Last weekend I attended the dedication of "Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church". It was my first visit to this new maronite church. However I had some difficulty finding it's address. I was driving up 16th St. in Washington, DC and was noticing that every religion had built a "house of worship" along this street over many miles, even the buddhists were having a fair. When I saw the spectacular mosaics on the front of SS. Constantine and Helen I could not resist asking for directions at this parish. The liturgy was long over and the priest Father Nick Menides was tinkering around in the back. I was impressed by the beauty and joy expressed in all the art and was amazed that I heard such wonderful chanting coming from somewhere. I walked closer looking around wondering who was singing and thinking it didnt make sense that I couldn't find them when it had such a strong "echo" to it. I than found the speaker and realized it was a recording. I asked Father Nick why there was a recording of chanting being played. He didn't have time to talk because a baptism was about to occur but he quickly implied that it was normal procedure to play recordings of chant when no one was around in the church. I was wondering if this is true. I have not yet found another church to do this. Beautiful as it was, because the music was recorded in very different acoustics than the church it created a uncomfortable eerie deceptive atmosphere in my mind once I realized it was artificial. I think that a church building is the one place where we should be able to dependably sense real live beauty, even for our ears. I hope that the use of pre-recorded music instead of real live voices is not a common practice. Please tell me that this is a strange exception. Thank you.

Χριστος Ανεστη!
A Christoir,
This is indeed a strange exception. God grant that it will become even more exceptional!

Dear Criostoir,

I agree that such recorded chant sounds somewhat tacky.

But did you get the chance to visit the new church? I visited their chapel while the church was under construction (a huge white building, yes?), and I too marveled at the number of churches along the road on the way there. I'm curious what the new church is like.

As much as I appreciate silence (my preference), I guess I'm not as bothered by having recordings of chant playing softly as background music in a church. The problem will be in situations when the REAL choir comes in to sing and they don't even come close qualitatively to the recording! eek

Gordo wink
Actually this is done quite often at my parish. When there is no church there is usually soft chant being played over the speakers. It can really put you in a prayerful mood when you sit quietly in pew listening to the monks of simonopetra chanting in the background.
Originally posted by Greggy:
Actually this is done quite often at my parish. When there is no church there is usually soft chant being played over the speakers. It can really put you in a prayerful mood when you sit quietly in pew listening to the monks of simonopetra chanting in the background.
Same here! smile

Mr. Mar Thoma I believe this churchbuilding has been erected as it is today since 1960. So I saw the church. It was very beautiful. Probably the most elaborate Orthodox church i have yet seen in person. The way it was a long rectaangular hall so much like the ancient western basilicas lined with stained glass windows was the most surprising feature to me. Also of course the pews have enrgavings of their sponsors on them. The stained glass windows were surprising, but they did replicate icons, albeit in a way where you could barely distinguish them drastically from western catholic windows, which I don't mind since they're very classical and 2 dimensional. I shouldn't have said so much, as there's really on one thing that matters, which is: the reason for the playing of the music.

Can anyone tell me why pre-recorded chanting cd's played churches during "off hours"? What sort of tradition this go back to?
I would assume that it is done for effect just like one might play a CD of his liking for effect when he has a party.

In the case you mention, it is to put one in a sacred mood rather than a social mood.

No, there is no tradition to play recorded music...Orthodoxy is ancient and recordings are fairly recent! wink biggrin wink

In Christ,
Christ is Risen!

There is no tradition of playing pre-recorded music in churches during off hours. The main reason it is done from the side of the clergy is to put all in a mood of prayer when services are not being conducted. With the music being played in most cases it keeps most from conducting conversations and helps prepare them for the services. I have been in some churches were there has not been any recordings and sometimes these conversations can be distracting to the priest and deacon that are trying to prepare for the services. Some have never developed a proper church decorum and it a sad reflection of the community's spiritual outlook.

In case you are wondering, where I serve we do not use recordings, but if need be have the capability of doing so.

In the Risen Christ,
Father Anthony+
Dear Criostoir,

Actually, I was referring to the Maronite church, not the Orthodox one. You were visiting the dedication of the new Maronite church, right? What's that church like? (Sorry if I'm veering the conversation off topic...)

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