόγους ἐκζητῶν, καὶ εὐθύνων ὁρμάς· ἀλλ΄ ἐν οἰκτιρμοῖς σου, παρορῶν μου τὰ δεινά, σῶσόν με Παντοδύναμε.
Do not enter into judgment with me, bringing forward as evidence the things I have done, scrutinising my words, and critiquing my deeds. Rather, in your compassion, overlooking all of these things of mine, save me, O Almighty.
The first clause is an allusion to and/or reuse of Ps 142.2: καὶ μὴ εἰσέλθῃς εἰς κρίσιν μετὰ τοῦ δούλου σου, ὅτι οὐ δικαιωθήσεται ἐνώπιόν σου πᾶς ζῶν. “And do not enter into judgment with your slave, no one of those living is found righteous in your presence.”
«Πρόσεχε, Οὐρανὲ καὶ λαλήσω, καὶ ἀνυμνήσω Χριστόν, τὸν ἐκ Παρθένου σαρκί ἐπιδημήσαντα».
Attend, O heaven, and I will speak, and praise Christ in song, who came to dwell amongst us in flesh from the Virgin.
The beginning, “Attend, O heaven, and I will speak” is the beginning of the biblical Ode 2, the song of Moses in Deut 32.
Πρόσεχε, Οὐρανέ, καὶ λαλήσω· γῆ ἐνωτίζου φωνῆς, μετανοούσης Θεῷ, καὶ ἀνυμνούσης αὐτόν.
Attend, O heaven, and I will speak. O earth, listen to the voice of one repenting to God, and singing his praise.
Πρόσχες μοι, ὁ Θεὸς ὠς οἰκτιρμων, ἱλέῳ ὄμματί σου, καὶ δέξαι μου, τὴν θερμὴν ἐξομολόγησιν.
Attend to me, O God, as one compassionate, with mercy in your eyes, and accept from me my fervent confession.
Ἡμάρτηκα, ὑπὲρ πάντας ἀνθρώπους, μόνος ἡμάρτηκά σοι· ἀλλ’ οἴκτειρον ὡς Θεός, Σωτὴρ τὸ ποίημά σου.
I have sinned more than all people; solely against you have I sinned, but, as God, have compassion, O Savior, on your creation.
Ζάλη με, τῶν κακῶν περιέχει, εὔσπλαγχνε Κύριε· ἀλλ’ ὡς τῷ Πέτρῳ κἀμοί, τὴν χεῖρα ἔκτεινον.
O merciful Lord, around me rages a storm of evils, so, as to Peter, stretch out your hand to me, too.
The allusion here is to Peter’s having jumped into the water to walk on it just as he saw Jesus walking on the water. After a few steps Peter started to sink, instead, so Jesus reaches out and grabs him (Mt 14.24-33).
Τὰ δάκρυα, τὰ τῆς Πόρνης Οἰκτίρμον, κἀγὼ προβάλλομαι· Ἱλάσθητί μοι Σωτήρ, τῇ εὐσπλαγχνίᾳ σου.
O Compassionate One, I, too, bring as an offering the tears of the Harlot. Forgive me, O Saviour, in your mercy.
The “Harlot” is an allusion to the woman in Lk 7.36-50 who, weeping, anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment and wiped them with her hair. She is identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus, in Jn 11.2.
Ἠμαύρωσα, τῆς ψυχῆς τὸ ὡραῖον, ταῖς τῶν παθῶν ἡδοναῖς, καὶ ὅλως ὅλον τὸν νοῦν, χοῦν ἀπετέλεσα.
I have sullied the beauty of my soul with the pleasures of the passions, and have turned all of my mind entirely to dust.
Διέῤῥηξα, νῦν τὴν στολὴν μου τὴν πρώτην, ἣν ἐξυφάνατό μοι, ὁ Πλαστουργὸς ἐξ ἀρχῆς, καὶ ἔνθεν κεῖμαι γυμνός.
Now I have torn to shreds my first cloak which the Creator wove for me at the beginning, after which I remain naked.
With this allusion, the troparia return to Genesis 3. This allusion may be a reference not only to the nakedness which Adam and Eve recognize after having eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, but also to an ancient Rabbinic interpretation which suggests they had been previously clothed with heavenly garments, which disappear with their sin. (It has been suggested that this interpretation is itself based in wordplay, as from about the third century BCE, if not earlier, the Hebrew words for “light” and for “skin/leather” were homophonous. Thus, when God clothes Adam and Eve in “garments of skin” (Gen 3.21), these are said to replace “garments of light.”)
Ἐνδέδυμαι, διεῤῥηγμένον χιτῶνα, ὃν ἐξυφάνατό μοι, ὁ ὄφις τῇ συμβουλῇ, καὶ καταισχύνομαι.
I clothe myself in a tattered robe, which the serpent wove for me with his advice, and I am ashamed.
The serpent is that of Gen 3.
Προσέβλεψα, τοῦ φυτοῦ τὸ ὡραῖον, καὶ ἠπατήθην τὸν νοῦν, καὶ ἔνθεν κεῖμαι γυμνός, καὶ καταισχύνομαι.
I looked upon the beauty of the tree, and my mind was deceived, after which I remain naked, and I am ashamed.
This is yet again alluding to Gen 3.
Ἐτέκταινον, ἐπὶ τὸν νῶτόν μου πάντες, οἱ ἀρχηγοὶ τῶν κακῶν, μακρύνοντες κατ’ ἐμοῦ, τὴν ἀνομίαν αὐτῶν.
All the leaders of evil things were practising their skill upon my back, prolonging upon me their lawlessness.
This is Ps 128.3, slightly altered: ἐπὶ τοῦ νώτου μου ἐτέκταινον οἱ ἁμαρτωλοί, ἐμάκρυναν τὴν ἀνομίαν αὐτῶν· NETS renders this “On my back the sinners were practicing their skill; they prolonged their lawlessness.”
Ἀπώλεσα, τὸ πρωτόκτιστον κάλλος, καὶ τὴν εὐπρέπειάν μου, καὶ ἄρτι κεῖμαι γυμνός, καὶ καταισχύνομαι.
I have lost my firstformed beauty, and my propriety, and now I remain naked, and I am ashamed.
Further allusion to Gen 3, perhaps strengthening the suggestion that an interpretation such as the Rabbinic one mentioned above was in mind here.
Κατέῤῥαψε, τοὺς δερματίνους χιτῶνας, ἡ ἁμαρτία κἀμοί, γυμνώσασά με τῆς πρίν, θεοϋφάντου στολῆς.
Sin also sewed for me garments of skin, having stripped me of my former God-woven cloak.
This is again an allusion to Gen 3, as noted above.
Περίκειμαι, τὸν στολισμὸν τῆς αἰσχύνης, καθάπερ φύλλα συκῆς, εἰς ἔλεγχον τῶν ἐμῶν, αὐτεξουσίων παθῶν.
To my disgrace, I am wrapped in a cloak of shame, as though of fig leaves, through my self-willed passions.
This is another allusion to Gen 3.
Ἐστόλισμαι, κατεστιγμένον χιτῶνα, καὶ ᾑμαγμένον αἰσχρῶς, τῇ ῥύσει τῆς ἐμπαθοῦς, καὶ φιληδόνου ζωῆς.
I am shamefully clothed in a defiled and blood-stained robe, for heeding my impassioned and sensual life.
Ἐσπίλωσα, τὸν τῆς σαρκός μου χιτῶνα, καὶ κατεῤῥύπωσα, τὸ κατ’ εἰκόνα Σωτήρ, καὶ καθ’ ὁμοίωσιν.
O Saviour, I have stained the robe of my flesh, and defiled that according to your image and according to your likeness.
The “image…likeness” is a reference to the creation of humanity in Gen 1.26.
Ὑπέπεσα, τῇ τῶν παθῶν ἀχθηδόνι, καὶ τῇ ἐνύλῳ φθορᾷ· καὶ ἔνθεν νῦν ὁ ἐχθρός, καταπιέζει με.
I have fallen under the burden of my passions and material desire, after which, the Enemy now oppresses me.
Φιλόϋλον, καὶ φιλοκτήμονα βίον, τῆς ἀκτησίας Σωτήρ, προκρίνας νῦν τὸν βαρύν, κλοιὸν περίκειμαι.
O Saviour, I have preferred a material-loving and possession-loving life to non-acquisition, so now I lie under a heavy yoke.
Ἐκόσμησα, τὸν τῆς σαρκὸς ἀνδριάντα, τῇ τῶν αἰσχρῶν λογισμῶν, ποικίλῃ περιβολῇ, καὶ κατακρίνομαι.
I have adorned the idol of my flesh in shameful thoughts, like a many-colored garment, so I am condemned.
The “many-colored garment” is likely a reference to the embroidered robe given by Jacob to Joseph (Gen 37.3), though the same term ποικίλη “many-colored” is also used in reference to the planning and fabrication of the Tabernacle’s parts and priestly garments in Ex 25-28 and 35-37.
Τῆς ἔξωθεν, ἐπιμελῶς εὐκοσμίας, μόνης ἐφρόντισα, τῆς ἔνδον ὑπεριδών, θεοτυπώτου σκηνῆς.
I have been carefully concerned with only external good conduct, overlooking the internal, God-fashioned tabernacle.
“Tabernacle” is just an old English word for a fancy tent, used solely now in religious contexts. With the previous troparion’s reference to “many-colored,” I thought to use that term here to maintain the potential allusion.
Μορφώσας μου, τὴν τῶν παθῶν ἀμορφίαν, ταῖς φιληδόνοις ὁρμαῖς, ἐλυμῃνάμην τοῦ νοῦ, τὴν ὡραιότητα.
Forming an ugliness of passions in my sensual desires, I have disfigured my mind, the most beautiful part.
Κατέχρωσα, τῆς πρὶν εἰκόνος τὸ κάλλος, Σῶτερ τοῖς πάθεσιν· ἀλλ’ ὡς ποτὲ τὴν δραχμήν, ἀναζητήσας εὑρέ.
O Saviour, I discolored the beauty of my former image by my passions. Even so, as once with the drachma: having sought again, find me.
The reference to the drachma is an allusion to Jesus’ parable (Lk 11.8-10) of a woman who rejoices over finding one misplaced drachma reflecting the joy in heaven for a single soul’s repentance.
Ἡμάρτηκα, ὥσπερ ἡ Πόρνη βοῶ σοι, μόνος ἡμάρτηκά σοι· ὡς μύρον δέχου Σωτήρ κἀμοῦ τὰ δάκρυα.
I have sinned. Just like the Harlot, I cry out to you, I have sinned only against you. O Saviour, accept as myrrh my tears, too.
The “Harlot” is an allusion to the woman in Lk 7.36-50 who, weeping, anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment and wiped them with her hair. She is identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus, in Jn 11.2.
Ὠλίσθησα, ὡς ὁ Δαυΐδ ἀκολάστως, καὶ βεβορβόρωμαι· ἀλλ’ ἀποπλύναις κἀμέ, Σωτὴρ τοῖς δάκρυσί.
O Saviour, I have fallen, like David, lustfully, and am defiled, but wash me clean, too, in my tears.
The reference to David is to his adulterous (and murderous) affair with Bathsheba depicted in 2 Sam 11.
Ἱλάσθητι, ὡς ὁ Τελώνης βοῶ σοι, Σῶτερ ἱλάσθητί μοι· οὐδεὶς γὰρ τῶν ἐξ Ἀδάμ, ὡς ἐγὼ ἥμαρτέ σοι.
O Saviour, forgive me. Like the Publican I cry to you, forgive me, for no other child of Adam has sinned against you as I have done.
The “Publican” is a reference to Jesus’ parable in Lk 18.10-14.
Οὐ δάκρυα, οὐδὲ μετάνοιαν ἔχω, οὐδὲ κατάνυξιν· αὐτός μοι ταῦτα Σωτήρ, ὡς Θεὸς δώρησαι.
I have neither tears, nor repentance, nor compunction. O Saviour, grant me these yourself, as God.
Τὴν θύραν σου, μὴ ἀποκλείσῃς μοι τότε, Κύριε, Κύριε· ἀλλ’ ἄνοιξόν μοι αὐτὴν, μετανοοῦντί σοι.
O my Lord, O my Lord, do not close your gate to me then, but open it to me, when I repent to you.
The closed gate is likely an allusion to Lk 13.24-28, a parable of Jesus.
Φιλάνθρωπε, ὁ πάντας θέλων σωθῆναι, σὺ ἀνακάλεσαί με, καὶ δέξαι ὡς ἀγαθός, μετανοοῦντά με.
O you who love humanity, who would that all be saved, call me back, yourself, and accept, as the Good One, me, one who is repenting.
The “who would that all be saved” is an allusion to 1Tim 2.4.
Ἐνώτισαι, τοὺς στεναγμοὺς τῆς ψυχῆς μου, καὶ τῶν ἐμῶν ὀφθαλμῶν, προσδέχου τοὺς σταλαγμούς· Σωτὴρ καὶ σῶσόν με.
O Saviour, listen to the groans of my soul, and accept the falling tears of my eyes, and save me.
A different heirmos
«Ἴδετε ἴδετε, ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι Θεός, ὁ μάννα ἑπομβρήσας, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ ἐκ πέτρας, πηγάσας πάλαι ἐν ἐρήμῳ τῷ λαῷ μου, τῇ μόνῃ δεξιᾷ, καὶ τῇ ἰσχύϊ τῇ ἐμῇ».
See, see, that I am God, the one raining manna, and making water spring from the rock anciently in the desert for my people, by my right hand alone, and by my strength.
The beginning “See, see, that I am” is part of biblical Ode 2, found in Deut 32.39.
The story of the manna is related in Ex 16, and the water from the rock in Ex 17.
Ἴδετε ἴδετε, ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι Θεός· ἐνωτίζου ψυχή μου, τοῦ Κυρίου βοῶντος· καὶ ἀποσπάσθητι τῆς πρώτης ἁμαρτίας, καὶ φοβοῦ ὡς δικαστήν, καὶ ὡς κριτὴν καὶ Θεόν.
See, see, that I am God! O my soul, listen when the Lord cries out, and forsake your former sins, and fear him as Justice, and as Judge and God.
