Archon Archcantors of the Great Church of Christ
The institution, the people, and their rôle
The Great Church of the Christ is a temple of God, that never knew break. Services took place and take place every day.
The patriarchal choirs with their cantors were the transmitters of the greatness of Orthodoxy, and the victorious relay runners of the resource of the musical ecclesiastical tradition.
The patriarchal choirs are composed of the Archon Archcantor, the Archon Lambadarios, the two Domestikoi, and the Canonarchs. The choirs take their place with a prescribed order; they are always well prepared. They never use musical texts in order to sing any Troparia, Polyelei, Idiomela, Cherub Hymns, etc. The canonarchs read the troparia looking towards the analogion with the book in their hands and facing the cantor «face to face.»
For somebody to successfully sing Byzantine music, he must have the following three qualities:
The Archcantor chants in accordance with the tradition of the Patriarchate: namely what he received from his predecessors, which is also what they received from their predecessors, and so on. In this way, a classical psalmody is kept successively, a psalmody which we call «the tradition of the Great Church of Christ.» The Archcantor and the Lambadarios are especially strict regarding this tradition, and they try to transmit it to their newly arrived assistants and/or canonarchs. But also the Patriarchs themselves and the Hierarchs and all the clergy of the Patriarchate are very familiar with the importance of this tradition, and are hence instinctively demanding. The Patriarchal style of chat is simple, unpretentious, mystical, and unwritten.
There follows a list with the Archcantors of the Great Church since the Fall of Constantinople: