Patriarch Ilia of Georgia calls for Church singing to be studied in school

Tbilisi, April 2, 2019

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His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II spoke about the great importance of Church singing for Georgian culture at a recent presentation of an anthology of Georgian spiritual singing, recalling his request that the state include courses on Church hymns in the nation’s public schools.

“I remember my meeting with the Prime Minister,” His Holiness said. “I asked him to include Church hymns and folks songs in the middle school curriculum. The Prime Minster promised it would happen,” Pat. Ilia said at the event held at the Patriarchate, reports Ekho Kavkaza.

“Georgian singing and Church hymnography are a big part of Georgian culture. May the lord bless you, and I believe that this will not be the only step, but that other steps will follow in the future,” the Georgian primate said.

The presentation of the musical anthology was attended by Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, who noted that folklore centers give the chance for 800 children throughout all of Georgia to study Georgian Church singing. According to him, seven new schools will open this year where children will study Church singing.

“Georgian chant and polyphony in general is our unique contribution to Christian civilization and to the world civilization overall,” Bakhtadze said in an interview on Georgian television.

According to the site of the Georgian Patriarchate, the anthology aims at the full academic publication of traditional Georgian chants, transferred to notes in the 19th-20th centuries.

The publication is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the autocephaly of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and the 40th anniversary of the enthronement of Pat. Ilia as the primate of the Church, both of which were celebrated in 2017.

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