The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas-tide Hymns from the Eastern Churches

Introduction to Brownlie's Hymns of the Greek Church

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Ferial Midnight Office of the Greek Church - 8th Century, Ἰδοὺ ὁ Νυμφιὸς ἔρχεται ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τῆς νυκτός (inspired by the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13)


St. Anatolius of Constantinople (d. 458)1


Cassia the Recluse


St. Cosmas of Jerusalem, surnamed The Melodist (A.D. 780), "Canon for Christmas Day":

See also:


St. Ephraem Syrus


Hymn 1. This Is The Day That Gladdened Them

Hymn 2. Blessed Be That Child

Hymn 3. Blessed Be That First Day of Thine, Lord

Hymn 4. This Is The Month Which Brings All Manner Of Joy

Hymn 5. At The Birth Of The Son

Hymn 6. Blessed Be The Messenger That Was Laden

Hymn 7. The Son Of The Maker is Like Unto His Father As Maker!

Hymn 8. That Thy Resurrection Might Be Believed

Hymn 9. Come Rest, And Be Still In The Bosom Of Thy Mother

Hymn 10. In Thee Will I Begin To Speak

Hymn 11. I Shall Not Be Jealous, My Son. The Virgin Mother to Her Child.

Hymn 12. The Babe That I Carry Carries Me

Hymn 13. In The Days Of The King. Compare Hymn II. For the Epiphany: In The Time Of The King

Hymn 14. Of The Birth Of The Firstborn
            Resp.--Blessed be he who became beyond measure low,
            that he might make us beyond measure great.

Hymn 15. Celebrate, O Nations, This Feast
            Resp.--Blessed is He above all in His Birth! (bis).

Hymn 16. Who Then That Is Mortal Man
            Resp.--Glory to all of Thee from all of us! (bis.)

Hymn 17. Infants Were Slain Because Of Thy Birth
            Resp., Praise to Thee from every mouth on this Day of Thy Birth!

Hymn 18. Blessed Art Thou, O Church, for lo! in thee is the sound
            Resp.--Praise be to Him Who sent Him! (bis)

Hymn 19. The First Year Wherein, Our Saviour Was Born
            Resp.--Blessed be thy Birth that gladdens all creatures!


Hymn 1. The Heavens He Has Renewed
            Resp.— To You be praise from Your flock in the day of Your Epiphany!

Hymn 2. In The Time Of The King — Nearly identical with Hymn XIII. On the Nativity. See: In The Days Of The King
            Resp.— To You be praise Who in this feast makest all to exult!

Hymn 3. Christ and Chrism Are Conjoined
            Resp.— Christ with chrism,1 lo! He is sealing the newborn lambs in His flock!

Hymn 4. Descend My Sealed Brethren
            Resp.— Blessed be He that blots out in water misdeeds that are without measure!

Hymn 5. Descend, My Brethren
            Resp.— Blessed be He that ordained baptism, for the atonement of the sons of Adam!

Hymn 6. The Spirit Came Down From On High
            Resp.— Blessed be He Who was baptized that He might baptize you,
            that you should be absolved from your offenses.

Hymn 7. The Flock of Jacob Came Down
            Resp.— Blessed is He Who atoned your sins, that you might receive His Body worthily!

Hymn 8. God In His mercy Stooped And Came Down
            Resp.— Happy are you whose bodies have been made to shine!

Hymn 9. O John, Who Saw The Spirit
            Resp., Blessed is He Who came down, and sanctified water for the remission of the sins
             of the children of Adam!

Hymn 10. Adam Sinned And Earned All Sorrows
            Resp.— Glory to Him Who came and restored it!

Hymn 11. Give Thanks, O Daughter
            Resp.— Let the bodies rejoice which the Evil One had made naked,
            that in the water they have put on their glory!

Hymn 12.  In Baptism Adam Found Again
            Resp.— Blessed is He Who went down and was baptized in Jordan,
            and turned back the People from error!

