Tuesday, January 29, 2013

St. Romanos on Christ as the True Physician

The following is an excerpt from the famed Kontakion of St. Romanos the Melodist "On the Passion and the Mourning of the Theotokos", the first two strophes of which form the Kontakion and Oikos of the Orthros of Holy Friday. The full Greek text is available here, and the full English translation is available from Fr. Ephraim Lash here. Below is my amateur translation.

In the 13th strophe, St. Romanos, in an absolutely beautiful and fascinating metaphor, compares Christ and the instruments of His Passion to a physician with his medical tools. This is a vivid image of  how Christ's passion truly is healing for our broken souls and bodies. May He have mercy on us all and save us!
Jesus Christ "Extreme Humility", with the Most-holy Theotokos (Icon courtesy of www.eikonografos.com used with permission)
Μικρὸν οὖν, ὦ μῆτερ, ἀνασχοῦ καὶ βλέπεις, 
πῶς καθάπερ ἰατρὸς ἀποδύομαι καὶ φθάνω 
ὅπου κεῖνται, 
καὶ ἐκείνων τὰς πληγὰς περιοδεύω, 
τέμνων ἐν τῇ λόγχῃ τὰ πωρώματα αὐτῶν καὶ τὴν σκληρίαν, 
λαμβάνω καὶ ὄξος, καὶ ἐπιστύφω τὴν πληγήν, 
τῇ σμίλῃ τῶν ἥλων ἀνευρύνας τὴν τομὴν χλαίνη μοτώσω, 
καὶ δὴ τὸν σταυρόν μου ὡς νάρθηκα ἔχων 
τούτῳ χρῶμαι, μῆτερ, ἵνα ψάλλῃς συνετῶς, 
«πάσχων πάθος ἔλυσεν 
ὁ υἱὸς καὶ θεός μου».


A short time, O Mother, wait and you will see
How as a physician I strip myself and go
Where [the sick man] is laid,
And examine his wounds,
Lancing with the Spear his wounds and callouses,
And taking vinegar, I disinfect the wound,
Exploring the incision with the probe of the Nails,
Applying the [Purple] Robe as a dressing,
And having my Cross as a splint.
These I make use of, O Mother, that you might chant with understanding,
“By suffering the passion, You dissolved the passions,
My Son and my God.”
Christ as the Good Samaritan, 6th Century Codex Rossanensis (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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