Paschal Matins Kanon :2

by St John of Damascus

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


Before the dawn, Mary and the women came and found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They heard the angelic voice: “Why do you seek among the dead as a man the one who is everlasting light? Behold the clothes in the grave. Go and proclaim to the world: The Lord is risen. He has slain death, as He is the Son of God, saving the race of men.”

Ode IV

The inspired prophet Habakkuk now stands with us in holy vigil. He is like a shining angel who cries with a piercing voice: “Today salvation has come to the world, for Christ is risen as all powerful”12.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ our Pascha has appeared as a male child, the son that opens a virgin womb. He is called the Lamb as one destined to be our food, unblemished for He has not tasted of defilement, and perfect for He is our true God13.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ, the crown with which we are blessed, has appeared as a yearling lamb. Freely He has given Himself as our cleansing paschal sacrifice14. From the tomb He has shown (shone) forth once again15, our radiant sun of righteousness16.

Christ is risen from the dead.

David, the ancestor of God, leaped and danced before the ark17 which prefigured Thee. Now let us the holy people of God, seeing the fulfilment of all figures, rejoice in piety, for Christ is risen as all-powerful.

Paschal Troparion (3x)

  1. Habakkuk 2:1. This troparion is little more than a close paraphrase of the opening of St Gregory’s Sermon 45 [PG 36:624].
  2. This troparion is based on Exodus 12:5 and St Gregory’s second homily on Pascha [Orat. 45]. The biblical verse reads as follows:
    It shall be for you a sheep perfect, male, one year old; you shall take it from the lambs or from the kids.
    There is also an allusion to Exodus 13:12:
    You shall set apart everything that opens the womb, the male to the Lord.
    In his homily St Gregory comments on these texts and says that the Lamb ‘shall be eaten towards evening’ [PG 36:644]
  3. 1 Corinthians 5:7
  4. Here St John continues his meditation on Exodus 12:5, but he adds an allusion to Psalm 64,12, ‘You will bless the crown of the year of your goodness’. The link between the Psalm and Exodus is provided by the Greek words for ‘year’ and ‘yearling’. St Gregory calls Christ στέφανόν τε χρηστότητος εὐλογούμενον [PG 36:641]. He also explains in the previous sentence that Christ is a yearling [ἐναύσιον] lamb, because he is the Sun of justice.
  5. Malachi 3:20/4:2 and cf. Psalm 18:6.
  6. 2 Kings 6:5.14-16

Ode V

Let us arise at the rising of the sun18 and bring to the Master a hymn instead of myrrh, and we shall see Christ, the sun of righteousness19, who causes life to dawn for all.

Christ is risen from the dead.

The souls bound in the chains of hell, O Christ, seeing Thy compassion without measure, pressed onward to the light with joyful steps, praising the eternal Pascha20.

Christ is risen from the dead.

Let us go with lamps in hand21 to meet Christ, Who comes from the tomb like a bridegroom22. And with the festive ranks of angels, let us celebrate the saving pascha of God.

Paschal Troparion (3x)

  1. An echo of Isaias 26:9, the scriptural text of the 5th Ode. Cf. Luke 24:1
  2. Malachi 3:20/4:2 and cf. Psalm 18:6
  3. Cf. Isaias 49:8-9, Psalm 145:7
  4. St Gregory describes the lights of the eve of Pascha as a forerunner of the Great Light [PG 36:625].
  5. Matthew 25:1-13, Psalm 18:6. There is also a backward echo to Holy Week.
Myrrhbearing Women at the Tomb of Christ : Pskov
Myrrhbearing Women : Novgorod