Paschal Matins Kanon :1

by St John of Damascus

{With commentary based on Archimandrite Ephrem’s Paschal Canon Noted}

Ode 1

This is the day of resurrection. Let us be illumined, O people. Pascha, the Pascha of the Lord1. For from death to life and from earth to heaven has Christ our God led us2, as we sing the song of victory3.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Let us purify our senses and we shall see Christ shining in the unapproachable light of His resurrection4. We shall clearly hear Him say: ‘Rejoice’5, as we sing the song of victory.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice6. Let the whole world, visible and invisible7 keep the feast. For Christ is risen8, our eternal joy.

  1. This is taken from St Gregory’s second sermon on Pascha (Sermon 45, PG 36:624-664)
  2. Philo gives the meaning of Pascha as ‘passing over, (διάβασις or διαβατήρια) and this meaning was therefore known to the Fathers.
  3. Cf. Exodus 15:1
  4. 1 Timothy 6:16
  5. Matthew 28:9
  6. Psalm 95:11
  7. The allusion to the Creed is clear, but the immediate source is again St Gregory, [PG 36:634]
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:20, but also St Gregory in the passage quoted in note 7.


Come, let us drink, not miraculous water drawn forth from a barren stone9, but a new vintage10 from the fount of incorruption, springing from the tomb of Christ. In Him we are established.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Now all is filled with light: heaven and earth and the lower regions11. Let all creation celebrate the rising of Christ. In Him we are established.

  1. Exodus 17:1-6, Numbers 20:2-11, 1 Corinthians 10:4. The use of the word ‘barren’, as well as ‘established’ are deliberate reminders of the story of Anna, whose Song forms the 3rd Ode.
  2. Matthew 26:29, where St John Chrysostom, in his Commentary on St Matthew, sees in the word ‘kingdom’ a reference to the resurrection, [PG 58:739]
    “Then, when he had delivered it, he says, ‘I will not drink of the fruit of this vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom’ For because he had spoken with them about suffering and cross, he again introduces a saying about the resurrection, introducing a kingdom to them, and in this way referring to his own resurrection”.
  3. Philippians 2:10; here with reference to the Descent into Hades
The classic fresco of the Resurrection (Anastasis). In remarkably good condition. Absolutley spellbinding to see in situ.

To be continued …

One reply on “Paschal Matins Kanon :1”

Wonderfully illustrates the profound scriptural basis of our liturgical tradition.

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