“You Simply Have to Love”: a Short Review on the Most Popular Album of St. Elisabeth Convent’s Choirs

Nun Juliania, a choral conductor and Church composer, is well-known both in her home country Belarus and abroad. In the past years Nun Juliania’s choir recorded several beautiful albums of Liturgy chants.

The current album “You Simply Have to Love” represents a great collection of non-Liturgical Orthodox music which belongs to the spiritual heritage of various Christian nations, including Belarus, Russia, and Greece.

Agni Parfene, a classical hymn dedicated to the Mother of God, is probably the most recognizable non-Liturgical chant of Eastern Christian tradition. The song Creeping over the Water tells a touching story about a girl who prefers a monastic cassock over bridal dress. Listening to O, Wondrous Isle of Valaam one cannot help imagining the majestic domes of the monastery surrounded by the pine tree forest and nicknamed the Athos of the North. The Belarusian spiritual folk-song Three Angels reminds us that narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14). Finally, You Simply Have to Love is a true masterpiece composed by Nun Juliania with lyrics by Archpriest Andrew Logvinov who calls upon us to love and forgive everyone.

It is not a secret that there is some prejudice toward choral music regarded by some as old-fashioned and boring. I think the most obvious advantage of the album is a careful selection of songs which can appeal to a general audience. Moreover, some of the songs presented in the album can be performed even by small choirs. This may be an opportunity for those who love spiritual choral music to make it more popular in the modern society and educate the young generation obsessed with listening to pop artists.

The album You Simply Have to Love gives us an excellent chance to reflect on eternal values, such as faith, joy, hope, love, and mercy while enjoying the best examples of spiritual music. You can visit the Catalog of St. Elisabeth Convent to listen to a short preview of the album.


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