Featured Video

WE who stand as mystical images of the Cherubim,
and sing unto the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly cares;

That we may receive the King of all,
attended beyond our sight by angel hosts.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Sung by the ‘Optina Pustyn’ male choir (website).


2 thoughts on “Featured Video

  1. What a fantastic recording. Their oktavist bass is tremendous! And all the more so for just “shimmering” in the accompaniment rather than blasting. The great Russian choral director Pavel Chesnokov wrote a little treatise on how to deploy these rare, precious voices, and this choir would seem to be within that tradition.

    I’ve been looking around for a (Western) plainsong melody that would serve for chanting the Cheroubikon (or the equivalent “Let all mortal flesh” from the Liturgy of St. James) in English. It seems that it was chanted in Greek at Saint-Denis into the 13th century! But in the West the melody only survives in manuscripts with staffless neumes, so it can’t be recovered. (I’m also wondering if I can dig up a Western melody for Phos hilaron.)

    I like your translation of the text. I saw some videos recently of Metropolitan Kallistos giving a lecture on the Liturgy, and he urged that the usual translation “represent the cherubim” was too weak. Rather, we human worshippers are “icons” of the cherubim, so “mystical images” is just right.

  2. Isn’t it beautiful? I agree about the bass. He makes his presence felt but isn’t intrusive.

    I had no idea that chanting the Cherubikon persisted so long in the West. Mind you, Eastern influence on the West often proves to be greater than I imagined, and frequently lingered unexpectedly. I’m still delighted by Bede’s account of an iconostasis in his own monastery! I hope you do find some suitable authentic chants.

    Thanks for your comment about the translation. To me, “represent” implies an illustration aimed at the rational mind, whereas making the link to icons invites the nous, the ‘eye of the heart’, to grasp the truth, the presence, beyond the rational mind. Did you see the post of a passage by Elder Aimilianos a few days ago? That puts it into context for me.

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