A word from Metropolitan Philip:
“I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.” ( l Corinthians I4: I5-I 7).
Beloved In Christ,
As we gather together each day and each week to participate in the liturgical life of our Church, and celebrate the mysteries of our Faith, we realize that none of this would be possible if it were not for the presence of our faithful chanters, choir directors and choir members. They are there not simply to sing the hymns and responses for us, as if we were coming to listen to a concert of Orthodox music each week. Rather, they are there to help guide and lead us all in our worship of God, as we give thanks to Him who given us this life through our own perfect offering and sacrifice of praise.
Therefore, through music they sing and chant, the prayers and hymns of our church come alive for us and give meaning and understanding to our Faith, so that we all may be edified and spiritually uplifted, and our God may be praised, honored and glorified. Their role, then, is to help us not only "sing with the spirit" in a tongue, but more importantly to “sing with the understanding” of what we are praying. Through this, the Church of Christ continues to grow, as the joy of our salvation ls proclaimed to the whole universe.
On this Sunday, I ask you to remember the choir members In your prayers and join me in thanking them for their love and dedication each week throughout the year.
Your Father in Christ,
Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
A word from Christopher Holwey, Chairman, Department of Sacred Music:
This Sunday, December 12, we take a moment to honor and thank our choir directors, choir members, and chanters for their continued love and dedication to making the services of our Church as beautiful and moving as possible through their gift of singing and chanting. We realize that without them, much of what we do would not be possible, or at best, would be much more difficult and not as edifying to any of us. Each parish is free to do as they see fit, according to the desires of the pastor and the parish council, however they wish to honor and thank the choir and chanters in their parish. Some parishes have had one of the choir members or chanters give a homily on music or singing in the church, or using one's talents for the glory of God. Some have had a special coffee hour in their honor, or have done something unique to show their appreciation. May God continue to bless all of our choir directors, choir members and chanters as they beautify our services with their voices of praise, and grant them many years!