Axion Estin Foundation, with Chanter Christos Chalkias, to Honor St. Vladimir’s Seminary

Acknowledging its long-standing interaction with St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS), the Axion Estin Foundation (AEF) will present the seminary with 20 volumes of the “Great Theory of Music” by Chrysanthos of Madytos (1770–1846), during an evening reception Friday, March 23, 2012, on the seminary campus. The presentation will immediately follow the services of Little Compline and the Fourth Stasis of the Salutations of the Theotokos, served according to Byzantine liturgical tradition and including renowned chanter Christos Chalkias of Thessalonica, Greece. Services will be held in Three Hierarchs Chapel, beginning at 7 p.m., with a reception and presentation following in the John G. Rangos Family Building. The public is welcome.

The 20-volume gift set (AEF, 2010)—the first ever peer-reviewed English translation of this important source—was funded by The Rev. Peter N. Kyriakos Endowment Fund. Translator Dr. Katy Romanou of the Music Department of the University of Athens, Greece, and Senior Visiting Scholar of the Onassis Foundation USA, noted, in reference to the volumes, “Chrysanthos’ treatise is by far the most referenced source in Byzantine music education....”

AEF’s gift of the print publication will be accompanied by an electronic publication of the volumes (AEF, 2011), and by 20 copies of the music CD “Sacred Music of Byzantium” (AEF, 2008), featuring the Greek Byzantine Choir, directed by Lycourgos Angelopoulos. The latter gift, in enhanced-CD format, allows for electronic access to complete printable bi-musical music texts (i.e., Byzantine music texts juxtaposed with western music texts, accompanied by the original Greek text, transliterated to facilitate access).

Christos Chalkias is an alumnus and former teacher at the Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy (established 1749) of the monastic community of Mount Athos, Greece. He is visiting New York as the featured artist in a program titled “Christos Chalkias Chant and Oud Performance,” which will be co-presented by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and AEF on March 24, 2012, as part of the museum’s “Byzantine and Islam: A Festival for All Ages” exhibition.

Since its incorporation with the New York State Department of Education, AEF has engaged in strong collaborative efforts with regional centers of academic excellence. Of those centers, SVOTS is the closest in proximity, being less than five miles away from the foundation’s headquarters, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, in New Rochelle, NY.

In January 2006, The Very Rev. Dr. John Erickson, then dean of St. Vladimir’s, opened AEF’s inaugural conference, titled “Byzantine Music Teaching Methodologies.” Since then, the two institutions have interacted many times, including the recent participation of Hierodeacon Herman Majkrzak, lecturer in Liturgical Music at SVOTS, and Matushka Robin Freeman, the seminary’s Annual Gifts Officer and co-director for special musical programs, at AEF’s event at The Cloisters Museum in New York City (September 2011). 

As part of AEF’s mission to identify opportunities to introduce Byzantine Music content into academic curricula in the United States, AEF’s Director, Dr. Angelo Lampousis, initiated dialogue in January 2010 with The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of SVOTS; Dr. Christos P. Ioannides, director of the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College, City University of New York; and Dr. Peter Jeffery, The Michael P. Grace Chair in Music, University of Notre Dame.