O Gracious Light – Phos Hilaron

Usually, A Collection of Prayers does not feature hymns, since another fine website, Hymnary.org, has extensive information, multiple translations, and charts on hymns appearance in hymnals. “O Gracious Light” is an exception because of its liturgical use.

“O Gracious Light” was first recorded by an unknown author in the Apostolic Constitutions, which was written in the late 3rd or early 4th century. Basil of Caesarea (329–379) spoke of the singing of the Phos Hilaron as a cherished tradition of the church, the hymn being already considered old in his day (though some attribute the composition of the song to Basil himself). (See article on Wikipedia.) It is an evening hymn, often used as part of the Lucernarium, the Service of Light. Ideally, candles would be lit as the hymn is sung. Several versions of Vespers (Evening Prayer) include some version of “O Gracious Light” as an opening hymn.

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Source: Book of Common Prayer (U. S.), 1979, p. 112.

Original in Greek:

Φῶς ἱλαρὸν
ἁγίας δόξης ἀθανάτου Πατρός, οὐρανίου,
ἁγίου, μάκαρος, Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ,

ἐλθόντες ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλίου δύσιν,
ἰδόντες φῶς ἑσπερινόν,
ὑμνοῦμεν Πατέρα, Υἱόν, καὶ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, Θεόν.

Ἄξιόν σε ἐν πᾶσι καιροῖς ὑμνεῖσθαι φωναῖς αἰσίαις,
Υἱὲ Θεοῦ, ζωὴν ὁ διδούς·
διὸ ὁ κόσμος σὲ δοξάζει.

“O Gracious Light” has been translated into English many times into both prose and poetic versions.

Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978 (Prose)

Joyous light of glory of the immortal Father,
Heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ,
We have come to the setting of the Sun
And we look to the evening light.
We sing to God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy of being praised with pure voices forever.
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
The universe proclaims your glory.

This is a copyrighted text, © 1978 Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Robert Bridges, d. 1930 (Poetic)

O gladsome light, O grace
of God the Father’s face,
the eternal splendour wearing;
celestial, holy, blest,
our Savior Jesus Christ,
joyful in thine appearing.

Now, ere day fadeth quite,
we see the evening light,
our wonted hymn outpouring;
Father of might unknown,
thee, his incarnate Son,
and Holy Spirit adoring.

To thee of right belongs
all praise of holy songs,
O Son of God, Lifegiver;
thee, therefore, O Most High,
the world doth glorify,
and shall exalt forever.

F. Bland Tucker, d. 1984 (Poetic)

O gracious Light, Lord Jesus Christ,
in you the Father’s glory shone.
Immortal, holy, blest is he,
and blest are you, his holy Son.

Now sunset comes, but light shines forth,
the lamps are lit to pierce the night.
Praise Father, Son, and Spirit; God
who dwells in the eternal light.

Worthy are you of endless praise,
O Son of God, Life-giving Lord;
wherefore you are through all the earth
and in the highest heaven adored.

This is a copyrighted text, © The Church Pension Fund

Marty Haugen, (Poetic) from Holden Evening Prayer

Joyous light of heavenly glory,
loving glow of God’s own face,
you who sing creation’s story,
shine on every land and race.
Now as evening falls around us,
we shall raise our songs to you.
God of daybreak, God of shadows,
come and light our hearts anew.

In the stars that grace the darkness,
in the blazing sun of dawn,
in the light of peace and wisdom,
we can hear your quiet song.
Love that fills the night with wonder,
love that warms the weary soul,
love that bursts all chains asunder,
set us free and make us whole.

You who made the heaven’s splendor,
every dancing star of night,
make us shine with gentle justice,
let us each reflect your light.
Mighty God of all creation,
gentle Christ who lights our way,
loving Spirit of salvation,
lead us on to endless day.

The hymn, “Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory” begins at 0:38.

This is a copyrighted text, © 1987 GIA Publications, Inc.

Michael Schultz, for Christian Worship (2021), poetic

Gladdening light of purest glory,
shining down from heaven on high,
from the ever-living Father–
hail, most blessed Jesus Christ.

In the fading light of evening,
as the setting sun departs,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–
we adore you, Lord our God.

For your gift of life unending,
joyful voices ever sing
hymns of praise that rightly honor
Son of God, your saving name.

This is a copyrighted text, © 2021 Northwestern Publishing House.

Christ, Our Passover, Has Been Sacrificed

Revelation: Christ and the Angels – Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort  Wayne

Pascha Nostrum is a hymn sometimes used by Christians during Easter season, also known as the “Easter Anthems.” The title is Latin for “Our Passover,” and the text consists of a cento formed from several verses of Scripture: 1 Corinthians 5:7–8, Romans 6:9–11, and 1 Corinthians 15:20–22.

