"An Eastern Orthodox Perspective"

By Athanasios



As you may know, fasting is a big part of the Orthodox Christian path to spirituality and closeness to the Great Spirit.  Another vital part of that path is prayer.

Prayers can be short or long, or spoken or sung.  Chanting is a very common form of Orthodox Christian prayer … and one of my favorite things to do.  I don’t know exactly what technically makes a chant a chant as opposed to any other kind of song, but it seems to involve a set pattern of words and a certain tone.  I have been chanting for several years; my own chants usually are either short prayers or a repetition of simple words or phrases in Greek or English or other languages.  I have even recorded some chants on my cell phone to send to others or to hear when I don’t feel up to chanting myself.

In a previous essay, Russia’s spiritual influence on other parts of the world was discussed, as well as how Russia spread Orthodox Christianity to those other parts.  While the United States’ “Manifest Destiny” was pushing it westward, Russia’s own destiny pushed it eastward.  Before the United States purchased Alaska, it had been owned by Russia for quite a while.  Alaska, therefore, was greatly influenced by Russian Orthodoxy and the Russian Orthodox priests and missionaries (some of whom are now recognized as saints) who visited and lived there. Some of these men translated the Bible into many of the Native Alaskan languages, and many Native Alaskans converted to that form of Christianity which was available to them.  There are quite a few Orthodox Christian churches in Alaska - I have only visited the one in Juneau - and many Native Alaskans still follow the Orthodox Christian faith.

I would have liked to include a chant or two of my own here, but they aren’t on the Internet and so they don’t have links.  But recently my oldest brother (who is more knowledgeable about these things) sent me a link to a web page on which chants and information about North American Orthodox Christianity can be found.  It seems to be a Canadian web site:  www.asna.ca (abbreviation for All Saints of North America).

And on this site there is information about Orthodox Christianity in Alaska:  http://www.asna.ca/alaska/index.html.  Because I don’t have Internet access (another column topic, perhaps!), I asked my brother to forward to me by text message links to specific chants in the 3 Native Alaskan languages available on the site:  Tlingit, Yup’ik and Aleut.  I’m very happy to share these with you!  Here they are:

 http://www.asna.ca/alaska/tlingit/tropar-theophany.mp3 http://www.asna.ca/alaska/tlingit/trisagion.mp3 http://www.asna.ca/alaska/yupik/blessed-is-the-man.mp3 http://www.asna.ca/alaska/aleut/christ-is-risen.mp3 

Please enjoy the chants, as well as browsing the web site to learn more about our Christian Faith and our history.

Christ Is Risen!  [what we proclaim on and after Pascha (Easter)]

In Christ, 

Michael Athanasios.

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