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A '''hymn''' is a song of praise, adoration, or a prayer directed usually to some religiously significant figure. In Orthodox Christianity, the subject matter for hymns in addition to [[God]] includes the Blessed [[Virgin Mary]] and the [[saint]]s. Writers of hymns are known under a number of terms: '''hymnographer''', hymnist, hymnodist, melode and melodist.
The concept of songs of praise, or hymns, was known from the [[Old Testament]] era, particularly the [[Psalms]], as well as in the pagan world. The word ''hymn'' comes from the Greek ''hymnos'' through the Latin ''hymnus''. In Orthodox Christian practice hymns may first have appeared as songs of praise primarily to God and later were extended to praise of saints as well as of God through his saints .
Among the most noted Orthodox Christian composers of hymns are Ss. [[Ephrem the Syrian]], [[Joseph the Hymnographer]], [[Kassiani the Hymnographer]], and [[Roman the Melodist]]. There are many others who have composed hymns, including to modern times.