Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Protecting Veil.

For many Byzantine Christians following the Gregorian (or Revised Julian) Calendar, October 1st is the Feast of the Protection of the Theotokos, about which I've written before. In observance of this feast, I would like to share a modern musical composition inspired by the Protection of the Theotokos, John Tavener's The Protecting Veil. A convert to Russian Orthodoxy, Tavener described The Protecting Veil as "an attempt to make a lyrical ikon in sound" and an effort "to capture some of the almost cosmic power of the Mother of God." Premiered at the BBC Proms in 1989, this composition for cello and strings is heard here in a 1998 recording featuring Maria Kliegel on cello and the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Takuo Yuasa. If you would like to learn more about The Protecting Veil, click here; for more about John Tavener, visit his official website. AMDG.


At 10/01/2011 10:51 AM, Blogger Macrina Walker said...

I hate to nitpick, Joe, but I discovered that we don't celebrate it today, rather to my surprise and disappointment. It turns out - as I learnt from Bishop Savas on Facebook this morning - that the Greek Church transferred it to 28 October in 1960 "to commemorate the date on which, in 1940, the Prime Minister of Greece refused to allow the Italian Dictator Mussolini's forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war."

Of course we are Alexandria, not Greece, but that is a topic probably better left undaddressed!

At 10/01/2011 1:43 PM, Blogger Joe Koczera, S.J. said...


Thank you for the comment - I don't mind the nitpicking (on the contrary, I appreciate the correction).

Now that you mention it, I had heard before (from a former student of mine who is Greek Orthodox) that the feast had been transferred and had also been adopted in popular observance as a quasi-national celebration of Greek resistance during the Second World War. This seems to apply widely for the Greek Orthodox diaspora as well, including here in the States.

The various Slavic and Antiochian Byzantine jurisdictions here have kept the October 1st date, though naturally some follow the Old Calendar, so not all celebrate the feast today even though most do. Such is life in a country with multiple jurisdictions!


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