The Christians, from the very outset, committed their theology and prayer to the form of the song. The hymnal elements in the New Testament are among the earliest of all strands, some of them composed within a decade of the death of Jesus. From the third century onwards it was their custom to light the lamps of the house when dusk fell, and sing a hymn, for the onset of evening marked the new liturgical day in the earliest centuries. This collection of some of the most charming of the hymns of the Early Church presents the original Greek and Latin verse with a facing translation and a pronunciation guide for the Byzantine Greek. They range from simple chants such as the Phos Hilaron, comparing Christ to the ""cheerful light"" of a lamp, to sophisticated pieces by some of the great rhetoricians such as Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, Synesios, and Romanos. This is a book that will delight both academic and church readerships. ""These beautiful poems, so typical of the Early Christian spirituality of light, here receive a lucid translation by an Orthodox Archpriest, scholar, and theologian. One would have to ransack the vast continent of Christian liturgical prayer to have found these radiant gems for oneself, yet here they are collected in one small and luminous volume. The liturgical poetry of the Early Church expresses the whole heart of the doctrine of Christianity, since prayer, poetry, and liturgy are essentially intertwined. These elegant free verse translations closely follow the Greek, without ever being stiff or stilted. Highly recommended both to scholars and those who want to use them in prayer."" --Dr. Steven Thomas.Southampton. ""This is a classic and powerful representation of the great hymns of the Early Christians composed in the Greek and Latin churches across the first millennium. It is a jewel of a book prepared and translated with a true poetic sensibility by one of the world's leading ancient historians."" --Professor Sergey Trostyanskiy New York. John Anthony McGuckin is an Archpriest of the Romanian Orthodox Church. He is the Nielsen Professor of Early Church History at Union Theological Seminary and the Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies at Columbia University in New York. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and author of many books of Early and Byzantine Christian culture, as well as several volumes of translations of ancient Christian poetry as well as one book of his own poetry.