Agni Parthene

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Agni Parthene (Gr. Αγνή Παρθένε) is a non-liturgical hymn composed in Greek by St. Nectarios of Aegina in the 19th century during his tenure as director of the Rizarios Theological School of Athens. Nektarios liked to compose hymns in honour of the Mother of God to deepen his personal prayer and relationship with her. The tradition passed down at the monastery of St. Nektarios, in Aegina, Greece, is that the Lady herself appeared before him and requested that he record on paper a particular hymn the angelic choirs were about to sing. This hymn was the "Agni Parthene". The original script can still be viewed on his prayer table in his bedroom at this monastery.

The melody to this hymn was not composed by St. Nektarios. The melody has been written by a famous Athonite hymnographer, from the St. Annes area of Mount Athos, who was also a Spiritual child of the Saint.

The hymn has received great popularity due to this enchanting melody. The hymn is now translated into many langauges and many of the churches have adapted the melody to suit their particular style of church chanting. As such, there are many popular variations to the original greek, including the Valaam Monastery chant (Russian).

The hymn of the Pure Virgin has been included into the Theotokarion (Book of Hymns to the Mother of God)citation needed.

This hymn, is sometimes performed in Orthodox churches at the beginning of Vespers.

English Translation

O Virgin Pure

by St. Nectarios
Plagal First Tone (Tone 5)

Refrain: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

O Virgin pure, immaculate/ O Lady Theotokos
O Virgin Mother, Queen of all/ and fleece which is all dewy
More radiant than the rays of sun/ and higher than the heavens
Delight of virgin choruses/ superior to Angels.
Much brighter than the firmament/ and purer than the sun's light
More holy than the multitude/ of all the heav'nly armies.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

O Ever Virgin Mary/ of all the world, the Lady
O bride all pure, immaculate/ O Lady Panagia
O Mary bride and Queen of all/ our cause of jubilation
Majestic maiden, Queen of all/ O our most holy Mother
More hon'rable than Cherubim/ beyond compare more glorious
than immaterial Seraphim/ and greater than angelic thrones.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, O song of Cherubim/ Rejoice, O hymn of angels
Rejoice, O ode of Seraphim/ the joy of the archangels
Rejoice, O peace and happiness/ the harbor of salvation
O sacred chamber of the Word/ flow'r of incorruption
Rejoice, delightful paradise/ of blessed life eternal
Rejoice, O wood and tree of life/ the fount of immortality.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

I supplicate you, Lady/ now do I call upon you
And I beseech you, Queen of all/ I beg of you your favor
Majestic maiden, spotless one/ O Lady Panagia
I call upon you fervently/ O sacred, hallowed temple
Assist me and deliver me/ protect me from the enemy
And make me an inheritor/ of blessed life eternal.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

(Source and translation: Holy Nativity Convent, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Original Greek text

Αγνή Παρθένε

Αγνή Παρθένε Δέσποινα, Άχραντε Θεοτόκε,

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Παρθένε Μήτηρ Άνασσα, Πανένδροσε τε πόκε.
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Υψηλοτέρα Ουρανών, ακτίνων λαμπροτέρα

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Χαρά παρθενικών χορών, αγγέλων υπερτέρα,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Εκλαμπροτέρα ουρανών φωτός καθαροτέρα,

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Των Ουρανίων στρατιών πασών αγιωτέρα
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Μαρία Αειπάρθενε κόσμου παντός Κυρία

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Άχραντε Νύμφη Πάναγνε Δέσποινα Παναγία,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Μαρία Νύμφη Άνασσα, χαράς ημών αιτία.

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Κορή σεμνή Βασίλισσα, Μήτηρ υπεραγία,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Τιμιώτερα Χερουβείμ υπερενδοξοτέρα

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Των ασωμάτων Σεραφείμ των Θρόνων υπερτέρα,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Χαίρε το άσμα Χερουβείμ χαίρε ύμνος Αγγέλων

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Χαίρε ωδή των Σεραφείμ Χαρά των Αρχαγγέλων
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Χαίρε ειρήνη και χαρά λιμήν της σωτηρίας

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Παστάς του Λόγου ιερά άνθος της αφθαρσίας
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Χαίρε Παράδεισε τρυφής, ζωής τε αιωνίας,

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Χαίρε το ξύλον της ζωής, πηγή αθανασίας,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Σε ικετεύω Δέσποινα, Σε, νυν, επικαλούμαι,

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Σε δυσωπώ Παντάνασσα, Σην χάριν εξαιτούμε.
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Κορή σεμνή και άσπιλε, Δεσποίνα Παναγία

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Θερμώς επικαλούμε Σε, Ναέ ηγιασμένε,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

Αντιλαβού μου, ρύσαι με, από τού πολεμίου,

Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.
Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, ζωής της αιωνίου,
Χαίρε Νύμφη Ανύμφευτε.

English translation (with metrical notes)

(A, B, and C refer to the three distinct melodies within the hymn.)

(A) O pure and virgin Lady,/ O spotless Theotokos: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Virgin Queen and Mother/ O dewey fleece most sacred:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(B) O height transcending heaven above/ O beam of light most radiant:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O joy of chaste and virgin maids/ surpassing all the angels:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(C) O brilliant light of heaven above/ most clear and most radiant: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Commanding chief of heaven above/ O holiest of holies/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(A) O ever-virgin Mary/ O Mistress of creation:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Bride all-pure and spotless/ O Lady all-holy:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(B) O holy Mary, Bride and Queen/ O cause of our rejoicing/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O Maiden Queen most hon'rable/ O Mother most holy/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(C) More precious than the cherubim/ more glorious than the seraphim:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Surpassing principalities/ dominions, thrones and powers:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(A) Rejoice, song of the cherubim/ Rejoice, hymn of the angels:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, ode of the seraphim/ and joy of the archangels:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(B) Rejoice, o peace; Rejoice, o joy/ and haven of salvation: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

O bridal chamber of the Word/ unfading, fragrant blossom:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

(C) Rejoice, delight of paradise/ Rejoice, life everlasting: / Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!

Rejoice, o holy tree of life/ and fount of immortality:/ Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!


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