Life Laid In The Tomb

IN the tomb they laid Thee, Thee, O Christ, who art Life; in amazement angel armies lift up their song as they glorify Thy self-abasement, Lord.

Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy statutes. Blessed are the blameless in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Life, how canst Thou perish, or how dwell in a tomb? Yet the royal hall of Death Thou now dost bring to nought, and from Hades’ realm Thou dost raise the dead again.

Blessed are those who search out His testimonies, they will seek for Him with their whole heart.

Now we magnify Thee, O Lord Jesus, our King, we pay honour to Thy Passion and Burial for from foul corruption Thou hast saved us through them.

For the workers of iniquity have not walked in His ways.

He who governs all things here is seen as a corpse, new the grave in which His body is laid to rest, He the one who emptieth the graves of all their dead.

Thou hast commanded that Thy commandments be strictly kept.

Fairer He in beauty than are all mortal kind, now a corpse we see, unsightly, bereft of form, He that beautified the nature of all things.

Would that my ways might be directed to keep Thy statutes.

O Light that saves, O Jesus, Thou art sweetness to me, in the darkness of the grave how canst Thou lie hid, O forbearance that no language can express!

Then I should not be ashamed when I look on all Thy commandments.

Tears of lamentation she poureth out over Thee, as Thy mother the pure Virgin, O Jesus, crieth out: “How, my son, am I to lay Thee in the tomb?”

I shall confess Thee in uprightness of heart, when I have learned the judgements of Thy justice.

Now Thou hast been hidden like the sun ‘neath the earth and covered over; veiled by the night of death, dawn again, O, Saviour, dawn more brightly yet.

I shall keep Thy statutes, do not utterly forsake me.

Mother Eve Thou fashioned from a rib, which Thou didst take from the side of Adam; Lord, now Thy side is pierced, and from thence there gush forth purifying streams.

How will a young man correct his way? By keeping Thy words.

Lord, Thy Passion I worship, and Thy Burial I praise, and I magnify Thy might, Lover of mankind. By them I am freed from passions which destroy.

I have sought Thee with my whole heart, do not drive me from Thy commandments.

Bitterly lamenting, “Woe is me, O my light! my heart’s longing and the Light of the World, alas! Woe is me, my hearts desire, Jesus”, the Virgin cried.

I have hidden Thy words in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.

“O God’s Word, my gladness, my Lord and my God, how can I endure Thy burial for three days? As a mother now my heart is torn with grief.”

With my lips I have declared all the judgements of Thy mouth.

By Thy will we see Thee, as a corpse in the tomb, but Thou livest, 0 Word and Saviour as Thou foretold, by Thy Resurrection Thou dost raise mortal kind.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Word, we sing Thee praises, as the Lord God of all, with the Father and Thy most Holy Spirit, Lord, and we glorify Thy burial divine.

Both now and ever and unto the ages of ages, Amen.

Now we call thee blessed, All-Pure Mother of God, and in faith we hold in honour and venerate the three day entombment of thy Son our God.

In the tomb they laid Thee, Thee, 0 Christ, who art Life; in amazement angel armies lift up their song as they glorify Thy self-abasement, Lord.

Extracted from the hymn sung during the Service of the Lamentation at The Tomb, at Vespers on Great Friday. The lines of the hymn are interspersed with the opening verses of Psalm 118 [KJV 119].