O the mystery, passing wonder,
When, reclining at the board,
“Eat,” Thou saidst to thy disciples,
“That True Bread with quickening stored:
Drink in faith the healing chalice
From a dying God outpoured.”
Then the glorious upper chamber
A celestial tent was made,
When the bloodless rite was offered,
And the soul’s true service paid,
And the table of the feasters
As an altar stood displayed.
Christ is now our mighty Pascha,
Eaten for our mystic bread:
Take we of his broken body,
Drink we of the blood he shed,
As a lamb led out to slaughter,
And for this world offerèd.
To the Twelve spake Truth eternal,
To the branches spake the Vine:
“Never more from this day forward
Shall I taste again this wine,
Till I drink it in the kingdom
Of my Father, and with mine.”
Thou hast stretched those hands for silver
That had held the immortal food;
With those lips that late had tasted
Of the body and the blood,
Thou hast given the kiss, O Judas;
Thou hast heard the woe bestowed.
Christ to all the world gives banquet
On that most celestial meat:
Him, albeit with lips all earthly,
Yet with holy hearts we greet:
Him, the sacrificial Pascha,
Priest and Victim all complete.
Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Stichera for Great Thursday, translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Hymns of the Eastern Church.