On 26 June the Patriarchal Choir of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi and the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir performed a concert in the Sistine Chapel, the first joint concert between the two choirs.
The concert featured traditional songs, liturgical music and musical settings of poetry. Some of the pieces performed were composed by His Holiness Ilia II, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, greeted the participants and expressed his hope that “the gift of friendship and concord between our Churches and our peoples unite us more and more and make us grow in friendship”. He added: “The Church is indeed the place of beauty par excellence, because it is the place where people live in communion in Christ, people who live the filial life as fraternal communion. It is an experience of unity, where events, history, the affairs of the world, and personal gestures of individuals become a place of communion. So it is with music: different notes, different people, different voices become a harmony that testifies to the beauty of the whole and at the same time brings out personal characteristics.”
The Patriarchal Choir will also sing liturgical music on 29 June during the Holy Mass presided over by Pope Francis for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in St Peter’s Basilica.
These events constitute part of the history of growing ecumenical relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Georgia. This history has seen important moments, such as Patriarch Ilia II’s visit to Rome in 1980, Pope John Paul II’s apostolic journey to Georgia in 1999 and Pope Francis’s visit in 2016.
Growing knowledge of each other’s cultural heritage fosters mutual appreciation and the development of increasingly fraternal relations.
Photos © Vatican Media