Romanos the Melodist | Poet and Deacon

● Orthodox/Catholic Remembrance Day: October 1
● Name means: the Roman (Greek)
● Deacon, poet
● Born around 485 in Emesa, today Hims, Syria
● Died around 558 in Constantinople, today Ístanbul, Turkey

Romanos, son of Christian parents with probably Jewish descent, received a legal education in
Berytos, was then ordained a deacon there around 510 and worked at the Church of the
Resurrection. At the time of Emperor Anastasios I, he came to Constantinople and worked as a
cleric at the Church of the Mother of God in the Cyrus Foundation, later perhaps also at the
Hagia Sophia; possibly he was also active as a lead singer at the imperial court. Legend has it
that Romanos lived next to the church dedicated to our Lady; this had appeared to him in a
dream on the evening of the birth of Christ, had handed him a papyrus leaf and ordered it to
devour. After he did that, he woke up, climbed the ambo and began to sing. Romanos then
became known. Romanos became the outstanding representative of the Kontakion, the hymns
with rhythmic verses that serve the proclamation. His hymns are alive in a special way, with
attention to detail and image-rich language, often with dialogues and paradoxes – and often
shaped by the form of the hymns of the Old Testament. He used a simple Greek that was close
to the language of the people. About a thousand hymns to the feasts of the liturgical year and
to the feast days of saints are attributed to him. 89 hymns assigned to him have been preserved,
of which 60 are considered authentic. Romanos describes an epigram, probably shortly after his
death: The part has those (heavenly) melodies in the choir of angels in heaven / also sings those
(heavenly) melodies on earth!