O Wondrous Mystery, Full of Passing Grace

O Wondrous Mystery, Full of Passing Grace

Translator: John Mason Neale (1862); Author: Cosmas, the Melodist (760)
Published in 2 hymnals

Representative Text

O wondrous mystery, full of passing grace!
The grot becometh Heav’n: the Virgin’s breast
The bright Cherubic Throne: the stall that place,
Where He, Who fills all space, vouchsafes to rest:
CHRIST our GOD, to Whom we raise
Hymns of thankfulness and praise!

The course propitious of the unknown Star
The Wise-men followed on its heavenly way,—
Until it led them, beckoning from afar,
To where the CHRIST, the King of all things, lay:
Him in Bethlehem they find,
Born the SAVIOUR of mankind.


“Where is the Child,” they ask, “the new-born King,
Whose herald-light is glittering in the sky,—
To Whom our offerings and our praise we bring?”
And Herod’s heart is troubled utterly.
Armed for war with GOD, in vain
Would he see that Infant slain.

Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1866

Translator: John Mason Neale

Neale, John Mason, D.D., was born in Conduit Street, London, on Jan. 24, 1818. He inherited intellectual power on both sides: his father, the Rev. Cornelius Neale, having been Senior Wrangler, Second Chancellor's Medallist, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and his mother being the daughter of John Mason Good, a man of considerable learning. Both father and mother are said to have been "very pronounced Evangelicals." The father died in 1823, and the boy's early training was entirely under the direction of his mother, his deep attachment for whom is shown by the fact that, not long before his death, he wrote of her as "a mother to whom I owe more than I can express." He was educated at Sherborne Grammar School, and was afterwards… Go to person page >

Author: Cosmas, the Melodist

Cosmas, St., The Melodist. (Died circ. A.D. 760.) The second among the Greek ecclesiastical poets. He was adopted by the father of St. John of Damascus, and educated with him by a Sicilian monk also named Cosmas, who had been redeemed from slavery by his adopted father. The two foster-brothers retired together to St. Sabas, and there stimulated, assisted and vied witii one another in the composition of hymns. It is not certain whether some of the Canons, Triodia, and Idiomela under the name of Cosmas may not be the work of the elder Cosmas. He was elected Bishop of Maiuma in A.D. 743, and is commemorated in the Greek Calendar on Oct. 14. The story of Cosmas the elder is beautifully told in Milman's Lat. Christ., vol. ii. 364. Daniel, vol. i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O Wondrous Mystery, Full of Passing Grace
Author: Cosmas, the Melodist (760)
Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Language: English



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Hymns and Poetry of the Eastern Church #140

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Hymns of the Eastern Church (5th ed.) #148

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