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Joseph the Hymnographer

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April 3

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Saint Joseph was from Sicily, the son of Plotinus and Agatha. Because Sicily had been subjugated by the Moslems, he departed thence and, passing from place to place, came with Saint Gregory of Decapolis (see NOV. 20) to Constantinople, where he endured bitter afflictions because of his pious zeal. Travelling to Rome, he was captured by Arab pirates and taken to Crete, whence he later returned to Constantinople. He became an excellent hymnographer and reposed in holiness shortly after 886 (according to some, it was in 883). The melismatic canons of the Menaion are primarily the work of this Joseph; they bear his name in the acrostic of the Ninth Ode. He also composed most of the sacred book known as the Paracletike, which complements the Octoechos For this reason, Joseph is called par excellence the Hymnographer.