Hymn of Kassiani

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The Hymn of Kassiani, also known as the Hymn of the Fallen Woman, is a work classified as a Penitential Hymn that is based on Mary Magdalene [1]. This hymn is considered a musical high-point of the Holy Week and chanted, in the Fourth Plagal Tone [2], for the morning office of Holy Wednesday.


O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, took upon herself the duty of a myrrh-bearer; with lamentation she bringeth Thee myrrh oils before Thine entombment. "Woe unto me," she said, "for night is become for me a frenzy of licentiousness, a gloomy and moonless love of sin. Receive the fountains of my tears, O Thou Who dost gather into clouds the water of the sea. Incline unto the sighings of my heart, O Thou Who didst bow the heavens by Thine ineffable kenosis (self-emptying).

I shall kiss Thine immaculate feet, and wipe them again with the tresses of my head, those feet at whose sound Eve hid herself for fear when she heard Thee walking in Paradise in the afternoon. The multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgments, who can search them out, O my Saviour of souls? Do not disdain me, Thy handmaiden, O Thou Whose mercy is measureless.

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  1. St. Mary Magdalene is first introduced by the the Evangelist Luke in the Gospel according to Luke 7:36-50.
  2. A major scale with a frequently flatted seventh degree.