A Tale of Two Cities

Today during Matins we heard for the third and final time this year the singing of the beautiful and haunting psalm “By the waters of Babylon.” The chanting of this psalm is extremely solemn, contrasting sharply with the joyous Polyeleos which precedes it and the Magnification which sometimes follows it. Both the rarity of this psalm’s chanting and the starkness of the emotional contrast surrounding it serve to draw our attention to…