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Program: #09-12, Air Date: 03/16/09

Our friends from the Abbey of Chevetogne are back, and we will begin and end our Belgian series with their latest two recordings. This week, the Matins of Holy Saturday.

We begin a six-part series in collaboration with the Belgian Tourist Office and the Embassy of Belgium in Washington, D.C., including Belgian performers and composers.

For information, you may go to:

www.visitbelgium.com

The Monks of Chevetogne: Don't Weep for Me, O Mother

Dear Friends of Millennium of Music:

Even by the standards of our most popular program, we have been gratified (and taken aback) by the overwhelming response we have received from this series dedicated to the work of the monks of Chevetogne. To this end, we are providing some extra information on how to reach the monks on line or by mail.

Monastère de l'Exaltation de la Sainte Croix
Rue du monastère 65
B - 5590 - Chevetogne
Belgique

Tel.: + 32 (0)83 21.17.63
Fax: + 32 (0)83 21.60.45

www.monasterechevetogne.com

Email addresses of the Monastery:

iconographie@monasterechevetogne.com

NOTE: This is the current e mail address of Fr. Thomas Pott, current music director--new as of January 2005. Again, thank you for you enthusiastic support for the program; we hope to continue this series for some time.

Robert Aubry Davis

Fr. Thomas Pott writes: The Office of Matins of Holy Saturday recorded here, is the solemn conclusion of a long and intense period of spiritual and physical preparation for the feast of Pascha. We find ourselves at the tomb where the Lord Jesus was laid, sleeping the death of all mortals. These are the first hours of the day after Great and Holy Friday, the day on when the Lord was condemned to be crucified, when His disciples--except for one--abandoned Him, because they were overcome with fear and despair; the day on which He was led to his place of His execution, surrounded by a crowd of agitated people and scoffers.

Yet among the crowd there were several women who had followed Him for a long time, and were not afraid to stay with Him, and remain faithful. The followed Him to the Cross; served Him by their presence next to Him as He died; accompanied His mortal remains to the tomb; and prepared oils with which to anoint the body of their entombed Master. Thus, there seems to be a contrast between Christ who rests in death and the women who continue to provide service. This is as real contrast, but at the same time and on a different level their service continues to accompany Him in the performance and the ultimate achievement of His work of the incarnation.

The notes go on to explore our identification in this liturgy with the Myrrh-bearing women, who are central to this setting of the Office of the Matins of Holy Saturday.

--Peal of the Simandron (wooden board which resonates with a hammer blow calling the faithful to service)

--Initial blessing and Great Litany

--Troparia commemorating Joseph of Arimathea and the Myrrh-bearing women

--Three stases of Psalm 118 with the troparia of the great funeral hymn of praise ("Enkomia")

--Evlogitaria-- the Myrrh-bearing women arrive at the empty tomb

--The Canon, focusing on the mystery of Holy Saturday

--Fr. Thomas: The Great Doxology brings the office of the Myrrh-bearers to a new height. It reaches a climax
when the celebrants raise the epitaphios and, preceded by the choir and followed by the faithful, exit the church in
procession to defy the darkness. Returning to the church, which now represent the 'bowels of the earth," we find that all the lights have been extinguished. This is why the brief service which completes matins is one of warm intimacy, overflowing with tenderness, nut with a "nakedness" from which the new life, that of Resurrection, is able to sprout.