:"This article concerns the Byzantine hymnographer. For the plant "Cinnamomum aromaticum", see Cassia. For other uses, see Cassia (disambiguation).".

Kassia (also Kassiane, Kassiani, Casia, Ikasia, Cassia, Kassiana, or Eikasia; between 805 and 810 - bef. 867) was a Byzantine abbess, poet, composer, and . She is one of the first medieval 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 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. Many are epigrams or aphorisms called "gnomic verse". An example:

I hate the rich man moaning as if he were poor.

She was born between 805 and 810 in Constantinople into an poor family and grew to be exceptionally beautiful and intelligent. Three Byzantine chroniclers, Pseudo-Symeon the Logothete, George the Monk (a.k.a. George the Sinner) and Leo the Grammarian, claim that she was a participant in the "bride show" (the means by which Byzantine princes/emperors sometimes chose a bride, by giving a golden apple to his choice) organized for the young bachelor Theophilus by his stepmother, the Empress Dowager Euphrosyne. Smitten by Kassia's beauty, the young emperor approached her and said: "Through a woman [came forth] the baser [things] ", referring to the sin and suffering coming as a result of Eve's transgression. Kassia promptly responded by saying: "And through a woman [came forth] the better [things] ", referring to the hope of salvation resulting from the Incarnation of Christ through the Virgin Mary. According to tradition, the dialogue was:

"-Εκ γυναικός τα χείρω." ("Ek gynaikós tá cheírō")
"-Kαι εκ γυναικός τα κρείττω." ("Kaí ek gynaikós tá kreíttō")
His pride wounded by Kassia's terse rebuttal, Theophilos rejected her and chose Theodora as his wife.

When next we hear of Kassiani is that in 843 she founded a convent in the west of Constantinople, near the Constantinian Walls, and became its first abbess. [ [http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/kassia.html "Other Women's Voices"] ] Although many scholars attribute this to bitterness at having failed to marry Theophilos and becoming Empress, a letter from Theodore the Studite indicates that she had other motivations for wanting a monastic life. It had a close relationship with the nearby monastery of Stoudios, which was to play a central role in re-editing the Byzantine liturgical books in the 9th and 10th centuries, thus ensuring the survival of her work (Kurt Sherry, p. 56).

She wrote many hymns for the liturgy; 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 later Emperor Theophilus, still in love with her, 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 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 oath. 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". Legend says that as he was leaving he noticed Kassiani in the closet but did not speak to her, out of respect for her wished privacy. Kassiani emerged when the emperor was gone, read what he had written and finished the hymn.

The Hymn of Kassiani is chanted only once a year during Holy Week, at the Matins of the Great and Holy Wednesday, traditionally served in Tuesday evening:

:Sensing Thy divinity, O Lord, a woman of many sins ::takes it upon herself to become a myrrh-bearer,:And in deep mourning brings before Thee fragrant oil ::in anticipation of Thy burial; crying::"Woe to me!" For night is to me, oestrus of lechery, ::a dark and moonless eros of sin. :Receive the wellsprings of my tears, ::O Thou who gatherest the waters of the oceans into clouds.:Bend to me, to the sorrows of my heart, ::O Thou who bendedst down the heavens in Thy ineffable self-emptying.:I will kiss Thine immaculate feet ::and dry them with the locks of my hair; :Those very feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise ::and hid herself in fear. :Who shall reckon the multitude of my sins, ::or the abysses of Thy judgment, O Saviour of my soul? :Do not ignore Thy handmaiden, ::O Thou whose mercy is endless.

ee also

*Byzantine music


Other Sources

*Diane Touliatos. "Kassia", "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy (accessed February 12 2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ grovemusic.com] (subscription access).
*Anna M. Silvas, "Kassia the Nun," in Lynda Garland (ed) "Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience 800-1200", Ashgate, 2006.

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  • Kassia — o también Kassiane, Kassiani, Casia, Santa Casiana Constantinopla (Turquía), 810 c. 867 , fue una poetisa y compositora del Imperio bizantino. Es una de las primeras compositoras cuyas obras se conservan, ya que aproximadamente medio centenar de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kassia — Die heilige Kassia Kassia (auch Cassia oder Kasia, * um 810 in Konstantinopel; † um 865) ist eine byzantinische Dichterin und Komponistin. Kassia gilt als die älteste Komponistin des Abendlandes. Kassia stammte aus einem vornehmen Elternhaus. Ihr …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Kassia — Kạs|sia 〈f.; , si|en〉 = Kassie * * * Kạs|sia, Kassie, die; , …ien [lat. cas(s)ia < griech. kasi̓a, aus dem Semit.]: als Baum, Strauch od. Kraut wachsende Pflanze mit gefiederten Blättern, kleinen, meist gelben Blüten u. röhrenförmigen od.… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Kassia — Kạs|sia 〈f.; Gen.: , Pl.: si|en; Bot.〉 = Kassie …   Lexikalische Deutsches Wörterbuch

  • Kassia — Kas|sia . K’assie [...i̯ə] die; , ...ien [...i̯ən] <über lat. cas(s)ia aus gleichbed. gr. kasía, dies aus dem Semit.> in wärmeren Gebieten wachsende Bäume, Sträucher od. Kräuter mit paarig gefiederten Blättern (die getrocknet als… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Kassia — Kạs|sia usw. vgl. Kassie usw …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • Kassia-Sprache — Kassia Sprache, die Sprache der Kassias (Khassee. Cossyahs, Kuh) im nördlichen Indien zwischen Assam, Katschar u. den Garo Bergen, gehört zu den Indochinesischen Sprachen, deren Charakter Einsylbigkeit u. Flexionslosigkeit ist. Sie hat keine… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Fistel-Kassia — ilgavaisė kasija statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Pupinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, vaistinis nuodingas augalas (Cassia fistula), kilęs iš atogrąžų Azijos. atitikmenys: lot. Cassia fistula angl. golden shower; goldenrain; golden shower; Indian… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

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