Kontakion on the Nativity of Christ

Monastery of Ypseni

A Kontakion is a style of Eastern Orthoodox homily in verse, quite long, containing a repeating refrain.  Because of their length, the original scrolls were wound around a pole, and the word “Kontakion” is Greek for “from the pole.”  In modern times, the Kontakia have been greatly shortened, and just the Prelude or Prelude and 1st stanza are usually sung.

The following Kontakion of the Nativity was written by St. Romanos, who wrote the oldest Kontakia which are actually datable.   It is his best-known work, and is from the late 5th or early 6th century.

The text is based on Matthew 2:1-14.

On the Nativity of Christ
From St. Romanos the Melodist, On the Life of Christ: Kontakia (Archimandrite Ephrem Lash, tr.: Harper, San Francisco, 1995), pp. 1-12.;

Listen to the wonderful story of this Kontakion told by Frederica Mathewes-Green courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio

Prelude
Today the Virgin gives…

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