The texts, music and commentary on this website were prepared by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.

Upcoming Events

February 12 - MCI Online class "Introduction to Liturgy" begins

February 12 - MCI Online class "Introduction to Church Singing" begins

Liturgical Calendar


February 25 is Cheesefare Saturday (commemoration of holy ascetics).
Divine Liturgy

February 26 is Cheesefare Sunday, the Sunday of Forgiveness.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday evening Vespers (saints only)

February 27 is the first day of the Great Fast.

March 4 is the first Saturday of the Great Fast. on which we commemorate the miracle of St. Theodore.
Divine Liturgy

March 5 is the first Sunday of the Great Fast, the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday evening Vespers (saints only)

March 9 is the feast of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

March 11 is the second All-Souls Saturday.
Divine Liturgy

March 12 is the second Sunday of the Great Fast, on which we also commemorate St. Gregory Palamas.
Vespers - Matins - Divine Liturgy (Palamas) - Sunday evening Vespers (saints only)

March 18 is the third All-Souls Saturday.
Divine Liturgy

March 19 is the third Sunday of the Great Fast, on which we venerate the Holy Cross.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Moleben - Sunday evening Vespers (saints only)

March 25 is the feast of the Annunciation.
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts - Matins - Divine Liturgy

March 26 is the fourth Sunday of the Great Fast, the Sunday of St. John Climacus.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday evening Vespers (saints only)

March 30 is the Thursday of the Great Canon of Repentence of St. Andrew of Crete.
Matins

April 1 is Akathistos Saturday.
Divine Liturgy - Akathist Hymn (SATB)

April 2 is the fifth Sunday of the Great Fast, the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday evening Vespers (saints only)

April 7 is the last day of the Great Fast.

April 8 is Lazarus Saturday.
Divine Liturgy

complete liturgical calendar

Vigil Divine Liturgy propers

February 2 - Meeting of our Lord

The Great Fast

The Great Fast (Slavonic Velikij Post', or Svjata Chetyredesjatnica, "holy forty days") is our annual preparation for the feast of Pascha. (read more)

Music for the Liturgy of Saint Basil

On the Sundays of the Great Fast, we sing the anaphora hymns for the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. Take a look at these review articles:

As always, it's a good idea to practice the music we use only occasionally through the year. You might also want to review the Spiritual Songs for the Great Fast.

Presanctified Propers for Mondays

Several parishes have requested proper for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts for the remaining Mondays of the Great Fast. Here are propers that follow the pattern of the 2010 Presanctified books, using unofficial texts from the Lenten Triodion of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Uniontown (which we gratefully acknowledge).

Second week - Third week - Fourth week - Fifth Week - Sixth Week

Online musicianship for cantors

In preparation for our online classes, which begin in February, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has acquired a site license for Theta Music Trainer, a website with computer- and smartphone-based games that teach pitch matching, recognition and singing of scales and intervals, and other important skills.

Complete access to this website is available to all cantors in the Byzantine Catholic Church, as well as students in the MCI Online program. For more information, see the Theta Music Trainer page.

There is also a new section in the left-hand navigation bar, Musicianship, to which articles will be added over the next two months.

Looking ahead to the Uniontown Pilgrimage...

Cantor Joseph Ferenchick of the Pilgrimage Planning Committee reports that the new Hilton Garden Inn Uniontown has a special rate package for the 2017 Annual Pilgrimage, covering stays anytime between Thursday, 8/31/2017 and Tuesday, 9/5/2017. The special rate is $129/night, which includes a voucher for a full cooked-to-order breakfast each day.  Each additional registered guest can receive a breakfast voucher with an increased rate of $5.00 per person per day. For registration details, write him at CantorJKF@me.com.

First steps toward a new hymnal

At the request of the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute is sponsoring initial work on a hymal - that is, a collection of paraliturgical hymns for singing before and after the Divine Liturgy, and on other church occasions as well.

On Saturday, October 2, 2016, we held a workshop on paraliturgical hymns at which we sang through a variety of our hymns, and discussed what might go into the proposed hymnal.  A complete recording of this workshop is now available, along with the handout that was distributed. Please take a listen, and if you have thoughts on the subject, or things you'd like to suggest go into the new collection, leave a comment!

