How Does Greek Orthodox Chant Differ From Western Christian Chant

Byzantine chant

Greek Orthodox liturgical music performed in unison during the Byzantine Empire (330–1453) and into the 16th century; the phrase is used in modern Greece to refer to ecclesiastical music performed at any time during any period. However, despite the fact that Byzantine music is associated with the introduction of Christianity in Greek-speaking portions of the Eastern Roman Empire, it is likely to have derived primarily from Hebrew and early Syrian Christian liturgy (seeSyrian chant). There were several other sorts of hymns that were popular, including those named troparion, kontakion, andkann (qq.v.).

Byzantine neumatic notation appears in only a few documents dating from the 10th century.

While Byzantine neumatic notation was more particular than ecphonetic signs in its initial stage (Paleo-Byzantine; 10th–12th centuries), it was less precise in notating rhythms and musical intervals than the ecphonetic signs.

It is made up of symbols known as neumes.

  • The pitch and length of the first tone were indicated by indications known as martyriai, which were abbreviations of well-known melodies that served as the basis for the initial intonation of the piece.
  • The old notation was deemed excessively complicated in the early nineteenth century, and ArchbishopChrysanthos of Madytos created a simpler form that spread via printing and is now included in all Greek Orthodox liturgical music books.
  • There were also transitional portions, some of which were conventional and others which appeared to have been created by particular composers.
  • Each of the choices had its own set of formulae, while several formulas appeared in more than one of the choices.
  • Akolouthiai, or Anthologion, contained the ordinary chants for Vespers, Matins, funerals, and the three liturgies (of St.
  • Basil, and the Preconsecrated Offerings), as well as optional chants, some of which could be used as bridges at any point in the liturgy and were usually sung to single syllables or nonsense syllables.
  • St.Romanos Melodos (fl.
  • John of Damascus (c.645–749) composedkann s, and tradition connects him with the invention of theoktchosclassification system, despite the fact that the system was established in Syria a century earlier.

It is thought that the nun Kasia (fl. 9th century) was the author of numerous hymns; other notable authors include John Koukouzeles, John Glydis, and Xenos Koronis (late 13th–mid-14th century).

Chant – Wikipedia

Achant (from the French chanter, which comes from the Latin cantare, “to sing”) is the repeated speaking or singing of words or sounds, usually based on one or two basic pitches known as recitation tones. For example, the Significant Responsories and OffertoriesofGregorian chant have a considerable degree of repetitionof musical subphrases, whereas a basic melody with a restricted set of notes contains a complicated musical structure that contains a great deal of repetition of musical subphrases.

Some liturgical chants were transformed into songs in the later Middle Ages (forming one of the roots of later Western music).

Chant as a spiritual practice

Chanting (e.g., the recitation of a mantra, a holy text, the name of God/Spirit, etc.) is a widely practiced spiritual activity. Chanting, like prayer, can be a part of one’s personal or collective practice, depending on the context. Chanting is considered a path to spiritual development by a wide range of spiritual traditions. In 2013, monks sang at Drepung monastery in Tibet. African, Hawaiian, and Native American chants; Assyrian and Australian Aboriginal chants; Gregorian chant; Hindu chant; Qur’an reading; Bahá’ chants; various Buddhist chants; various mantras; Jewish cantillation; and the chanting ofpsalms and prayers in particular in Roman Catholic (seeGregorian chantorTaizé Community), Eastern Orthodox (seeByzantine chantorZnamenny (seeAnglican Chant).

Tibetan Buddhist chant is performed through the throat, with each performer producing a variety of different pitches.

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India’s bhakti devotional tradition is based on kirtan, which has a large following in various nations and traditions, including the Ananda Marga school of meditation.

ChineseShijing(), often known as ‘chanted poetry,’ reflects Zen Buddhist concepts and is sung from theDan tien (or lower belly), which is considered the locus of power in many Eastern cultures.

See also

  • A prayer to the almighty
  • A fight song
  • A sea shanty–a rhyming work song performed on sailing vessels
  • A skipping-rope rhyme
  • A football chant, etc.


