Blessings, Peace and Harmony
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The remarkable Monks of the Desert, who spend their daily hours praying for peace, working and studying in silence, make their major label debut on Sony Masterworks with an album of Gregorian chant, Blessings, Peace and Harmony. Named after Pope Gregory I, Gregorian chant involves the early Christian liturgical music that originated in medieval times and forms the roots of Western classical music.
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Apart from the calming and meditative qualities of the overall chant presentation on this CD, each Latin chant itself can be individually enjoyed for its own stark and austere simplicity and beauty. This is very much in keeping with the life led by these desert brothers at the monastery once visited by Thomas Merton in 1968 before his untimely death in Asia.
For more black & white photographs of the monastery and the community see the recently published (2011) book by Tony O'Brien - Light in the Desert: Photographs from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert - taken when he spent about one year living with the monks 24/7.
The Monastery of Christ in the Desert was originally a foundation of Mount Savior Monastery in Upstate New York (Pine City near Elmira). It was also the setting of the television series (a reality show) - The Monastery - which was broadcast on cable television (The Learning Channel - TLC) during the second half of 2006.
If you like their chant and would like to hear more, other earlier CDs are available through their online Monastery Gift Shop (see Web Site christdesert.org). Make an effort to support this ancient way of life and hospitality. Let's keep the monks chanting and praying for you and for me - ceaselessly - and even more CDs are bound to follow!
NOTE: If you like this chant CD, you might also like Mystical Chants of Carmel by the Carmelite monks of Wyoming (also available here on Amazon) who are presently raising funds to build a new monastery to last 1,000 years. See their two Web Sites carmelitemonks.org and newmountcarmelfoundation.org for more information. While you are there you can also try some of their truly heavenly coffee (at mysticmonkcoffee.com), if you are so inclined.
John J. Puccio