George Rhædestenos II

Archon Protopsaltes of the Great Church of Christ

George Rhædestenos II was acting Lambadarios, when Stephen the Lambadarios was old and weak. He was an unimmitable performer of psaltic art, and second to none of his contemporary cantors; he was especially renowned for his ancient-like patriarchal chanting style.

He was born in 1833 in Rhædestus, where his first learned music; but later became profficient in Constantinople by the Archcantor of the Great Church Constantine Byzantios, at the proposal of the retired in Antigone former Patriarch of Constantinople Constantine I from Sinai.

He served as a cantor in various churches of the Archbishopric of Constantinople. In 1863, under Patriarch Sophronios II of Amaseia, he was made Lambadarios of the Great Church, when Protopsaltes was John Byzantios. On 2 February 1871, under the patriarchy of Gregory VI, he became Archcantor in succession of Savrakes Gregoriades.

In October 1876, he retired from the patriarchate and lead the choir of the church of St John of Chios in Galata, of St Nicholas and the Saviour Christ, the church of the Holy Trinity at Peran, and towards the end of his life in the church of St Nicholas at Tzivali.

Rhædestenos beatified and metered all the lessons of the yearly service; he composed several hymns which stand out for their honey-sweetness; he published two music books, in which one can find the chanted services of the Holy Week and the Pentecostarion together with remarks from the Typikon.

Some of his beautiful hymns were published in the «Μουσικὸν Ἀπάνθισμα» by Demetrios Kyphiotes (1894), and by Agathangellos Kyriazides in the 1896 book «Ἕν ἄνθος τῆς καθ ἡμᾶς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς μουσικῆς», as well as in the Athenian musical newspaper «Φόρμιγγα» (Mucical volume of the 1st year, pages 3 and 129).

For four years, he presided over the Hellenic Musical Association, which was based in Galata (1880-1884), and directed and taught at this Musical School (1882). He had few, but distinguished students. He died in August 1889.