Members of the Archdiocesan Byzantine and Youth Choirs with Archbishop Demetrios of America following their performance at Carnegie Hall in December 2012. (Photo by Dimitrios Panagos)

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America the Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music is happy to announce that on May 19, 2013 at the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir will offer their Paschal concert in honor of His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens on the occasion of his first ever visit to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Archbishop Ieronymos II His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece , was born Ioannis Liapis in 1938. He is a graduate of the School of Philosophy and the School of Theology of the University of Athens, followed by Byzantine studies on a nationwide state scholarship, and post-graduate studies in Austria and Germany. He was academic assistant to the great archaeologist Anastasios Orlandos, founding member and later president of the Archaeological Society of Athens, and was a teacher of literature at the Leontios School in the Nea Smyrni suburb of Athens, as well as at high schools in Athens and Avlona. He set aside his academic career after entering the clergy. Ieronymos  was unanimously elected Metropolitan in 1981, after serving as abbot of two monasteries (1971-1981) and as secretary and later Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece (1978-81). The overwhelming majority (82 of the 110) priests in his metropolis (Thebes and Levadeia) are degree-holders in theology with a second degree (in fields such as literature, architecture, medicine, informatics education, education, and economic sciences) making it the first metropolis of the Church of Greece to have clergy of such a high level of education. Under his term as Metropolitan of Thebes and Levadeia and through his guidance, six monasteries (with a total of 45 monks) and 17 convents (with a total of 110 nuns) were renovated and staffed. He has also written numerous articles, studies, and books on theological, social, and historical topics, while his book Medieval Monuments of Evia received the Athens Academy’s top award in 1970. His social work also includes the founding of boarding schools, orphanages and introduction of the institution of foster families, shelters for the elderly, rehabilitation centres for the mentally challenged, a training centre for the creative occupation of children with special needs in cooperation with prefectural agencies, a drug prevention centre, food kitchens for the poor, including economic immigrants, consulting centres, and a Centre of Historical and Archaeological Studies, while, as a former academic, he had developed a special relationship with the teaching community in Viotia. He has most recently received an honorary doctorate from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (May 2013).

The concert program will feature a selection of ecclesiastical hymns from the Paschal season which will be performed by the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir in Greek. The Archdiocesan Youth Choir has also been invited as a special guest to perform a number of traditional American and Greek songs. Both choirs will join their voices, as they did at Carnegie Hall in December 2012, to pay honor to Archbishop Ieronymos.

It should be noted that all the evening’s proceeds will go to help the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir continue to promote and share the beauty of Byzantine Music here and abroad. It is their firm hope that they will be blessed to travel to Constantinople and perform in honor of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle in November of 2013.

We looking forward to seeing you at this most special concert!

Conveying to you His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios’ warmest prayers and blessings, I remain

With deepest gratitude in the Risen Lord,

Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos

Director, Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music

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The Archdiocesan Choir (Photo by Dimitrios Panagos)

Watch videos of the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir

The Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir

Shortly after the formation of the Archdiocesan School of Music in October 2010, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America expressed a desire for the formation of a choir to promote the rich Byzantine musical heritage of the Orthodox Church. The Archbishop’s vision became a reality under the leadership and organiation of Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos who observed the musical talent of chanters in the Direct Archdiocesan District and established the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir in December 2010 as a ministry of the Archdiocese.

The talented members of the choir consist of Greek American clergy and young men whose ages range from 16 to 40. The majority of the choir members are established head-chanters (protopsaltis) in churches from within the Direct Archdiocesan District. All members of the choir have had formal training in Byzantine Music while some have even received advanced degrees in Byzantine Music from conservatories in Athens and Thessaloniki.

The choir enjoys a broad programmatic reputation and ecclesiastical repertoire with performances in various venues such as universities, churches and recital halls of NYC. Its primary mission is to share the beauty of Byzantine Music beyond the borders of Orthodox Churches and reveal the spiritual depth of this ancient form of ecclesiastical chant.

