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 They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.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

January 7, 2019 - Next MCI Online classes begin: Reading in Church; The Liturgical Year; The Great Fast and Holy Week (more info)

Liturgical Calendar

November 15 is the beginning of St. Philip's Fast, which continues through December 24.
Emmanuel Moleben (supplement)

December 16 is the second Sunday before the Nativity, the Sunday of the Forefathers.
Vespers - Divine Liturgy

December 23 is the Sunday before the Nativity, the Sunday of the Ancestors. Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 24 is Vigil of Christmas, a day of strict fast.
Royal Hours (adapted)

December 25 is the feast of the NATIVITY (birth) of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Vespers with Divine Liturgy - Great Compline (short) - Matins - Divine Liturgy

December 26 is Synaxis of the Theotokos.
Divine Liturgy

December 27 is feast of the holy apostle and first martyr Stephen.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy - Moleben

December 30 is the Sunday before the Nativity, and the commemoration of the Relatives of the Lord: Joseph, James, and David. Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 31 is the leave-taking of the Nativity, and the final day of the civil year. Moleben of Thanksgiving

complete liturgical calendar

Vigil Divine Liturgy propers

December 6 - Saint Nicholas

December 8 - Maternity of Anna

Spiritual Songs for Christmas

Now that we've completed work on the Nativity Fast and Saint Nicholas hymns for the Hymnal Project, we're turning to hymns for the Nativity. Work on the following is complete:

Hee is the final batch of songs for Christmas that we are working on. We could use your help with a few of them!

For easy access, you can now find the Hymnal Project from any article on the MCI website; just look under Spiritual Songs in the left-hand navigation.

Royal Hours for Christmas

Some years ago, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute published books for the vigils of Christmas and Theophany labelled Office of Readings, consisting of selected psalms from the Royal Hours for these feasts, along with the readings, tropria, and stichera.

I am pleased to announce that, based on the work of the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission on the Royal Hours for Holy Week, I was finally able to prepare a complete book of the Royal Hours for the vigil of Christmas (December 24, or the preceding Friday if December 24 falls on a Saturday or Sunday).

The new Royal Hours book contains complete instructions for celebration when no priest is available to lead the service. For more about the celebration of this service, see: Singing the Royal Hours of Christmas and Theophany. This work was done for the MCI Online class, Services for Christmas and Theophany.

Because it is a book without music (which can be found in the Office of Readings book), the Royal Hours book is set up for printing in booklet form on letter size (8.5 by 11 inch) paper.

As always, add "_booklet" just before ".pdf" in your browser window to download a copy of the service already settng up for printing as a booklet.

Vespers with Divine Liturgy for Christmas Eve

Back in 2007, the MCI published books for the service of Vespers with Divine Liturgy for the eves of Christmas and Theophany. This was not the first time such books had been created (Monsignor William Levkulic has published his own many years ago), but they were the first with complete music. Furthermore, they included the ENTIRE text of the Liturgy of Saint Basil, meaning that a newcome to one of our parishes could follow the entire Christmas service from such a book. Especially when parishes were still getting use to the new Divine Liturgies books, this Christmas booklet filled a vital need.

Now, more then ten years later, these four LARGE books are nearing the end of their useful life. This year, we are publishing much shorter books that:

Here is the new book for Christmas: Vespers with Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of the Lord

Please let me know what you think!

First MCI Singing Course is now free

As of November 4, the MCI Online class Introduction to Church Singing can be taken for free by cantors, clergy, and parishioners of Byzantine Catholic parishes in the United States. (Non-members can take the class for $75.) This class teaches the basics for singing in church - musical sound, fundamentals of singing and reading music, and how to lead basic responses used in all services. Recommended for anyone who wants to learn our plain chant!

For more information, click on Classes at the top of any page of this website.

Registration forms for 2019 MCI Online classes

New on the MCI Blog!

Emmanuel Moleben Updated

The MCI edition of the Emmanuel Moleben (a service of preparation for the Nativity of the Lord) has just been updated. The changes are fairly minor:

The article on Singing a Moleben now includes additional material on singing the Emmanuel Moleben.

The Months of October and November

As part of the MCI Online class, The Liturgical Year, we prepared a series of articles on the feasts of the year, month by month.

Divine Liturgy Propers for the Days of the Week

We have had a long-standing request for leaflet versions of the Divine Liturgy hymns for each day of the week (Monday through Saturday), as found on pages 406-413 of our Divine Liturgies book. Here they are!


As always, add _booklet before .pdf in your browser URL window to download a "camera ready" version for printing on legal-size paper.

Book of the Daytime Hours

Last year, the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission prepared a text and rubrics for the Small Hours (First through Ninth Hours) and Typika.    This text is now available as a new booklet from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute (camera ready version here).

 The booklet is intended  for printing "two-up" on LETTER size (8.5 by 11 inch) paper, rather than the usual legal size paper for MCI books with music.  This booklet for the Hours does NOT have musical notation, since:

If you look at the book, you will notice that the "usual beginning" prayers are given ONCE, followed by the text of each Hour, which starts on its own page.  Parishes that want to print only one or two Hours are welcome to do so.

The booklet also incorporates the rules for reader services (i.e. services celebrated in the absence of a priest) which were prepared by the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical Commission and submitted to the Council of Hierarchs.

Updated Akathist Booklet

As part of the MCI Online course Services for the Living, which finished its first run at the end of June, I did a fairly extensive review of our texts and music for molebens and Akathists.  In order to bring the MCI Akathist to the Theotokos booklet in line with the official edition in the Ruthenian Chasoslov, I did the following:

I also added a 2-page appendix with four-part SATB harmonizations of the Pochaiv akathist melody, and the refrains, and sent it round to this list for reviews. Thank you to those who reported typos and submitted suggestions!

The new booklet has now replaced the previous MCI Akathist booklet, and is available at: (camera ready version here)

Because the Pochaiv melody is so straightforward, I am no longing including a full SATB harmonization on the website, but for purposes of practice, the FIRST ikos (harmonized) is here.

Updated Moleben: Jesus, Lover of Mankind

One of the most important of the modern molebens is the Moleben to Jesus, the Lover of Mankind. This service, accompanied by a procession, is a staple at the annual Uniontown Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  Recently, the book for this service was revised, and also incorporated additional work from the Inter-Eparchial Liturgical and Music Commissions.  The resulting booklet was made available to me this week, and I am using it to replace the "old" MCI version of this moleben.

The new version can be found here: (camera-ready version here)

New Mailing List for Cantors

We are migrating the old MCI mailing lists to single list, 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

New smartphone apps have daily readings, resources, and texts for Vespers and Hours

The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma (Ohio) recently released a smartphone app for Apple iOS and Android that includes:

Eastern Christian Publications also has a free Byzantine prayer app for Apple and Android devices, with:

Search for "Eparchy of Parma" and "ECPubs" in the Apple Store or on Google Play. Both are highly recommended.

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.

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.