This is a world-premiere recording of a thoroughly unique work: composed by a bishop of the Russian Orthodox church, it combines elements of Orthodox Holy Week services–recitative-like Gospel readings (in Russian) and choral refrains, within an overall formal setting and musical language inspired by the great choral-orchestral Passions of J. S. Bach–great opening and closing choruses, arias, chorales, and fugues. The performing forces are first-rate: the Choir of St. Nicholas Choir at Tolmachi (also featured on our cat. Nos. A075 and A076) appears here in its full vocal splendor. The 90-page booklet contains extensive notes and complete text translations in Russian, English, German, and French. The late Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow is quoted in the booklet as saying: "This [work] offers to all an excellent preparation for the great and saving days of Holy Week, allowing us to experience the great redemptive work accomplished by the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Listeners of this CD will agree with the Patriarch's assessment.