Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Transfiguration


“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)

Leave a comment

ЗасіватиTo sing is a human constant. Human beings have raised their voices in song throughout time and place to express joy, grief, pain, love and emotions otherwise inexpressible. We tell stories and share the spirit of cultures through folksongs and ballads. I remember from my childhood how any group of adults sitting together might spontaneously erupt into harmonious song. As an adult I’ve come to recognize how those folksongs created a bond and a solace for the maelstrom of feelings they evoked. Ukrainians are known for being a people of song. Non-speakers often describe the sound of our language as melodic and, despite repression during the Soviet era, Ukrainian styles of singing have endured. Our orthodox tradition has been a haven for song, since we believe that our voices are God’s instrument and so we pray in acappella song and chanting. Today it seems our rich heritage of song is fading. Fewer of us go caroling; singing seems to be allotted to professionals. . . Perhaps if we try, we can keep the spirit alive. This is the time of Theophany, the time of our most internationally famous Ukrainian carol: Shchedryk (The Carol of the Bells). The carol is based on a folk chant predating Christianity but Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych wrote the music in 1914. In 1921 he was murdered by Soviet police. In 1936 Peter Wilhousky wrote the English lyrics that have been translated into countless languages. (read the story of shchedryk). The Ukrainian lyrics bring wishes of a (shchedryj) generous bountiful year for us. May it be filled with songs of joy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s