Those feet whose sound Eve heard

by abbamoses

Saint Kassiani

The “Bridegroom Matins” service for Holy Wednesday — usually served on Tuesday Evening of Holy Week — includes one of the best-loved hymns in Orthodoxy, composed in the 9th century by St. Kassiani the Nun. Though St. Kassiani wrote many hymns, this one has the honor of being called the Hymn of Kassiani.

The woman who had fallen into many sins,
perceiving Thy divinity, O Lord,
fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer,
and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh
to Thee before Thy burial.
Woe is me, she said,
for night surrounds me, dark and moonless,
and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin.
Accept the fountain of my tears,
O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea.
Incline to the groanings of my heart,
O Thou who in Thine ineffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens.
I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my head,
those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise, and hid herself for fear.
Who can search out the multitude of my sins
and the abyss of Thy judgments, O Savior of my soul?
Despise me not, Thine handmaiden,
for Thou hast mercy without measure.

The Wikipedia article on St. Kassiani says that in many parts of Greece, the Wednesday night service is widely attended by prostitutes, who “come in great numbers, in order to hear the Hymn of Kassiani, as the hymn is traditionally associated with the woman fallen in many sins.” May God grant them health and salvation, and have mercy on us all.

Image: Wikipedia

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