Byzantine Chants for Pentecost and St. Kassiani

Here’s the St. Kassiani Byzantine Choir of All Saints Greek Orthodox Monastery. While it’s a bit lengthy, I’m always interested in women singing Byzantine chant. It is So typically seen as the province of male chanters. Listen to a little or a lot. Happy Pentecost for the West - for the East, next week! The Holy Spirit listeth when and where it will.

This choir was formed by the nuns of All Saints Monastery, who recognized the limited opportunities for skilled women chanters to participate in regular Byzantine liturgies. I hope you enjoy their clear tone.

Who is St. Kassiani (also known as St. Kassia)? She is the earliest women hymnographer and melodist whose works are both still extant and able to be interpreted by modern performers.  Born into a wealthy family in Constantinople, she was part of the “bride parade” to find a wife for the young emperor Theophilos the Iconoclast. While he was smitten by her good looks, her clever response to a remark of his put him off and he chose another.  Just as well, she founded a monastery, wrote hymns, and lived a saintly life.  Her Hymn of Kassiani is part of the liturgy of Holy Week and commemorates the woman who anointed Christ’s feet and dried them with her hair.  Look on and you can find more information about her and the hymn. (Specific links seem impossible.)


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