Religious music is music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence. It may overlap with ritual music, which is music, sacred or not, performed or composed for or as ritual.
Russian Cathedral Bells
According to some scholars, the earliest music in the Christian Church came from Jewish worship music, with some additional Syriac influence. It is believed that this music lay somewhere between singing and speaking, or speaking with an understood ritual cadence. However, there is another opinion that the roots of early Christian music come from the early ascetic monastic orders.
Our Father · Bulgarian National Choir
Further information: Hymnody of continental Europe
Christian music has diversified over time, reflecting both its centuries-old roots as well as more contemporary musical styles. Thousands of traditionally-styled songs of praise or worship, called “hymns” (from the Greek word hymnos meaning, “song of praise”), were written over hundreds of years. Eventually, these songs were compiled into books called “hymnals”, from which pastors and congregants would read during Christian services – a practice that continues in many churches today.
Prior to the eighteenth century, Christian hymnals were published as standalone texts without accompanying musical scores. The first American hymnal with both text and song was published in 1831. In Europe, the Church of England did not officially allow hymns to be sung until 1820. Originally, hymns were sung by “lining out” the lyrics, meaning, the pastor would sing a line, and then the congregation would repeat it. This was done because, at that time, books were expensive, so it was economical to provide the pastor of a church with one copy from which everyone could sing.
Fervent Supplication · The Russian State Symphony Cappella
Amen. And with Thy Spirit · The USSR Ministry of Culture Chamber Choir
Christian Music in the Modern Era
Modern methods of publication have made hymnals much more accessible to the public today than previously. The practice of “lining out” the lyrics of hymns has therefore largely fallen away, although it continues to be practiced in some traditional churches. In the twentieth century, Christian music has developed to reflect the emergence of a diverse array of musical genres including rock, metal, pop, jazz, contemporary, rap, spiritual, country, blues, and gospel. The use of specific genres and styles of music in church services today varies across denominations and according to the personal preference of pastors and church members. As of the late twentieth century, there has been a widespread preference in less traditional churches towards using contemporary music (particularly, “praise and worship” songs, which attempt to preserve the religious intent of hymns but use contemporary lyrics and a more modern musical sound instead) as well as gospel and spiritual music.
Eastern Orthodoxy, official name Orthodox Catholic Church, one of the three major doctrinal and jurisdictional groups of Christianity. It is characterized by its continuity with the apostolic church, its liturgy, and its territorial churches. Its adherents live mainly in the Balkans, the Middle East, and former Soviet countries.
Nature And Significance
Eastern Orthodoxy is the large body of Christians who follow the faith and practices that were defined by the first seven ecumenical councils. The word orthodox (“right believing”) has traditionally been used in the Greek-speaking Christian world to designate communities or individuals who preserved the true faith (as defined by those councils), as opposed to those who were declared heretical. The official designation of the church in Eastern Orthodox liturgical or canonical texts is “the Orthodox Catholic Church.” Because of the historical links of Eastern Orthodoxy with the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium (Constantinople), however, in English usage it is referred to as the “Eastern” or “Greek Orthodox” Church. These terms are sometimes misleading, especially when applied to Russian or Slavic churches and to the Orthodox communities in western Europe and America.
I Have Chosen the Blissful · Bulgarian Radio · Television Mixed Choir
It should also be noted that the Eastern Orthodox Church constitutes a separate tradition from the churches of the so-called Oriental Orthodox Communion, now including the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Tewahedo Orthodox Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Syriac Orthodox Partriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and the Malankara Orthodox Church of India. From the time of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 to the late 20th century, the Oriental Orthodox churches were out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church and later the Eastern Orthodox Church because of a perceived difference in doctrine regarding the divine and human natures of Jesus. This changed in the 1950s, when both churches independently began dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox churches and resolved many of the ancient Christological disputes.
The cultural context
The Schism of 1054 between the churches of the East and the West was the culmination of a gradual process of estrangement that began in the first centuries of the Christian era and continued through the Middle Ages. Linguistic and cultural differences, as well as political events, contributed to the estrangement. From the 4th to the 11th century, Constantinople (now Istanbul), the centre of Eastern Christianity, was also the capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire, while Rome, after the barbarian invasions, fell under the influence of the Holy Roman Empire of the West, a political rival. In the West theology remained under the influence of St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430), while in the East doctrinal thought was shaped by the Greek Fathers. Theological differences could have been settled if the two areas had not simultaneously developed different concepts of church authority. The growth of Roman primacy, based on the concept of the apostolic origin of the church of Rome, was incompatible with the Eastern idea that the importance of certain local churches—Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and, later, Constantinople—could be determined only by their numerical and political significance. For the East, the highest authority in settling doctrinal disputes was the ecumenical council.
At the time of the Schism of 1054 between Rome and Constantinople, the membership of the Eastern Orthodox Church was spread throughout the Middle East, the Balkans, and Russia, with its centre in Constantinople, which was also called “New Rome.” The vicissitudes of history have greatly modified the internal structures of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but even today the bulk of its members live in the same geographic areas. Missionary expansion toward Asia and emigration toward the West, however, have helped to maintain the importance of Orthodoxy worldwide.
Edited by: EZorrilla