MANOΣΣ ("This psalm is by/of Romanos"). Stanza .24, with an extra "Σ,"
was judged spurious by the Oxford editors; I bracket it in my translation.
gle demoniac); Matthew 8:28-32 (two demoniacs); the source is obliquely
acknowledged at stanza 5.1-2. There also appears to be a clear reference
to the work's liturgical context in the first stanza: after a "night-long
vigil" of "psalms, songs, and hymns" with "reading of the Bible," the
congregation appeals to Christ to direct their understanding of the scrip-
tural message. The opening lines of stanza 4 ("The episode I am about
to chant is no tale of shadows") are another indication of the homiletic
setting and purpose of the work. In contrast to this Christian liturgical
setting is a muted allusion to the forms of ancient Greek drama: kōmō-
doumen (comedy) and tragōdōmen (tragedy). These terms are given an
appropriately mocking twist in my translation of stanza 2.4-7. There are
relatively few lyric passages in this cleverly constructed but resolutely di-
dactic kontakion.In addition to providing another example of the Lord's willingness to
help all humans in distress (14), the basic gospel episode offers the poet
several opportunities for doctrinal statement on Christ's divinity. Ro-
manos combines this homiletic instruction with comparative proof of
the devil's inferior status:
|• The demon's question, "What is your business with me?" (19),|
proves the devil is not omniscient.