Byzantine Christmas: Sun of Justice – Taking the Journey


The ecclesiastical feast day celebrating the Nativity of Jesus Christ – which came to be called simply “Christ’s Mass,” or “Christmas” in English – was added to the calendar in the Eastern Church somewhat later than other major feasts. Originally, Christ’s Nativity and Baptism were celebrated on the same day: Epiphany (January 6). Much has been said concerning the origins and influences – whether Pagan, Persian, or Christian – of December 25th becoming the feast day of the Nativity of Christ; suffice it to say that the late Roman Pagan holiday of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun, the ancient Persian celebration of the birth of Mithras – the “Sun of Justice,” – and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ were each to one extent or another in the mind of the Roman populace during the development of the Christian calendar. This may account for the fact that one of the main hymnological themes for Christmas is that of light in general and the sun specifically: Orthodox hymnography refers to Christ “dawning from a Virgin,” to his Nativity making “the light of knowledge dawn on the world,” calls him the “Dayspring from on high,” or “Dayspring from the east,” and even applies the title “Sun of Justice” for Jesus Christ. Christians seemed to say, “You all worship the sun in the sky or call this false god Mithras the ‘Sun of Justice,’ whereas we worship the true God, the spiritual, noetic ‘Sun of Justice’: Jesus Christ, the Son of God and true giver of light and life.”

This theme permeates the hymnography of Christmas, along with the paradox of God becoming man and of the Virgin giving birth; the humility of the Son of God in his Incarnation; the sanctification of the earth, deification of humanity, and the reconciliation of God and Man in the God-Man, Jesus Christ. The hymns reflect on all these themes, culminating in the universal exultation of creation: “Now Christ is born: therefore glorify!” “Sing your praise to the Lord, all the earth!” “Glory to God in the highest!”

We present our program of a Byzantine Christmas in liturgical order, spending a moment or two in each worship service of the Orthodox Church for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The liturgical journey begins with the service of Great (or “Royal”) Hours, celebrated on Christmas Eve morning or afternoon. Structured around the traditionally monastic rite of the First, Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours, the Great Hours are now most often celebrated together as a single service. Each Hour begins with Psalm readings, after which the choirs sing a series of three Idiomela (through-composed pieces of hymnography) that reflect on the significance of the holiday. In particular, they focus on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and on the inherent paradoxes of Christmas: God becoming human, a virgin giving birth, and the King of Kings being born in a cave and laid in a manger. Sung hymnography is followed by declamation of an Old Testament prophecy, chanting of a New Testament Apostolic epistle, and chanting of a Gospel pericope. With this structure, the Hours function like the Orthodox equivalent to a Lessons and Carols service. The climax of the Hours is the Idiomelon “Today born of a virgin is he who held all creation in the hollow of his hand,” a poetic exploration of the paradoxes of Christmas. Our program presents this piece first in Arabic virtuosic improvisation by Dn. John El Massih, and then repeated by the whole ensemble in English, chanting in the “hard chromatic” Plagal Second Mode.

The next stop on our liturgical journey is Great Vespers, celebrated on Christmas Eve. This Vespers service is more joyful in character, being the first liturgical experience of the holiday itself. The hymnography includes a series of Idiomela interpolated into last eight verses of Psalms 140, 141, and 129, which are sung at every Vespers. Our program presents the first and last of these Idiomela: the first in English, composed in the traditional medium-texture sticheraric genre, and the last in Greek, composed in the “old” or slow sticheraric genre by the monks of Vatopaidi Monastery on Mt. Athos. The first half of our program ends with two simpler, more “syllabic” offerings: the first Troparion sung at the prophecy readings at Vespers, sung in English, which tells the story of the Star of Bethlehem and the adoration of the Magi; and the Apolytikion (Dismissal Hymn) of Christmas Day, sung in Arabic, English, and Greek, in which we hear the imagery of Christ as the Sun of Justice.

