On June 28, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the concert of the “Hover” choir as a closing event dedicated to the 850th anniversary of Nerses Schnorhali was held.
Ambassadors accredited to UNESCO, invited guests, representatives of the scientific circles of France, and spiritual fathers of sister churches attended the concert.
RA ESCS Minister Zhanna Andreasyan, UNESCO Deputy Director-General Edouardo Firmin Matoko, Head of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia to UNESCO Christian Ter-Stepanyan made welcome remarks. Director of the Museums and Archives of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Rev. Fr. Asoghik Karapetyan conveyed to the participants of the event the welcome speech of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
Welcoming those present, RA ESCS Minister Zhanna Andreasyan emphasized that St. Nerses Shnorhali has an irreplaceable role in the spiritual history of Medieval Armenia: “The literary and theological heritage of Shnorhali is extremely rich, multi-genre and multi-layered. Shnorhali is the author of a number of genres in Armenian lyrics and a major hymn composer. Nerses Shnorali is the author of hundreds of hymns, which enriched the compositions of the liturgies and messes of the Armenian Church, improved the modes of spiritual songs, and enhanced and enriched the church liturgy.”
According to the Minister, this ceremony dedicated to the Patriarch is more than a celebration. According to Zhanna Andreasyan, the current geopolitical challenges, the actual destruction of thousand-year-old monuments of universal cultural values during military conflicts give a different meaning to the events in memory of Nerses Shnorhali included in the UNESCO calendar of eminent personalities and important events for 2022-2023: “We are convinced that the inviolability of cultural, religious and spiritual values should be the highest and inviolable principle for all nations and states. Geopolitical upheavals, political contradictions, and military conflicts cannot be a threat to values, the creation and preservation of which are a manifestation of the spiritual feat and high consciousness of humanistic values of thousands of generations. This event dedicated to St. Nerses Shnorhali in such a high international arena as the UNESCO headquarters has for us the significance of the message of universal responsibility for the preservation of cultural heritage” noted the ESCS Minister and continued, “What would remain of the heritage of Nerses Shnorhali if this heritage was treated the same way as the cultural heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh is treated today: nothing...”
Concluding her speech, the Minister expressed gratitude to all the organizers and the officials of UNESCO for creating such an opportunity and contributing to the organization of the event.
The speakers of the opening ceremony highly appreciated the creative heritage of Shnorhali and his role in spreading pan-Christian values.
The welcoming speeches were followed by a concert program consisting of works by medieval Armenian spiritual hymns, Komitas, and contemporary composers. The choir also performed European spiritual music. The concert was accompanied by a thematic video presentation.