News from the Liturgical Music Commission (LMC) of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia: Report on the 25th Anniversary Russian Orthodox Church Musicians’ Conference (for North America), October 5-9, 2016, Montreal, Canada; and announcement of upcoming events in 2017
19 April 2017
The 25th Anniversary Russian Orthodox Church Musicians’ Conference of church choir directors, singers and readers – attended by over 70 people – took place in the seat of the Canadian Diocese, Montreal, with great results and success. The conference was organized by the Liturgical Music Commission (LMC) of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia together with the organizing committee of the St. Nicholas Cathedral. The central theme was: The Music of Today’s Russian Orthodox Church: Perspectives in Creative Artistry and Technique.
The intensive workshops, rehearsals, and lectures took place at the excellent Marriott Courtyard Airport Hotel. The conference opened with The Prayer Service Before Beginning Any Good Work, served by the ruling diocesan bishop, Archbishop Gabriel. In his brief remarks, Vladyka referred to the importance of this work and called upon all to focus and draw as much information and experience as possible from the sessions. After Vladyka’s remarks, the head of the LMC, Protopriest Andre Papkov, thanked our beloved Vladyka for his support and officially opened the 25th Anniversary Church Musicians’ Conference.
The conference program was very full; one need only review the titles of the presentations and lectures to be convinced of the seriousness of the studies:
1) Mother Juliania, (Choir Director of the festal choir of the St. Elizabeth Convent, Minsk, Belarus) – The Art of Harmonizing Liturgical Chant.
2) Michael Woinowsky-Krieger (Choir director at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Montreal) – The Technical and Spiritual in our Church Singing: What’s the Connection?
3) Dr. Peter Jermihov (Choir Director the St. Romanos Society, Chicago) – Conducting Technique: With Presence of Mind and a Burning Heart.
4) Dr. Nicholas Schidlovsky (member of the LMC, Lecturer at Princeton University) – Envisioning ‘the Ideal’ in Our Church Singing: History, Theory and Liturgical Composition.
5) Dr. Peter Jermihov – How the Conductor Prepares.
6) Dr. Kurt Sander (member of the LMC, Professor at Northern Kentucky University School of the Arts) – The Asceticism of Creativity: Some thoughts on the Process of Creating Sacred Music.
A special invitee to the conference was the world famous choir director and composer Mother Juliania (in the world, Irina Denisova) from the St. Elizabeth Convent in Minsk (Belarus), who impressed all participants with her knowledge, directing technique, and a burning love of our common pursuit. Thank you, Matushka!
Special mention must be given to the two-part seminar led with great success by Peter Jermihov, a well-known North American conductor and a zealous participant in these conferences. Three students worked individually with Maestro Jermihov in perfecting their conducting technique and prepared selected pieces to be sung during the solemn divine services. While observing the work of these students during rehearsals, Peter Nikolaevich conducted talks with everyone about the importance of a spiritual approach and inner contemplation during services and even rehearsals. It should be said that the success of this seminar was tremendous. Thank you, Peter Nikolaevich!
Meals were taken three times a day in the hotel, giving an opportunity for participants to get to know each other better. In the evenings they relaxed, swam in the hotel pool, and socialized. Thanks be to God, the number of participants from the younger generation is growing with each conference. There was also in attendance a contingent of young people who had completed the Summer School of Liturgical Music, held under the auspices of the LMC and Holy Trinity Seminary.
The Commission’s members are: Chair, Protopriest Andre Papkov, Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky, Sergei Chidlovsky, Peter Fekula, Vladimir Krassovsky, Kurt Sander, Nicholas Schidlovsky and George Skok,
On Friday evening, while the participants had a free evening for rest or sightseeing, the Commission held a lengthy meeting where a full agenda of items was discussed.
On Saturday evening everyone set out for St. Nicholas Cathedral. It is a large church with very good acoustics. A 70-voice choir sang the All-Night Vigil. For parts of the service the choir divided into two and sang antiphonally. Archbishop Gabriel presided at all the services along with Protopriests George Lagodich (who had taken upon himself the lion’s share of conference organization) Michael Metny, Fr. Andre Papkov, along with the deacons Vadim Gan, Vassily Milonov and Boris Sidorenko.
After the Vigil, through the efforts of the sisterhood, a bountiful dinner was served in the church hall.
On Sunday morning the solemn Greeting and Vesting of the Archbishop took place. In addition to the clergy named earlier, His Grace Archbishop Irénée, (Orthodox Church in America) concelebrated. The Divine Liturgy was served prayerfully with a good number of worshippers in attendance. The wonderful results of the work during the conference were in evidence. The Liturgy concluded with a resounding Many Years and words of gratitude from Archbishop Gabriel.
