“Soma Christou”

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The Eastern Orthodox Churches have preserved the early Church’s practice of Infant Communion

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O Isaiah, Dance for Joy

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O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.
Composer: John Tavener

Meant to convey a series of verbal and musical impressions of a village wedding in Greece, Tavener’s music is set to a mix of texts from Angelos Sikelianos’ poem” Village Wedding” interspersed with many repetitions of the line “O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child” taken from the Orthodox wedding service.

Text, by Angelos Sikelianos, translated from Greek by Philip Sherrard and Edmund Keeley

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To my beloved, who breaks my heart.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Do you listen within your veil, silent, God-quickened heart?
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

O depth and stillness of virginity! Follow your man.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

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Let them throw white rice like a spring shower.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Like a spring cloud, let her now tenderly spread her bridal veil.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

O the peace of the bridal dawn.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

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And he listens, and he listens.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.And, as in front of a fount of crystal water,
Let the girls pass in front of the bride,
Observing her look from the corner of their eyes,
As though balancing pitchers on their heads.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.O, like Leto giving birth to Apollo,
Do you listen within your veil?
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

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When standing, her hands slight and pale,
(Let them throw white rice…)
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.She clasped the ethereal palm tree on Delos,
Like a spring cloud.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.May you her mystical image…
O the peace of the bridal dawn.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Held by your husband’s strong heart,
And he listens.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

Bring into the world with a single cry your child,
As the poet brings forth his creation.
O Isaiah, dance for joy, for the Virgin is with child.

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*The Dance of Isaiah is one of the integral parts of the Wedding/Crowning Service (Sacrament of Holy Matrimony) in the Orthodox Church (Byzantine Rite) and involves a the triple procession around a center table. The priest, holding the Gospel or Blessing Cross and the clasped hands of the groom and bride, and followed by the best man (or woman) who holds the newlyweds’ crowns above their heads, and the bridesmaids holding the lit white candles, walk three counterclockwise turns around the table in a celebratory “dance”. Each of the three turns is accompanied by each of the three hymns, which return once more to the theme of martyrdom and union with Christ. These are the hymns that, since ancient times, the Church has used to emphasize God’s blessings, and the same ones sung at ordinations to ecclesiastical orders. They signify that this couple has been set apart from the mundane world to live a life in Christ:

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Rejoice, O Isaiah! The Virgin is with child,

And shall bear a son Emmanuel,

Who is both God and Man,

And Orient is His Name,

Whom magnifying we call, the Virgin blessed.

O Holy Martyrs,

who fought the good fight and have received your crowns,

Entreat ye the Lord,

That He will have mercy on our souls.

Glory to Thee, O Christ God.

The Apostles boast,

The Martyrs Joy,

whose preaching was the Consubstantial Trinity.

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To watch how the celebrant actually leads the marriage couple and the witnesses around the wedding table three times at the Orthodox Wedding/Crowning Service (Byzantine Rite), while chanting this religious hymn,  go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyTQnV5W24A

Wedding Photographs: Wedding with Carved Crowns
Source: Orthodox Arts Journal

Ashes and Snow — Qadeeshat Lamayouta

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Qadeeshat Hyeltana

Qadeeshat Lamayouta

Itrahem Alain

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Holy God

Holy Mighty One

Holy Immortal One

Have Mercy on us

For the stunning, heavenly singing of the Aramaic hymn, listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6tV679wXIU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNkBaWxz_Y

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Worshipping God in Aramaic the language of Jesus the Semitic language of Israel, Levant, and Mesopotamia, by Father Seraphim and his choir from Georgia, brought me to mind Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow images, visceral yet dreamlike, returning us to a place we long for but cannot name, reawakening an ancient memory in us of a time when we lived in balance and harmony with Nature and God.

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Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow is an ongoing project comprised of photographic artworks, a one-hour film and two short film “haikus,” and a novel in letters all presented in a purpose-built temporary structure called the Nomadic Museum.

“Feather to Fire
Fire to Blood
Blood to Bone
Bone to Marrow
Marrow to Ashes
Ashes to Snow.”

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For the full text, go to: http://www.mycity.rs/Knjizevnost/Ashes-and-Snow-by-Gregory-Colbert.html

For the mesmerising videos watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSX444hQ5Vo&list=PLF8BA0D1D7E544A00&index=1

https://gregorycolbert.com

Numb, Joyless, Desolate

 

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Mother of God,

Here I stand now praying

Before this ikon of your radiant brightness,

Not praying to be saved from a battlefield;

Not giving thanks nor seeking forgiveness for the sins of my soul,

Nor for all the souls.

Numb, joyless and desolate on earth;

But for her alone, whom I wholly give you.

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Hymn on the morning of our Lady’s Nativity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqsMBX9Kxm4