The Melody of Faith

Eastern Orthodoxy draws no clear lines between music and poetry, words and images, theology and worship. These elements join together to “chorus the melody of faith”—a melody whose notes echo harmoniously in these six luminous essays. Guroian guides us from Creation to Resurrection, from Advent to Second Coming, by exploring selected icons, hymns, scriptural passages, and the cosmic movements of the Divine Liturgy itself. Often drawing upon his Armenian Orthodox heritage, Guroian infuses freshness into familiar themes with his choice of imagery: a crucifixion scene from an Armenian manuscript that “reinforces the impression that the flesh and the wood are one,” a soaring diaconal verse announcing the Great Entrance (“Cast up a highway for him who rides upon the heaven of heavens toward the east”). Yet Guroian admittedly writes “as a Westerner”: he weaves favorite passages from C. S. Lewis and J. S. Bach into his text, and reacts to discordant notes (especially on the atonement) struck by Augustine, Anselm, and filmmaker Mel Gibson in particular. Guroian’s melody resounds most poignantly when it becomes personal, recalling “experiences in which images of faith have come alive for me. Through song and the veneration of icons…each person who participates in the liturgy becomes a liturgist, a consecrator and transformer of this profane world into sacred reality.”  © Vigen Guroian 1999-2013