During the season of Lent, we will use liturgical pieces by Middle Eastern composers, primarily by Yusuf Khill (b. 1931), who was the director of music at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth (photo above). The church is built on the site of what was believed to have been Mary’s home, where she received news from the Angel Gabriel. We will sing the Kyrie, Holy, Holy, and Lamb of God from Mr. Khill’s “Mass of the Holy Family,” which he wrote in Nazareth. Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel.” Its citizens are 69% Muslim and 31% Christian.
The musical setting of the Lord’s Prayer we will be using throughout Lent was written by Laila Constantine, a composer from Lebanon. Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East, having 54% Muslim citizens and 41% Christians. Below is an image of a plate from Lebanon with the Lord’s Prayer printed in Arabic.
الذِي فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ
‘alladhī fī as-samāwāt,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.