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

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… 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
Copyright: Public Domain



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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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