The entirety of human history led inexorably to and was fulfilled in one inexplicable event: the Incarnation of the Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through His Self-emptying and condescension to us on earth, He made possible our ascent with Him into the everlasting glory of His Kingdom. As Saint Ambrose of Milan says, “He was a Baby, He was a Child, so that you may be a perfect man; He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, that you may be loosed from the snares of death; He was in a manger, so that you may be in the Altar; He was on earth, that you may be in the stars. He had no place in the inn, so that you may have many mansions in the Heavens.” On this Great and Holy Feast, together with the Angels we sing, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will to men!,” as we exalt the Highly Exalted One Who humbled Himself, took upon Himself our nature which He formed from dust in the beginning, and redeemed it thatwe might be saved.
In this extensive two disc recording, our largest undertaking to date by far, we present a selection of hymns from the Great Compline, Festal Matins, and Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, as well as a few traditional Orthodox carols from the Ukrainian and Carpatho- Russian traditions. Looking ahead to the glorious Feast of Theophany (which used to be celebrated by the Church together with the Nativity as one grand Feast, that of the God-Man Jesus Christ and the manifestation of the worship of the Holy Trinity), we have included the Troparion of Theophany as the final track. It is Aleksandr Kastalsky’s arrangement of the ancient Znamenny Chant, and is a first-time recording in English by a full choir.
In addition, there are seven other first-time recordings of chants/hymns in English: Tracks 1, 6, the sessional hymn portion of Track 11, Tracks 13, 16, 23, and 28. There are three hymns from the ancient Byzantine Chant tradition – Tracks 5, 9, and 17. May the holy joy that filled the cave in Bethlehem and the peace of the Incarnate Christ be ever in your hearts, both during the Advent season and throughout the year!