Lamb in our Snow: A Western Carol to Treasure

(Link to the music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-W1tRHQLdY)   Edward Caswall (1814-1878) penned  buoyant words concerning the birth of the God-Man in 1858, after he had seen much sorrow.  See Amid the Winter’s Snow is a stirring carol that goes brilliantly with Salvation Army band music, as I first learned it. Its range of expression, from the contemplative to the celebratory, works well with the full range of brass instruments, from mellow flugel and alto…

The Treasure of our Resurrection: The Dismissal-Resurrectional Theotokion in Tone 7

Daniel 12, Proverbs 31, Psalm 44 (45), Psalm 131 (132), Isaiah 7 In the past few weeks, we have been blessed to remember numerous saints, and two of my favorites— one ancient, and one contemporary.  During our celebration of both St. Ambrose (last week) and St. Herman of Alaska (this week), we sang the resurrectional-dismissal hymn to the Theotokos—a deceptively simple prayer in tone 7: Since you are the treasure of our…

Somthing to Sing About! The Dogmatikon Theotokion in Tone Six

Isaiah 7; Daniel 12 For a few weeks, due to the liturgical rhythm, we have either repeated a dismissal-resurrectional Theotokion that we already considered in this series, or we have had this usual hymn replaced with something else. Considering the significance of this week, when we celebrate the entry of the Holy God-bearer into the Temple, I thought we could instead read closely a dogmatic hymn which we sing very frequently.  The…

Carrying Your Creator: The Dismissal-Resurrectional Theotokion in Tone One

Genesis 1-3, 1 Chronicles 16:8-36, Genesis 22:18 This week, we have had several feastdays, including October 31st, a day to remember the Hieromartyr John of Chicago.  His hymn, in tone one, leads to the dismissal-resurrectional Theotokion in tone one, as well. What a mysterious, provocative and joyful hymn this is!  It brings to life that great icon, frequently placed prominently over the apse, and commanding our attention. This icon, which typically includes…

Jesus in First Place: The Dismissal-Resurrectional Theotokion in Tone 8

Genesis 1-2; Hosea 8-13, Daniel 13, Colossians 1:15-20 For the next two weeks, we repeat, for dismissal, the beloved resurrectional Theotokion in tone four.  Since we have already looked closely at this hymn, we will look back to another of this series of hymns that concern Mary.  I am referring to the one that we heard a few weeks ago in worship:  the hymn in tone eight.  Alone, of the eight resurrectional-dismissal…

Even to the Angels Unknown! The Resurrectional-Dismissal Theotokion in Tone Four

That which was hidden from eternity, Even to the angels, a mystery unknown, Through you, Theotokos, is revealed to those on earth: God incarnate by union without confusion. Who even voluntarily accepted the Cross for us, By which, resurrecting the first-created, He saved our souls from death. I wonder whether we Christians realize how privileged we are?  The dismissal-resurrectional Theotokion in tone four reminds us that we are privy to the greatest…

Gate, Temple, Palace, and Throne: Theotokion after the Aposticha, Tone Five

The Psalter, Ezekiel 33-35, Isaiah 6 We have had several weeks of worship in which other hymns have pre-empted the usual resurrectional-dismissal hymns to the Theotokos.  This week in our worship, we repeat the “Theotokion” in tone three, which I considered in this blog several weeks ago! I have decided, then, to delve into another stunning hymn used this week that concerns the Theotokos and her relationship to our Redeemer. For those…