On the Eve of the Nativity – We Sing the Royal Hours


Come, you faithful, let us arise and behold the divine condescension from above, made manifest for us in Bethlehem; and having cleansed our minds, let us by our lives offer virtues instead of myrrh, as we faithfully prepare the entry of the Nativity with treasures of the soul, crying, ‘In the highest, glory to God in Trinity, through whom his good pleasure has appeared among men to rescue Adam from the ancestral curse, for he loves mankind.’

Idomel in the 1st tone

Listen, O heaven and give ear, O earth. Let the foundations be shaken, let trembling seize the regions beneath the earth; because God and the Creator has put on the matter of flesh, and he who created creation with his mighty hand appears in the womb of a creature he fashioned. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable his judgements, and unsearchable his ways.

Idomel in the 4th tone

Come, peoples, bearers of Christ, let us behold a wonder that amazes and holds fast every mind, and as we devoutly worship let us with faith sing its praise. Today a Maiden great with child is coming to Bethlehem to give birth to the Lord; choirs of Angels run before her. And seeing this Joseph, the Betrothed, cries out, ‘What is the strange mystery in you, O Virgin? And how will you bring forth a child, Calf who have never known the yoke?’

Idomel in the 5th tone

All translations are by Archimandrite Ephrem from the Royal Hours of Nativity Eve

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.



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3 responses to “On the Eve of the Nativity – We Sing the Royal Hours”

  1. Lisa Avatar

    I absolutely love reading the hymns of the feasts. Thank you for this.

  2. Alice C. Linsley Avatar

    Lovely and profound words!

  3. Hartmut Avatar

    thank you for these hymns. we will soon have our great vesperservice. this was a good preparation. in about 2 hours I will hear all hymns in greek. that’s a little bit more difficult for me than english 😉 .

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