Choir of Vatopaidi Fathers, Mount Athos
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Vatopaidi Monastery, Mount Athos
Vatopaidi Monastery, Mount Athos

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Mount Athos, the ark of Orthodox Christianity, is undoubtedly the cradle of Byzantine music. In the period of revival of athonian monasticism (after a period of decline), the ‘Mousikodidaskaleion’ (Musical School) of the Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi, which had for centuries been providing the musical education of monks, has resumed its activities. It endowed the monastery with a collection of melodians, a rich archive of recordings, books, manuscripts and, above all, a rich tradition which is continued by the modern chorus of the monastery. The systematic study combining the knowledge of written and the experience of the oral musical tradition forms the basis of this joint effort by Crete University Press and the Vatopaidi Monastery to fill a gap in the discography. In this framework, a CD for every day of the Holy Week was recorded. These editions contain all the classic compositions on the Holy Passion, sung in the traditional athonite fashion. The recording were made in situ, because chanting acquires a differet dimension in its natural environment. The protracted musical interpretation on an everyday basis is combined with the evelasting prayer, constituting an basic element of monastic life and leading to a deeper experience of its essence. The performance and the glorification of the Holy Passion by the monks themselves creates an atmosphere of devotion which leads to a moving truth.