chant is a vine heavy-laden
with the fruits of illumination, deeply rooted in the traditions
of Biblical liturgical worship. It heeds St. Paul's injunction
to "exhort one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual
songs" (Eph. 5:19).
This collection of Byzantine hymnography in English may
come as a revelation to Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.
To the former, that the traditional tones and hymns can
be rendered in the English language without a diminution
of form and essence, and to the latter, that this tradition
of sacred music may indeed be accessible to western listeners.
The proper context of Byzantine chant is liturgical celebration.
It is not meant to be "performed," but to be prayed.
Neither is it meant for mere entertainment, it is meant
for worship. The intent of Orthodox hymnographers is the
same as that of Orthodox theologians, to find words and
music "appropriate to God."
For both theologian and hymnist, the same principle applies:
the depth of one's prayer life determines the depth of God
revealed in one's work.
Flowing from nearly two thousand years of history, experience,
and tradition, Byzantine chant continues to illuminate the
mysteries of the Gospel of Christ to multitudes of faithful
Christians from diverse cultures around the world. This
is no less true for America. The Orthodox Faith has existed
here for over two centuries, and is even now growing at
a steady rate.
The Boston Byzantine Choir wishes to present this treasury
of Byzantine music to all "who have ears to hear."