Panihida

September 11, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Arts, Theology | 1 Comment

Today is the seventh anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001.  I was kinda dreading this day, because I am already tired of election year rhetoric, and I did not want to spend a day listening to the pundits opine about … whatever.  I don’t even want to discuss it.

So instead, I eschewed my usual drive-time occupations in favor of Mikko Sidoroff’s Panihida, which is an Orthodox form of a requiem for the dead.  It was a most welcome change.  The spare but complex harmonies almost bypass the ear  to touch the soul.  There’s something about Finnish musical compositions that are stark but breathtaking.  Maybe it has something to do with the landscape, though I’ve never travelled outside Helsinki to see for myself.

A panikhida (the Slavonic spelling) is generally served the third day, the ninth day, the fortieth day, the first year, and generally every year thereafter from the time of death.  The dead are not lost from us, just separated for a time.  So, it is a fitting thing to offer a panikhida and remember our departed and our own mortality.

Memory Eternal

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  1. “bypass the ear to touch the soul.” What a perfect way of putting it! They’re specifically composed for that very purpose, to avoid tickling the ears, to appeal to the soul instead of the carnal man.


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