Come, Magnify Him!

Garden bouquet, picked for a friend this week: Heather, Viburnum, Pieris Japonica, Sword Fern

Light was first
Through the Lord’s
word Named day:
Beauteous, bright creation! ~ St. Caedmon

Greetings on St. Caedmon’s Day!

This 7th century British Saint heard angels sing, and recorded their heavenly hymn which became the earliest English poem in existence!

Previous Blisswood post shows the ruins of the ancient Whitby monastery where St. Caedmon lived.

After reading St. Caedmon’s Hymn from these Latin, Moore/Leningrad Northumbrian Dialects/Bodleian West Saxon sources and translations – this poem achingly called to me, asking to be adapted further.

I translated it into a more contemporary old English and put my adaptation to the ancient melody of the 13th century Byzantine Hymn: Defte Lai.

My version of St. Caedmon’s Hymn with Sheet music here.

Below is my version of St. Caedmon’s Creation Hymn, rusticly sung and recorded, accompanied by my faux-lyre (ukulele) using the chords: Fm; Cm; and B♭m.

Come magnify Him,
Creator of the firmament,
Author of each and all,
And glorify His purpose;
Love, Invincible.

Come and honour Him,
Protector of Fair Paradise,
Holy, Mighty, Immortal,
Architect, Omnipotent;
Father of Glory.
Blessed, Timeless, Lord,
Thou hast established Thy wonders,
Before middle earth* was formed,
Or adorned with Thought of Mind;
Lord, God Almighty!

For the sons of men;
Thou formed the Roof of Heaven!

* Middle earth (not just a Tolkien invention)- it means the world, the middle enclosure – which exists between heaven and hell. From Middle English middel-erde, and Old English middangeard.

I’m grateful for the heavenly hymn St. Caedmon has bequeathed to us, and his role in the early English Orthodox church… From his beginnings as a humble shepherd – to his subsequent life as a meek monk in a great, historic, monastery.

When the song of the lips becomes the song of the soul, we’re able to – bit by bit, acquire a small, uplifting, repertoire of prayerful Psalmody from the heart – by singing anytime praises to the Glory of God!

In Purple Pastures

Summer Solstice Strolling through Lavender Fields… a testament of nature praising God! ~ Image by Melania

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth… O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness… and let the earth be glad… Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice. ~ Psalm 96:1, 9, 11, 12

Make peace with yourself, and both heaven and earth will make peace with you. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Sometimes… just standing in a garden is enough.

With joy and love in Christ.

Called to Be Saints

Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

Greetings on All Saints’ Day!

In the New Testament we are called to be saints, and the Orthodox Church gives the title of saint to those who throughout history, have lived and died in Christ.

While Canonized (Glorified) Saints have their own feast days, there are countless multitudes of saints who don’t have a feast day… and some of these are even nameless Saints – known only to God!

Since the 4th century in Eastern Christendom, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, the Church continues to commemorate All the Saints (both past/present, known/unknown)! As all are alive in Christ, the saints are our friends and alive in Heaven. They are venerated, but not worshipped.

Today is a joint celebration honouring the Holy Apostles who spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, as well as All the Saints who’ve shone forth great love of Christ… whether by living a God-pleasing, righteous life, or by receiving a martyric crown. 

[During the 8th century in Western Christendom, the Sunday of All Saints was transferred to the first Sunday in November – and even more recently was moved again to November 1st.]

Previous *All Saints’ Day* Blisswood Posts
God’s Garden ~ Posted June 14, 2020
Sunday of All Saints ~ Posted June 27, 2021
God Giveth the Increase ~ Posted June 19, 2022

Every one of us is the painter of his own life. Our soul is like the canvas, and the virtues are the paint. Jesus Christ is the image we should copy. ~ St. Gregory of Nyssa

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s: ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2

We live together with them (the Saints in heaven), in the house of the Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

In God and in His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father. Whether we are alive or whether we are dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens. Therefore just as Orthodox Christians here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another’s prayers, so they pray for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for them. Death cannot sever the bond of mutual love which links the members of the Church together. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware

May you have a blessed All Saints’ Feast Day!

