Hymn Story: The Day of Resurrection
The Day of Resurrection was written by St. John of Damascus, an eighth-century Greek poet. He is known for his writing of six canons for the major festivals of the church year. He lived a life of wealth and honor until he became dissatisfied with his life at age forty. He gave away his possessions, freed his slaves and entered the monastery of St. Sabas in the desert near Jerusalem.
One of the last of the Greek fathers, John became a great theologian in the Eastern church. He defended the church’s use of icons, codified the practices of Byzantine chant, and wrote about science, philosophy, and theology.
He wrote fifty-three hymns that we know of. He died around 787.
John M. Neale translated the hymn into English. Neale turned out a prodigious number of books and artic1es on liturgy and church history, but lived in relative obscurity. Neale claimed no rights to his texts and was pleased that his translations could contribute to hymnody as the “common property of Christendom.”