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Byzantine Chant I and II

Why do we sing in church? There are so many good and true answers to this question, one of which is that singing brings beauty into our services as a love offering to God. The ancient tradition of what we call Byzantine Chant in our services is designed to call its listeners into prayer while manifesting God’s beauty as the Kingdom of Heaven is incarnated in our worship space.

This course is designed for young people who are either brand new to Byzantine Chant or have some experience with it. This course will focus on learning Byzantine notation, which will be supplemented by learning some of the “Automela,” or model melodies in Byzantine chant. This course will also contain information on the various modes that can serve as a review or can be learned for the first time.

Guiding Principles:

● Chanting is a love offering to God, in service to the congregation. Therefore, we who sing in Church ought to practice and put dedicated effort into learning, while trusting that God will receive our offering as we learn. We have faith that God will complete what is lacking in our offering and receive it as a sacrifice of love.
● As with most learning processes, the path to mastery (or even proficiency) comes through making mistakes and sounding bad. Therefore, our classroom will be our “laboratory” where we can experiment and make mistakes in front of each other. In order for this to happen, we will insist on a supportive classroom environment, and encourage students to take risks for the sake of our musical growth.



Mr. Murray’s Course Syllabus

Required Materials:

  • Any recording device such as a smart phone in order to record audio files for submission.
  • All other course materials will be provided in electronic format by the instructor.

*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Paul Murray is a 2021 graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, earning his Master of Divinity and Certificate in Byzantine Music. He has been chanting since the age of 10 at churches in the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Archdioceses. He has studied under Fr. Romanos Karanos and briefly under Gabriel Cremeens. He has taught classes in Byzantine Chant at summer camps and other programs, and has given some private chanting lessons. He is currently the School Administrator of St. Herman of Alaska Christian School in Allston, MA, and serves as the Protopsaltis (lead chanter) of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Newburyport, MA. He lives in Boston with is wife, Despina, who is also a chanter, and his one-year-old daughter, Photini.

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.

To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

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Explore our courses!

First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with St. Raphael School.


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Make sure they don’t conflict with other activities in your schedule or other courses you are purchasing. Our system will not catch double-bookings!


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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.


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