Τίνι ὡμοιώθης, πολυαμάρτητε ψυχή; εἰ μὴ πρώτῳ Κάϊν, καὶ τῷ Λάμεχ ἐκείνῳ, λιθοκτονήσασα τὸ σῶμα κακουργίαις, καὶ κτείνασα τὸν νοῦν, ταῖς παραλόγοις ὁρμαῖς.
O most many-sinning soul, whom do you resemble, if not that ancient Cain, and that other one, Lamech? For you have stoned your body with evil deeds, and have killed your mind with your irrational desires.
Cain is described in Gen 4, along with his descendants, amongst whom is Lamech (4.19-24). The two are paired here not only for being murderers, but also for the occasional, though ancient, suggestion that the person Lamech killed was actually Cain.
Πάντας τοὺς πρὸ νόμου, παραδραμοῦσα ὦ ψυχή, τῷ Σὴθ οὐχ ὡμοιώθης, οὐ τὸν Ἐνὼς ἐμιμήσω, οὐ τὸν Ἐνὼχ τῇ μεταθέσει, οὐ τὸν Νῶε· ἀλλ’ ὤφθης πενιχρά, τῆς τῶν δικαίων ζωῆς.
All those from before the Law have outrun you, O soul. You do not resemble Seth, nor do you emulate Enosh, nor Enoch who was translated, nor Noah, but you are seen as bereft of the life of the righteous.
The phrase “those from before the Law” means all those biblical characters which are described before the giving of the Law through Moses at Mount Sinai beginning in Exodus 20. Seth is a son of Adam and Eve (Gen 4.25). Enosh is a son of Seth (Gen 4.26). Enoch is a descendant of Seth (Gen 5.18-24), and the epithet “who was translated” is a reference to the entirely enigmatic verse Gen 5.24: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (KJB). Noah is, of course, the main character of the Flood narrative in Gen 6-9.
Μόνη ἐξήνοιξας, τοὺς καταῤῥάκτας τῆς ὀργῆς, τοῦ Θεοῦ σου ψυχή μου, καὶ κατέκλυσας πᾶσαν, ὡς γῆν τὴν σάρκα, καὶ τὰς πράξεις, καὶ τὸν βίον· καὶ ἔμεινας ἐκτός, τῆς σωστικῆς Κιβωτοῦ.
O my soul, you, alone, have opened up the floodgates of the wrath of your God, and have flooded, like the world, all your flesh, actions, and life, and you remain outside of the safety of the Ark.
The refernce is to the Ark (“Box”) that Noah built in Gen 6-7. Only the people in the Ark survived the flood.
Ἄνδρα ἀπέκτεινα, φησίν, εἰς μώλωπα ἐμοί, καὶ νεανίσκον εἰς τραῦμα, Λάμεχ θρηνῶν ἐβόα· σὺ δὲ οὐ τρέμεις ὦ ψυχή μου, ῥυπωθεῖσα, τὴν σάρκα καὶ τὸν νοῦν, κατασπιλώσασα.
Lamech, lamenting, cried out, saying, I have killed a man, to my own injury, and a young man to my wounding. Yet, O my soul, you, yourself, do not tremble, your flesh having become defiled, and having polluted your mind.
This is an adaptation/allusion to Gen 4.23-24, wherein Lamech laments to his wives “I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.” As mentioned above, it has been taken by some as a reference to Lamech’s murder of Cain.
Ὢ πῶς ἐζήλωσα, Λάμεχ τὸν πρῴην φονευτήν, τὴν ψυχὴν ὥσπερ ἄνδρα, τὸν νοῦν ὡς νεανίσκον, ὡς ἀδελφὸν δέ μου τὸ σῶμα ἀποκτείνας, ὡς Κάϊν ὁ φονεύς, ταῖς φιληδόνοις ὁρμαῖς!
O how I emulated Lamech the ancient murderer, killing, with my sensual desires, my soul, as a man, my mind as a young man, and my body as though a brother, like Cain the murderer.
See above and Gen 4.23-24.
Πύργον ἐσοφίσω, οἰκοδομῆσαι ὦ ψυχή, καὶ ὀχύρωμα πῆξαι, ταῖς σαῖς ἐπιθυμίαις, εἰ μὴ συνέχεεν ὁ Κτίστης τὰς βουλάς σου, καὶ κατέαξεν εἰς γῆν, τὰ μηχανήματά σου.
O soul, you plotted to build a tower, and to fortify a stronghold for your desires. Except the Creator has confounded your plans, and thrown to the ground your clever constructions.
This is an allusion to the building and fate of the Tower of Babel, described in Gen 11.1-9.
Τέτρωμαι πέπληγμαι· ἰδοὺ τὰ βέλη τοῦ ἐχθροῦ, τὰ καταστίξαντά μου, τὴν ψυχὴν καὶ τὸ σῶμα, ἰδοὺ τὰ τραύματα τὰ ἕλκη αἱ πηρώσεις, βοῶ σοι αἱ πληγαί, τῶν αὐθαιρέτων μου παθῶν.
I am bruised. I am wounded. I cry out to you! Behold the Enemy’s arrows which pierce me through in both soul and body. Behold my wounds, injuries, and maimings, the blows of my self-willed passions.
Ἕβρεξε Κύριος, παρὰ Κυρίου πῦρ ποτέ, ἀνομίαν ὀργῶσαν, πυρπολήσας Σοδόμων· σὺ δὲ τὸ πῦρ ἐξέκαυσας τὸ τῆς γεέννης, ἐν ᾧ μέλλεις ψυχή, συγκατακαίεσθαι πικρῶς.
The Lord once rained fire from the Lord, burning the inhabitants of Sodom, who were rampant in lawlessness. Yet you, yourself, O soul, kindled the fire of Gehenna, in which you will be altogether burned painfully.
The reference here is to the story of the destruction of Sodom in Gen 19. “Gehenna” is typically translated “hell” in English versions of the New Testament. The name itself refers to a valley that curves around the western and southern side of Jerusalem, the Valley of (the sons of) Hinnom, where there are numerous ancient tombs still visible. The connection with fire is secondary. A suggestion first made a few centuries ago that there were garbage fires perpetually burning in the Valley of Hinnom is a mere fantasy. With the winds generally coming from the west, and Herod’s palace and numerous mansions of the wealthy just inside the western wall of Jerusalem, any trash fires would not have been permitted.
Γνῶτε καὶ ἴδετε, ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι Θεός, ὁ ἐρευνῶν καρδίας, καὶ κολάζων ἐννοίας, ἐλέγχων πράξεις καὶ, φλογίζων ἁμαρτίας, καὶ κρίνων ὀρφανόν, καὶ ταπεινὸν καὶ πτωχόν.
Know and see that I am God, the one searching all hearts, and punishing intentions, admonishing actions, burning away sins, and preferring the orphan, the weak, and the poor.
The pairing “know and see” appears several times in 1 Sam (12.17; 14.38; 23.23), 1 Kings/3 Kingdoms (21.7), 2 Kings/4 Kingdoms (5.7), and Jeremiah (5.1). The phrase “Know that I am God” is found in Psalm 45.11, just as the “See, see, that I am God” is the beginning of biblical Ode 2, found in Deut 32.39. The final clause of the excerpt from both Ps 45.11 and Deut 32.39, “…that I am God,” is identical.
«Ἐπὶ τὴν ἀσάλευτον Χριστέ, πέτραν τῶν ἐντολῶν σου, τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν σου στερέωσον.»
O Christ, upon the unshakeable rock of your commandments, firmly establish your Church.
Πῦρ παρὰ Κυρίου, ψυχή Κύριος ἐπιβρέξας, τὴν γῆν Σοδόμων πρὶν κατέφλεξεν.
O soul, the Lord rained down fire from the Lord on the land of those of Sodom, burning it of old.
Εἰς τὸ ὄρος σῴζου, ψυχή ὥσπερ ὁ Λὼτ ἐκεῖνος, καὶ εἰς Σηγὼρ προανασώθητι.
O soul, escape to the mountain, as did Lot, and in Zoar you will be saved again.
Φεῦγε ἐμπρησμὸν, ὦ ψυχή, φεῦγε Σοδόμων καῦσιν, φεῦγε φθορὰν θείας φλογώσεως.
O soul, flee the conflagration, flee the burning of those of Sodom, flee the destruction by Divine flame.
Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι Σῶτερ· Ἥμαρτόν ἥμαρτόν σοι· ἀλλ’ ἄνες ἄφες μοι, ὡς εὔσπλαγχνος.
O Saviour, I confess to you. I have sinned. I have sinned against you. Even so, forgive. Forgive me, as one compassionate.
Ἥμαρτόν σοι μόνος ἐγώ· ἥμαρτον ὑπὲρ πάντας, Χριστὲ Σῶτερ μὴ ὑπερίδῃς με.
O Christ Saviour, I have sinned only against you. I have sinned more than all. Do not reject me.
Σὺ εἶ ὁ Ποιμὴν ὁ καλός· ζήτησόν με τὸν ἄρνα, καὶ πλανηθέντα μὴ παρίδῃς με.
You are the good Shepherd. Search for me, the wandering lamb, and do not desert me.
Σὺ εἶ ὁ γλυκὺς Ἰησοῦς, σὺ εἶ ὁ πλαστουργός μου· ἐν σοὶ Σῶτερ δικαιωθήσομαι.
O Jesus, you are the sweet one. You are the one who formed me. In you, O Saviour, I am made righteous.
A different heirmos
«Στερέωσον Κύριε, ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν τῶν ἐντολῶν σου, σαλευθεῖσαν τὴν καρδίαν μου· ὅτι μόνος, Ἅγιος ὑπάρχεις καὶ Κύριος».
O Lord, firmly establish my unstable heart upon the rock of your commandments. For you alone are Holy and Lord.
Πηγὴν ζωῆς κέκτημαι, σὲ τοῦ θανάτου τὸν καθαιρέτην, καὶ βοῶ σοι ἐκ καρδίας μου, πρὸ τοῦ τέλους· Ἥμαρτον ἱλάσθητι σῶσόν με.
I have acquired the fountain of life, you who are the destroyer of death, and I cry out from my heart, before my end: I have sinned, forgive and save me.
Τοὺς ἐπὶ Νῶε Σωτήρ, ἠσελγηκότας ἐμιμησάμην, τὴν ἐκείνων κληρωσάμενος, καταδίκην, ἐν κατακλυσμῷ καταδύσεως.
O Saviour, I emulated the lusting of those around Noah, receiving, like them, the condemnation to destruction by flood.
Ἡμάρτηκα Κύριε, ἡμάρτηκά σοι, ἱλάσθητί μοι· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ὃς τις ἥμαρτεν, ἐν ἀνθρώποις, ὃν οὐχ ὑπερέβην τοῖς πταίσμασι.
O Lord, I have sinned. I have sinned against you, forgive me. For there is no one who has sinned amongst people whom I have not surpassed in my offences.
Τὸν Χὰμ ἐκεῖνον ψυχή, τὸν πατραλοίαν μιμησαμένη, τὴν αἰσχύνην οὐκ ἐκάλυψας, τοῦ πλησίον, ὀπισθοφανῶς ἀνακάμψασα.
O soul, you have emulated Ham, the father-mocker, not covering up the shame of someone else, walking backwards with your face turned away.
Τὴν εὐλογίαν τοῦ Σήμ, οὐκ ἐκληρώσω ψυχὴ ἀθλία· οὐ πλατεῖαν τὴν κατάσχεσιν, ὡς Ἰάφεθ, ἔσχες ἐν τῇ γῇ τῆς ἀφέσεως.
O soul, you have not inherited the blessing of Shem, nor have you taken possession of a spacious land, like Japheth, in the land of forgiveness.
Ἐκ γῆς Χαῤῥὰν ἔξελθε, τῆς ἁμαρτίας ψυχή μου δεῦρο, εἰς γῆν ῥέουσαν ἀείζωον, ἀφθαρσίαν, ἣν ὁ Ἀβραὰμ ἐκληρώσατο.
O my soul, emigrate from Harran, the land of sins. Come to the land flowing with endless life, incorruption, which Abraham inherited.
Τὸν Ἀβραὰμ ἤκουσας, πάλαι ψυχή μου καταλιπόντα, γῆν πατρῴαν, καὶ γενόμενον, μετανάστην, τούτου τὴν προαίρεσιν μίμησαι.
O soul, you heard of Abraham, long ago leaving behind his ancestral land and becoming a wanderer. Emulate his choices.
Ἐν τῇ δρυῒ τῇ Μαμβρῇ, φιλοξενήσας ὁ Πατριάρχης, τοὺς Ἀγγέλους ἐκληρώσατο, μετὰ γῆρας, τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τὸ θήραμα.
At the oak of Mamre, the Patriarch, having provided hospitality to the angels, inherited the fulfillment of the promise in his old age.
Τὸν Ἰσαὰκ τάλαινα, γνοῦσα ψυχή μου καινὴν θυσίαν, μυστικῶς ὁλοκαρπούμενον, τῷ Κυρίῳ, μίμησαι αὐτοῦ τὴν προαίρεσιν.
O my wretched soul, knowing about Isaac, a new sacrifice mystically offered whole to the Lord, emulate his choice.
Τὸν Ἰσμαὴλ ἤκουσας, νῆφε ψυχή μου ἐκδιωχθέντα, ὡς παιδίσκης ἀποκύημα, βλέπε μήπως, ὅμοιόν τι πάθῃς λαγνεύουσα.
Ἰσμαὴλ 735 ] Ἰσραὴλ ekk
O my soul, you heard of Ishmael. Beware of being cast out like the child of an enslaved woman. Look out, lest you suffer the same for being lustful.
Τῇ Ἄγαρ πάλαι ψυχή, τῇ Αἰγυπτίᾳ παρωμοιώθης, δουλωθεῖσα τὴν προαίρεσιν, καὶ τεκοῦσα, νέον Ἰσμαήλ, τὴν αὐθάδειαν.
O soul, you have become like Hagar the Egyptian of long ago, your will having been enslaved, and birthing a new Ishmael, your willfulness.
Τὴν Ἰακὼβ κλίμακα, ἔγνως ψυχή μου δεικνυομένην· ἀπὸ γῆς πρὸς τὰ οὐράνια· τί μὴ ἔσχες, βάσιν ἀσφαλῆ, τὴν εὐσέβειαν;
O my soul, you knew about the ladder of Jacob which was shown to him, which led from earth to the heavens. Why do you not have reverence for God, an immovable base?
