On Sunday, November 13th, a combined choir — led by Benedict Sheehan of St. Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary — including St. Tikhon’s Seminary Mission Choir and members of the St. Tikhon Monastery Choir, offered a concert of Russian Orthodox sacred music exploring the biblical foundations of Orthodox Christian Liturgy. The concert was co-hosted by St. Tikhon’s Seminary and the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture at Eastern University Christian College.
The choir made a dramatic entrance into the McInnis Auditorium by singing the Opening Psalm (103/104) of Vespers from memory as they took the stage. The program included a variety of settings of the Psalms and hymns from Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy.
The program of Psalms and Hymns was augmented by a brief series of comments by both Archpriest Steven Voytovich, Seminary Dean, and Seraphim Danckaert, Director of Mission Advancement. Fr. Steven quoted from the journal of the 4th century pilgrim, Egeria, as she witnessed liturgical services at the Holy Resurrection Church in Jerusalem: “What I found most impressive about all this was that the psalms and antiphons they used are always appropriate, whether at night or in the early morning, at the day prayers at the sixth and ninth hours, or at vespers. Everything is suitable, appropriate, and relevant to what is being done.”
Seraphim Danckaert, Director of Mission Advancement, reflected that the Psalms are shared both in the church and at home as part of the earliest texts that form one’s spiritual life in the Orthodox Faith.
Dr. Cyril Gary Jenkins, a member of St. Paul Antiochian Church in Emmaus, PA who has taught history at Eastern University for 20 years, was instrumental in developing and launching the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture at the Univesity. He oversees a minor, by the same name, offered at the school. Dr. Jenkins was present for the concert and shared in the fellowship and conversation after the concert, as was Dr. Timothy Becker, also from Eastern University, who offered one of the evening lecture series presentations at St. Tikhon’s in October.
The concert benefitted St. Tikhon’s Seminary. The seminary in turn is grateful for the many sponsors who made this performance possible, including The Philadelphia Trust Company, and Renovation Angel as presenting sponsors!
Photos by Seminarian Moses Cabe