After the service, and the unforgettable memories it brought, was the closing banquet, during which the Commission thanked the local organizing committee and presented them with modest gifts.
It remains only to thank the Commission and the organizers of this wonderful conference, and wish them all God’s help and strength of spirit in future endeavours and labours in the field of church music.
See a video of the conference here.
Video: Michael Krieger
A participant of the Conference
In 2017 the Liturgical Music Commission is organizing two events:
- The Summer school of Liturgical Music July 9-22, 2017, at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY http://sslm.hts.edu
- And, God willing, we will all meet again at the 26th Annual Russian Orthodox Church Musicians’ Conference, hosted by the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, October 5-8, 2017, with the sessions taking place at the Four Points Sheraton Los Angeles, Westside. The theme of the Conference is “Prayerful Sound in the Orthodox Church: Vocal Artistry of the Deacon, Reader and Singer at Divine Services.” Watch for the official announcement and registration information.
The Liturgical Music Commission
14 April 2017
To the clergy and the entire God-preserved flock of the Canadian Diocese
Beloved brothers and sisters,
Christ is Risen!
With heartfelt joy I greet all of you with the bright feast of feasts – the Resurrection of Christ.
St. John Chrysostom, in his homily which is read at the end of Paschal matins, says: “Enjoy ye all the feast of faith… let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave.”
These wonderful words are said in God’s churches on the day of Christ’s resurrection, because, as Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the abbot of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, said, “On this day God is with us and we are with God, not like condemned slaves, but like Christ’s brothers.”
This union with the risen Christ is the fountainhead of Paschal joy, which is given to each of us when the Church celebrates victory over death, “for the Savior’s death has set us free” (St. John Chrysostom). This joy and grace come down to us on the night of Pascha and stay with us throughout the forty day celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. All are called to the feast of the unconquerable triumph: “You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast” (St. John Chrysostom).
Let us not forget, beloved brothers and sisters, that this joy and grace are a foretaste of the eternal blessedness that awaits us in the Heavenly Kingdom. Metropolitan Anthony said, “If only we thought more on the inevitability of our own death and resurrection, how quickly would our remaining anger melt away. Paschal joy is a foretaste of eternal heavenly joy and he who loses the first is prone to losing the second.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian tragedy of 1917. The main reason for this tragedy is the yearning of deceived people for earthly instead of heavenly gifts. As a consequences
people received neither earthly nor heavenly good things. We hope that in these days the Russian people will come to comprehend the tragedies of the past and that the new generation will be raised in the spirit of faith and piety of our ancestors, so that our homeland returns to the God-ordained order of the past, which protected Orthodoxy Russia for many centuries.
“Pascha! Let us embrace one another. Let us say: Brethren, even to them that hate us, let us forgive all things on the Resurrection! O Pascha, Ransom from sorrow!”
Truly He is Risen!
Gabriel Archbishop of Montreal and Canada
5 April 2017
Sorry, this entry is only available in Русский.
Reminder of Archibishop Gabriel regarding special collection to the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem.
4 April 2017
To all the rectors of the parishes of the Canadian Diocese
As the great holiday of Palm Sunday (the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem) approaches, all the parishes of the Canadian Diocese are reminded of the annual plate collection to be taken to benefit the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem. This collection should be made both during the Vigil (March 26/April 8) and the Divine Liturgy (March 27/April 9), to be preceded by a few words on the asceticism of the members of our Mission under very difficult circumstances, as they preserve and protect the holy sites and relics, welcoming multitudes of pilgrims and representing our Church in the Holy Land.
Collections should be forwarded to our diocesan treasury (Diocesan Treasury, 99 Stonehurst Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4R6) with the designation: “For the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission”.
Gabriel, Archbishop of Montreal & Canada
27 March 2017
Resolution of the Clergy of the Montreal and Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
March 22, 2017
The clergy of the Montreal and Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, with our Hierarch, Archbishop Gabriel at our head, gathered at the Church of the Life-giving Trinity in Toronto, greet all of you, our beloved parishioners, with the mid-point of Great Lent.
At the beginning of the fast the Church sang the following words:
“Come, ye faithful, … let us cast away every unjust accusation against our neighbour, … Let us lay aside the pleasures of the flesh, and increase the spiritual gifts of our soul. Let us give bread to those in need, and let us draw near unto Christ, crying in penitence: O our God, have mercy on us” (Stichiron at “Lord I have cried” on Friday of the first week of Great Lent).
These words remind us that Lent is a time to rededicate ourselves to Christ and to excel in Christian virtues. We pray that you will take these words to heart and spend the remaining days of the fast in spiritual struggle.
