A Song of Theology and Emotion: Romanos the Melodist’s Hymn on Pentecost

Romanos the Melodist and the Theotokos, Menologion of Basil II. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Vat. gr. 1613

Date: Oct 6, 2023 Time: 12:00 PM–1:30 PM Location: Zoom REGISTER

Andrew Mellas, St Andrew's Theological College and University of Sydney, explores Romanos the Melodist's reimagining of the events of the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in his Hymn on Pentecost in order to engage the faithful in the biblical narrative.

While Romanos the Melodist composed hymns rather than theological treatises, the theology of his poetry echoed the festal orations of the fourth-century Cappadocian, Gregory the Theologian. Articulating the mystery of the Trinity through the performance of his hymn for the feast of Pentecost, Romanos wove together sacred song and theology, retelling the scriptural stories that defined the Byzantines, and shaping an emotional and liturgical community in Constantinople. Poetry and music showed forth the hidden fears and desires of scriptural characters amidst the overarching narrative of Pentecost, inviting the faithful to become part of the biblical narrative unfolding before them and experience the mystery of the Trinity. This paper will explore how Romanos the Melodist reimagined the events narrated in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, amplifying the biblical story, echoing the theology of Gregory’s oration on Pentecost and providing an affective script for his audience.

This lecture will take place live on Zoom, followed by a question and answer period. Please register to receive the Zoom link.

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