UPDATE: Seven Successful Candidates to Receive Certificates in Byzantine Music

By Fr. Patrick O'Rourke on May 12, 2014

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article appeared last week, before the examinations had taken place. This entry serves to report on the outcome of the examinations.

For the  first time in history, an American academic institution has awarded a Certificate of Byzantine Music. Eight applicants were examined by a board of five renowned Byzantine cantors last weekend at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Seven of them have been awarded their Certificate. This is not just the first time for such a certificate in this country, but the first such award outside of Greece and Lebanon.  The examinations took place on Friday and Saturday at Holy Cross.

The successful candidates are:

Three current Holy Cross students: Christina Stavros, who is the pilot student of the program, Gabriel Cremeens, and Andreas Houpos; two Holy Cross alumni: Fr. Aristidis Garinis, priest at St. Nicholas Shrine Church in Flushing and Fr. Panteleimon Papadopoulos, Archdeacon to Archbishop Demetrios of America; and two more individuals who were trained elsewhere: Peter Elgohary and Peter George.

Dr. Grammenos Karanos, assistant professor of Byzantine Music at Holy Cross, as well as the Protopsaltis of Holy Cross Chapel served as chair of the committee. The other members were:
  • Fr. George Kouzelis, Adjunct Professor of Byzantine Music at Holy Cross
  • Eleftherios Eleftheriadis, Protopsaltis of the St. Nicholas Shrine Church in Flushing, NY
  • Antonios Kehagias, Protopsaltis of St. Katherine’s Greel Orthodox Church in Astoria, NY and instructor at the Archdiocesan School of Byzantine Music
  • Christos Stavropoulos, Protopsaltis of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Manhattan, NY, who represented the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Last weekend’s examinations, which for the successful candidates will result in the awarding of their certificates at Holy Cross’ commencement ceremonies next weekend, are the fruit of the work of Dr.  Karanos, who has been advancing the Byzantine Music program at Holy Cross toward this point for the past three years. Even before the forthcoming certifications, the program which he has instituted has gained attention both domestically and abroad, and is proving to be  a promising indicator of the continually rising appeal of this sacred form of music among not only the Orthodox but also the wider American public.

Information about the program can be found here.

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