May 21, 2010.
The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill I, organized a concert in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. The concert marked the end of a series of conferences on culture and Russian spirituality that took place at the Vatican.
Patriarch Kirill did not attend the concert, but send the pope a message in which he compared music to a universal language. He said “music can convey emotions of the human soul and spiritual states that words cannot describe.”
Benedict XVI recalled that music bridges the East and West.
“There is, in fact, a close and fundamental bond between Russian music and liturgical chant. It is in the liturgy and from the liturgy that a large part of the artistic creativity of Russian musicians is released and expressed, giving life to masterpieces which deserve to be better known in the West.”
Russian’s National Orchestra, Moscow’s Synodal Choir and the Horn Orchestra of St. Petersburg interpreted works by great Russian composes of the XIX and XX centuries. Together, they performed the song of the Ascension, written by the Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, current Foreign Minister of the Patriarch of Moscow.
The concert was a special gift from the Patriarch of Moscow for Benedict XVI’s birthday and 5th year anniversary of his pontificate. A clear sign that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are growing closer, after years of tensions.