Τὸν Ἱερέα Θεοῦ, καὶ βασιλέα μεμονωμένον, τοῦ Χριστοῦ τὸ ἀφομοίωμα, τοῦ ἐν κόσμῳ, βίου ἐν ἀνθρώποις μιμήθητι.
Emulate the Priest of God and solitary king, the similitude of Christ, who lived in the world amongst people.
The word μεμονωμένον which I’ve rendered “solitary” is puzzling in that what precisely it alludes to is unclear.
Μὴ γένῃ στήλη ἁλός, ψυχὴ στραφεῖσα εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω, τὸ ὑπόδειγμα φοβείτω σε, τῶν Σοδόμων· ἄνω εἰς Σηγὼρ διασώθητι.
O soul, do not be a pillar of salt, turning around to what is behind you. Fear, youself, the example of those of Sodom. Go up to Zoar to be saved.
Τὸν ἐμπρησμὸν ὥσπερ Λώτ, φεῦγε ψυχή μου τῆς ἁμαρτίας· φεῦγε Σόδομα καὶ Γόμοῤῥα· φεῦγε φλόγα, πάσης παραλόγου ὀρέξεως.
O my soul, flee, like Lot, the burning of your sins. Flee Sodom and Gomorrah. Flee the flame of every unlawful inclination.
Ἐλέησον Κύριε, ἐλέησόν με ἀναβοῶ σοι, ὅτε ἥξεις μετ’ Ἀγγέλων σου, ἀποδοῦναι, πᾶσι κατ’ ἀξίαν τῶν πράξεων.
Have mercy, O Lord. Have mercy on me, I cry out to you, when you come with your Angels to reward everyone according to their actions.
Τὴν δέησιν Δέσποτα, τῶν σὲ ὑμνούντων μὴ ἀποῤῥίψῃς· ἀλλ’ οἰκτείρησον φιλάνθρωπε, καὶ παράσχου, πίστει αἰτουμένοις τὴν ἄφεσιν.
O Master, do not reject the entreaty of those who praise you in hymns, but have compassion, O one who loves humanity, and grant forgiveness to all who ask for it in faith.
«Ἀκήκοεν ὁ Προφήτης, τὴν ἔλευσίν σου Κύριε, καὶ ἐφοβήθη, ὅτι μέλλεις ἐκ Παρθένου τίκτεσθαι, καὶ ἀνθρώποις δείκνυσθαι καὶ ἔλεγεν· Ἀκήκοα τὴν ἀκοήν σου καὶ ἐφοβήθην· δόξα τῇ δυνάμει σου Κύριε».
The Prophet had heard of your coming, O Lord, and he was afraid, for you would be born of a Virgin, and appear amongst people, so he said, I had heard your voice and was afraid. Glory to your power, O Lord!
Τὰ ἔργα σου μὴ παρίδῃς, τὸ πλάσμα σου μὴ παρόψῃ Δικαιοκρῖτα· εἰ καὶ μόνος ἥμαρτον ὡς ἄνθρωπος, ὑπὲρ πάντα ἄνθρωπον Φιλάνθρωπε, ἀλλ’ ἔχεις ὡς Κύριος πάντων τὴν ἐξουσίαν, ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτήματα.
O Righteous Judge, do not despise your creations, nor ignore one you formed. O one who loves humanity, though I have sinned as a person, more than all other people, as the Lord of all you have the authority to forgive my sins.
Ἐγγίζει ψυχὴ τὸ τέλος, ἐγγίζει καὶ οὐ φροντίζεις, οὐχ ἑτοιμάζῃ· ὁ καιρὸς συντέμνει, διανάστηθι· ἐγγὺς ἐπὶ θύραις ὁ Κριτής ἐστιν· ὡς ὄναρ ὡς ἄνθος ὁ χρόνος τοῦ βίου τρέχει· τί μάτην ταραττόμεθα;
O soul, the end approaches. It approaches yet you do not give it any thought, and are unprepared. The time is growing short: pick yourself up. The Judge is already at the gates. Like a dream, like a flower, the time of your life runs away. Why trouble ourselves in vain?
Ἀνάνηψον ὦ ψυχή μου, τὰς πράξεις σου ἃς εἰργάσω ἀναλογίζου, καὶ ταύτας ἐπ’ ὄψεσι προσάγαγε, καὶ σταγόνας στάλαξον δακρύων σου· εἰπὲ παῤῥησίᾳ τὰς πράξεις, τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις, Χριστῷ καὶ δικαιώθητι.
O my soul, wake up. Consider the actions which you have done, and lead them before your sight, and let your teardrops fall. Boldly tell your actions and your ponderings to Christ, and be saved.
Οὐ γέγονεν ἐν τῷ βίῳ, ἁμάρτημα οὐδὲ πρᾶξις, οὐδὲ κακία, ἣν ἐγὼ Σωτὴρ οὐκ ἐπλημμέλησα, κατὰ νοῦν, καὶ λόγον καὶ προαίρεσιν, καὶ θέσει καὶ γνώμῃ, καὶ πράξει ἐξαμαρτήσας, ὡς ἄλλος οὐδεὶς πώποτε.
O Saviour, there has never been, in my life, any sin, or action, or evil, by which I have not offended. Whether by mind, word, will, disposition, thought, or actions, I have sinned as no other has ever done.
Ἐντεῦθεν καὶ κατεκρίθην, ἐντεῦθεν κατεδικάσθην ἐγὼ ὁ τάλας, ὑπὸ τῆς οἰκείας συνειδήσεως, ἧς οὐδὲν ἐν κόσμῳ βιαιότερον. Κριτὰ Λυτρωτά μου καὶ γνῶστα, φεῖσαι καὶ ῥῦσαι, καὶ σῶσόν με τὸν δοῦλόν σου.
Therefore I, too, am condemned. Therefore, I, the wretch, am judged guilty by my consciousness of wrong, than which nothing in the world is more potent. O my Judge, and Redeemer, and one who knows me: spare and rescue and save me, your servant.
Ἡ κλῖμαξ ἣν εἶδε πάλαι, ὁ μέγας ἐν Πατριάρχαις, δεῖγμα ψυχή μου, πρακτικῆς ὑπάρχει ἐπιβάσεως, γνωστικῆς τυγχάνει ἀναβάσεως· εἰ θέλεις οὖν πράξει, καὶ γνώσει καὶ θεωρίᾳ, βιοῦν, ἀνακαινίσθητι.
O my soul, the ladder which the great one amongst the Patriarchs saw, long ago, is an example of the active means of approach attaining gnostic ascent. If, therefore, you would live by actions, knowledge and contemplation, you will be renewed.
Note: There is a double entendre here, related to the ladder. ἐπιβάσις is the word for both a literal, physical, rung or step, as of a ladder or stairway, and also, as above, the more figurative “means of approach.” Relatedly, ἀναβάσις, “ascent,” can be both literal and figurative means of going to a higher elevation, as a ladder is a physical “ascent,” and the more metaphorical or figurative sort of “ascent” which connotes some sort of increase in quality and/or quantity, in the case above, “gnostic,” related to knowledge. There is no questionable affiliation intended by the use of γνωστικῆς here, as in Greek it is simply the primary adjectival form for the general concept “related to knowledge.” As English does have “gnostic” but no similarly compact adjective for “related to knowledge,” I use it above with this explanation intended to prevent any misconstrual of the text (or its translator) using it as refererence to the second to third century group of beliefs travelling under the general label “Gnostic,” even though the Greek words are identical. By the time this text was written, in the late seventh or early eighth century, the various Gnostic faith groups were all long gone, and generally forgotten.
Τὸν καύσωνα τῆς ἡμέρας, ὑπέμεινε δι’ ἔνδειαν ὁ Πατριάρχης καὶ τὸν παγετὸν τῆς νυκτὸς ἤνεγκε, καθ’ ἡμέραν κλέμματα ποιούμενος, ποιμαίνων, πυκτεύων, δουλεύων, ἵνα τὰς δύω, γυναῖκας εἰσαγάγηται.
The Patriarch endured through want the heat of day, and the frost that night brought, every day procuring stolen goods, shepherding, wrestling, and serving, so that he could lead his two wives away.
Γυναῖκάς μοι δύω νόει, τὴν πρᾶξίν τε καὶ τὴν γνῶσιν ἐν θεωρίᾳ· τὴν μὲν Λείαν πρᾶξιν ὡς πολύτεκνον· τὴν Ῥαχὴλ δέ, γνῶσιν ὡς πολύπονον· καὶ γὰρ ἄνευ πόνων, οὐ πρᾶξις οὐ θεωρία, ψυχὴ κατορθωθήσεται.
The two wives mean, to me, both action and knowledge in contemplation. For Leah is action, with her many children, and Rachel is knowledge, with her many sufferings, because without suffering, no action or contemplation is ever accomplished, O soul.
Γρηγόρησον ὦ ψυχή μου, ἀρίστευσον ὡς ὁ μέγας ἐν Πατριάρχαις, ἵνα κτήσῃ πρᾶξιν μετὰ γνώσεως, ἵνα χρηματίσῃς νοῦς ὁρῶν τὸν Θεόν, καὶ φθάσῃς τὸν ἄδυτον γνόφον ἐν θεωρίᾳ, καὶ γένῃ μεγαλέμπορος.
O my soul, be vigilant. Be courageous like the great one amongst the Patriarchs, so you acquire actions with knowledge, bear the name Mind Seeing God, approach the innermost darkness in contemplation, and become someone with great wealth.
Note: “Mind Seeing God” is a play on the name “Israel,” which Jacob bears after having wrestled the Angel of God (i.e., God), the account in Genesis 32.24-30 being a pseudo-etymon in itself (one of several in the chapter) in giving the name a meaning of “prevailing (in a contest with) over God.” The true meaning is lost to time, though more or less likely suggestions have been made. Here, though, “Mind Seeing God” does reflect clearly two elements of the name Israel. The middle syllable, “ra,” has been taken to derive from the Hebrew verb “to see,” raʾāh רַאָה. The third syllable is taken, correctly, to derive from one of the Hebrew names or terms for God, in this case ʾēl אֵל.
Τοὺς δώδεκα Πατριάρχας, ὁ μέγας ἐν Πατριάρχαις παιδοποιήσας, μυστικῶς ἐστήριξέ σοι κλίμακα, πρακτικῆς ψυχὴ μου ἀναβάσεως, τοὺς παῖδας, ὡς βάθρα, τὰς βάσεις, ὡς ἀναβάσεις, πανσόφως ὑποθέμενος.
O soul, the twelve Patriarchs were fathered by the great one amongst the Patriarchs, who mystically set up for you a ladder for ascending through actions, having placed his sons underneath like steps for your ascent.
Ἡσαῦ τὸν μεμισημενον, ζηλοῦσα ψυχή ἀπέδου τῷ πτερνιστῇ σου, τὰ τοῦ πρώτου κάλλους πρωτοτόκια, καὶ τῆς πατρικῆς εὐχῆς ἐξέπεσας, καὶ δὶς ἑπτερνίσθης ἀθλία, πράξει καί γνώσει· διὸ νῦν μετανόησον.
O soul emulating the despised Esau, having given away to your supplanter your former beautiful rights of the firstborn, you also lost the paternal prayer, and are twice supplanted, O wretch, in actions and knowledge. Therefore, repent now.
Ἐδὼμ ὁ Ἡσαῦ ἐκλήθη, δι’ ἄκραν θηλυμανίας ἐπιμιξίαν· ἀκρασίᾳ γὰρ ἀεὶ πυρούμενος, καὶ ταῖς ἡδοναῖς κατασπιλούμενος· Ἐδὼμ ὠνομάσθη, ὃ λέγεται θερμασία, ψυχῆς φιλαμαρτήμονος.
Esau was called Edom due to excessive intercourse through craziness for women, for always burning in unrestaint, and being defiled by his pleasures. He was named Edom, which means heat—that of a sin-loving soul.
The word for “intercourse,” ἐπιμιξία, can connote either social or sexual intercourse, as well as intermingling in general.
Ἰὼβ τὸν ἐπὶ κοπρίας, ἀκούσασα ὦ ψυχή μου δικαιωθέντα, τὴν αὐτοῦ ἀνδρείαν οὐκ ἐζήλωσας, τὸ στεῤῥὸν οὐκ ἔσχες τῆς προθέσεως, ἐν πᾶσιν οἷς ἔγνως, οἷς οἶδας, οἷς ἐπειράσθης, ἀλλ’ ὤφθης ἀκαρτέρητος.
O soul, having heard of Job, the one justified upon the dungheap, you did not emulate his fortitude. You have no stability of purpose in all that you know, that you see, and that you are tempted by; rather, you are seen lacking endurance.
Ὁ πρότερον ἐπὶ θρόνου, γυμνὸς νῦν ἐπὶ κοπρίας καθηλκωμένος· ὁ πολὺς ἐν τέκνοις καὶ περίβλεπτος, ἄπαις ἀφαιρέοικος αἰφνίδιον· παλάτιον γὰρ τὴν κοπρίαν, καὶ μαργαρίτας, τὰ ἕλκη ἐλογίζετο.
One formerly upon a throne, now naked and covered in sores on a dungheap, one with many children and admired by all, suddenly childless and homeless, even so, considered the dungheap a palace, and his sores, pearls.
Βασίλειον τὴν ἀξίαν, διάδημα καὶ πορφύραν ἠμφιεσμένος, πολυκτήμων ἄνθρωπος καὶ δίκαιος, πλούτῳ ἐπιβρίθων καὶ βοσκήμασιν, ἐξαίφνης τὸν πλοῦτον, τὴν δόξαν, τὴν βασιλείαν, πτωχεύσας ἀπεκείρατο.
A very wealthy and righteous man, clothed in royal dignity, diadem, and purple, burdened with wealth and many herds, suddenly he was shorn of the wealth, the glory, and his kingdom, and impoverished.
