Saint Romanos (or Romanus) the Melodist was born in Syria in the late 5th century. After serving as a deacon in Beirut, he went on to Constantinople. While he served the Church passionately, he felt his voice was weak.
He prayed to the Mother of God, who strengthened his voice and inspired him to compose a hymn, called a kontakion, for the Nativity: "Today the Virgin cometh to the cave to give birth..." Saint Romanos went on to compose a wealth of hymns for feasts and saints, and his legacy is still very much alive in the Church today.
This icon is from the Menologion of Basil II, an illuminated manuscript painted in the 11th century. Saint Romanos is commemorated on October 1.
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