By Bishop Gregory of Mesaoria
Today, October 1, the Church is celebrating the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, which is customary postponed until October 28.
Today we also honour two great hymnographers: Romanos the Melodist and John Koukouzelis.
Romanos the Melodist was, at first, a deacon in the Church of Beirut. He then went to Constantinople, where he stayed, with faith and deep humility, in the Church of the Panagia at Blachernae, following the readings and chanting during the worship.
Romanos experienced the manifestation of the appearance of the Theotokos, which shocked his soul, and he composed the famous kontakion of the Nativity of Christ: “Today the Virgin gives birth to him who is above all being.” From that time, Saint Romanos began to exploit his poetic talent, resulting in becoming the greatest and most excellent melodist of our Church.
Saint John Koukouzelis, who is also honoured by the Church today, was an excellent musician. He came from Dirrachia and lived in the Komnenian years. His devout mother, after her husband’s death, along with her affection and good upbringing, gave her child the opportunity to learn the sacred letters and the life of the Church. Thus, Saint John Koukouzelis became the choirmaster of the palace choir in Constantinople.
Koukouzelis then left for the monastic state of Mount Athos, where he lived in the cell of the Archangels of the Great Lavra. After living like a saint, he died peacefully in the early 12th century AD, chanting glorious hymns to God.
Source: Church of Cyprus