St. Romanos the Melodist
St. Romanos the Melodist was born in Emesa, Syria. He served in Beirut, then in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. He was illiterate, had no musical training and had an irritating voice, but he loved to sing in church.
He was despised by some of the clergy. He prayed, weeping to the Theotokos. She appeared to him in a dream and told him to swallow a piece of paper that she handed him. It was Christmas day and Romanos went up to the ambo and sang with an angelic voice what has come down to us as the Kontakion of the Nativity.
St. Romanos went on to compose more than 1,000 kontakia. He reposed in 530 as a deacon at the Cathedral.