Hymn 13. Your Garments Glisten, My Brethren, As Snow — Hymn of the Baptized.
            Resp .— Brethren, sing praises, to the Son of the Lord of all;
            Who has bound for you crowns, such as kings long for!

Hymn 14. My Thought Bore Me To Jordan — Hymn concerning our Lord and John.
            Resp .— Glory to You, my Lord, for You — with joy Heaven and earth worship!

Hymn 15. In the Birth of the Son Light Dawned


St. Germanus


St. Gregory


St. John of Damascus, from his Canon of Christmas Day


St. Methodius
Inspired by the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13


St. Romanus the Melodist


St. Theodore of the Studium


When With Powers of Heaven Attending - ό τε ήξείς θεός έν μυριάσι καί χίλίάσί, Ode I From the Canon for Apocreos (Brownlie)


Hymns Of Individual Translators


Rev. John Mason Neale

Hymns of the Eastern Church (London: J. T. Hayes, 1862)

St. Anatolius of Constantinople (d. 458)

In Bethlehem Is He Born, Idiomelon for Christmas

The Lord And King Of All Things, Stichera at Vespers, S. Stephen's Day

St. Germanus

A Great And Mighty Wonder, Stichera for Christmas-tide

It was earlier thought that this Stichera was written by S. Anatolius.

St. Cosmas of Jerusalem, surnamed The Melodist (A.D. 780), "Canon for Christmas Day":

Ode I. - Christ Is Born! Tell Forth His Fame! - Χριστος γενναται δοξασατε

Ode II. There was no entry, which is omitted due to the "severe and threatening character" of the source, "The Song of Moses," Deut. xxxii.

Ode III. - Him, Of The Father's Very Essence - τω προ των αιωνων

Ode IV. - Rod Of The Root Of Jesse - Ραβδος εκ της ριζης.

Ode V. - Father of Peace, and God of Consolation - Θεος ων ειρηνης.

Ode VI. - As Jonah, Issuing From His Three Days' Tomb - σπλαγχνων Ιωναν.

Ode VII. - The Holy Children Boldly Stand - οι παιδες ευσεβεια.

Ode VIII. - The Dewy Freshness That The Furnace Flings - θαυματος υπερϕυους η δροσοβολος.

Ode IX. - O Wondrous Mystery, Full of Passing Grace - μυστηριον ζενον

Rev. John Brownlie

These hymns are from the following collections edited by Rev. Brownlie:

  1. A Band of Herdsmen Tarried Late - άγγελοί μετά ποίμένων δοξάζουσι

  2. Behold the Bridegroom Cometh - 8th Century Greek Hymn (Ἰδοὺ ὁ Νυμφιὸς ἔρχεται ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τῆς νυκτός) from the Ferial Midnight Office of the Greek Church

  3. Behold the Bridegroom! Hark The Cry - St. Methodius, The Banquet of the Ten Virgins (8th Century)

  4. The Best That Heaven Could Bring - Anonymous

  5. Bethlehem Rejoices - St. John of Damascus, Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ

  6. Christ is Born, Go Forth To Meet Him - St. Cosmas, Χριστὸς γεννᾶται

  7. Come, Let Us Sing With Joyful Mirth - Δεύτε άγαλλίασωμέθα τώ καρόν | μυστηριον έπδίηγούμενοι

  8. Firm Through The Endless Years - Anatolis, ή Βασιλεία σου, Χρίστέ ό θεός | Menaion

  9. Gladness Fills The World This Morn - From the Russian Church

  10. Glory In The Highest! - From the Early Church

  11. Hail The Morn! Let Praises Cheerful - From the Russian Church

  12. Hail to the King, Who Comes in Weakness Now - οί μάγοι τά ξώρα προσψέρουσιν | οί ποίμένες τό θαύμα κηρύττουσιν

  13. Hail to the Morn That Dawns On Eastern Hills - τεχθένος τού Χρίστού

  14. Hark! Upon the Morning Breezes - Δόξα έν νψίστοίς θεώ

  15. He Came Because the Father Willed - Ὁ Πατὴρ εὐδόκησεν,

  16. Herdsmen Keeping Lonely Vigil - From the Early Church

  17. In The Bliss of Old Predicted - ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ σήμερον προφητικῶς εὐφραινέσθωσαν | Στιχηρὰ Ἰδιόμελα

