EDITOR’S NOTE (Nick Stamatakis): The Hymn (Tropario) to Kassiani is considered to be one of the most beautiful (and at the same time the most difficult to perform) pieces of Byzantine music. As it usually happens in music and in art, behind an amazing piece of art is a unique inspiration: in our case is the story of Kassiani, an exceptionally beautiful and highly educated woman who lived in Constantinople in the 9th century AD and fell in love with the Emperor Theophilos, a love affair gone wrong and, as a result, turned Kassiani into a nun and a very significant poet… (You can read the story here).
BELOW enjoy the wonderful performance of the hymn by George Bilalis and the Romeiko Ensemble. George Bilalis will chant tonight as well as for the remaining of the Holy Week at St.Demetrios of Astoria, where you can listen to him live – a truly uplifting experience!… Or you can visit the Church’s website for a live stream of the service (link here).
(Lyrics in Greek and English follow the video)
Το τροπάριο της Κασσιανής
Κύριε, ἡ ἐν πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις περιπεσοῦσα γυνή,
τὴν σὴν αἰσθομένη θεότητα, μυροφόρου ἀναλαβοῦσα τάξιν,
ὀδυρομένη, μύρα σοι, πρὸ τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ κομίζει.
Οἴμοι! λέγουσα, ὅτι νύξ μοι ὑπάρχει, οἶστρος ἀκολασίας,
ζοφώδης τε καὶ ἀσέληνος ἔρως τῆς ἁμαρτίας.
Δέξαι μου τὰς πηγὰς τῶν δακρύων,
ὁ νεφέλαις διεξάγων τῆς θαλάσσης τὸ ὕδωρ·
κάμφθητί μοι πρὸς τοὺς στεναγμοὺς τῆς καρδίας,
ὁ κλίνας τοὺς οὐρανοὺς τῇ ἀφάτῳ σου κενώσει.
Καταφιλήσω τοὺς ἀχράντους σου πόδας,
ἀποσμήξω τούτους δὲ πάλιν τοῖς τῆς κεφαλῆς μου βοστρύχοις·
ὧν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ Εὔα τὸ δειλινόν,
κρότον τοῖς ὠσὶν ἠχηθεῖσα, τῷ φόβῳ ἐκρύβη.
Ἁμαρτιῶν μου τὰ πλήθη καὶ κριμάτων σου ἀβύσσους
τίς ἐξιχνιάσει, ψυχοσῶστα Σωτήρ μου;
Μή με τὴν σὴν δούλην παρίδῃς, ὁ ἀμέτρητον ἔχων τὸ ἔλεος.
Troparion 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,
Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.