Texts for the Nativity Vigil in the Orthodox Church

These are the texts that we sing in our Orthodox Church during the Nativity Vigil (Christmas Eve).  Beautiful words:

The Lity
Make merry, O heaven and earth as the prophets foretold!
Celebrate in the spirit, O angels and men!
God is born of a woman and appears in the flesh to those who sit in darkness and shadow.
A cave and a manger welcome him
Shepherds announce the wonder
Wise men from the east offer gifts in Bethlehem
Let us from our unworthy lips, offer praise like the angels
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace
The expectation of the nations has come!
He has come and saved us from bondage to the enemy.

Today heaven and earth are united,
For Christ is born
Today God has come to earth, and man ascends to heaven.
Today God, who boy nature cannot be seen, is seen in the flesh for our sake.
Let us glorify him, crying out:
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace!
Thy coming has brought peace to us.
Glory to thee, O our Savior!”

Glory to God in the highest
I hear the angels sing
Today in Bethlehem.
Glory to him whose good pleasure it was
That peace should come on earth!
The virgin now is more spacious than the heavens.
Light has shone on those in darkness.
It has exalted the lowly, who sing like the angels:
“Glory to God in the highest!”

Man was created in God’s image and likeness,
But when Jesus saw him fallen through transgression,
He bowed the heavens and came down, dwelling in a virgin’s womb,
Without forsaking his divinity,
Adam, once corrupted, was refashioned.
He cried out:
“Glory to Thine appearing. O my redeemer and my God.”

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The wise men, kings from Persia,
Perceived without any doubt that thou was born on earth,
O heavenly king.
Drawn by the light of a star, they hurried to Bethlehem.
They offered thee acceptable gifts:
Gold, myrrh and frankincense.
They fell down before thee and worshipped thee,
Seeing thee the timeless one
Lying in the cave as an infant.

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen

All the angels in heaven make merry and dance today.
All creation leaps for joy!
The Lord and Savior is born in Bethlehem.
Every deception of idols is swept away,
And Christ reigns until all ages!

A great and wondrous mystery unfolds today:
A virgin gives birth and remains a virgin!
The word is made flesh without leaving his Father!
Angels and shepherds glorify Him!
Let us join in their song:
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace!”

The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.”

Today the virgin gives birth to the maker of all!
Eden offers a cave.
To those in darkness a star reveals Christ, the Sun!
Wise men are enlightened by faith and worship with gifts.
Shepherds behold the wonder,
And the angels sing: “Glory to God in the highest!”

From the womb before the morning star have I begotten Thee.

When Jesus the Lord was born in Bethlehem of Judah,
Wise men came from the east to worship God made man.
Eagerly opening their treasures,
They offered precious gifts to him:
Purest God for the king of the ages;
Frankincense for the God of all;
Myrrh for the immortal one,
As though he were dead three days.
Come, all you nations
Let us worship him!
He is born to save our souls.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Sing, O Jerusalem!
Make merry, all who love Zion!
Today Adam’s ancient bonds are broken!
Paradise is opened to us!
The serpent is cast down!
Long ago our first mother was deceived by him.
Now he sees a woman become mother of the creator,
O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Through Eve, the woman became the tool of sin,
Bringing death to all flesh;
But through Mary she becomes the first fruits of salvation for all the world,
For God, the all perfect is born of her.
By his birth he seals her virginity.
He is bound in swaddling clothes to loose the bonds of sin!
Through his birth, the pains of Eve are healed!
Let all creation sing and dance for joy,
For Christ has come to restore it and to save our souls.

Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou did dwell in a cave, O Christ our God;
A manger welcomed thee;
Shepherds and wise men worshipped thee.
Then were the words of the prophets fulfilled,
And the hosts of angels marveled and cried:
“Glory to thy condescension, O only lover of man!”

Troparion of the Nativity:
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
Has shone to the world the light of wisdom;
For by it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star,
To worship Thee the Sun of Righteousness,
And to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high;
O Lord, glory to thee.

Sessional Hymn
Come, O Faithful! Let us go to see where Christ was born.
We shall follow the wise men, kings from the east,
And be led by the guiding star to the place where angels sing unceasing praise.
Shepherds in fields offer fitting hymns:
“Glory in the highest to Him who today was born of the virgin Theotokos in a cave in Bethlehem of Judah.”

Sessional Hymn:
Why do you marvel, O Mary?
Why are you amazed at what has come to pass?
I have given birth in time to a timeless son;
I cannot explain how he was conceived in me.
I have known no man; how then shall I bear a child?
Who has ever seen a birth without seed?
When God so wills, as it is written, the order of nature is overcome.
Christ is born of the virgin in Bethlehem of Judah.

The Megalynarion
We magnify, we magnify thee,
O Christ the giver of life,
Who for our sake now is born in the flesh of the virgin Mary
Unwedded and most pure.