Εἰ δίκαιος ἦν ἐκεῖνος, καὶ ἄμεμπτος παρὰ πάντας, καὶ οὐκ ἀπέδρα, τὰ τοῦ πλάνου ἔνεδρα καὶ σκάμματα, σὺ φιλαμαρτήμων οὖσα τάλαινα, ψυχὴ τί ποιήσεις, ἐάν τι τῶν ἀδοκήτων, συμβῇ ἐπενεχθῆναί σοι;
O wretched soul, if someone righteous like he was, and blameless in everything, could also not escape the Deceiver’s obstacles and traps, what will you do, being sin-loving, should any unexpected things occur to threaten you?
Τὸ σῶμα κατεῤῥυπώθην, τὸ πνεῦμα κατεσπιλώθην, ὅλως ἡλκώθην· ἀλλ’ ὡς ἰατρὸς Χριστὲ ἀμφότερα, διὰ μετανοίας μοι θεράπευσον, ἀπόλουσον, κάθαρον, πλῦνον, δεῖξον χιόνος, Σωτήρ μου καθαρώτερον.
I defiled my body. I made my spirit impure. I am all wounded. Yet, O Christ, as healer of both, make me healthy through repentance. O my most pure Saviour, wash me, clean me, scrub me, make me bright as snow.
Τὸ Σῶμά σου καὶ τὸ Αἷμα, σταυρούμενος ὑπὲρ πάντων, ἔθηκας Λόγε· τὸ μὲν Σῶμα, ἵνα ἀναπλάσῃς με, τὸ δὲ Αἷμα, ἵνα ἀποπλύνῃς με· τὸ πνεῦμα παρέδωκας, ἵνα ἐμὲ προσάξῃς, Χριστὲ τῷ σῷ Γεννήτορι.
O Word, you offered your Body and Blood when you were crucified for all—both your Body to create me anew, and your Blood, to purify me. O Christ, you gave up your Spirit to lead me to your Progenitor.
Εἰργάσω τὴν σωτηρίαν, ἐν μέσῳ τῆς γῆς ὁ Κτίστης, ἵνα σωθῶμεν· ἑκουσίως ξύλῳ ἀνεσταύρωσαι, ἡ Ἐδὲμ κλεισθεῖσα ἀνεῴγνυτο· τὰ ἄνω, τὰ κάτω, ἡ κτίσις, τὰ ἔθνη πάντα, σωθέντα προσκυνοῦσί σε.
O Creator, you worked salvation in the middle of the world to save us. You were willingly crucified to the tree. Eden, having been closed, was opened again. The above, the below, creation, and all the peoples, having been saved, worship you.
Γενέσθω μοι κολυμβήθρα, τὸ Αἷμα τὸ ἐκ πλευρᾶς σου, ἅμα καὶ πόμα, τὸ πηγάσαν ὕδωρ τῆς ἀφέσεως, ἵνα ἑκατέρωθεν καθαίρωμαι, χριόμενος, πίνων, ὡς χρῖσμα καὶ πόμα Λόγε, τὰ ζωηρά σου λόγια.
O Word, let the Blood that poured from your side be my baptismal font, with the water that sprang forth being a drink of forgiveness, so I am purified by each, and anointed, and drink your life-giving words as both medicine and drink.
I use “medicine” to translate χρῖσμα chrism, which at the time was a general medical term for a healing concoction of oil and various herbs used by physicians, though even then may also have been, as later it certainly was and still is, the term for a special batch of such a concoction prepared in a liturgical context during Lent, used for anointing persons being ordained, amongst others.
Γυμνός εἰμι τοῦ Νυμφῶνος, γυμνός εἰμι καὶ τοῦ γάμου, ἅμα καὶ δείπνου· ἡ λαμπὰς ἐσβέσθη ὡς ἀνέλαιος· ἡ παστὰς ἐκλείσθη μοι καθεύδοντι· τὸ δεῖπνον ἐβρώθη· ἐγὼ δὲ χεῖρας καὶ πόδας, δεθεὶς ἔξω ἀπέῤῥιμμαι.
I am stripped of the Bridal Chamber. I am also stripped of the Wedding, along with the Banquet. My lamp has gone out for lack of oil. The chamber was closed to me whilst I was sleeping. The Banquet is eaten. I, bound by my hands and my feet, am cast outside.
There is some wordplay here. In the above, “stripped” is from the Greek γυμνός, naked or under-clothed. The wordplay is in harking back to the Gospel parables of various persons being clothed improperly for the various events depicted, and the flexibility of the word permits the “stripping”, i.e., “being naked of,” the various events that the speaker was under-dressed, i.e. “naked,” for.
Κρατῆρα ἡ Ἐκκλησία, ἐκτήσατο τὴν Πλευράν σου τὴν ζωηφόρον, ἐξ ἧς ὁ διπλοῦς ἡμῖν ἐξέβλυσε, κρουνὸς τῆς ἀφέσεως καὶ γνώσεως, εἰς τύπον τῆς πάλαι, τῆς νέας, τῶν δύω ἅμα, Διαθηκῶν Σωτὴρ ἡμῶν.
O our Saviour, your Church acquired a chalice—your life-bearing Side—from which doubly gushes for us a stream of forgiveness and knowledge, as a type of the two Testaments together, the Old and the New.
Ὁ χρόνος ὁ τῆς ζωῆς μου, ὀλίγος καὶ πλήρης πόνων καὶ πονηρίας· ἀλλ’ ἐν μετανοίᾳ με παράλαβε, καὶ ἐν ἐπιγνώσει ἀνακάλεσαι· μὴ γένωμαι κτῆμα, μὴ βρῶμα τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου· Σωτὴρ αὐτός με οἴκτειρον.
The time—that is, of my life—is short, and full of sorrows and evil things, but accept me in repentance, and call me back to knowledge. Let me not be chattel, nor a meal for the Enemy. You, yourself, O Saviour, have compassion on me.
Ὑψήγορος νῦν ὑπάρχω, θρασὺς δὲ καὶ τὴν καρδίαν, εἰκῇ καὶ μάτην· μὴ τῷ Φαρισαίῳ συγκαταδικάσῃς με, μᾶλλον τοῦ Τελώνου τὴν ταπείνωσιν, παράσχου μοι μόνε Οἰκτίρμον, δικαιοκρῖτα, καὶ τούτῳ συναρίθμησον.
I am boastful now, and arrogant in my heart, worthlessly and in vain. Do not condemn me with the Pharisee, rather, O only Compassionate, O Righteous Judge, grant to me the Publican’s humility and number me with him.
Ἐξήμαρτον ἐνυβρίσας, τὸ σκεῦος τὸ τῆς σαρκός μου, οἶδα Οἰκτίρμον· ἀλλ’ ἐν μετανοίᾳ με παράλαβε, καὶ ἐν ἐπιγνώσει ἀνακάλεσαι· μὴ γένωμαι κτῆμα, μὴ βρῶμα τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου· Σωτὴρ αὐτός με οἴκτειρον.
O Compassionate, I know I sinned, insulting the vessel of my flesh, but accept me in repentance, and call me back to knowledge. Let me not be chattel, nor a meal for the Enemy. You, yourself, O Saviour, have compassion on me.
Αὐτείδωλον ἐγενόμην, τοῖς πάθεσι τὴν ψυχήν μου, βλάπτων Οἰκτίρμον· ἀλλ’ ἐν μετανοίᾳ με παράλαβε, καὶ ἐν ἐπιγνώσει ἀνακάλεσαι· μὴ γένωμαι κτῆμα, μὴ βρῶμα τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου. Σωτὴρ αὐτός με οἴκτειρον.
O Compassionate, I became my own idol, defiling my soul with passions, but accept me in repentance, and call me back to knowledge. Let me not be chattel, nor a meal for the Enemy. You, yourself, O Saviour, have compassion on me.
Οὐκ ἤκουσα τῆς φωνῆς σου, παρήκουσα τῆς γραφῆς σου, τοῦ Νομοθέτου· ἀλλ’ ἐν μετανοίᾳ με παράλαβε, καὶ ἐν ἐπιγνώσει ἀνακάλεσαι· μὴ γένωμαι κτῆμα, μὴ βρῶμα τοῦ ἀλλοτρίου, Σωτὴρ αὐτός με οἴκτειρον.
I did not listen to your voice, not heeding your Writing, O Lawgiver, but accept me in repentance, and call me back to knowledge. Let me not be chattel, nor a meal for the Enemy. You, yourself, O Saviour, have compassion on me.
«Ἐκ νυκτὸς ὀρθρίζοντα Φιλάνθρωπε, φώτισον δέομαι, καὶ ὁδήγησον κἀμέ, ἐν τοῖς προστάγμασί σου, καὶ δίδαξόν με Σωτήρ, ποιεῖν τὸ θέλημά σου».
O one who loves humanity, in the night, waking before dawn, I entreat you. Enlighten me, and guide me, too, in your commandments, and teach me, O Saviour, to do your will.
Ἐν νυκτὶ τὸν βίον μου διῆλθον ἀεί· σκότος γὰρ γέγονε, καὶ βαθεῖά μοι ἀχλύς, ἡ νὺξ τῆς ἁμαρτίας· ἀλλ’ ὡς ἡμέρας υἱόν, Σωτὴρ ἀνάδειξόν με.
In the night, I always review my life. For it has become darkness and a deep fog for me—the night of sin. So make me shine again as a son of the day, O Saviour.
This one is quite obscure. It’s an odd construction, with an equal possibility that it is either “my life” or “the night of sin” which “has become darkness,” etc. As, however, the speaker requests to “shine again,” etc., I have construed “my life” as the subject.
Τὸν Ῥουβὶμ μιμούμενος ὁ τάλας ἐγώ, ἔπραξα ἄθεσμον, καὶ παράνομον βουλήν, κατὰ Θεοῦ Ὑψίστου, μιάνας κοίτην ἐμήν, ὡς τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος.
I, the wretch, emulating Reuben, acted on my immoral and lawless will against God Most High, defiling my bed as he did his father’s.
Ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι Χριστὲ Βασιλεῦ· Ἥμαρτον ἥμαρτον, ὡς οἱ πρὶν τοῦ Ἰωσήφ, ἀδελφοὶ πεπρακότες, τὸν τῆς ἁγνείας καρπόν, καὶ τὸν τῆς σωφροσύνης.
O Christ the King, I confess to you. I sinned. I sinned as once did Joseph’s brothers in their having sold the fruit of purity and of moderation.
Ὑπὸ τῶν συγγόνων ἡ δικαία ψυχή, δέδοτο πέπρατο, εἰς δουλείαν ὁ γλυκύς, εἰς τύπον τοῦ Κυρίου· αὐτὴ δὲ ὅλη ψυχή, ἐπράθης τοῖς κακοῖς σου.
The righteous soul was given away by his own siblings, the sweet one was sold into slavery, as a type of the Lord. O soul all of you, yourself, have been sold to your evils.
Ἰωσὴφ τὸν δίκαιον, καὶ σώφρονα νοῦν, μίμησαι τάλαινα, καὶ ἀδόκιμε ψυχή, καὶ μὴ ἀκολασταίνου, ταῖς παραλόγοις ὁρμαῖς, ἀεὶ παρανομοῦσα.
O wretched and reprobate soul, emulate Joseph the righteous and his moderate mind, and do not be immoderate in your irrational desires, being always lawless.
Εἰ καὶ λάκκῳ ᾤκησε ποτὲ Ἰωσήφ, Δέσποτα Κύριε, ἀλλ’ εἰς τύπον τῆς Ταφῆς, καὶ τῆς Ἐγέρσεώς σου· ἐγὼ δέ τί σοι ποτέ, τοιοῦτο προσενέγκω;
O my Master and Lord, if Joseph was cast down once into a pit, even as a type of your Tomb and Resurrection, what, then, can I offer you like this?
Τοῦ Μωσέως ἤκουσας τὴν θίβην ψυχή, ὕδασι κύμασι, φερομένην ποταμοῦ, ὡς ἐν θαλάμῳ πάλαι, φυγοῦσαν δρᾶμα πικρόν, βουλῆς Φαραωνίτου.
O soul, you heard of the basket of Moses, carried by the river on the water’s waves as though in a shrine, long ago, escaping the terrible tragedy of the Pharaonic plot.
Εἰ τὰς μαίας ἤκουσας κτεινούσας ποτέ, ἄνηβον τάλαινα, τὴν ἀῤῥενωπὸν ψυχή, τῆς σωφροσύνης πρᾶξιν· νῦν ὡς ὁ μέγας Μωσῆς, τιθηνοῦ τὴν σοφίαν.
O wretched soul, since you heard of the midwives murdering, then, the undeveloped manly virtue of moderation in actions, now, like the great Moses, nurse wisdom.
“Manly” here harks back to the story in Exodus, where the midwives had killed male infants. The connotation is not primarily of a masculine but of an “adult” or “fully developed” moderation being prevented from developing. “Nurse” hear means “feed at the breast,” as with an infant. The speaker wants the underdeveloped soul to take wisdom as nourishment, thereby to grow stronger in virtue, particularly in moderation.
Ὡς Μωσῆς ὁ μέγας τὸν Αἰγύπτιον νοῦν, πλήξασα τάλαινα, οὐκ ἀπέκτεινας ψυχή· καὶ πῶς οἰκήσεις λέγε, τὴν ἔρημον τῶν παθῶν, διὰ τῆς μετανοίας;
O wretched cowardly soul, you have not struck down the Egyptian mind, like Moses the great. Tell me, how will you dwell in a passionless desert, through this sort of repentance?
There is wordplay here in the Greek that I had to alter so as to make the allusion clear. The Greek word for “desert” ἔρημος is here what is called a substantive, i.e., an adjective acting as a noun, meaning “empty” as an adjective and “empty place” or “desert” as a noun. Where I have rendered “passionless desert,” the Greek is literally “desert of passions,” meaning “a place empty of passions.” As in English “desert of passions” is possibly misconstrued as connoting “a desert full of passions,” and “a place empty of passions” is not obviously referring a desert, I have opted for “passionless desert” to preserve the allusion more clearly.
Τὰς ἐρήμους ᾤκησεν ὁ μέγας Μωσῆς· δεῦρο ἵνα καὶ τῆς δὲ μίμησαι, τὴν αὐτοῦ διαγωγήν, ἵνα καὶ τῆς ἐν βάτῳ, θεοφανείας ψυχή, ἐν θεωρίᾳ γένῃ.
