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Syrian Orthodox Church: Antioch Liturgy

Various Artists
Syrian Orthodox Church: Antioch Liturgy

According to ethnomusicologist Christian Poche, the Syrian Orthodox Church (also known as the Syriac Orthodox Church in English-speaking countries since 2000) is one of the oldest Christian churches of the Middle East. Founded in Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria (and now Antakya, Turkey), the church’s followers carried their beliefs throughout the Middle East and to the western coast of India. In its liturgy, the church employs the Syriac language, an Aramaic dialect similar to that spoken by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. The liner notes offer a history of the church and its musical traditions, with selections focusing on western Syrian singing.

Poche claims the five oral traditions presented on this recording are: Urfa (in Turkey), “the most prestigious of the traditions”; Amid (now Diyarbakir), which has essentially disappeared; Mardin (in Aleppo); Tagrit (in Iraq); and Tur ‘Abdin, which “reflects the golden age of Syriac.” The Syrian Orthodox Church uses an oktoechos (set of eight modes) for its qinto (melodies), designating a specific mode for each Sunday and rising by one scale degree each week. These melodies are taken from the bet-gazo (treasure of melodies), a compilation of non-biblical texts used by the deacons.

Please enjoy a free download of the song “Sanctus”

SanctusMP3 FLAC

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

Sanctus: Anaphora His Holiness Moran Mar Ignatius Yaacub III 4:40
Qolo: "At the Outer Door" Mixed a capella choir of the Church Saint Ephrem of Aleppo 6:26
Takhshefto: "The Days Pass Like a Shadow" Shammas Yohanna Taschji 4:54
Gnizo: "Glory to the Magnanimous One" Mixed a capella choir of the Church Saint Ephrem of Aleppo 6:17
Breviary: Adoration of the Cross and "Our Father" Choir of deaconesses of the Church of the Virgin (Oamishli) 9:40
Communion Chant: "He Whom the Seraphim Fear to Behold" Deacons of the Church of the Virgin of Qamishli 5:03
Takhshefto: "Like the Merchants" Evelyne Daoud 4:50
Madrosh: "To Describe Thy Beauty" A cappella choir of deaconesses of the Church of the Virgin (Oamishli) 5:39