What should you listen to during this Paschal season?

Holy Pascha
Pascha is more than just a feast; it is the core of Christian faith. This recording of a Paschal service was born of a burning desire to convey the all-embracing joy that permeates Orthodox worship during the days of the Bright Resurrection of Christ. Hymns that represent znamenny, Greek, Valamo, Bulgarian and Obikhod chants are performed by the Monastic Choir of St Elisabeth Convent.

This is a concert recording of the Festive Choir of St Elisabeth Convent, which took place in the Belarusian State Philharmonics during the season of Pascha 2012. The Rev Artemius Vladimirov — a renowned priest from Moscow who is also an author and a Russian literature teacher — took part in this concert, too. That is why this album includes his address to the audience. His open and honest conversation with the audience was like painting a fresco — at least, that was how the priest himself put it. «If an icon painted gets confused, falls asleep, breaks the rules of proportion or combination of colors, he won't be able to patch it. He has to work on the spot, impromptu».

Click here to order a copy of Flowers of Joy and Sorrow

Nun Juliania (Denisova), the precentor: «That concert was held on the day of Zhirovichi icon of the Mother of God (May 20), which accounted for the title of the concert and the repertoire. We did not want to call it a Paschal concert or something. that'd be too trivial. We wanted that concert to demonstrate what joy and sorrow were, according to the Christian faith; and that was what Father Artemius was talking about and we were singing about».
This concert consisted of church chants (such as Paschal and Lenten chants, hymns dedicated to the Mother of God and saints), as well as folk songs and compositions by contemporary authors, including the well-known You SimplyHave to Love.

        Mother of God of Zhirovichi

Archpriest Artemius Vladimirov: «Earthly joy and spiritual joy are somehow related but do not always coincide. Things that God gives us are free from eccentricity or pounding rhythms. In the Church, content is packed into a reserved, exalted, strict, and noble form.

Flowers of joy. When we talk about these flowers, we mean the softness of the heart of a Christian, one's secret prayer for one's neighbours, love that grows slowly but steadily and requires self-sacrificing labour. When people listen to church chants, they begin to delve deep into their hearts, look back on their lives and find the joy of childhood, openness and sincerity with one's parents, inner peace born out of one's unity with nature, and the happiness of finding one's second half.