The katavasies for ‘I will open my mouth’ – Iordanis Koutsimanis

The katavasies for ‘I will open my mouth’ – Iordanis Koutsimanis


As a living continuum of tradition, Byzantine music occupies an important position in the musical past of Veria. Today, gifted singers continue this musical tradition, which is perfectly attuned to the architectural and iconographic decoration of the Byzantine churches of the town.

Iordanis Koutsimanis, the Protopsaltis of the church of Saint Anthony in Veria, follows in the footsteps of older chanters in the town, much to the delight of the faithful there.

We hear the melodic intonation** of the Kontakion by Vasilis Mavranangkos and thereafter the katavasies ‘I shall open my mouth’ by the Protopsaltis Iordanis Koutsimanis.


* ‘Katavasies’ are hymns sung at Matins. They’re called ‘katavasies’ (hymns of descent) because, in former times, the chanters would ‘descend’ from their choir stalls and move into the centre of the church to sing these hymns. This has not been the case for a long time. Katavasies are the theme melodies for the canons of feasts of the Lord and Our Lady. If the whole of the canon is sung, then the theme is repeated after each ode as a ‘katavasia’. If the whole of the canon isn’t sung, then the katavasies are sung all together (as here) after the reading of the saints of the day.
** This kind of ‘proclamation’ is very old and is associated with heralds in ancient times. The idea is that a text which is slightly sung carries further and is easier to understand at a distance.





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Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.