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:

  • know well the theory and the practice of Byzantine music,
  • must have a good voice, and
  • must have heard older teachers.

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:

Gregory Bounes AlyatesDuring the Fall
Manuel Chrysaphes II16481661
George Raidestinos I16701685
Panagiotis Chalatzoglous172710-4-1748
John of Trapezon11-4-17481765
Daniel of Tyrnavon176623-12-1789
Iakovos the Peloponnesian24-12-17891801
Peter Byzantios18021804
Manuel Byzantios180521-6-1819
Gregory the Levite22-6-181923-12-1822
Constantine Byzantios24-12-18221855
John Byzantios185620-7-1866
Stavrakis Grigoriadis21-7-186629-1-1871
George Raidestinos II2- 2-18714- 11-1875
George Violakis5-11-Ι8754-11-1905
Aristeides Nikolaides5-11-1905 1911
Iakovos Nafpliotes191128-2-1939
Constantine Priggos1- 3-19391959
Thrasyvoulos Stanitsas19601964
Basil Nikolaides-3-19654-1-1985
Leonidas Asteris6-1-1985