Since its inception, the choir has been directed by Demetrios Kehagias. Born in Queens NY, Mr. Kehagias began studying Byzantine Music at the age of 14 under the tutelage of Archon Protopsaltis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Mr. Nikolaos Steliaros. Among his top students in musical theory and application, Mr. Kehagias advanced swiftly and, at age 20, obtained the Certificate of Chant with highest distinction from the National Conservatory of Athens.

Thereafter, Mr. Kehagias was appointed Protopsaltis at St. Demetrios Cathedral of Astoria, NY, the largest Greek community outside of Greece, where he served for 10 years. In 2009, he received the advanced degree of Byzantine Music Teaching (Diploma Mousikodidaskalou) with highest distinction from the National Conservatory of Athens.  Mr. Kehagias also has a firm knowledge of western music, having studied jazz and composition at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY.

In October 2010, Archbishop Demetrios of America appointed Mr. Kehagias first instructor for the newly established Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music. He currently serves as Protopsaltis at the Kimisis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church, Brooklyn, NY. His dedication to teaching Byzantine Music and his vision to find creative ways to share Byzantine Music to the general public have led this choir to a level of excellence demonstrated by their concerts and in the presentation of the choir as seasoned performers.

The choir has grown significantly in reputation, becoming a premier Byzantine Music choir in the New York Metropolitan area as well as among Greek American communities. The choir’s goals are to provide a positive social setting based on the Orthodox Faith, to help the members of the choir achieve excellence in musical performance and to provide them with the rewards of participation in the choral arts. Committed to musical excellence, the choir gives talented young chanters the opportunity to share the treasure of Byzantine Music with all people.

The Choir’s dedication to musical excellence and broad range of musical presentation has resulted in unique concerts even though it has only been in existence for less than a year. The following are some of the choir’s special performances:

2010 December Debut performance at Fairfield University as part of a lecture series on Orthodox Theology.

2011 January Annual Three Hierarchs Greek Letters Celebration organized by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, NYC.

2011 April Invited by the Consul General of Greece in New York, H.E. Agi Balta, to chant for the inauguration of an exhibition of paintings by George Lelekopoulos on the Passion and Resurrection of Christ.

2011 May First Paschal Concert entitled “Arise, O Lord” at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, NYC.

2011 September Performed as part of an inter-religious call to prayer for a special commemoration on the 10th Anniversary of September 11th organized by St. John the Divine Cathedral in NYC.

2011 October First Washington OXI Day Foundation Doxology in commemoration of October 28th, 1941, at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Washington DC.

2011 December Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Concert entitled “ASMA KAINON (A New Song): Chant of the Greek Orthodox Church.”

2012 January Annual Three Hierarchs Greek Letters Celebration organized by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the Onassis Center USA in mid-town New York.

2012 March Invited to perform at the 100 year anniversary celebration from the establishment of the Panchiaki “Korais” Society of New York in St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Flushing, NY.

2012 March Invited to perform two mini-concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Byzantium and Islam Family Day celebrations.

2012 June Concert hosted at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity entitled, “We Have Seen the Light.”

2012 September Invited to perform with the St. Romanos Choir of the Archdiocese of Beirut in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY.

2012 December Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Concert entitled, “Glory in the Highest.”

Buy Tickets
With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir is happy to announce a concert program which will feature a selection of ecclesiastical hymns from the Paschal season in Greek. The Archdiocesan Youth Choir has been invited as a special guest to perform a number of traditional American and Greek songs.  These choirs will join their voices in honor of Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens upon his first ever visit to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.   The evening’s proceeds will all go to help the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir continue to promote and share the beauty of Byzantine Music here and abroad. It is there firm hope that they will be blessed to travel to Constantinople and perform in honor of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in occasion of the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle in November of 2013.  Ticket purchase includes access to reception in the Church Ballroom to follow.

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If you are unable to attend, but are still interested in making a donation, kindly make your checks payable to:

GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE

In the Memo write: ASBM

Send checks to:

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
C/O Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos
8 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075

For further information, call 212-570-3590.