Home ] Up ] Kontakion 16 ] Kontakion 20 ] Kontakion 22 ] [ Kontakion 32 ] Kontakion 49 ] Kontakion 51 ] The Akathist ]

SAINT ROMANOS THE MELODIST

ON THE ASSUMPTION

INTRODUCTION

The first Proemium and Ikos are still used for the feast of the Assumption. It is the only Kontakion in the MSS which is given for the feast, a fact which indicates its popularity. No other could replace it, or even rival it. It is sung in the Plagal of the 2nd [the 6th] Tone. The sources are naturally the account of the Assumption in Acts 1,19-13 together with that in Luke 24,50-53. It falls into three main sections. The first, stanzas 1-9, concentrates on the distress of the Apostles at Christ’s imminent departure and his reply. In the second, stanzas 10-12, we have the Assumption itself and in the third, stanzas 13-18, we return to earth with the angels and their message to the Apostles, ending with the return of the latter in joy to Jerusalem. So the movement is from earth to heaven and back again to earth.

 

KONTAKION ON THE ASSUMPTION

Acrostic: OF THE HUMBLE ROMANOS

Proemium 1

When you had fulfilled your dispensation for us,
And united things on earth with things in heaven,
You were taken up in glory, Christ our God,
In no way parted, but remaining inseparable, you cried to those who loved you,
‘I am with you and there is no one against you.’

Proemium 2

When you had sanctified the Disciples on the mount of Olives
You were taken up into heaven, Lord,
Having promised them teaching and having cried to them:
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

1

Abandoning on earth the things of earth,
Leaving to the dust the things of ash,
Come, let us come to our senses and let us raise on high our eyes and minds.
Mortals, let us make our sight together with our senses
Fly to heaven’s gates.
Let us imagine we are standing on the mount of Olives
And that we bend our gaze on the Redeemer
As he rides upon a cloud.
For from where the Lord has hastened back to heaven
There too the One who loves to give has distributed his gifts
To his Apostles, cherishing them as a father and crying out to them,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

2

The One who came down to earth, as he alone knows how,
As he ascended from it, again as he knows how,
Took those he loved and led those he had gathered to a high mountain,
That, having mind and senses aimed on high,
They might then abandon all that seeks the ground.
And so, having climbed the hill of Olives,
They surrounded the Benefactor,
As Luke, the initiate, recounts,
While the Lord, raising his hands like wings,
Sheltered them, as an eagle the nest which it was warming,
And says to the nestlings, ‘I have sheltered you from all evils.
As I have cherished you, do you love me.
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

3

High over you, my Disciples,
As God and Maker of the whole world
I stretch out my palms, which the lawless stretched out, bound and nailed.
And so, as you bow your heads beneath my hands,
Understand, know, my friends, what I command.
For as though baptising I lay my hands upon you now,
And having blessed you send you out
Enlightened, and made wise.
Upon your heads praise and majesty,
Upon your souls illumination, as it is written,
For I shall pour out upon you of my Spirit, and you will accepted by me,
Taught and chosen, faithful and my own.
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

4

In saying this the Saviour caused
The Apostles much great grief.
At once they wept and groaning deeply said to the teacher,
‘Are you leaving us, O Compassionate? Parting from those who love you?
You spoke to us like someone going on a journey.
These words signify a departure,
And this is why we are troubled,
Since we long to be with you;
We seek your face, for it delights our souls.
We have been wounded, bind by the most sweet sight of you.
There is no god but you. Do not take yourself far away from those who love you.
Stay with us and say to us:
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

5

We have abandoned our whole way of life
And fled it like violence.
To gain you we have become strangers and aliens on earth.
The first of us, Peter, when he became your friend,
Disposed of everything that he had before.
Andrew, his own brother, when he found you,
Immediately left the things of the world
And took your cross on his shoulders.
Do you wish to abandon, Master, such a renunciation?
And are you hurrying to leave us as though you had forgotten us?
Let it not be, O King. Let us not become a laughing-stock for those who hate us.
Let them not cry out to us, ‘Where then is he who said,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you’?’

6

Do you despise, Redeemer, and do you reckon nothing
To the friendship of the sons of Zebedee?
Remember, Lover of mankind, how they heard and did not disobey your divine word.
They did not say in their hearts, ‘Who is this who calls us?’,
But they chose you even before their own father.
Matthew again considered
The profit of the customs house as total loss,
Since he longed for your wealth.
Thomas the Twin also hated life itself.
And in a word we have all said, ‘We love you more than all’.
Then do not leave us. Take us in your arms, you who fill all things.
Enclose us and say to us,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’’

7

When the Saviour had listened the Apostles
And seen the sorrow of those who loved him,
Then he supported them as a father his sons. He took pity and cried out,
‘Do not weep, my friends, for this is not a moment for tears,
Nor is it a day of sorrow;
It is an hour of joy. For I am taking
Wings to go towards my Father
And I am coming to rest in my tent.
For I made the firmament of heaven a tent,
Not a tent which circumscribes, but which surrounds me,
As Isaias cried, ‘God has established heaven as a vault,
And dwells there as in a tent’, he who says to his own,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

8

So now, be joyful and radiant.
And adopting an air of gladness.
Sing a new song. For everything that may happen, happens for your sake.
It was for you I came down and went through all,
That I might please you, and you might receive me.
It is for you again that I ascend to heaven,
To prepare the place
Where I must be with you.
For there are many dwelling places on high with my Father,
Some contain the fathers, others are filled with the just
And others with the Prophets. But your dwelling no one yet knows.
I shall prepare it and take you.
I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.

