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NEW YORK: September 10, 2012
An Appeal by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad on the Forthcoming Church Music Conference 

Dear in the Lord Brother Archpastors, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters: 

I hereby remind our pious flock that we are fast approaching the regular Church Music Conference organized by the Liturgical Music Commission of the Synod of Bishops. This event will take place on October 3-7, 2012, in Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, Canada. The program promises to be both interesting and educational. In addition to lectures, round tables and other forums, there will be choir rehearsals and divine services at which the participants will sing. That is why we recommend that every parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia send at least one kliros singer to participate.  

I take this opportunity to remind the participants of one edifying anecdote relating to the life of St Ignatius (Brianchaninov). Bishop Ignatius was not only a great man of prayer, a teacher of patience and humility, but a writer. He wrote five books on the spiritual life, in which he explains how one is to arrange one’s inner life for the sake of salvation. 

This is one of the stories from his life. He once attended a festive reception together with a great friend, Schema-monk Mikhail (Chikhaev), who was always by his side. A renowned Italian singer was also there, and asked who these monks were, and for the young monk to sing for him. Schema-monk Mikhail then sang a church prayer with his remarkable bass voice. He made a great impression on the Italian, who then asked: “How long will you continue to sing in Church, how long will you continue to sing praises to the Savior?” Fr Mikhail replied: “I will sing to God to my last moment.” This shows the love and piety with which Fr Mikhail sang church music. I wish for you all to have this same satisfaction and spiritual consolation.  

And so, my dears, praise God together with the whole world, sing His Name, so that the Lord would always be the Pillar supporting your lives, so that He always sends down His blessing for all that is good, that He always remain your fortress, so that you in turn would help the people pray in our churches. Amen.  

With love in the Lord and a plea for your prayers,

+HILARION,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. 
September 7, 2012