Easter, Day 8: Apolytikia of the Resurrection

Today is the Octave Day of Easter, the first Sunday after Easter for us who follow the western calendar. For the Orthodox, it is Easter (Χριστός ἀνέστη!). In honour of that fact, I give to you the Apolytikia of the Resurrection in the eight tones.

An apolytikion is a dismissal hymn sung at the close of Vespers, the content of which reflects the theme of the day. Byzantine hymnody is based around eight tones (which do not correspond to western music’s octave). Here are they are (Tone 2 is my favourite):

Tone 1

Whilst the stone was sealed by the Jews, and the soldiers guarded thine undefiled Body, thou didst arise on the third day, O Saviour, granting life to the world. Therefore the Powers of the heavens cried out to thee, O Life-giver: Glory to thy Resurrection, O Christ: glory to thy kingdom: glory to thine oeconomy, O only lover of man.

Tone 2

When thou didst condescend unto death, O life immortal, then didst thou slay Hades with the lightning-flash of thy Godhead; and when thou didst raise the dead from the nethermost parts, all the powers of the heavens cried: O Christ, Life-giver, our God, glory to thee.

Tone 3

Let those of heaven rejoice, and those of earth exult, for the Lord hath wrought might with his arm: he hath by death trampled upon death, hath become the first-begotten of the dead, hath delivered us from the belly of Hades, and granted to the world great mercy.

Tone 4

The women-disciples of the Lord, having learnt from the Angel the glorious message of the Resurrection, and thrown off the ancestral sentence, exultingly spake to the Apostles: Death is spoiled, Christ the God is risen, granting to the world great mercy.

Plagal Tone 1

The word co-unoriginate with the Father and the Spirit, that was born of the Virgin for our salvation, let us, the faithful, hymn and adore; for he was pleased to ascend the Cross in flesh, and to endure death, and to raise the dead by his glorious Resurrection.

Plagal Tone 2

The Angelic Powers were upon thy tomb, and the guards became as dead; and Mary stood at the grave, seeking thine undefiled Body. Thou has spoiled Hades, not being tempted by it; thou didst meet the Virgin, granting life. Thou that didst rise from the dead, — O Lord, glory to thee.

Grave Tone

Thou didst by thy Cross destroy death; thou didst open Paradise to the Thief; thou didst change the lamentation of the Myrrh-bearing women; and didst command them to proclaim to the Apostles: That thou art risen, O Christ the God, giving to the world great mercy.

Plagal Tone 4

From on high though didst descend, O tender-hearted One; thou didst submit to three days burial; that thou mightest deliver us from our passions. Our life and Resurrection art thou, O Lord, glory to thee.

Translation by JNWB Robertson from The Divine Liturgies of Our Fathers Among the Saints John Chrysostom and Basil the Great, London, 1894.

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