On the threshold of Christmas holidays, on November 10, the audience of the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatiry will hear the Christmas Oratorio by Bishop Ilarion (Alfeyev). Its world premiere took place on December 17, 2007, at America's chief Roman Catholic temple – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Imaculate Conception (Washington). It was directly broadcasted by EMTN to over 200 billion people in 140 countries around the world. It was also performed at St. John the Baptist Church (New York) and the Memorial Church of the Harvard University (Boston). The Russian premiere successfully followed on the Christmas Day, Janurary 7, 2008, in the Moscow Conservatory's Big Hall, with the participation of the Tchaikovsky State Orchestra.
Bishop Ilarion (Alfeyev) is the Bishop of Vienna and Austria, also temporarily overseeing the Budapest and Hungarian eparchies. He has authored over 600 theological works. As part of his ministerial and missionary service spreading the Word of God, he has composed several large liturgical pieces including the Divine Liturgy (2006), Vespers (2006) and the first Russian-language St. Matthew Passion (2007). This musical sermon is continued in the Christmas Oratory. "I would like this music to transmit the idea that the birth of Christ is not some abstract story of two millenniums ago, but something utterly real, as real as our own stories" Bishop Ilarion stressed.
The world premiere. Washington. The Russian premiere. Moscow.