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Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
St. Vladimir's Seminary Choir
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1. Great Litany
2. Lord I Call Upon Thee (Kievan Chant)
3. O Gladsome Light (Znamenny Chant)
4. Let My Prayer Arise
5. Now the Powers of Heaven
7. O Taste and See (Kievan Chant)
8. Praise and Thanksgiving (Kievan Chant)
9. Open to Me the Doors of Repentance
10. By the Waters of Babylon
11. The Great Prokeimenon
12. A Helper and a Protector
13. Behold the Bridegroom
14. O Son of God
15. The Wise Thief
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is one of the main liturgical expressions of Great Lent. During Great Lent the celebration of the Eucharist is forbidden, with the exception of Saturdays and Sundays, because the Eucharist is the sacrament of Christ's resurrection, the partaking of the Kingdom. Yet because Lent is the time of increased spiritual effort, and therefore of increased temptation, the Church has established a special service of communion with the Holy Gifts consecrated on the previous Sunday and reserved on the alter. This recording features hymns from this service performed by the St. Vladimir's Seminary Male Choir.
Fr. Apostolos Hill
Considered a liturgical classic for devotees of the Russian Orthodox musical tradition, this recording is instantly familiar to anyone collecting hymnology in English 20 years ago. The listening experience is much cleaner in a digital format than the first LP I heard of this service in 1984. The St. Vladimir's Male Choir is outstanding and their familiarity with the musical settings (remembering how much time seminarians spend in chapel) makes for a very relaxed and fluid performance. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, whose name will be recognized by those familiar with his prolific writings in support of liturgical renewal - among them the seasonal favorite Great Lent, intones the great litany at the beginning of the CD. The bright sadness about which Fr. Schmemann wrote a great deal comes across in the plaintive yet hopeful tones of the hymns. This is a worshipful recording that truly conveys a sense of the service of the Presanctified Liturgy. The recording quality reflects the technology of its' day but in no way detracts from the overall enjoyment of the piece.
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