A Christian Orthodox chant of Psalm 71 was sung in Greek during the Exchange of the Swords ritual at King Charles’ Coronation Service at Westinster Abbey in London on Saturday.
The psalm, which consists a prayer to God to bless a new king and lead him to be righteous and deliver justice, was expertly sung by the seven Greek musicians forming the Byzantine Chant Ensemble.
Christian Orthodox psalm chanted in Greek during the Exchange of the Swords
According to the Order of Service, when Charles III sat in the Coronation Chair, the Byzantine Chant Ensemble came forward to sing Psalm 71 in Greek, in recognition of His Majesty’s father Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, who was born in Corfu and was a member of the former Greek royal family.
The Greek chant was sung while the Sword of State was exchanged for the Sword of Offering by the Lord President of the Council, the Reverant Honorary Penny Mordaunt MP -who became the first woman to have ever presented the Bejewelled Sword of Offering to a British monarch.
Rt Hon Mordaunt MP delivered the Sword of Offering, which symbolises the protection of good and the punishment of evil, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who placed it in King Charles’ right hand.
While the Greek chant was still being sung, the King rose, and the Sword was fastened at His Majesty’s waist using the Sword Belt before the King once again offered the Sword at the Altar, where it was received by the Dean.
According to tradition, the Sword is offered to Westminster Abbey in payment for hosting a Coronation Service, and redeemed by offering a symbolic payment.
The Sword was redeemed with the offering of 100 newly minted 50ps, by the Lord President of the Council, who carried it before the King for the remainder of the Service.
Greek ensemble that sang the Byzantine psalm at King’s coronation
The Byzantine Chant Ensemble was led by Greek-Canadian music professor Dr. Alexander Lingas, who formed the ensemble especially for the coronation.
Among his many accolades, the distinguished musician was named Archon Mousikodidáskalos (Chief Music Instructor) by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in 2018.
The Byzantine Chant Ensemble led by Dr Lingas at King Charles’ Coronation Service was made up of experienced singers who have served as cantors in cathedrals and parishes in the UK and Greece; Stelios Kontakiotis, Themis Prodromakis, Vassilis Maroulas, Dimitrios Skrekas, George Zacharias and Giorgos Savvas.
A great honour to be part of the #Byzantine Ensemble, chanting in the traditional Byzantine style the 71st psalm at the King’s #coronation ! A once in a lifetime experience – honouring the King and his late father’s Greek heritage! https://t.co/TIkpHGNms4
— Themis Prodromakis (@themispr) May 6, 2023