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Songs and Hymns of the Earliest Greek Christian Poets
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METHODIUS
BISHOP AND MARTYR

(Died about A.D. 311).

Methodius, a father of the Church, and a martyr, was Bishop of Olympas or Patara, in Lycia, and afterwards of Tyre in Palestine. He lived during the last half of the third century, and died a martyr at Chalcis in Greece, probably A.D. 311, during the Diocletian persecution. Jerome2929De Viris Illust. c. 83. ranks him among the popular writers, and commends him especially for the neatness of his style.3030MOSHEIM, Eccl. Hist., vol. i. pp. 236-7.

This Virgins' Song of his composing is in twenty-four parts, or strophies, each beginning with a letter of the alphabet in order from A to Ω.3131Cf. Psalm cxlv., with the letters in order of the Hebrew alphabet. In Greek poetry many instances of the same thing occur. It was useful as an aid to the memory. Ten virgins are supposed to be present. Thecla3232See in Gregory's Admonitory Address to a Virgin, above, p. 125: also in the Anacreontic Ode of Sophronius, in which the praises and exploits of this first female martyr are set forth, pp. 32, 44-5, of the Greek Anthology. leads, giving the strophy in each case, the rest join in chorus, singing the burden or refrain (εφυμνιον). The learned editors refer to the Συμποσιον of Plato, also to the Παρθενια of Alcman and Pindar; which Methodius may in part have imitated.


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