The generous reception given to a former series of renderings of Hymns from the Office Books of the Greek Church by those who are best qualified to judge, and the gratifying fact that already no fewer than five pieces from that series have secured a place in the revised edition of one of our most valued permanent Hymnals, encourage the translator to pursue his work in this department of devotional literature.
No apology is needed for this additional volume on a subject too little known, the contents of which are an earnest attempt to acquaint our people still further with the valuable praise literature of the Eastern Church.
We are still far from realising the unity of the Church of Christ in the world, when that section of it which is historically nearest The Christ -- which joins hands with Him and with His Apostles -- is practically ignored. Why this should be, let our Christian scholars answer. About a year ago the Rev. R. M. Moorsom, of Winchester, published his Renderings of Church Hymns, containing, among others, twenty translations from the Service Books of the Eastern Church. For that valuable addition to our hymnody, the Christian Church in our land is under a debt of gratitude to Mr. Moorsom; but he and the very few others who have sought to interest the Church in a subject so rich and so attractive, have as yet but touched its fringe.
Of the forty-six pieces in this volume, forty-two appear for the first time in English verse. While leaving critics to pass their verdict on the value of the work, the translator can yet justly claim to have made a substantial addition to our English hymnody from Eastern sources.
The renderings have all been made from the Service Books, the edition used being the one printed at Venice, -- with the exception of the Triodion, which belongs to the Athens edition.
To enable any who are interested in the subject, and who may have access to the Service Books, to compare the renderings with the original text, the title of the book, and the number of the page where it can be seen, are given in each case.
The Introductory chapters on the History, Sacraments, and Worship of the Church, are given in the hope that they may be the means of removing prejudices and misconceptions, and of awakening some degree of interest in the Eastern Church.
For much of the information contained in these chapters the translator is indebted, among other works, to Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church, Stanley's History of the Eastern Church, King's Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church, and Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. But many of the facts were collected a few years ago during a residence in the East.
Portpatrick, Nov.1, 1902.