The Hymnal Project

In 2016, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute was asked by our Music Commission to begin work on a collection of spiritual songs (sometimes called paraliturgical hymns). What are spiritual songs?

Why we need a hymnal

Our church has a rich singing tradition, both for the liturgy itself, and for hymns that are sung before and after liturgical services, and on special occasions such as pilgrimages. Our prayer books and service books have often contained the texts for these hymns in an appendix; the music was well known, and many members of the church had learned and memorized additional verses. Of course, as with any oral tradition, variants abounded, and choir directors sometimes developed their own versions of the same basic hymns.

In 2006, with the publication of a new Divine Liturgy book, our Music Commission began work on a hymnal to accompany it. Unfortunately, this work was never completed, and instead the Metropolitan Cantor Institute published a small hymnal with just text and music for the hymns contained in our previous Divine Liturgy book (1978). No critical work was done at that time; problems with the existing text and music, well-known to cantors, were never resolved, and a wide variety of other music was bot included since the goal was simply to reproduce "what we had in the old book."

Today, much of this music is in danger of being lost, either though lack of availability, or because the problems with some of the music prevent us from recognizing its value to our community. By creating a single good hymnal, we may be able to retivalize our singing of these hymns, to the glory of God, and the engagement of our people, especially our children.

Guidelines for a new hymnal

In addition:

Discuss and improve these guidelines.

Choosing which hymns to include

The first real hymnal in our church is the Pisennik ("song-book") of Father Uriel Silvay, published in Uzhorod. Here is a PDF of the 1913 edition (large download!). It does not contain music, since the melodies were assumed to be well-known. It could really use an index and commentary, if anyone would like to work on one! Many of these same hymn texts were also included in the backs of prayer books and liturgical anthologies (sborniki). I will attempt to provide a finder's guide to hymns in the more commonly known prayer books. We also have a variety of choir recordings of these hymns in their original languages.

English translations appeared over time. In 1970, a small collection of hymns with music was included in the music notebook, Byzantline Liturgical Chant; these hymns can be viewed here. A basic "core" repertoire in English and Slavonic was published in the 1978 service book, The Divine Liturgy: A Book of Prayer, prepared by Father William Levkulic and published by the Byzantine Seminary Press. This book contained no music, only texts, and omittted a number of well-known hymns. In 2007, the Metropolitan Cantor Institute published the repertoire from the back of Father Levkulic's 1978 book, with music from Byzantine Liturgical Chant and other source. This is the Byzantine Catholic Hymnal.

The 1984 Divine Liturgy book of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese provided twelve pages with many of the same hymns, with music but different translations.

And of course, there have also been particular collections of hymns for specific seasons and purposes (which we will describe in the appropriate place), as we well as anthologies put together by individual cantors and choir directors. ALL of these hould be considered for possible inclusion, if they meet a new in our Church.

Creating such comprehensive hymnal will be a LARGE project, and it would be most practical to address them by liturgical season or subject. In each category, we will look at the available hymns, pick the ones we would like to include, and work on the texts and music until we have something serviceable. Your input is welcome; see the links to comment below!

How to contribute

The tables below have four columns for each hymn.

Songs with a Discuss link in bold face are actively being worked on, or have unresolved issues.

To help with the review of a hymn, follow the Discuss link, and leave any questions or comments in the associated blog entry. You can also send email to mci@archpitt.org.

Hymns for Nativity and Theophany

This is the first group we will tackle. I would like to compete work on these by the end of December 2018.

  English title Slavonic or Hungarian title Discuss Status
For the Nativity Fast Come, O Jesus   discuss
Done
  The ancient prophecies foretold   discuss
Done
  Truly, Zion's People  

discuss

Separate book for these?
         
Saint Nicholas (December 6) O Father Nicholas Otče Nikolaje discuss Done
  O who loves Nicholas the saintly O kto kto discuss Done
         
Nativity of the Lord (December 25) Angels from heaven

So nebes anhel / Mennyböl az angyal

discuss Done
  Come, shepherds, joyfully Pasztorok, Pasztorok örvendeznek discuss Done
  Eternal God, through gates of birth Boh predvičnyj discuss Done
  God the Lord eternal shows himself to us Hospod, Boh predvičnyj discuss Done
  God’s Son is born Boh sja raždajet discuss Done
  Heaven and earth now welcome their Redeemer Nebo i zeml’a discuss Done
  In the town of Bethlehem V Viflejemi novina discuss Deserves new translation
  Jesus came from heaven Spas naš narodilsja discuss Needs new translation
  Joyful news to the whole world Nova radost’ stala discuss Done
  Joyful tidings come our way Radost nam sja javl’ajet discuss Done
  Let creation shout with gladness Vselennaja veselisja discuss Done
  Now, Father Adam, lead our rejoicing Nyni Adame vozveselisja discuss Done
  Praise the Lord Dicsöség mennyben az Istennek discuss Done
  Rejoice, all nations, God has become man Christos rodilsja discuss Done
  Today in the cave of Bethlehem V Viflejemi dnes’ Marija Prečista discuss Done
  Wondrous news to all the earth Divnaja novina discuss Done
         
Traditional "English" Christmas hymns Angels we have heard on high   discuss Done
  Hark! the herald angels sing   discuss Done
  It came upon the midnight clear   discuss Done
  Joy to the world   discuss Done
  O come, all ye faithful   discuss Done
  O little town of Bethlehem   discuss Done
  Silent night Jasna zorja discuss Slavonic version, Ticha noc?
         
Theophany (January 6) The choirs of angels sing Anhely sohlasno discuss Done
  To Jordan’s water   discuss Done
         

Hymns for the Great Fast and Holy Week

We will work on these in January and February.

  English title Slavonic title Discuss Status
Hymns of the Great Fast Beneath your compassion Pod tvoju milost'    
  Have mercy on me, O my God      
  Having suffered Preterp'ivyj    
         
Palm (or Flowery) Sunday O Son of David      
  Rejoice today Radujsa zilo    
         
Hymns of Great and Holy Week At the most holy Cross Krestu Tvojemu    
  Beneath your Cross I stand Pod krest Tvoj staju    
  Christ our King who reigns with justice Christe Carju spravedlivyj    
  Come now, all you faithful Prijd’ite, voschvalim    
  Do not forsake us Ne opuskaj nas    
  Earth and heaven mourn Nebo, zeml'a, sotvoriňňa    
  I see your bridal chamber Čertoh Tvoj    
  In Gethsemene's darkness Jehda na smert' hotovilsja    
  Now do I go to the cross Idu nyňi ko krestu    
  O my God, you are so merciful O Bože moj milostivyj    
  O my Jesus, suffering O Isuse poranenyj    
  O my people, my people L'udi moji, l'udi    
  O soul so sinful Hl'an duše hrišna    
  So boundless is her sorrow Stala Mati zarmuščenna    
  The grieving Mother Stradal'na Mati    
  The sentence is passed Uže dekret podpisujet    
  We venerate, O Christ Poklaňajusja, moj Christe    
         

 

Hymns for the Paschal Season

We will work on these in March and April. This group will also include hymns directed to the Persons of the Holy Trinity, as well as hymns for Holy Communion.

  English title Slavonic title Discuss Status
     
     
     


 
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

 

Hymns for the Mother of God

We will work on this in May and June.

  English title Slavonic title Discuss Status
     
     
     


 
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

 

Hymns for the Liturgical Year

We will work on these in July and August.

Occasion English title Slavonic title Discuss Status
     
     
     


 
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

 

The goal is to have a draft hymnal completed by September 1, 2019.