Christ as Orpheus
, Catacombs of
Peter and Marcellus, 4th c.



in the
Luke Dysinger, O.S.B.





 BLESSED is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he MEDITATES  day and night.


[...] CHANT PSALMS in such a way that our mind and voice are in concord with each other. (RB 19.6)

[...] PRAYER ought to be brief and pure,(RB 20.4)

83. PSALMODY calms the passions and puts to rest the body’s disharmony;

PRAYER arouses the nous to activate its own proper activity. (Evagrius On Prayer, 83)

85. PSALMODY pertains to multiform wisdom;

PRAYER is the prelude to immaterial and uniform knowledge. (Evagrius On Prayer, 85)





[And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but 

καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ͵ ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία͵

BE filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in PSALMS and HYMNS and SPIRITUAL SONGS, singing and singing [psalms?] to the Lord with all your heart, 

ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι͵ 19 λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς [ἐν] ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς͵ ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ κυρίῳ͵

20 always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 

20 εὐχαριστοῦντες πάντοτε ὑπὲρ πάντων ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί͵



14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

14 ἐπὶ πᾶσιν δὲ τούτοις τὴν ἀγάπην͵ ὅ ἐστιν σύνδεσμος τῆς τελειότητος.
15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom,  15 καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ Χριστοῦ βραβευέτω ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν͵ εἰς ἣν καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι· καὶ εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε. 16 ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐνοικείτω ἐν ὑμῖν πλουσίως͵ ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς
AND sing PSALMS, HYMNS [and] SPIRITUAL SONGS with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  ψαλμοῖς͵ ὕμνοις͵ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς ἐν χάριτι ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ·
 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 17 καὶ πᾶν ὅ τι ἐὰν ποιῆτε ἐν λόγῳ ἢ ἐν ἔργῳ͵ πάντα ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου Ἰησοῦ͵ εὐχαριστοῦντες τῷ θεῷ πατρὶ δι΄ αὐτοῦ.



Correspondence concerning the arrest and punishment of Christians between Pliny the Younger (Governor of Bythinia 111-113) and the Emperor Trajan.  Latin text based on Stout, 1962:354-57. 

TRAJAN: Emperor 98-117




Letter 10:96
. . .  THEY asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been: Adfirmabant autem hanc fuisse summam vel culpae suae vel erroris, 

that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and SING responsively a HYMN TO CHRIST AS TO A GOD

quod essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum invicem 

and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so.  seque sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria, committerent, ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent: 
When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food. . . quibus peractis morem sibi discedendi fuisse rursusque coeundi ad capiendum cibum, promiscuum tamen et innoxium; 



(d. 258)

Letter 1
(to Donatus)

 English tr. mod., based on E. Wallis: The Ante-Nicene Fathers v. V. The Letter to Donatus (Letter 1), pp. 279-280  (PL 4, 219a -223a; 

On Psalmody with Prayer


16. LET these things suffice, dearest Donatus, for the present. For although what you profitably hear delights your patience, indulgent in its goodness, your well-balanced mind, and your assured faith—and nothing is so pleasant to your ears as what is pleasant to you in God,—yet, as we are associated as neighbors, and are likely to talk together frequently, we ought to have some moderation in our conversation; and since this is a holiday rest, and a time of leisure, whatever remains of the day, now that the sun is sloping towards the evening, let us spend it in gladness, nor let even the hour of repast be without heavenly grace.  XVI. Haec interim brevibus, Donate charissime: [0222B] nam, etsi facilem de bonitate patientiam , mentem solidam , fidem tutam salutaris auditus oblectat, nihilque tam tuis auribus gratum est quam quod in Deo gratum est, moderari tamen dicenda debemus simul juncti et saepius collocuturi . Et, quoniam feriata nunc quies ac tempus est otiosum, quicquid inclinato jam sole in vesperam diei superest, ducamus hanc diem laeti, nec sit vel hora convivii gratiae coelestis immunis.

LET the sober meal resound with psalms;and as your memory is tenacious and your voice musical, undertake this task as you customarily do. You will provide a better entertainment for your dearest friends, if, while we have something spiritual to listen to, the sweetness of religious [music] charm our ears.

 Sonet psalmos [0223A] convivium sobrium; et ut tibi tenax memoria est, vox canora, aggredere hoc munus ex more . Magis charissimos pasces, si sit nobis spiritalis auditio, prolectet aures religiosa mulcedo.


This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.