St. Caedmon's Byzantine Chant Site


When the Holy Spirit saw that mankind
was ill-inclined toward virtue and that we
were heedless of the righteous life because
of our inclination to pleasure, what did he do?

He blended the delight of melody with doctrine
in order that, through the pleasantness and
softness of the sound, we might unawares
receive what was useful in the words according
to the practice of wise physicians who, when
they give the more bitter drafts to the sick,
often smear the rim of the cup with honey.

For this purpose, these harmonious melodies
of the psalms have been designed for us, that
those who are of boyish age or wholly youthful
in their character, while in appearance they
sing, may in reality be educating their souls.

St. Basil the Great

Automela are somewhat equivalent to the formal Protestant hymnals index of tunes. They are metered melodies that are used as model melodies for many hundreds of Orthodox hymns. The hymns that follow the tune of an automelon are called Prosomia. The aspiring Cantor should commit a good number of these to memory in order to be proficient in chanting.

The following list contains recordings performed by the monks of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline MA. The monastery uses King James English. We will be using a different translation; however, the melodies are the same, so concentrate on the melodies, not the words.

The monastery also provides a booklet in Western notation of the Prosomia. If you would like your own copy of these prosomia, a CD version should be available at the Cathedral bookstore.

I have arbitrarily placed a number in parentheses after the name of each prosomion. On a scale of 1 to 10, the numbers represent the relative frequency with which you may see these prosomia throughout the Church year.

Note: You may have to scroll to the right, left or down the following table in order to view all the Modes.

Mode One

O all-lauded martyrs (10)

O Strange Wonder (7)

The Soldiers Standing Guard (10)

The Three Most Great Luminaries (4)

Thou art the Joy (10)

While Gabriel was Saying (9)

Mode Two

Hearken Ye Women (10)

O House of Ephratha (7)

Thou Soughtest the Heights (5)

Upon That Mount in Galilee (10)

When He Took Thee (6)

While Thy Disciples Looked (4)

With What Fair Crowns (4)

Mode Three

Awed by the Beauty (10)

From the Heights, Our Savior, Ver. 1 (3)

From the Heights, Our Savior, Ver. 2 (4)

O Changeless Light (5)

O You Apostles From Afar (7)

On This Day the Virgin (8)

That Which Came to Pass (6)

The Power of Thy Cross (4)

Thou Who as God Adornest (8)

Thy Confession (9)

While Standing in the Temple's Courts (7)

Mode Four

As One Valiant (10)

Be Quick to Anticipate (10)

Joseph Was Amazed (10)

O Lord, When Thou Didst Ascend (6)

O Lord, Although I Desire to Blot Out (2)

On This Day Thou Hast Appeared (10)

Thou Who Hast Called From on High (8)

Thou Who Wast Raised Up (4)

Thou Who Wast Raised Up (Kontakion) (7)

Unto Them That Fear Thee (10)

Mode Plagal First

Let Us Worship the Word (10)

O Righteous Father (6)

Rejoice (9)

We the Faithful Bless Thee (4)

Mode Plagal Second

Angels in the Heavens (9)

As It is Written (10)

Ere the Morning Star (6)

Having Laid Up All Their Hope (10)

Ye Angelic Hosts (7)

Mode Grave


Mode Plagal Fourth

As First Fruits of Our Nature (5)

By Conceiving the Wisdom (10)

O Lord, Though Thou Didst Stand (10)

O Lord, Thy Holy Martyrs (6)

O Strange Wonder (10)

The Paradise of Eden (7)

Thou as the Life of All (10)

To Thee the Champion Leader (6)

What Shall We Now Call You (8)

When the Bodiless One (9)