Byzantine Chant, the sacred chant of the Orthodox  Church,  was developed in Byzantium from the establishment of its capital, Constantinople, in 330 until its fall in 1453. It is of composite origin, drawing on the artistic and technical productions of the classical age, on Jewish music, and inspired by the monophonic vocal music that evolved in the early Christian cities of Alexandria, Antioch, and Ephesus.

Throughout  the centuries,  the  hymnographers incorporated into their hymns  the  theological and doctrinal foundations  of the church  for the purpose of  instructing  spiritually the  faithful and building up their faith.  Someone once asked Father Georges Florovsky   ( Orthodox theologian ) where was the best place to go to learn the teachings of the church. He is said to have replied: “Go and stand next to the chanter’s stand for a full year and you will learn the theology of the Church.”

Mitri Murr

Mitri Murr

Mitri Murr (1880-1996) was a famous Lebanese chanter with a beautiful voice who received  many medals for his contribution to the ecclesiastical  music of the Orthodox Church.   He was  a composer as well as a translator of ecclesiastical music from Greek to Arabic. In his translations,  he made  every effort   to adapt the Arabic text to the  original Greek music. In this way he developed a school of music that many chanters follow to this day.

Elias El Murr

Mitri Murr’s  son,  Elias,   faithfully followed his father’s musical style throughout his long career as the main chanter at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church of Dormition.  Like his father,  Elias  had a strong, beautiful voice and was considered one of the best chanters of liturgical music in the Antiochian Church.   After more than 50 years of service in our church,  Elias Murr  retired in 2011.   In January 2004,   we  celebrated his many years of faithful service and contribution to the liturgical life of our church with a choir concert  attended by His Eminence Mgr. Elias Audi. Read more

The current main chanters of our church are:

Elie Khacho

Elie started chanting in the choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Mount Lebanon.  He then pursued his liturgical studies and incantation with Professor Mikhail Hourani. He has participated in numerous evening recitals with the Mount Lebanon Orthodox Choir and the Choir of the Beirut Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the choir of Prof. Michael Hourani.  The above mentioned choirs have performed at Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Greek Orthodox Monastery, the American University of Beirut and the St Joseph Jesuit Church. Elie has participated in  recitals abroad, most notably in the city of Stavanger in Norway.

François Simion

François is a member  of the School of Ecclesiastical Music “SEM”s main choir since 2008  and has participated in several recitals  performed by the choir.

Rafik Abboud

Rafik studied Byzantine music from 2008 till 2010.  He is now in his 3rd year with “Saint Romanos Choir of Beirut”.

 

The additional members are:

  • Josephine Araman Jaridian
  • Rima Araman Shehadeh
  • Evelyn Dabaghi Chatila
  • Catheriene Abboud
  • Mira Abou Saleh