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Spas naš narodilsja

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 contributed an English setting, Jesus came from heaven.

The melody is that of the Polish Christmas carol, Gdy się Chrystus rodzi, published in 1843. Both this hymn and Hospod Boh predvičnyj may actually be Rusyn translation from that carol, since all three end with the exclamation of the angels: "Glory, glory, glory to God in the highest."

Sources

Text

This hymn was not included in the Užhorod Pisennik (1913); however, it was printed in the 1932 Greek Catholic collection, Kolady, with six verses:

1. Spas naš narodilsja - v tili Boh javilsja - choč On nevmistinyj v jaslach vmistilsja - chory anhelskl spivajut - Narodženoho vitajut: slava, slava, slava vo vyšnich Bohu.

2. Tuju písň na poli pastyrjam holosjat - vsich ľudej ubohich do vertepu prosjat - by Isusu česť otdali - i veselo zaspívalí: slava, slava, slava vo vyšnich Bohu.

3. Spišme do vertepu, de Díťatko Bože na siňí zložene, jak na jakom loži - jemu poklon Božij dajte ščsirym serdcem vychvalajte: slava, slava, slava vo vyšnich Bohu.

4. Na anhelskíj prikaz stada ostavilí - í do Viflejemu skoro ponahlili - í tam istno ohľadali- pro čto anhely zviščali: slava, slava, slava vo vyšnich Bohu.

5. Znajšli v vertepi Chrísta Spasa svoho - Boha i vladyku sotvoríňa vseho, - ktoryj zvolilsja snižíti, aby svit ves otkupiti: slava, slava, slava vo vyšnich Bohu.

6. Jako Bohu svomu poklon Mu otdali - i potom veselo do stad povertali - bo uzrili Spasa svoho, - čto ízbavil ích ot zloho: slava, slava, slava vo vyšnich Bohu!

Text and music were provided in Professor George I. Kacan's Kolady (1958):

In 1969, Father Stefan Papp printed a version with music, and verses 1 and 3 (Duchovňi Pisňi, page 148). There are minor textual differences from the Kolady version, including the usual L to V shift.

In 1969, Monsignor William Levkulic published the first verse in the booklet Christ is Born: Glorify Him, but included verse 2 ("Tuju písň na poli") as the second verse of another hymn set to the same melody, Hospod Boh predvičnyj. It is entirely possible that the first verses of the two hyms are simply different translations of the first verse of the original Polish carol that provided the melody.

A single verse of this hymn was reprinted (without music) in Byzantine Liturgical Chant (1970) and in the Hymns section of The Divine Liturgy, a Book of Prayer (1978).

Melody

  1. In the earlier versions, the Glory of the refrain ("Slava") was only sung three times, and remainder of the refrain was shorter. In the Levkulic setting, "Slava" / "Glory" was sung four times, and the refrain is slower, longer and rhythically simpler.
  2. The Papp setting (and the Kolady text) have fewer syllables in verse 1, line 4; it may be that the intent was to have "v" (or "u") sung as a separate syllable. Levkulic changes "vmilstilsja" to "po mistilsja" and condenses "v jaslach" to a single syllable.

English translations

In 1969, Monsignor William Levkulic published a loose English translation, Jesus came from heaven, of the first verse of this hymn 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).

See the discussion of Jesus came from heaven for issues surround this hymn, and its future in English translation.