“O Cosmic King”: A Greek Christian Prayer in Verse

For “Melanchthon Monday” this week I’m calling an audible; there is no Melanchthon at all. Sad, I know. But I have something for you that I hope will still prove worthwhile.

Below is a four-line epigram from the Greek Anthology, the first book of which comprises Christian poems. It is a fine little poetic prayer to Christ, the “All-Wise Logos”  (Λόγε πάνσοφε) and “Lord of creation” (κοίρανε κόσμου). The prayer begs for Christ’s grace and help, and closes with an allusion to Psalm 145:15 (“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season”), which Luther used as the preface to his table prayer in the Small Catechism. Indeed, it is not unreasonable to see the latter part of this Psalm as the inspiration for the poem.

The epigram is in dactylic hexameters. This time, instead of imitating the poem’s meter in English, I have rendered it in iambic pentameters or blank verse, the nativer English meter most closely corresponding to Latin and Greek hexameters in register and function. Hope you enjoy and are upbuilt by the discourse.

Πατρὸς ἐπουρανίου Λόγε πάνσοφε, κοίρανε κόσμου,

ὁ βροτέην γενεὴν τιμήσας εἰκόνι σεῖο,

σὴν χάριν ἄμμιν ὄπαζε καὶ ὀλβιόδωρον ἀρωγήν·

εἰς σὲ γὰρ εἰσορόωσιν ἐν ἐλπίσιν ὄμματα πάντων.

O Cosmic King, the Heav’nly Father’s Word,

who with your image honored mortal men:

grant us your grace and bliss-bestowing aid;

to you in hope the eyes of all look up.


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