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Protecting Veil of Theotokos



St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral is dedicated to the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. This feast traces its origin to tenth century Constantinople when it was under a series of attacks by pagan Slavs. During a lull in the attacks, people were able to gather for an All-Night Vigil service at a church dedicated to the Theotokos (Mother of God) in Blachernae, a district of the city. During the service, St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ saw the Theotokos in a vision. He saw her take her veil, stretch it over those gathered in church, and pray to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for protection, saying, "O Heavenly King, accept all those who pray to Thee and call on my name for help. Do not let them go away from my icon unheard." The Church remembers this event with a feast day every year on October 1.

The present recording highlights hymnography from the Vigil and Liturgy for this feast. Many hymns, such as the stichera, troparia, kontakia, and exaposteilaria for the feast are arranged to special melodies and chants that are not well-known in the English-speaking Orthodox world. The remaining hymns are either set to melodies common in Eastern Slavic Orthodox Churches or are recent compositions.

One of the new compositions featured on this recording is a Cherubic Hymn by Resa Ellison, a former conductor of the Cathedral Choir who reposed unexpectedly at the young age of 31 in 2010. This music score was not found until 2017, mainly by accident, when music files were being deleted from the computer in the cathedral’s music office. We are happy and honored to include Resa’s composition in this recording, both as a tribute to her work with the choir and in her loving memory.

Other contemporary composers featured on this recording, in addition to Resa Ellison, include: Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Archbishop Job Osacky, Fr. Sergei Glagolev, Dr. Peter Jermihov, Dr. Kurt Sander, and Peter Drobac. 


About St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral Choir

Zachariah Mandell, Music Director

Cathedral Choir In 1891 Professor Paul Zaichenko enlisted eight members of St. Mary’s Church to form an octet to sing at divine services. These immigrant men from the Carpatho-Rusyn region of Eastern Europe had no previous musical training, but their desire to sing has served as the foundation for decades of beautiful music glorifying God through hymns and songs of praise.

Since those early immigrant days in Northeast Minneapolis, the Cathedral Choir has become a fixture and worthy example of Orthodox liturgical music in the Upper Midwest and beyond.

Read more here.

Music Director

The Music Director is responsible for leading the choir at services and weekly rehearsals, providing music education to the choir and parishioners, preparing music for the services, and working with the parish's junior choir.


Zachariah Mandell, Music Director
1701 Fifth Street Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55413
[email protected]









Resources for Choir Members

Current readers schedule

Upcoming wedding schedule

Rehearsal schedule

Choir Photos

Musical Resources

OCA Website

Diocese of the Midwest


Musica Russica

Podoben Music Site

St. John of Damascus Society



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