"Nothing excites, inspires like a spirit, nothing liberates it from bodily bonds, nothing fills it with love for wisdom and indifference to worldly affairs like the harmonious singing of church hymns," St. John Chrysostom tells us.
Today, it seems especially important to educate high moral qualities in children and adolescents and, of course, a special role in this belongs to church singing. The active participation of children and youth in choral singing serves as an instrument that will protect children and adolescents from low examples of musical creativity and all sorts of harmful influences, engendering in them a love for worship. Through conscious participation in the service, passing words and church singing through oneэs heart, true communion with the Church and the Faith of Christ takes place.
On Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th of January, the Sunday of Zacchæus, a youth choir comprised of choristers from parishes of the Eastern American Diocese in New York and New Jersey visited St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY.
Gathering on Saturday afternoon in the parish refectory, the singers prepared for All-Night Vigil with a rehearsal conducted by G.P. Ivanov, son of Archpriest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY). Vigil was then served in the church.
After the evening service, parish rector Archpriest Serafim Gan and his family served dinner in honor of the young guests.
The next morning, Fr. Serafim celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by parish Protodeacons Paul Wolkow & Eugene Kallaur, to the jubilant singing of the youth choir. During the service, in honor of his past birthday, the ever-memorable Rostislav Vladimirovich Polchaninoff (1919-2022) was commemorated; Polchaninoff worked hard in the field of youth work in his church and public activities.
After "Blessed be the name of the Lord," a sermon was delivered on the theme of the Gospel reading, and before venerating the Cross, Fr. Serafim and Reader A.S. Slobodskoy warmly welcomed and thanked the young singers. Alexey Seraphimovich presented each of them with his book about the life and legacy of his father, Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy (+1971).
The fellowship of the clergy, youth, and parishioners continued at a meal arranged through the efforts of G.F. Selinsky, grandson of R.V. Polchaninoff.
The clergy and parishioners noted that the repertoire of the youth choir is very diverse: there are traditional and common chants, along with works by contemporary composers both from the historical homeland and those that were written abroad were performed.
The participation of the youth choir in the services of Zacchæus Sunday delighted, touched, and comforted the parishioners of St. Seraphim Church and was a great blessing both for the youth and teenagers themselves and for our entire parish community, bringing edification and encouragement to all.
Sea Cliff, NY: Youth Choir sings Divine Liturgy in St. Seraphim Memorial Church - 01/29/23
Photos: V. Gaberman