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  • 2016 December 18: "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"

    December 18, 2014 10:30

    A few of the hymns in our hymnal have texts of truly ancient origin, and "Let All Mortal Flesh" is one of them. It is an ancient chant of Eucharistic [Communion] devotion based on words from Habakkuk 2:20, "Let all the earth keep silence before him". The original was composed in Greek as a Cherubic Hymn for the Offertory of the Divine Liturgy of St James; the "Let All Mortal Flesh" text is probably older than the rest of the liturgy and goes back at least to 275 AD, with local churches adopting arrangements in Syriac. The identity of the original author is long lost in the misty shadows of Time. (more )

  • 2014 December 14: "Of the Father's Love Begotten"

    December 14, 2014 15:38

    The theme for this Advent season is 'wonder', so I thought a series of preludes based on ancient Christmas hymns might be a worthy contribution: these older hymns tend to emphasize the Mystery of Christmas more than modern ones (in my humble opinion), and there's something wonder-full about a Christmas song that is millennia old — what other music from the 10th century do we still sing on a regular basis? (more )

  • 2014 November 30: The Pilgrims

    November 30, 2014 10:30

    Last week we considered Martin Rinkart (1586–1649) — the Lutheran pastor who wrote the words to "Now Thank We All Our God" in the midst of the starvation, war and plague of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Johann Crüger (1598-1662) wrote the melody. The son of an innkeeper, he studied at the Lateinschule in Guben until he was 15. He then traveled and studied at schools throughout Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia, including the Jesuit College at Olmütz, and the Poets’ School at Regensburg... (more )

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