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 They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.

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Upcoming Events

February 22 - Lenten Sunday afternoon Vespers, 4 PM, Ss. Peter and Paul, Tarentum, PA.

March 14 - MCI class: Feasts of the Mother of God / Akathist and Paraklis, Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA.

complete upcoming events

Liturgical Calendar

February 15 is Cheesefare Sunday, the Sunday of Forgiveness.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday afternoon Vespers (saints only)

February 16 is Pure Monday, the first dat of the Great Fast which lasts until March 27.

February 21 is the commemoration of the miracle of Saint Theodore.
Divine Liturgy

February 22 is the first Sunday of the Great Fast.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday afternoon Vespers (saints only)

February 28 is the second All Souls Saturday.
Divine Liturgy

March 1 is the second Sunday of the Great Fast.
Vespers - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday afternoon Vespers (saints only)

March 7 is the third All Souls Saturday.
Divine Liturgy

March 8 is the third Sunday of the Great Fast.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday afternoon Vespers

March 9 is the feast of the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste.
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

March 14 is the fourth All Souls Saturday.
Divine Liturgy

March 15 is the fourth Sunday of the Great Fast.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday afternoon Vespers (saints only)

March 19 is the Thursday of the Great Canon.
Matins of the Great Canon of Repentence of Saint Andrew of Crete

March 21 is Akathistos Saturday.
Divine Liturgy - Akathist Hymn

March 22 is the fifth Sunday of the Great Fast.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy - Sunday afternoon Vespers (saints only)

March 25 is the feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Matins - Vespers with Divine Liturgy (short)

March 27 is the final day of the Great Fast.

complete liturgical calendar

Vigil Divine Liturgy propers

January 30 - Three Holy Hierarchs

February 2 - Meeting of our Lord

Join the forum!

Ask questions, make comments and suggestions; discuss our chant and liturgy. Just click on Forum at the top of this page, then click on Register (authorization code is 1906). Once you are registered, just use the Forum link at the top of any page to join the ongoing conversation.

Tutorials for Lenten Services

A reminder: we have tutorials for the following services during the Great Fast:

The Recordings page includes a complete set of recordings for the music in the 2010 service book for the Liturgy of the Presancified Gifts.

This is also a good time to review the music for the Liturgy of Saint Basil, sung on Sundays in the Great Fast, which set of music your parish uses. Here are some guides to those melodies:

Presanctified Propers for Monday

A number of parishes have requested propers for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts for the Mondays of the Great Fast; the official Presanctified books only have propers for Clean Monday. Here are unofficial propers for the remaining Mondays with texts from the Uniontown Lenten Triodion, following the format used in the official Presanctified test.

Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5 - Week 6

February MCI class covered reader services, Typika

The February MCI class at the Seminary in Pittsburgh this coming Saturday covered the celebration of services (Vespers, Matins, Hours, Compline, and Typika) in the absence of a priest. Click on the Cantor Institute link to the left for the handouts and materials from the class. Several website articles on the subject are being rewritten, based on feedback from the class, and I hope to present specific music recommendations for Typika here in the near future.

Pittsburgh Area Cantors!

There is a particular need for a dedicated group of cantors in the Pittsburgh area who are willing to help lead the singing at special occasions, such as priests' funerals and the like.  And it would be good in any case for the cantors of the region to get to know each other.

This year, like last year, the Lenten Sunday afternoon Vespers services being held in the Pittsburgh deanery:

    February 22 - SS. Peter and Paul, Tarentum
    March 1 - St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Munhall
    March 8 - Holy Spirit, Oakland
    March 15 - Holy Ghost, McKees Rocks
    March 22 - St. Gregory Nazianzus, Upper St. Clair

will have singing led by area cantors (either the parish cantors, or other cantors from the deanery).  Each service starts at 4 PM.

I would strongly encourage all Pittsburgh area cantors to attend as many of these services as possible;  come early, and stay afterwards for the meal.  I will have a sign-up sheet, and we can talk about how to build up a group of cantors who are can sing together expertly, to the glory of God.

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.

Cantor conference calls (using Skype) will continue in February

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute hosts a weekly conference call over the Internet, using Skype.  This will give cantors an opportunity to ask questions about upcoming services or our plain chant, discuss chant issues in our church, and provide suggestions and ideas for upcoming Cantor Institute classes.

The calls takes place each Thursday evening from 9:00  to 9:30 PM, Eastern time.  If you will be taking part, please sent your Skype ID to mci@archpitt.org on the day of the call, and I will add you once the call begins.  If we reach the limit of 25 participants for a call, any additional participants will be set up for a second call beginning at 9:30.

Podcasts

Two radio programs from 2006 by former MCI director J. Michael Thompson are now available for download and listening:

We would like to start a regular Cantor Institute podcast - what would you like to hear about? Write to mci@archpitt.org.

Table of Contents for the Divine Liturgies book

The Metropolitan Cantor Institute is happy to provide a complete table of contents for the The Divine Liturgies of our holy fathers John Chrysostom and Basil the Great. It can be printed on a single sheet of legal size paper. Cantor Robert Pipta of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church, Anaheim, CA (whose work it is) suggests: "Fold in half, trim the edges and it fits into the pewbook. I carefully used a small drop of super glue to hold the TOC in place in the pew book between pages 2 and 3."

Table of contents - Table of contents for printing on legal size paper

Divine Liturgy book in Church Slavonic - with music

Also from Anaheim is a 40-page service book for the Divine Liturgy in Church Slavonic, with music throughout, following the pattern of the English-language Divine Liturgies book, and including rubrics for the people in English. This book is ideal for cantors who celebrate some or all of the Divine Liturgy in Slavonic.

Like most service books from the MCI, this booklet is set up to print 2-up (that is, two pages per sheet, side by side) on legal size paper. If you want a version of the file that is already set up for printing on legal paper, open the file you want in a web browser, and add "_booklet" immediately before ".pdf" in the URL. This will take you to a "camera-ready" version.

Be sure to visit the Official Publications page to see all our contributed materials for use with the official Divine Liturgies book.

Vespers - with Sister Vassa

Cantors might be interested in several recent 10-minute videocasts by Sister Vassa Larin, a Russian Orthodox nun and liturgical scholar. (There are from the series Coffee with Sister Vassa, which usual begins with some chattiness before getting down to business. But the content is quite worthwhile for anyone interested in Vespers.)

Identifying and Honoring our Cantors

In 1974, for its fiftieth anniversary, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh honored all its cantors, current and retired, in the context of the St. Nicholas Dinner, at which the program booklet included photos and brief biographies of each cantor.

In 2015, we would like to honor the cantors of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh in a similar fashion, and encourage the other eparchies to do likewise. This has the potential to bear fruit for years to come in increased awareness of and respect for our church singing and its practitioners.  

The chancery will be contacting each parish in the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh in order to compile a current list of our cantors.

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. Earlier this year, Metropolitan William put out a request to clergy to help in this effort.

Later this year, we will be posting a list of particular items we are looking for, as well as some scanned images that we could use help identifying.

We are also interested in recordings. Here is our working list current list of Greek Catholic plain chant and choral recordings done in the United States:

If you have additional information about any of the recordings in this list (or if you have access to copies of recordings that the seminary does not yet have), please contact us!

Mailing lists

A number of electronic mailing lists are available for Byzantine Catholic cantors and those interested in church music. Click on the name of the group to sign up.

mcinews Announcements of cantor education opportunities in the Byzantine Catholic Church
mcimusicfiles Monthly distribution of sheet music from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute

Please sign up for the lists of interest to you!