Kosh asks Sheridan to meet him at a strange, secluded place. He then asks Sheridan to enter a room. There is a hooded figure in there, and when Sheridan pays him with his rank badge, the figure and many others start singing.

The scene is from season 2, episode 14, and is called One Moment of Perfect Beauty (from a line spoken by Kosh in this scene). The episode is There All the Honor Lies.

Who are they? The only guess I have is that they are Pak'ma'ra because Emperor Vir tells a story years later about Pak'ma'ra singing so beautifully that even ambassador Londo is moved to tears. Vir said it was the most beautiful sound he ever heard, full of sadness and hope and wonder and terrible loss.

Is there any reference in other Babylon-5 episodes to singing? I am not counting the episode called "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place", because that was a different song. ;-)

Does the novelization or any related stories mention who sang in this episode?

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    They're a sect of monks, and it's a Latin chant, so presumably they are human, but I don't know if there's more details. Post if I find.
    – Radhil
    Mar 13, 2017 at 0:55
  • Chances are that Radhil's explanation is all the closest you'll get. With JMS, all the answers are right there in front of you — you simply aren't asking the right questions. Mar 13, 2017 at 1:31
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    The Lurker's Guide doesn't say anything definitive, but proposes another theory - that no one was there and Kosh (or someone else) projected the experience into his mind. Almost seams reasonable with the way the light suddenly changes, but I'm not sure that's true as Kosh appears to also be listening right at the end (based on how his head moves). JMS does say he inserted it into the script as an extra "Sheridan Learning Stuff" scene since he was already adding scenes anyway, so it's possible little thought was given as to who they are.
    – Izkata
    Mar 15, 2017 at 5:09
  • @Izkata “little thought was given”? How dare you insinuate such a thing! :-V Mar 15, 2017 at 5:49
  • @can-ned_food Oh, the series as a whole was certainly planned and well thought out, I'm just talking about this scene - to quote from my link above: "Whilst doing that, I also wrote and inserted the Kosh/Perfect Beauty scenes, since I was already in it at that point anyway, and I figured it'd be cool."
    – Izkata
    Mar 15, 2017 at 5:58

3 Answers 3


I can confirm, as per here, that they are singing Gregorian chant: Puer natus est nobis and Introitus.

We know from season 3 episode 2, "Convictions", and from episode 4 that same season, "Passing Through Gethsemane", that although monks from Earth have certainly kept with the times, they have not lost their historical traditions or heritage. Indeed, Babylon 5 is rife with evidence that most of the old religions have not gone away — it would not help to list all the episodes here.

I would say, with some degree of certainty, that these monks are simply a small conclave of Gregorians which have settled in Downbelow.

  • According to Wikipedia, there is a chapter of Cistercian Trappist monks led by Brother Theo on Babylon-5. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Babylon_5_characters#Brother_Theo Maybe those are the monks singing in this episode.
    – RichS
    Mar 15, 2017 at 3:54
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    "it would not help to list all the episodes here" - No need! The season 1 episode, The Parliament of Dreams has you covered!
    – komodosp
    Mar 15, 2017 at 9:31

My wife and I have been re-watching the series recently, and I became curious about this scene. Finally tracked down this Twitter post from the Great Maker himself...

Q. Can you answer a conundrum question please? In B5, when Kosh sent Sheriden for his lesson into the obscure quarters in down below for "One moment of perfect beauty," was it the Pak'ma'ra that were singing in Gregorian chant?

JMS: Yes. That the pak'ma'ra can sing was also mentioned in Sleeping in Light.

  • A great answer. Finding a 'word of God' should always be rewarded. A small bounty is on its way to you.
    – Valorum
    Jan 19 at 14:04

I feel confident the entire thing was being projected into his mind by Kosh. Note Kosh's head-cock just before, how the light suddenly changes, the singers are absent, then there, then suddenly absent again, and when they vanish there is Kosh, standing there. Note also: Kosh: "Ah, you seek meaning. Then listen to the music, not the song" "I sought understanding. I listened to the song. Your thoughts became the song." Also, Kosh's ship sang to Dr Jacobs in "Hunter, Prey" while he was asleep.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. The question wasn't if the singers were really there, it was who were they.
    – DavidW
    Feb 2, 2020 at 16:37

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