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 They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.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


June 19-20 - Cantor's Workshop and Church Music Day, Parma OH (details forthcoming).

July 14-17 - Chant Class for Clergy, Pittsburgh, PA (flyer).

September 4 - Cantor Workshop, Uniontown, PA (details forthcoming).

Liturgical Calendar

May 21 is the feast of the ASCENSION of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
Vespers - Matins - Divine Liturgy

May 24 is the Sunday of the Fathers of the First Nicean Council (325 AD).
Vespers - Matins - Divine Liturgy

May 30 is the fifth and final All Souls Saturday.
Divine Liturgy - Parastas

May 31 is the Sunday of PENTECOST, the feast-day of the Holy Trinity, and commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit, and the birthday of the Church.
Vespers - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Moleben to the Holy Spirit - Sunday afternoon Vespers

June 7 is the Sunday of All Saints.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy

June 8 is the beginning of the Apostles' Fast, which ends on June 28.

June 14 is the second Sunday after Pentecost.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

June 21 is the third Sunday after Pentecost.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

June 24 is the feast of the birth of the holy prophet, forerunneer and baptist John.
Vespers - Matins - Divine Liturgy

June 28 is the fourth Sunday after Pentecost.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

June 29 is the feast of the holy apostles Peter and Paul.
Vespers - Matins (complete service) - Divine Liturgy

complete liturgical calendar

Vigil Divine Liturgy propers

May 31 - Pentecost Sunday

June 24 - Birth of the Forerunner

June 29 - Apostles Peter and Paul

Update on the hymnal

Thanks to Rich Custer and cantor George Nagrant, I have done some final cleanup to the draft hymnal:

Here is the result, which I have submitted for consideration to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission, along with an accompanying report:

    Proposed hymnalReport

Thank you all for your assistance with this project over the past 18 months!

Selected MCI Online classes FREE through July 31

Our church depends on its cantors, and one of the things I will be preaching over the next six months is that we need to up our game: we need MORE cantors, and all of us as cantors need to improve our skills, expand our repertoire, and learn to teach what we know.  This will be true more than ever as our churches begin to re-open later this year, God willing.

Therefore, through at least July 31, I am waiving all registration fees for the following MCI Online classes:

You can find out more about each class on the Classes page. The catch?

You can register for one or two classes from the above list by sending me a note at mci@archpitt.org. (To sign up for Introduction to Church Singing, see the Classes page.)

I hope you will take advantage of this chance to utilize our church's resources to improve OUR church singing.

Akathist for the Departed

It is a basic work of mercy to pray for the dead, and since many of us can't meet in church right now - and even for those who can! - the MCI is publishing an Akathist for the Departed ("those who have fallen asleep") which can be prayed with our without a priest.

    Akathist for the Departed

This service uses minimal music, and is set up for printing on letter size (8.5 by 11 inch) sheets; it is only 8 pages long.  Please consider using it, with your parish or at home!

Many thanks to Fr David Petras, who prepared the text of the Akathist for the Departed.  The service which "frames" it can be used with any akathist.

Two prayers in time of coronavirus

Almighty Master, Holy King, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible, we are unable to grasp the fullness of your wisdom.  You have filled your creation with blessings for us, that we may have an abundance of life, but also with elements dangerous to us, for you have given us a short life because of the weakness and frailty of our nature.   In these days, O Lord, we cry out to you in our suffering from an invisible viral enemy.  Grant, O Lord, that we may endure this affliction in faith, remembering your name day and night, knowing that you are compassionate, merciful and loving.  Be present and comfort those for whom this illness may lead to death; be present with the doctors and nurses and all who are called to aid in the fight against this disease; and be present with those of us who may suffer bodily weakness and pain and humble us in our prideful sense of invincibility.  Strengthen us in our spiritual struggle, even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  With your prophet David, we pray, “we are greatly distressed. But let us fall into the hand of God, whose mercy is great, rather than into human hands.”  O Physician of souls and bodies, you chastise yet raise up those who fall, and restore those who have been cast down.  You cure the afflictions of our bodies. We ask you, our God, visit with your mercy your fearfully afflicted servants.  Forgive them every transgression, whether committed voluntarily or involuntarily.  Yes, O Lord and lover of humanity, send down from heaven your healing power, touch their bodies, quench their fever, soothe their suffering, and drive out every hidden ailment.  Be the Physician of your servants, raise them from their illness.  Grant that we may be well-pleasing to you and do your will through your Church, and completely restore all to health, for it is you who have mercy and save us. For you are our God and we give glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

(Father David Petras)

O God Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth, and of all creation visible and invisible, in Your ineffable goodness, look down upon Your people gathered in Your name.  Be our helper and defender in this day of affliction.  You know our weakness.  You hear our cry of repentance and contrition of heart.  O Lord who lovest mankind, deliver us from the impending threat of the Coronavirus.  Send Your Angel to watch over us and protect us.  Grant health and recovery to those suffering  from this virus.  Guide the hands of physicians, and preserve those who are healthy that we may continue to serve you in peace and glorify Your most honorable and majestic Name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen.

(Bishop Alexis of Bethesda, MD, Orthodox Church in America)

Resources for Prayer at Home

During the current viral outbreak, many churches have been forced to curtail services. Therefore, we would like to make available the following materials for use at home.

From St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in Whiting, Indiana:

The Office of Typika for Home Use

Typika is a Byzantine monastic service which includes the readings of the day; it was originally a service for communion when monks could not attend church services. Anyone can pray this version of the service, individually or in a small group. For the appointed Scriptural readings, on Saturday and Sunday use the ones on the church calendar. On Lenten weekdays, use the readings on the church calendar for the day from Genesis and Proverbs, or read a portion of the Gospel of Saint Mark.

The regular version can be viewed online or printed on ordinary letter-size paper; the booklet version is set up for printing on legal size (8.5 by 14 inch) paper.

The Moleben for the Sick

This service, from our Slavonic Trebnyk or "Book of Needs", is a prayer service for one or more people who are sick. It is from the Liturgical Commission's work on the service for the anointing of the sick, which has been submitted to the Council of Hierarchs for approval. Unlike the sacramental anointing of the sick, however, this service can be prayed by individuals and families on their own.

Both the regular version and booklet version are set up for printing on letter size (8.5 by 11 inch) paper.

Reading Scripture

You can find the Scripture readings (chapter and verses) for each of these services on your church calendar, or in the Lectionary.

Live-streamed Liturgical Services

The following is the best collection I have found of live-streamed Eastern Catholic liturgical services, so that you can participate in worship from home:

http://liveliturgy.com/

You can use the following books to take part in the Divine Liturgy:

People's book for the Divine Liturgy

Read about the recent Church Music Day in Pittsburgh

Preliminary MCI schedule for 2020

In addition to the MCI Online program, a number of in-person classes and other events are planned for later this year:

For more information about any of these, contact Deacon Jeff Mierzejewski at mci@archpitt.org or (412) 735-1676.

From Bishop Milan of the Eparchy of Parma, Ohio:

"Cherish the beauty of our prostopinije, our liturgical chant. We constantly need to work on it. " - pastoral letter for the new Church year

Seminary library seeks cantor papers

The library of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary is assembling a collection of music and papers from our cantors and choir directors since the founding of our church in the United States. These collections are being indexed and preserved so that that they can be used for research by scholars, and also for fostering our church singing in the future.

If your parish or a retired cantor you know has music, memorabilia, or recordings which might have a place in this collection, please contact Deacon Jeffrey Mierzejewski (412 735-1676, mci@archpitt.org) or library director Sandra Collins (412 32-8383). We also invite donations of materials from family and friends of our cantors who have reposed; this collection will serve as a permanent memorial to their labors.

What are "samohlasen" and "podoben" melodies?

See this blog post.

Typikon for 2020 is available

The Typikon for 2020 (which shows how to set up the services for each day of the year) can be ordered from the Byzantine Seminary Press:

http://www.byzantineseminarypress.com/2020-typicon/

The MCI Online program also has a free course on how to use the annual typikon to set up music and Sunday and weekday Divine Liturgies.

Mailing List for Cantors

We have migrated the old MCI mailing lists to single list, cantors@groups.io. This new list should be more reliable than the one we have been using, and does NOT require the creation of a Yahoo ID. It also has more options for collaboration, including a wiki and post tagging.

This list will be used for both announcements, and general (moderated) discussion. If you wish to receive email ONLY for announcements, you can set your subscription options to "Special Notices Only."

To subscribe to the list, just go to https://groups.io/g/cantors

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 2018, we will also be distributing images of particular pieces of music or other memorabilia we would like to find or identify.

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.