Orthodox Choir Presents Akathist Prayer Service

News Story: October 28, 2009

To celebrate the opening of its Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Sacred Heart University has planned a year-long series of special events that got underway on Thursday afternoon, October 1st, with an Orthodox prayer service called Akathist. Music for the service was performed by the Choir of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York. Father Chad Hatfield, chancellor of the seminary, presided at the service.

Consisting of hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Theotokos – or God-Bearer – the service was followed by a selection of liturgical music, all sung in English. The traveling choir is a St. Vladimir’s tradition dating back to 1962. The all-men’s chorus is directed by Dr. Alla Generalow, the seminary’s director of liturgical music.

The Akathist service was a demonstration of the University’s mission of building bridges of understanding between religious and cultural traditions. The main sanctuary in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit is dominated by a massive mosaic depicting the Risen Jesus in a style that is evocative of traditional Eastern Orthodox art. And the students at St. Vladimir’s represent diverse Orthodox traditions in an ecumenical educational setting.

The service, which attracted more than 125 participants from both the University and the local community, was sponsored by the University’s Cardinal Spidlik Center for Ecumenical Understanding.