Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, addressed the organizers, participants and guests. He greeted them on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and said that the audience has gathered to listen to church music and share spiritual and musical culture which has made the life of the Holy Orthodox Church richer over centuries.
He continued to say: ‘For two thousand years and in different parts of the world the Christian Church has glorified the Risen Christ at Divine services, through liturgical art that includes church singing. We do not celebrate without singing. Even in a small village church someone, even two or three old women who lost voice, sing at the Liturgy, Matins and Vespers.
‘The Orthodox praise God not only by saying prayers, but also by singing them. The word “Orthodoxy” originally meant the true teaching about God and was translated into Slavonic as correct glorification of God. During Easter-tide our hearts are filled with praise to the Lord, and our prayers to God, who was risen for the sake of opening our way to salvation, has taken shape in the sounds of church music.
‘During the festival the listeners will hear various pieces of church music, both Russian and foreign which have glorified the Risen Saviour over centuries. I wish that the music of Orthodox divine services, in which we all participate these days as I hope, will arose kind feelings in our hearts and we will bring Easter joy to our near and dear and feel this joy throughput the next year and through all our life.
Christ is risen!’
Performing at the concert were the Moscow Synodal Choir conducted by Alexei Puzakov, Athos Fessalonikis Imnodi choir from Greece conducted by Ioannis Liakos, and Choir of the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg conducted by Pavel Petrenko. They sang Easter liturgical hymns by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), Dmitry Bortnyansky, Sergei Rachmaninov, Pavel Chesnokov, Georgy Sviridov, Petr Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Golovanov, and Sergei Degtyarev.