2017 Classes Begin on February 12

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute will offer the following online courses in 2017:

Introduction to Liturgy – February 12 to April 7, 2017

Introduction to Church Singing – February 12 to April 7

Introduction to the Divine Liturgy – April 24 to June 16

Reading in Church – April 24 to May 19

Introduction to the Typikon – May 22 to June 16

Introduction to the Eight Tones – June 19 to August 11

The Liturgical Year – August 14 to October 6

Mastering the Eight Tones – August 14 to October 6

The Office of Vespers – October 16 to December 8

The Divine Liturgy – October 16 to December 8

Registration for the February course is now open. See this blog entry for details.

(We have also added new entries to the left hand navigation bar under Cantor Institute. Check them out!)

Documenting the history of our church music - how you can help

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute is working with the Byzantine Catholic Seminary Library to put together material to document the history of the liturgical music of the Byzantine Catholic Church, both plain chant and choral music. Please consider contributing to these two efforts:

In early 2017, we will also be distributing images of particular pieces of music or other memorabilia we would like to find or identify.

Online courses at Byzantine Catholic Seminary

The Byzantine Online program at Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary has announced several online courses for the Spring 2017 semester. Any cantor who is interested in serious study of our Scripture, liturgy, and music should consider taking one of these course somes time.  For more information, or to register, go to online.bcs.edu.

Reader's Course Materials Available

Last September, reader's courses were held at our cathedrals in Munhall, PA and Parma, OH. Thanks for Fr. Andrew Summerson, the Parma classes were professionally recorded, and those reconow available along with the class handouts:

Video 1 (48 minutes)
Video 2 (82 minutes)

Web link: Lectionary
Handout: Introduction to Books of the Bible
Handout: Tones for Chanting Psalms and Readings
Handout: Tones for the Prokeimenon and Alleluia Verses
Handout: Text of Psalm 50
Handout: Practice readings

As always, materials from previous MCI courses can be found by clicking on the Cantor Institute link to the left.

Cantor's Retreat on October 29 - Follow-up

See the blog for a summary of our annual cantor's retreat.

New Molebens on the MCI website

Over the next several weeks, we will be adding a number of devotional services called Molebens to the MCI website, with current texts and music. These can also be found on the Publications page, which now includes BOTH official and unofficial publications (under separate headings), to make it easy to find everything that is available.

As always, you can add "_booklet" just before ".pdf" in your browser URL window to get a "camera ready" version for printing on 11 by 14 inch paper.

Parishes in Need of Cantors

The following parishes currently have no regular cantor. Cantors who have the time and willingness to serve regularly in one of these parishes should contact the pastor of the parish or the Cantor Institute for more information.

Pastors, if your parish needs a cantor, please write to the Cantor Institute at mci@archpitt.org.

What is the Metropolitan Cantor Institute?

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute exists to support and foster liturgical singing in the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh. At the direction of our bishops, and in cooperation with our clergy and experienced cantors, the Institute trains and certifies cantors for the service of the church, prepares music and educational materials, and provides workshops and seminars in church singing.

The mission of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute:

To ensure that each parish in the Byzantine Catholic Church has a cantor who can lead the liturgical singing of the parish well, to the glory of God and in support of the prayer of the faithful.

For more information, click on Cantor Institute in the left-hand navigation bar on this page.

Vespers - with Sister Vassa

Cantors might be interested in several recent 10-minute videocasts by Sister Vassa Larin, a Russian Orthodox nun and liturgical scholar. (There are from the series Coffee with Sister Vassa, which usual begins with some chattiness before getting down to business. But the content is quite worthwhile for anyone interested in Vespers.)

Mailing lists

A number of electronic mailing lists are available for Byzantine Catholic cantors and those interested in church music. Click on the name of the group to sign up.

mcinews Announcements of cantor education opportunities in the Byzantine Catholic Church
mcimusicfiles Monthly distribution of sheet music from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute

Please sign up for the lists of interest to you!