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast,

Not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.

Christ being raised from the dead will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over him.

The death that he died, he died to sin, once for all;
but the life he lives, he lives to God.

So also consider yourselves dead to sin,
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.

Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For since by a man came death,
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die,
so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.

Source: Book of Common Prayer, 1979, adapted from 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Romans 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.

Pascha Nostrum is often sung as chant and is included in many hymnals.

“God’s Paschal Lamb” is a metrical paraphrase of Pascha Nostrum.

See Luther’s hymn “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” and “We Know that Christ Is Raised” for hymns that incorporate some of the thoughts of Pascha Nostrum.

Listen to Pascha Nostrum sung to a Gregorian tune in Latin. The video has an arrangement of only the first verse.

Pascha nostrum immolátus est Christus, allelúja:
ítaque epulémur in ázymis sinceritátis et veritátis,
allelúja, allelúja, allelúja.

“God’s Right Hand and His Holy Arm” is a new canticle by K. Lee Scott that uses some of the text of Pascha Nostrum.

God’s right hand and holy arm have won the victory.
God’s right hand and holy arm have won the victory.

Christ being raised from the dead shall die no more.
Death has no power over him; he lives to God. Refrain

Why seek the living now among the dead?
Recall his promise unto you; he lives again. Refrain

Gone is death’s victory, gone is death’s sting.
God gives to us the victory through Christ our Lord. Refrain

Christ being raised from the dead shall die no more.
Death has no power over him; he lives to God. Refrain

© 2001 Birnamwood Publications, a div. of MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc.
[This is a copyrighted text.]

Good Friday Anthem (3)

christ,jesus,god,lord: The Christian Cross

O Savior of the world,
by your cross and precious blood you have redeemed us:
Save us and help us, O Lord.

Source: From the Proper Liturgy for Good Friday, The Book of Common Prayer (U. S., 1979), p. 282.


O Savior of the world,
who by your cross and precious blood did redeem us:
Help, save, pity, and defend us, we pray, O Lord.

Original from BCP 1979 in traditional English:

O Savior of the world,
who by thy cross and precious blood hast redeemed us:
Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord

Good Friday Anthem (2)

christ,jesus,god,lord: The Christian Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

If we have died with him, we shall also live with him;
if we endure, we shall also reign with him.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Source: From the Proper Liturgy for Good Friday, The Book of Common Prayer (U. S., 1979), p. 281-2.


We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

We glory in your cross, O Lord,
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
for by virtue of the cross
joy has come to the whole world.

Source: https://www.methodistprayer.org/

Doxology from an Ancient Sermon

He is the Light; therefore is he the Sun of our souls.
He is the Life; therefore we live in him.
He is Holiness; therefore is he the slayer of sin.
He is Salvation ; therefore it is he who has purchased
the whole world with his blood.
He is the Resurrection; therefore it is he who has set free
those who are in the tomb,
and has made them new a second time by his blood.
He is the Way; therefore he is the guide to his Father.
He is the Door; therefore he is the guide into paradise.
He is the Shepherd; therefore he is the seeker after the sheep which is lost.
He is the Lamb; therefore he is the cleanser of the world from its impurity.
This is my God; I will ascribe glory to him,
for to him belong glory and power for all ages and ages. Amen.

Source: Sermon on a papyrus, possibly fourth century

Source of this version: The New Archaeological Discoveries and their Bearing upon the New Testament by Camdem McCormick Cobern, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1918, p. 289


O blessed Spirit of Truth,
you search the heart and test the inmost thoughts,
help me remember my sins,
and let me see them in your light.
Strengthen me also with courage to confess them truly,
hiding nothing, excusing nothing,
keeping back nothing in my heart.
In your mercy, pardon and absolve,
and thus heal me,
that I may arise and sin no more,
through the merits and for the sake
of Jesus Christ, my Lord and only Savior. Amen.

Source: Mozarabic Sacramentary, 7th Century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.


Mozarabic, ad.

The Lorrha-Stowe Preface and Sanctus

The Lorrha Missal (also called the Stowe Missal) was a book containing the texts of the mass, written in Ireland in the late 8th century. It begins in the same way as the Roman rite, but becomes a beautiful poem on the attributes of God.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It good and right.

