Easter Lamentation

It's Spring time and Easter time for orthodox Christians and although I'm not a church-going person I get emotional when I listen to some of the superb Byzantine Easter Lamentations. 

I thought long and hard before choosing this video. It is a simple mens choir singing a capella -no musical instrument is allowed in Greek Orthodox church,only human voices. Half the choir "keeps the main note steady" the other half "answers" to what the main phsalm singer says , so much like the chorus in ancient Greek dramas.

What blew me away in this interpretation is the fact that the members of the choir are Arab Orthodox Christians, lamenting and praising Jesus both in Greek and Arabic.
I couldn't find specific data of where they are, but most propably they are Syrian or Lebanese Christians.

Enjoy :)

  In a grave they laid Thee, 
yet, O Christ Thou art Life, 
and the armies of the angels beheld amazed, 
giving glory that Thou chose to condescend.

How, O Life, dost Thou die? 
How dost Thou dwell entombed, 
Who hast slashed through all the bonds in the 
realm of death, 
and hast raised the dead in Hades from their graves

  In a grave they laid Thee, 
yet, O Christ, Thou art Life. 
By Thy death hast Thou abolished the realm of 
and upon the world hast poured down streams 
of Life

 Fairer in His beauty  
than all creatures on earth, 
He is seen now lying lifeless, his beauty gone, 
yet all beauty in creation springs from Him. 

Composed by the Byzantine hymnographer Romanos the Melodist 6th century AD.


  1. Desi, the choir is excellent! Great choice, and it brings forward the fact that there are Arab Christians in all middle eastern countries. Thank you!

  2. What an amazing video. I'm not religious myself, but as a child I went to a Greek Orthodox church a few times (my step-father is Greek). It was probably the best church I've ever been to, the people were so welcoming. :)

  3. καλοριζικο το ημερολογιο σας

  4. In my honest opinion it is kind irritating. After listening to Valaam choir and their version of Byzantine singing, other ways of singing, even the ones I liked very much before, became very irritating. Its like hearing an bad cover of some nice song.

    In this presented way of singing deep bass vocals are constantly singing "aaaaaaaaa oooooooo" etc. while other group is singing normally covering middle and high tones at once.

    In Valaam choir way, there are three groups of vocals [bass, middle and high] singing same thing but not at same time. They mastered it very well so you need to listen very carefully to notice 1/4 second gap between bass and other two groups. So in this way an artificial echo is created and when you listen it in the monastery than true echo of the church is added crafting an sound in which listeners have an magical impression that the space around them is expanding.

    Here is few examples:

    The Christ is risen - in old Slavic language.

    Paschal cannon ode I - first part in old Slavic and second part in Greek language.

  5. Desi, thanks so much for sharing this AND providing translations! I normally would never listen to such a thing without prompting, and I really enjoyed listening to this choir. So did Steve!

    Miodrag, I'll definitely check out your links too, I'm very interested in hearing the differences!

  6. Hi Mio:) I listened to Valaam choir hymn,they are wonderful. I also listened to other hymns performed by them in youtube.
    Their interpratation of Byzantine music/singing is much sweeter and smooth,like angels singing.
    The Greek/Middle Eastern way is more down to earth, deeper and unadorned.It is humans singing.
    I like both,but I get goosebumbs while listening to the second :)

    PS I guess every culture already had it's own musical traditions,before the Christian era. So the same Byzantine hymn took the "flavor" of the specific tradition.
    Christos Anesti, my friend.

  7. I can not agree more Paps, as a matter of fact I am quite concern how critic I become on this matter, especially when it comes to my own Serbian Chilandar singing style which in past was my best choice and now choir of Chilandar seems to me like some sailors singing a chant.

    I should not have posted all this, as the problem of this perception must be in me since any singing to the love to god can not be bad, especially with tradition of 1000+ years.