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

A Preview of the Finale of the St. Seraphim Cantata!

Dear Friends of the OCMP,

The open­ing mea­sures of Move­ment 21,
‘The Glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of St. Seraphim of Sarov’ com­posed by Robert Sirico.  (Orig­i­nal score and composer’s notes.)

It brings me great plea­sure to share that the finale of the St. Seraphim can­tata is well under­way, and after nearly two years of con­tin­u­ous writ­ing (and six months of prior his­tor­i­cal research), the entire first draft is nearly fin­ished!! By God’s Grace, your prayers, and the inter­ces­sion of the Most Holy Theotokos and St. Seraphim him­self, this intense labor of love will enter the next phase of pro­duc­tion when the entire can­tata will be thor­oughly edited and made ready for its first per­for­mance and pub­li­ca­tion (which will be joy­fully announced!!).  While yet still unfin­ished, the entire can­tata is just over two hours in dura­tion and promises to beau­ti­fully carry the lis­tener through the life of our beloved ‘Batiushka’ (‘lit­tle Father’) from his child­hood through his glo­ri­fi­ca­tion, with spe­cial atten­tion to the quotes from the mas­ter, del­i­cately pre­sented in touch­ing set­tings for Tenor solo and cho­rus.  The rich­ness of the choral tex­tures and har­monic lan­guage through­out will stir the heart to draw more deeply into the life of St. Seraphim.       

*A won­der­ful anec­dote to share about the com­po­si­tion of the finale includes an episode of writer’s block that seemed impas­si­ble.  When review­ing the text of the finale, ‘some­thing felt like it was miss­ing’.  After deep reflec­tion and prayer, the ‘miss­ing text’ pre­sented itself dur­ing the chant­ing of the prokeimenon:  “Pre­cious in the sight of the Lord is the Death of His Saints!”  This formed the cru­cial link between the antecedent and con­se­quent phrases com­plet­ing the descrip­tion of St. Seraphim’s depar­ture and his sub­se­quent glorification. 

Check back often to fol­low the progress of the finale, and watch the whole Can­tata come to life! 


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