CWN - In an interview for the 30th anniversary of his episcopal ordination, Metropolitan Hilarion Volokolamsk spoke about the importance of the sacred liturgy and liturgical music.

The prelate leads the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

When he was 15, Metropolitan Hilarion was attending music school, but became “attracted by the very atmosphere of the liturgy” and entered monastic life. “Celebration of the liturgy is the spiritual core around which the whole life of a priest is built up,” he said. “It is the liturgy, the standing at God’s altar that gives you strength to do the rest.”

As a bishop, Metropolitan Hilarion has composed sacred music, including a Stabat Mater cantata. Reflecting on liturgical music, he said:Liturgical singing should be, above all, prayerful. It should not divert people from prayer but rather encourage it. I am very upset when a choir sings too loud or performs concert numbers. What is important in liturgy is integrity, which also concerns the singing of the church choir. I very much love the old Russian chanting. But I also love today’s four-voice polyphony, provided that they sing distinctly and devotionally.

 

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Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica