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E05880: Romanos the Melodist composes his kontakion /canticum (hymn) 59, On All the *Martyrs (S01151). Written in Greek at Constantinople, in the mid-6th c.

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posted on 2018-06-25, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Romanus the Melodist, Canticum 59, On All the Martyrs (CPG 7570)

proemium 1.

(1) Ὡς ἀπαρχὰς τῆς φύσεως     τῷ φυτουργῷ τῆς κτίσεως
  ἡ οἰκουμένη προσφέρει σοι, κύριε,     τοὺς θεοφόρους μάρτυρας·
ταῖς αὐτῶν ἱκεσίαις      ἐν εἰρήνῃ βαθείᾳ
  τὴν ἐκκλησίαν σου,    τὴν πολιτείαν σου
  διὰ τῆς θεοτόκου συντήρησον, (5)

‘‘Like the first fruit of nature to the planter of creation,
The world offers you, Lord, the god-bearing martyrs.
By their supplications, in deep peace
Keep your Church and your state,
Through the Mother of God,
Oh greatly merciful One.’


Strophe 2
(2) Ἀπὸ πάσης συνήχθησαν πόλεως    καὶ ἡμῶν πατριῶται γεγόνασιν,
ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου παντὸς ἐπεδήμησαν   καὶ τὸν κόσμον ἡμῖν συνεπάγονται
τῆς πανηγύρεως συμμέτοχοι·    σὺν τῇ ἄνω ἡ κάτω χορεύει κτίσις·
μεθ’ ἡμῶν γὰρ βοῶσι καὶ ἄγγελοι·
“Θαυμαστὸς ἐν ἁγίοις σου εἶ ἀληθῶς, (5)

‘From each city have they come together, and our fellow townspeople have they become.
From all over the world they are visiting, and the world they are bringing along to us,
Sharing in our celebration. In a dance with the upper creation is the lower one joining along,
For the angels are now with us crying aloud:
“Truly wonderful are you in your saints [Ps. 67:36],
Oh greatly merciful One!”’


Text: Maas, Trypanis 1963.
Translation: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Liturgical texts - Hymns


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Constantinople and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Constantinople Constantinople Κωνσταντινούπολις Konstantinoupolis Constantinopolis Constantinople Istanbul

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Saint as patron - of a community


Romanos the Melodist was born to a Jewish family in Emesa of Syria, and moved to Constantinople under Anastasius (491-518), where he joined the clergy of the church of Mary in the Kyros quarter. He is the earliest and most important author of Kontakia (cantica), which he seems to have composed between 536 and 555. The Kontakia/Cantica were sermons in verse, accompanied by music, which became very popular in the Greek Church between the 6th and 9th centuries. They have a metrical form, and were probably chanted from the pulpit by the preacher, joined by the choir or the congregation in the refrain. Their music is now lost.


Apparently written for a feast of All Saints or a celebration of a group of martyrs, this hymn opens with a proemium which became popular and was widely used in Byzantine liturgy.


Text: Maas, P., and Trypanis, C.A., Sancti Romani Melodi Cantica. Cantica Genuina (Oxford, 1963).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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