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 Christmas music in an unusual and striking manner. Fr. Ivan explains the song’s origins:

“The Manger” was written extremely quickly in the year 2000 after I heard in my head a combination of the traditional Western carol “Away in a Manger” and the received Byzantine chant for the kontakion of the Nativity, “I parthenos simeron”. I wrote down what I had heard, and added to this fragments of “God is With Us” from the Compline service for the same day. It is thus a kind of quodlibet, bringing together in some way East and West and the dogmatic theology of Orthodox liturgical texts with the simplicity of a children’s Christmas prayer. I am pleased to say that its enormous success has seemed to vindicate my initial instincts.

You can listen to a recording of “The Manger” by clicking the small play icon below.

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.