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Ritual Voices and Social Silence: Funerary Lamentations in Byzantium

  • Hélène Bernier-Farella
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

In the Christos Paschon, a Christian tragedy attributed to the fourth-century archbishop of Constantinople Gregory of Nazianzus (ca. 329–390), the voice of Mary lamenting her son’s death at the foot of the Cross traces the first lines of what will become a common image of the Virgin.1 Already in Gregory’s text, Mary takes up a curious threnody, a chanted funerary lamentation, in which she weaves together ancient and pagan figures, letting the traditional cries of women in mourning resound:

[I am expiring, my child, life no longer gives me joy!

Alas! The darkness is already descending on my eyes;

I expire and wish for death’s underground sojourn.

Beneath the earth, in the shadows beneath the earth,

deprived of your gaze, I want to dwell from now on.]

Keywords

Byzantine Period Church Father Religious Function Greek Tradition Ordinary Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
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© Irit Ruth Kleiman 2015

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  • Hélène Bernier-Farella

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