The Cancer Akathist


Ser­vice Music by Robert Sirico

View the Entire Ser­vice on YouTube!


This Musi­cal Offer­ing of the Akathist, ‘Healer of Can­cer’ is ded­i­cated to the Blessed Mem­ory of my late-Wife, Lisa Sirico, who after nearly four years of fight­ing for her life, fell asleep in the Lord on Pascha 2009. While it may seem to the sur­vivors that she lost her bat­tle, she was eter­nally cured as she entered into her eter­nal rest in a place of refresh­ment where sor­row and sigh­ing have fled away. “And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” Rev 21:5  May the Blessed Mem­ory of the Ser­vant of the Lord, Lisa, Beloved Wife and Mother,  be Eternal †

Lisa Sirico (d. Pascha April 19, 2009)

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eter­nal life, to which you were also called and have con­fessed the good con­fes­sion in the pres­ence of many wit­nesses.” 1 Tim­o­thy 6:12


The Sacred Ser­vice of Prayer for those Affected by Cancer

Pan­tanessa; Queen of All, Healer of Cancer

The Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian Music Project is pleased to col­lab­o­rate with the highly tal­ented musi­cians of the Holy Vir­gin Pro­tec­tion Cathe­dral Choir (OCA) and the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Syn­odal Choir (ROCOR) under the expert direc­tion of Peter Fekula.  The CD fea­tures the orig­i­nal Akathist ser­vice music set­ting com­posed by OCMP founder Robert Sirico dur­ing the Sum­mer of 2010, as well as tra­di­tional hymns of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church sung in English.

The events of the night included the Can­cer Prayer Ser­vice con-celebrated by Bishop Michael (OCA) and Bishop Jerome (ROCOR), as well as a mov­ing pre­sen­ta­tion (not recorded here) by Dr. Steven Sug­ar­man, Direc­tor of Onco­log­i­cal Research Memo­r­ial Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Hos­pi­tal, NYC fol­low­ing the ser­vice.  This stun­ning live record­ing was dig­i­tally cap­tured and mas­tered by record­ing Engi­neer Seraphim Hul­ing, and processed to the finest stan­dards for com­mer­cial release.  The sound qual­ity on the CD is so clear, that the lis­tener will feel as if she or he is really present in the cathe­dral with the hun­dreds of faith­ful who came to pray and sing for them­selves and their loved ones affected by cancer.

A Per­sonal Note from the Composer

The inspi­ra­tion for the new musi­cal set­ting of the ‘Healer of Can­cer’ Akathist comes from a per­sonal con­nec­tion of fre­quent pri­vate devo­tion through­out the nearly four years that my late-wife Lisa bat­tled metasta­tic breast can­cer. One of the high­lights of the sacred text is how the prayer of the Ortho­dox Church responds to the needs of the suf­fer­ing ser­vant as well as all those con­cerned with the mod­ern treat­ment and care of the afflicted from the dis­ease of Can­cer in its mul­ti­plic­ity of types.  While pray­ing through this text, one will undoubt­edly iden­tify with at least one of those men­tioned in the peti­tions, and come to know that this prayer was com­posed ‘about’ us and ‘for’ us all: that the ten­der­ness and com­pas­sion of the Mother of God is extended to all who ask that She heal our infir­mi­ties by Her grace.


The Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian Music Project grate­fully acknowl­edges and thanks the Rev. Abbess Michaila of the St. Pai­sius Ser­bian Ortho­dox Monastery in Saf­ford Ari­zona for her sup­port, encour­age­ment, and bless­ing for the com­ple­tion of a new musi­cal set­ting of the Akathist to the Mother of God, “Healer of Can­cer”. The St. Pai­sius monas­tic com­mu­nity pub­lishes selected ser­vice texts and ‘puts the jewel of faith into the hands of the peo­ple’ so that the lay­man can offer pri­vate devo­tion. It is my hope that those who lis­ten will be moved by this music and find in it com­fort and peace.


Robert Sirico

Com­poser & Founder OCMP

Recent Posts

Introducing the Original Hymn ‘St. Seraphim and the Bear’ for the 11th Movement of the St. Seraphim Oratorio


St. Seraphim and the Bear

Dear Friends of the OCMP,

I am very excited to be begin­ning the 11th Move­ment of the ‘Life of St. Seraphim’ ora­to­rio. The tex­ture of this set­ting will be for Dou­ble SATB choir with dou­ble SATB soli. After much research, I have not dis­cov­ered a tropar­ion describ­ing the rela­tion­ship of ‘St. Seraphim and the Bear’. It is here that I have taken on the task of com­pos­ing an orig­i­nal hymn text for this icon scene in the spirit of the great Hymno­g­ra­phers of the past. For your edi­fi­ca­tion, I present to you the fol­low­ing hymn: 

11. The Holy Priest Seraphim befriends a Bear (Orig­i­nal hymn text)

Mvt 11

Open­ing Mea­sures of the Draft of the 11th Move­ment of the St. Seraphim Can­tata
‘St. Seraphim and the Bear’

*** “Whilst thou wast in seclu­sion from the world immersed in the rig­ors of prayer and the asceti­cal life, 

the ani­mals of the for­est, drawn by their innate sense of the Cre­ator within thee, befriended Thee, and kept watch as thou con­versed with the Lord of Hosts and the Holy Theotokos. 

Fero­cious beasts would pros­trate them­selves before thee; 
the mighty bear would sur­ren­der her honey, and the wolf her prey,
in exchange for bread blessed by thy hands, O Saint. 

The calm­ing of their for­mi­da­ble natures 
showed the vic­tory of Christ over the wolf, that nat­ural preda­tor of the lamb, and of the bear who fiercely pur­sues the bul­lock, 
as mys­ti­cal sym­bols for the ene­mies of the Gospel. 

Thy holy and peace­ful life gives us a fore­taste of the divine rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of heaven and earth,
When Christ, Our God, will make all things new. “

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