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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Greek Christian hymns are a massive part of the surviving literary record of the early church, but have rarely attracted the level of scholarly attention that they deserve. This article discusses Greek hymnody; the classical origins of the Greek Christian hymns; the Bible and the ancient liturgy; stages of Syrian influence on Byzantine hymnography; hymns of the heterodox–orthodox Struggles; littérateur poets in Greek late antiquity; and the flowering of Byzantine hymnography in the sixth to eleventh Centuries. In Greek hymnody, one can see creed, antiphon, poem, prayer, song, and sacrament welded to form a seamless unity: here Byzantine theology, mysticism, and liturgical chant merge into a profound symbiosis in a programme that already consciously understood itself to be a theology of beauty and of culture. The ancient hymn is thus a potent symbol, still awaiting its full articulation.

Keywords: Greek hymnody, Greek Christian hymns, Bible, ancient liturgy, Byzantine hymnography, liturgical chant

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