Day 22 – Strength Training

The “Phos Hilaron” is the next element of Evening Prayer.

The Phos Hilaron may be said or sung

O joyful light,
from the pure glory of the eternal heavenly Father,
O holy, blessed Jesus Christ.

As we come to the setting of the sun
and see the evening light,
we praise God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Worthy are You at all times
to be praised with holy voices,
O Son of God, O giver of life,
and to be glorified in all the world

“Phos Hilaron”, which was written in the late 3rd or early 4th century, is the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the Bible that is still in use today. St. Basil the Great (329-379 AD) spoke of the singing of the “Phos Hilaron” as a cherished tradition of the church, the hymn already being well established in his life time. At that time (approximately 365 AD) the Christian Church in Jerusalem was forced to worship in the catacombs because of the strong persecution they were experiencing. A candle was kept burning in what was believed to be the tomb of Christ and was a symbol of the light of Christ that lives on. The church would gather in the evenings and sing the “Phos Hilaron” as the candle was brought out of the tomb to symbolize the “true light”.

John 1:1-9:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. 6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. 9 The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.

The reading or singing of “Phos Hilaron” should serve as a poignant reminder that Jesus has come as the true light, and that we experience now and forever life in Him.

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