History of the Struga psaltic school


Νέο μέλος
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
At the same beginning let me first thanks to all of you for the precious information and posts on this web. When listing the teachers of Byzantine church music from Slavonic origin we must not forget the wonderful and most holy teachers from the city of Struga (FYRO Macedonia). This beloved teachers, coming from the small and most beautiful city on the coast of the Ohrid Lake did an apostolic renovation of the Byzantine - Slavonic church singing set on this geographical latitude in the IX-XII century by St. Cyril and Methodius and their students, especially St. Clement of Ohrid founder of the famous Ohrid University (slavic simple (equivalent) of the Great Magnavarum University in Constantinople).
This happened at the begging of the XIX century and unfortunately stops in about the 1960 (the reasons are many). In the following few rows I�ll try to sketch the personal images of some of them by writing down the major features of their historical life.

Naum Miladin � b. 1817 Struga (FYR Macedonia) � d. 27 April 1895 Sofia (Bulgaria)
Naum Miladin was born in Struga in 1817. Student of the Ioannian gymnasium and the Patriarchic seminary on Halki (Constantinople) (1841). He graduated the seminary with highest grades and after returning at home he started lecturing Byzantine music and Greek language. While the studies (1843) he wrote the book �Theory and practice of the Byzantine ecclesiastical music� on Church-Slavic language (first of its kind on Church-Slavic following the �New Method�). Unfortunately, there is no preserved example of this book except copies from the first few pages. However this book is much more valuable since it will be used as a basic pattern of the so-called �Struga Byzantine ecclesiastical music school�. All further representatives of this school are Naum Miladin students.
There is one more (most valuable) information about Nuam Miladin, it�s about his loyalty and love to the Holy Orthodox Church. The XIX century is very hard for the orthodox people (the Orthodox Church) on the Balkan not only because of the Ottoman bondage but also because of the arrogantly and hackler attempt for proselytism by �our� Latin Christian �brothers�. Naum Miladin will play out grand role in the effort to reject this evil and stay faithful and loyal to the Holy Orthodox Church.

Georgi Hristo Ikonomov
Student of Naum Miladin and husband of his daughter. We have poor information about Ikonomov but what is known from the oral tradition of memory is that he was great chanter and teacher of Byzantine ecclesiastical music.

Archimandrite Kalistrat Zografski (Krstan Sandjak) b. 1830 (?) (Struga) � d. 1914 (Month Athos)
Great abbot and archimandrite of the St. Georgi Zograf monastery (Zographu) on Month Athos. He was a zealous ascetic and was encyclopaedically educated theologian, musicologist, and philologist. Before taking monastic vows, he was a professor of Greek language and church chanting. In the Zograf monastery he established a school of music, translation, and calligraphic transcription. Kalistrat of Zograf was a prominent theoretician of Byzantine neumatic musical notation, a composer and psalmist, an expert in Old Greek, Old Church Slavonic, Modern Greek, and Romanian. He was creating immortal works and translations. Kalistrat of Zograf is maybe the pre-eminent expert on the Byzantine neumatic musicology invented by the renowned ascetic, composer and psalmist, St. John Kukuzel (XII century). Kalistrat�s transcriptions (into Church-Slavic language) of some parts of the Kukuzel�s musical opus will remain remembered as unparalleled mastery. He was the author of the fundamental musical study �Eastern Church Chanting� in four volumes, printed on Holy Mount Athos in 1905. He is the author of several original compositions. The most famous are the Eucharistic canon �Father and Son�� and �It is Worthy��. As the publishing editor in Zograf monastery and a fine expert on a number of classical and modern languages, Kalistrat of Zograf was the first to translate and print the services of St. Clement of Ohrid, St. Nahum of Ohrid and The Saint Seven (Sedmochislenici), from Old Greek into Old Church Slavonic language. He had a reputation of brilliant psalmist. Father Kalistrat reposed in the Zograf monastic koenoniea in 1914. For his humble, contemplative and ascetic life he is revered as one of the dearest spiritual fathers of the Athonic monastery Zograf. His relics are being kept in the Zograf crypt. Father Kalistrat�s contribution to music and philology is re-evaluated in contemporary scientific circles.

