Canon of the Nativity

During Matins this Sunday, most churches will only sing the Irmos from each Ode. The cannon is so very rich, however! I have posted it in its entirety for your spiritual contemplation.

Ode 1

Irmos: Christ is born; glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; come to welcome Him! Christ is on earth; lift up your hearts! Sing to the Lord, O earth! Be exalted and sing with hearty gladness, O ye people, sing His praise for He is glorified!

 

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Man was made in the image of God, but he sinned, and lost immortality. He fell from the divine and better life, enslaved completely by corruption. Now the wise Creator fashions him again, for He has been glorified!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

The Creator shaped man with His own hands, but when He saw us perishing eternally, He bowed the heavens and came down to earth, and clothed Himself completely in our nature, truly incarnate from a pure and holy Virgin, for He has been glorified!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Wisdom, and Word, and Power, Christ our God is the Father’s Son, His Radiance. He was made man, a mystery concealed from every spirit above or on the earth. He has won us for Himself, for He has been glorified!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: Christ is born; glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; come to welcome Him! Christ is on earth; lift up your hearts! Sing to the Lord, O earth! Be exalted and sing with hearty gladness, O ye people, sing His praise for He is glorified!

Ode 3

Irmos: To the Son, Who was begotten by the Father without change, before all the ages and in the latter days was incarnate without seed of the Virgin. To Christ our God, we cry aloud: “Thou hast exalted our estate. Holy art Thou, O Lord!”

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Adam was made from dust, yet he shared God’s life-giving breath. He was deceived by woman and fell, but from the dead, he saw Christ born of woman. He shouted, “For my sake Thou hast become like me. Holy art Thou, O Lord!”

Nativity DetailGlory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou hast assumed a body of lowly clay, O Christ. By sharing our humble flesh, Thou hast made our race partakers of divinity. By becoming mortal man yet remaining God, Thou hast raised us from death to life. Holy art Thou, O Lord!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Make merry, O Bethlehem! Thou art the King of Judah’s princes. Christ, the Shepherd of Israel, who rides on the shoulders of the cherubim, has come forth from thee for all to see. He has raised us from death to life, and reigns over all.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: To the Son, Who was begotten by the Father without change, before all the ages and in the latter days was incarnate without seed of the Virgin. To Christ our God, we cry aloud: “Thou hast exalted our estate. Holy art Thou, O Lord!”

Hypakoe

Heaven brought the first fruits of the Gentiles as a gift for Thee: A star summoned the wise men to the babe in the manger. They were amazed to see neither throne nor scepter, but only abject poverty. What is more humble than a cave? What is more lowly than swaddling clothes? Yet the riches of Thy divinity shone through all these. O Lord, glory to Thee!

Kathisma Hymn

Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad! The Lamb of God has been born on earth, Granting redemption to the world. The Word, Who rests in the bosom of the Father, Has come forth without seed from the Virgin. The wise men were struck with amazement, Seeing Him born as an infant in Bethlehem. Let all creation glorify Him!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad! The Lamb of God has been born on earth, Granting redemption to the world. The Word, Who rests in the bosom of the Father, Has come forth without seed from the Virgin. The wise men were struck with amazement, Seeing Him born as an infant in Bethlehem. Let all creation glorify Him!

Ode 4

Irmos: Sprouted as a rod of Jesse’ root, a flower that blossomed from his stem , O Christ, Thou didst come forth from the Virgin. From that well-shaded mountain overshadowed and from her who knew no man, Thou wast made flesh. And yet Thou art not formed from matter. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

