Rejoice, O Bethany

One of my favorite hymns of Holy Week is “Rejoice, O Bethany”:

The sheet music is available from the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America website

In Antiochian Orthodox churches, it is sung during Lazarus Saturday (today) and during a procession on Palm Sunday (tomorrow).

The hymn is actually quite new by Orthodox standards. It was written (in Arabic) at the end of the 19th century by Metropolitan Athanasios Atallah of Homs. Bishop Basil Essey of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America translated it into English.

Holy Father Lazarus, pray to God for us!

 

Rejoice, rejoice, O Bethany!
On this day God came to thee,
And in Him the dead are made alive,
As it is right for He is the Life.

 
When Martha went to receive Him,
Grieving loudly with bitter tears,
She poured out the sorrow of her heart to Him
With great sadness, wailing her lament.

 
She at once cried out unto Him:
“My most compassionate Lord, my Lord,
At the great loss of my brother Lazarus
My heart is broken, help me.”

 
Jesus said to her, “Cease your weeping,
Cease your grieving and sad lament;
For your brother, My most beloved friend, Lazarus,
Very soon will live again.”

 
Then He, the faithful Redeemer,
Made His way unto the tomb,
Where he cried unto him who was buried four days,
Calling him forth, saying “Lazarus, arise.”

 
Come with haste, ye two sisters,
And behold a wondrous thing,
For your brother from the tomb has returned to life.
To the beloved Redeemer now give thanks.

 
To Thee, O Lord of creation,
We kneel down in reverence profound,
For all we who are dead in sin,
In Thee, O Jesus, are made alive.

lazaruscst03flyer

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