“With One Voice and One Heart”:
Choral Singing as Embodied Ecclesiology
In the twentieth century, several Orthodox and Catholic theologians promoted an ecclesiology centred on the Eucharistic gathering. But while the sacrament of the Eucharist has typically been the focus of such “Eucharistic ecclesiologies,” the role of music in church services remains much less discussed. The Orthodox liturgy and patristic writers, such as the fourth-century St Basil of Caesarea, describe singing as an ecclesial act uniting worshippers as one body. Numerous recent scientific studies similarly suggest that choral music promotes social cohesion even at the physiological level. These scientific sources point to the ecclesial importance of choral singing and raise pastoral questions about the ways that churches work to include worshippers in the unifying act of music making.
Copyright (c) 2020 Robin Freeman
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