Hymns of the Eastern Church, by J.M. Neale, , at sacred-texts.com
by S. John Damascene.
The circumstances under which the Canon is sung are thus eloquently described by a modern writer. The scene is at Athens.
"As midnight approached, the Archbishop, with his priests, accompanied by the King and Queen, left the Church, and stationed themselves on the platform, which was raised considerably from the ground, so that they were distinctly seen by the people. Every one now remained in breathless expectation, holding their unlighted tapers in readiness when the glad moment should arrive, while the priests still continued murmuring their melancholy chant in a low half-whisper. Suddenly a single report
of a cannon announced that twelve o'clock had struck, and that Easter day had begun; then the old Archbishop elevating the cross, exclaimed in a loud exulting tone, 'Christos anesti!' 'Christ is risen!' and instantly every single individual of all that host took up the cry, and the vast multitude broke through and dispelled for ever the intense and mournful silence which they had maintained so long, with one spontaneous shout of indescribable joy and triumph, 'Christ is risen!' 'Christ is risen!' At the same moment, the oppressive darkness was succeeded by a blaze of light from thousands of tapers, which, communicating one from another, seemed to send streams of fire in all directions, rendering the minutest objects distinctly visible, and casting the most vivid glow on the expressive faces full of exultation, of the rejoicing crowd; bands of music struck up their gayest strains; the roll of
the drum through the town, and further on the pealing of the cannon announced far and near these 'glad tidings of great joy;' while from hill and plain, from the sea-shore and the far olive-grove, rocket after rocket ascending to the clear sky, answered back with their mute eloquence, that Christ is risen indeed, and told of other tongues that were repeating those blessed words, and other hearts that leap for joy; everywhere men clasped each other's hands, and congratulated one another, and embraced with countenances beaming with delight, as though to each one separately some wonderful happiness had been proclaimed and so in truth it was and all the while, rising above the mingling of many sounds, each one of which was a sound of gladness, the aged priests were distinctly heard chanting forth a glorious old hymn of victory in tones so loud and clear, that they seemed to have regained
their youth and strength to tell the world how 'Christ is risen from the dead, having trampled death beneath His feet, and henceforth they that are in the tombs have everlasting life.'"
That which follows is the "glorious old Hymn of Victory."