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Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou art the Expectation of the nations, O Christ, foretold by Jacob in days of old. Thou have sprung from Judah’s tribe, to plunder the might of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria, replacing error with faith acceptable to God. Glory to Thy power, O Lord.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou hast filled the star-gazers with joy, O Lord. They knew the hidden meaning of the prophet Balaam’s words. Thou hast made the star of Jacob to rise. As the first-fruits of the Gentiles it led them unto Thee. Thou didst openly receive their precious gifts. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou hast descended into the Virgin’s womb, O Christ, like rain on the fleece and as raindrops watering the earth. All earth’s rulers fall down before Thee: Ethiopia and the islands of Arabia, the kings of Tarshish, of Sheba, and the Medes. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: Sprouted as a rod of Jesse’ root, a flower that blossomed from his stem , O Christ, Thou didst come forth from the Virgin. From that well-shaded mountain overshadowed and from her who knew no man, Thou wast made flesh. And yet Thou art not formed from matter. Glory to Thy power, O Lord!

Ode 5

Irmos: O Father of Mercies, as God of peace, unto us hast Thou sent forth the Angel of great counsel Who brings His peace. Therefore watching through the night we are guided by the light of the knowledge of God, therefore, we glorify Thee, O Lover of Man!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Thou wast registered as Caesar’s subject, O Christ, in obedience to his decree. We were slaves of sin, and subject to the hateful enemy; by Thy poverty Thou hast set us free! Thou wast united to our nature in every way. Though we were formed from dust, by this communion we are made divine!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Behold, the Virgin, as foretold of old, has conceived and given birth to God made man. She remains a virgin still. Through her we are reconciled to God. Let us sinners faithfully sing her praise: she is truly Theotokos.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: O Father of Mercies, as God of peace, unto us hast Thou sent forth the Angel of great counsel Who brings His peace. Therefore watching through the night we are guided by the light of the knowledge of God, therefore, we glorify Thee, O Lover of Man!

Ode 6

3245588589_41ef712e43Irmos: Jonah was cast forth as he was received, from the beast of the sea, like an infant from the womb. And the Word, though He came to dwell in the Virgin and taking flesh, yet in passing through He safely kept her undefiled. For Himself not being subject to decay, he preserved His mother free from harm.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Christ our God has come in the flesh. The Father begot Him from the womb before the morning star. He rules the heavenly hosts, yet now He lies in a manger of dumb beasts. He Who looses the tangled knots of sin now is wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

A Son is born and given to the faithful, a newborn child of Adam’s race, yet He is Father and Ruler of the world to come. He is called the Angel of Great Counsel. He is the Mighty God; He rules all creation by His might.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: Jonah was cast forth as he was received, from the beast of the sea, like an infant from the womb. And the Word, though He came to dwell in the Virgin and taking flesh, yet in passing through He safely kept her undefiled. For Himself not being subject to decay, he preserved His mother free from harm.

Kontakion

Today the Virgin gives birth to the transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the unapproachable One. Angels, with shepherds, glorify Him. The wise men journey with the star, since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a little child!

Ikos

Bethlehem has opened Eden: come let us see! We have found joy in a secret place: come, let us seize Paradise hidden in the cave! There the unwatered Root has appeared, blossoming with forgiveness. There is found the undug Well, from which David longed to drink of old. There the Virgin has borne a child, quenching Adam’s and David’s thirst. Let us hurry to this place, where the Eternal God was born as a little child!

Ode 7

Irmos:The children brought up in godliness despising the impious decree were not in fear of the threat of fire, but in the midst of the flame, they sang: “O blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!”

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

The shepherds abiding in the fields were terrified by a dazzling sight. Around them shone the glory of the Lord. An angel shouted unto them, “Sing praises. The Messiah is born!” Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers!

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

After the angel spoke, the hosts of heaven suddenly cried out: “Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth, good will to men. Christ has shone forth.” Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!

Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 11.30.00 AMGlory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

“What news is this?” asked the shepherds. “Has God’s Messiah truly come? Let us go to Bethlehem.” They saw Thee there, and worshipped Thee. With Thy mother, they sang: “Blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Katavasia: The children brought up in godliness despising the impious decree were not in fear of the threat of fire, but in the midst of the flame, they sang: “O blessed art Thou, O God of our fathers!”