Father Dionysius (Poposki) � born in Struga. Author of some church compositions. The most popular is Gospodi vozvah (Kyrie ekekraksa ?) on 1-st mode.

Father Demetrious (Milev) � do not have any information about him right now.

Anastas Kalajdzi - do not have any information about him right now.

Jance Klenko � (b. ? � d. 1944) do not have any information about him right now.

Sotir Cakar - do not have any information about him right now.

And Father Vladimir Sandjakoski � the last one. According me father Vladimir is the most holy father of our Church and the best chanter. The citizens of Struga used to call him the Slavic Chrisostomos :). I have much material to tell you about him (at the moment I�m writing a PhD thesis on his work) but I please you to excuse me for tonight :) because it�s getting very late here. I promise you to post very soon on the forum the following materials about him:
1. Biography
2. Bibliography
3. Historical sound examples from 1968
4. Sermon (speech) of father Vladimir about the life of the church psaltos, spoken on the funeral of the psaltos Sotir Cakar (mentioned above). You will love this� it is written with such a love and whiten the language of the neo-patristique synthesis.

Once again thank you for this web� and I hope you will find interesting information here. Enjoy!!!

Sincerely yours,
Dimitri Kumbaroski, M. Mus.
Professor of trumpet and chamber music and
Church psaltos by the mercy of our bellowed God



Δημήτρης Κουμπαρούλης, Administrator
Staff member
Dear Dimitri (with the strangely familiar name and surname:)), welcome to the forum and thank you for the information. Please send us more of it as you promised. Thanks.

Π. Δαβίδ

Γενικός συντονιστής
Dear Dimitrij,

As co-ordinator of the sub-forum Psaltic music in other (i.e. non Greek) languages and a great fan of psaltic music in church slavonic, I bid you a most warm welcome to the analogion forum. We look forward to more posts from you.

Indeed the city of Struga has a glorious history in psaltic music and I am delighted that the folk-like Mokranjac' s chant is being abandoned and psaltic music is used once more.

Π. Δαβίδ

Γενικός συντονιστής
Archimandrite Kalistrat Zografski (Krstan Sandjak) b. 1830 (?) (Struga) � d. 1914 (Month Athos)
Kalistrat of Zograf was the first to translate and print the services of St. Clement of Ohrid, St. Nahum of Ohrid and The Saint Seven (Sedmochislenici), from Old Greek into Old Church Slavonic language.

The work of Kalistrat Zografski is superb; let me just say that his translations (as well as those of Neofit Rilski) can be chanted very well as he chose the words very carefully aiming both at correct translation and also at correct psalmody.


Νέο μέλος
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Π. Δαβίδ

Γενικός συντονιστής
Thank you very much for upolading this historical recording.

It is indeed the Irmos used instead of "Aksion esti" on the Liturgy of the Nativity of the Theotokos; in the slavic menaion it is preceded by a verse (pripev) "Magnify, O my soul" -this verse is not found in the Greek Menaia we have now in use.

It's a marvel that the late Fr. Vladimir was not "contaminated" with the Mokranjac style music imposed by the Serbs from 1920 onwards.


Νέο μέλος
"It's a marvel that the late Fr. Vladimir was not "contaminated" with the Mokranjac style music imposed by the Serbs from 1920 onwards"

... The only reason for that was the marvellous behavior and education of St. Nikolai Velimirovic who was Bishop of Ohrid by that time. He knew that Mokranjac was very unhappy decision and he did everything to support the byzantine music tradition in Struga and his Eparchy. Unfortunatelly, Mokranjac was accepted as an official chant of the Serbian orthodox church and the further generation's of prists who were educated on the theological institutions in Serbia did not have opportunity to chose. Thats way I mentioned in the text above that father Vladimir was the last byzantine chanter in Struga.



New member
Dear Dimitri! Are you still planning to publish Historical sound examples Vladimir Sandjakoski from 1968 ?