Cleansing the Door of Our Perceptions

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Christ is Risen!

“Let us go forth in peace” is the last commandment of the Liturgy. What does it mean? It means, surely, that the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy is not an end but a beginning. Those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” are not merely a comforting epilogue. They are a call to serve and bear witness. In effect, those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” mean the Liturgy is over, the liturgy after the Liturgy is about to begin. This, then, is the aim of the Liturgy: that we should return to the world with the doors of our perceptions cleansed. We should return to the world after the Liturgy, seeing Christ in every human person, especially in those who suffer. In the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, the Christian is the one who wherever he or she looks, everywhere sees Christ and rejoices in him. We are to go out, then, from the Liturgy and see Christ everywhere. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia

What does God want me to do? …The answer: God is not interested in where you are or what you do… He is interested only in the quality and quantity of the love you give. Nothing else. Nothing else. ~ Mother Gabrielia

God is everywhere.  There is no place God is not…You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’  And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’  Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’  In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God.  Everything praises and blesses God.  All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator. Let every breath praise the Lord! ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast, 78th Letter

The Only Constant

Skopelos Greek Church Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

Everything changes
Except our Lord Jesus Christ,
The only Constant.

He is Light, Life, Love,
Perpetual Truth, and Strength,
Hope, and Salvation.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. ~ Hebrews 13:8

…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~ St. Matthew 28:20

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Greeting you on the 6th Day of Christmas!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Happy Saint’s Day Anysia!

To the Supersubstantial

Detail of Icon with the Theotokos Virgin Mary holding our Lord Jesus Christ – Greece 2017

Christ is Born!

Happy 4th Day of Nativity today!

I love this short, sweet, and sublime 5th century Nativity Kontakion (Hymn) by St. Romanus the Melodist. This a cappella recording was sung by our parish in 2014.

Our parish a cappella recording 2014

The Kontakion of the Nativity bursts with the Numinous Essence of the Feast!

Today a Virgin bringeth forth the Supersubstantial, and earth offereth a cavern to the Unapproachable. Angels together with shepherds sing praises, the Wise Men journey on with the Star. For, for our sakes, God, Who is before all the ages, is born a little Child. ~ Nativity Kontakion by St. Romanus the Melodist (5th century)

A Tour Inside the Ancient Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, built over where Jesus Christ was born.

Inside the Church of the Nativity


Lastly, here is an early pre-greeting, for tomorrow’s
5th Day of Nativity commemorating the Holy Innocents.

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus! ~ Ekaterina (memory eternal)

Glorify Him!

Magnifying the Virgin Mary Theotokos

Detail from small paper icon our spiritual Fr. Vladimir gave to our son at his baptism, and which, for a time, shared our son’s crib.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Happy Third Day of the Nativity!

Greetings on St. Stephen’s Day!

Beautiful a cappella Nativity Hymn – Magnifying the Virgin Mary Theotokos, followed by Ode 9 of the Nativity Canon… as recorded by our parish in 2014.


Below is one of my favourite Christmastide readings which I also take special delight in remembering each year, on Great and Holy Friday.

A Story of the Divine Christ-Child and the Flight Into Egypt

When the holy family fled before Herod’s sword to Egypt, robbers leapt out on the road with the intention of stealing something. The righteous Joseph was leading the donkey, on which were some belongings and on which the Most-holy Theotokos was riding with her Son at her breast. The robbers seized the donkey to lead it away. At that moment, one of the robbers approached the Mother of God to see what she was holding next to her breast.

The robber, seeing the Christ-child, was astonished at His unusual beauty and said in his astonishment: If God were to take upon Himself the flesh of man, He would not be more beautiful than this Child!

This robber then ordered his companions to take nothing from these travellers. Filled with gratitude toward this generous robber, the Most-holy Virgin said to him: Know that this Child will repay you with a good reward because you protected Him today.

Thirty-three years later, this same thief hung on the Cross for his crimes, crucified on the right side of Christ’s Cross. His name was Dismas, and the name of the thief on the left side was Gestas.

