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 They are approved for provisional use in the Archeparchy, but are otherwise unofficial and should be considered superseded by any materials promulgated by the Council of Hierarchs.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

December 6 - MCI class: The Feasts of Christmas and Theophany, Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA.

complete upcoming events

Liturgical Calendar

November 15 is the beginning of St. Philip's Fast, which ends on December 24.
Emmanuel Moleben (supplement)

November 16 is the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, and the feast of the holy apostle Matthew.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

November 21 is the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy

November 23 is the twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

November 27 is Thanksgiving Day (in he United States).
Divine Liturgy - Moleben

November 30 is the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, and the feast of the holy apostle Andrew.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 6 is the feast of our holy father Nicholas, archbishop of Myra.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Matins - Divine Liturgy

December 7 is the twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost, and a pre-festive day of the Maternity of Holy Anna.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 8 is the feast of the Maternity of Holy Anna.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 12 is the feast of the Theotokos of Guadalupe.
Divine Liturgy

December 14 is the second Sunday before the Nativity, the Sunday of the Forefathers.
Vespers - Divine Liturgy

December 21 is the Sunday before the Nativity, the Sunday of the Ancestors.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 24 is the Vigil of the Nativity.
Royal Hours (adapted)

December 25 is the feast of the NATIVITY of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Vespers with Divine Liturgy (A - B) - Great Compline - Matins - Divine Liturgy

December 26 is the Synaxis of the Mother of God.
Divine Liturgy

December 27 is feast of the holy apostle and first martyr Stephen.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 28 is Sunday after Nativity, on which we commemorate Saints Joseph, James and David.
Vespers (samohlasen) - Divine Liturgy

December 31 is the leave-taking of the Nativity.

complete liturgical calendar

upcoming music for review

Vigil Divine Liturgy propers

November 21 - Entrance of the Theotokos

December 6 - Saint Nicholas

December 8 - Maternity of Anna

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.

Planning for Next Year: What would you like to see?

Since the Metropolitan Cantor Institute now meets monthly, we would be interested in knowing what you would like to see taught. What do you want to learn next year? What could you use help with?

Please send your thoughts, comments, and suggestions to mci@archpitt.org.

The Christmas Fast

The Christmas Fast, in preparation for the feast of the Nativity on December 25, is one of the minor fasts of the Church. This fast of forty days was introduced in the 12th century. Counting back 40 days from the feast of the Nativity, the fast begins on the evening of November 14 - the feast of the holy apostle Phillip. As a result, it is traditionally called Phillip's Fast or the Phillipian Fast (in Slavonic, Filipovka). (more)

The Emmanuel Moleben

In many places, it has become traditional to celebrate a devotional service called a moleben during the pre-Christmas fast. This service is not one of the fixed daily offices, like Vespers or the Divine Liturgy, and so it can be celebrated at any time of the day, and on any day of the week. This particular moleben uses the pre-festal hymns of the Nativity, and readings like those of the Royal Hours. Several different versions of this service are presently in use in the Byzantine Catholic Church. All of them emphasize the message of preparation for the Nativity - "Come, Lord Jesus!" - and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.

This service can be used occasionally or weekly throughout the Christmas Fast, to help the faithful prepare for the coming feast. The version prepared by the Metropolitan Cantor Institute consists of a people's book, and a supplement containing the clergy's part of the service, and the readings.

To assist cantors and clergy in learning the service, here are recordings of the two unique parts of the service, the Exaltation and the Divine Praises, along with the responses at the Gospel.

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.

Classes for Fall 2014

Each month, the Cantor Institute holds a regular class in Pittsburgh on church singing and chant leadership.  The classes run from 9 AM to 3 PM and cover liturgy, use of the voice, leadership skills for cantors, and chant repertoire. Here are the classes scheduled for the remainder of 2014:

This fall, all classes will be held at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary, 3605 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214.

Tuition for the entire series of four classes is $40.00, which includes lunch and materials. To register, just fill out and return the registration form by September 1. If registering after September 1, please contact MCI director Jeffrey Mierzejewski at (412) 735-1676 or mci@archpitt.org. Cantor Institute tuition can be paid with your registration, or before the start of the first class. Make checks payable to Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.

Tentive topics for 2015:

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.

For the 90th anniversary, in 2014, 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!

Workshop recordings

Cantor's Retreat

Unfortunately, we were unable to hold a Cantors' Day of Recollection this year, and so we are providing here the talks from last year's retreat, which was given at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Munhall, PA.

Both talks about by Fr. David Mastroberte, a priest of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese.

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
mcicantors Open discussion list for cantors to discuss Byzantine liturgy, plain chant, and congregational leadership.
mcichoral Open discussion list for choir directors, choir members, and those interested in choral music
mcimusicfiles Monthly distribution of sheet music from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute

These lists will eventually replace the under-used Forum on this website. Each list is archived, so older posts can be viewed and searched. Please sign up for the lists of interest to you!