‘Your virginity shines' – The Attraction of the Virgin in the Annunciation Hymn by Romanos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


The sixth century liturgical poet Romanos Melodos composed dramatic hymns for the great feasts in Constantinople. His career coincides with an important phase in the history of Mariology: In the wake of the Ephesus council Marian devotion starts to make historical footprints throughout the Church of the Empire; sources reveal a growing interest in the person of the Theotokos, especially in the capital. Recent studies have focused on images of the Virgin in texts like the Akathistos and the homilies of Proclus. Through an analysis of Romanos’s Hymn on the Annunciation (XXXVI in the Oxford edition) this presentation explores the Marian image in texts that belong to a later part of the post-Ephesian phase and which present a much broader image of her. The focus of the analysis is the function of virginity; what does this symbol symbolize? What role does the virginity of Mary play in hymns intended for a civic audience?

I suggest that in this hymn Marian virginity has little to do with asceticism; she does not renounce anything. The text, on the contrary, uses her virginity to exalt her as attractive and an object of desire, one to whom the congregation may turn.


  • Thomas Arentzen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies


  • mariology, virginity, erotics, Romanos Melodos
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudia Patristica
EditorsMarkus Vinzent
PublisherPeeters Publishers
ISBN (Print)978-90-429-3001-8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
EventThe Sixteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies - Oxford
Duration: 2011 Aug 82011 Aug 12

Publication series



ConferenceThe Sixteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)