Cheroubikon [Cherubic Hymn]
- Dimitri Conomos
The offertory chant in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. Introduced into the liturgy in the 6th century by the Emperor Justin II, it is sung at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Faithful (after the Dismissal of the Catechumens) and accompanies the Great Entrance when the Holy Gifts are transferred in procession from the prosthēsis (table of ‘preparation’) to the altar. For ordinary use the text begins ‘Hoi ta cheroubim mystikōs’ (‘We who mystically represent the Cherubim’), but during Great Lent and Holy Week other texts are used: ‘Nyn hai dynameis tōn ouranōn’ (‘Now the powers of the heavens’) at the Liturgy of the Presanctified; ‘Tou deipnou sou tou mystikou’ (‘At thy mystical supper’) on Holy Thursday; and ‘Sigēsatō pasa sarx’ (‘Let all mortal flesh be silent’) on Holy Saturday.
The Cheroubikon was originally sung in simple style as an antiphon to prescribed psalm verses, but, like the Byzantine communion hymn (...