Visible and Invisible, Audible and Inaudible Chant Performance in Byzantine Monastic Foundation Documents
Keywords:monasticism, performance theory, chanting practice
The present contribution discusses Byzantine monastic foundation documents, dating from the ninth to the fifteenth century, through the lens of performance theory. As the author argues, the way these documents arrange liturgical performance is not egalitarian, but instead introduces different categories of performers and audiences among the monastic community, justifying this arrangement theologically with the analogies of angelic hierarchies and the community as the body of Christ. The performance is intended to be heard not only by the community, but naturally the most important audience is God Himself; in the cases of an “elitistic” performance, in which the more educated monastics perform to God, the task of the rest of the community is to observe and overhear this dialogue. Most importantly, the success of liturgical performance is primarily dependent on the spiritual state of the performer, regardless of the fact how important their role in the performance is.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Damaskinos Olkinuora
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