An Account of the Works of Nektarios Protopsaltis and Nektarios Frimu in Manuscript no. 7 from the “Dumitru Staniloae” Ecumenical Library of the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia and Bukovina

Abstract

The “Dumitru Staniloae” Ecumenical Library of the Metropolitan Church of Moldavia and Bukovina (reffered to below as LMCMB) from Iasi has an invaluable collection of theological books and documents, consisting of more than 100,000 items. The library also has an important number of rare books – 35 of which are psaltic music manuscripts. Manuscript no. 7 from LMCMB is a psaltic Antologhion with Chrysantine notation, written in Romanian using the Cyrillic alphabet. The copyist and the place where it was copied are unknown, but it is possible that it was written at Mount Athos, between 1877 and 1882 (Apud Bucescu, 2009, p. 108). Manuscript no. 7 mainly contains chants for various services, translated and adapted by Nektarios Protopsaltes (1804-1899). Nektarios was one of the best known psalm singers and Romanian composers, founder of a psaltic music school, who was active at the Holy Mountain in the second half of the nineteenth century. Manuscript no. 7 also contains a rarer variant of the Doxastikon Lord, the fallen woman, attributed to another Moldavian composer – Nektarios Frimu (†1856). Like Nektarios Protopsaltis, he was also born in Husi (Moldavia, Romania) – but lived and worked in Iasi. For his achievements, he is honoured with the title of “hierarch of Tripoleos”. He authored the Anthology – Collection of psaltic chants for the Liturgy, (1840) and Collection of Psaltic Chants for Vespers and Matins (1846), one of the first works of its kind in Chrysantine notation in the Romanian language; these volumes were greatly valued during the second half of the nineteenth century. The present paper, which is part of the ampler project of cataloguing the entire collection of psaltic music manuscripts from LMCMB, focuses on the codicological presentation of the manuscript and its musical and liturgical content. The work will also present the authors, the Greek sources the chants were based on, also emphasizing the importance of this codex in the context of the LMCMB collection.

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