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LINCOLN, NE [MW Communications] - St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church of Lincoln, Nebraska recently had the opportunity to participate in an ecumenical concert with parishes from the local Roman Catholic diocese for the fourth year in a row. This event, called “Gates of Repentance,” first came together in March of 2006 when University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) student and Roman Catholic church musician Dr. Jennifer Donelson approached the local Roman Catholic and Orthodox leaders with the idea.

At the time, Dr. Donelson was a student of Dr. Paul Barnes, Professor of Piano and head chanter at Lincoln’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Also at this time, Dr. Barnes’ piano studio fostered a unique community of Orthodox and Roman Catholic musicians who all had profound appreciation for their respective churches’ sacred music heritage. Dr. Donelson had also recently founded the Cor Immaculatae Schola Cantorum at the UNL Newman Center to sing Gregorian chant for celebrations of the novus ordo Mass in Latin. This setting, combined with collaborative input from Ben Whitener, choir director at St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church, led to the first “Gates of Repentance” sacred chant concert in March of 2006, hosted by the UNL Newman Center.

This Lenten-themed concert featured the Cor Immaculatae Schola Cantorum, St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church parish choir, Sacred Heart Schola, and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church parish choir and chanters. The audience, which filled the nave of the Newman Center until there was standing-room only, heard the ancient voices of Byzantine, Znamenny, and Gregorian chant, as well as more modern settings by Rachmaninov and Palestrina.

In 2007, the desire to repeat the event was bolstered by the visit of His All Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The good will
between Roman Catholics and Orthodox generated by this event, as well as a shared date for Pascha, gave this year’s event special meaning.

Over the past four years, the concert has featured choirs not only from the prior mentioned churches, but also from St. Mary Orthodox Church from Omaha, St. Teresa Catholic Church in Lincoln, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in nearby Denton, Nebraska, the seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter which celebrates the Tridentine Mass. Father Peter Mitchell, chair of the Diocese of Lincoln Ecumenical Commission has always offered his generous support, as well as Father James Dank of St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Church, Father Nicholas Klodnicki (retired) of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and Father Don Hock of St. Mary Orthodox Church. The event has also been honored twice with the presence of His Grace Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lincoln.

A tentative date of Friday, March 26th has been set for the event in 2010.

Glory to God for this celebration of the great sacred music traditions of Christian East and West!

By Natanael Perez and Ben Whitener

Click here to view a gallery of photographs from the concert
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Diocesan Assembly: October 8-10, Lansing, IL

Upcoming Feasts of the Church

Polyeleos-rank Jun 19 - The Holy Apostle Jude the Brother of the Lord
Polyeleos-rank Jun 23 - Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God
Great Feast Jun 24 - Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John
Polyeleos-rank Jun 26 - Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jun 28 - Icon of the Mother of God, called The Three Hands; Polyeleos-rank Our Venerable Fathers Sergius and Herman, Wonder-workers of Valaam
Great Feast Jun 29 - The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul
Polyeleos-rank Jul 2 - The Holy Hierarch John Maximovich, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco;
Polyeleos-rank Jul 3 - The Holy Hieromartyr Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow
Polyeleos-rank Jul 5 - Our Venerable Father Sergius, Abbot and Wonderworker of Radonezh
Polyeleos-rank Jul 6 - Our Venerable Father Athanasius of Mount Athos
Vigil-rank Jul 8 - The Sitka (Kazan) Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 10 - The Deposition of the Robe of our Savior; Polyeleos-rank Our Venerable Father Anthony of the Kiev Caves
Polyeleos-rank Jul 11 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Blessed Princess Olga
Polyeleos-rank Jul 12 - Icon of the Mother of God, called The Three Hands
Polyeleos-rank Jul 14 - Our Venerable Father Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
Vigil-rank Jul 15 - The Holy Equal of the Apostles Great Prince Vladimir
Polyeleos-rank Jul 17 - New Royal Passion-bearers Tsar Nicholas and his family
Vigil-rank Jul 19 - Our Venerable Father Seraphim, Wonder-worker of Sarov
Vigil-rank Jul 20 - Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah
Polyeleos-rank Jul 23 - Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God
Polyeleos-rank Jul 24 - Right-believing Russian Princes Boris and Gleb
Polyeleos-rank Jul 26 - The Righteous Priest Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of the Native Peoples of Alaska
Polyeleos-rank Jul 28 - Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God
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