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Russian Icon - Porkov - The Protecting Veil of the Most Holy Mother of God with Romanos the Melodist and Andrew the Fool

The icon is depicting the scene of the first performance of Saint Romanus the Melodist, who is considered to be one the greatest of Greek hymnographers, called "the Pindar of rhythmic poetry".  According to the Orthodox tradition, Romanus fell asleep during the All-Night Vigil at the Church of the Panagia at Blachernae and as he slept, the Theotokos appeared to him with a scroll in her hand. She commanded him to eat the scroll, and as soon as he did so, he awoke. He immediately received a blessing from the Patriarch, mounted the pulpit, and chanted extemporaneously his famous Kontakion of the Nativity, "Today the Virgin gives birth to Him Who is above all being…." The emperor, the patriarch, the clergy, and the entire congregation were amazed at both the profound theology of the hymn and Romanos' clear, sonorous voice as he sang. According to tradition, this was the very first kontakion ever sung. The Greek word "kontakion" (κοντάκιον) refers to the shaft on which a scroll is wound, hence the significance of the Theotokos' command for him to swallow a scroll, indicating that his compositions were by divine inspiration.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 237-026-101-L60i3-100
  • Size: 17 1/3 in x 12 1/4 in (44 cm x 31 cm)
  • Age: ca. 1890s, Western Russia
  • Materials: Egg tempera on gessoed wood
  • Price: $900
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