Before and during the Covid-19 pandemic: Beautiful good Friday Byzantine chants

Tomorrow is the Greek Orthodox Good Friday.

OK, Bambi is not confusing the days here, although she almost called her parents today, thinking it was already Friday.

It was funny to hear her spouse clarifying that “we are not Friday yet… and Good Friday was last week ?”.

Bambi celebrated Easter last week (with the majority of Christians in Canada). Her parents, sisters, and half of her relatives are celebrating this weekend. The other half of the Christian family members celebrated last weekend.

Sometimes, the two Catholic and Orthodox Easters co-occur. Sometimes they do not (one week apart, like this year).

Anyhow, Bambi loves the Byzantine chants of the Greek Orthodox church. They remind her of her happy childhood.

Well, this evening, her cousin Elham made her day when she shared the first video below. In it, you can hear/see her talented second cousin (hello Zeina!) praying, with her choir and kids. They seem to have used a platform like Zoom. How well done, bravo!

Further below, you can see the same prayer by Father Elias (hello “Abouna” ?!). The latter happens to be Elham’s spouse. According to Bambi, he may have the most powerful voice she has even heard (solid and moving like the sound of a bell).

What is somehow moving in these two videos is the contrast between the first and second videos. In the first, everyone is quarantined. The second shows a dynamic church filled to its full capacity. This service traditionally ends with a procession on the streets of Beirut around Saint-Mary’s church. After a busy evening, in the early hours of the next day (Holy Saturday before Easter), Abouna flies to Jordan in order to bring the light from the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem. This candle serves to light ALL the little candles of all parishioners of all the churches. Bambi’s parents bring this candle back home to bless their place (a VERY old Christian tradition).

To Father Elias, Bambi would like to say: Thank you for all what you do to your parish. She will say the same to your family too.

In three days, you/we all be greeting each other by saying: “Christ is risen. Truly risen! This is how they say Happy Easter in the Middle East.

The resurrection is at the heart of the Christian faith… In other terms, the joy and hope that Easter brings remains the same, when we have faith in our hearts. Regardless of wars, economic hardships, pandemics, or simply being away from loved ones, we celebrate and hope for better days ahead.

Those who believe, nurturing their faith, aspire to feel a renewal of hope in life. Those who do not believe in Jesus story can still just enjoy the beautiful music and the delicious Easter food. Bambi considers herself to be among the lucky ones who enjoy both… twice per year ?.

2 thoughts on “Before and during the Covid-19 pandemic: Beautiful good Friday Byzantine chants”

  1. So beautiful and powerful! It’s not only the beauty of the voices, it’s like the very presence of God is in the air.

  2. This is Bambi commenting on her own post :).
    Just learned that Zeina (yes, my talented second cousin!) produced the first video. Bravo Zeina!! Thank you.

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