Scripture Verse

He…descended first into the lower parts of the earth. Ephesians 4:9


John of Damascus (675–749)

Words: John of Da­mas­cus, 8th Cen­tu­ry (Κατήλθες έν τοίς κατωτάτοις). Trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale in Hymns of the East­ern Church (Lon­don: J. Har­ding, 1862).

Music: Morn­ing Star James P. Har­ding, 1892 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Har­ding (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

John M. Neale (1818–1866)


Into the dim earth’s low­est parts des­cend­ing,
And burst­ing by Thy might the in­fer­nal chain
That bound the pri­son­ers, Thou, at three days’ end­ing,
As Jo­nah from the whale, hast ris­en again.

Thou break­est not the seal, Thy sure­ty’s to­ken,
Arising from the tomb who left’st in birth
The port­als of vir­gi­ni­ty un­brok­en,
Opening the gates of Hea­ven to sons of earth.

Thou, sac­ri­fice in­ef­fa­ble and liv­ing,
Didst to the Fa­ther by Thy­self atone
As God eter­nal: re­sur­rect­ion giv­ing
To Ad­am, ge­ne­ral pa­rent, by Thine own.