Basil Nikolaidis

Archon Protopsaltes of the Great Church of Christ

On the 4th January 1985, Basil Nikolaidis, the Archon Protopsaltes of the Holy Great Church of Christ, departed to the Lord.

This blessed man was born on November 8, 1915 in the community of the Great Taxiarchs at Valata, Istanbul, to devout parents: the ever-memorable cleric of the Holy Archdiocese of Constantinople Kallinikos Nikolaidis and Soultana Kotoglu.

He was educated in the Great School of the Nation at Phanar and graduated in 1934. From his youth, faithful in his inherent call to Ecclesiastical music, he was added to the music circles of Phanar, and from 1924 became related to the choirs of the Great Church. He became Canonarch of the Patriarchal analogia during Iakovos Nafpliotes and Constantine Priggos. From 1929, he started serving the Churches of Istanbul as a proper cantor, and continuously studying Church music, which remained his primary occupation for 60 years since then. He put his whole soul and body in this activity, and it became the center of his activities during his life.

For many years, devoted to the tradition and ordinances of the Great Church, he laboured efficiently, always and everywhere, for the continuation of the Constantinopolitan musical tradition.

During the years 1949-1957, in order to enlarge his musical perception, he studied in the state Odeum of Istanbul, and graduated with excellent marks both in Turking and European music. For 27 whole years, he taught music at the Patriarchal Great School of the Nation and at the Zographeion Gymnasium, and in the Holy Theological School of Chalki as a Teacher of traditional ecclesiastical music.

Hence, in 1965, Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras hired him as the successor of the Archon Protopsaltes Thrasyvoulos Stanitsas, and on April 2, 1966, officiated him as the Archon Protopsaltes of the Holy Great Church of Christ. For 18 whole years, he acted as a true vessel of the Constantinopolitan musical tradition and honoured his prestigious Church position he was given.

As Archon Protopsaltes, Nikolaidis was very widely recognised. He wrote several works; he taught and directed most of the appearances the large Choir of the Association of the Friends of Music; and composed various psalmodies and hymns at various special occasions for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

During his Archcantory, the sacred liturgies of Holy Week in 1981, of holy Twelve Days (ie. Christmas and Theophany) in 1982, and the Salutations of the Most Holy Theotokos in 1982, were recorded by Prof. Gregory Stathis, for the preservation and dissimination of the Great Church's musical tradition

His great devotion to his sacred duties influenced his health from mid-1983. His situation was constantly worsening intil early 1985, on the fourth of which he died from a heart attack.

His funeral was chanted in the revered Patriarchal Church on January 7th, with the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios praying from the Sanctuary, and being represented by the Great Archdeacon Cyril. At the end of the service, the Patriarch blessed the departed man from the Beautiful Gate and wished him an everlasting memory to the ┬źdevout and devoted child of the Mother Church, and her right and honoured official┬╗.