What is the National Forum?


Church Musicians  

The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians is the Archdiocesan ministry responsible for liturgical music activities and the development, support, and recognition of church musicians. Chartered in 1976 as an official auxiliary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the National Forum serves as the liaison among local church musicians, metropolis church music federations, and the Archdiocese. It also serves as the gathering place for church musicians to discuss issues related to liturgical music and to formulate needed responses.

The National Forum has four major areas of focus:

  • Support for CHOIRS, providing resources and activities to improve the quality of choirs and the availability of choral music in the church
  • Support for CHANTERS and the preservation of BYZANTINE CHANT
  • Support for YOUTH CHURCH MUSIC PROGRAMS, including hymnology and junior choirs
  • Support for CLERGY, including parish music ministries, and support for clergy

+ Constantine "Dean" Limberakis 1928-2019

Once again, we are feeling great sadness as we experience the loss of another giant among our church musicians this year. Today we are mourning Constantine (“Dean”) Limberakis who unexpectedly fell asleep in the Lord yesterday (Tuesday) morning after a short hospital stay over the weekend. He was 91 years old, still active, working, directing, driving, joking, until this past weekend.

It is difficult to think of all that Dean meant to us, there is so much – good and generous friend and family member, longtime choir director, loving teacher and mentor, consummate performer and producer, and also composer, guest director and clinician, classic and witty Bostonian --- all in all, a dedicated Orthodox Christian, the epitome of church musicianship at its best.

Dean was the longest serving choir director in our Archdiocese, serving almost 75 years at the helm of Orthodox choirs, both in Greek Orthodox and Antiochian parishes. Most recently, he served as Director of Music at the Annunciation Cathedral of Boston for the past 30 years. Dean also served as President of the Metropolis of Boston Federation of Church Musicians for 20 years and was more recently named its President Emeritus.

Dean was active in the leadership of the National Forum from the time he attended his first meeting with us during the Clergy-Laity Congress in Atlanta in 1989. Since then, he chaired the Awards Committee, responsible for the creation of the medals and medallions we still bestow on deserving church musicians, and other public relations products.

From the time he was appointed an Adjunct Professor in 1989 and then in 2008 as Director of Music for Hellenic College and Holy Cross, Dean served as the Forum’s liaison to the School. While there, he became a beloved mentor to the seminarians and was key to the implementation of our Graduating Seminarian Awards. He also played a significant role during the construction and completion of the National Forum Church Music Room at the Archbishop Iakovos Library. He was a Life Member of the Forum.

Dean often served the Forum as its liturgical consultant for the massed choirs which sang at many Clergy-Laity Congresses and served as Guest Director himself several times. Most recently, he completed the first liturgical setting for choirs that used the Archdiocese’s new standard English translation, which he debuted and conducted at the Nashville Clergy-Laity Congress in 2016.

For all his many good works, far too numerous to mention here, Dean was awarded the St. Romanos Medallion for Exemplary National Service in Church Music in 1992. He was also named Archon Primikirios of the Order of St. Andrew by the Archdiocese in 1997 and was the recipient of its prestigious Medals of St. Paul and St. Andrew as well as the Archbishop’s Years of Service Award for Choir Directors.

Dean’s funeral will be on Monday, June 17th at 10:00 am at the Annunciation Cathedral, 514 Parker Street in Boston. His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios will preside with Father Demetrios Tonias, Dean of the Cathedral, among others. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend.

Visiting hours will be on Sunday, June 16th at the Cathedral from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm with a Trisaghion service. In lieu of flowers, donations in Dean’s memory may be made to the Cathedral. Burial will be held in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett, MA.

Choir members who would like to sing at Dean’s funeral on Monday morning should be at the Cathedral at 9:30 am for a brief rehearsal.

Condolences may be sent to Paul Cassettari and Dean’s sisters, Andra and Carrie, at his home address: 375 Broadway SPC367, Linnfield, MA 01940.

Words cannot express our sense of profound loss – we join the many friends, clergy, seminarians, faculty and staff members, choir members and chanters who are mourning him. While we know that he has joined so many others in the choirs of angels in the heavens, we also feel how deeply we will miss his presence among us.

We say, with love, to our Dean --- well done, good and faithful servant – may your memory be eternal!

The obituary can be found at https://www.faggas.com/obituary/constantine-dean-limberakis.

The National Forum mourns the passing of National Chariman Maria Keritsis

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we let you know that our National Chairman, Maria Keritsis, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, March 20th

Maria has been an exemplar Orthodox Christian, church musician, and national leader. Since her early years as a choir member and junior choir director, Maria was always active in many activities and projects of her home parish of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Richmond, its parish council, its Philoptochos, and of course, its choir. She always gave generously of her time and talents.

