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 They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.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

April 24 - MCI Online class "Introduction to the Divine Liturgy" begins

April 24 - MCI Online class "Reading in Church" begins

May 22 - MCI Online class "Introduction to the Typikon" begins

July 12-14 - Three-day master class and workshop in Pittsburgh.

Liturgical Calendar

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

April 9 is Palm (or Flowery) Sunday, the Sunday of the Entrance of Our Lord into Jerusalem.
Vespers - Matins - Blessing of Palms - Divine Liturgy (complete) - Sunday evening Vespers

April 10 is Great and Holy Monday.
Bridegroom Matins

April 11 is Great and Holy Tuesday.
Bridegroom Matins

April 12 is Great and Holy Wednesday.
Bridegroom Matins - Anointing (troparia)

April 13 is Great and Holy Thursday.
Matins - Vespers with Divine Liturgy (complete)

April 14 is Great and Holy Friday.
Matins - Royal Hours - Vespers

April 15 is Great and Holy Saturday.
Matins - Vespers with Divine Liturgy

April 16 is PASCHA, the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Midnight Office - Paschal Matins (text) - Divine Liturgy - Paschal Hours - Vespers

April 17 is Bright Monday..
Matins - Hours - Vespers

April 17 is Bright Tuesday..
Matins - Hours - Vespers

April 17 is Bright Wednesday..
Matins - Hours - Vespers

April 17 is Bright Thursday..
Matins - Hours - Vespers

April 17 is Bright Friday..
Matins - Hours - Vespers

April 17 is Bright Saturday..
Matins - Hours - Vespers

complete liturgical calendar

Vigil Divine Liturgy propers

February 2 - Meeting of our Lord

Next Online Classes Begin on April 24

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute will offer the following online courses in April and May:

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

See the registration form for details. If you have questions, please write to mci@archpitt.org or call (412) 735-1676.

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)

The Great Canon on Repentence

Here are excerpts from a recording of Matins for Thursday in the fifth week of the Great Fast, with the Canon of Repentence of St. Andrew of Crete, recorded by the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter, conducted by former MCI director J. Michael Thompson:

Ode 1 - Ode 2 - Ode 3 - Ode 4 - Ode 5 - Ode 6 - Ode 7 - Ode 8 - Ode 9

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.

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.

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!