Sacred Song from the Byzantine Pulpit: Romanos the Melodist

By R. J. Schork | Go to book overview

mountain" (oros teturomenon in the Septuagint [Ps.67:51]) and applies these words to the fetal formation of the God-man in the Virgin's womba statement that is as exegetically unique as it is embryologically exotic.

The plot action of this work, which is almost completely in dialogue form, is straightforward. Mary weeps as she beholds her Son suffering and preparing to die. Christ soothes his Mother by reminding her that his mission to redeem mortals requires this sacrifice. Stanza 13 contains the elaborate "surgical" metaphor mentioned in the discussion of the medical motif in the Introduction.

Stanza 1 is very similar to verses 454-60 of the Christian Greek work Christos Paschōn (Christus Patiens), of uncertain date and authorship. This composition is a cento, a patchwork of lines from ancient Greek tragedies, especially those of Euripides, which have been adopted to form a new drama. These recycled, "evangelized" verses now tell the story of the Lord's Passion, death, and resurrection. The two passages are obviously related. Most scholars would see Romanos' kontakion as the model, and the pseudepigraphic cento as the imitation. 1


NOTE
1.
See Grosdidier de Matons, propos d'une édition", 363-72.

Mary at the Cross

I. Come, let us all sing the praise of the one crucified for us.
Mary saw him on the wooden beam and cried,
"Even though you endure the torture of the cross, you are
my Son and my God."

3: Heb. 12:2 L

1. When the Ewe beheld her beloved Lamb
being dragged to slaughter, Mary followed
with the other women. She cried out in torment:
"Where do you rush, my Son? Why this haste to finish your course?

-107-

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