Moscow Synodal Choir in the Vatican
“Beauty will save the world”. Pope Francis quoted this famous line from one of the most celebrated thinkers of the 1800s in Russia, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, to emphasize to the Moscow Synodal Choir of the Orthodox Patriarchate that “music, painting, sculpture, architecture is simply the beauty that unites us to grow in the faith which is celebrated, in prophetic hope and in witnessed charity”. These words came from a message written by the Pontiff for the concert given by the Moscow Synodal Choir, conducted by Aleksej Puzakov in the Papal Basilica of St Mary Major on Sunday evening, 3 November. The Synodal Choir was accompanied by the Sistine Chapel Choir conducted by Msgr Massimo Palombella.
“Looking back over the history of Christianity which spans thousands of years”, the Pope said in his message, which was read in the Basilica by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect Congregation for the Eastern Churches, “we may observe that in spite of the separate historical events and different ways of understanding revelation, a deep unity has been maintained in art”; a unity fostered by frequent meetings of study and reflection together on our common sources. In the Church “art in all its forms”, the Pope wrote, “does not exist only for simple aesthetic enjoyment but because, through art the Church in every moment of history and in every culture, explains and interprets revelation for the good of the People of God. Art in the Church fundamentally exists for evangelization”.
“Today the Church can and must breathe with both lungs, the eastern lung and the western lung. Where we still do not completely do this, according to the measure of unity asked for by Jesus in the prayer to the Father, we can do this in many other ways”. One of these ways, the message concluded, is through the “great patrimony of art and culture, which the various traditions have produced abundantly in the lives of the People of God”.
Following the Angelus on Sunday, the Holy Father briefly met the 50 members of the Choir in his residence at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The choir will likely perform various pieces of sacred music at the celebration of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, as both the Anglicans and Lutherans have done in the past.