St.-Sophronios-of-JerusalemMarch 11th is the feast of St Sophronius of Jerusalem.

From the introduction at Monachos: “The following two poems (nos. 19 and 20) from the collection of Anacreontica by Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem (5th/6th c.), are a cry of longing for the holy city of which he was bishop, apparently written during a voyage away from his see…. They describe a course through all the major shrines and sights of the city in the sixth century from the perspective of their caretaker and pastor.”

Lines 1-6: The Holy City of Jerusalem Cf. Psalm 122.2

Holy City of God,
Jerusalem, how I long to stand
even now at your gates,
and go in, rejoicing!

A divine longing for holy Solyma
presses upon me insistently.

Lines 7-22: The Anastasis (Church of the Resurrection) Cf. Matt 27.57-60 (Burial); Matt 28.1-10 (Resurrection)

Let me walk thy pavements
and go inside the Anastasis,
where the King of All rose again,
trampling down the power of death.

I will venerate the sweet floor,
and gaze on the holy Cube,
and the great four <…>
<…like the heavens.>

Through the divine sanctuary
I will penetrate the divine Tomb,
and with deep reverence
will venerate that Rock.

And as I venerate that worthy Tomb,
surrounded by its conches
and columns surmounted by golden lilies,
I shall be overcome with joy.

Lines 23-42: The Tristoon (Portico) and the Rock of the Cross Matt 27.33-37

Let me pass on to the Tristoon,
all covered with pearls and gold,
and go on into the lovely building
of the Place of a Skull.

Ocean of life ever living
and of the true oblivion.
Tomb that gives light!

And prostrate I will venerate
the Navel-point of the earth, that divine Rock
in which was fixed the wood
which undid the curse of the tree.

How great thy glory,
noble Rock, in which was fixed
the Cross, the Redemption of mankind!

Exultant let me go on to the place
where all of us
who belong to the people of God
venerate the glorious Wood of the Cross.

Let me run to bend the knee
before the artist’s picture
representing the Rulers,
to render homage.

Lines 43-54: The Constantinian Basilica (Martyrium)

And let me go rejoicing
to the splendid sanctuary, the place
where the noble Empress Helena
found the divine Wood;

and go up,
my heart overcome with awe,
and see the Upper Room,
the Reed, the Sponge, and the Lance.

Then may I gaze down
upon the fresh beauty of the Basilica
where choirs of monks
sing nightly songs of worship.

Sophronius of Jerusalem (560-638): Anacreontica 20 (selections); text as tr. in J. Wilkinson Jerusalem Pilgrims before the Crusades, 1977; with reference to on-line text of ‘Franciscan Cyberspot’ (1999). Formatting and textual editing by (2006).