One hundred years ago, a new atheistic world order descended on humanity with the godless Communists seizing power in Russia. This new world order spread hatred and death throughout the Russian Land and after the 2nd World War enslaved many other lands and peoples, including most of the Orthodox world.
We support the recent Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on the 100th Anniversary of the Tragic Revolution in Russia and the Beginning of the Godless Persecutions. The bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, as in the past, continue to speak out according to their conscience and the traditional standpoint of our flock, even when our position may be unpopular or politically incorrect.
During this dark time, the Russian Orthodox Church was persecuted most fiercely. “Countless new-martyrs and confessors, holy hierarchs, royal passion-bearers and pastors, monks and layman, men, women and children… blossomed in the spiritual meadow of Russia,” refused to compromise their faith and willingly suffered a martyr’s death for Christ (Troparion to the new-martyrs of Russia).
Many of these saints, before their martyric death, participated in an historic event, the All-Russian Church Council of 1917-1918. This council (August 28, 1917 – September 20, 1918) of 564 delegates included not only the hierarchs of the Church, but also elected representatives of the married clergy, the monastics and the laity. Such a comprehensive gathering, full of so many saints, had never before been convened in Russia, nor has such an authoritative council been held since.
Time after time this gathering of saints, through the documents and decrees produced at the All-Russian Council, called all the faithful to participate fully in the life of the Church. This meant that the laity, both men and women, was invited: to participate in the administration of the parish by serving on the parish council, to teach in parish schools, to perform missionary work, and to participate more fully in the liturgical life of the Church.
We are grateful that this year we will mark the tenth anniversary of the union between our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia.
On the 15th of July 2016, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church instructed the Synodal Theological Committee to study the documents of the Pan-Orthodox Council held on the Island of Crete in 2016. We hope to soon be able to read this report.
It is our fervent hope that you, brothers and sisters, will strive to live a holistic Orthodox Christian way of life. This comprehensive Christian life includes becoming true spiritual children of the new-martyrs of Russia able to courageously withstand all of the temptations of our age. It also embraces an active participation in all aspects of parish life.
15 March 2017
In February 1917, an elderly woman named Eudokia saw the Mother of God in a dream telling her to go to Kolomskoye to find a large blackened icon in a church. After the vision was repeated three times, she went to Kolomskoye to search for the icon with the priest Nicholas.
In the basement of the church they found the icon and started wiping off the accumulated dust. Then they were able to see the Most Holy Theotokos wearing a crown and sitting on a throne. Immediately, Father Nicholas celebrated a service of Thanksgiving and an Akathist.
News of the icon’s discovery spread throughout Russia, and there were several miracles of healing from physical and mental infirmities. As time went by, the icon renewed itself and became brighter and brighter. Particularly striking was the blood-red robe of the Virgin.
Since the icon was revealed just as the Tsar abdicated, many people believed that the Queen of Heaven had assumed royal authority over the Russian land, and so the icon became known as the “Enthroned” (or Reigning) icon. It was discovered that the icon had come from the Ascension convent in Moscow. In 1812, before Napoleon’s invasion, this icon and others were sent to Kolomskoye’s Ascension church for safekeeping. Apparently forgotten, the icons were never returned to Moscow.
A Service and Akathist to the “Enthroned” Icon were composed with the assistance of His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon (+ 1925). Many copies of the icon were venerated throughout Russia, but these were confiscated by the Soviets. The Service and Akathist to the icon were also forbidden to be served.
The original icon is said to be in the Novodevichy Museum in Moscow, and there is a copy in the Church of the Kazan Mother of God in Kolomskoye.
The “Enthroned” or “Reigning” Icon, which belongs to the Panachranta type, shows the Theotokos seated on a throne with Her Son.
Epistle of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on the 100th Anniversary of the Tragic Revolution in Russia and Beginning of the Godless Persecutions
12 March 2017
From the Editors: As reported today from the Chancery of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York gave his blessing to read the following Epistle on the Second Sunday of Great Lent from all church ambos to mark the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the “Sovereign” Icon of the Mother of God.
Beloved in Christ Brothers and Sisters:
This year, the entire world, especially we all, will remember the great tragedy of the 20th century which disrupted the fates of millions of people. This calamity literally touched the lives of every Russian family, wherever they may have been. We remember now the hundredth anniversary of the bloody and destructive revolution in Russia. As a result of the betrayal of the government and military leadership, the Tsar was forced to abdicate the throne, which led to unavoidable consequences: the demise of the state, the martyric death of the Tsar himself and of his Most August Family, the brutal internecine war, and the unprecedented persecution of the Orthodox Church and of faith in God in Russia.
