The spellbinding Romanos the Melodist on the Holy Spirit

peter swimmingA Patristic moment on the Holy Spirit.

The spellbinding Romanos the Melodist (+6th c.) has this about our praise of the Spirit. Amazing imagery:


Now those who before were fishermen have become skilled speakers.
Now those who once
stood by the shores of lakes are orators, and clear ones.
Those who previously used to mend their nets
now unravel the webs of orators
and make them worthless with simpler utterances.
For they speak one Word, instead of many,
they proclaim one God, not one of many.
The One as one they worship, a Father beyond understanding,
a Son consubstantial and inseparable, and like to them
the All-Holy Spirit.

Was it not then given them to overcome all
through the tongues they speak?
And why do the fools outside strive for victory?
Why do the Greeks puff and buzz?
Why are they deceived by Aratos the thrice accursed?
Why err like wandering planets to Plato?
Why do they love debilitated Demosthenes?
Why do they not consider Homer a chimera?
Why do they go on about Pythagoras,
who were better muzzled?
Why do they not run believing to those to whom has appeared
the All-Holy Spirit.

Brothers, let us sing the praise of the tongues of the disciples
because, not with elegant words,
but with divine power they caught all mortals in their nets,
because they took up His Cross like a rod,
because they used words again as lines and fished the world,
because they had the Word as a sharp hook,
because the flesh of the Master of all things became for them
a bait, not hunting to bring death,
but drawing out to life those who honor and glorify
the All-Holy Spirit.


[On Pentecost]

One of my favorite lines in all of Scripture is John 21:3: Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. J Kusske says:

    Lovely! St. Roman the Melodist is especially dear to me as an a cappella church singer and I know I’m not the only one–his icon is on the choir stand at Russian church in Hong Kong, and their wonderful tenor chorister there is named Roman. I wish more Latins knew about him and prayed to him as the patron of church musicians, along with St. Cecilia!

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