It is truly good, right and salutary
for us to give thanks to you always and everywhere,
holy Lord, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord;
with your only Son and the Holy Spirit you are
one immortal God,
incorruptible and unchangeable God,
invisible and faithful God,
wonderful and praiseworthy God,
honorable and mighty God,
most high and magnificent God,
living and true God,
wise and powerful God,
holy and glorious God,
great and good God,
awesome and peaceful God,
beautiful and righteous God,
pure and benevolent God,
blessed and just God,
pious and holy God,
not one singular person,
but one Trinity of substance.

We believe you.
We bless you.
We adore you.
We praise your name forever and ever
through him who is the salvation of the world,
through him who is the life of humanity,
through him who is the resurrection of the dead.

Through him the angels praise your majesty,
the dominions adore,
the powers of the highest heaven tremble,
the virtues of the blessed seraphim rejoice together.
We pray, grant that we may join our voices with theirs, confessing you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of Sabaoth.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who came down from heaven that he might live on the earth, be made fully human, and gave his flesh as a sacrificial victim, and by his passion gave eternal life to those who believe.

Source: Lorrha-Stowe Missal, eighth century. Translated by Paul C. Stratman for A Collection of Prayers.

Original in Latin:

Stowe Preface.png

A facsimile of the book can be seen here: https://archive.org/details/stowemissalmsdii01cath



A Canticle of Christ (1)


Christ Jesus,
the true Word,
eternal God,
born of a virgin,
tender shoot from the stump of Jesse,
blessed Lamb,
by him souls were set free,
through his blood all were redeemed,
the earth rejoiced because the enemy departed,
death of death,
hell’s destruction,
you gave freedom to your new creation
that rejoices to call you Master.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
you forgive the sins of the world.
We call on your holy name.

Source: Greek Papyrus Fragment, Cairo Museum, Fourth Century

Source of this version: The New Archaeological Discoveries and their Bearing upon the New Testament by Camdem McCormick Cobern, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1918, p. 292

Text gaps freely reconstructed by Paul C. Stratman.

“Christ Jesus, the true Word, the God of eternity” is a reference to John 1:1

“born of a virgin” is a reference to Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:34

“a tender shoot” is a reference to Isaiah 53:2

“Stump of Jesse” is a reference to Isaiah 11:1

“through his blood” is a reference to 1 Peter 1:19

“death of death, hell’s destruction” on p. 293 of The New Archaeological Discoveries… a similar prayer has the phrase, “the one that has abolished death and the grave (Hades).” The phrase “death of death…” is from the hymn “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” by William Williams.

“new creation” is a reference to 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Lamb of God” is a reference to John 1:29

Text as it reads in The New Archaeological Discoveries and their Bearing upon the New Testament  without gaps reconstructed:

the true Word,
the God of eternity

the blessed Lamb,
by him souls were set free
through his blood …
the earth rejoiced because the enemy departed

You gave freedom to the creation
that asked for a Master.
Jesus, you …
forgive sins …
we call on your holy name.

Creative Commons License
“A Canticle of Christ” from a Greek Papyrus Fragment as reconstructed by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

Christmas Acclamation

KAPraise and adoration
be to our God,
for he is good.
His grace and mercy
fill the heavens and earth.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving,
and joyfully praise
our creator.

As a father,
he loves us,
his children.
Sing his praises
with joyful thanks
in love and devotion!
Let us love him
who has loved us
since the world began.
Who would not
love God from the heart?

We can not give him
adequate praise.
Still, in heaven
he receives with goodwill
our joyful songs of praise
and pours much joy into our souls,
whenever we thank him,
whenever we live in him.

Sing to Jesus Christ
praise, thanks and glory,
for he came from heaven
to destroy sin and death for us
and by his precious, willing sacrifice,
restored innocence and peace.

Already here on earth
he renews joy and life to us
by his grace.
Still greater bliss is prepared there
for those who love him
when one day they will be renewed in his image,
made new and holy,
and awakened from death.

Let us rejoice in our holy God!
Let us rejoice in our eternal God!
How blessed it is to praise him
here, and then in heaven.
He is our holiness!
He is our life!
He always loves us, his children.

Source: Schleswig-Hosteinsche Kirchen-Agende, 1797, Am Feste der Geburt Jesu,  p. 62-64, translated for A Collection of Prayers.




You Are the Blessed Lord God of Israel

Almighty Lord our God,
guide our feet into the way of peace,
and strengthen our hearts to obey your commands.
May the sunrise dawn upon us
and give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
that they may adore you for your mercy,
follow you for your truth,
desire you for your sweetness,
for you are the blessed Lord God of Israel.

Source: Collection post Prophetiam, prayer after the Benedictus, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright, p. 126#2.