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1. Introduction

Orthodox Christian worship, with all its beauty and majesty, has been described as “heaven on earth.” Entire peoples throughout history have converted to Christianity upon experiencing its splendor: those elaborate ceremonies executed according to intricate rubrics, visually featuring processions, vestments, incense, and icons, and audibly adorned with exquisite ecclesiastical poetry and refined chant. This beautiful audible art is often heard at its best in a concert setting. But its native and intended venue is the sanctuary, and the divine services of the worshiping Church.

The Orthodox Christian Church , numbering 300 million believers worldwide, is the heir of a distinctive tradition of worship that is formed and informed by a distinctive tradition of theology. The believers worship their God through sacred ceremonies and a superabundant wealth of ecclesiastical poetry, adoring Him by reciting and singing back to Him what He has revealed about himself and what He has done for humanity throughout the ages.

Millions of people worldwide who identify as Orthodox Christians find strength and comfort in the hope-giving message they get in their church services, and in no small measure from the religious poetry and music that dominate those services. It is a thousand-plus year tradition of chant that is a kind of music therapy, because, at its best, it is an exquisite and refined art that is both moving and edifying.

Today, many people are engaging with the ancient Christian Faith for the first time after experiencing its worship. Therefore, we believe that the Music Ministry of the Orthodox Church has significant and original contributions to offer to the spiritual life of this country and the world. To this end, AGES Initiatives, Inc. will develop tools and programs to promote and sustain the Church's Music Ministry, using current and emerging technologies.

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