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Orthodox icon of Saint Kassiane the Hymnographer.
Commemorated September 7.
Saint Kassiani was a Byzantine abbess, poet, composer, and hymnographer especially known as the composer of the Hymn of Kassiani. She was born between 805 and 810 in Constantinople into an wealthy family and grew to be exceptionally beautiful and intelligent. At a yound age she was placed in a contest for bride to Emperor Theophilus. Tradition tells us that when Theophilus, astonished by her beauty, selected her, he said through a woman sin came to the world St Kassiani responded and by a woman, salvation came to the world.
This insulted the emperor and she was rejected and he chose Theodora as his wife. She wrote many hymns for liturgies; the most famous being the eponymous Hymn of Kassiani, sung every Holy Wednesday (liturgically; actually chanted late in the evening of Holy Tuesday). Tradition says that in his later years the Emperor Theophilus, still in love with Kassiani, wished to see her one more time before he died, so he rode to the monastery where she resided.
Kassiani was alone in her cell, writing her Hymn when she realized that the commotion she heard was because the imperial retinue had arrived. She was still in love with him but was now devoted to God and hid away because she did not want to let her old passion overcome her monastic vow. She left the unfinished hymn on the table. Theophilus found her cell and entered it alone. He looked for her but she was not there; she was hiding in a closet, watching him. Theophilus felt very sad, cried, and regretted that for a moment of pride he rejected such a beautiful and intellectual woman; then he noticed the papers on the table and read them. When he was done reading, he sat and added one line to the hymn; then he left.
The line attributed to the Emperor is the line those very feet whose sound Eve heard at the dusk in Paradise and hid herself in fear Kassiani emerged when the emperor was gone, read what he had written and finished the hymn. Kassiani is one of the first composers whose scores are both extant and able to be interpreted by modern scholars and musicians.
Approximately fifty of her hymns are extant and twenty-three are included in the Orthodox Church liturgical books. The exact number is difficult to assess, as many hymns are ascribed to different authors in different manuscripts and are often identified as anonymous. In addition, some 789 of her non-liturgical verses survive.
Ladder of Divine Ascent icon
Orthodox icon of the Ladder of the Divine Ascent.
Copy of an icon of 12th cent. Monastery of Saint Catherine, Sinai Egypt.
Ladder of Jacob icon
Orthodox icon of the vision of Jacob. Icon of 16 cent. Mount Athos.
"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it." (Genesis 28:12)
Ladder of the Divine Ascent, the Vision of St. John of Climacus icon
Orthodox icon of the Ladder of the Divine Ascent. The Vision of St. John of Climacus
Copy of an icon of 1663 cent. of Emmanuel Gante.
NOTE: The sizes of the icon ARE NOT EXACT
St. Kalliope icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Kalliope, Kalliopi, Calliope.
Commemorated June 6th.
It is unknown where the Holy Martyr Kalliope was from, who suffered during the years of the Emperor Decius (249-251 AD). She was known for her bodily and spiritual beauty, and also for her clear and deep piety. During the persecution of Christians of that era, she was arrested and led before the eparch for judgment.
He immediately observed Kalliope's beauty, and was occupied by evil thoughts and desires, and sought with promises and flattery to convince her to fulfill his guilty desires. But Kalliope remained indifferent to his promises and unshakable in her faith. This enraged the eparch, who saw that his hopes were proving false, ordered that she be immediately be tortured terribly until death.
Thus, having been whipped mercilessly, and having had her breasts cut off, they burned her with lit torches, and poured vinegar and salt on her wounds. In the end, they beheaded her, and thus St. Kalliope received the incorrupt crown of glory, and entered into the joy of her Bridegroom Christ.