In 1909, Peter Arkadievich Stolypin declared: “Give the government 20 years of peace, internal and external, and you will not recognize the Russia of today!” Alas, the Russian Prime Minister was only to live another two years. He was killed in the presence of his Sovereign in a theater in Kiev in 1911.
The fact that Russia was making enormous strides forward was recognized far beyond the borders of our Fatherland, even so far as the United States of America. In November, 1914, the magazine National Geographic published a noteworthy issue devoted to Russia. Social and economic analyses of the day showed that by the date targeted by Stolypin, all key economic indicators would show that Russia would have achieved unstoppable growth. The only thing that hindered it was a revolution organized and supported by the Western nations. Our Fatherland was not given even 20 days of peace. It is important to note that the constant denigration of Russia on the part of “Western civilization” we see today existed a hundred years ago and, in fact, much earlier. The world despised the Russian Empire, the heir to Holy Orthodox Rus. Neither adherence to the duty to Russia’s allies, nor the unceasing readiness for cooperation by the Russian Tsars could change that. The renowned British statesman, Lord Palmerston, succinctly stated: “How difficult life is in the world when no one is at war with Russia.” He was referring to the mid-19th century, but sadly it went unheeded.
In the beginning of the 20th century, St Makary (Nevsky), Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk, cautioned: “We are now experiencing times of trouble. Russia has survived periods of tribulation, but they were never as dangerous as today. Then, everyone was for God, everyone wished to know His will, but today it is different. Then they supported the Tsar. Today that has changed. Today we hear blasphemy against God and plots against His anointed one…”
The educated classes in Russia, raised in so-called “Westernizing” traditions, pushed Russia with almost suicidal relentlessness into the abyss, pushing the Russian people in every way possible to reject their faith, their Tsar and their Fatherland. One cannot help but remember the words of the Psalmist David: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalms 14:1).
But even in the darkest times of persecution, the Lord did not abandon His people. Thus, this year we mark another no-less-important 100th anniversary-the restoration of the Patriarchate in Russia. This happened precisely when an intercessor and sufferer for the entire Russian Church was especially needed. The enthronement of St Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia and Confessor, took place on November 21/December 4, 1917, in the Uspensky Cathedral in Moscow’s Kremlin, on the feast day of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most-Holy Mother of God. But even before, on the very day of the abdication of the Anointed of God, Tsar Nikolai Alexandrovich, March 2/15, 1917, the miraculous “Sovereign” Icon of the Mother of God was revealed to our people as a sign that the Most-Pure Queen would not abandon her care for the suffering Russian land, which from days of old was known as the House of the Most-Holy Mother of God.
Even now, when in the words of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, “The Lord replaced wrath with mercy towards Russia,” all Russian people are Divinely granted the opportunity of returning to their Orthodox Christian roots. We must now make sense of our history and understand the reasons why Russia fell into such terrible tribulation. One of the reasons for those tragic times was the apostasy and neglect of faith in Christ, and the rejection of the Divinely-ordained government. We must not under any circumstances justify the actions of those responsible for the deadly revolution. A symbol of reconciliation of the Russian nation with the Lord would be to rid Red Square of the remains of the main persecutor and executioner of the 20th century, and the destruction of monuments to him. They are all symbols of catastrophe, tragedy, and of the destruction of our God-given Sovereignty. The same applies to the cities, oblasts and streets which are deprived of their original historic names.
During those times of troubles, the Russian Church Abroad always deemed it her sacred duty to express the full truth about Russian history, which was impossible to do in the Fatherland. Now we must, first of all, remind the Russian people of the path of the Cross of the New Martyrs. This is not a political matter, as some might insist, but a matter of spiritual conscience. Truly, we must know to the fullest extent possible the history of the podvig of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Then, we hope, every Russian person will follow the commands of his own conscience and come to the conclusion that in his God-preserved nation, there is no place for the symbols of the godless state and the names of militant atheists.
Ten years ago, during the great consecration of the church in Butovo Square, Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, addressing all those in attendance, said, “The land here is abundantly soaked in the blood of the martyrs, and it is planted with their bones; may it be as an altar unto Christ our God. A prophet said long ago about the persecutors of the Church of Christ: ‘I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found’ (Psalms 37:35-36). May their memory be wiped away in the hearts of men, and the Church of Christ established forever in the Russian land!”
We call upon our entire flock, and upon all Orthodox Russian people, in the Fatherland and in the diaspora: preserve as the apple of your eye the gift the Lord has given us-the holy and saving Orthodox Christian faith, remember always the words of Christ: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Amen.
With love in Christ,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Archbishop of Berlin and Germany.
Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America,
Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.
Archbishop of Montreal and Canada.
Archbishop of Chicago and Mid-America.
Bishop of Manhattan,
Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops.