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A friend told me about Fr. Apostolos Hill, a Greek Orthodox priest in Denver who has recorded three CDs of Byzantine chant. Fr. Hill’s clear voice rings out with little adornment and solemn passion, and in his American vibratto I think I can hear a hint of evangelical background (but I could be wrong about that). As I was listening to his recording of the 17th Kathisma from the Daily Office, I heard the stray line “For I have become as a bottle in the frost.”

Elsewhere those words from Psalm 119 are translated “like a wineskin on the smoke,” but that does not have the effect. “As a bottle in the frost.” One can picture the cold glass, constricted, the little cracks in the surface ready to multiply at the slightest touch and shatter the bottle. A striking image for a weary soul waiting on the Lord’s relief.

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