First steps toward a 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, please leave a comment here!

12 thoughts on “First steps toward a hymnal”

  1. I would like to see any Pascha hymns included – We sing Christ Is Risen, Joy from Heaven”

    Also regarding the Matins at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Fr. Andrew Summerson has put together booklets, Tone 1 through Tone 8 without using the large Matins book. If there is anyway to get this on the website, that would be a wonderful addtion.

    1. Hi Liz, I made the basis for those books while I was the music director at the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center. I have the originals if you would like.

  2. Yes, please include hymns for Pascha.

    Regarding Matins at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Parma, Fr. Andrew Summerson put together easy to follow booklets from Tone 1 through Tone 8. If there is anyway that could be posted on MCI, that would be helpful to those churches wanting to do Matins.

    1. I agree with Fr. Andrew: 3 or 4 part harmonies for all the hymns would be very good. I imagine that is part of the plan, though, since these hymns are all available already with the melody only on the MCI website.

  3. Even with harmonisations, there are often different ways to arrange them, some simple and some more complex. For congregational singing I would suggest simpler arrangements. Even simple harmonisations though can be done differently.

  4. I’m all for this long overdue project. I like what I see so far. I would suggest adding as many hymns as possible with the familiar translations. I doubt we will see another hymnal project for the next fifty or one hundred years.

    We need more hymns for Pascha. We are sorely lacking in that area. I would also like to see hymns for St. Michael, Sts. Peter & Paul and other saints.

    I think the people’s music should be kept as simple as possible. Harmonizations in the book would result in people leaving the books unsed in the pew racks. Few have studied music or have a strong musical background as Fr. Andrew. Special books can be made for those who want harmonizations.

    1. Please include “The Ancient Prophecies Foretold”, a Pre-Nativity Festal Hymn sung during the beginning incessation of the Liturgy, starting on November 15th, with an additional verse added each Sunday till the Feast of the Nativity& trhroughut Post-Fesat. We have been following this tradition at St Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Anchorage for years.
      Please also include “You have Entered O Noble Archpriest”, to be sung when the Bishop visits your parish, andd enters the church for Divine Liturgy.
      Include Lenten Hymn “From the Depths”
      Include the Paschal Hymns, and all variations of “Christ is Risen”
      I like the idea of a harmonized version with the melody somehow highlighted, and easily decipherable, for the non-musicians of the parish. Two hymnal versions- single melody only, and the other with melody with SATB harmonization might be the best choice.

      1. Ron – thanks for writing! The only problem with “The Ancient Prophecies Foretold” is that the person who set it to music used a well-known and copyrighted melody for the refrain. I’m looking at possible options; one cantor wrote a new melody for the refrain, which I think works as well. We definitely want to include it!

        If you could send me copes of your version of “You have entered”, as well as “From the Depths” (I’m not sure I know that one) I would be grateful.

  5. Given that we use the melody sometimes for the Cherubikon, I think that “Spivajme Veselo” should be included among the Marian hymns.

    If we are going to include traditional English Christmas Carols and patriotic songs, I think there’s a good basis for including other traditional English hymns. My suggestions:

    Be Thou My Vision
    God Father, Praise and Glory
    From All That Dwell Below the Skies/Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow
    At the Lamb’s High Feast

    Many others can be found by consulting a good Western hymnal or the post-Vatican II breviary.


    1. Luke, do you know of a workable ENGLISH version of “Spivajme Veselo”? I would prefer not to publish JUST a Slavonic version.

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