In this episode of The Black American Orthodox Experience, Fr. Chrysostom Onyekakeyah speaks with Abbess Katherine Weston (Mother Katherine) about her experience as the only Black Abbess in the Eastern Orthodox Church in America, her musical compositions which blend musical traditions from the Black American Church with the Orthodox Liturgy, and effective missions to communities of color.

Learn more about this year’s Summer Music Institute on the topic of American Orthodox Music here.

Abbess Katherine has been the superior of the St. Xenia Monastic Community for over 30 years. The community fosters the creative expressions of all its members. Over the years, M. Katherine has painted icons and taught iconography. She composed, performed, and recorded songs for a coffeehouse youth program in the ’90s. She earned her master’s in counseling at a local seminary and set up a private counseling practice to help support the monastery. She is a founding member and current president of the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black. She speaks at the annual conferences and has published four books based on her talks. She is also the general editor of the Fellowship’s Unbroken Circle Press, recently publishing Jubilation: Cultures of Sacred Music. Also on behalf of the Fellowship, 18 years ago she began exploring the use of African American Spirituals as a wellspring for Orthodox liturgical composition. She currently collaborates with Zhanna Lehmann, DMA, who critiques pieces in progress, and performs and records them with her Illinois Orthodox Choir. M. Katherine has just completed a setting for the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for first-time use at the Fellowship’s October 2023 conference in Houston.

The Black American Orthodox Experience is a program focused on Orthodox missions in America—insights, challenges, and how we can reach (and are reaching) members of Black, Indigenous, and other communities with the Church of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to feature honest and informative conversations about what the Great Commission looks like in modern America within a historical and cultural context.

Created in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America—

Categories: Video



OCN Team is comprised of these gifted authors, teachers, thinkers, priests, parents, young adults and human beings at the Orthodox Christian Network.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder