Devotions for New Year’s Eve

In 1947, Father Julius Grigassy of the Byzantine (Ruthenian) Exarchate of Pittsburgh – the predecessor to the current Archeparchy – published a little booklet of “devotions” for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  This booklet was republished by the Archeparchy in 1968.

For Christmas Eve, it gives the liturgical services (not private devotions, in spite of the title) of Great Compline, Litija,  and Matins.  The Great Compline portion of the booklet is highly abbreviated, and in fact is almost exactly what was published in English by Father William Levkulic as the Christ is Born! booklet in 1969.  (The Grigassy booklet is in Slavonic, with a parallel English translation; at its original publication in 1947, the English would not have been used in church.)

But today the second part of the booklet is of particular interest: the “devotions for New Year” consist of a Moleben of Thanksgiving, returning thanks to God for all that has taken place in the year just ending, and a Panachida, praying for all those who have died. You can find the Moleben of Thanksviging here on the MCI website.

It seems to me that we would all benefit from such a service as the year ends, and I hope to promote its celebration next December.

At the back of the booklet is a short collection of spiritual songs for Christmas:

  • Silent Night / Jasna Zorja
  • Nebo i Zem’la
  • Božij Syn Dnes’
  • Divnaja Novina
  • Nova Radost’ Stala
  • Vselennaja Veselisja
  • Radost Sja Nam Javl’ajet
  • Nyňi Adam Vozveselisja
  • Anhel Pastyrjam ‘Zv’istil
  • Čas Radosti, Veselosti
  • Dar Ňyňi Prebohatyj

The songs in bold face were included in Christ is Born! and the 1978 Divine Liturgies book and have remained parish favorites, while the others have largely fallen out of use.  (You can find Nyňi Adam Vozveselisja and Vselennaja Veselisja, along with new, singable English translations, in the proposed hymnal.)

And for New Years:

Both of these are still sung in our parishes – and both have additional verses here which will be included in the proposed hymnal.  (We have English translations of the new verses for Vs’i T’a chory, and are working on them for Blahodarim Boha particularly worthwhile because this is one of our only hymns to God the Father.)

May God bless your New Year!



A Christmas present: Three new Cherubic Hymn settings in English

It has been more than 12 years since the promulgation of our present Divine Liturgies book, and what looked like an enormous number of musical settings of the Cherubic Hymn (ten of them!) now make up the basic repertoire in many parishes.

With than in mind – and considering the enormous number of such settings in Slavonic – I would like to offer the three possibilities for new settings in English, to give us greater opportunities to expand our plain chant in English, making use of Slavonic melodies which are already well know.   I hope to teach these at the eparchial workshops planned for next year, and they are also keyed to the versions of the base hymns in the Hymnal Project (which will also be covered at next year’s workshops).

Continue reading “A Christmas present: Three new Cherubic Hymn settings in English”

Draft hymnal is done!

The draft version of the new hymnal is complete (for now) and has been sent to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission for their review and improvement.

Here is the version that was submitted: Hymnal – draft – 2019-11

Formatting will be cleaned up a bit more before publication. In the meantime, if you find any errors or infelicities, please let me know and I will make sure they are fixed in the final version.

First draft of hymnal is available!

After a year of work on the Hymnal Project, and a great deal of input from cantors (thank you all!), the first formatted draft of the new hymnal is available:

Hymnal – draft – 2019-09

I think you will be happy with the results;  there  are some new additions, many old favorites, and I THINK we have corrected most most of the places where the music seemed a bit off. I have incorporated all comments i have  received to date, including some very valuable feedback from the annual Labor Day pilgrimage to Mount Saint Macrina.

If you are interested in our paraliturgical hymns and spiritual songs, I would greatly appreciate it if you could:

  • Download the draft hymnal
  • Look it over and see if:
    • anything is missing that should be there
    • you find any typos or obvious mistakes.

Initial versions of all entries are pretty much settled EXCEPT for an alternate, somewhat more complicated version of Rejoice,  O purest Queen (Radujsja Carice), which was requested by cantor Joseph Ferenchick, it can be found in English and Slavonic after page 59 (and if we use it, several other hymns like O Father Nicholas would likely change to the more intricate version).

In three weeks, I plan to send the hymnal to the Inter-Eparchial Music Commission for their review and any changes, so please let me know what you find before then!  Also, if you have questions about anything in the draft hymnal, please leave them in a comment below.

New Marian Hymnal UPDATED!

Several cantors have reported single-note errors in the following hymns

All the faithful come before you
Christijane, proslavl’ajme

Sing with joy and pray together
Palomniki Uniontowns’ki

Virgin Mother, Intercessor
D’ivo Mati zastupaj nas

which have been corrected in an updated version of the “New Marian Hymnal” on the MCI website:

The corrected version has a date on the title page of August 31, 2019;  if you find errors in your copy, please check the updated version to see if they are already fixed!

Where our Mother reigns in heaven

The text for Tam hde v nebi,  the Slavonic original of this hymn, was printed in 1974 in a small booklet from the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Uniontown, PA, titled Pisňi vo čest’ Materi Božoj Neustajuščoj Pomošči – in other words, hymns for services to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

One verse was printed (with an English translation) by Fr. William Levkulic in 1978. This hymn was NOT included in the 1985 Marian Hymnal, so I have had to rely on an unattributed manuscript for music.

Continue reading “Where our Mother reigns in heaven”