LONDON: 30 January 2023
The All-European Church Musicians’ Conference Concludes at the London Cathedral

On 29 January, 2023, the day of the veneration of previous chains of the Holy Apostle St Peter, Divine Liturgy was headed in the London Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God and the Holy Royal Martyrs by His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, co-served by the Cathedral clergy. Of special note to the large numbers of faithful at the Saturday and Sunday services was the greatly-expanded choir, composed of participants in the Fourth Pan-European Orthodox Liturgical Music Conference, which was held at the Cathedral from 25-29 January.

Organized by the Synodal Music Committee for Europe, the fourth annual conference — the second to be held in person: the intervening conferences were held remotely on account of the pandemic — brought together Church singers, choir conductors, Readers, and all those interested in the precious musical heritage of the Church Abroad, to learn about that heritage from expert instructors that come from all over the world for the event. At the heart of the conference is, of course, the gaining of experience in the practice of that musical heritage: each day included numerous choir rehearsals and masterclasses, together with talks and presentations and the opportunity to converse with fellow Church musicians of all types and levels of experience. The participants themselves come from both of the European dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (including participants from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany and several other countries), as well from other Orthodox jurisdictions and parts of the world — this year attracting participation even from choir singers in the USA, who came to London for the occasion.

The Conference opened on Thursday morning with a moleben, after which Bishop Irenei greeted the organizers and participants and blessed them for the fruitful work of the days ahead. “Church singing, and our whole musical tradition, is the voice by which we as Orthodox Christians, in our churches, lift up our prayers to God and speak to Him,” Vladyka said. “Thus the work of all of you, as Church singers, is of no less importance to the prayerful life of our parishes as the work of the Priest or Deacon, and it is a deep encouragement to see how many of you are committed to deepening your understanding of this essential role, to the glory of God and the salvation of His people.”

As is traditional for ROCOR musicians’ conferences, the conclusion of the event was the participants’ coming together in a large ensemble choir to sing of the Hierarchical All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Especially focusing on music of relevance to the heritage of the Church Abroad, the combined choir beautifully lifted up the prayers of the faithful, inspiring their devotion to God and being encouraged in the faith.

Following the Divine Services, a closing banquet for the conference was held, at which the Bishop once again congratulated all the participants, and blessed them for their return to their home parishes, where the gifts of these days would bear fruit into the future.

Those who are interested may learn more about the ROCOR’s Pan-European Music Committee and its conferences, schools and other activities via their website.



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