: Great Martyr Demetrius celebrated at Holy Annunciation Parish with Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Brisbane

Singing at only its third service, the multi-parish Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Brisbane ably rose to the challenge of singing at its first English-language service.  The Vigil service, commemorating Great-Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica, was held at Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church and attracted a large number of visitors who were able to pray with an exceptional standard of liturgical singing, sung in the language of this land.

Singing in the choir were: Deacon Vladimir Bigdan, conductor and bass (deacon at St Nicholas Cathedral), Priest Alexander Borodin, bass (rector of Holy Annunciation Parish), Reader Alexander Paramonov, baritone (choir conductor at St Seraphim Parish), Protodeacon Konstantin Semovskih, baritone (protodeacon at St Nicholas Cathedral), Matthew Makarov, second tenor, Artem Men, second tenor (choir conductor at St Nicholas Cathedral), Gregory Scanlan, first tenor (choir conductor at Holy Annunciation Parish).

Serving at this vigil was special guest Fr Dimitri Tsakas (who is named for St Demetrius), Archepiscopal Vicar of Queensland and New Guinea for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, and Fr John Weir, assistant priest of the Parish of the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos, Rocklea, with Deacon Andrew Smith.  Also in attendance were Archpriest Gabriel Makarov, Rector of St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and Deacon Vasily Konstantinidis of the Parish of the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos.

It was a special joy to hear the Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Brisbane sing in a way that inspired prayer among those who celebrated the feast.

Formed earlier in 2012, the Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Brisbane is led by its choir director Dcn Vladimir Bigdan and consists of members of all Russian Orthodox parishes of Brisbane including members of the clergy. In the words of its choir director Fr Dcn Vladimir, “The choir members have come together because they all believe in our goal of producing liturgical music of a consistently high standard. We are all learning, both from each other and from other choirs, and so when we come together as brothers in this common goal, we feel that we strengthen each other. One of the principle goals of this choir lies in attaining missionary results. In hearing the beauty of Orthodox singing, one is transported into a different world, invisible, yet just as real as the physical one. 1000 years ago, diplomats from Great Prince Vladimir’s headquarters returned back from the Hagia Sofia, Constantinople, overcome with the sheer spiritual beauty of Orthodoxy, exclaiming ‘we did not know if we were in Heaven or on earth!’ We can only try to provide a glimpse of this feeling to ourselves and others”.

More information about the Russian Orthodox Male Choir of Brisbane is available on their Facebook page, including photos and sample recordings from past services and performances: http://facebook.com/RussianOrthodoxMaleChoirBrisbane

Deacon Andrew Smith