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Kontakion (also kondakion and kontak; plural kontakia) is a type of thematic hymn in the Orthodox Church and other Eastern Christian churches. Originally, the kontakion was an extended homily in verse. In current practice, only the first stanza and the ikos are sung, when they are appointed. It is not sung at vespers, but it is sung at most of the other services of the day. According to tradition, Saint Roman the Melodist wrote the first kontakion, the Kontakion for the Birth of Our Lord, by divine inspiration. Legend aside, Roman established the kontakion in the form it retained for centuries, and he is the most famous composer of kontakia.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!
Angels with shepherds glorify Him!
The wise men journey with a star!
Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!
Kontakion for Christmas, Roman the Melodist

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