This anthem is taken from a larger work called The Veil of the Temple.
On his website, Tavener describes the larger work as “the supreme achievement of my life and the most important work that I have ever composed.” It runs over seven hours and is divided into eight cycles “like a gigantic prayer wheel with each cycle ascending in pitch and in cycles 1 to 7 using verses from St. John’s Gospel at the centre.”.
The lyrics come from the Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov
Mother of God, here I stand now praying,
Before this icon of your radiant brightness,
Not praying to be saved from a battlefield,
Not giving thanks, nor seeking forgiveness
For the sins of my soul, nor for all the souls.
Numb, joyless and desolate on earth,
But for her alone, whom I wholly give you.