By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Park Slope presents a holiday benefit concert on Saturday, December 15 at 7 PM. Members of the parish choir and their friends will raise funds for the relief of Hurricane Sandy survivors. A free will offering will be received at the performance.
St. John’s Church also presents a service of lessons and carols to be offered on Sunday, December 23 at 11 a.m. A series of nine short beautiful lessons will be read, with Christmas music. All are welcome.
Plymouth Church’s annual Christmas Carol Service is a cherished neighborhood tradition.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, for a prelude with Plymouth’s own Tone Chime Choir ringing an assortment of traditional carols, some in duet with the organ. The service itself begins at 6 p.m.
The Plymouth Choir, under the direction of Minister of Music Bruce Oelschlager, will sing an international mix of carols: “Virga Jesse” by the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner, probably his best composed choir piece; “Whence Come Ye?” (Clarence Dickinson’s arrangement), based on an Italian folk song; “The Shepherds and the Inn,” (Harvey Gaul’s arrangement), based on a Mexican Christmas carol; “Gesu, Bambino,” by Italian composer Pietro Yon, who was former organist at St. Patrick’s Cathedral; “Say Where Is He Born” by Felix Mendelssohn, from his rarely heard oratorio, Christus; “Personent Hodie” (Seth Bingham’s arrangement), a medieval carol popular in England; “Mary Had a Baby,” an American spiritual.
(William Dawson’s arrangement); and the traditional carol “Joy to the World” in a setting reminiscent of a Handelian chorus from Messiah. The familiar tune (named Antioch) in hymnals is indeed attributed to Handel. Aleeza Meir returns as guest organist. The choir and congregation will join together for favorite carols including the finale, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” in candlelight. A festive reception follows in Hillis Hall. Nursery care and childcare are not available at this service. Children are welcome to join their families in the pews.
Eastern Orthodox Christmas Eve Service
Readers in Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn who are looking for an Eastern Orthodox Christmas service may visit either Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Schermerhorn St., east of Court St.) or St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral at State and Bond streets in Boerum Hill. St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral begins its celebration of the Nativity (Christmas) on Monday, December 24 with Matins at 8:15 p.m. Even though named for the traditional first monastic service of the day, this particular Matins service does taken place in the evening, as it heralds in the Divine Liturgy (Orthodox counterpart of the Christmas Eve Mass.)
His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP celebrates this Hierarchical Divine Liturgy starting at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Orthodox liturgies are unhurried and often last through the night. (This editor fondly remembers returning with friends from a 1982 Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve service, to a sumptuous 4 a.m. meal. This meal was a break-the-fast for many observant Eastern Orthodox Christians observing the stringent pre-Communion abstention from food, but it included everything from marinated calamari, olives and cheese to turkey with gravy) A light breakfast will be offered at the conclusion of the St. Nicholas Cathedral service.