His Grace Bishop Daniel, Bishop of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest has sent a letter to the parishes of the Diocese of the Midwest endorsing this important observance. The Bishop’s letter can be read here:
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America has designated the Sunday following the commemoration of Saint Romanus the Melodist (October 1) as Church Musician Sunday. This new yearly designation, beginning today, is intended to highlight the essential role of liturgical music in Orthodox Christian worship and the important role of all church musicians in the life of the Church.
The Divine Liturgy and all the Divine Services of our Church are beautified by the voices and talents of those who serve the Church as musicians. In this role of service, we also see a missionary effort. As all communities are involved in the work of evangelizing, so each parish choir adds its voice to the proclamation of the Gospel. Through the beauty of the music and the singing and chanting of the sacred texts, the Gospel is proclaimed in a way that touches hearts and inspires both newcomers and longtime faithful to deepen their faith and, in turn, to share that faith with the world. In this way, our church musicians stand at the forefront of our constant and continuing evangelizing efforts.
The important role of church musicians and choirs is also acknowledged and extoled by Saint John Chrysostom. He writes: “Above, the hosts of angels sign praise; below men form choirs in the churches and imitate them by singing the same doxology. Above, the seraphim cry out in the thrice-holy hymn; below, the human throng sends up the same cry. The inhabitants of heaven and earth are brought together in a common assembly; there is one thanksgiving, one shout of delight, one joyful chorus.”
I encourage all of the parish and mission communities in the Diocese of the Midwest to offer recognition and gratitude to those who serve in the various roles involved in Church music: choir directors, singers, chanters, readers, composers, arrangers, and bellringers. This appreciation is something that need not be relegated to one Sunday a year but should be expressed throughout the weeks and months in which the dedication of our church musicians enables us all to experience the fullness and beauty of the yearly liturgical cycle.
Offering my personal gratitude to those who exercise this ministry in our diocese and invoking God’s blessing upon them all, I remain
Yours in Christ,
Bishop of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest