Sacred Song from the Byzantine Pulpit: Romanos the Melodist

By R. J. Schork | Go to book overview

reply, then, serves as the bridge to the final stanza, in which the Melodist asks that all humans, through the Virgin's prayers, be delivered from evil.

As for the prophecy that the infant Christ is destined for "the rise and the fall of many," Simeon's explanation cleverly and convincingly avoids any hint of divine predestination of human fate (10-11). The "sign of contradiction" is the cross and the crucified Lord; heretics will engage in all sorts of controversy about his nature (12) and even his mother Mary will be momentarily confused when the "sword" of his suffering pierces her heart (13). A similar interpretation of these passages is found in a pastoral letter by the fourth-century doctor of the Eastern church, Basil of Caesarea. 1 There is a distinct possibility that Romanos based his exegesis on this source. If so, this adaptation illustrates his marvelous ability to weave significant biblical theology into the highly poetic texture of his sung sermons.


NOTE
1
See Bickersteth, "A Source for Romanos' Contakion on the Hypapanté".

The Presentation in the Temple

I. Let the choirs of angels stand awestruck at the miracle of the
Presentation.

We mortals shall raise our voices in a hymn of praise,
as we behold the ineffable descent of God into our midst.

The powers of the heavens tremble before him

whom Simeon now cradles in his aged arms --5

the only Lord of compassion.

[II. Lord, you became flesh by a virgin for our salvation
and were cradled as an infant in the arms of a temple-elder.
Now raise on high the majesty of our faithful emperor and his
wife.

Word of God, bolster them with your divine power,

and glorify their hallowed reign, 5

-61-

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Sacred Song from the Byzantine Pulpit: Romanos the Melodist
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Citations and Abbreviation xv
  • Concordance of Kontakion Numbers xvii
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • Notes 36
  • Part 2 - The Sung Sermons 41
  • "The First Humans" 43
  • Notes 44
  • "The Nativity I" (1) 49
  • Notes 50
  • "The Presentation in the Temple" (4) 60
  • Note 61
  • Healing the Leper" (8) 69
  • Notes 70
  • "The Sinful Woman" (10) 77
  • "The Man Possessed by Demons" (11) 86
  • Notes 87
  • "Judas" (17) 96
  • Notes 97
  • "Mary at the Cross" (19) 106
  • Note 107
  • "The Passion of Christ" (20) 115
  • Note 116
  • "The Victory of the Cross (22)" 125
  • Notes 126
  • "The Resurrection Vi" (29) 135
  • "Abraham and Isaac" (41) 148
  • Notes 149
  • "The Temptation of Joseph" (44) 158
  • Notes 162
  • "Repentance: Jonah and Nineveh" (52) 176
  • Note 177
  • "Earthquakes and Fires" (54) 184
  • Notes 185
  • "The Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I" (57) 196
  • Notes 198
  • "The Akathistos Hymn" 207
  • Notes 208
  • Bibliography 221
  • Index 227
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