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O Gladsome Light
The Phos Hilaron (Greek) ~ An Anthem in English for A Cappella SATB
Ver. 5 © 2003 Thomas Byron Parks ~
For Father John Matusiak, OCA

   Christ - Pantocrator, 'Ruler of all', Serbian monastery Hilandar, Mt.Athos, 13th century. *

 Christ - Pantocrator, 'Ruler of all', Serbian monastery Hilandar, Mt.Athos, 13th century. *

In the Orthodox Church the liturgical day begins in the evening with the setting of the sun. This practice follows the Biblical account of creation: "And there was evening and there was morning, one day" (Gen 1:5). This is the Vesperal Hymn. It would be sung a Capella. Based on Isaiah 60:20, Rev. 21:25, it was first referred to by St. Justin in 150 AD. It is believed that in 305 AD St.Anthenogenes the Martyr joyfully sang these words as he entered the flames. Aside from Christian hymns taken from the Bible itself, the earliest Christian hymn still in use today is probably O Gladsome Light (Greek Φως 'Ιλαρον, Phos Hilaron). Some say it is the oldest Hymn, after "Hymn to the Holy Trinity."
Click here to view score as PDF
Click here to hear music as MP3
This has not been sung,, so instruments are used for voices. MIDI String Ensemble 1 for SATB)
If you use it, please send me a recording that I may use on this site, and for seeking publication.


These lines are from the Orthodox Church America's Vespers Liturgy:

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory
of the Immortal Father,
heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ.
Now we have come to the setting of the sun
and behold the light of evening.
We praise God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For it is right at all times
to worship Thee with voices of praise,
O Son of God and Giver of Life,
therefore all the world glorifies Thee.

These optional lines are from the Orthodox Church in America's explaination of the Vespers Liturgy, but are not used in it.
(Text used bypermission of OCA.)

Christ is praised as the Light which illumines man's darkness,
the Light of the world and of the Kingdom of God
which shall have no evening.


This optional line, by Thomas Parks, is not part of the Orthodox Liturgy.


Thanks be to God, for He has given us His Gladsome Light!

For Vespers in the
Orthodox Chrch in America, see:
http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=61

*Source: http://ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/
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