Seventeen stanzas with the acrostic TOY TAII[E]INOY PὍMANOY ("of/by the humble Romanos"). Following the editors of the Greek text, I have bracketed the "E" stanza (6a) as a spurious addition. (Romanos sometimes spells his acrostic phonetically and omits the "E" in TAIIEINOY.)
Luke 23:27-32 records the laments of the women of Jerusalem who encounter Christ on the way to Calvary. John 19:25-28 is the only gospel that mentions the Virgin Mother as a witness to the crucifixion. In this kontakion, however, the Passion plot is not defined by a specific scriptural site; rather, the dramatic scene of the dialogue between Mother and Son is left designedly vague, in keeping with its extracanonical status.
The only two direct references to the Bible are acknowledgments of an echo of a psalm at stanza 6.4 and of an allusion to an incident from the Old Testament at 15.7-8. The latter serves as the basis for a somewhat bizarre example of typology. When the Jews were wandering through Sinai, they were attacked by venomous serpents. Yahweh instructed Moses, "Make a fiery serpent [out of bronze] and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live" (Numbers 21:8). The Greek word for "standard" (simeion) is interpreted by Romanos as the equivalent of "wood," "tree" (xulon). Thus a lifesaving cure during the Exodus becomes a "model" of life-giving redemption on the cross.
Another psalmodic phrase is worked into the plot of the kontakion in an equally odd fashion. Christ reminds Mary of his heavenly origin. He quotes King David as having sung that the mountain of God is a "solid