Sunday Liturgy – May 22nd
Archbishop Michael presentation to Aleksei:
During their Spring Session in Syosset March 29—April 1, 2016, the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops awarded the Order of Saint Romanos to Dr. Vladimir Morosan and Aleksei Shipovalnikov in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the field of liturgical music in the Orthodox Church in America.
A native of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Aleksei V. Shipovalnikov served as Artistic Director and Manager of the Moscow State University Symphony Orchestra and Academic Choir. His post-graduate studies included a master class with Leonard Bernstein in Moscow in 1988. He has also conducted in West Germany and Poland, where he established a reputation for innovative programming in spite of the political risks involved during the communist era. Such ventures included the presentation of the first Stockhausen Festival in the USSR and the establishment of the “Fellowship of Musical Evenings” in Moscow under the auspices of Moscow University and the Russian Musical Society in 1985. Mr. Shipovalnikov immigrated to the US in 1990 and has been a guest lecturer at Columbia, George Washington, Princeton, Stanford and Southern Methodist Universities and Professor of Liturgical Music at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA. In 1991, he was appointed Music Director of Slavyanka Men’s Slavic Chorus. Two years later, he recorded the world premiere of Shvedov’s “Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom” for Harmonia Mundi. In 1994 he was named Artistic Director of the Concertino Chamber Orchestra in Moscow and, in the same year, he directed choral selections for the musical soundtrack of the film, Little Odessa, with Twentieth Century Fox. He is Founder and Director of the Spirit of Orthodoxy Choir and Music Director at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Jersey City, NJ.
Today the Church commemorates an important event in the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 2:22-40). Forty days after His birth the God-Infant was taken to the Jerusalem Temple, the center of the nation’s religious life. According to the Law of Moses (Lev. 12:2-8), a woman who gave birth to a male child was forbidden to enter the Temple of God for forty days. At the end of this time the mother came to the Temple with the child, to offer a young lamb or pigeon to the Lord as a purification sacrifice. The Most Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, had no need of purification, since she had given birth to the Source of purity and sanctity without defilement. However, she humbly fulfilled the requirements of the Law.
At this time the righteous Elder Simeon (February 3) was living in Jerusalem. It had been revealed to him that he would not die until he should behold the promised Messiah. By inspiration from above, St Simeon went to the Temple at the very moment when the Most Holy Theotokos and St Joseph had brought the Infant Jesus to fulfill the Law.