Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

The Chanted Passion

Yesterday, Palm Sunday, we entered into Holy Week, in which our greatest remembrance is the Passion of Christ. One of the most ancient of all chants — the chanted Passion according to St. John — reflects this remembrance. This gospel passion has been chanted for centuries on Good Friday, first being noted in the scriptures with nothing more than symbols indicating those parts chanted  by Christ, those by other characters (such as the “turba” or crowd,  or  Pilate) and finally, a narrator.

Here is a perfect example of the ancient  tradition of  chanting scripture to “lift it up.”  God’s word was meant to be sung in order to help reflect the depth of its meaning.

There is no other chant that carries more weight — more spiritual “gravitas”  — than the chanted Passion narrative. It is perhaps one of the simplest chant recitations, yet it carries some of the greatest truths. I think that that is the real lesson inside of this particular chant: its sheer simplicity is the very thing that seems to let it bring forth the incredible beauty of the Good Friday Passion.

The Community of Jesus








Image credit: chant grégorien – Music in Parc

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