The Day of Resurrection

Representative Text

1 The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad;
the passover of gladness,
the passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
from earth unto the sky,
our Christ hath brought us over,
with hymns of victory.

2 Our hearts be pure from evil,
that we may see aright
the Lord in rays eternal
of resurrection light;
and listening to his accents,
may hear, so calm and plain,
his own "All hail!" and, hearing,
may raise the victor strain.

3 Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Author: St. John of Damascus

Eighth-century Greek poet John of Damascus (b. Damascus, c. 675; d. St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, c. 754) is especially known for his writing of six canons for the major festivals of the church year. John's father, a Christian, was an important official at the court of the Muslim caliph in Damascus. After his father's death, John assumed that position and lived in wealth and honor. At about the age of forty, however, he became dissatisfied with his life, gave away his possessions, freed his slaves, and entered the monastery of St. Sabas in the desert near Jerusalem. One of the last of the Greek fathers, John became a great theologian in the Eastern church. He defended the church's use of icons, codified the practices of Byzantine chant, and wr… Go to person page >

Translator: J. M. 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 >

Text Information

First Line: The day of Resurrection
Title: The Day of Resurrection
Greek Title: Άναστάσεως ήμέρα
Author: St. John of Damascus
Translator: J. M. Neale
Meter: D
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 2 = Rev. 1:16, Matt. 28:9
st. 3 = Ps. 19:1, Ps. 150:6, John 16:22

See PHH 389 for information about the origins of this text and John of Damascus.

This text also comes from John's first ode of the "Golden Canon," recognized as his finest work and written around 750. It was traditionally sung at midnight on Easter with the lighting of candles.

John M. Neale's (PHH 342) rather free English translation was published in his Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862). The first stanza uses the Old Testament Passover story as a metaphor for Christ's resurrection (as is customary in all the first odes of a Greek canon). In stanza 2 we, like the New Testament disciples, become witnesses to the risen Lord. Stanza 3 invites the entire cosmos to join in praise to the risen Christ.

Liturgical Use:
Easter, but this marvelous text may be sung any Sunday.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988



Henry T. Smart (PHH 233) composed the tune in 1835 for use at a missions festival at Blackburn, Lancashire, England. For that festival, which celebrated the three-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation in England, the tune was set to Reginald Heber's (PHH 249) “From Greenland's Icy Mountains.”…

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Published in a chapel hymnal for the Duke of Würtemberg (Gesangbuch der Herzogl, 1784), ELLACOMBE (the name of a village in Devonshire, England) was first set to the words "Ave Maria, klarer und lichter Morgenstern." During the first half of the nineteenth century various German hymnals altered the…

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Include 406 pre-1979 instances
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