Tzifopoulos, Yannis. 2010. Paradise Earned: The Bacchic-Orphic Gold Lamellae of Crete. Hellenic Studies Series 23. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_TzifopoulosY.Paradise_Earned_The_Bacchic-Orphic_Gold_Lamellae.2010.
Afterword. Old Habits Die Hard or New Customs Follow Old Paths?
να τραγουδήσουν τα πουλιά στα πράσινα λειβάδια
πείτε του ήλιου να φανεί και να μας αγκαλιάσει
όπως μας αγκαλιάζουνε του αργαλιού τα δώρα.
Μάνα Γη Μάνα Γη
Ουρανέ Πατέρα Ουρανέ
τα παιδιά σας είμαστε.
Το άσπρο φως του πρωϊνού ας είναι το στιμόνι
το κόκκινο του δειλινού ας είναι το υφάδι
και οι σταγόνες της βροχής τα ασημένια κρόσια
κι ύστερα όλα τα χρώματα απ᾽ το ουράνιο τόξο.
Won’t you tell the sun to rise and shine
for the birds to sing down at the prairies
and embrace us with his glorious light
just as we’re enwrapped in the warm loom’s gifts.
Mother Earth, o Mother
Father Sky, o Father
’tis your children calling you.
Let the white morning light be the shuttle
let the purple of the dusk be the woof
and the raindrops be the silver fringes
with all the colours of the rainbow.
This poem/song from the Tewa tribe is entitled, after its refrain, “Mother Earth.” Does this refrain, so strongly reminiscent of the new identity of the deceased in the B-texts, imply the presence of Orphics among the Tewa tribe, or are the Tewa influenced somehow by Bacchic-Orphic eschatological beliefs?
Death-related rites and rituals and discourses on death employ every available means in their attempts to invalidate the inherently human contradiction. In the case of the Greeks, these attempts are particularly elaborate discourses on death which make the most out of ritual patterns and poetics.
3) At the conclusion of the trisagion, the priest invokes Christ once more: “our true God, Υou have the power over both the living and the dead, because Υou are the eternal king and Υou resurrected from the dead” (ὁ καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ ζώντων τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἔχων ὡς ἀθάνατος βασιλεύς, καὶ ἀναστὰς ἐκ νεκρῶν, Χριστὸς ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεὸς ἡμῶν …) and concludes with the prayer: “may your memory be eternal, our blessed and unforgettable brother/sister” (αἰωνία σου ἡ μνήμη, ἀξιομακάριστε καὶ ἀείμνηστε ἀδελφὲ/-ὴ ἡμῶν).
In the following benedictory chants, the deceased acknowledges how s/he was brought to life by God’s hand and image and is now returning back to the earth from which s/he was taken, praying for a return to God’s homoiosis, so that the ancient beauty may be reclaimed. These abstractions receive further elaboration. After praying to God the Lord and Compassionate for pity and cleansing, the deceased asks to be given her/his much-desired place and to be made again a citizen of Paradise. On behalf of the deceased, the congregation chants for her/his repose and placement in Paradise, where the choirs of the Saints and the Righteous will shine forth like leading lights (ἐκλάμψουσιν ὡς φωστῆρες). They proclaim their faith and pray to Mary, through whom they discovered Paradise, because she gave birth to Christ. Finally, they conclude: Christ, place the soul of your servant among the Saints, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no groaning, but life without end (ζωὴ ἀτελεύτητος).
This part of the Requiem (and the following section called μακαρισμοί, “Beatitudes,” not always chanted) is usually referred to as the Church’s official threnos for the deceased, and people call it, not unjustly, the Church’s moirologia. The threnodic posture is emphasized in the beginning of two of the hymns by the use of οἴμοι and the expression θρηνῶ καὶ ὀδύρομαι. More importantly, however, all of the motifs and themes of the moirologia, employed in the composition of these benedictory hymns and beatitudes, generate a very gloomy and poignant context. A Homeric view of death and afterlife is self-evident as their themes and ideas are reminiscent of the archaic epic and lyric poetry, the Iliad, Archilochos, Mimnermos, Solon, Simonides, and Pindar. But there is a striking and momentous development in the new context: they all conclude, in spite of all this horror and gloom, with a petition for the deceased’s soul to be assigned a special place in the land of the living.