Moses the great made his home in deserted places. Come, O soul, and emulate his conduct, so you come to be in contemplation at the bush of theophany.
Τὴν Μωσέως ῥάβδον εἰκονίζου ψυχή, πλήττουσαν θάλασσαν, καὶ πηγνύουσαν βυθόν, τύπῳ Σταυροῦ τοῦ θείου· δι’ οὗ δυνήσῃ καὶ σύ, μεγάλα ἐκτελέσαι.
O soul, picture the rod of Moses striking the sea and making the deep solid as a type of the divine Cross, through which you, too, will be able to accomplish great things.
Ἀαρὼν προσέφερε τὸ πῦρ τῷ Θεῷ, ἄμωμον ἄδολον· ἀλλ’ Ὀφνεῖ, καὶ Φινεές, ὡς σὺ ψυχὴ προσῆγον, ἀλλότριον τῷ Θεῷ, ῥερυπωμένον βίον.
Aaron offered the pure and undefiled fire to God, but Hophni and Phineas, like you, O soul, offered something inappropriate to God: a defiled life.
Ὡς βαρὺς τὴν γνώμην Φαραὼ τῷ πικρῷ, γέγονα Δέσποτα, Ἰαννὴς καὶ Ἰαμβρής τὴν ψυχὴν καὶ τὸ σῶμα, καὶ ὑποβρύχιος νοῦς· ἀλλὰ βοήθησόν μοι.
O Master, I have become as harsh as the will of Pharaoh in cruelty. Jannes and Jambres are my soul and body, and my mind underwater. Even so, help me.
Τῷ πηλῷ συμπέφυρμαι ὁ τάλας τὸν νοῦν· πλῦνόν με Δέσποτα, τῷ λουτῆρι τῶν ἐμῶν, δακρύων δέομαί σου, τὴν τῆς σαρκός μου στολήν, λευκάνας ὡς χιόνα.
I, the wretch, have mingled my own mind with muck. Wash me, O Master, with the cup of my tears, I pray of you. Make the cloak of my flesh as white as snow.
The “muck” πηλός is intended to connote “clay,” but “a mind mingled with clay” in English loses the allusive wordplay in Greek, for the word connotes clay, earth, and mud or “muck” as I have used. The allusion is to the Israelites in Egypt making bricks out of clay.
Ἐὰν ἐρευνήσω μου τὰ ἔργα Σωτήρ, ἅπαντα ἄνθρωπον, ὑπερβάντα ἐμαυτόν, ὁρῶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις, ὅτι ἐν γνώσει φρενῶν, ἥμαρτον, οὐκ ἀγνοίᾳ.
O Saviour, when I consider my actions, I myself have exceeded every person in the measure of my sins. For I have sinned knowing my mind, not in ignorance.
The “knowing my mind” is more literally “in knowledge of (my) thoughts,” with “of (my) thoughts” being φρενῶν, the plural genitive of φρήν, which is “thinking,” as distinct from the higher-level νοῦς (or νόος), which is the mind proper, one’s internal seat of decision-making, intelligence, emotion, and so on.
Φεῖσαι φεῖσαι Κύριε τοῦ πλάσματός σου· ἥμαρτον ἄνες μοι, ὁ τῇ φύσει καθαρός, αὐτὸς ὑπάρχων μόνος, καὶ ἄλλος πλήν σου οὐδείς, ὑπάρχει ἔξω ῥύπου.
Spare, spare O Lord, one formed by you. I sinned, forgive me, One who is by nature pure, the only one who is, for there is no other than you who is free from defilement.
Δι’ ἐμὲ Θεὸς ὢν ἐμορφώθης ἐμέ, ἔδειξας θαύματα, ἰασάμενος λεπρούς, καὶ παραλύτους σφίγξας, Αἱμόῤῥου στήσας Σωτήρ, ἁφῇ κρασπέδου ῥύσιν.
For my sake, the one who is God took on my form, performing great wonders: healing lepers, strengthening the paralysed, and stopping the flow of hemorrhage, O Saviour, with a touch of your cloak.
Here “the one who is God” is in Greek Θεὸς ὢν, alluding to Moses being told by God that the latter should be called ὁ ὢν, “He Is” or “He Who Is,” which is a translation of sorts of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, both the original meaning and pronunciation of which are now unknown, though the Greek meaning given there (i.e., “He Is”) is one of several of the better suggestions.
Τὴν Αἱμόῤῥουν μίμησαι ἀθλία ψυχή· πρόσδραμε κράτησον, τοῦ κρασπέδου τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα ῥυσθῇς μαστίγων, ἀκούσῃς δὲ παρ’ αὐτοῦ· Ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέ σε.
O soul, emulate the Hemmorhaging woman. Run up, take hold of Christ’s hem to be healed of your wounds, and so you will hear from him: Your faith has saved you.
Τὴν χαμαὶ συγκύπτουσαν μιμοῦ ὦ ψυχή· πρόσελθε, πρόσπεσον, τοῖς ποσὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα σε ἀνορθώσῃ, καὶ βηματίσεις ὀρθῶς, τὰς τρίβους τοῦ Κυρίου.
O soul, emulate the bent-backed widow. Approach, prostrate yourself at the feet of Jesus, so you will be upright again, and you will walk uprightly the paths of the Lord.
Εἰ καὶ φρέαρ Δέσποτα ὑπάρχεις βαθύ, βλῦσόν μοι νάματα, ἐξ ἀχράντων σου φλεβῶν, ἵν’ ὡς ἡ Σαμαρεῖτις, μηκέτι πίνων διψῶ· ζωῆς γὰρ ῥεῖθρα βλύξεις.
O Master, as you also are a deep well, make flowing waters rise in me from out of your pure veins, so that, like the woman from Samaria, I, drinking, will thirst no more, for you gush streams of life.
Σιλωὰμ γενέσθω μοι τὰ δάκρυά μου, Δέσποτα Κύριε, ἵνα νίψωμαι κἀγώ, τὰς κόρας τῆς ψυχῆς μου, καὶ ἴδω σε νοερῶς, τὸ φῶς τὸ πρὸ αἰώνων.
O Master and Lord, let my tears become for me Siloam, so I, too, may wash the pupils of my soul, and see you mentally, the light before all ages.
«Ἐβόησα ἐν ὅλῃ καρδίᾳ μου * πρὸς τὸν οἰκτίρμονα Θεόν * καὶ ἐπήκουσέ μου * ἐξ ᾍδου κατωτάτου * καὶ ἀνήγαγεν * ἐκ φθορᾶς τὴν ζωήν μου».
I cried out with my whole heart to the compassionate God, and he heard me from Hades below, and led my life out of its corruptions.
Τὰ δάκρυα Σωτὴρ τῶν ὀμμάτων μου * καὶ τοὺς ἐκ βάθους στεναγμούς * καθαρῶς προσφέρω * βοώσης τῆς καρδίας * ὁ Θεὸς ἡμάρτηκά σοι * ἱλάσθητί μοι.
O Saviour, I offer, purely, the tears of my eyes, and the groans from my depths, crying out with my heart: O God, I have sinned against you. Forgive me.
Ἐξένευσας ψυχὴ τοῦ Κυρίου σου * ὥσπερ Δαθὰν καὶ Ἀβειρών· * ἀλλὰ φεῖσαι κράξον * ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας, * ἵνα μὴ τὸ χάσμα, * τῆς γῆς σὲ συγκαλύψῃ.
O soul, you are a stranger to your Lord, like Dathan and Abiram. Even so, cry out with your whole heart, Spare me, so a deep chasm of the earth will not bury you.
Ὡς δάμαλις ψυχὴ παροιστρήσασα, * ἐξωμοιώθης τῷ Ἐφραίμ· * ὡς δορκὰς ἐκ βρόχων, * ἀνάσωσον τὸν βίον, * πτερωθεῖσα πράξει, * καὶ νῷ καὶ θεωρίᾳ.
O soul, like a heifer raging in madness, you resemble Ephraim. Rescue your life, like a deer from the traps, taking wing in actions, in mind, and in contemplation.
Ἡ χεὶρ ἡμᾶς Μωσέως πιστώσεται, * ψυχὴ πῶς δύναται Θεός, * λεπρωθέντα βίον, * λευκάναι καὶ καθάραι· * καὶ μὴ ἀπογνῷς * σεαυτήν, κἂν ἐλεπρώθης.
O soul, the hand of Moses will give us assurance of how God is able to cleanse and to purify a life made leprous. So do not despair of yourself, even if you are leprous.
Τὰ κύματα Σωτὴρ τῶν πταισμάτων μου, * ὡς ἐν θαλάσσῃ Ἐρυθρᾷ, * ἐπαναστραφέντα, * ἐκάλυψέ με ἄφνω, * ὡς τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους, * ποτὲ καὶ τοὺς τριστάτας.
O Saviour, the waves of my transgressions having returned, as at the Red Sea, suddenly covered me, just as the Egyptians once were and all their captains.
“Captains” τριστάτας may be a term for “charioteers.” It is obscure.
Ἀγνώμονα ψυχὴ τὴν προαίρεσιν, * ἔσχες ὡς πρὶν ὁ Ἰσραήλ· * τοῦ γὰρ θείου μάννα, * προέκρινας ἀλόγως, * τὴν φιλήδονον, * τῶν παθῶν ἀδηφαγίαν.
O soul, your choice is senseless, as Israel’s once was. For instead of divine manna, you foolishly preferred the pleasure-loving gluttony of your passions.
Τὰ ὕεια κρέα καὶ τοὺς λέβητας, * καὶ τὴν Αἰγύπτιον τροφήν, * τῆς ἐπουρανίου, * προέκρινας ψυχή μου, * ὡς ὁ πρὶν ἀγνώμων, * λαὸς ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ.
O my soul, you senselessly preferred the meat of swine, and the cauldrons, and the Egyptian food instead of the heavenly, as did that people in the desert long ago.
Τὰ φρέατα ψυχὴ προετίμησας, * τῶν Χαναναίων ἐννοιῶν, * τῆς φλεβὸς τὴν πέτραν, * ἐξ ἧς ὁ τῆς σοφίας, * ποταμὸς προχέει, * κρουνοὺς θεολογίας.
O soul, you value more highly the wells of Canaanite thoughts than the veined Rock from which flows the river of wisdom, streams of the knowledge of God.
Ὡς ἔπληξε Μωσῆς ὁ θεράπων σου, * ῥάβδῳ τὴν πέτραν τυπικῶς, * τὴν ζωοποιόν σου, * Πλευρὰν προδιετύπου· * ἐξ ἧς πάντες πόμα, * ζωῆς Σωτὴρ ἀντλοῦμεν.
O Savior, when Moses your servant struck the rock with his rod, he prefigured your life-giving Side, from which we all draw the drink of life.
The “prefigured” προδιετύπου (from προδιετυπόω) here is a technical term for the interpretive allusion present throughout this work in its author’s use of various Scriptural texts, particularly the Old Testament texts. The approach to the texts represented here reflects the belief that these various events are considered to be allegorically or metaphorically charged with a meaning over and above restriction of the meaning to the original context, one which is brought to greater clarity later by events in or aspects of the life of Christ or of the faithful. These can reflect events or moral/spiritual subjects in the later contexts. While this sort of interpretation was to fall out of general practice in later writers, at this time (late seventh to early eighth century) it was the most common approach to the Old Testament texts in a Christian context, and shows an engagement and appreciation of them that is largely lacking in later ages except in either a much more superficial engagement or in the preservation and continued liturgical use of such texts as this one.
Ἐρεύνησον ψυχὴ κατασκόπευσον, * ὡς Ἰησοῦς ὁ τοῦ Ναυῆ, * τῆς κληροδοσίας, * τὴν γῆν ὁποία ἐστί, * καὶ κατοίκησον, * ἐν αὐτῇ δι’ εὐνομίας.
O soul, explore and spy out, like Joshua son of Nun, the land which is your allotted inheritance, and make your home in it through obedience.
Ἀνάστηθι καὶ καταπολέμησον, * ὡς Ἰησοῦς τὸν Ἀμαλήκ, * τῆς σαρκὸς τὰ πάθη, * καὶ τοὺς Γαβαωνίτας, * τοὺς ἀπατηλοὺς λογισμούς, * ἀεὶ νικῶσα.
Rise up and make war upon the passions of the flesh, like Joshua on Amalek, also always conquering the Gibeonites, deceptive thought images.
Διάβηθι τοῦ χρόνου τὴν ῥέουσαν, * φύσιν ὡς πρὶν ἡ Κιβωτός, * καὶ τῆς γῆς ἐκείνης, * γενοῦ ἐν κατασχέσει, * τῆς ἐπαγγελίας * ψυχή, Θεὸς κελεύει.
Pass through the flowing waters of your lifetime, as the Ark did once physically, and make that land of promise your possession, O soul, as God commands.
Ὡς ἔσωσας τὸν Πέτρον βοήσαντα, * σῶσον προφθάσας με Σωτήρ, * τοῦ θηρός με ῥῦσαι, * ἐκτείνας σου τὴν χεῖρα, * καὶ ἀνάγαγε * τοῦ βυθοῦ τῆς ἁμαρτίας.
O Saviour, just as you saved Peter when he cried out, Save me, come quickly, rescue me from the beast, having stretched out your hand, and lead me out of the depths of my sins.
Λιμένα σε γινώσκω γαλήνιον, * Δέσποτα Δέσποτα Χριστέ· * ἀλλ’ ἐκ τῶν ἀδύτων, * βυθῶν τῆς ἁμαρτίας, * καὶ τῆς ἀπογνώσεώς με, * προφθάσας ῥῦσαι.
O Master, O Master, O Christ, I know you are a harbour of calm waters. Even so, come quickly. Rescue me from the utmost depths of my sins and my despair.
Ἐγώ εἰμι Σωτὴρ ἣν ἀπώλεσας, * πάλαι βασίλειον δραχμήν· * ἀλλ’ ἀνάψας λύχνον, * τὸν Πρόδρομόν σου Λόγε, * ἀναζήτησον, * καὶ εὑρὲ τὴν σὴν εἰκόνα.
O Saviour, I myself am that coin which you lost long ago, the royal drachma. Even so, O Word, light the lamp, your great Forerunner. Seek and find your image.
