"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Saturday 11 December 2010

Third Sunday of Advent: GAUDATE SUNDAY

The Introit for "Gaudete Sunday" sung by the monks of Beuron Abbey in Germany.  What follows is what is probably a more technically correct version of the same Introit, but I cannot imagine a choir singing it.
And here is a more Christmas -like "Gaudete" sung by the "Mediaeval Baebes".   The first word "Gaudete" remains the same!!  I think it is rather special.

And here is "Gaudete" sung by Libera:

Now for something completely different, though still on the subject of music.  Beuron is a great abbey with a distinguished history.  The Mediaeval Babes and Libera are excellent choirs.  Here is what Metropolitan Hilarion, Director of the Moscow Patriarchate's Office for External Affairs has to say about Bach.   An Orthodox theologian, perhaps S. Bulgakov, said that beauty is the manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit in nature.  This is the old classical Christian view of beauty and the idea upon which was built the theology of the icon, the idea that an image, when blessed by the Church, manifests the Christian Mystery.  Implicit in what he says is the idea that people can be raised above the limitations of the sect to which they belong by the Holy Spirit and can become Catholic (or Orthodox) in spirit, even while remaining members of their sect.   John Henry Newman did so while still an Anglican.  I believe John Wesley did so.  Taize certainly did so.  Most wonderful of all, Bach and Handel did so in their music.  This is what Metropolitan Hilarion has said:

10 December 2010, 16:13

Metropolitan Hilarion believes Bach is one of the most Orthodox composers

Moscow, December 10, Interfax - Head of the synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk believes Johann Sebastian Bach is an Orthodox composer.

"I think that Bach was more Orthodox composer than many Orthodox composers, but it's my private opinion," he said at a press conference on the Christmas Spiritual Music Festival that will take place in the Moscow International House of Music in January.

Metropolitan Hilarion said that composed by him Cherubim Song is transcribed Bach's first counterpoint from The Art of Fugue. Now this composition is chanted in some churches and, according to the Metropolitan, "corresponds to prayerful spirit of Orthodox Divine service."

According to President of the House of Music and the festival artistic director Vladimir Spivakov, Bach himself believed that he had nothing to do with composing as "everything was dictated to him from above."

The maestro said that he played every concert to bring comfort to people "so that people took something special from the concert," "to take them out of this every day, difficult, sometimes very tragic life, out of this oppression."

"I feel my every concert is a mission (it is too big, pathetic word)...Certainly, it's not a mission, but for me it is an instruction," Spivakov confessed to journalists.

The world known conductor says he loves silence as "we know that the Lord often says His words in silence."

The Christmas Spiritual Music Festival will take place from January 9 to January 23. First time in Russia choirs from Serbia and Armenia will perform during the festival and audience will have a chance to listen to compositions by almost forgotten in Russia composer Nikolay Golovanov - conductor of the Soviet Union radio and laureate of three Stalin prizes, who composed spiritual music for thirty years after revolution though he understood he could never hear it played publicly.

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