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HYMNS


in the 7th century, wrote seven Anacreontic hymns; and St John Damascene, one of the most copious of the second school of " Melodists, ” was also the author of some long compositions in trimeter iambics.

An important development of hymnody at Constantinople arose out of the Arian controversy. Early in the 4th century Pena, Athanasius had rebuked, not only the doctrine of Arius, of Arian but the light character of certain hymns by which he

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;°' endeavoured to make that doctrine popular. When,

towards the close of that century (398), St John Chrysostom was raised to the metropolitan see, the Arians, who were still numerous at Constantinople, had no places of worship within the walls; but they were in the habit of coming into the city at sunset on Saturdays, Sundays and the greater festivals, and congregating in the porticoes and other places of public resort, where they sung, all night through, antiphonal songs, with “acroteleutia ” (closing strains, or refrains), expressive of Arian doctrine, often accompanied by taunts and insults to the orthodox. Chrysostom was apprehensive that this music might draw some of the simpler church people to the Arian side; he therefore organized, in opposition to it, under the patronage and at the cost of Eudoxia, the empress of Arcadius (then his friend), a system of nightly processional hymn-singing, with silver crosses, wax-lights and other circumstances of ceremonial pomp. Riots followed, with bloodshed on both sides, and with some personal injury to the empress's chief eunuch, who seems to have oliiciated as conductor or director of the church musicians. This led to the suppression, by an imperial edict, of all public Arian singing; while in the church the practice of nocturnal hymn<singing on certain solemn occasions, thus first introduced, remained an established institution. It is not improbable that some rudiments of the peculiar system of hymnody which now prevails throughout the Greek communion, and whose affinities are rather to the a'"" Hebrew and Syriac than to the classical forms, may system of . ' . .

d, , have existed in the church of Constantinople, even at that time. Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople in the middle of the 5th century, was the precursor of that system; but the reputation of being its proper founder belongs to Romanos, of whom little more is known than that he wrote hymns still extant, and lived towards the end of that century. The importance of that system in the services of the'Greek church may be understood from the fact that Dr ]. M. Neale computed four-fifths of the whole space (about 5000 pages) contained in the different service-books of that church to be occupied by hymnody, all in a language or dialect which has ceased to be anywhere spoken.

The system has a peculiar technical terminology, in which the words “ troparion, " “ ode, " “ canon " and “ hirmus ” (efppus) chiefly regrnire explanation.

he troparzon is the unit of the system, being a strophe or stanza, - seen, when analysed, to be divisible into verses or clauses, with regulated caesuras, but printed in the books as a single prose sentence, without marking any divisions. The following (turned into English, from a “ canon ' by John Mauropus) may be taken as an example: “ The never-sleepin Guardian, l the patron of my soul, I the guide of my life, |allotte§ me by God, [I hymn thee, Divine Angel I of Almighty God.” Dr Neale and most other writers regard all these “ troparia " as rhythmical or modulated prose. Cardinal B. Pitra, on the other hand, who in 1867 and 1876 publishe two learned works on this subject, maintains that they are really metrical, and governed b f definite rules of prosody, of which he lays down sixteen. According to him, each “ troparion " contains from three to thirty-three verses; each verse varies from two to thirteen syllables, often in a continuous series, uniform, alternate or recifocal, the metre being always syllabic, and depending, not on tlife quantity of vowels or the position of consonants, but on an harmonic series of accents.

In various parts of the services solitary troparia are sung, under various names, “ contagion, " “ oecos, " “ cathisma, " &c., which mark distinctions either in their character or in their use. An ode is a song or hymn compounded of several similar "troparia, " -usually three, four or tive. To these is always prefixed a ty ical or standard “ troparion, " called the hirmus, by which the sylliibic measure, the periodic series of accents, and in fact the whole structure and rh thm of the stanzas which follow it are regulated. Each succeeding “troparion ” in the same "ode" contains the same number of verses, and of syllables in each verse, and similar accents MNS

on the same or equivalent syllables. The “ hirmus " may either form the first stanza of the “ ode ” itself, or (as is more frequently the case) may be taken from some other piece; and, when so taken, it is often indicated by initial words only, without being printed at length. It is generally printed within commas, after the proper rubric of the “ ode.” A hymn in irregular “ stichera ” or stanzas, without a “ hirmus, ” is called “ idiomelon." A system of three or four odes is “ triodion " or “ tetraodion."

A canon is a system of eight (theoretically nine) connected odes, the second being always suppressed. Various pauses, relieved by the interposition of other short chants or readings, occur during the singing of a whole “ canon." The final “ troparion " in each ode of the series is not unfre uently detached in sense (like the “ ephymnia ” of Ephraem Syruish, particularly when it is in the (very common) form of a “ theotokion, " or ascription of praise to the mother of our Lord, and when it is a recurring refrain or burden. There were two principal periods of Greek hymnography constructed on these principles-the first that of Romanos and his followers, extending over the 6th and 7th centuries, the second that of the schools which arose during the Iconoclastic controversy in the 8th century, and which continued for some centuries afterwards, until the art itself died out. The works of the writers of the former period were collected in Tropologia, or church hymn-books, which were held in high esteem till the 10th century, when they ceased to be ul 1 regarded as church#books, and so fell into neglect. i';':, ?a, ,:s They are now preserved only in a very small number of manuscripts. From three of these, belonging to public libraries at Moscow, Turin and Rome, Cardinal Pitra has printed, in his Analecta, a number of interesting examples, the existence of which appears to have been unknown to Dr Neale, and which, in the cardinal's estimation, are in many respects superior to the “ canons, ” &c., of the modern Greek service-books, from which all Neale's translations (except some from Anatolius) are taken. Cardinal Pitra's selections include twenty-nine works by Romanos, and some by Sergius, and nine other known, as well as some unknown, authors. He describes them as having generally a more dramatic character than the “ melodies ” of the later period, and a much more animated style; and he supposes that they may have been originally sung with dramatic accompaniments, by way of substitution for the theatrical performances of Pagan times. As an instance of their peculiar character, he mentions a Christmas or Epiphany hymn by Romanos, in twentysnve long strophes, in which there is, first, an account of the Nativity and its accompanying wonders, and then a dialogue between the wise men, the 'Virgin mother and Joseph. The magi arrive, are admitted, describe the moral and religious condition of Persia and the East, and the cause and adventures of their journey, and then offer their gifts. The Virgin intercedes for them with her Son, instructs them in some parts of Jewish history, and ends with a prayer for the salvation of the world.

The controversies and persecutions of the 8th and succeeding centuries turned the thoughts of the “ melodists ” of the great monasteries of the Studium at Constantinople and Melodms St Saba in Palestine and their followers, and those of the adherents of the Greek rite in Sicily and South Italy (who suffered much from the Saracens and the Normans), into a less picturesque but more strictly theological course; and the influence of those controversies, in which the final success of the cause of “ Icons ” was largely due to the hymns, as well as to the courage and sufferings, of these confessors, was probably the cause of their supplanting, as they did, the works of theolder school. Cardinal Pitra gives them the praise of having discovered a graver ahd more solemn style of chant, and of having'done much to fix the dogmatic theology of their church upon its present lines of near approach to the Roman/ Among the “ melodists ” of this latter Greek school there were many saints of the Greek church, several patriarchs and two emperors-Leo the Philosopher, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, his son. Their greatest poets were Theodore and ]'oseph' of the Studiurn, and Cosmas and John (called Damascene) of St Saba. Neale translated into English verse several selected portions, or centoes, from the works of these and others, together with four selections from earlier works bv

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