Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Some of the most beloved hymns of Great and Holy Friday take places during the “Unnailing” Great Vespers, where the body of Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
Embedded above is an Arabic Orthodox choir chanting one of the famous hymns that serve as the spiritual soundtrack for the unnailing ritual. The music begins with “Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” in Greek, and then proceeds to Arabic. The words of the main hymn are:
Thou who art clothed with light as a garment,
when Joseph together with Nicodemus took
Thee down from the Tree and he gazed
upon Thee dead, naked and unburied, and
in grief and mourning he lamented:
“Woe is me, my sweetest Jesus! A short while
ago, the sun beheld Thee hanging on the
Cross and it shrouded itself in darkness. The
earth quaked in fear. The veil of the temple
was torn. Now I see Thee willingly submitting
to death for my sake. How shall I bury Thee,
O my God? How can I wrap Thee with
windings sheets? How can I touch Thy most
pure body with my hands? What songs shall
I hymn thy departure, O compassionate one?
I magnify Thy Passion. I glorify Thy Burial
and Thy Holy Resurrection, crying:
O Lord, Glory to Thee!”
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