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Metropolitan Kiprian: Sacred music is a way to commune with God

The universal language of music may prove to be the shortest path between the human heart and God.

Photo: bg-patriarshia.bg

Yesterday, the Orthodox church celebrated a wondrous event that took place on 11 June, 982. According to legend, Archangel Gabriel appeared to the disciple of a cleric from Mount Athos to bequeath to him words of prayer and praise for the Mother of God, which he wrote down on a stone tablet. To mark this, a festival - Theotokos – It Is Truly Meet International Festival for Orthodox Music has been organized in Pomorie for the past 18 years.

“At the birth of Jesus Christ, a choir of angels heralded his coming,” says Metropolitan Kiprian of Stara Zagora, who performed a solemn blessing of the waters in front of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God church to mark the start of the festival. “Music is inside the human organism, the human voice praises the Lord. That is why there are so many nuances to Orthodox music – suffering and joy, prayer and hymn. This music is a way to commune with God.”

This year’s festival of Orthodox music brought together 22 choirs, most of them from Bulgaria, and 4 from abroad – two from Serbia, one from Romania and one from Moldova. Their members are mostly young people.

“The choirs of the past used to have older singers because they had learnt the chants in church,” Metropolitan Kiprian says. “Then the tradition was broken, but now we very much rely on the young people from the theological seminary and from the academy to continue it in Eastern sacred music, but also in polyphonic choir music. So, it is all up to the young people. But they first need to be spiritually prepared so they can continue as clerics, or choir singers and conductors because music is an art form that will exist as long as the world exists.”

According to priest Kiril Popov from the Saint Nedelya church in Sofia, music can be a way to know God:

“It is, of course, also soul food for all of us,” he says. “Through chants we gain joy of the Lord. I recently had the opportunity of seeing the faces of the people in the street abroad – smiling and sunny, singing out of joy whatever the hardships. Hardships are given us to be overcome, not to be lived with. Come what may we should keep our spirits up and gain joy in the Lord.” 

“Any praise in church, any gratitude, any soul-saving act are the fruit of the heart and of our love of our neighbor,” Metropolitan Kiprian says.

Interview by Ana-Maria Krasteva, Hristo Botev channel, BNR

Editing by Diana Tsankova

Photos: bg-patriarshia.bg, dveri.bg

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