A Christmas Song that Blends East and West

A Christmas Song that Blends East and West

Fr. Ivan Moody is a composer, conductor, and Orthodox priest. Currently Professor of Church Music at the University of Eastern Finland, his compositions have been performed by leading ensembles throughout Europe and the world. One of Fr. Ivan’s more popular Christmas compositions is “The Manger,” which blends Western and Eastern...

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Christmas Music That Will Take You to Heaven

Christmas Music That Will Take You to Heaven

Although some people complain about Christmas music before Thanksgiving, Orthodox Christians have traditionally started chanting sacred hymns about Christmas in November. Fr. Alexander Schmemann explains: As Orthodox Christians, we begin the celebration of the Nativity of Christ — on December 25 — with a time of preparation. Forty days before...

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Rachmaninoff’s Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Rachmaninoff’s Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943) is one of the best known Russian composers of the 20th century. His works, especially for piano and orchestra, are regular features in many concert halls. He also composed two major a cappella choral works—the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the All-Night Vigil—that display...

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Tavener: Svyati

Tavener: Svyati

Sir John Tavener (1944-2013) wrote many substantial concert works which explore the spirituality of the Orthodox Church, and he was very concerned with exploring the riches of the Orthodox tradition outside the Church itself. “Svyati” is one such work, built as it is on a liturgical text but intended for...

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Anastasia Pahos: Eliksiir

Anastasia Pahos: Eliksiir

In this episode, Chris Vlahonasios follows up with Orthodox composer Anastasia Pahos following a concert in Melbourne, Australia which featured her classical composition entitled “Eliksiir.” Chris was able to attend the concert and asks her to explain the theological underpinnings of the piece. She explains that she was expressing how...

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Universal Language of Beauty

Universal Language of Beauty

In the old village of Kanda, Georgia, six people enter an unfinished Orthodox Church to sing the Trisagion hymn. Their voices rise up in Georgian and Aramaic as a foreshadowing of what will take place when the Church is finished. Regardless of whether or not you can understand these languages,...

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Anastasia Pahos and Sacred Music vs. Liturgical Music

Anastasia Pahos and Sacred Music vs. Liturgical Music

In this episode, Chris Vlahonasios interviews fellow Australian and Orthodox composer and musician Anastasia Pahos. Ms. Pahos reflects on how her faith came increasingly to inspire and inform her musical career, leading to her self-identification that her genre and style now is “Sacred Music.” She explains how “Sacred Music” is...

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Cowboy Religion and Orthodoxy

Cowboy Religion and Orthodoxy

My cousin Patrick was a cowboy. Actually, he wasn’t a real cowboy, because we grew up in town, and when he worked he was a truck-driver and repaired outboard boat motors. But he dressed like a cowboy, talked like a cowboy, and spent too much time in cowboy bars. Some...

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A Thing of Beauty: An 18th Century Russian Version of “Hallelujah”

A Thing of Beauty: An 18th Century Russian Version of “Hallelujah”

The poet John Keats wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” So it is with much of Orthodoxy’s liturgical music: delicate, serene, able to combine compunction with silence, and passion with apatheia. The recording embedded above, featuring an 18th...

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Music and Mediation in St Gregory of Nyssa’s Commentary ‘On the Inscriptions of the Psalms’

Music and Mediation in St Gregory of Nyssa’s Commentary ‘On the Inscriptions of the Psalms’

In his On the Making of Man, St Gregory of Nyssa likened the human body to a kind of musical instrument, played upon by the mind of man. In the same work, he dismissed as pagan the idea of man as microcosm. Yet later, in his dialogue On the Soul...

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