YOUR HELP REQUESTED: Remembering our professors

For many years, cantors who received comprehensive cantorial training in Europe were known in this country as “professors.” These men led church singing, taught religion classes, directed plays, and often organized church services when clergy were scarce. Over time, other particularly influential cantors were also called by the title, “Professor.”

In order to better preserve and foster our chant tradition, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute has been working with the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh to collect information about these important leaders in our church. Now we are turning to you for assistance. We are particularly interested in the following cantors: Continue reading YOUR HELP REQUESTED: Remembering our professors

Online courses from our Seminary

bcs_online_logoThe Byzantine Online program at Saints Cyril and Methodius Seminary has announced the following online courses for the Spring 2017 semester.

COURSES FOR CERTIFICATE CREDIT:

The Word of Life: Seven Characteristics of the Bible for Byzantine Christians (Fr. Deacon Daniel Dozier, Word of Life Institute)

This course explores the central place of the Bible (Sacred Scripture) in the life and mission of the Church. Drawing on the rich liturgical, catechetical and patristic traditions of Byzantine Christianity, we will identify Seven Characteristics of the Bible: the Word of God, the Church’s Book, a Book of Books, a Story of Stories, a Ladder of Mysteries, a Book of the Liturgy and a Disciple’s Handbook. By completing this course, students will be able to identify some of the ways that biblical texts, imagery, stories and allusions both form and inform what we believe (doctrine), how we worship (liturgy) and our spiritual lives (discipleship) in the Church.

Plainchant in the Byzantine Catholic Church (Jeff Mierzejewski, Metropolitan Cantor Institute)

This course will examine the prostopinije, or plainchant, of the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church. Prospective students who already participate in the Byzantine Catholic Church will have the opportunity to broaden and deepen their understanding of our liturgical chant, and how it is used in our services. Students from other churches or disciplines will be provided with a living example of a complete system of liturgical chant, and learn how it has been used in the past, and is used today.

COURSES FOR COLLEGE CREDIT:

Theology of the Divine Praises (Fr. David Petras, Professor Emeritus)

This course will survey the theological, spiritual and historical elements of the Liturgy of the Hours in the Christian church.

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 Videos Available

In September, reader’s courses were held at our cathedrals in Munhall, PA and Parma, OH. Thanks to Fr. Andrew Summerson, the Parma classes were professionally recorded, and those recordings are now available along with the class handouts:

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

Web link: Lectionary
Handout: Introduction to the 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 here.

Cantor Retreat 2016

Fifteeen cantors attended our annual Day of Prayer at St. Elias Byzantine Catholic Church in Munhall, PA on Saturday, October 29. Sister Barbara Mihalchik from Mount Saint Macrina led the retreat, explaining how cantors can improve (or start!) a personal prayer life, using a basic prayer process popularized by Matthew Kelly, author of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. She also talked with the cantors about using the prayers and hymns of the liturgical cycle to guide their own personal prayer.

cantor-retreat-2016

The day included lunch, and concluded with a Panachida for all our deceased cantors, celebrated by Father Dennis Bogda of St. John’s Cathedral in Munhall.  We hope to have another next year; mid-autumn seems to be the best time. If you have suggestions for a location or retreat leader, please comment under this post!

Moleben Monday!

Here is a moleben or prayer service for those suffering from alcoholism and substance abuse; this is an exceptionally good example of a directed service of prayer for healing. The text was provided by Father Valerian Michlik of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, based on texts from the Orthodox Church in Canada; music is by the MCI.

Moleben for Those Suffering from Alcohol or Drug Dependence

Changes at the Metropolitan Cantor Institute

(The following message went out today on the mcinews mailing list.  If you’re not on it, please join!)

Dear Cantors,

I am writing to let you know that my daytime employer (IBM) has relocated my job (and me) to Austin, Texas as of November 1.  The new mailing address for the Metropolitan Cantor Institute will be 10002 Faylin Drive, Austin TX, 78753.  I will continue to be reachable at (412) 735-1676.

Metropolitan William has asked me to continue to serve as director of the Metropolitan Cantor Institute; to coordinate cantor education across our four eparchies; and to continue to help with the work of the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission.  He also wants to see us provide much more assistance to cantors who cannot make it to Pittsburgh for classes (though we are continuing to plan a 5-day cantor / choir director workshop for new July).

Because our household goods are still in transit, my access to email and to the MCI website will be limited for the next week or so.  But once things are back in order, expect some announcements for upcoming events and resources.

Please keep me in your prayers!

In Christ,
Deacon Jeffrey Mierzejewski

Cantor’s Retreat in Pittsburgh area on October 29

On Saturday, October 29, a one-day spiritual retreat for all cantors will be held at St. Elias Byzantine Catholic 4200 Homestead Duquesne Rd, Munhall, PA, led by Sr. Barbara Jean Mihalchik of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great.  The theme for the day will be “Personal Prayer and the Cantor”.  Every cantor should pray, apart  from the church services. But many do not know how to get started, or have lost the practice of it. Come learn how to start (or re-start) a personal prayer life.

There will be a Divine Liturgy for the health and needs of our cantors at 9:00 AM, and the retreat will run from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Lunch will be provided.  At 2 PM, there will be a panachida for all our departed cantors.

There is a $10 fee for the retreat, payable at the door.  Please register by October 22 by calling (412) 735-1676 or sending e-mail to mci@archpitt.org.

Hope to see you there!

Reader’s Course – Materials Online

Today, Fr. Andrew Summerson and I presented a two-hour epistle reader’s course to 15 students at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Parma, Ohio.  The lecture portion was recorded on video, and included our best presentation on the prostopinije reading tones to date. In the meantime, here are the materials for this week and next:

Based on this course, we will be making some changes to how we teach this material in the future – and also adding audio / video recordings of epistle readers “at work” in church. Thanks to all who attended!

Next week, courses will continue in Pittsburgh (on Thursday evening) and in Parma (on Saturday afternoon).

Moleben Monday!

This week, as part of our weekly opening of the MCI files, we bring you a moleben or prayer service to Saints Cyril and Methodius, the two brothers from Thessalonika who brought the Gospel to the Slavs in the 9th century AD. This service also includes, as a bonus, an English setting of the hymn Slava vam Brata, or “Glory to you, brothers.”

Moleben to Saints Cyril and Methodius

Look for a complete list of MCI booklets on the Publications page. And if there are particular molebens or other services you would like to see on the MCI website, please leave a comment here!

Hymnal Project

The singing of “paraliturgical hymns” – popular devotional songs – outside the Liturgy is a significant and beloved part of our Church’s tradition. A small appendix of these songs was included in our previous Divine Liturgy book, and several additional collections were published over the years. Unfortunately, the new hymnal which was announced at “forthcoming” in 2006 never materialized.

With the consent of our bishops, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute is undertaking the project of preparing a new hymnal for our church, to be submitted to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission when it is complete. This hymnal will include hymns to the Trinity, to the Mother of God, and to the saints, chosenfrom material traditionally used in our church, printed with music and set for singing in various languages as appropriate.

Of course, there are a variety of issues to consider. Which hymns should be included?  If there are several translations or melodies in circulation, which one(s) should be used? Would it be appropriate to provide literal (non-sung) translations for traditional Carpatho-Rusyn or Magyar hymns when our current English translation is a very free one?  And so on.

As part of  this project, we will hold several meetings over the next year, as well as a public “hymn sing” on Sunday, October 2, at Saint John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Munhall, PA. My goal is to complete a draft hymnal by September 1, 2017.

If  you have suggestions for this project, please comment below!

If you would like to assist in this project or contribute on a continuing basis, please write to mci@archpitt.org.