Spiritual songs > The Hymnal Project

This is the first of the "hymns of the Passion of Christ" that we will look at.

Current version

Here is the version in the Byzantine Catholic Hymnal (2007):

Christ our King who reigns with justice

Boh predvicnyj

This setting of Christe Carju spravedilvyj is from the publications of Monsignor William Levkulic. The English translation is by Monsignor Levkulic.

See this article for the Slavonic.


In older sources such the as Užhorod Pisennik (1913) or Father Nicolaj Čoma's Malyj Izbornik Cerkovnyj (Užhorod, 1924), this hymn was often given pride of place as one of the main "hymns of the passion", with twenty verses recounting the entire Passion of Christ. The children's prayer-book My Guardian Angel, published by the Greek Catholic Union (Homestead PA, 1921), gave it as the only Lenten hymn (labelled "Hymn before the holy cross"), only four verses were included, and in Father Levkulic's book, this was reduced to three. As a result, only the very beginning of Christ's passion is recounted, and the Redemption - in fact, the whole Paschal Mystery - is almost entirely absent.

It seems to me that, even more than with our Christmas hymns, the right course here would be to prepare a literal translation of the original hymn, then use this to compose English translation of selected verses, so that the Passion of Christ is presented in a more balanced way, including the reason for Christ's suffering: the salvation of mankind.

The melody

Unfortunately, there are several versions of both text and melody in circulation. Here are three versions from Father Papp's Duchovni Pisni:

Of these three, the second is similar to the version printed in the 2009 collection Vospojme Sohlasno (from Presov), while the third resembles Father Levkulic's version, but is differently accented.

And here is a fourth version, as sung by the Presov Seminary Choir.

In short, I think there is a very good hymn here, but it will require some significant research and labor before we have something that ought to be in the hymnal - someone will need to compile the different texts, prepare a literal translation, select verses, choose a melody (or even two), and make sure we have a singable English version.

Any takers?

Thoughts or suggestions?

Please leave a comment on this blog entry: Songs of the Passion of Christ.