Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Through Hymns, With Hymns, In Hymns: The Fathers & Music

By Mike Aquilina ( bio - articles - email ) | May 11, 2022 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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Music formed the early Christians in faith. It catechized them. Inspired them. Unified them. Healed them. The Fathers—from Ignatius of Antioch to John of Damascus—testify to this fact. Many of them wrote music. Augustine wrote a book about music. At a time when most people could not read, music was the most effective delivery system for doctrine. The decisions of the councils would have been dead letters apart from their placement in musical settings. In this episode, early Christian music finally gets its due recognition.


Mike Aquilina, How the Choir Converted the World: Through Hymns, With Hymns, and In Hymns

Mike Aquilina, How the Choir Converted the World: Through Hymns, With Hymns, and In Hymns (audio book)

Ephrem the Syrian, The Nisibene Hymns

Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns for the Feast of Epiphany

Ephrem the Syrian, The Pearl—Seven Hymns on the Faith

Mike Aquilina’s website

Mike Aquilina’s books

Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed

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Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics. He is executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: crazylikeknoxes3387 - Aug. 09, 2023 11:31 AM ET USA

    Very interesting. Basil is right that people are more likely to remember the hymn rather than the Gospel or homily. Ironic, however, that Basil's sermon is still read while whatever hymn entralled his congregation is now lost. Even so today, people will leave Mass humming One Bread, One Body and forget the Gospel reading. But the Gospel will still be with us in another 1000 years, while One Bread, One Body is more doubtful.