9

Now rise upright, stand firm
And contemplate with blameless eye
This taking up. As you see it, understand it as of the body, not the godhead.
For the flesh that you see is reaching the things on high.
For every place is full of my Godhead.
But nevertheless to this visible body, which is being lifted up,
Is conjoined that of me which is not apparent.
For I was united to that which is apparent.
I am one, unseen yet at the same time seen,
I am really the one you look on, and I have not been changed,
As the Scripture said. I am both immortal and like you;
Over above you and in your midst.
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

10

When Christ had said these things to his friends,
He then made a sign the Archangels,
To prepare for his pure steps an impassable ascent.
And no sooner they had been ordered, than the first of the angels
Cried to all the Principalities on high,
‘Lift up the gates and fling wide the heavenly
And glorious doors,
For the Master of glory comes.
Clouds, spread out your backs beneath the One who mounts.
Bright air, prepare yourself for the One who journeys through you.
Stand open, heavens. Heaven of heavens, receive him,
Because he is coming to you, he who says to his own,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

11

Those in the height immediately obeyed,
And opening at once all the heights,
Thrones, Dominations with Principalities and Powers ran to meet him,
And swiftly spreading the cloud as a chariot,
Sent it to the mount of Olives.
It came down and took into its bosom
The One who drives the clouds
And makes them give birth to showers.
Taking him then it carried him, or rather it was carried—
For he who was borne bore the cloud which carried him,
As Mary once. For the Scripture prophetically calls her cloud,
Whom he who dwelt in her guarded, he who said to his friends,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

12

Not one of the Apostles was slothful,
But together they were attentive to what was being accomplished.
For they all raised their faces to the heights as they watched his taking up.
Immediately the cloud, lowering its back,
Became a chariot for the unblemished foot.
The heaven was rent apart like a tunic,
And the One born from Mary ascended on high,
As fiery choirs preceded him,
Crying out, ‘Come, Master, for your throne is ready;
Mount, be lifted up on the wings of the winds,
And come to the Father’s bosom. For he is clearly your throne for ever,
Where you dwell and which you do not leave, even as you cry out to those below,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

13

So when the faithful saw what had taken place,
At once, like David, they chanted and said,
‘Truly God has gone up with a shout, the Lord to the sound of the trumpet’.
As they chanted together and looked on high,
A pair of Angels came towards them,
In the way that the book of Acts teaches:
When the Creator had been taken up
And the saints were gazing intently,
There came upon them two beings, like men, resplendent by their raiment,
Who cried out, ‘Why are you standing here? On what are you gazing?
What do you wish to look on? See, God is seated on his throne.
He was our King, the One who cried out to you,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

14

Be amazed no longer, Galileans,
For Jesus Christ, as he has been taken up,
So too he will come, as you have seen him arriving on high.
For he has been clearly taken up and has not been translated.
It is not the same for Christ as it was for Enoch of old.
For the well-known Enoch passed over from things of earth,
He was not found worthy of those of heaven,
But was placed in the tents of the just.
While Elias, seated on the fiery chariot,
Ascended, yet did not reach heaven, as it is written,
But ‘as towards heaven’. But the God of Enoch and the God of Elias,
On ascending to heaven, declared to you,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’’

15

But immediately they heard these words
The Disciples of the Deliverer said to one another,
‘These are surely faithful witnesses of Christ’s assumption, for they are heavenly beings,
For had they not seen him on high in heaven,
They would not have come down to proclaim it to us.
He is Master of angels and through angels makes known
His loving dispensations for mankind,
He who dawned from the Virgin.
He was brought to birth, and angels revealed his nativity.
He was raised, and again angels revealed his rising.
He has ascended into heaven, and has revealed to us his divine and radiant
Assumption through good angels,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

16

Let us nerve ourselves then against the deceivers.
Let us be armed as a company against the calumniators.
Let us all toil, let us wrestle steadfastly, until we have thrown them.
Let us say with boldness to the sons of perdition,
‘Where is he, whom you held as a corpse in a tomb?
Where is the one whom the soldiers were guarding,
And your seals protecting?
How was he stolen? How was he taken up?
Who spirited him away? Who carried him off?
He stolen was he from the grave? How then from the firmament
Has he sent now to us and declared to us, ‘Do not be afraid of them.
They will not overcome you, for I said to you,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’?’’

17

With thoughts such as these the Disciples of the Deliverer,
Christ and God who had been taken up,
Then came down from the mount with gladness and rejoicing.
And arriving below, as the Scripture teaches,
Bowing down they worship the God on high,
And addressed words full of praise to the mountain
As they extolled the mount of Olives,
Because it had been found worthy of such honour,
‘Mount Sinai’, they said, ‘you have surpassed.
For it received the steps of Moses,
But you, those of God himself. On the former was the law, but on you the grace
Which both fashioned Moses and said to us,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’

18

Now too you are far above Lebanon,
Thabor and Hermon are less than you,
Because on them the Lover of mankind did not do what he has done on you.’
When they had spoken thus, the Creator’s Disciples
Limited their words to these,
And raising their eyes and hands on high,
They besought the King
Of things in heaven and on earth,
Crying out, ‘Sinless One, give us your peace
And through us to your world at the prayers of her who gave you birth.
For the foe cannot bear to look on the fair deeds done by us.
But drive him from us, you who said,
‘I am not parting from you. I am with you and there is no one against you.’’

 

All texts and translations on this page are copyright to
Archimandrite Ephrem ©

This page was last updated on 03 November 2008