The World’s Oldest Christmas Carol

The World’s Oldest Christmas Carol


Published in the middle of the 19th century, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has captivated the English-speaking world.

Hundreds of years before Dickens, a famous musician named Romanos the Melodist lived in 6th century Constantinople, the most important city in the Christian world at that time. Among many compositions, he is credited with writing the Kontakion of the Nativity.

Embedded above is “an animated version of the story of Christmas as found in the well known Icon of the Nativity, drawn by Bonnie Gilles, and accompanied with the Byzantine chant rendition of The Kontakion of the Nativity.” as composed by the famous Byzantine chanter, St. Romanos the Melodist in the 6th century.

Sung around the word by Orthodox Christians for centuries, this hymn represent one of the oldest Orthodox “Christmas carols” — and it’s still sung today in Orthodox churches throughout the world.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+

About author

Seraphim Danckaert

Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.