  • A site dedicated to Vedic chants
  • Traditional Buddhist Chants (Texts and Audio), such as those found in the Buddhist Encyclopedia
  • And other related topics.

April 10, 2009 ~ Orthodox Chanting

BOB ABERNETHY is the host of the show. For Christians in the Western hemisphere, the weekend of Easter Sunday (April 12) will feature a profile of an upbeat Christian singer who is very inspirational. In addition, we have a “Belief and Practice” part on chanting in Eastern Orthodox churches, which is especially appropriate given that it is Palm Sunday. Because of the differences in church calendars, Eastern Orthodox Easter — known as Pascha — will be celebrated next week (April 19). Emily Lowe, a member of the choir at the Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum, Maryland, served as our guide through the Orthodox chanting process.

  • EMILY LOWE (Choir, Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church, singing): Glory be to the Father, and glory be to the Son, and glory be to the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.
  • From the very beginning to the very conclusion, everything is sung in unison.
  • The words have a special significance.
  • As a result, when we speak of heaven, the voice rises, and when we speak of hell, Hades, or sin, the voice falls.
  • It has a strange, exotic sound to Western ears.
  • The song Rejoice, O Bethany is a wonderful one, and it is particularly close to the hearts of our Arabic parishioners.
  • It’s that little flourish at the end (singing “la la la la”) that’s odd and otherworldly sounding, and it’s kind of — that’s the image that people have when they hear it.
  • People will say something like, “Wait, I remember that.” “That was a really rare occurrence.” I became a Christian around 12 years ago.
  • Initially, it was my father who made the choice.
  • The place God has called us to is the greatest manifestation of the Christian faith, and it is here that we find ourselves.” One of the distinctive features of Orthodoxy is that it actively wants — and expects — reform.
  • Prior to our conversion to Orthodoxy, I was never known for having a very outstanding singing voice.

When people compliment me and say, “Oh, you did such a beautiful job,” I want to tell them that it wasn’t me because it wasn’t. When I chant, it doesn’t feel like I’m being myself. I’m thinking about God and trying to put my thoughts into words as best as I can.

What to Expect When Visiting an Orthodox Christian Church – Introduction to Orthodoxy Articles – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

An Orthodox church’s distinctive characteristics and outward distinctions from other places of worship in Western Christianity frequently leave an impression on the visitor who comes to worship in this place of worship for the first time. When compared to the interiors of many Roman Catholic and Protestant buildings, the inside of an Orthodox church is vibrantly colored, has distinctive iconography, and is aesthetically pleasing. When one enters the inside of the Orthodox Church, it seems as if they have entered a whole different universe, filled with color and light.

See also:  Who Was The Gregorian Chant Named After

Beauty and Symbols

Heaven and earth, according to the Orthodox Church, were created by the hand of God. It is the Creator’s craftsmanship that makes Him visible. The material world, since it is useful and good (Genesis 1:31), serves as a significant medium through which God expresses His love for us. The Orthodox Church demonstrates her commitment to these values via her wide use of material creation, not only in the decoration of her houses of worship, but also in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (Communion), the sacraments, and other prayer rituals.

  1. The Holy Eucharist, also known as the Divine Liturgy, is the most important activity and prayer of the Church, and it is celebrated every Sunday.
  2. A sense of joy and a gratitude for God’s bounties are expressed via the design of the structure, which was created to create a unique ambiance.
  3. The beauty of creation becomes a very essential method of glorifying the Triune God, and this is reflected in iconography and church appointments, among other things.
  4. Similarly to the devout lady in the Gospel account who poured her precious oil on the feet of Our Lord (Luke 8:38), Orthodoxy strives to send back to God our gifts of beauty and praise on a continual basis.

Sacred Space

Orthodox worship takes place in the church interior, which serves as both a backdrop and a setting. Each piece of art and piece of architecture is intended to add to a comprehensive experience of worship that includes one’s thoughts, feelings, and senses. When the Holy Eucharist and the other sacraments are celebrated, they take place in God’s presence and bear testimony to His presence and activity on the earth. Orthodox Christians hold a strong belief that the church is “God’s House” and “the place where His glory lives.” This belief is rooted in the Orthodox heritage.

