Sretensky Monastery was founded in 1397, on the spot where Muscovites met the sacred procession bearing the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God, which was delivered to Moscow in 1395 to protect it from the invasion of Tamerlane. The Monastery was founded two years later to commemorate the miracle of Tamerlane’s retreat. Thus, the Monastery Choir has existed for more than six centuries.

Sretensky Monastery Choir The Sretensky Monastery Choir. Photo: supplied

The choir plays an important role in the divine services of the Orthodox tradition. The basis of the choral singing was a Znamenny plainchant. Polyphony, the so-called “line hymnody singing” put in an appearance at the beginning of the 17th century in Russia. Other chants – Bulgarian, Kievan, Greek – also became widespread. All these trends are reflected in the Sretensky Monastery Choir’s singing in one way or another. Later, the liturgical reform of Nikon, the seventh Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia cultivated part-singing in all monasteries.

In the 17th century, the monastery’s choir became widely known because of the choristers who attended the solemn citywide sacred processions led by the Tsar and his Holiness the Patriarch from the Kremlin...