On October 1 in the Holy Orthodox Church we commemorate St. Romanos the Melodist.
Born in the Syrian town of Emesa, he served as a verger first in Beirut and then in Constantinople at the cathedral, in the time of Patriarch Euphemius (490-96). Illiterate and with no musical training, he was despised by certain educated clergy. St Romanos prayed weeping to the Mother of God, and she appeared to him in a dream, held a piece of paper out to him and told him to swallow it. The following day was Christmas Day, and Romanos went up to the ambo and, with an angelic voice, sang: 'Today the Virgin' which has come down to us as the Kontakion of the Feast. All marvelled at the words of the hymn and at the singer's voice. Receiving thus the gift of song from the Mother of God, Romanos composed more than a thousand kontakia. He died as a deacon of the Great Church in Constantinople in 530, and went to join the angelic choir.
By his intercessions, O Christ God, have mercy upon us. Amen.