St. Nektarios of Aegina Sings (or wrote hymns)

Today is the feast day of St. Nektarios of Aegina, whose hymn “O Virgin Pure,” is among the most popular modern hymns in the Orthodox Church. Here it is sung by monks of Valaam Monastery (in Russian). An English translation follows. Saints sing.

O Virgin Pure

by St. Nectarios
Plagal First Tone (Tone 5)

Refrain: Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament/ and purer than the sun’s light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav’nly armies.

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and Queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon’rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Rejoice, O song of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flow’r of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality.

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/ O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.





16 responses to “St. Nektarios of Aegina Sings (or wrote hymns)”

  1. Jason Barker Avatar

    Thank you for posting this.

  2. greg Avatar


  3. Mary Avatar

    I had no idea that St. Nektarios was the author of this beautiful hymn. Glory to God!

  4. Michael Avatar

    Father bless.

    Thanks for posting this. God used this hymn to help me embrace the beauty of The mother of God. It still brings tears to my eyes almost everytime I hear it.

    Kissing your right hand,

  5. Barbara Avatar

    So beautiful, Fr. Stephen. We sing this hymn every Wednesday night at the conclusion of our Vespers service. It is always a haven of holiness and peace.

  6. leonard Nugent Avatar
    leonard Nugent

    I think this is the most beautiful hymm I’ve ever heard!

  7. Sean Avatar

    Father, bless.

    There are no words to describe how we feel about this hymn over here. Traditionally chanted during the feast of Assumption, it is the one time apart from Easter when everyone chants alongside the chanters in church (at least in my church). It’s very moving and awe-inspiring. There is a tradition here that the words were written by St Nektarios but the music was delivered by angels. I don’t know if that is actually fact or fiction, but to me that music could only be inspired by angelic visions. Let me share a link with you, it’s the same hymn chanted in the original Greek:

    It must be me, but I feel it shines even more brightly in the original 🙂

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    It is popular in American Churches as well – there are several English translations in circulation, all with the same original tune (though no one sings it as well as the Greeks!)

    I had not heard to story of the tune coming from angels. How fitting!

  9. Karen Avatar

    Dear Father, bless! Forgive me for asking a trivial question in the face of such a beautiful post, but one of the photos reminded me of a question I wanted to ask about Russian monastic garments–specifically the pointed hood and outer garment with writing. Is this particular garb associated with a particular monastic rank or role? Thank you for sharing the beautiful hymn.

  10. fatherstephen Avatar

    The garment you describe is the “Great Schema” which is represents a monastic who has entered the most rigorous asceticism. In Russian practice it is given late in life. In Greek practice it is given earlier.

    The writing, by and large, consists of abbreviations. I could locate the entire text if you like.

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cash Keith and Fabio Leite, Veronica du Bruyn. Veronica du Bruyn said: St. Nektarios of Aegina Sings (or wrote hymns) – Today is the feast day of St. Nektarios of Aegina, whose hymn O Vi… […]

  12. Karen Avatar

    Thank you, Father. I thought that might be it. Yes, it would be interesting to know what the abbreviations are. Is there any difference in style between Greek & Russian Great Schema? I think I have only seen that style of hood on Russian monks. In the April 2009 issue of National Geographic Magazine, there was an article on the contemporary resurgence of the Church in Russia where one monk depicted was also wearing the Great Schema.

  13. kh.kathryn Avatar

    Mary and I used to sing this together as kids. I remember specifically that we used to sing this if we got scared or spooked. It does bring a peace with it. Nice to hear it done by the experts!

  14. fatherstephen Avatar

    Kh. Kathryn
    And it brought great comfort and peace to the heart of your papa when he heard his beloved daughters sing it!

  15. Mike Avatar

    Here is the English version:

  16. Sean Avatar

    @ Karen: You can find info about monastic degrees in Orthodox Church in this article:

    A monk who wears the Great Schema is usually one who will never more, for the rest of his life, leave the monastery and venture in the world (even for matters of the monastery).

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