“The Great Initiate of God’s Grace”: A Kontakion on Saint Nicholas by Pseudo-Romanos [translated with Thomas Arentzen]


  • Uffe Holmsgaard Eriksen Syddansk Universitet


During the ninth and tenth centuries, St Nicholas of Myra became increasingly popular as a saint, eventually rising to rank of the apostles in veneration. This article presents an investigation into the monastic piety which brought St Nicholas onto the stage of the Byzantine liturgical storyworld as one of the most important saints. Through a closer examination of how he was presented from the ninth century onwards in hagiography in general, the main focus of the article is a kontakion on the saint attributed to the great poet Romanos the Melodist (ca. 485–560) in particular. The question of authorship, time and place of origin of the kontakion is discussed. The article finally brings a new translation of the kon­takion into English.