Beholding Christ the Lord innocently crucified, Dismas repented for all the evil of his life. While Gestas reviled the Lord, Dismas defended Him, saying: This man hath done nothing amiss. (St. Luke 23:41).

Dismas, therefore, was the wise thief to whom our Lord said: Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise (St. Luke 23:43). Thus the Lord granted Paradise to him who spared Him in childhood.

~ St. Nikolai Velimirovich from the Prologue of Ohrid

A Blessed Christmas! Meriġe Crīstesmæsse!

Detail of the Nativity Icon brings to mind the Nativity Kontakion (Short Hymn of a Feast): Today a Virgin giveth birth unto the Supersubstantial, and earth offereth a cavern to the Unapproachable, angels together with shepherds sing praises, the Wise Men journey on with the Star. For, for our sakes, God Who is before all the ages, is born a little Child. ~ 5th Century St. Romanus the Melodist

Christ is Born! Happy First Day of the Nativity!

Meriġe Crīstesmæsse is an ancient salutation from pre-12th century Old English, which meant a Blessed Christ’s Mass.” Today Meriġe Crīstesmæsse has morphed into the joyful Seasonal Greeting of Merry Christmas, or Happy Christmas!

Thy Nativity O Christ our God, hath arisen upon the world as the Light of Wisdom. For at it, those who worshipped the stars, were, by a Star, taught to adore Thee. The Sun of Righteousness and to know Thee, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee! ~ Nativity Tropar (Longer Hymn of the Feast) Composed by 5th century St. Romanus the Melodist

Christ is Born! Give ye glory! Christ comes from heaven meet ye Him! Christ is on earth be ye exalted, O all the earth sing unto the Lord, and sing praises in gladness O ye people, for He hath been glorified. ~ Ode 1 of the Nativity Canon

In keeping with the situation… Here is a beautiful, a cappella Nativity Folk Carol, “Heaven and Earth” as recorded by our parish in 2014.

Heaven & Earth

Past Nativity Posts’ Resource

Church Bells in Ayia Napa, Cypress – Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity!

National Public Radio NPR Broadcast with Blisswood on Orthodox Christmas Published January 6, 2023

Our Little Nativity Creche Published by issuu magazine 2022

Re-Gift Boomerang Published by issuu magazine 2022

Christ is Born! Posted January 6, 2022

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Posted January 7, 2021

Happy 2nd Day of Christmas Posted January 8, 2022

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas Posted January 9, 2022

4th Day of Nativity Posted January 10, 2022

5th Day of Nativity – the Holy Innocents Posted January 11, 2022

6th Day of Nativity Posted January 12, 2022

Apodosis of Nativity Posted January 13, 2022

St. Basil’s Feast Day Posted January 14, 2022

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe Posted January 14, 2021

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day Posted January 14, 2021

Holy Theophany Posted January 19, 2022

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Concert 2020

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Tropar 2020

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing the 16th Century Coventry Carol – 2014 Concert (In Honour of the Holy Innocents)

It’s Nativity Poem/Song

Little Pine Tree Poem/Song

The Holly Poem

The Candy Cane Poem/Song

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing Little Pine Tree – 2014 Concert

Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy!

With Love in Christ.

From the Sea to the Clouds

A peaceful sunset walk by the sea is reviving for soul, mind and body. Isn’t it amazing to ponder that all water on Earth is and always has been continually recycled through the hydrosphere of our oceans, rivers, lakes and clouds? Everything is connected. Everything. And how blessed we are to be part of this Everything!

Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. ~ Isaiah 42:10

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:7

It is easier to measure the entire sea with a tiny cup than to grasp the ineffable greatness of God with the human mind. ~St. Basil the Great

When you see the light, do not forget Him who gave it to you; when you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator... In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice… ~ St. Peter of Damascus, Philokalia

…But accept the fountain of my tears, Thou who dost gather the waters of the sea to clouds. Bow down Thine ear to the sighing of my heart, Thou who didst bow the heavens in Thine ineffable condescension… ~ Hymn of Kassiani

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