October 29, 2018


DutiesRequirementsGuidelines | Recordings


  • The main role of the chanter is to learn and chant the hymns of the Church, with understanding and with the Spirit of God (Psa. 46:7, 1 Cor. 14:15).
  • In general, chanting during worship was shared with the whole congregation as well as the Reader (see below)


In addition to the general requirements listed above, the candidates to be consecrated as a chanter should meet these minimum requirements:

  • While there is no set minimum age for chanter, it is required that a chanter be able to stand reverently throughout the Divine Liturgy and require no assistance.
  • Should have basic proficiency in Coptic letters.
  • Should be able to exhibit talent of learning hymns by chanting basic congregational responses (Agios, Alleluia This is the Day, etc.).


  • Should avoid talking and emphatic gestures.
  • Should participate in all congregational responses and hymns in one spirit and one voice.
  • Should not say the responses of the deacon inside the altar, but only chant only those congregational hymns.[1]
  • Should follow the head chanter, without raising his voice in prayers, but only his heart to participate in every prayer.
  • Should be positioned at the front of the nave of the Church (not on a raised platform) on the North and South sides of the church, chanting reverently and attentively.
  • Should remain still and involved in the Prayers as the angels they represent, anything otherwise is considered a sin by the Church.[2]
  • Should bow, stand, and kneel at the appointed times.
  • Should not use the cymbals or the triangle, except with the permission from the Head Chanter. These are used to keep the beat in a quiet manner, away from the microphone.
  • Should receive Holy Communion before the congregation. Chanting the distribution hymns outside of the sanctuary is no excuse for delaying in receiving Holy Communion.[3]

Special Guidelines for Head Chanter:

  • Should be present 25 minutes before the start of the Matins Raising of Incense to pray the prayers of the First Hour and the Morning Doxology.
  • Should lead the chanters in all responses in a collective manner, so that all chanters participate with the entire congregation in all hymns and congregational responses.
  • Should ensure that all congregational responses follow the same language in which the priest is praying.
  • Should communicate with the long hymns before the start of the Divine Liturgy, especially during the Feasts.
  • Should ensure proper behavior of other chanters, and help maintain silence in the Church, with the help of other servants, if necessary.
  • Should assign responsibility for the cymbals and triangle.

Ordination Prayers and Vestments

  • The prayer of the Psaltos is a short prayer over the head of the chanter without laying on of hands.[4]
  • This prayer of consecration (or blessing) of chanters was proposed by His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory and accepted by the Church.
  • Chanters are vested in plain, white tunia decorated only with crosses, and no pictures.

[1] Diocese of Los Angeles Clergy Meeting, St. Mary Victorville, August 7, 2014.

[2] See Canon 96 of St. Basil, Canon 37 of St. Athanasius, Canon 11 of Pope Cyril II, Canon 17 of Pope Gabriel’s Sermon, St. Severus and others.

[3] Fax sent by HE Metropolitan Serapion on July 29, 2008 to the Clergy of the Diocese.

[4] Consecration prayers are very rare. Indirect references are found in Jawharah Nafīsah, 44 and Apostolic Constitutions 3.11. Abū al-Barakāt’s Muṣbāḥ al-ẓulmah (II.40) preserves a short paragraph-long prayer that was prayed over the Head of the Chanters (kabīr al-murattilīn).


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