For her Church Music Federation in the Metropolis of New Jersey, her leadership and dedication were evident as she served as its President, originator and administrator of its scholarship program, and organizer of many concerts, conventions, and Church Music Institutes.

Maria also had deep roots in the National Forum, starting as one of the group present with Archbishop Iakovos when the founding of the National Forum was announced in 1978, and then continuing as a delegate to Annual Meetings, serving as one of its administrative heads, and finally, in 2012, being elected as National Chairman by the Coordinating Committee of representatives from all of the Metropolises.  Highlights of her tenure were how she galvanized the Oloi Mazi Team to complete their work in setting the new Synod-approved English translation of the Divine Liturgy to music and her collaboration with Father Tony Vrame of the Department of Religious Education and Metropolitan Methodios to bring the new Divine Liturgy Hymnal to fruition for the parishes. She also led Forum members in revising the instructional Hymn Series to match the new translation and also with several composers and arrangers to bring new versions of choral music that also match the new translation.

For her service in church music, Maria was awarded the Athenagoras Medal for Outstanding Metropolis Service in 2001, and just last year at the Clergy-Laity Congress in Boston, the prestigious St. Romanos Medallion for Exemplary Service in Church Music at the Archdiocesan Level.

As a sister in Christ, Maria was a church musician who understood the role and centrality of sacred Orthodox music in the worship and life of our faith and who strove to continue its traditions and legacy. We knew her as devout, gracious, sweet, and generous. We will miss her leadership, her wisdom, and her friendship tremendously.

Maria’s wish was that Memorial Donations be made to the Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral Building Fund.

May her memory be eternal!

What’s New!

2020 Liturgical Guide Book

The 2020 Liturgical Guidebook is now available for ordering. The cost of the Guidebook is $40 plus shipping and handling.

Usually, you have been able to order your Guidebooks from the Orthodox Marketplace, but this year, because it has been down for “temporary systems maintenance” for quite a while, we are providing you with three other ways to place your orders so you can receive this resource in a timely manner.

1) ORDER BY EMAIL: send your order to the Department of Religious Education at religioused@goarch.org. Please be sure to include the following:

  1. Your name
  2. The complete mailing address for delivery
  3. Your home parish, city and state
  4. Your email
  5. Your phone number
  6. Please DO NOT include your credit card number in the email
  7. The Department will have the Guidebook(s) sent to you and will send you an invoice for payment.

2) ORDER BY FAX: send your order to the Department of Religious Education at 617-850-1489. Include all the information listed above and NO credit card number. You will receive an invoice for payment from the Department.

3) ORDER BY PHONE: Call in your order to the Department of Religious Education at 646-519-6300 or toll free 800-566-1088, M-F 9:00 am-5:00 pm EST. Be sure to provide the same information as listed above.

Note: Your 2019 Guidebook charts are good until the end of February 2020. However, if you prefer to wait and order online, the website address is www.orthodoxmarketplace.com. Keep checking the Marketplace home page it until the systems maintenance message disappears. When it becomes operational, use the SEARCH box at the top to enter: 2020 Liturgical Guidebook.

We hope you find one of the alternative ordering methods satisfactory given the state of the Marketplace site. Should you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to contact the Liturgical Guidebook Editor: Peter Vatsures at vatspnv@hotmail.com or call him at 614-263-1343.

October 6, 2019 was National Church Music Sunday!

Since 1982, National Church Music Sunday has been a day set aside to honor the contributions of local choir members, psaltai, and music educators who serve their churches through the hymnology of our Orthodox Churches. The National Forum offers many resources to help honor our Church Musicians. Click here to learn more.

2020 Annual Meeting of the National Forum

This year's Annual Meeting of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians will be held in conjuction with the 2020 Clergy-Laity Congress in Clevelend, Ohio fron Sunday, June 28 through Thursday, July 2, 2020. The Clergy-Laity Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will take place at St. Paul Greek Orthodox Church in North Royalton, OH on Sunday, June 28. Registration and hotel information will follow in the coming weeks. Please note that delegates must be paid Stewards of the National Forum.

Stewardship Form

The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Arranged by Nicholas Roubanis - Selected Hymns in Greek and English

The 5th Edition of Nicholas Roubanis' arrangement of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Selected Hymns that have been re-typeset and adapted to the approved English translation, is available through the National Forum. The cost is $15 plus shipping and comes binder-ready (3-hole punched). It can be ordered through the Publications office of the National Forum by contacting Lucy Pappadakis, Publications Chairman at (704) 827-2684 - lucy_38@hotmail.com 


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