Monday, April 18, 2011

Mary at the Cross

I did quite a bit of searching this morning for a work by St. Romanus the Melodist called "Mary at the Cross." His works (numbered by some in the thousands), as many people know, are strewn about and interwoven in bits and pieces in many of our services. This work is a dialogue of sorts between the Theotokos and Christ and is used on Holy Friday. I was particularly struck by this passage:

When the Ewe beheld her beloved Lamb
being dragged to slaughter, Mary followed
with the other women. She cried out in torment:

"Where do you rush, my Son? Why this haste to finish your course?
There isn't another wedding at Cana:
you can't be hurrying to change water into wine now.

Should I come with you, my Son? Or, better, wait for you somewhere?
Word of God, give me your word. Do not pass me by in silence.
You are the one who guarded my purity,
my Son and my God."

It goes on, every stanza as beautiful as the the last, for a number of pages.


  1. That passage is one of my absolute favorites of Holy Thursday (the 12 Gospels) and one that always makes me pause.
    Interestingly, I once mentioned it to a cradle Orthodox friend, and she said she'd never noted it.

  2. Another one I found wonderful:

    Be strong for a little while, Mother, and you will see how,
    just like a surgeon, I strip and rush to where my patients lie.
    I shall treat their wounds:

    I shall cut away solid tumors with the soldier's spear.
    I shall use gall and vinegar to staunch the incision;
    nails, a lancet to probe the tumor; a seamless robe to wrap it.

    The cross itself I shall use as a splint.
    By this you will understand and sing,
    'By suffering himself, he has destroyed suffering,
    my Son and my God.'