One of the unforeseen pleasures of living in Romania, as we did for 5 years, was the very high quality of their musical tradition.  To listen to an Orthodox church choir could be a sublime experience.

(winter in Brasov)

I miss Romanian Christmases now:  they enjoy it all so much more simply than we do.  Carol singers are still very much in vogue, and every Christmas a choir would visit the block of flats where we lived and sing outside our door.  The majority of people would go to church and the Christmas services were packed, almost always in snow and ice (with no heating in the churches!)

It was a lovely time and made even more so by Romanian friends who always invited us to eat with them on Christmas Day.  We were never left on our own.

For a taste of a Romanian Christmas carol sung by a choir, with images of that beautiful country, try this:

It is the Madrigal Choir singing ‘Oh what wonderful news’, a very popular carol.



  1. This post absolutely captivated me ….thank you!

    And I wish you a wonderful birthday…..a little capricorn like myself!!!!xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    1. Although I enjoyed some of the Orthodox worship – and we were in an Orthodox church most Sundays in Romania, so I saw a whole range, and some of it was pretty dire – I came to the conclusion that I could never become Orthodox, and I don’t think I would want to be there for ever: the services are very long, you stand all the time, and I do believe that the Orthodox Church is in great need of its own reformation – they didn’t have one when the west did!


  2. The lovely song to Heaven is sublime. The sounds of singing in Church during the time of Christ’s birth, seems to bring out the very best in all of us. Blissful, and to think you lived there once, teaching ‘The Word of God.’
    May I wish you a very Happy Birthday during this time, and may it be one to remember. I can feel there are many people, including myself, who are happy that you were born, gillyk!
    With very best wishes. always. JW w/Hugs


    1. What a very lovely thing to say, Charlotte! Thank you so much, and I wish you every blessing this Christmas time. I do hope you are beginning to feel somewhat better. Hugs!


  3. Wow that was all awe-inspiring… the singing with the amazing scenery and the ICONS…. I feel all wistful….. no wonder you miss it all…….:(

    Can’t you go back just for Christmas one year? Plan it now for Christmas 2012 or something?? xxx


    1. Cannot help thinking an igloo wouldn’t be out of place there? On wheels so we could drag it through the snow to the best icony churchy singy placey…. and then drag it off again?

      Just a thought……. 😉


      1. The great thing is that we could put the igloo on a cart with skis and have a horse pull us – they really do still do that – I wanted to have a sleigh-ride in the snow every Christmas, but never got around to it!


      2. An igloo on skis would be absolutely perfect! :>> Horse-drawn to boot… even better! What a way to travel eh? :)) A sort of gypsy eskimo traveller type of life!

        I’m glad you’ll go back and experience all that again – do make sure you get round to it… there’s many a slip ‘twix cup and lip!

        (TWIX? oh I’m all hungry now….mmmmmm…)


      3. 🙂 the igloo would slip along on its skis – I wouldn’t let it endure any sort of Freudian slip – we’d only end up back at the Poles with you doing Lapps round the icebergs.

        Oh… you meant Twix…… 😉

        I knew all the time really! :>>


      4. :)) I could do with some skis so I could slip around at present … Hmm. Wondering if I could use my skis when I take services, and do they do them in liturgical colours???

        Maybe I could have some multi-coloured ones, to match the northern lights … 🙄


        :crazy: :))


    2. We fully intend to go back! We’ll probably visit in time for Fr Simion’s Pentecost, which is his patronal festival … or Archbishop Andrei’s Easter, or something like that!


  4. Wonderful……Deeply mystical…..yet, joyous! Always loved Orthodox Music (Worship)…..
    Such superb pictures in the accompanying slideshow.
    Thanks for sharing….:)xx


      1. I almost posted a male Orthodox choir singing the trad Byzantine stuff – amazing sound, with a kind of ‘drone’. Hub used to attend a monthly meeting for all the Orthodox priests in the diocese and he said when they sang, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up! You have to pass a voice trial in order to be accepted at the Orthodox faculty of theology to train as a priest.


      2. I studied Russian at O-level and as a result we were taught the Song of the Volga Boatmen in Russian. Very impressive.

        Here’s the male voice choir I was thinking of: I am not sure how to upload YouTube but perhaps you can copy and paste if it doesn’t work! :yes:


      3. John Tavener’s “Song for Athena” sung at Princess Diana’s funeral, was the first time I heard that style of male singing. My skin tingled, as did yours!


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