John Michael Boyer

John Michael Boyer

The second half of our program takes us later into the night on Christmas Eve, beginning with select verses from both the Biblical Psalter and from Old Testament prophecies, sung during the Great Compline service. Sung in Greek, English, and Arabic, every verse of this piece ends with the refrain, “For God is with us,” the translation of “Emmanuel.” Musically, the each verse of the original Greek setting asks a melodic question, to which the refrain gives the perfect melodic answer. Both the Arabic and English adaptations of this piece endeavor to create the same relationship between verse and refrain.

Our first piece from the Matins (“Orthros”) service is a similar collection (“Eklogë”) of Psalm verses, specifically assembled to celebrate Christmas. This time employing the refrain “Alleluia,” this Eklogë was set in the Authentic Fourth Mode “Agia” by my teacher, the great cantor and choirmaster, Lycourgos Angelopoulos. We continue in the Orthros service with the first ode of the first Canon for Christmas Day, in Greek and English, with the “Eirmos” (first stanza) repeated as the “Katavasia” (ending stanza) in the slow version of the same melody.

Orthros leads into the central, eucharistic service for Christmas: the Divine Liturgy, during which we hear one of the earliest examples of Orthodox Christian hymnography, the Kontakion (literally, “scroll”) for Christmas Day, attributed to St. Romanos the Melodist (4th c.). Sung in both Greek and Arabic, the melody of the received tradition bears a striking resemblance to the more ancient melody we find in medieval manuscripts, and is adapted beautifully to Arabic by Fr. Romanos Joubran of Beirut.

John Rassem El Massih

John Rassem El Massih

Sung in the same mode and genre as the Katavasia from the first ode of the Canon, the Megalynarion and Eirmos “Magnify, O my soul” and “A strange mystery” are sung in the Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day instead of the usual Hymn to the Mother of God, “Truly it is right to call you blessed.” Introduced by the Megalynarion sung solo, the Eirmos is sung by the whole ensemble in Arabic, both composed by the late Mitri El Murr (20th c.), the most prolific composer of Byzantine Music in Arabic.

The celebration of Christmas does not stop in the church building, of course: our program’s final piece, the Kalophonic Eirmos “Christ is Born,” by musicologist, cantor, composer, and friend of Cappella Romana, Ioannis Arvanitis, belongs to a genre designed to be sung in the banquet hall during the feast. It is a prime example of a contemporary composer writing in a classical style, highlighting the virtuosity of Byzantine Music, as well as its elegance. This is followed by a classical Kratema by Balasios the Priest (17th c.), meditating on the text of the well-known Eirmos while exploring the limits of the First Mode, using nonsensical syllables as a kind of musical instrument. We then come home to the final line of the text of the Eirmos, composed in the melismatic genre: “All you peoples, sing the hymn: for he is glorified!”
Our program’s liturgical journey gives us just a taste of the breadth and depth of the Orthodox Christian celebration of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. It is a journey from the Old Testament to the New, from the fasting and repentance of Advent to the joy and feasting of Christmas, from the darkness of the night to the brightness of the Sun of Justice.

– John Michael Boyer

Sun of Justice Concert Series Tickets

SALEM

Thu 14 Dec, 7:30pm
Greek Orthodox Mission Church of Salem
at Blanchet High School
TICKETS Add to Calendar

SEATTLE

Fri 15 Dec, 8:00pm
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
TICKETS
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Sun of Justice on Ancient Faith Radio

John Michael Boyer and John El Massih join the Ancient Faith Radio podcast to talk about the debut PRÓTO release, Sun of Justice! Listen and subscribe at AncientFaith.com

Sun of Justice: Byzantine Chant for Christmas in Greek, Arabic, and English

Cappella Romana Media combines passion with scholarship in its exploration of early and contemporary music of the Christian East and West.

Featuring classical chants in Greek primarily by Petros Peloponnesios (1730–1778). Adaptations into Arabic primarily by Mitri El Murr (1880–1969) and those into English by John Michael Boyer (b. 1978) closely echo the originals in form, style, and grace.

This debut release by PRÓTO presents traditional chants for the Byzantine celebration of Christmas, including selections from The Royal Hours, Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy. A deluxe 32-page booklet is included with full texts in Greek, Arabic, and English.

Also Available via CD, Download, and Streaming At

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Sun of Justice Concert Series

Cappella’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer directs exhilarating Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. Featuring Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.