Ode 8

Irmos: When that furnace dripped with dew it showed the image of the wonder-transcending nature, for the flame , it burned not the children it had received, just as the Fire of Godhead burned not the Virgin’s womb where it descended. Therefore, let us lift our voices in songs of praise: “Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him throughout all ages!”

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

The daughter of Babylon drove David’s children from Zion with sword and spear. Now she sends her sons, the wise men, bearing gifts, to worship in David’s city, where God has come to dwell. So let us raise the song: “Let all creation bless the Lord, and exalt Him throughout all ages!”

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Grief had silenced the harps. Zion’s children would not sing in a foreign land. But now Christ has shone forth in Bethlehem destroying the din of Babylon’s idolatries. So let us raise the song: “Let all creation bless the Lord, and exalt Him throughout all ages!”

Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Babylon plundered Zion, and captured all her royal wealth. But now, with a guiding star, Christ lures her treasure-laden wise men back to Zion. So let us raise the song: “Let all creation bless the Lord, and exalt Him throughout all ages!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

We praise, bless and worship the Lord, singing and exalting Him throughout all ages.

Katavasia: When that furnace dripped with dew it showed the image of the wonder-transcending nature, for the flame , it burned not the children it had received, just as the Fire of Godhead burned not the Virgin’s womb where it descended. Therefore, let us lift our voices in songs of praise: “Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him throughout all ages!”

Ode 9

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Magnify, O my soul, she who is greater in honour and more glorious than the host above!

Irmos: A mystery! Strange and wonderful I see! Heaven is a cave on earth! The cherubic throne is the Virgin! The God Whom cannot be contained is placed in the manger, a noble place, O Christ our God. Him do we praise and magnify!

Magnify, O my soul, God born in the flesh, from the virgin.

The wise men saw a new, uncharted star, following an unexpected course. Its brightness surpassed every star in heaven. It foretold the Messiah’s birth: Christ, the King, born on earth in Bethlehem, for our salvation.

Magnify O my soul, The King born in the cave!

The wise men saw a new, uncharted star, following an unexpected course. Its brightness surpassed every star in heaven. It foretold the Messiah’s birth: Christ, the King, born on earth in Bethlehem, for our salvation.

Magnify, O my soul, God, worshipped by the wise men!

The wise men saw a new, uncharted star, following an unexpected course. Its brightness surpassed every star in heaven. It foretold the Messiah’s birth: Christ, the King, born on earth in Bethlehem, for our salvation.

Magnify, O my soul, God worshipped by the wise men!

“Where is the newborn Infant-King? We have seen His star,” the wise men said. “We have come to worship Him.” Godless Herod trembled with fury. In his raging madness he plotted to kill Christ.

Magnify, O my soul, the Lord Who revealed Himself to the wise men by a star!

“Where is the newborn Infant-King? We have seen His star,” the wise men said. “We have come to worship Him.” Godless Herod trembled with fury. In his raging madness he plotted to kill Christ.

Magnify, O my soul, the pure virgin who gave birth to Christ the King!

Herod inquired where the star appeared which had led the wise men to Bethlehem, but after they worshipped Christ with gifts, that same star led them back to their own land, confounding their pursuer, that godless murderer of children.

Wise men and shepherds came to worship Christ, born in the City of Bethlehem.

Herod inquired where the star appeared which had led the wise men to Bethlehem, but after they worshipped Christ with gifts, that same star led them back to their own land, confounding their pursuer, that godless murderer of children.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Magnify, O my soul, she who is greater in honour and more glorious than the host above!

Katavasia: A mystery! Strange and wonderful I see! Heaven is a cave on earth! The cherubic throne is the Virgin! The God Whom cannot be contained is placed in the manger, a noble place, O Christ our God. Him do we praise and magnify!

The Exapostilarion

Our Savior, the dayspring from the East, has visited us from on high, and we, who were in darkness and shadow, have found the truth, for the Lord is born of the Virgin!