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The Beauty of This Christian Hymn and New Moscow Cathedral Will Astound You (My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord)

Shockingly beautiful

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Russia is impossible to understand without understanding her religion. Most people who think they know a lot about Russia, especially academics and foreign policy specialists, know very little about this extraordinary world. Russian Christianity is where the essence of the country comes into sharp focus. It is the molten lava heart of the Russian world.

This is one of the most often sung hymns, or canticles, in the Russian Orthodox liturgy, and is well known in the West too, particularly in the Anglican, Lutheran, Calvinist, and Catholic liturgies, where it is known as the Magnificat, or The Song of Mary.

This version is sung by the choir of the monastery and cathedral depicted in the video (Sretensky). It is a new cathedral built right in the heart of Moscow, a few blocks from the Kremlin. The monastery itself was founded in 1397. It is open to the public and is highly recommended to visit.

The song consists of a few verses from the Gospel of Luke where Mary, pregnant with Jesus, praises God while visiting her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist:

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.

51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

54 He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;

55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

In Russia, the following refrain is added after each couplet:

"More honorable than the Cherubim,
and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim,
without corruption you gave birth to God the Word:
True Mother of God, we magnify you."

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