Monk Wins Singing Competition 

Monk Wins Singing Competition 



And I don’t mean Thelonious Monk, the famous jazz musician.

With 76% of the votes for the win on Russia’s version of The Voice, 28 year old, Hiermonk Photios, sang “Per Te” (“For You”.)

The fact that I went on stage thrills and agitates people. [When watching the TV show] they are not expecting this, they just want to have fun and relax. And suddenly they see a priest. It seems that he reminds them of the existence of conscience, soul, and also sins,” Hieromonk Photios – who is known as Vitaly Mochalov in his worldly life – told RT’s sister video agency, Ruptly.

His performance was serious, somber and sung beautifully!

According to PRAVMIR, a Russian website, Patriarch Kirill, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, congratulated Heiromonk Photios on his victory, saying…

 “From the very beginning, the enterprise has been extremely controversial, and, I would even say, dangerous for the monk, – wrote the head of the ROC – because the stage and the monastic vocation, as it were, are incompatible. I think the result, though, surprisingly, turned out to be positive for Father Photios and for all those who listened to him and fell in love with him. ”

This isn’t the first time a monastic won a singing competition. Italian nun, Sister Cristina Scuccia won Italy’s version of “The Voice” in 2014.  She was encouraged by Cardinal Ravasi in the following Tweet, “Use the gifts you’ve received to serve others.”

Although her demeanor wasn’t what I’d consider appropriate, she won dancing and singing to “What a Feeling” from the movie Flashdance.

It’s an interesting coincidence because just the other night we watched The Singing Nun, with Debbie Reynolds. It’s a movie based on the original Singing Nun, Jeanine Deckers, a Belgian nun who became famous as Soeur Sourire or The Singing Nun. Her song Dominique  hit number one in many hit charts in 1963, in her own version as well as in other languages.

We are all called to offer our gifts for God’s glory, (Matthew 25:14-30) but the question we need to ask is, should monastics sing secular songs in public?  We’d like to know what you think.


(Photo by Sergey Pyatakov)

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About author

Presvytera Vassi Haros

Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.