Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece met this morning the members of the Federation of Greek Chanters’ Associations (OMSIE). The reason for the meeting was UNESCO’s decision to include Byzantine chant in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The decision was made at the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, 2003) during its 14th annual meeting in Bogota (December 9-14, 2019, Colombia). The Archbishop described the decision as “landmark” and thanked the Federation for the outcome, “It is a great success for you, coupled with the special contribution of Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, who has such sensitivities. Anything that can contribute to the promotion of the psaltic art in the international context is important and we must applaud it.”
Members of the Federation had the opportunity to talk to the Archbishop about the matters of the chanters’ community. “The institutional framework is outdated and, therefore, we propose to set up a committee to re-examine an agenda of issues that concern our chanters,” said Federation President Kostas Politis.
The Archbishop said he shared the concerns of the chanters’ community and would support it in every possible way. “The spirit that prevails today is opposing the Church. We do not ask the state for money but to see the Church “moving on.” The scarce assets of the Church must be spent for spiritual purposes, that is, charity, priesthood, love. And the Church has to find ways to remunerate the chanter. The time will come when the Church will not be able to do so. That is why the state must let us proceed for the sake of the country.”