Constantine Byzantios

Archon Protopsaltes of the Great Church of Christ

Constantine Byzantios was a honey-sweet musician, who chanted with devoutness and fervent faith. He brought compunction to the faithful congregation with his sweet voice and his wonderful ecclesiastical character, which from the ancient times is preserved in the Great Church and is perfectly suited for those chanting in it. While singing, he did not move any part of his body, not even slightly the head, but only the lips.

He was born in 1777, and became a student of George the Cretan and Manuel Byzantios. He served as a Reader of the Holy Church of the Sinai Metochion at Balat, Costantinople; then, second cantor; and after a while, first cantor.

In the Patriarchate he was called as a second domestikos on the 23rd April 1800 by Patriarch Neophytos, when Iakovos was the Protopsaltes. After the death of the Protopsaltes, he was elevated to the rank of First Domestikos and chanted together with Manuel Protopsaltes. In 1822, when Gregory Protopsaltes died, he succeeded him the following day (24th December), being ordained by the Patriarch Eugene from Iconium. All together, he sung in the Patriarchal Church for 55 years, 43 of which as an Archcantor.

Thereafter, no longer being able to lead the choir because of his footache, he rested at home composing and published his honey-sweet songs. He died on 30 July 1862 at the age of 85 on the island of Chalki and was buried outside the monastery of Saint George Cremnos.

Constantine enjoyed the favour of his protector Patriarch Constantine I from Sinai. He composed in the old notation several melodies of the divine psalmody of the whole year, out of which some are published and some not. He composed and published twice in Greek the Typikon of the Great Church, and once in Slavonic; the medium Doxastarion according to the style of the parachorde; he made the Anastasimatarion of Peter the Peloponnesian more detailed (which was published by his son Nichonas in 1863 until the grave mode). He also published the two-volume Anthology of Music, which contains the same lessons twice and thrice and some of the more ancient musicians. In his unpublished works, there is one Heirmologion of Katavasias, one short Doxastarion, both works of Peter the Peloponnesian, which were beautified by him in more detail. Constantine also wrote some artistic calophonic heirmoi, various songs, odes to patriarchs, etc.