With performances in Seattle, Portland, Salem, and Sacramento.

SALEM

Thu 14 Dec, 7:30pm
Greek Orthodox Mission Church of Salem
at Blanchet High School
TICKETS Add to Calendar

SEATTLE

Fri 15 Dec, 8:00pm
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
TICKETS
Add to Calendar

Sun of Justice: A Two-Fold Offering – Part Two

Sun of JusticeWith this two-fold offering of traditional Byzantine Music, we seek to give the listener two distinct yet complementary experiences: first, that of being in a traditional Orthodox church somewhere in the Middle East, wherein one choir sings in Greek and the other in Arabic; and second: that of being in a traditional Orthodox church in the United States with highly trained and proficient chanters singing traditional Byzantine Music in straightforward, clear, properly translated English. The first experience is not uncommon today; the second is less common, but we have hope that it will soon become the liturgical standard—hand-in-hand with the continued development of Byzantine Music in Greek and Arabic—for Orthodox Christian parishes in America. Presented in liturgical sequence, each disc jumps from one moment to another, giving a taste of the entire experience of praying the Great (Royal) Hours on Christmas Eve morning, Vesperal Liturgy on Christmas Eve, and Orthros (Matins) and Divine Liturgy on Christmas morning.

Back in the United States…

I have written elsewhere concerning my general approach to the composition of Byzantine Music
in English. For this project, I was blessed to have the opportunity to set the excellent translations of my late spiritual father, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) (+ 2016). In rendering his translations, I focused on three areas: first, setting the medium-textured Idiomela (through-composed hymns) in the most traditional way possible; second: rendering the syllabic-textured Troparia in traditional forms that lend themselves to memorization and congregational singing; and third: metering Fr. Ephrem’s translations to fit the melodies of the Greek Eirmoi for the Odes of the Canon. Each of these tasks is comparably challenging, vastly different, and equally important.

In composing the Idiomela, I may choose to follow the general contour of the Greek prototypes, but more often than not I simply allow the text to direct me where to go. Sometimes this yields a result much like the Greek, other times the result is very different. At its heart, however, are the structure and content of the text itself. I departed from the middle texture of Petros’s Doxastarion for the double-choir Doxastikon of the Ninth Hour, opting for a style closer to the slow or “old” sticheraric genre. This showcases a more melismatic style in English, for which I sought to emulate the works of Stephanos Lambadarios, Konstandinos Protopsaltis, and the newly released Doxastikarion of the Athonite monastery of Vatopaidi.

The syllabic Apolytikion and Troparia of the Prophecies in general require a process similar to that of the Idiomela: compose for the text. However, I also make an attempt to create melodies that will linger in the listener’s mind and lend themselves to memorization.

The Canon melodies, being modeled after the Eirmos of each Ode, require a metered translation in order to be sung correctly; otherwise, the Ode loses its strophic melodic pattern, and the whole structure falls away. Having been given free reinby the late Fr. Ephrem to adapt his translations as I see fit, I dedicated significant time and energy to the metering process. Rather than attempting to find the most polysyllabic synonyms possible for each translated word, I rather erred on the side of elaboration, clarification, and paraphrase—while staying within the spirit and content of each hymn text and within the bounds of Orthodox theology—and worked toward a text that is clear and theologically sound, sounds like proper English, and fits the given melody.

In undertaking these three main compositional challenges, I strove to create a series of hymns that not only would complement their Greek originals and Arabic counterparts, but that would stand also on their own merits.

John Michael Boyer (Read Part One)

Order the Recording

Sun of Justice Concert Series

Cappella’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer directs exhilarating Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. Featuring Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.

With performances in Seattle, Portland, Salem, and Sacramento.