The “royal drachma” here connotes a drachma bearing an impression of a king. Thus, the speaker likens Christ to the king, and the speaker, therefore, to both a coin bearing the image of Christ, as well as the speaker being an image of Christ as Creator, hearking back to Genesis and the creation narrative, in which humanity is depicted as made “in the image and likeness” of God.
ᾨδὴ ζ’. Ὁ Εἱρμὸς.
«Ἡμάρτομεν, ἠνομήσαμεν, ἠδικήσαμεν ἐνώπιόν σου, οὐδὲ συνετηρήσαμεν, οὐδὲ ἐποιήσαμεν, καθὼς ἐνετείλω ἡμῖν. Ἀλλὰ μὴ παραδῴης ἡμᾶς εἰς τέλος, ὁ τῶν Πατέρων Θεός».
We sinned, we broke your Law, we were unrighteous before you, neither were we observant, nor did we do as you commanded. Even so, do not reject us utterly, O God of our fathers.
Ἡμάρτηκα, ἐπλημμέλησα, καὶ ἠθέτησα τὴν ἐντολήν σου· ὅτι ἐν ἁμαρτίαις προήχθην, καὶ προσέθηκα τοῖς μώλωψι τραῦμα ἐμοί. Ἀλλ’ αὐτός με ἐλέησον ὡς εὔσπλαγχνος, ὁ τῶν Πατέρων Θεός.
I have sinned. I offended you and ignored your commandment, because I progressed in all my sins and have added to my wounds yet more injuries. Even so, you yourself have mercy on me, as one compassionate, O God of our fathers.
Τὰ κρύφια τῆς καρδίας μου, ἐξηγόρευσά σοι τῷ Κριτῇ μου· ἴδε μου τὴν ταπείνωσιν, ἴδε καὶ τὴν θλῖψίν μου, καὶ πρόσχες τῇ κρίσει μου νῦν· καὶ αὐτός με ἐλέησον ὡς εὔσπλαγχνος, ὁ τῶν Πατέρων Θεός.
I exposed to you, to my Judge, the secrets hidden in my heart. See my abasement. See, too, my trouble, and attend now to my judgment, and you, yourself have mercy on me, as one compassionate, O God of our fathers.
Σαοὺλ ποτέ ὡς ἀπώλεσε, τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ ψυχὴ τὰς ὄνους, πάρεργον τὸ βασίλειον εὗρε, πρὸς ἀνάῤῥησιν. Ἀλλ’ ὅρα μὴ λάθῃς σαυτήν, τὰς κτηνώδεις ὀρέξεις σου, προκρίνουσα τῆς βασιλείας Χριστοῦ.
O soul, Saul when he once lost the donkeys of his father, he incidentally found a kingdom by acclamation. Even so, see that you do not forget yourself, having preferred your beastly appetites to the Kingdom of Christ.
“Beastly” κτηνώδεις here is literally “animal-like.”
Δαυῒδ ποτέ ὁ πατρόθεος, εἰ καὶ ἥμαρτε διττῶς ψυχή μου, βέλει μὲν τοξευθεὶς τῆς μοιχείας, τῷ δὲ δόρατι ἁλοὺς τῆς τοῦ φόνου ποινῆς. Ἀλλ’ αὐτὴ τὰ βαρύτερα τῶν ἔργων νοσεῖς, ταῖς κατὰ γνώμην ὁρμαῖς.
O my soul, David, the forefather of God, once also sinned in two ways, for he was pierced by the arrow of adultery, and by the spearhead of profiting by murder. Yet you are sick from weightier things than these actions, in your willful desires.
Συνῆψε μέν ὁ Δαυῒδ ποτέ, ἀνομήματι τὴν ἀνομίαν· φόνῳ γὰρ τὴν μοιχείαν ἐκίρνα, τὴν μετάνοιαν εὐθὺς παραδείξας διπλῆν. Ἀλλ’ αὐτὴ πονηρότερα εἰργάσω ψυχή, μὴ μεταγνοῦσα Θεῷ.
Indeed, David once joined to one lawless act yet another, for he mixed adultery into his murder, though having exhibited promptly a twofold repentance. Yet you, O soul, do more wicked things than these, not having repented to God.
Δαυῒδ ποτὲ ἀνεστήλωσε, συγγραψάμενος ὡς ἐν εἰκόνι, ὕμνον δι’ οὗ τὴν πρᾶξιν ἐλέγχει, ἣν εἰργάσατο κραυγάζων, Ἐλέησόν με· σοὶ γὰρ μόνῳ ἐξήμαρτον, τῷ πάντων Θεῷ· αὐτὸς καθάρισόν με.
David once set up a monument, composing, as though it were an icon, a hymn in which he sets forth his action which he did, crying out to the God of all, Have mercy on me, for against you alone have I sinned; you, yourself, purify me.
Ἡ Κιβωτός ὡς ἐφέρετο, ἐπιδίφριος ὁ Ζὰν ἐκεῖνος, ὅτε ἀνατραπέντος τοῦ μόσχου, μόνον ἥψατο, Θεοῦ ἐπειράθη ὀργῆς. Ἀλλ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν αὐθάδειαν, φυγοῦσα ψυχή, σέβου τὰ θεῖα καλῶς.
Whilst the Ark was being carried on a cart, a certain Uzzah, when seeing an ox stumble, he simply touched it, he tempted the wrath of God. So, O soul, flee from his presumption. Fear well all divine things.
Ἀκήκοας τοῦ Ἀβεσσαλώμ, πῶς τῆς φύσεως ἀντεξανέστη· ἔγνως τὰς ἐναγεῖς αὐτοῦ πράξεις, αἷς ἐξύβρισε, τὴν κοίτην Δαυῒδ τοῦ πατρός. Ἀλλ’ αὐτὴ ἐμιμήσω τὰς αὐτοῦ ἐμπαθεῖς, καὶ φιληδόνους ὁρμάς.
You have heard of Absalom, how he rebelled against nature. You know his unholy actions by which he outraged the bed of David his father. Yet you emulated these impassioned and sensual desires of his.
Ὑπέταξας τὸ ἀδούλωτον, σοῦ ἀξίωμα τῷ σώματί σου· ἄλλον γάρ Ἀχιτόφελ εὑροῦσα, τὸν ἐχθρὸν σὺ ψυχή, συνῆλθες ταῖς τούτου βουλαῖς· ἀλλ’ αὐτὰς διεσκέδασεν, αὐτὸς ὁ Χριστός, ἵνα σὺ πάντων σωθῇς.
O soul, you subjugated your freeborn dignity to your body. Having found another Ahitophel, the Enemy, you accept his counsels. Yet Christ himself confounded them so you yourself would be saved from them all.
Ὁ Σολομών ὁ θαυμάσιος, ὁ καὶ χάριτος σοφίας πλήρης, οὗτος τὸ πονηρὸν ἐναντίον, τοῦ Θεοῦ ποτέ, ποιήσας ἀπέστη αὐτοῦ· ᾧ αὐτὴ τὸν ἐπάρατόν σου βίον, ψυχὴ προσαφωμοίωσας.
O soul, Solomon the wonderful, who was also filled with the gift of wisdom, did this evil thing in the sight of God once—he deserted him—which you emulated in your own accursed life.
Ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ἐξελκόμενος, τῶν παθῶν αὐτοῦ κατεῤῥυποῦτο, οἴμοι! ὁ ἐραστὴς τῆς σοφίας, ἐραστὴς πορνῶν γυναικῶν, καὶ ξένος Θεοῦ· ὃν αὐτὴ ἐμιμήσω, κατὰ νοῦν ὦ ψυχή, ἡδυπαθείαις αἰσχραῖς.
Being carried away by the pleasures of his passions, he was defiled. Alas, the lover of wisdom, a lover of harlot women, and foreign to God. O soul, you yourself emulate him mentally in shameful pleasures.
Τὸν Ῥοβοάμ παρεζήλωσας, ἀλογήσαντα βουλὴς πατρῴας, ἅμα δὲ καὶ τὸν κάκιστον δοῦλον, Ἱεροβοάμ τὸν πρὶν ἀποστάτην ψυχή. Ἀλλὰ φεῦγε τὴν μίμησιν, καὶ κράζε Θεῷ· Ἥμαρτον οἴκτειρόν με.
O soul, you emulated Rehoboam in ignoring paternal counsel, along with that most wicked servant, Jeroboam, the apostate of old. Instead, flee this emulation, and cry out to God: I sinned. Have compassion on me.
“Apostate” here also connotes “renegade” or “rebel.” Jeroboam was both and “apostate” from proper worship and a political “rebel.” The Greek word, covering both the religious and political, conveys a bit of wordplay, though only unintentionally, as both concepts were, in fact, then conveyed by this word alone.
Τὸν Ἀχαὰβ παρεζήλωσας, τοῖς μιάσμασι ψυχή μου, οἴμοι! γέγονας σαρκικῶν μολυσμάτων, καταγώγιον καὶ σκεῦος αἰσχρὸν τῶν παθῶν. Ἀλλ’ ἐκ βάθους σου στέναξον, καὶ λέγε Θεῷ, τὰς ἁμαρτίας σου.
O my soul, you emulated Ahab in his pollutions. Alas, you became a dwelling of fleshly defilements, and a shameful vessel of the passions. So groan from your depths, and tell your sins to God.
Ἐνέπρησεν Ἠλιού ποτε, δὶς πεντήκοντα τῆς Ἰεζάβελ, ὅτε τοὺς τῆς αἰσχύνης προφήτας, κατηνάλωσεν, εἰς ἔλεγχον τοῦ Ἀχαάβ. Ἀλλὰ φεῦγε τὴν μίμησιν τῶν δύω
ψυχή, καὶ κραταιώθητι.
Elijah once burned two groups of fifty soldiers of Jezebel, when he finished off those prophets of shamefulness in refutation of Ahab. So, O soul, flee the emulation of those two and become stronger.
The Greek word for “a group of fifty soldiers” is simply πεντηκοντάς, “a fifty.” There’s probably some English military term for a fifty person unit, but I don’t know it, and it would likely also be too obscure to readers to generally understand that without explanation, so “two groups of fifty soldiers” it is. The “become stronger” relates to the two episodes involving Elijah alluded to here, in the first of which 450 prophets of Baal are killed in a normal (if bloody) manner, and in the second Elijah calls lightning to strike the two groups of fifty soldiers sent to arrest (or perhaps kill) him. It seems the connotation here is that commanding the weather to do murder is certainly “stronger” than overseeing that a large number of religious functionaries be slaughtered by sword.
Ἐκλείσθη σοι Οὐρανὸς ψυχή, καὶ λιμὸς Θεοῦ κατέλαβέ σε, ὅτε τοῖς Ἠλιοῦ τοῦ Θεσβίτου, ὡς ὁ Ἀχαάβ ἠπείθησας λόγοις ποτέ. Ἀλλὰ τὴν Σαραφθίαν μιμουμένη, θρέψον Προφήτου ψυχήν.
Heaven was closed to you, O soul, and a famine from God took you, as when Ahab once disobeyed the words of the Elijah the Thesbite. Instead, emulate the woman from Sarephthah: support the soul of the Prophet.
Τοῦ Μανασσῆ ἐπεσώρευσας, τὰ ἐγκλήματα τῇ προαιρέσει, στήσασα ὡς βδελύγματα πάθη, καὶ πληθύνουσα ψυχή προσωχθίσματα. Ἀλλ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν μετάνοιαν, ζηλοῦσα θερμῶς, κτῆσαι κατάνυξιν.
O soul, you piled upon you the condemnations of Manasseh by choice, having set up your passions as abominations, and having been filled with detestable things. Even so, fervently emulating his repentance, acquire compunction.
Προσπίπτω σοι καὶ προσάγω σοι, ὥσπερ δάκρυα τὰ ῥήματά μου· Ἥμαρτον, ὡς ἥμαρτε Πόρνη, καὶ ἠνόμησα, ὡς ἄλλος οὐδεὶς ἐπὶ γῆς. Ἀλλ’ οἰκτείρησον Δέσποτα τὸ ποίημά σου, καὶ ἀνακάλεσαί με.
I prostrate myself before you, and offer to you, as though they were tears, my words: I sinned as the Harlot did, and was lawless as no one else on earth has been. Even so, O Master, have compassion on your creation, and call me back.
Κατέχρωσα τὴν εἰκόνα σου, καὶ παρέφθειρα τὴν ἐντολήν σου· ὅλον ἀπημαυρώθη τὸ κάλλος, καὶ τοῖς πάθεσιν ἐσβέσθη Σωτὴρ ἡ λαμπάς· Ἀλλ’ οἰκτείρας ἀπόδος μοι, ὡς ψάλλει Δαυῒδ, τὴν ἀγαλλίασιν.
O Saviour, I discoloured your image, and utterly transgressed your command. I sullied my beauty, and my lamp is snuffed by my passions. Even so, O Compassionate one, as David sings: Restore to me joy.
Ἐπίστρεψον μετανόησον, ἀνακάλυψον τὰ κεκρυμμένα· λέγε Θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα εἰδότι· Σὺ γινώσκεις μου τὰ κρύφια μόνε Σωτήρ· καὶ αὐτός με ἐλέησον, ὡς ψάλλει Δαυΐδ, κατὰ τὸ ἔλεός σου.
Turn around, repent, uncover your hidden things, and say to God, by whom everything is seen: O only Saviour, you know all of my secrets. You, yourself, as David sings, have mercy on me, according to your mercy.
Ἐξέλιπον αἱ ἡμέραι μου, ὡς ἐνύπνιον ἐγειρομένου· ὅθεν ὡς Ἐζεκίας δακρύω, ἐπὶ κλίνης μου, προσθῆναί μοι χρόνους ζωῆς. Ἀλλὰ τίς Ἡσαΐας, παραστήσεταί σοι ψυχή, εἰ μὴ ὁ πάντων Θεός;
My days fly away, like the dream of one who has just woken. Thus, like Hezekiah, I weep upon my bed that more time be added to my life. Yet what Isaiah, O soul, will visit you, if not the God of all?
«Ὃν Στρατιαί, οὐρανῶν δοξάζουσι, καὶ φρίττει τὰ Χερουβίμ, καὶ τὰ Σεραφίμ, πᾶσα πνοὴ καὶ κτίσις ὑμνεῖτε, εὐλογεῖτε, καὶ ὑπερυψοῦτε εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας».
The ranks of heavenly hosts glorify him, and the Cherubim tremble, and the Seraphim. Every breath and creation, praise in song, bless, and exalt him, for all ages.
Ἡμαρτηκότα, Σωτὴρ ἐλέησον, διέγειρόν μου τὸν νοῦν, πρὸς ἐπιστροφήν, δέξαι μετανοοῦντα, οἰκτείρησον βοῶντα· Ἥμαρτόν σοι μόνῳ, ἠνόμησα, ἐλέησόν με.
O Saviour, I have been sinning. Have mercy. Awaken my mind to repentance. Accept this repenting one. Have pity on one crying out: I sinned against you alone. I was lawless. Have mercy on me.
Ὁ διφρηλάτης, Ἠλίας, ἅρματι, ταῖς ἀρεταῖς ἐπιβάς, ὡς εἰς Οὐρανόν, ἤγετο ὑπεράνω, ποτὲ τῶν ἐπιγείων· τούτου οὖν ψυχή μου, τὴν ἄνοδον ἀναλογίζου.
The chariot driver Elijah, armoured in virtues, mounted up as if to heaven, leading upward formerly earthbound things. Therefore, O my soul, consider this the way up.
Τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, τὸ ῥεῖθρον πρότερον, τῇ μηλωτῇ Ἠλιού, δι’ Ἐλισσαιέ, ἔστη ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα· αὐτὴ δὲ ὦ ψυχή μου, ταύτης οὐ μετέσχες, τῆς χάριτος δι’ ἀκρασίαν.
Elisha, with Elijah’s hairy cloak, made the impressive flow of the Jordan stand to either side. Yet, in this grace, O my soul, you have no portion, due to your intemperance.
Ὁ Ἐλισσαῖος, ποτὲ δεξάμενος, τὴν μηλωτὴν Ἠλιού, ἔλαβε διπλῆν, χάριν παρὰ Κυρίου· αὐτὴ δὲ ὦ ψυχή μου, ταύτης οὐ μετέσχες, τῆς χάριτος δι’ ἀκρασίαν.
Elisha, upon taking up, long ago, Elijah’s hairy cloak, received a double portion of grace from the Lord. Yet, in this grace, O my soul, you have no portion, due to your intemperance.
Ἡ Σωμανῖτις, ποτὲ τὸν δίκαιον, ἐξένισεν ὦ ψυχή, γνώμῃ ἀγαθῇ· σὺ δὲ οὐκ εἰσῳκίσω, οὐ ξένον, οὐχ ὁδίτην· ὅθεν τοῦ Νυμφῶνος, ῥιφήσῃ ἔξω θρηνῳδοῦσα.
O soul, the Shunammite, long ago, hosted the righteous one in her home, with goodwill. Yet, you have never welcomed into your home either stranger or traveller. Thus, from the Bridal Chamber you will be cast out, mourning.
Τοῦ Γιεζῆ, ἐμιμήσω τάλαινα, τὴν γνώμην τὴν ῥυπαράν, πάντοτε ψυχή· οὗ τὴν φιλαργυρίαν, ἀπώθου κᾂν ἐν γήρει· φεῦγε τῆς γεέννης, τὸ πῦρ, ἐκστᾶσα τῶν κακῶν σου.
O wretched soul, you always emulated Gehazi’s sordid manner of thinking, which is love of money. Cast it away, even if in your old age. Flee the fire of Gehenna, having turned from your evil ways.
Σὺ τὸν Ὀζίαν, ψυχὴ ζηλώσασα, τὴν τούτου λέπραν ἐν σοί, ἔσχες ἐν διπλῷ· ἄτοπα γὰρ λογίζῃ, παράνομα δὲ πράττεις· ἄφες ἃ κατέχεις, καὶ πρόσδραμε τῇ μετανοίᾳ.
O soul, having emulated Uzziah, you have a double portion of his leprosy in you, for your thinking is wicked, and your actions lawless. Drop what you hold, and run quickly to repentance.
Τοὺς Νινευΐτας, ψυχὴ ἀκήκοας, μετανοοῦντας Θεῷ, σάκκῳ καὶ σποδῷ· τούτους οὐκ ἐμιμήσω, ἀλλ’ ὤφθης σκαιοτέρα, πάντων τῶν πρὸ νόμου, καὶ μετὰ νόμον ἑπταικότων.
O soul, you have heard about the Ninevites repenting to God in sackcloth and ashes. You did not emulate them, but appeared more perverse than all those having stumbled before the Law and after the Law.
Τὸν ἐν τῷ λάκκῳ, βορβόρου ἤκουσας, Ἱερεμίαν ψυχή, πόλιν τὴν Σιών, θρήνοις καταβοῶντα, καὶ δάκρυα ζητοῦντα· μίμησαι τὸν τούτου, θρηνώδη βίον καὶ σωθήσῃ.
O soul, you heard of Jeremiah in the pit of filth, crying out in lamentations over the city of Zion, and seeking after tears. Emulate his dirge-like life and you will be saved.
Ὁ Ἰωνᾶς, εἰς Θαρσεῖς ἀπέδραμε, προγνοὺς τὴν ἐπιστροφήν, τῶν Νινευϊτῶν· ἔγνω γὰρ ὡς προφήτης, Θεοῦ τὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν· ὅθεν παρεζήλου, τὴν προφητείαν μὴ ψευσθῆναι.
Jonah ran away to Tarshish, having foreseen the repentance of the Ninevites, for he knew, as a as prophet, the compassion of God; therefore, he was intent that his prophecy not be false.
Τὸν Δανιήλ, ἐν τῷ λάκκῳ ἤκουσας, πῶς ἔφραξεν ὦ ψυχή, στόματα θηρῶν· ἔγνωκας πῶς οἱ Παῖδες, οἱ περὶ Ἀζαρίαν, ἔσβεσαν τῇ πίστει, καμίνου φλόγα καιομένην.
You heard, O soul, of Daniel in the pit, how he sealed the mouths of the beasts. You knew how the Young Men, those with Azariah, quenched through their faith the burning of the fiery furnace.
Τῆς παλαιᾶς, Διαθήκης ἅπαντας, παρήγαγόν σοι ψυχή, πρὸς ὑπογραμμόν· μίμησαι τῶν δικαίων, τὰς φιλοθέους πράξεις· ἔκφυγε δὲ πάλιν, τῶν πονηρῶν τὰς ἁμαρτίας.
O soul, I brought forth as a model all of the Old Testament together. Emulate the God-loving actions of the righteous. On the other hand, flee the sins of the wicked.
Δικαιοκρῖτα, Σωτὴρ ἐλέησον, καὶ ῥῦσαί με τοῦ πυρός, καὶ τῆς ἀπειλῆς, ἧς μέλλω ἐν τῇ κρίσει, δικαίως ὑποστῆναι· ἄνες μοι πρὸ τέλους, δι’ ἀρετῆς καὶ μετανοίας.
O Righteous Judge and Saviour, have mercy, and rescue me from the fire, and from the punishment which will be rightly set before me in my judgment. Forgive me before the end, through virtue and repentance.
Ὡς ὁ Λῃστὴς ἐκβοῶ σοι τὸ Μνήσθητι· ὡς Πέτρος κλαίω πικρῶς· Ἄνες μοι Σωτήρ, κράζω ὡς ὁ Τελώνης· δακρύω ὡς ἡ Πόρνη· δέξαι μου τὸν θρῆνον, καθὼς ποτὲ τῆς Χαναναίας.
Like the Thief, I call out to you, Remember me. Like Peter, I cry bitterly. Forgive me, O Saviour, I cry out like the Publican. I weep like the Harlot. Accept my lamentation, like the Canaanite woman long ago.
Τὴν σηπεδόνα, Σωτὴρ θεράπευσον, τῆς ταπεινῆς μου ψυχῆς, μόνε ἰατρέ· μάλαγμά μοι ἐπίθες, καὶ ἔλαιον καὶ οἶνον, ἔργα μετανοίας, κατάνυξιν μετὰ δακρύων.
O Saviour, heal the putrefaction of my impoverished soul. O only Healer, apply to me an ointment, both oil and wine: works of repentance, and compunction with tears.
Τὴν Χαναναίαν, κἀγὼ μιμούμενος, Ἐλέησόν με βοῶ, τῷ Υἱῷ Δαυΐδ· ἅπτομαι τοῦ κρασπέδου, ὡς ἡ Αἱμοῤῥοοῦσα· κλαίω ὡς ἡ Μάρθα, καὶ Μαρία ἐπὶ Λαζάρου.
Emulating the Canaanite woman, I, too, cry out: Have mercy on me, O Son of David. I touch your hem, like the Hemorrhaging woman. I cry like Martha and Mary for Lazarus.
Τὸ τῶν δακρύων, Σωτὴρ ἀλάβαστρον, ὡς μύρον κατακενῶν, ἐπὶ κεφαλῆς, κράζω σοι ὡς ἡ Πόρνη, τὸν ἔλεον ζητοῦσα· δέησιν προσάγω, καὶ ἄφεσιν αἰτῶ λαβεῖν με.
O Saviour, emptying upon your head an alabaster flask of tears like myrrh, I cry to you like the Harlot who was seeking mercy. I bring my petition, and ask to receive my forgiveness.
Εἰ καὶ μηδείς, ὡς ἐγώ σοι ἥμαρτεν, ἀλλ’ ὅμως δέξαι κἀμέ, εὔσπλαγχνε Σωτήρ, φόβῳ μετανοοῦντα, καὶ πόθῳ κεκραγότα· Ἥμαρτόν σοι μόνῳ, ἠνόμησα, ἐλέησόν με.
O compassionate Saviour, though no one sinned against you as I have done, even so, receive me, likewise, repenting in fear, and having cried out in regret: I sin against you alone. I was lawless. Have mercy on me.
Φεῖσαι Σωτήρ, τοῦ ἰδίου πλάσματος, καὶ ζήτησον ὡς ποιμήν, τὸ ἀπολωλός, πρόβατον· πλανηθέντα, ἐξάρπασον τοῦ λύκου, ποίησόν με θρέμμα, ἐν τῇ νομῇ τῶν σῶν προβάτων.
Spare, O Saviour, your own work, and seek out, as the Shepherd, the lost sheep. Having wandered, snatch me away from the wolf, and make me a nursling in the pasturage of your flocks.
Ὅταν Κριτής, καθίσῃς ὡς εὔσπλαγχνος, καὶ δείξῃς τὴν φοβεράν, δόξαν σου Χριστέ, ᾧ ποῖος φόβος τότε! καμίνου καιομένης, πάντων δειλιώντων, τὸ ἄστεκτον τοῦ βήματός σου.
When you are seated as compassionate Judge, and reveal your fearsome glory, O Christ, O what fear there will be, then, of the burning furnace, all being terrified of your unbearable judgment seat.
«Ἀσπόρου συλλήψεως, ὁ τόκος ἀνερμήνευτος, Μητρὸς ἀνάνδρου, ἄφθορος ἡ κύησις· Θεοῦ γὰρ ἡ γέννησις, καινοποιεῖ τὰς φύσεις· διό σε πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί, ὡς Θεόνυμφον Μητέρα, ὀρθοδόξως μεγαλύνομεν.»
The birth inexplicable from a seedless conception, undefiled is the childbearing from a husbandless Mother. The nativity of God creates natures anew. So we and every generation, like the God-Bride Mother, magnify you in proper worship.
Ὁ νοῦς τετραυμάτισται, τὸ σῶμα μεμαλάκισται, νοσεῖ τὸ πνεῦμα, ὁ λόγος ἠσθένησεν, ὁ βίος νενέκρωται, τὸ τέλος ἐπὶ θύραις· διό μοι τάλαινα ψυχή, τί ποιήσεις ὅταν ἔλθῃ, ὁ Κριτὴς ἀνερευνῆσαι τὰ σά;
My mind has been wounded, my body has been weakened, my spirit is sick, my reason is weak, and my life has become as though dead. My end is at the gates. Therefore, O wretched soul, what will you do for me when the Judge comes to examine everything of yours?
Μωσέως παρήγαγον, ψυχὴ τὴν κοσμογένεσιν, καὶ ἐξ ἐκείνου, πᾶσαν ἐνδιάθετον, γραφὴν ἱστοροῦσάν σοι, δικαίους καὶ ἀδίκους· ὧν τοὺς δευτέρους ὦ ψυχή, ἐμιμήσω, οὐ τοὺς πρώτους, εἰς Θεὸν ἐξαμαρτήσασα.
O soul, I presented the account of the creation of the world by Moses, and after that, each canonical Scripture depicting for you the righteous and the unrighteous, of which, it is the second, O soul, which you emulated and not the first, having sinned much against God.
Very interesting here is the adjective “canonical” ἐνδιάθετον, a technical term when used in reference to Scripture. Which books precisely Andreas had in mind is unclear, though a limited list might be construed from the allusions found throughout the Great Canon. The somewhat odd form ἱστοροῦσαν, properly ἱστοροῦσα, is a feminine participle. So, it is “each canonical” Scripture depicting the characters to the soul rather the speaker, just to clear that up. Another interesting technical term is κοσμογένεσις kosmogenesis “account of the creation of the world,” which in this case, along with its attribution to Moses, clearly reflects not merely the contents but even, likely intentionally, the traditional title of the book in question, Genesis.
Ὁ Νόμος ἠσθένησεν, ἀργεῖ το Εὐαγγέλιον, Γραφὴ δὲ πᾶσα, ἐν σοὶ παρημέληται, Προφῆται ἠτόνησαν, καὶ πᾶς δικαίου λόγος· αἱ τραυματίαι σου ὦ ψυχή, ἐπληθύνθησαν, οὐκ ὄντος, ἰατροῦ τοῦ ὑγιοῦντός σε.
The Law was weak. The Gospel did nothing. All Scripture is neglected by you. The Prophets lacked strength, and every word of a righteous person. O soul, your wounds were multiplied, there being no healer for healing you.
The point expressed here is that the soul has undervalued and ignored all Divinely-sourced (namely, Scriptural) lessons toward improvement and health. Having done so, there is no other possible help that exists that could improve the soul’s condition.
