Saturday, 11 April 2015

Georgia Frank: Singing Mary: Affective Piety in the Kontakia of Romanos the Melodist

This paper considers the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the sung sermons by the sixth-century hymnographer, Romanos the Melodist. Originally performed in Constantinople at vigils held on the eve of feast days, these stanzaic hymns, or kontakia, enlivened biblical characters through inventive use of dialogue and interior monologue. Mary’s voice figures prominently in Romanos’s retelling of gospel stories about the annunciation, as well as the nativity, infancy, miracles, and passion of Christ. Building on recent studies by T. Arentzen and S. Gador-Whyte, this paper focuses on performative and affective dimensions of Mary’s voice in these biblical retellings.

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