Who bowed the heavens, bowed His head

The Forerunner beheld our Enlightenment, who has brought light to all mankind, draw near for baptism: and he rejoiced in soul while his hand trembled. And he shewed Him to the people, saying: ‘Behold, the Redeemer of Israel, who sets us free from corruption.’ O sinless Christ our God, glory to Thee.

The hosts of angels were filled with fear, as they saw our Deliverer baptized by a servant and receiving witness through the coming of the Spirit. And the Father’s voice was heard from on high: ‘He upon whom the Forerunner lays his hand, the same is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ O Christ our God, glory to Thee!

The streams of the Jordan received Thee who art the fountain, and the Comforter descended in the form of a dove. He who bowed the heavens, bowed His head, and the clay cried aloud to Him that formed him: ‘Why dost Thou command of me what lies beyond my power? For I have need to be baptized of Thee.’ O sinless Christ our God, glory to Thee!

Wishing to save man gone astray, Thou has not disdained to clothe Thyself in the form of a servant. For it befitted Thee, as Master and God, to take upon Thyself our nature for our sakes. For Thou, O Deliverer, hast been baptized in the flesh, making us worthy of forgiveness. Therefore we cry unto Thee: O Christ our God and Benefactor, glory to Thee!

Hymn, Tone Two, From Vespers of Theophany, by John the Monk; tr. from The Festal Menaion

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