The VI. NAPS International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs 2010

His Beatitude Despotis Gregory III, Greek Catholic Melkite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem highlighted this year festival as a big joyful family reunion: “Here we are all together no matter what our religion or nationality may be, and yet we understand each other. And that is the most important thing”, said the top representative of the only patriarch of Greek Catholic Church in the world, famous for his ecumenical activities and social efforts in the region of Syria, Lebanon and Holy Land.

The International Ecumenical Concert, to be blessed for the first time by the Patriarch in person, was organized by NAPS Institute and again in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia.

The concert was held under the general patronage of:

Mr. Marek Maďarič,
Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic.

This year’s ecumenical concert was held under the moral patronage of:

His Excellency Monsignor Stanislav Zvolenský,
Archbishop-Metropolitan of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bratislava,
President of the Slovak Bishop´s Conference,

His Excellency Mr. Miloš Klátik,
General Bishop of the Evangelical Church a. b. in the Slovak Republic
President of the Ecumenical Council in the Slovak Republic,

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

The Very Reverend László Fazekas,
Bishop of the Reformed Christian Church in Slovakia,

His Beatitude The Most Blessed Chrystophor,
Archbishop of Prague and Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Czech Lands and Slovakia,

The Esteemed Mr. Jossi Steiner,
Rabbi of the Jewish Religious Community in Košice.

The Sixth Ecumenical Concert was held on Sunday 16th of May 2010 at Košice State Theatre. Choirs from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and Cyprus performed their songs in various languages highlighting the core message of the concert – to bring people together, deepen inter-religious dialogue and encourage mutual tolerance.

Sacral songs were performed in Slovak, Old Church Slavonic, Hungarian, Greek, Hebrew, Ukrainian, and old Byzantine and Jewish dialects. A hymn to celebrate Virgin Mary was sung in Aramaic, the language of Lord Jesus Christ, at the end of the concert. Roman Catholic songs were performed by the Choir of St. Cecilia from Košice. The Evangelic Choir Chorus Comenianus sang at home ground, too. Greek Catholic Church was represented by All Saints Choir from Uzhgorod, and Reformed Church by a 50-member choir consisting of two groups of singers from Hungarian Debrecen and Romanian Oradea. Byzantine melodies were presented by the Cypriot Orthodox choir of Metropolis Trymithountos and the Jewish songs were performed by Jana Orlická and her fellows. The festive atmosphere was highlighted by the chamber orchestra Musica Cassovia under the baton of Maestro Mr. Petróczi, from the State Symphony Orchestra.

The climax of the ecumenical event was a common blessing by representatives of Christian Churches and a prayer of Jewish Rabin. Then Gounod’s Ave Maria sung by Mr. Jaroslav Dvorský, soloist of the State Theatre in Košice filled the festive air of the historical space of the state opera house.

The money raised from the voluntary entrance fee shall be donated, traditionally, to the Sovereign Order of Maltese Knights for charity activities in Slovakia.

The Sixth NAPS International Ecumenical Concert was attended by His Beatitude Patriarch Gregory III and other high ranking Christian and Jewish hierarchs together with other distinguished guests such as H.E. Mr. Rudolf Schuster, Former President of Slovakia, H.E. Mr. Hassan El-Laithy, Egyptian Arabian Ambassador to Slovakia, Mr. János Szerencsés, General Consul of the Republic of Hungary, representatives of embassies, members of academic community, representatives of regional and local governments as well as Mr. František Knapík, the mayor of the town of Košice who received Patriarch Gregory at the premises of the historic City Hall prior to the event.