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Sunday, June 8, 2014
O Gracious Light!
O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
~ From The Book of Common Prayer (1979)
The Phos Hilaron (Φῶς Ἱλαρόν) is an ancient hymn - translated into English as 'Hail Gladdening Light' or 'O Gladsome/Joyous Light'. It is the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible that is still in use today. It is part of vespers in the Eastern Orthodox tradition and also used in Episcopal, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies. My personal favorite version is the translation by John Keble here below:
Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured
Who is th’immortal Father, heavenly, blest,
Holiest of Holies – Jesus Christ our Lord!
Now we are come to the sun’s hour of rest;
The lights of evening round us shine;
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit divine!
Worthiest art thou at all times to be sung
With undefiled tongue,
Son of our God, giver of life, alone:
Therefore in all the world thy glories, Lord, they own.