SALEM

Thu 14 Dec, 7:30pm
Greek Orthodox Mission Church of Salem
at Blanchet High School
TICKETS Add to Calendar

SEATTLE

Fri 15 Dec, 8:00pm
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
TICKETS
Add to Calendar

Sun of Justice: A Two-Fold Offering – Part One

Sun of JusticeWith this two-fold offering of traditional Byzantine Music, we seek to give the listener two distinct yet complementary experiences: first, that of being in a traditional Orthodox church somewhere in the Middle East, wherein one choir sings in Greek and the other in Arabic; and second: that of being in a traditional Orthodox church in the United States with highly trained and proficient chanters singing traditional Byzantine Music in straightforward, clear, properly translated English. The first experience is not uncommon today; the second is less common, but we have hope that it will soon become the liturgical standard—hand-in-hand with the continued development of Byzantine Music in Greek and Arabic—for Orthodox Christian parishes in America. Presented in liturgical sequence, each disc jumps from one moment to another, giving a taste of the entire experience of praying the Great (Royal) Hours on Christmas Eve morning, Vesperal Liturgy on Christmas Eve, and Orthros (Matins) and Divine Liturgy on Christmas morning.

Somewhere in the Middle East…

Not showcasing particularly extravagant or virtuosic music, Disc One of Sun of Justice is a selection of standard, traditional settings of hymns from classical musical sources in both Greek and Arabic. The main source for the material in Greek is the Doxastarion of Petros Peloponnesios, the Archon Lambadarios (leader of the left choir), of the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Constantinople in the mid-18th century. Considered a modern father of Byzantine Music, his “New Sticheraric” genre and texture—simpler and more elegant than much of what came before—became the standard repertoire in the Greek Orthodox Churches from the 18th century on; it also served as the model for how most Byzantine Music would be adapted to other languages. In some cases, there is slight discrepancy between the hymn texts in the Doxastarion and those in the standard Menaion of the Greek Orthodox Church; where they differ, we opted to favor the Doxastarion, as this was clearly what was in use when Petros was composing.

Mitri El Murr, the composer of most of the Arabic selections on this record, emulated and evoked the style of Petros in many ways. He also incorporated some less conservative elements, however: modulations, chromaticism, and some melodic turns all his own; yet his style remains firmly within the received tradition.

In addition to these two main compositional sources, Disc One includes work in Greek by Stephanos the Lambadarios and Ioannis Vyzantios the Protopsaltis, who both emulated the style of Petros into the 19th century; the Monk Chrysostom Agiographos, a composer on Mt. Athos in the early 20th century; and my teacher and friend, Dr. Ioannis Arvanitis, who composed the Prokeimenon at the end of the disc and also the Kalophonic Eirmos which closes Disc Two.

The Arabic melody for the Kontakion is a composition by the Very Reverend Father Romanos Joubran, Dean of St. George Cathedral in Beirut, and emulates the traditional Greek melody beautifully. In addition, our own Deacon John Rassem El Massih took it upon himself to compose both the Prophecy Troparia and the Troparia of Ode I of the Canon; he also masterfully adapted Arvanitis’s melody for the Prokeimenon to the Arabic text. All in all, shifting back and forth between Greek and Arabic feels virtually seamless, and the two languages—as well as their respective melodies—complement each other beautifully.

John Michael Boyer (Read Part Two)

Order the Recording

Sun of Justice Concert Series

Cappella’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer directs exhilarating Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. Featuring Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.

With performances in Seattle, Portland, Salem, and Sacramento.

SALEM

Thu 14 Dec, 7:30pm
Greek Orthodox Mission Church of Salem
at Blanchet High School
TICKETS Add to Calendar

SEATTLE

Fri 15 Dec, 8:00pm
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
TICKETS
Add to Calendar

Why “Sun of Justice”?

Sun of Justice

John Michael Boyer explains the meaning behind the name of our Sun of Justice concert series and the new PRÓTO ensemble recording:

