To depths of earth Thou didst descend

To depths of earth Thou didst descend

Translator: John Brownlie; Author: St. John of Damascus
Published in 1 hymnal

Representative Text

To depths of earth Thou didst descend,
O Christ, to break the chain
That held the sons of men enslaved,
And lead them forth again;
As Jonah left the living grave,
So cam’st Thou forth, O Christ, to save.

Unbroken were the seals when Thou
Didst leave the dismal tomb,
Even as the virgin bars remained
When Thou didst leave the womb;
And Thou hast ope’d the gates of heaven,
And entrance free to all is given.

O Thou, my Saviour and my God,
Who camest from above,
And gav’st Thyself for sinful men
An offering of love!
Now, rising from the grave, we see
Our human race arise with Thee.

Hymns of the Greek Church, 1900

Translator: John Brownlie

Brownlie, John, was born at Glasgow, Aug. 6, 1857, and was educated at Glasgow University, and at the Free Church College in the same city. In 1884 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow; in 1885 he became Assistant Minister of the Free Church, Portpatrick, and on the death of the Senior Minister in 1890 he entered upon the full charge of the Church there. He has interested himself in educational matters, became a Member of the local School Board in 1888, a governor of Stranraer High School in 1897, and Chairman of the governors in 1901. His hymnological works are:— 1. The Hymns and Hymnwriters of the [Scottish] Church Hymnary, 1899. This is a biographical, historical, and critical companion to that hymnal, and is well done and… Go to person page >

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 >

Text Information

First Line: To depths of earth Thou didst descend
Translator: John Brownlie
Author: St. John of Damascus
Meter: 8.6.8.6.8.8
Source: Canon for Easter
Language: English

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Hymns of the Greek Church #72

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