Firma Melodiya presents a recording of St Matthew Passion (2006), one of the most popular works of Russian academic music of the 21st century composed by Metropolitan Hilarion. Its composer Metropolitan Hilarion (Grigory Alfeyev) is a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, a theologian and public figure, an author of fundamental studies on religious issues, and a Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Oxford. In 1984 to 1987 he studied at the composition department of the Moscow Conservatory under professor Alexei Nikolayev. Later he left music for an ecclesiastical career, but subsequently returned to composing. The uniqueness of St Matthew Passion lies in the synthesis of musical traditions of West European baroque where the musical genre of passion sprang from, Orthodox church signing and Russian symphonic music of the 19th and 20th centuries. The featured recording was made in 2010 by the first performers of the Passion who are the Moscow Synodal Choir led by Alexei Puzakov and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Fedoseyev with the participation of young vocalists and prize-winners of international competitions Naira Asatrian, Olessya Petrova, Maxim Paster and Dmitri Beloselsky.