Congregational singing of liturgical services is a hallmark of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church. The Metropolitan Cantor Institute, based in the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius, trains men and women to serve as parish cantors and prepares both musical editions and instructional material. Its primary goal is that each parish in the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh has a cantor who is familiar with all services and qualified to lead the singing of the congregation to the glory of God and in support of the church’s prayer.
The institute was formed in 1997, and began a regular multi-year cycle of Saturday courses in 2001. Courses were expanded in 2010 to include education for church readers and workshops on such topics as chant harmonization. More recently, the Cantor Institute program is being extensively revised to reflect explicit standards for cantor certification, make better use of distance education and local mentoring, and provide coordinated cantor education with the other three Eparchies of the Byzantine Catholic Church in Passaic, New Jersey; Parma, Ohio; and Phoenix, Arizona.
Cantor Institute staff is also involved in preliminary work on a history of church music and its pedagogy, and in a cooperative effort with the Office of Religious Education, to foster education in liturgical music for both the adults and youth of the Byzantine Catholic Church.