  1. And in any and all circumstances, we may turn to Him for guidance and comfort through prayer.
  2. Therefore, all Orthodox churches are blessed and consecrated before being designated as hallowed spaces for religious ceremonies and celebrations.
  3. To stress and increase the sense of community in worship, an Orthodox Church building should be kept to a small scale in the ideal situation.
  4. When entering the church, the faithful pay an offering, receive a candle, and put it in front of an icon, which is called the narthex.
  5. The nave is the big central section of the church where the faithful congregate for worship as members of the community of faith.
  6. Although most Orthodox churches in the United States have pews, some churches still adhere to the tradition of having an open nave with only a few seats.
  7. Even in the absence of the bishop, the chair serves to remind everyone that the parish is not a standalone institution, but rather is a part of a larger metropolis or diocese, over which the bishop has authority.
  8. The baptismal font is frequently located in this location as well.

As the most sacred portion of the church, it is also the only part of the building that is allowed to be used by clergy and their aides. The sanctuary, which includes the Holy Altar and is divided from the nave by the Iconostasion, is the most important part of the church.

The Altar

When it comes to Orthodox churches, the Altar, or Holy Table, is the heart and focal center of the congregation. As God’s people, we have gathered before the Altar to worship him. As Christ ordered us to do at the Last Supper, there is a special altar where the Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine are presented to God the Father (Luke 23:20). The Altar, which is generally square in design, is set off from the wall and is draped with cloths during religious services. A tabernacle, containing Holy Communion for the ill and dying, is placed on the Altar, along with lights, to serve as a focal point.

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There is a big cross behind the Altar with a painted depiction of Christ on the crucifixion on the back.


When it comes to Orthodox churches, the Altar, or Holy Table, is the heart and focal center of worship. Our gathering at the Altar represents God’s people. As Christ ordered us to do at the Last Supper, there is a place where the Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine are presented to God the Father (Luke 23:20). The Altar, which is generally square in design, is set off from the wall and is draped with cloths for protection. It’s set up on the Altar with lights and a tabernacle, which contains Holy Communion for the ill and dying alone.

A massive cross with the painted figure of the crucified Christ may be found behind the Altar, to the right.


An icon is a sacred image that serves as the distinctive artistic expression of the Orthodox Church. An icon may take the form of a painting on wood, a painting on canvas, a mosaic, or a fresco. Images of Christ Our Lord, Mary the Theotokos, saints, and angels adorn Orthodox liturgy and theology, and they hold a significant role in both worship and theology. They may also depict events from the Bible or the history of the Church, such as the Birth of Christ, the Resurrection, or the Feast of the Holy Spirit, among other things.

Most importantly, it conveys the physical presence of the person represented on the page.

Every time we worship, we are participating in the Church, which includes both the living and those who have gone before us.

Every time someone venerates a symbol or puts a candle in front of it, they are expressing their believe in it.

In the apse, above the sanctuary, there is a big icon of Mary, the Theotokos, and the Christ Child, which is very frequently shown.

It is represented by this renowned symbol, which remembers her crucial part in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

It serves as a reminder to us that we have a responsibility to give birth to Christ’s presence in our midst.

This icon depicts the victorious Christ, who rules as the supreme ruler of heaven and earth.

When we look upward, we have the impression that everything points us toward Christ the Lord. Revelation 22:13 refers to him as “the Alpha and the Omega,” meaning “the beginning and the end of all things.” Orthodoxy’s message is one of peace and love.

Holy Communion

Please keep in mind that the Orthodox Church follows the tradition of closed communion when you visit. This is not for triumphalist motives, but rather for theological grounds that are extremely essential. Thus, we are following the tradition established by the ancient Church. When it comes to the practice of “open communion,” it is a relatively new invention that has not been in use since at least the beginning of the New Testament period. Everybody is welcome to come forward at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy and partake of the antidoron – the holy bread – which is made available to everyone who wishes to partake.

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