Sun of Justice The ecclesiastical feast day celebrating the Nativity of Jesus Christ—which came to be called simply “Christ’s Mass,” or “Christmas” in English—was added to the calendar in the Eastern Church somewhat later than were other major feasts. Originally Christ’s Nativity and Baptism were celebrated on the same day: Epiphany (January 6th). Much has been written concerning what influences—Pagan, Persian, or Christian—led to December 25th becoming the feast day of the Nativity of Christ. All three—the late Roman Pagan holiday of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun, the ancient Persian celebration of the birth of Mithras (the “Sun of Justice”), and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ—were each in the mind of the Roman populace to one extent or another during the development of the Christian calendar. This may explain why one of the main hymnological themes for Christmas is light in general and the sun specifically: Orthodox hymnography refers to Christ “dawning from a Virgin,” to his Nativity making “the light of knowledge dawn on the world,” and to him as the “Dayspring from on high,” or “Dayspring from the East.” The hymns even apply the title “Sun of Justice” to Jesus Christ. Christians seemed to say, “You all worship the sun in the sky or call this false god Mithras the ‘Sun of Justice,’ whereas we worship the true God, the spiritual, noetic ‘Sun of Justice’: Jesus Christ, the Son of God and true giver of light and life.”

This imagery permeates the feast’s hymnography, which also explores the paradox of God becoming man and the Virgin giving birth; the humility of the Son of God in his Incarnation; and the sanctifcation of the earth, the deification of humanity, and the reconciliation of God and Man in the God-Man Jesus Christ. The hymns culminate in creation’s universal exaltation: “Shout with joy, to the Lord, all the Earth!” “Glory to God in the highest!”

John Michael Boyer

Order the Recording

Sun of Justice Concert Series

Cappella’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer directs exhilarating Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. Featuring Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.

With performances in Seattle, Portland, Salem, and Sacramento.

SALEM

Thu 14 Dec, 7:30pm
Greek Orthodox Mission Church of Salem
at Blanchet High School
TICKETS Add to Calendar

SEATTLE

Fri 15 Dec, 8:00pm
St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church
TICKETS
Add to Calendar

Pre-Order Sun of Justice: Byzantine Chant for Christmas!

Sun of Justice

Sun of Justic: Byzantine Chant for Christmas in Greek, Arabic, and English

OPEN FOR PRE-ORDERS! SHIPS ON RELEASE DAY DECEMBER 8, 2017

Cappella Romana Media combines passion with scholarship in its exploration of early and contemporary music of the Christian East and West.

A Holiday Record Unlike Any Other
Disc 1: Traditional Chants in Greek and Arabic
Disc 2: Traditional Chants in English

Featuring classical chants in Greek primarily by Petros Peloponnesios (1730–1778). Adaptations into Arabic primarily by Mitri El Murr (1880–1969) and those into English by John Michael Boyer (b. 1978) closely echo the originals in form, style, and grace.

This debut release by PRÓTO presents traditional chants for the Byzantine celebration of Christmas, including selections from The Royal Hours, Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy. A deluxe 32-page booklet is included with full texts in Greek, Arabic, and English.

PRÓTO is a collaboration of two protopsaltes (“first cantors”): John Michael Boyer, Protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco; and the Reverend Deacon John Rassem El Massih, Protopsaltis of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Their shared vision is excellence in traditional Byzantine Music as well as the advancement, development, and composition of traditional Byzantine Music in the English language.

Director Update – Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer to conduct Rautavaara All-Night Vigil in Portland and Seattle

John Michael Boyer will conduct Cappella Romana in this week’s performances of the All-Night Vigil by Einojuhani Rautavaara, replacing Timo Nuoranne. Nuoranne’s visa has been held up at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, in part due to a State Department delay in the days leading to the inauguration.

Film: John Michael Boyer in rehearsal with Cappella Romana

John Michael Boyer

Boyer has been well known to Cappella Romana audiences since 1999, as a regular member of the ensemble, soloist, and guest director. Boyer makes his Cappella Romana début as the ensemble’s new Associate Music Director with this program, having been appointed to that position on January 1, 2017 by Music Director and Founder Alexander Lingas.

Known for his expertise in Byzantine Chant and Orthodox music and liturgy, he lectures at conferences, workshops, and seminars on Eastern Orthodox liturgical music across the United States and abroad. He has served as specialty coach for both Chanticleer and the Minnesota Symphony for world première performances and recordings of works by John Tavener, including Chanticleer’s Grammy-winning recording Lamentations and Praises.

He has conducted operas, chamber music, and orchestral works as associate director of Bay Area Classical Harmonies (BACH), and was artistic director of the vocal chamber ensembles the Josquin Singers and the Metropolis Ensemble of Liturgical Orthodox Singers (MELOS).

