Dear Friends of the OCMP,
I am very excited to be beginning the 11th Movement of the ‘Life of St. Seraphim’ oratorio. The texture of this setting will be for Double SATB choir with double SATB soli. After much research, I have not discovered a troparion describing the relationship of ‘St. Seraphim and the Bear’. It is here that I have taken on the task of composing an original hymn text for this icon scene in the spirit of the great Hymnographers of the past. For your edification, I present to you the following hymn:
11. The Holy Priest Seraphim befriends a Bear (Original hymn text)
*** “Whilst thou wast in seclusion from the world immersed in the rigors of prayer and the ascetical life,
the animals of the forest, drawn by their innate sense of the Creator within thee, befriended Thee, and kept watch as thou conversed with the Lord of Hosts and the Holy Theotokos.
Ferocious beasts would prostrate themselves before thee;
the mighty bear would surrender her honey, and the wolf her prey,
in exchange for bread blessed by thy hands, O Saint.
The calming of their formidable natures
showed the victory of Christ over the wolf, that natural predator of the lamb, and of the bear who fiercely pursues the bullock,
as mystical symbols for the enemies of the Gospel.
Thy holy and peaceful life gives us a foretaste of the divine reconciliation of heaven and earth,
When Christ, Our God, will make all things new. ”