We prepare to celebrate All Saints of North America this Sunday. The hymnography is mostly fine, but needs two major updates. One, relatively easy to fix: it is quite limited in the names it mentions, probably a product of when the service was written. That is fairly easy to fix, and not necessitating a mention of every name, for that would also soon be out of date, but to focus on more prominent or categorical additions.
The second issue needing an update is that that the wording of the service in its current form has in mind only immigrant saints, and we need to see that this is a living faith which has produced and continues to produce saints among the native-born people of the Americas. Within that issue, it is also a problem that though “men and women” is mentioned in various places, it still sounds past-tense, speaking of the immigrants; though we do not have canonized women saints in America, yet, we must intentionally commemorate the women among the all-saints of our lands, for All Saints is all about the saints we do not know about. Just think Matushka Olga.
Continue reading “Updating Hymnography for the American Saints”
We celebrate the glorification of our beloved father Tikhon tomorrow, who did much to establish and organize the Church in America, but also guided the Russian Church through some of the most tumultuous times in its history, the Russian Revolution.
It is likely too late for this to be of help to anybody for this particular Sunday in October of 2022, and it reveals to you all how late these things are prepared here in Bend, Oregon, but hopefully, it will be of use later. I was tempted to not go to the trouble of “cleaning this service up”, but there were just too many awkward phrases that would not be understood, especially when sung in our services, that I could not resist going through and rewording: moving phrases around, placing particular words to be emphasized by the music, and similar other changes.
Continue reading “Service for St. Tikhon of Moscow”
Without a doubt, the spirit and tone of some of our hymnography comes across wrong to today’s hearer, especially when it comes to women. I do not condone the rewriting of hymns to just to pacify modern sensitivities, but rewording (and even just re-punctuating) can often bring out the original, beautiful intent of the text.
Here is one example and how I reworded it:
The tears of Mary were not shed in vain; for, behold! she was counted worthy of having angels instruct her and Jesus Himself appear to her. But, as a weak woman, she thought earthly thoughts. Wherefore, she was turned away and commanded not to touch Christ. Yet was she sent as a herald to Thy disciples, bearing glad tidings to them and announcing Thine ascension to the portion of the Father. With her count us worthy, 0 Lord and Master, of Thine appearance. (The 8th Evangelical Sticheron from Sunday Matins)
Continue reading “Women in Orthodox Hymnography”
As we near his celebration next week, on July 26th, I am posting the full service for St. Jacob Netsvetov, enlightener of the peoples of Alaska, below. It includes Vespers, Matins, and Liturgy material. You may either use the PDF below, which has pointed text to save you time in preparation, or, if you would like to remark it for your own musical needs, you may follow the link to the digital file, make a copy, and re-point the text as needed.
Initially, I could only find pieces of the service for St. Jacob of Alaska, so I compiled what I found and edited the language throughout the service to give it the same style and smoothing some of the phrasing to better fit the music. Only near the end of the process did I find what I think is the original service written for him, from 1995 at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, and considering he was canonized in 1994, it would make sense if it were the first service written for him.
Continue reading “Service for St. Jacob of Alaska – Vespers, Matins, Liturgy”