Ekumenizmus

The IV. NAPS International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs 2008

On Thursday, 25 September 2008, the magnificent historical building of the State Theatre in Košice was filled to the last spot by more than 500 visitors of the Fourth International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs organized by NAPS. The event was a part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and was organized in collaboration between NAPS, the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia, and the city of Košice, which had recently been awarded the title ‘European Capital of Culture 2013’.

This year's ecumenical event was held under the general auspices of:

Her Excellency Mrs. Katalin Szili,
Speaker of the National Council of the Republic of Hungary,

His Excellency Mr. Pavol Paška,
Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic

The Fourth NAPS International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs in 2008 was held under the moral auspices of:

His Excellency Monsignor Alojz Tkáč,
Archbishop - Metropolitan of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Košice,

The Honourable Mr. Slavomír Sabol,
Bishop of the Eastern District of the Evangelical Church a. b. in the Slovak Republic,

His Eminence The Most Reverend Despotis Ján Babjak,
Archbishop of Prešov and Metropolitan of the Greek Catholic Church in Slovakia,

The Very Reverend Géza Erdélyi,
Bishop of the Reformed Christian Church in Slovakia,

His Eminence The Most Reverend Despotis Ján,
Orthodox Archbishop of Prešov and Slovakia,

The Esteemed Mr. František Alexander,
Chairman of the Central Union of the Jewish Religious Community in the Slovak Republic.

After the official guests moved from the mayor's reception at the Košice City Hall, the event was opened in tribute of the state anthems of the Hungarian Republic, the Slovak Republic, and the European Union. In this ceremonial atmosphere, the event's host Martin Jedinák welcomed – on behalf of the organizers – the most distinguished guests: Deputy Chairman of the National Council of the Republic of Hungary Mr. Sándor Lezsák, former presidents of the Slovak Republic Mr. Michal Kováč and Mr. Rudolf Schuster, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovakia Mrs. Inna Ohnivets, the US Ambassador to Slovakia Mr. Vincent Obsitnik, the British Ambassador to Slovakia Mr. Michael Roberts, high-ranking diplomats of other countries, the director of the Regional Bureau of the Office of the President of the Slovak Republic Mr. Oto Sabo, the delegation of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by Mrs. Táňa Sternson, high hierarchs of Christian churches and the Jewish religious community, members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, and other guests. The other guests included also representatives of regional and local state administration and self-government bodies, members of the academic community, as well as members of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.

In his opening speech, the mayor of Košice Mr. František Knapík expressed his delight with the fact that the fourth international ecumenical event – whose aim is to unite people, intensify the inter-religious dialogue and support mutual tolerance – was organized, of all places, in the city of Košice. His words were then elaborated by the head of the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia, Mrs. Andrea Elschek-Matis, who emphasized the importance of the event in the light of the current European Year of Multicultural Dialogue. She congratulated the representatives of Slovakia’s second largest city on winning the prestigious title European Capital of Culture 2013. Afterwards, the assembled audience was addressed by Sándor Lezsák, Deputy Chairman of the National Council of the Republic of Hungary, and subsequently, the guests had the chance to listen to the greeting letter sent by Pavol Paška, Chairman of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.


It is said that music is a universal medium which unites people. These words – presented in the letter sent by the Chairman of the Slovak Parliament – were confirmed by the beautiful singing of artistic companies from Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine.

The Roman Catholic Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis from Budapest, Chorus Comenianus of the Evangelical high school of Ján Amos Komenský from Košice, the Košice Greek Catholic choir of St. Cyril and Method, the Blaha Lujza Choir of the Reformed Christian Church from Rimavská Sobota, the Ukrainian Boy’s Choir from Mukachevo and the singer of Jewish songs Mr. Ervín Schönhauser from Bratislava – these are all distinguished artists who made the Košice State Theatre resonate with Christian and Jewish songs.

The Very Reverend Géza Erdélyi, Bishop of the Reformed Christian Church in Slovakia gave a spiritual speech on behalf of the hierarchs who graced the event with their moral patronage.

President of the Ukraine, His Excellency Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, addressed his words of gratitude to the organizers and extended his regards to all participants of the ecumenical concert. His greeting letter was read at the concert by the extraordinary and plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Ukraine to the Slovak Republic, Mrs. Inna Ohnivets.

„For the second consecutive year, we are meeting under the auspices of the chairs of the national parliaments of the neighbouring Republic of Hungary, and of our Slovak Republic. The event is held under the patronage of people who are not politicians, not party members, but statesmen. Yes, we are intensifying the cultural dialogue and friendship between nations. Above all, however, we celebrate God together! Politicians change, but the Lord does not know what ‘election campaign’ or ‘term of office’ is. The Lord is eternal!“ said NAPS President Peter Solej at the end of the event, after he presented Her Excellency the Ambassador Inna Ohnivets and the co-organizers with NAPS Prizes Letters of Thanks.

Before the final thunderous and candid applause, whose sound filled the entire theatre, the present guests were blessed by the hierarchs of the Christian churches and by the Jewish Rabbi in several languages: the Roman Catholic bishop Stanislav Stolárik in Latin, the Evangelical bishop Slavomír Sabol in Slovak, the Greek Catholic archbishop Ján Babjak in Slovak, the bishop of the Reformed Christian Church Géza Erdélyi in Hungarian, the Orthodox Protojerej Ladislav Bilý in Old Church Slavonic, and the Jewish Rabbi Jossi Steiner in Hebrew.

The last song that was performed at the concert was the common Sotvori Hospodi Mnohaja chant sang by the chorus singers representing an Eastern rite of Christian churches.

After the cultural part, the ecumenical event continued with a reception held in the Slavia Café. The reception was opened when the food was blessed by the Metropolitan of the Greek Catholic Church in Slovakia, Archbishop Ján Babjak.


The ecumenical concert was held under the financial patronage of:

Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, His Excellency Mr. Robert Fico

Representation of the European Commission in the Slovak Republic,

Town of Košice, European Capital of Culture 2013,

JAVYS

and partners of NAPS in 2008.