The V. NAPS International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs 2009

The Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia, Košice Self-Governing Region and the Institute NAPS have come together in order to organize the Fifth NAPS International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs 2009 held at the historical premises of the State Theatre of Košice on Thursday, 10 September, 2009.


This year, too, the ecumenical event was about getting people together, enhancing the inter-religious dialogue and supporting mutual tolerance. We have welcomed members of five biggest Christian churches and Jewish religious community. The songs were performed by the ensembles from Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine.

The event was held under the moral patronage of:

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

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

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 Chrystopher,
Archbishop of Prague and Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Czech Lands and Slovakia,

The Esteemed František Alexander,
Chairman of the Central Union of the Jewish Religious Communities in Slovakia.


The very beginning was dedicated to commemorate the Pope John Paul the Great at the occasion of the 6th anniversary of his third pastoral visit to Slovakia. After that all participants paid respect to the state anthem of the Slovak Republic and European Union followed by speeches of Mr. Zdenko Trebuľa, the chairman of the Košice Self-Governing Region and Mr. Branislav Slyško, representative of the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia.


The ceremonial atmosphere was emphasized by the fact that the fifth ecumenical concert was blessed by the two most distinguished Christians on Earth: Their Holinesses Pope Benedict VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Church worldwide.

From the letter of the Holy Father, read by His Eminence The Most Reverend Despotis Ján Babjak:

„The Highest Great-Priest addresses to the organizers and all participants of the fifth ecumenical concert with a cordial and kind-hearted greeting, expressing the delight over such a laudable initiative and mutual sharing.

May our legacy of sacral songs create a promising opportunity for further steps towards the unity of Christian churches. The Highest Great-Priest calls for motherly protection of the Holy Mother of God and gives his cordial special apostolic blessing to Your Excellencies, religious and civic authorities and all participants who are present at this significant event. Signed by Cardinal Tarcisius Bertone, State Secretary of His Holiness.“


In this distinguished and ceremonial atmosphere His Eminence The Most Reverend Despotis George, Orthodox Archbishop of Michalovce and Košice, personal legate of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople addressed his words towards the assembled audience which he greeted and blessed on behalf of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and at the same time expressed the ongoing support and interest of the Patriarch Bartholomew in the ecumenical concert. His Eminence The Most Reverend Despotis George also greeted the audience on behalf of His Beatitude Metropolitan Chrystophor.


Before individual performances of choirs and ensembles a salutational letter of His Excellency Mr. Ivan Gašparovič, the President of the Slovak Republic, was presented to the participants.


The cultural part of the ecumenical event starred such ensembles like: the Choir of St. Cecilia from Košice performing Roman Catholic songs, The Pilgrim Choir from Obišovce with evangelic songs, the Choir of St. Ephraim from Budapest singing Greek Catholic songs, Quartet from Rimavská Sobota with reformed Christian songs, the Choir Cantus from Uzgorod performing orthodox songs, and last but not least Mrs. Jana Orlická with band representing the Jewish religious community.

In this overwhelming atmosphere, filled with indescribable moments triggered by songs in Latin, Greek, Old Church Slavonic, Hebrew, Hungarian or Armenian, the audience was addressed by Mr. Willy Weisz, Vice-President of Austrian Committee for Christian-Jewish Cooperation. His words were then elaborated by Mr. Peter Solej, the NAPS Institute founder, who underlined the true reflection of the idea of the dialog and tolerance, and its implementation into everyday life not only by means of words but notably through the deeds.


Apart from the aforementioned religious and civic authorities many others representatives of the state and diplomacy took part at this year International Ecumenical Concert of Sacral Songs in Košice. Mrs. Ivetta Macejková, the President of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, Mrs. Inna Ohnivets, the Ambassador of Ukraine in the Slovak Republic, Mr. János Szerencsés, the Consul General of Hungary, diplomats of Israel, USA and Russian Federation, Mr. Oto Sabo, the Director of the Office of the President of the Slovak Republic, rectors of many universities, and representatives of the Government Office of the Slovak Republic or the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic have also contributed and underlined the ceremonial atmosphere of the event.


Photoalbum of the event