Spiritual songs > Hymns of the Nativity >

Boh predvičnyj

Boh predvicnyj

This Christmas hymn can be found in the Metropolitan Cantor Institute's Byzantine Catholic Hymnal for Nativity and Theophany (2007). The text is that of Monsignor William Levkulic (see below), who also published an English setting, Eternal God.

Sources

Rusyn

This hymn was included in the Užhorod Pisennik (1913) as the first hymn for the Nativity of the Lord (number 33 in that collection). Ten verses were given.

The same ten verses were reprinted in Latin letters in the 1932 Greek Catholic collection, Kolady, with lyrics as follows:

1. Boh predvičnyj narodilsja, - prišel dnes so nebes,-- aby spas ľud svoj ves, - i utíšil vsja.

2. Narodilsja v Viflejemi, - Mesijaš Christos naš, - i Pan naš, dl'a vsich nas, - nam voplotilsja.

3. Vozvistil to Anhel Božij - napered pastyrjam - i potom zvizdarjam - i zemnym zvirjam.

4. Vo Viflejemi nad vertepom - zvízda sta, hdi Christa, - Nevista prečista - Syna rodila.

5. Tri cari idut s dary - vo Viflejem - na misto - hde Diva - prečista - Syna povila.

6. Zvizda jim to oznajmila: v berlozi - ubozi - pri voli - pri osli - jim izjavila.

7. Trie cari! hde idete? - My idem v Viflejem - s poklonom s pokojem - i povernemsja.

8. Inym putem povernuli - pohanu bestydnu, - bezbožnu Irodu - nepovili.

9. Josifu v sni Anhel vistil: - S Diťatkom i s matkov - s bydľatkom, - s oslatkom - naj sja chranit.

10. Slava Bohu zaspivajme: čest' Synu Božemu - i Spasu našemu - poklon dajme.

In 1969, Father Stefan Papp printed a version with music and five verses (Duchovňi Pisňi, page 141). The five verses all correspond to verses in the 1913 Uzhorod version, but with a significant number of textual changes (some of them common to the Ukrainian version given below)..

In 1969, Monsignor William Levkulic published the first two verses in the booklet Christ is Born: Glorify Him. This text incorporated a number of changes also seen in some Ukrainian versions, such as reversing the two halfs of the first line of verse 2 and changing "voplotisja" at the end of the same verse to "narodilsja." These verses were reprinted (without music) in Byzantine Liturgical Chant (1970) and in the Hymns section of The Divine Liturgy, a Book of Prayer (1978).

Galician

My Divine Friend (1959), a Ukrainian Sunday and holyday missal by Redemptorist Father Michael Schudio, included a seven-verse version with a literal English translation (pages 852-854); the Cyrillic has been transliterated for inclusion here.

Boh predvičnyj narodivsja,
Prišov dnes iz nebes,
Ščob spasti ľud svyj ves,
I utíšivsja.
God eternal is born tonight.
He came down from above
To save us with his love
And he rejoiced.

V Viflejemi narodivsja,
Mesija Christos naš
I Pan naš, dl'a vsich nas
Nam narodivsja.

He was born in Bethlehem,
Our Christ, Our Messiah,
The Lord of creation
was born here for us.

Obvistiv ce Anhel Božij
Napered pastyrjam
A potim zvizdarjam
I zemnym zvirjam.
The tidings came through an angel,
Shepherds knew, then the Kings
The watchers of the skies
Then all creation.

Diva Syna jak porodila
Zvízda sta, hde Christa,
Nevista prečista
Syna srodila.

When Christ was born of the Virgin,
A star stood where the Son,
And Mother, the most pure,
Were sheltered that night.
Trie cari, hde idete?
My idem v Viflejem
S želannjem s pokojem
I povernemsja.
You three wise men, whither go you?
We go to Bethlehem,
Bearing peaceful greetings,
We shall then return.
Inšym putem povernuli
Spobnoho, pohancja
Ipoda pukavcja
Sovcim minuli.
Returning through, a new way they chose,
The malicious Herod,
The evil wicked one,
They wished to avoid.
Slava Bohu zaspivajme:
čest' Synu Božemu
I Panu našemu
Poklin viddajmo.
Ring out the song: "Glory to God!"
Honor to the son of God,
Honor to our Lord,
And homage to him.

The version shows the reversal of the first line of verse 2, which is used my most current Slavonic texts in the United States, and quite a few "l" to "v" shifts.

English translations

In 1969, Monsignor William Levkulic published a loose two-verse English translation, Eternal God, in the booklet Christ is Born: Glorify Him. This setting was reprinted in Byzantine Liturgical Chant (1970, with music) and in the Hymns section of The Divine Liturgy, a Book of Prayer (1978, without music).

A different English translation (by Joseph Roll) can be found on page 982 of the The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology for Worship (Ukrainian Catholic, 2004), titled "God eternal." The melody for this setting begins with four half notes, which means that the accent pattern will be somewhat different from English translations created for the Rusyn version of the melody.