Thursday, 2 April 2015

Derek Krueger: Mary in Lent: Counterpoint and Intercession in Early Stoudite Hymns of the Triodion (WS)

This paper considers the role of Mary as intercessor in kanon hymns composed by monks of the Stoudios Monastery on Constantinople. In the ninth century, the pre-Lenten Sundays offered a sequence of biblical and eschatological themes to prepare for the Great Fast.  Hymns by Theodore the Stoudite, his brother Joseph, and later Stoudite monks read biblical stories and the history (and future) of salvation in light of the call to repentance. The emerging convention of ending each of the eight or nine odes of the kanon with a metrically related hymn to the Theotokos—called a theotokion—offered opportunities to shape Mary’s relationship to biblical narratives, such as the fall of Adam or the parable of the Prodigal Son, or to dread at the prospect of the Second Coming and Last Judgment. Of particular interest are Joseph’s hymn On the Prodigal Son, for the ninth Sunday before Easter, Theodore’s On the Second Coming for Apokreas or Meatfare Sunday, and a poem attributed an otherwise unknown Christopher for Cheesefare, the last Sunday before Lent proper, On the Transgression of Adam. In each hymn, appeals to Mary inject the Theotokos into the predicament of the singers, who sing in the first person singular, identifying with biblical characters or as sinners in need of mercy. Vocabulary and narrative details integrate Mary into the history of salvation. To some degree, this technique reflects normative approaches to Mary, but it also shows how compositional requirements presented opportunities for new conceptions of Mary’s role in salvation history.

No comments:

Post a Comment