John Michael Boyer is Protopsaltis (First Cantor) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis (Diocese) of San Francisco, and studied Byzantine Chant with Alexander Lingas, Ioannis Arvanitis, and the late Lycourgos Angelopoulos (+2014).  He holds a Master in Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a graduate in music from University of California, Berkeley, where he studied choral, orchestral, and operatic conducting with Marika Kuzma and David Milnes.

His latest projects include the CD recording All Creation Trembled from Holy Cross School of Theology, in which he is featured both as composer and as soloist. He is one of six composers who collaborated on the forthcoming release by the St. John of Damascus Society, Psalm 103, a setting of the full text of the Psalm as translated by the late Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) (+2016), featuring multiple Orthodox musical idioms. In the forthcoming recording, Sun of Justice, John Michael Boyer collaborates with Arab cantor Rassem El Massih, Protopsaltis of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; the recording features Byzantine chant for Christmastide in English, Greek, and Arabic. Boyer’s book Byzantine Chant: the Received Tradition – A Lesson Book is slated to be published in 2017.

 

All-Night Vigil by Einojuhani Rautavaara:

Seattle
Friday 27 January, 7:30pm
St. Mark’s Cathedral

TICKETS

Portland
Saturday 28 January, 8:00pm
St. Mary’s Cathedral

TICKETS

Sunday 29 January, 3:00pm
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church

TICKETS

 

All-Night Vigil by Rautavaara

Cappella Romana presents Einojuhani Rautavaara’s spectacular and rarely heard All-Night Vigil, featuring legendary Grammy-award winning basso profundo Glenn Miller.

“Be ready for goosebumps around your earlobes.” —The Oregonian

These performances are supported by the Finlandia Foundation & Nordic Northwest.

The All-Night Vigil by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) is unlike any Orthodox music you’ve ever heard, combining ancient and modern modes to create a vast, beautiful mosaic in sound. Glittering with Byzantine-inspired chanting, thick colorful harmonies, and spectacular vocal effects, this Vigil features solo passages for very low bass performed here by Grammy winner basso profundo Glenn Miller.

Like Rachmaninoff’s Vigil (“Vespers”) in Church Slavonic, Rautavaara’s setting in Finnish (inspired by childhood visits to Valaam monastery) cuts a spiritual path that transcends its original context with universal, irresistible power.

Sung in memory of the composer.

Celebrate Pascha! Also In Mulieribus this Sunday!

Happy Pascha: May 5

Cappella Romana sings the opening of Semeron krematai in the medieval melody from Jerusalem, during recording sessions at Stanford University in February, 2013.

Σήμερον κρεμᾶται ἐπὶ ξύλου, ὁ ἐν ὕδασι τὴν γῆν κρεμάσας.

Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a Tree
He who is King of the Angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in mocking purple.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan receives a blow on the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a lance,.
We worship your Sufferings, O Christ
Show us also your glorious Resurrection.

John Michael Boyer, protopsaltis of the Metropolis of San Francisco, will lead the chanting at Pascha at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Portland, May 4, 11pm, and into Pascha May 5. He will also visit the Seattle area. See full schedule here.

In Mulieribus, in concert

Stella Splendens: Medieval Songs of Travel

Following your Pascha celebrations (if you’re on the Julian Calendar), complete your day by attending In Mulieribus on Sunday night.

Exploring music played and sung by medieval pilgrims and crusaders, this program features selections from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat and the Codex Calixtinus, music from which Cappella Romana performed in November 2012.  You’ll recognize a number of In Mulieribus singers from Cappella Romana’s roster, also!

The songs vary in style and mood and feature delightful tunes and jaunty rhythms. They tell tales of adventure, love and piety encountered along the pilgrims’ journey.

For this concert the singers of In Mulieribus will be joined by instrumentalists Phil and Gayle Neuman of the Oregon Renaissance Band.

Stella Splendens: Medieval Songs of Travel

Sunday, May 5 at 7:00 PM
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
1112 SE 41st Ave. Portland, OR
Tickets at (800)494-TIXS or boxofficetickets.com