Romanos "Melodos"

Orthodox/Catholic Remembrance Day: 1 October

Name means: the Roman (Greek)

Deacon, poet


* c. 485 in Emesa, today Hims in Syria

around 558 in Constantinople, today Ístanbul in Turkey

Antike original russische Ikone aus dem 19. Jahrhundert.


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!


Joachim Schäfer: Article Romanos “Melodos”, from the Ecumenical Dictionary of Saints –

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