John of Damascus

revealing Orthodox Christianity through its sacred music

Directors' Notes



It’s #StJohnThursday!

Hi all — thanks to all who helped make #GivingTuesday worthwhile; now, it’s #StJohnThursday, The Saint John of Damascus Society’s patronal feast. Eventually, we want to have a semi-regular public event scheduled around the Feast of St. John of Damascus, but for now, we’re using it to build awareness. Today’s video, the last for this campaign, provides a detailed picture of the current state of the biggest thing we’re doing right now, The Psalm 103 Project (LINK).

Over the last month, we’ve shown you what we’re doing. If I might sum up the vision behind it all, it’s helping to build an Orthodox musical culture in the United States that is informed about why our music is the way it is, trained in how to sing our liturgical music in a way that fully engages the depth of our musical heritage, and can take advantage of the beauty of our liturgical music to reach out to the rest of the world, both through liturgical application as well as — dare I say it — artistic application.

In other words, the Eastern Orthodox Churches have perhaps the richest sung heritage in all of Christianity. That is a gift, and it is a gift that Orthodox Christians need to share with the rest of the world. That is the vision behind the The Saint John of Damascus Society’s mission statement, “Revealing Orthodox Christianity through its sacred music”.

Your gift will help us build that musical culture. It will help future phases of The Psalm 103 Project, it will help us publish Paraklitiki, it will help us develop long-term, lasting strategies for how our children will be taught to sing in church, it will help us build a choir school, it will help us pay for travel to places and meetings where the Society needs to have a presence, and it will help us plan events that will use music to reach out to the rest of the world, like the events that got us started in the first place.

So, please, on #StJohnThursday, our patronal feast, support The Saint John of Damascus Society (LINK). Please pray for us, please give, please share links to this blog post and our videos, and please tell your friends. Help us build something beautiful and lasting. If you want to give to a specific effort or want to know more particulars about something, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me (LINK). And know that whatever you do, it’s a blessing.

Thanks very much; a blessed Nativity Fast to everybody!

#GivingTuesday — because #CultureMatters, and we’re no different

Today is #GivingTuesday, a day that tries to balance out “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” just a little bit. Why bother? Because culture matters.

The Saint John of Damascus Society is an arts nonprofit. We’re a tiny one at that — we exist, we have projects we’re working on, and we have something to show for those projects, so that’s good. We’re young yet, though, and still finding our feet. As such, the things we’re working on to help contribute to our culture are only going to happen with your help.

Our mission statement is “Revealing Orthodox Christianity through its sacred music.” In other words, the arts we serve as a nonprofit are the sacred music traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. What does that mean? We’re not a church ourselves; we exist independently of church organizations; we get little to no direct support from church organizations. So, even though we’re not an organ of any ecclesiastical body, we believe that the beauty and richness of the Orthodox churches is worth supporting, advocating, and educating about, and that’s what we do. We believe that it’s a cultural contribution that has value, even in — perhaps especially in — non-Orthodox North America, and all of us who are involved with the Saint John of Damascus Society do our best to put our money, such as it is, where our mouths are.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve filled you in on some of what we’re doing. I’ve got another video for you today, and I’ll have another one for you in two days, on #StJohnThursday. If you think what we’re doing is worthwhile, then you can help us make a difference, and I hope that you will.

It’s #GivingTuesday, so what are you waiting for? Go to (LINK), and click on the Donate button or the Support tab. Either that, or e-mail me (LINK), and I’ll be happy to talk to you directly. Amounts don’t really matter; many drops make an ocean. All gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law, and we’ve only got 29 days before year end. Theodore will thank you, I promise.