In this recording, Archimandrite Athanasios Mytilinaios (1927-2006), answers the question: “Is it allowed to listen to rock music?” “This [genre of] music has its own rules. You listen to voices that remind you of damned people who are tormented in hell and ask for help. It is weird, it is inexplicable. It means that their artistic flair, their music sense has been destroyed… He who respects himself as a Christian and ‘has spirituality’ neither dances nor listens to anything of that type of music.”
Audio source: “Answers to Sunday school questions”, no. 456, March 3, 1991 (in Greek)
A question asks: “Is it allowed to listen to rock music?” Another one: “Is folk music of our country acceptable by our religion. If yes, why?”
As concerns rock music, children, I have talked to you repeatedly and repeatedly in previous years. But it is okay to say one or two words.
As concerns rock music… special books have been written on it and I have listened musical analyses on this [genre of] music. Surely, rock music and, generally, jazz music in a broad sense, is not new.
And it concerned the worship of idols, of demonic forces. This is why this music has inside it the demonic element.
Still, if you listen to these songs, I am not sure what time they play them [on the radio].
I have listened to them a lot of times, it’s a horror, a horror… what do I mean exactly. These [kind of] songs do not require the [type of] ‘clear voice’ that was once asked by the singer. No rule of music is respected. This [genre of] music has its own rules. You listen to voices that remind you of damned people who are tormented in hell and ask for help. These voices are hoarse. Hoarse by cigarettes, by drugs and one is sorry about the listeners who are happy to listen to these people. It is weird, it is inexplicable. It means that their artistic flair, their music sense has been destroyed.
I have said this many times to young people. They don’t agree and they say, “No, it’s a very beautiful music and harmonic. Where do you see this perversion of the music sense?” “I do not know. This is how I see it, that’s what I think and many people agree.”
Let me tell you this practical example. If a plane passes breaking the sound barrier, people are scared, babies are scared, [even] animals. This is well-known. Thus, sounds affect the biology of man. So, they put in a farm with cows jazz music, rock music etc. and the cows stopped producing milk. They then played classical music and the cows produced more milk. Certainly, children, in case Orpheus went down to Hades once more to find his Eurydice and played rock music, they would send him away because he would upset everyone in the underworld.
Let’s say this as well. Please, if you have an understanding, do not listen to this music. Then, you ask what if the lyrics are good and talk about racial discrimination, drugs. What do they say about these things? Do they speak for them, against them? They also talk about AIDS. Why do we talk about these things in songs? Are drugs and AIDS that pleasant that we turn them into songs? Do not we have other ‘lyrics’ to make songs? So many beautiful lyrics out of so many beautiful things of life… or “war and peace etc.”No, children! Then, “what about lyrics that seem we do not understand or seem indifferent, innocent?” Who told you that music is not a ‘vehicle of ideas’ when [eventually] you will start paying attention to the lyrics. You like listening to the music but, at some point, you will start following the lyrics and this would be a disaster for you.
As concerns folk music in order to conclude, we are moved if we listen to a folk music: Kalamatiano, Tsamiko etc. in Asia, America, Africa. Let me tell you something, though. I will talk as a Christian. I might tell you that as a Greek I am moved when I hear a Kalamatiano or a folk song. However, pay attention… I will talk to you as a Christian. He who respects himself as a Christian and ‘has spirituality’ neither dances nor listens to anything of that [type of] music.
As tough as it might sound, it is real.