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  • #1460 Reply
    Joe
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    I am a musician, so it’s no surprise that one of the things that attracts me most to Orthodoxy is the music; not just for its beauty, which is truly not of this world, but also for its power and usefulness etc…
    What are your thoughts and feelings about music in church? Do you listen to any devotional music outside of Church? What singers/groups are you into? (I like Divna Ljuboljevic A LOT)…
    Let’s chat about music! (If this is too frivolous of a topic for here I apologize, but I just couldn’t seem to tie it in with the gay thing, since the idea of sacred music having a sexuality of any kind is monstrously and offensively ridiculous to me…)
    Your thoughts?

    #1461 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    OK, here is a more serious question: When ever I practice the Jesus Prayer for any length of time, I find myself putting it to a tune, whether praying aloud or silently. It just happens without my thinking about it. The problem is, the tune comes from my own head/heart, (not from any instruction I have ever received). Is this an unhealthy habit, or its it just the way I pray naturally? I don’t know much about hesychastic disciplines, but singing (even just in my head/heart) doesn’t seem very quiet…
    My question is, can music be a part of praying this prayer (repetitiously) without detracting from its effectiveness?

    #1462 Reply
    Maria
    Guest

    I love Orthodox chant 🙂 I listen to it on Youtube all the time. My favourite song (not really a chant) is a Syriac Orthodox one about the Theotokos – Mani dakhwoth (who is like me?). It’s so beautiful, I definitely recommend listening to it (it’s on Youtube).

    I also used to be in a Catholic church choir where we sang Latin hymns from the 16/17th centuries, so I also have a fondness for that style of music too 🙂

    #1463 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    Wow! That is a great hymn! I like the combination of the modern piano with the ancient voices. I can’t wait to show my Mom, she’ll love it too.
    Have you heard Divna Ljuboljevic’s rendering of “Agni Parthene”? (You’re probably already aware of it, but just in case you’ve missed it so far, it’s also on the you tube) I weep every time I listen to it… I think she does versions in both the original Greek and Old Church Slavonic… (I’m learning Greek, so that’s the one I listen to).
    I like RC music too… The ‘Stabat Mater’ (Also about the Theotokos) by G.B. Pergolesi has always been one of my favorites.
    Any other suggestions?

    #1464 Reply
    James
    Guest

    I agree that Orthodox music is, at least in the Russian tradition, astonishingly beautiful and often quite instructive.

    One piece I find very moving comes from the panihida (memorial?) service. Here is a YouTube link to the version used in the Finnish Orthodox Church that I find quite moving:

    The English version runs: “With the Saints give rest O Christ, to the souls of thy servants, where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.”

    #1465 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    Absolutely gorgeous! (Makarios?) My first taste of Finnish Orthodox music… Are they singing in Finnish or Russian? (I don’t think I’ve ever heard the finish language spoken, let alone sung.)
    Thank you Maria and James for two new (to me) and very special pieces of music.
    Also, James, if you will suffer a self acknowledged fool and help me out a bit… I only have a phone (no big computer) and I’m new to/not very good with the internet… How did you put the you tube video into your reply? It was so much easier than writing down the Finnish words, exiting this site, and then searching you tube.. I’d like to be able to do that! 🙂

    #1466 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    Sometimes I think it’s harder to admit how computer illiterate I am than it was for me to admit being gay! Computer illiteracy IS a choice, and a very foolish one this day and age.. Lol

    #1468 Reply
    James
    Guest

    To answer your questions, Joe, the music score is Russian but the singing in the video is in Finnish. Unlike the official(?) English version, the Finnish text begins: “Accompany, O Christ, the soul of Thy servant to rest among the saints…”, which I really like.

    I hadn’t intended to include the video, only to give its URL. But to my surprise, when I copy-pasted the URL from the ‘address’ (if that’s what it’s called) box at the top of the YouTube page the video suddenly popped into my post.

    #1469 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    URL’s you say… I’ll have to look that up… I don’t know if my phone has enough bells and whistles to do those… Oh well, the “old fashioned” way isn’t all that difficult for now… And thank you for including the English translation!
    Just wondering, are you from Finland? I’ve never met anyone from there… I didnt even know there was a Finnish Orthodox Church… I always thought they were mostly Lutherans… I think I’ll look up Finland while I’m at it… Anyway, thank you for the info! Peace be with you. 🙂

    #1470 Reply
    Maria
    Guest

    Joe, I love Divna Ljuboljevic’s rendering of “Agni Parthene” 😀 It’s one of the first versions of that chant I heard. It’s lovely.

    As for the Finnish Orthodox Church, from what I understand, they’re more open to LBGT people than other Orthodox churches.

    And thanks for that piece, James. It was so beautiful 😀

    #1471 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    Yay! “Agni Parthene thespina, aghrande Theotoke!” It is truly right! Axion Estin!
    Sometimes I feel so isolated and “odd”… 999/1000 people I’ve ever met would not only dislike music like that, but actively hate it… Because it’s unworldly… It makes us think and feel things that aren’t “fun”, but whoever said beauty, quality, and worth had anything to do with fun?… To me, “devotional music” (for lack of a better word; English is a spiritually bereft language in my opinion) won’t endorse the ego, but dismantle it! The music of the angels (on earth as it is in heaven) invites us to contemplate the ultimate, non-sensual reality, as opposed to feeding our temporal cravings and passions… I like pop music, but it’s only “entertainment” music to me… How many times have you had someone shove their phone in your face, saying, “you gotta hear this song; just listen to words” and then the words turn out to be a bunch of self-indulgent bile?

    #1473 Reply
    Isaac
    Guest

    I too have also heard that the Finnish Orthodox Church is accepting of LGBT people and I’m really glad for it.

    I also love Divna Ljuboljevic’s Orthodox Credo. It makes me feel calm, peaceful, and hopeful. I listen to it when I feel the need to be comforted. Have you heard the Agni Parthene from the Valaam monastery? It’s divine!

    I don’t just listen to devotional music though. I like some nonreligious music as well. Devotional music helps me think about God and the beauty of His creation.

    #1474 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    Lol I stupidly got in a fight with an atheist in the comment section of the YouTube Valaam Agni Parthene.. what a waste of time! I’ll never do that again.
    The Valaam chants are so “pure” sounding… “God is with us” (available in English) is another one of my favorites… Is Valaam chant its own category, or is it “Zmamenny”?
    And I don’t think all secular music is destructive… For example, “Va Pensiero” by Giuseppe Verdi (from the opera “Nabucco” {Nebuchadnezzar}) is very uplifting… It’s known in English as “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves”… The words are from the Psalm, “by the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion”…
    There is a great version on YouTube (performance in Rome) where the audience demands a reprise and there is not a dry eye in the house, including on stage!

    #1475 Reply
    Joe
    Guest

    And for a really different experience, check out the Korean version of Agni Parthene (also on YouTube; isn’t everything?)… They have to add a line of music to fit the Korean words, and it’s accompanied by traditional Korean instruments, but it is unmistakeably the same beloved hymn revealed to us through St Nektarios.
    Thank you all so much for your suggestions!

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