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Sunrise Clouds

The Hymn for Orthodox Easter

Plough Music Series

Colin Fields


The “Paschal Troparion” is the earliest known Easter hymn, likely dating to within a century of Jesus. To this day it is sung in Orthodox churches throughout the world during the Paschal vigil, held during the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise of Easter day. (A troparion is a short verse sung as a refrain between sections of a psalm.) Originally composed in Koine Greek by an unknown author, it is sung here in Church Slavonic – the language of the liturgy of the Slavic churches founded by Prince Vladimir of Kiev.

According to the medieval chronicler Saint Nestor, in the year 987 the pagan Prince Vladimir sent envoys to study the religions of the neighboring countries. He was dissatisfied with the reports he received until he heard from two emissaries returning from Constantinople, where they had heard the divine liturgy sung in the church of Hagia Sofia: “We did not know whether we were in Heaven or on earth, nor such beauty, and we know not how to tell of it.” Prince Vladimir was baptized in 988 and established many churches and monasteries, sending monks to Mount Athos for training in the sacred music still sung in Orthodox churches today.

Paschal Troparion

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!

Христос воскресе из мертвых,
смертию смерть поправ,
и сущим во
гробех живот даровав.

Performance by the St. Petersburg State Capella Choir under the baton & artistic direction of Vladislav Chernushenko.