Obscure Nativity Chants

For some reason I love things like this tremendously — chanted in Orthodox Nativity Orthros services everywhere:

When it was time for Thy presence on earth, the first enrollment of the world took place. Then it was that Thou didst decide to enroll the names of men who believe in Thy Nativity. Yea, that commandment did issue forth from Caesar, since the everlastingness of Thine eternal kingdom hath been renewed. Wherefore, we offer what is better than moneyed tax; namely, Orthodox theological sayings to Thee, O God, Savior of our souls.

Verily it is easier for us to endure silence since there is no dread danger therefrom for us. But because of our strong desire, O Virgin, and Mother of sameness, to indite well-balanced songs of praise, this becometh indeed onerous to us. Wherefore, grant us power to equal our natural inclination.

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