Back in 2016, Pope Francis made a pontifical visit to Georgia, where he was greeted by the chants of the Georgian Orthodox priest Father Seraphim and his choir. The Holy Father was so taken by the performance that he kept his head bowed for the duration.
The music is so wonderfully chilling. It opens up with several male voices in droning chords, while a little girl sings the introduction. She is joined by another soft male voice in harmony for a verse, but then Father Seraphim opens up with his exceptional, full and piercing tenor. When the Orthodox priest erupted into song the whole room stood in awe of the sacred prayer, which almost sounds like a lamentation.
Slate cites the tune as it as a musical adaptation of Psalm 53, called “Our Father”. It is just one of many incredible recordings produced by Father Seraphim for the AssyrianEasternOrthodox Youtube page, which is worth a visit if you enjoy the video below.
Father Seraphim is an Assyrian Christian who lives and conducts his ministry in Georgia. As a priest, he tends to a flock of about 2,000 Assyrians living in the Georgian town of Kenda, where he celebrates Mass for them in their native Aramaic language. The ancient chants, which Father Seraphim has made popular through viral videos, developed to suit the needs of his Aramaic services.
In an interview with Georgian Journal, Father Seraphim explained that he felt called to be a priest in his mid 20s. The former martial artist, who once won the Trans-Caucasian Championship in wrestling, said that in his youth he had several close calls with death, including a fall into a cement mixer, which brought him to his faith.
Of his music, Father Seraphim told Georgian Journal:
Chanting, be it in Aramaic or Georgian, is a unique thing. The main difference is, of course, in the language itself, and another in the tune and cadence. Chanting in Aramaic is completely different culture-wise. It is Eastern, after all, and we replicated it exactly as it sounded in ancient times. Well, almost exactly.