Byzantine Chant: The Received Tradition

A Lesson Book

by John Michael Boyer


ISBN 979-8-9859306-0-3

Years in the making, Byzantine Chant: The Received Tradition – A Lesson Book is a clearly written, detailed, and thorough manual for the notation, theory, terminology, and repertoire of the historic ecclesiastical music of the Greek Orthodox Church. Written by acclaimed cantor, composer, and pedagogue John Michael Boyer, this textbook will be a valuable learning resource for teachers, students, and researchers alike. 

“…a great service to the Body of Christ.”

His Eminence Gerasimos, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco

“This detailed and comprehensive book fulfills a great need and provides an original method of training students of ecclesiastical music.”

The Rev. Fr. Dr. Romanos Karanos, Professor of Byzantine Music, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA

“…a book that will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Anglophone students of the [Psaltic] Art.”

Dr. Achilléas Chaldæákis, Professor of Byzantine Music and the Psaltic Art at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

622 pages printed on acid-free paper. 6.69×9.75×1.43 inches; 3.23lbs. Hardcover finished with dark blue cloth and foil stamping. Written in English; musical examples in Greek and English.

With a letter of blessing by His Eminence Gerasimos, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco.

Introductions by The Rev. Fr. Dr. Romanos Karanos of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA and Professor Achilléas Chaldæákis, Dean of Arts, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Foreword by the author.


John Michael Boyer

John Michael Boyer

John Michael Boyer is Protopsáltis (First Cantor) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, Director of the Saint John Koukouzélis Institute of Liturgical Arts, Founder and Artistic Director of PRÓTO, and Associate Music Director of Cappella Romana. He began studies of Byzantine Chant at age 14 under musicologist Alexander Lingas and went on to study under the late Árchon Protopsáltis Lycoúrgos Angelópoulos and with renowned cantor, composer, and musicologist Ioannis Arvanitis. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.

As a teacher, John helps students of all levels of achieve facility and proficiency in the Byzantine musical tradition through a pædagogical approach synthesizing advanced ear training and vocal technique with Byzantine notation, modal theory, and ornamental expression.

A prolific composer, John has produced original and adapted settings of Byzantine Chant in both Byzantine and Western notations for numerous liturgical services, concerts, and recordings. These include Cappella Romana’s Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in English, published digitally on their website; the Saint Romanos Byzantine Choir of Holy Cross’s recording All Creation Trembled, later supplemented in collaboration with composers Gabriel Cremeens and Samuel Herron ( and published digitally by The Liturgical Arts Academy ( In 2013, he composed Byzantine melodies in English for the funeral of Sir John Tavener, later recorded by Cappella Romana and included in the forthcoming volume Byzantine Mysteries: Music for Orthodox Sacraments (working title, projected 2023). In 2016, John collaborated with his dear friend and colleague, Fr. John Rassem El Massih, in the founding of PRÓTO, a solo-duo ensemble. Their inaugural recording, Sun of Justice, features Byzantine Music for Christmas in Greek, Arabic, and English, available from Cappella Records. This project led to John’s publishing the digital book of same name, a comprehensive set of festal melodies for Christmas in English, whose printed publication is slated for 2023. His Resurrectionary, an English edition of the Anastasimatárion, is projected to be published in 2024.

In collaboration with renowned composers Matthew Arndt, Alexander Khalil, Kurt Sander, Richard Toensing, and Tikey Zes, John is featured on the Saint John of Damascus Society’s ( multi-movement composition project, Heaven and Earth: A Song of Creation, published by Musica Russica (; he also conducted its world première performances by Cappella Romana in 2018 as well as its recording, paired with Sir John Tavener’s Icon of Light, released in 2022.

John currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he serves as Protopsáltis and Director of Music at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. In 2018, John married Greek philologist, historian, lecturer, and author, Evangelía Boubougiatzí. They have twin daughters and split the family’s time between the United States and Greece.

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