Kassia

Kassia is one of the first Byzantine hymnists whose name is known, as well as a 9th century poet, an abbess, and the only known woman whose works are included in the ecclesiastical books. Her most beloved composition is the “Hymn of Kassiani” or “Tropario tis Kassianis”, about the anointing of Jesus, chanted at Easter season on the evening of Holy Tuesday. Here you go, enjoy:

If you stayed up too late on New Years’ Eve and just want to chill to some Byzantine chanting, here is 45 minutes of “Byzantine hymns of the first female composer”, and it is really quite excellent, playlist here.

Kassia’s second most famous composition is “Avgoustou Monarhisantos Epi tis Gis” or “Αυγούστου μοναρχήσαντος επί της γής” (When Augustus reigned on earth) chanted at Christmas. There are some truly really terrible recordings of this out there, maybe it is too challenging for the typical male vocalist’s range, but if you really want to listen to it, here is a passable recording.

Saint Kassia is also known for her gnomic verse, in particular for a set of pithy aphorisms all beginning with “I hate“, and for her caustic verses on stupidity.

Here are some for Wikipedia:

There is absolutely no cure for stupidity,
no help for it except death!

A stupid person when honoured, is overbearing to all.

Knowledge in a stupid person is a bell on a pig’s snout.

If a stupid person is young and in power,
alas and woe and what a disaster!

I HATE a judge who takes orders from individuals.
I HATE the liar affecting a solemn air with words.
I HATE the one who conforms to all ways.
I HATE the one who does everything for the sake of vain glory.
I HATE the one who teaches knowing nothing.
I HATE one who rashly slanders friends.

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