The Certificate in Byzantine Music program equips students with a mastery of the skills required for chanting the sacred hymns of the Orthodox Church. The program provides thorough knowledge of the psaltic notational system, the theoretical framework of the modal system, the ability to sight-read musical scores at all levels of complexity, and an extensive familiarity with the contents and usage of liturgical books and the rubrics of the Orthodox Church. Upon completion of its requirements, students will be able to perform all musical parts of the daily liturgical cycle and the sacraments of the Orthodox Church.
Graduates will demonstrate:
1. Knowledge of the notational system of the Psaltic Art.
2. Knowledge of the theory of the eight modes
3. Ability to sight-read musical scores in psaltic notation at all levels of complexity
4. Thorough familiarity with the contents and usage of music books
5. Extensive familiarity with the contents and usage of liturgical books
5. Extensive familiarity with the rubrics of liturgical services in the Byzantine Rite
6. Ability to perform all the musical parts of the daily office of the Greek Orthodox Church
7. Ability to perform all the musical parts of the sacraments of the Greek Orthodox Church
Enrollment in this program is open to candidates for the degree of Master of Divinity as well as other interested students. The core curriculum required for a successful completion of the program consists of the following courses: History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography, Ecclesiastical Chant in English, and Byzantine Music I-X. The curriculum is in accordance with the standards in conservatories and schools of Byzantine Music in Greece. Students enrolled in this program are required, in addition to their formal in-class training, to participate in choral work and apply their chanting skills daily in the Chapel.
For MDiv candidates who wish to enroll in the Certificate program, Byzantine Music VII-X and History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography must be taken in addition to the elective courses required for the MDiv program. Upon completion of the required coursework, students must also pass a comprehensive final oral examination before a designated committee of specialists.
Other interested persons not enrolled at Holy Cross may submit an application package with proof of psaltic knowledge and skills and apply for the examination that leads to certification.
Individuals who are not enrolled in one of the theological programs (henceforth referred to as Psaltic Art students) are required to follow a specialized, rigorous two-year course of studies, which consists of 19.5 credits. They are also encouraged, but not required, to take electives in theological courses, New Testament Greek, Modern Greek, service rubrics, and liturgics. Psaltic Art students are also required to participate in the Holy Cross Byzantine choral groups and expected to join the cantors’ choirs during liturgical services. Additionally, in their second year they may be asked to lead chant labs and may be considered for a chant group leader position.
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|Year 1||Year 1|
|History of Byzantine Music||3 cr.||Byzantine Music II||1.5 cr.|
|Byzantine Music I||1.5 cr.||Byzantine Music IV||1.5 cr.|
|Byzantine Music V||1.5 cr.||Byzantine Music VI||1.5 cr.|
|(Directed Study in Rubrics)*||3 cr.||Eccl. Chant in English||1.5 cr.|
|Holy Week Seminar||0 cr.|
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|Year 2||Year 2|
|Byzantine Music III||1.5 cr.||Byzantine Music VIII||1.5 cr.|
|Byzantine Music VII||1.5 cr.||Byzantine Music X||1.5 cr.|
|Byzantine Music IX||1.5 cr.|
|(Directed Study in Rubrics)*||3 cr.|
*Course offered periodically. Even though it is not required for a successful completion of the Psaltic Art program, students are strongly advised to take it when offered.
In order to be awarded a Holy Cross Certificate in Byzantine Music, eligible MDiv candidates and Psaltic Art students must successfully pass a comprehensive oral examination before a designated committee.
Tuition: 19.5 credits x $950/credit = $18,525
Final exam fee (individual evaluation by expert panel): $1,500
Qualification fee: $300 charged to chanters trained outside HCHC who plan only to sit for final exam
Certificate program students will be charged the following as applicable:
*HCHC students will not be charged additional tuition to enroll in this program unless they go into overload (>18 credits/semester), in which case they will be charged $950/credit for credits exceeding 18 per semester.
All interested candidates must complete the Certificate in Byzantine Music application. In addition, candidates must submit:
Please return the application and all corresponding documents to Nick Moutsioulis, Associate Director of Admissions, at email@example.com, or mail to:
Hellenic College Holy Cross, Office of Admissions
50 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA 02445
“As a priest in one of our country’s largest and most liturgically active parishes, I am thankful every time I liturgize that I pushed myself to take the Certificate courses in conjunction with my Master of Divinity program. Serving in a parish with master cantors, it is a blessing to be able to serve with them in a harmonious and knowledgeable way. This means that the service is conducted smoothly, with few gaps or awkward pauses and cacophonous exchanges on the wrong key. It has helped me have greater control in the use of my voice for intoning petitions and proclaiming the Holy Gospel, and gives me a more solid understanding of the structure of a given service. Furthermore, it aids in the construction of a liturgical schedule and the decisions made for the celebration of certain feasts. In short, it gives me peace and confidence as a liturgist that I probably otherwise would not have.”
“I entered this program with no experience in Byzantine Music and passed the certificate exam successfully in my third year of study. It opened up for me a new world of music, theory, notation, and worship. Dr. Karanos is one of the best teachers I have ever had, communicating enthusiasm and devotion as well as technical skills. Living at Holy Cross provides opportunities for chanting at twice-daily services and in the school choir, encouraging students to continuously teach and learn from each other. I would highly recommend this program to anyone with the desire to become part of this great musical tradition.”
“Preparing and ‘sitting’ for the Byzantine Music C ertification Exam brought me to a level of competency in the Psaltic Art I never knew I would reach! I now have the knowledge and skill to teach others Byzantine Music; its notational system, theory, and much more! Without the challenge of the exam, I would not have pushed myself to learn the details and beautiful nuances within this essential, Orthodox Musical tradition.”
“The Byzantine Music Certificate program challenged, inspired, and prepared me for leading music ministry in a GOA parish setting. It gave me a better understanding of the overall structure of Orthodox services while allowing me to form lifelong friendships with its participants and mentors. The program has changed the way I approach our sacramental and liturgical life. I now know it is for God’s glory and not a performance, and I can appreciate the techniques, skill level, and various qualities of those in music ministry in any given setting. You can’t unlearn such a fully humbling, immersive experience – it stays with you through the thick and thin of parish life as you struggle towards the kingdom. I pray you let this experience become the isokratima to your ascent to God.”