  18. In The Early Morning - From the Early Church

  19. Jerusalem, Rejoice! - εὐφράνθητι Ἱερουσαλὴμ

  20. The King Is On His Journey - From the Russian Church

  21. Light Upon Our Gloom Arising - From the Russian Church

  22. Lo, the Clouds of Night Are Rending - From the Early Church

  23. The Longing Eyes That Sought The Light - From the Apostolic Church

  24. The Lord Of Life To Earth Came Down - καὶ Ποιμένες εἶδον τὸ θαῦμα, Ἀγγέλων ἀνυμνούντων, καὶ λεγόντων· Δόξα

  25. Now The King Immortal - Χρίστός ό Βασιλεύς

  26. O Come Let Us Adore - Δεῦτε ἀγαλλιασώμεθα τῷ κυρίῳ | (Στιχηρὰ Ἰδιόμελα)

  27. O Light Resplendent of the Morn - νῦν πάντα πεπλήρωται φωτὸς

  28. O Love Supreme, Exceeding Broad - O Despotou philanthropias! (From the Apostolic Church)

  29. Out From The Rising Of The Sun - From the Office Books of the Holy Eastern Church

  30. Over Trackless Regions - From the Early Church

  31. Rosy Dawn, With Locks of Gold - From the Early Church

  32. Thy Birth Upon Our World Hath Given - ή γέννησις σου Χρίστέ ό θεός ήμών

  33. Wake, My Soul! In Careless Slumber - ψυχή μου ! ψυχή μου ! άνάστα | τί καθεύδείς

  34. What Shall We Bring To Thee - Anatolis, τί σοι προσενέγκωμεν, Χριστὲ

  35. When O’er the World Augustus Reigned - Cassia the Recluse, Αὐγούστου μοναρχήσαντος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, | ἡ πολυαρχία τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐπαύσατο

  36. When With Powers of Heaven Attending - ό τε ήξείς θεός έν μυριάσι καί χίλίάσί, Ode I From the Canon for Apocreos

  37. Ye Saints, Exult With Cheerful So - Εὐφραίνεσθε Δίκαιοι· οὐρανοὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε·| σκιρτήσατε τὰ ὄρη, Χριστοῦ γεννηθέντος.

  38. Zion Is Glad This Glorious Morn - From the Early Church


Mr. William Chatterton Dix

Rev. Orby Shipley, ed., Lyra Messianica: Hymns and Verses on the Life of Christ (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green, 1864)


Rev. Gerald Moultrie

Hymns and Lyrics for the Seasons and Saints' Days of the Church (London: Joseph Masters, 1867).


Rev. Robert Maude Moorsom

Robert M. Moorsom, Renderings of Church Hymns from Eastern and Western Office Books (1901)


Mr. Allen W. Chatfield

Songs and Hymns of the Earliest Greek Poets (London, 1876); This volume is described as “A selection of songs and hymns from Christ and Paranikas, Anthologia Graeca Carminum Christianorum (Leipzig, 1871).”


Rev. Richard Frederick Littledale


Rev. William R. Clark

Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Vol. 14, The Writings of Methodius. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1864.), pp. 111-114.


S. W. Duffield


Another source for Greek hymns is

Bernhard Pick, ed., Hymns and Poetry of the Eastern Church (New York: Eaton & Mains, 1908). Note that Mr. Pick was as editor only, and was not a translator.


Greek Hymns Inspired by the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13

Primary Sources:

Anthologia Graeca Carminum Christianorum (Leipsic, 1871); the text is Greek with notes, preface, etc., in Latin. This link is to the Internet Archive,

Daniel, Theasaurus Hymnologicus, Vol. 3. (J.T. Loeschke, 1855); Google Books,; Internet Archive, .

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