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73

STICHERA FOR GREAT THURSDAY.

8,7,8,7,8,7

Andrew of Crete (~660-732)

το μεγα μυστηριον.

O the mystery, passing wonder,

When, reclining at the board,

“Eat,” Thou saidst to Thy Disciples,

“That True Bread with quickening stored:

“Drink in faith the healing Chalice

“From a dying GOD outpoured.”

Then the glorious upper chamber

A celestial tent was made,

When the bloodless rite was offered,

And the soul’s true service paid,

74

And the table of the feasters

As an altar stood displayed.

CHRIST is now our mighty pascha,

Eaten for our mystic bread:

Take we of His broken Body,

Drink we of the Blood He shed,

As a lamb led out to slaughter,

And for this world offered.

To the Twelve spake Truth eternal,

To the Branches spake the Vine:

“Never more from this day

Shall I taste again this wine,

Till I drink it in the kingdom

Of My FATHER, and with Mine.”

Thou hast stretched those hands for silver

That had held the immortal Food;

With the lips that late had tasted

Of the Body and the Blood,

Thou hast given the kiss, O Judas;

Thou hast heard the woe bestowed.

75

CHRIST to all the world gives banquet

On that most celestial Meat:

Him, albeit with lips all earthly,

Yet with holy hearts we greet:

Him, the sacrificial Pascha,

Priest and Victim all complete.

[In Mr. Young’s book. Melody of Pange lingua, harmonised by Dr. Schroeder. I may add that I purposely chose this Stanza to suit the melody of S. Thomas’s great bymn.]

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