Sessional Hymn
How can a womb contain Him whom nothing can contain?
How can He remain in His Father’s bosom, yet rest in His mother’s arms?
It is His good pleasure to accomplish this.
Having no flesh, He purposely assumes it for our sake.
He Who is becomes what never was.
He shares our substance without forsaking His own nature.
Desiring to make us citizens of the world on high,
Christ, the Only begotten of the Father, is born on earth as a man.

Hymns of Ascents of the Fourth Tone
From my youth do many passions war against me
But do thou thyself defend and save, O My Saviour
Ye haters of Sion shall be shamed by the LORD
For like grass by the fire shall ye be withered
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Both now and ever and to the ages of ages, Amen
In the Holy Spirit every soul is quickened
And through cleansing is exalted
And made radiant by the triple unity
In a hidden sacred manner.

Post-Gospel verses
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Sprit.
Today all things are filled with joy.
For Christ is born of the virgin
Now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen
Today all things are filled with joy,
For Christ is born of the virgin.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy,
And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
Glory to God in the highest and on eath peace!
Today Bethlehem receives him who reigns with the Father.
Today Angels glorify the newborn babe in hymns worthy of God:
“Glory to God in the highest!
And on earth peace good will to men!”

Irmos One
Christ is born; glorify Him!
Christ comes from Heaven go to meet Him!
Christ is on earth be exalted.
Sing to the Lord all the earth and praise him with gladness
O people, for He has been glorified.

Irmos Three
To the Son, begotten of the Father before all ages
And incarnate of the Virgin without seed in these latter days,
To Christ our God let us cry out!
Thou hast raised up our horn
Holy art Thou, O Lord

Heaven brought the first fruits of the Gentiles as a gift for thee:
A star summoned the wise men to the Babe in the manger.
They were amazed to see neither throne nor scepter.
But only abject poverty
What is more humble than a cave?
What is more lowly than swaddling clothes?
Yet the riches of thy divinity shone through all these O Lord,
Glory to Thee.

Sessional Hymn
Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad!
The Lamb of God has been born on earth,
Granting redemption to the world
The word, who rests in the bosom of the Father,
Has come forth without seed from the virgin.
The wise men were struck with amazement,
Seeing him born as an infant in Bethlehem.
Let all creation glorify Him!

Irmos Four
Stem and flower of the root of Jesse.
Thou has blossomed from the virgin O Christ.
Form the mountain overshadowed by the forest Thou art come.
Made flesh from her that knew no man.
O God, not formed from matter-
Glory to Thy power, O Lord

Irmos Five
O God of Peace, Father of mercies,
Thou hast sent Thine angel of great counsel to grant us peace.
We are guided to the light of the knowledge of God,
And keeping watch by night we glorify Thee,
O lover of Man!

Irmos Six
The sea monster cast forth Jonah as it had received him,
Like a baby from the womb,
And when the Word came to dwell in the Virgin and was made flesh,
He came forth preserving her incorrupt,
For as He Himself was not subject to decay,
He kept His mother free from harm.

Kontakion of the Nativity
Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him,
The wise men journey with a star,
Since for our sake the Eternal God is born as a Little Child!

Irmos Seven
The children brought up together in godliness
Scorned the impious decree of the tyrant.
They were not afraid of the threat of fire;
But standing in the midst of the flames they sang:
Blessed art Thou, O God of our Fathers.

Irmos Eight
The furnace moist with dew was an image prefiguring  a wonder beyond nature
For it did not burn the children whom it had received.
Nor did the fire of Divinity consume the Virgin’s womb when it entered it.
So let lus raise the song
Let all creation bless the Lord and exalt Him throughout all ages.

Megalynarion (Irmos Nine)
Magnify, magnify O my soul, O my soul
Her who is greater in honour and more glorious than the heavenly hosts.
A strange and most wonderful mystery do I see:
The cave is heaven;
The virgin the throne of the cherubim;
The manger a room, in which Christ the God whom nothing can contain is laid.
Him do ye praise and magnify.
Magnify, O my soul, God born in flesh from the virgin.
Magnify, O my soul, the King born in the cave.
Magnify, O my soul, God worshipped by the Magi.
Magnify, O my soul, Him who was revealed to the Magi by a star.
Magnify, O my soul, the pure Virgin who has given birth to Christ the King.
Magi and shepherds come to worship Christ, born in the city of Bethlehem.

Our Saviour, the Dayspring from the east,
Has visited us from on high,
And we who were in darkness and shadow have found the truth,
For the Lord is born of the Virgin.

Today Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem.
Today He who knows no beginning now begins to be
And the Word made flesh.
The powers of heaven greatly rejoice,
And the earth with mankind makes glad,
The magi offer gifts
The shepherds proclaim the marvel,
And we cry aloud without ceasing,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men.


  1. Thank you for posting these hymns! I had to stay home this evening with sick children, and I am so grateful to be able to read these beloved and needful hymns!