The Novo-Tikhvin Women's Monastery
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Site Updates:

30 August 2023
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a story A book about general Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev appeared

24 November 2022
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a talk by schema-archimandrite Abraham Invincible weapon appeared

29 August 2022
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a story The events of the sunny August appeared

13 June 2022
Section Feasts and Weekdays was refreshed. There a story Faithful for good. A monument to prince Dolgorukov, general Tatishchev, sailor Nagorny, and boatswain Sednev appeared

Hand-painted icons by the sisters of the Monastery

The Chants of Ancient Byzantium

A few years ago our sisters-chanters began work on the restoration of Byzantine singing. It seemed like the task was too grandiose, and one could not expect quick results. Yet, even today in the monastery's churches one can hear the familiar "Cherubic hymn" or "It is truly meet" sung in Byzantine style. And to feel that the tradition of this singing is truly ancient and close to an Orthodox heart.
The plans to introduce Byzantine church singing in our monastery came about long ago. Yet, because in our times following this tradition became a rarity, the sisters were unable to bring their intention to fruition for a long time. Nevertheless, there still had been steps taken in that direction: originally, Znamenny chant whose roots are namely in the ancient Byzantine chanting system, was introduced in the monastery. The sisters have been greatly helped in it by the well-known scholars of the ancient Russian traditions: A. V. Konotop and Daniil Sayapin. The acquaintance with ancient Byzantine singing, proto-priest Vitaliy Golovatenko, was also great luck for the sisters.

In 2008, the sisters of our monastery had a greatly significant encounter with Dr. Emmanouil St. Giannopoulos, a professor of the Aristotelio University of Thessaloniki, the organizer of world chanting symposiums, and a great chanter. That very year Dr. Giannopoulos came to the monastery in order to give the sisters several lessons of Byzantine chant. The sisters still warmly remember that visit, and not just our chanters. When Dr. Giannopoulos sang the liturgy at the skete, of course, in Greek language, everybody in the church felt special tender emotion and awe. "He was not singing, but rather, conversing with God," – one of the sisters commented on that later. In his last day before the departure, at the vigil in honor of the feast of Dormition of Theotokos, Dr. Giannopoulos participated in a cross procession and sang together with the sisters "Agios o Theos" ("Holy God"). And how lively was the feeling here that we are one in Christ: yes, we live in different countries, and we have different traditions, culture, and language, but we are the single people of God, Christians, we have one Church, one faith, and one Lord!

After the departure of the professor, the lessons continued, now over the Internet. Despite being extremely busy, Dr. Giannopoulos spends every week with the sisters, giving them lessons online: he explains the peculiarities of complex Byzantine chants, and helps the sisters learn new hymns. The sisters also spend a lot of time studying by themselves, remembering the words of their teacher: if you leave the music for just one day, she leaves you for two. The help of Dr. Giannopoulos became truly a gift of God for the monastery. Already a month after the lessons began, the services for St. Simeon's feasts in Merkushino were adorned with some Byzantine hymns. In 2009, practically in all services at the skete – both weekday ones and, so much more, the feast days, some or other Byzantine hymns would be performed. In another year, for the feast of the Dormition of Theotokos, the sisters prepared a practically full Byzantine liturgy, and it seemed castles in the air!
What is of particular significant, now all of the Byzantine hymns are performed in Slavonic language by the sisters. The work of transposing the Greek hymns to Slavonic began over a year ago. One of the hymns was a labor of several people, who were choosing together the most fitting versions of transpositions and discussing the arguable places... This work brought its fruit. Byzantine chants in this version became, as it were, "native" for our service, and at the same time, made the church worship singing more profound and prayerful. In the nearest future, the monastery choir will release a disk with Paschal odes performed in Byzantine style. You can hear one of those hymns here.

Hymns performed by the sisters

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