Τῆς νέας παράγω σοι, Γραφῆς τὰ ὑποδείγματα, ἐνάγοντά σε, ψυχὴ πρὸς κατάνυξιν· δικαίους οὖν ζήλωσον, ἁμαρτωλοὺς ἐκτρέπου, καὶ ἐξιλέωσαι Χριστόν, προσευχαῖς τε καὶ νηστείαις, καὶ ἁγνείᾳ καὶ σεμνότητι.
O soul, I presented you the examples of the New Scripture for leading you to compunction. Therefore, emulate the righteous, avoid sinners, and propitiate Christ, through prayers and also fastings, in both purity and reverence.
Χριστὸς ἐνηπίασε, σαρκὶ προσομιλήσας μοι, καὶ πάντα ὅσα, ὑπάρχει τῆς φύσεως, βουλήσει ἐπλήρωσε, τῆς ἁμαρτίας δίχα· ὑπογραμμόν σοι ὦ ψυχή, καὶ εἰκόνα προδεικνύων, τῆς αὐτοῦ συγκαταβάσεως.
Christ became an infant, having entered into flesh for me, and everything which belongs to my nature, he fulfilled willingly, except sin, an example for you, O soul, and an image indicating his condescension.
Χριστὸς ἐνηνθρώπησε, καλέσας εἰς μετάνοιαν, λῃστὰς καὶ πόρνας, ψυχὴ μετανόησον, ἡ θύρα ἠνέῳκται, τῆς Βασιλείας ἤδη· καὶ προαρπάζουσιν αὐτήν, Φαρισαῖοι καὶ Τελῶναι, καὶ μοιχοὶ μεταποιούμενοι.
Christ became human, calling thieves and harlots to repentance. Repent, O soul. The gate of the Kingdom is already opened, and the repenting Pharisees, Publicans, and adulterous already reach it.
Χριστὸς Μάγους ἔσωσε, Ποιμένας συνεκάλεσε, Νηπίων δήμους, ἀπέδειξε Μάρτυρας, Πρεσβύτην ἐδόξασε, καὶ γηραλέαν Χήραν· ὧν οὐκ ἐζήλωσας ψυχή, οὐ τὰς πράξεις, οὐ τὸν βίον· ἀλλ’ οὐαί σοι ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαι!
Christ saved the Magi, called together the Shepherds, revealed a crowd of Infants as Martyrs, and glorified the Elder and the aged Widow, none of whom, O soul, have you emulated, neither their actions, nor their lives. So woe to you, when you are judged!
Νηστεύσας ὁ Κύριος, ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα, ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, ὕστερον ἐπείνασε, δεικνὺς τὸ ἀνθρώπινον. Ψυχὴ μὴ ἀθυμήσῃς· ἂν σοι προσβάλῃ ὁ ἐχθρός, προσευχαῖς τε καὶ νηστείας, ἐκ ποδῶν ἀποκρουσθήτω σοι.
The Lord, having fasted for forty days in the desert, was hungry at the end, showing his humanity. O soul, do not be dismayed. If the Enemy attacks you, drive him far away from you through prayer and fasting.
Χριστὸς ἐπειράζετο, Διάβολος ἐπείραζε· δεικνὺς τοὺς λίθους, ἵνα ἄρτοι γένωνται· εἰς ὄρος ἀνήγαγεν, ἰδεῖν τὰς βασιλείας, τοῦ Κόσμου πάσας ἐν ῥιπῇ. Φοβοῦ ὦ ψυχὴ τὸ δρᾶμα, νῆφε, εὔχου, πᾶσαν ὥραν Θεῷ.
Christ was tempted. The Devil tempted him, showing him the stones, so they would become bread. He led him up a mountain to see all of the kingdoms of the world in an instant. Fear, O soul, that dreadful event. Beware, and pray every hour to God.
Τρυγὼν ἡ φιλέρημος, φωνὴ βοῶντος ἤχησε, Χριστοῦ ὁ λύχνος, κηρύττων μετάνοιαν, Ἡρῴδης ἠνόμησε, σὺν τῇ Ἡρῳδιάδι. Βλέπε ψυχή μου μὴ παγῇς, τῶν ἀνόμων ταῖς παγίσιν, ἀλλ’ ἀσπάζου τὴν μετάνοιαν.
The desert-loving Dove, the Lamp of Christ, sounded his voice of one crying out, preaching repentance. Herod was lawless with Herodias. O my soul, look out, so you are not caught in the snares of the lawless. Instead, embrace repentance.
Τὴν ἔρημον ᾤκησεω, ὁ Πρόδρομος τῆς χάριτος, καὶ Ἰουδαία, πᾶσα καὶ Σαμάρεια, ἀκούοντες ἔτρεχον, καὶ ἐξωμολογοῦντο, τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἑαυτῶν, βαπτιζόμενοι προθύμως· οὓς αὐτὴ οὐκ ἐμιμήσω ψυχή.
The Forerunner of grace made the desert his home, and all Judea and Samaria, hearing, were running out, and having confessed their sins, being baptized eagerly, none of whom you emulated, O soul.
Ὁ γάμος μὲν τίμιος, ἡ κοίτη δὲ ἀμίαντος, ἀμφότερα γάρ, Χριστὸς προευλόγησε, σαρκὶ ἐσθιόμενος, καὶ ἐν Κανᾷ τῷ γάμῳ, τὸ ὕδωρ οἶνον ἐκτελῶν, καὶ δεικνύων πρῶτον θαῦμα, ἵνα σὺ μετατεθῇς ὦ ψυχή.
Marriage is honourable, and its bed undefiled. For Christ has already blessed both, both eating in the flesh and changing the water to wine at the wedding in Cana, and revealing his first miracle so you will repent, O my soul.
Παράλυτον ἔσφιγξε, Χριστὸς τὴν κλίνην ἄραντα, καὶ νεανίσκον, θανέντα ἐξήγειρε, τῆς χήρας τὸ κύημα, καὶ τοῦ Ἑκατοντάρχου, καὶ Σαμαρείτιδι φανείς, τὴν ἐν πνεύματι λατρείαν, σοὶ ψυχὴ προεζωγράφησεν.
Christ strengthened the paralytic, who picked up his bed. He raised the young man who had died, the child of the widow, as well as that of the centurion, and appearing to the Samaritan woman, he depicted worship in spirit for you, O soul.
Αἱμόῤῥουν ἰάσατο, ἁφῇ κρασπέδου Κύριος, λεπροὺς καθῆρε, τυφλοὺς καὶ χωλεύοντας, φωτίσας ἀνώρθωσε, κωφούς τε καὶ ἀλάλους, καὶ τὴν συγκύπτουσαν χαμαί, ἐθεράπευσε τῷ λόγῳ, ἵνα σὺ σωθῇς ἀθλία ψυχή.
The Lord healed the Hemorrhaging woman with a touch his hem. He cleansed the leper. He gave enlightened the blind and straightened the lame. He healed by his word the deaf, the mute, and the widow who was bent-backed, so you will be saved, O wretched soul.
Τὰς νόσους ἰώμενος, πτωχοῖς εὐηγγελίζετο, Χριστὸς ὁ Λόγος· κυλλοὺς ἐθεράπευσε, τελώναις συνήσθιεν, ἁμαρτωλοῖς ὡμίλει· τῆς Ἰαείρου θυγατρός, τὴν ψυχὴν προμεταστάσαν, ἐπανήγαγεν ἁφῇ τῆς χειρός.
Healing sicknesses, Christ the Word preached the Gospel to the poor. He healed those who could not walk, ate with publicans, and consorted with sinners. He returned the soul of the daughter of Jair, which had already departed, with a touch of his hand.
Τελώνης ἐσῴζετο, καὶ Πόρνη ἐσωφρόνιζε, καὶ Φαρισαῖος, αὐχῶν κατεκρίνετο· ὁ μὲν γάρ, Ἱλάσθητι, ἡ δέ, Ἐλέησόν με· ὁ δὲ ἐκόμπαζε, βοῶν· Ὁ Θεὸς εὐχαριστῶ σοι· καὶ ἑξῆς τὰ τῆς ἀνοίας ῥητά.
He saved the Publican, and he made the Harlot be chaste, but he condemned the boasting Pharisee. The two cried out, Forgive me, and, Have mercy upon me. The other had boasted, crying out, O my God, I give thanks to you, and the rest of his insane words.
Ζακχαῖος Τελώνης ἦν, ἀλλ’ ὅμως διεσῴζετο, καὶ Φαρισαῖος, ὁ Σίμων ἐσφάλλετο, καὶ Πόρνη ἐλάμβανε, τὰς ἀφεσίμους λύσεις, παρὰ τοῦ ἔχοντος ἰσχύν, ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας· ὅν ψυχὴ σαυτῇ ἰλέωσαι.
Zacchaeus was a publican, but he saved him likewise. The Pharisee Simon fell, but the Harlot received the remission of sins from the one who has authority to forgive sins. O soul, you yourself, propitiate him.
Τὴν Πόρνην ὦ τάλαινα, ψυχή μου οὐκ ἐζήλωσας, ἥτις λαβοῦσα, μύρου τὸ ἀλάβαστρον, σὺν δάκρυσιν ἤλειψε, τοὺς πόδας τοῦ Κυρίου· ἐξέμαξε δὲ ταῖς θριξί, τῶν ἀρχαίων ἐγκλημάτων, τὸ χειρόγραφον ῥηγνύντος αὐτῇ.
O my wretched soul, you did not emulate the Harlot, who, having taken her alabaster flask of myrrh, and with many tears welling up, wiped the feet of the Lord with her hair, destroying the record of her old transgressions.
Τὰς πόλεις αἷς ἔδωκε, Χριστὸς τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον, ψυχή μου ἔγνως, ὅπως κατηράθησαν· φοβοῦ τὸ ὑπόδειγμα, μὴ γένῃ ὡς ἐκεῖναι· ταῖς ἐν Σοδόμοις γὰρ αὐτάς, ὁ Δεσπότης παρεικάσας, ἕως ᾍδου κατεδίκασε.
O my soul, you knew those cities to which Christ gave the Gospel, how they were cursed. Fear their example. Do not be like them, for the Master, having compared them to those in Sodom, condemned them to Hades.
Μὴ χείρων ὦ ψυχή μου, φανῇς δι’ ἀπογνώσεως, τῆς Χαναναίας, τὴν πίστιν ἀκούσασα· δι’ ἧς τὸ θυγάτριον, λόγῳ Θεοῦ ἰάθη. Υἱὲ Δαυῒδ σῶσον κἀμέ, ἀναβόησον ἐκ βάθους, τῆς καρδίας ὡς ἐκείνη Χριστῷ.
O my soul, do not be overcome when you find yourself in despair, having heard of the Canaanite woman’s faith, through which her daughter was healed by the Word of God. Cry out from the depths of your heart, O Son of David, save even me, as she did to Christ.
Σπλαγχνίσθητι σῶσόν με, Υἱὲ Δαυῒδ ἐλεησον, ὁ δαιμονῶντας, λόγῳ ἰασάμενος· φωνὴν δὲ τὴν εὔσπλαγχνον, ὡς τῷ Λῃστῇ μοι φράσον· Ἀμήν σοι λέγω μετ’ ἐμοῦ, ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ Παραδείσῳ, ὅταν ἔλθω ἐν τῇ δόξῃ μου.
Have compassion, save me, O Son of David, have mercy, healer of the demon-possessed by your word. Declare with your compassionate voice, as to the Thief, to me: Verily, I say to you, you shall be with me in Paradise when I come in my glory.
Λῃστὴς κατηγόρει σοι, Λῃστὴς ἐθεολόγει σοι· ἀμφότεροι γάρ, σταυρῷ συνεκρέμαντο, ἀλλ’ ὦ Πολυεύσπλαγχνε, ὡς τῷ πιστῷ Λῃστῇ σου, τῷ ἐπιγνόντι σε Θεόν, κἀμοὶ ἄνοιξον τὴν θύραν, τῆς ἐνδόξου Βασιλείας σου.
A thief was accusing you, and a thief was calling you God. Yet the both of them were hanging upon a cross. Even so, O Greatly Compassionate, as with the Thief’s faith in you when he acknowledged you God, open also to me the gate of your glorious Kingdom.
Ἡ κτίσις συνείχετο, σταυρούμενόν σε βλέπουσα· ὄρη καὶ πέτραι, φόβῳ διεῤῥήγνυντο· καὶ γῆ συνεσείετο, καὶ ᾍδης ἐγυμνοῦτο· καὶ συνεσκότασε τὸ φῶς, ἐν ἡμέρᾳ καθορῶν σε, Ἰησοῦ, προσηλωμένον σαρκί.
Creation was in anguish when it saw you crucified. The mountains and rocks were splitting apart in terror. The earth, too, was trembling in fear, and Hades was stripped naked. The light was turned into darkness during the day, beholding you, O Jesus, being nailed in the flesh.
Ἀξίους μετανοίας, καρποὺς μὴ ἀπαιτήσῃς με· ἡ γὰρ ἰσχύς μου, ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐξέλιπε· καρδίαν μοι δώρησαι, ἀεὶ συντετριμμένην· πτωχείαν δὲ πνευματικήν, ἵνα ταῦτά σοι προσοίσω, ὡς δεκτὴν θυσίαν μόνε Σωτήρ.
Do not demand of me fruits worthy of repentance, for my strength failed away within me. Grant me a heart which is forever contrite, and poverty of spirit, so I can offer them to you as an acceptable sacrifice, O only Saviour.
Κριτά μου καὶ γνῶστά μου, ὁ μέλλων πάλιν ἔρχεσθαι, σὺν τοῖς Ἀγγέλοις, κρῖναι Κόσμον ἅπαντα, ἱλέῳ σου ὄμματι, τότε ἰδών με φεῖσαι· καὶ οἴκτειρόν με Ἰησοῦ, τὸν ὑπὲρ τὴν πᾶσαν φύσιν, τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἁμαρτήσαντα.
O my Judge who also knows me, when you shall come again with your Angels to judge the whole world, looking at me then with mercy in your eyes, O Jesus, spare and have compassion on me, who more than any other being amongst humankind has sinned.