Memory Eternal!

I missed this until now: In Memoriam: Archpriest Sergei Glagolev – Orthodox Church in America.

Fr. Sergei was a prolific and adept composer of Orthodox liturgical music that actually respected and fit the English language, probably the prime Orthodox composer in America.

He started with the words and rhythms of English and made beautiful music that fit it. Too often, Orthodox Christians in the U.S. have had to endure music made for Greeks, or Russians, or Arabs — ranging from serviceable to glorious in the original languages — into which English texts were shoe-horned, leaving emphases falling on the wrong syllables and other solecisms on musical grammar which I can hear, but for which I (a mere choir-singer and Cantor) lack words.

This is the bane of Anglophone Orthodox singers. Fr. Sergei’s music was our boon. May the day come soon when our American Hierarchs will set us free to sing such music as he wrote.

I could argue that the linked diocesan obituary "buries" the most important thing about Father Sergei: he "exuded joy, peace, kindness and love." His joy was infectious from the first time I encountered him at an Orthodox musical gathering.

I was, unknown to me at the time, present at his last public appearance. I can’t watch that video without weeping. (Your mileage, of course, may vary if you never met this man.)

I have private thoughts on how sad it is that his death was not noted in my diocesan newspaper, which was not part of Fr. Sergei’s Archdiocese.

In the Orthodox tradition (or at least the Slavic-flavored portion), we sing of those reposed in the Lord not Requiem Aeternam, but "Memory Eternal!"


You can read most of my more impromptu stuff at here. It should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly, should you want to make a habit of it.

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