Have you ever wondered where some of our hymns come from? It always amazes me that these beautiful words have been preserved for so long. It makes me feel connected to that time period. You may be wondering who St. Romanos was and what he had to do with our hymns.
The abbreviated version of his life: He was a monk that lived around 518 AD. He served as the deacon of the church of Agia Sofia in Constantinople. Back then Deacons would face the congregation and chant most of the service. St. Romanos had trouble reading and singing out loud. He had a dream that the Theotokos asked him to eat a scroll of music. When he woke up, he was able to sing with confidence. He began to sing new hymn that might be familiar to you –
“Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! Angels with shepherds glorify Him! The wise men journey with a star! Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!”
At our church we always have a Holy Friday retreat for the kids. We have activities planned to help them learn more about the important events of the day and of Christ’s Resurrection. A couple of years ago I had to teach the kids the hymn, Christ is Risen. Since my group was preschool through 6th grade, a lot of the kids may not be reading or not reading well enough to read the bigger words. My teacher brain was thinking of ideas to help the non-readers be able to sing along. I’m sure many of you have seen early reader books where they have the text and a small picture that shows the word. I love how icons tell stories and especially love it when a hymn describes exactly what is happening in the image, so I decided to make a visual version of the hymn for my students. (more…)
Greetings! As the days are quickly growing longer and school is about to start, I always think of my Yiayia (grandma). Why? Because it reminds me of going to her house after church in the fall and her giving me bags full of vegetables from her garden. The aroma of the plants, dirt and basil greets you at the end of her driveway. She always had small pots of basil to give to others and she always gave me some around this time of year. We also would get a sprig of basil from church, too. What does basil have to do with this special feast day? Read this story and you’ll find out! 🙂 (more…)
I know it might seem a bit early to post about a date in September, but you know it will be here before you know it! Whenever school starts, I’m reminded that it is a new liturgical year. And we kick of this new year with the feast, Nativity of the Theotokos on September 8. If you’re like me, you might not have grown up knowing all about the Feast Days (there’s 12 of them, in case you’re wondering. 😉 ). (more…)