Greek hymns, metrics

As far as we can judge from the few remaining pieces of evidence (such as the famous ‘Phos hilaron’*) and from some late testimonies (Saint Augustine*, Egeria’s pilgrimage, comments by abbot Pembo, the Life of Auxentios), the earliest forms of Christian hymnody in Greek were written in rhythmic prose, were based on patterns of parallelism and antithesis (like the biblical psalms and canticles) and were sung responsorially. It is generally assumed that the earliest hymns, such as troparia and stichera, were created as a by-product of the communal singing of psalms and canticles, developed into regular stanzas inserted between psalm or canticle verses, and finally assumed an autonomy of their...

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