Today marks the Forefeast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.
The Dormition hymn “In thy glorious remembrance” is linked by a common melody to a hymn from the Feast of the Theophany, the Baptism of Christ, back in January.
The shared themes go beyond music, though. In the Theophany hymn, the “inhabited world” (symbolised by including the Gentiles) welcomes gladly the unapproachable Light, the Sun of Righteousness, which dawned from Mary.
In the Dormition hymn, the “inhabited world” (symbolised by the gathering of the Apostles from Gentile lands) regathers to sing a farewell song to Mary; but it also recognises she will go on “interceding and protecting” for the world, as part of the boundless salvation which God has wrought throughout creation.
Tone 4 [to the melody] Thou wast revealed today
(at Matins on the Forefeast of the Dormition of the Mother of God)
IN thy glorious remembrance, the inhabited world, mystically descanted by the Spirit as by a flute, crieth out in gladness: Rejoice O Virgin, boast of Christians.
NOW let the heavens be glad, let all creation skip: for behold, the Virgin taketh her departure from the earth, and passeth over to Paradise: she hath been revealed as salvation from God, interceding and protecting.
Wherefore the choral-dance of the Apostles hasted thither, mustered from the ends of the earth; for on a sudden clouds appeared, snatching them up; they stood beside Mother and Son, and cried out: Rejoice, treasury of the Manna of the Covenant, Rejoice O Virgin, boast of Christians.
“Thou wast revealed today”
(at Matins on the Apodosis of the Theophany, January 14)
THOU wast revealed today unto the inhabited world, and thy light, O Christ, is signed upon us, and in that knowledge we hymn thee: Thou hast come, thou hast been made manifest, the unapproachable Light.
UPON Galilee of the Gentiles, upon the country of Zabulon, and upon the land of Naphthali, as the Prophet spake, Christ the great Light hath shone upon those in darkness: a radiant glow hath appeared, flashing like lightning from Bethlehem: nay rather, from out of Mary, the Lord, the Sun of Righteousness, hath made his beams of light shine upon all the inhabited world.
Wherefore we of Adam that were naked, let us wrap ourselves in him, that we be warm; for as a covering for the naked, and as bright light for them in darkness, thou didst come, thou wast made manifest, the unapproachable Light.
Many of the lines from the Salutations of the Akathist pick up on the themes here. These are just a few of them, gathered from across the twelve sections of the Salutations:
HAIL, recalling of fallen Adam,
Hail, redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, star that makes visible the Sun,
Hail, womb of divine incarnation.
Hail, you through whom creation is renewed.
Hail, you through whom the Creator becomes a babe.
Hail, for ineffably you gave birth to the Light,
Hail, for to none you revealed the mystery.
Hail, acceptable incense of intercession,
Hail, propitiation for the whole world.
Hail, mother of the star that never sets,
Hail, radiance of the mystical day.
Hail, food that replaced the manna,
Hail, minister of holy delight.
Hail, for through you transgression has been abolished,
Hail, for through you Paradise has been opened.
Hail, beam of the immaterial sun,
Hail, ray of the moon that never sets.
Hail, lightning flash that shines on souls.
Hail, thunder that terrifies the foe.
Hail, for you make the enlightenment with many lights to dawn.
Hail, for you make the river with many streams to flow.
Hail, Bride without bridegroom!
Translation from Anastasis, by Archimandrite Ephrem Lash.