THE HOLY ORTHODOX FAITH
by St. Ephraim the Syrian on the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Hymn on the Nativity by St. Ephraim the Syrian: Blessed be that Child, Who gladdened Bethlehem today! Blessed be the Babe Who made manhood young again today! Blessed be the Fruit, Who lowered Himself to our famished state!
Blessed be the Good One Who suddenly enriched our necessitousness and supplied our needs! Blessed be He Whose tender mercies made Him condescend to visit our infirmities! Praise to the Fountain that was sent for our propitiation.
Praise be to Him Who made void the Sabbath by fulfilling it! Praise too to Him Who rebuked the leprosy and it remained not, Whom the fever saw and fled! Praise to the Merciful, Who bore our toil! Glory to Thy coming, which quickened the sons of men!
Glory to Him Who came to us by His first-born! Glory to the Silence that spake by His Voice. Glory to the One on high Who was seen by His Day-spring! Glory to the Spiritual Who was pleased to have a Body, that in it His virtue might be felt, and He might by that Body show mercy on His household’s bodies! Glory to that Hidden One Whose Son was made manifest! Glory to that Living One Whose Son was made to die! Glory to that Great One Whose Son descended and was small! Glory to the Power Who did straiten His greatness by a form, His unseen nature by a shape! With eye and mind we have beheld Him, yea with both of them.
Blessed be He Whom free will crucified, because He let it: blessed be He Whom the wood also did bear, because He allowed it. Blessed be He Whom the grave bound, that had thereby a limit set it.
Blessed be He, Whose own will brought Him to the Womb and Birth, to arms and to increase in stature. Blessed be He whose changes purchased life for human nature. Blessed be He, Who sealed our soul and adorned it and espoused it to Himself.
Blessed be He, Who made our Body a tabernacle for His unseen Nature. Blessed be He, Who by our tongue interpreted His secret things. Let us praise that Voice whose glory is hymned with our lute, and His virtue with our harp.
The Gentiles have assembled and have come to hear His strains. Glory to the Son of the Good One, Whom the sons of the evil one rejected! Glory to the Son of the Just One, Whom the sons of wickedness crucified!
Glory to Him Who loosed us and was bound for us all! Glory to Him Who gave the pledge and redeemed it too! Glory to the Beautiful Who conformed us to His image! Glory to that Fair One Who looked not to our foulnesses!
Glory to Him Who sowed His Light in the darkness and was reproached in His hidden state and covered His secret things. He also stripped and took off from us the clothing of our filthiness. Glory be to Him on high Who mixed His salt in our minds, His leaven in our souls. His Body became Bread to quicken our deadness. Praise to the Rich Who paid for us all that which He borrowed not; and wrote His bill and also became our debtor! By His yoke He brake from us the chains of him that led us captive. Glory to the Judge Who was judged and made His Twelve to sit in judgment on the tribes and by ignorant men condemned the scribes of that nation! Glory to Him Who could never be measured by us! Our heart is too small for Him, yea our mind is too feeble. He makes foolish our littleness by the riches of His Wisdom. Glory to Him Who lowered Himself and asked; that He might hear and learn that which He knew; that He might by His questions reveal the treasure of His helpful graces! Let us adore Him Who enlightened with His doctrine our mind, and in our hearing sought a pathway for His words.
Praise we Him Who grafted into our tree His fruit. Thanks to Him Who sent His Heir that by Him He might draw us to Himself, yea make us heirs with Him! Thanks to that Good One, the cause of all goods!