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Hymns of the Church

Part 2: Troparion for the Veneration of the Holy Cross

The Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Holy Cross will be celebrated this coming week on September 14, and I would like to address one of the most well-known hymns associated with this feast–the Troparion or Apolytikion:

Σῶσον, Κύριε, τὸν λαόν σου

καὶ εὐλόγησον τὴν κληρονομίαν σου,

νίκας τοῖς βασιλεῦσι κατὰ βαρβάρων δωρούμενος,

καὶ τὸ σὸν φυλάττων διὰ τοῦ Σταυροῦ σου πολίτευμα.

The translation of this hymn from the Greek is problematic because the original language contains words, such as “kings” and “barbarians” and “the commonwealth,” that have little meaning in our contemporary reality. Many translators have attempted to contemporize this hymn to make it more relatable and, as a result, there are a multitude of versions with no “universality” as suggested by the title of the feast itself. Fr. Dimitri recommended the translation that appears below, since it has been used at the Holy Cross Hellenic College and is, in fact, a sensible version that is easily adapted to music:

Save, O Lord, Your people and bless Your inheritance,

Grant victory to the faithful against the adversaries of the Faith,

And protect Your people by the power of Your Cross.

We will use this translation in our worship and educational programs.

The transcription and musical setting that appears below is by Richard Barrett.

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