Free Christian Cantatas, Anthems, & Ballet Music by Thomas Byron Parks
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The Cherubic Hymn
A Response or Anthem for A Cappella SATB
Music � 2008 Thomas Byron Parks


Click here to hear music as MP3
This has not been sung,, so instruments are used for voices. (MIDI String Ensemble 2 for SATB)
If you use it, please send me a recording that I may use on this site, and for seeking publication.

~ The Lyrics ~
We who mystically represent the Cherubim,
and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly care:
that we may receive the King of all,
who comes invisibly upborne by the Angelic Hosts.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The Cherubic Hymn is the primary cherubikon, or song of the angels, sung during every Divine Liturgy of the year except those of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday. It occurs after the Gospel reading and is interrupted by the Great Entrance. The Cherubic Hymn was added to the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by order of the Emperor Justinian near the end of the sixth century.

In singing the Cherubic Hymn, we are asked to lay "aside all earthly care that we may receive the King of all" (Matt 24:44). We are asked to leave this temporary world so that we may make the "great entrance" with Christ into His Kingdom.
Cherubim are a type of angel usually involved in sacred work before God. They are generally described as winged creatures with feet and hands. The word(s) occurs over 90 times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament at Heb. 9:5, "And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail."

The use of the word Alleluia in the Liturgy is also a very old inheritance from the Synagogue. It became a cry of joy without much reference to its exact meaning in a language no longer understood (as did Hosanna). Its place in the Liturgy varied considerably. In the Byzantine Rite it comes as the climax of the Cherubic Hymn at the Great Entrance.
it may be literally rendered, "All hail to Him Who is!"--taking "All Hail" as equivalent to "Glory in the Highest," and taking "Who is" in the sense in which God said to Moses: "Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel; WHO IS hath sent me to you.” It belonged, as a divinely authorized doxology, to the Hebrew liturgy from the beginning.

Finally let me say, the great Russian composers mostly did very much longer versions of this...and sometimes in eight part harmony. I wrote a shorter version in four part harmony which may be mote accessable to modern choirs. For The Cherubic Hymn scores of Archangelsky, Bortniansky, Chesnokov, Gretchaninov, Konstantinov, Konstantinov, Ledkovsky, Lomakin, and Lvovsky, check out:

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