Nicosia, 18 April 2018
Church Organ Festival returns to Cyprus under the auspices of the Italian Embassy
The Cyprus Church Organ Festival kicked off on Sunday 15 April with renowned Italian organist Eugenio Maria Fagiani and the Larnaca Progressive Movement Choir performing pieces from the Italian, Hellenic and Western tradition before a full audience at St. Mary of Graces church in Larnaca.
The Festival, organized by the Custody of the Holy Land–Latin Catholic Church in Cyprus and the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra with the patronage of the Representative of the Latin Community at the House of Representatives, aims at bringing to Cyprus the enchanting sound of the church organ which for centuries has been the cornerstone of Christian religious music and is now the hallmark of sacred music spanning all faiths and beliefs.
In addition to the Larnaca concert last Monday, three other ones are scheduled at the Catholic churches in Nicosia (18/4), Limassol (19/4) and Larnaca (20/4) in which Maestro Jens Bachmann will take the baton to direct the CYSO in classical music pieces for organ and orchestra, including Tommaso Albinoni’s iconic adagio.
The Embassy of Italy is pleased to support the event and to hold it under its auspices, honoring a long-standing tradition of Italian music and religious practice, but also paying a tribute to generations of Italian organists and organ builders. Indeed, the only existing pipe organ in Cyprus was restored, with the support of the Embassy, by Saverio Tamburini of Crema, a descendant of one of the most notable families of organ builders.
The festival is part of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival, organized by the Custody of the Holy Land in the churches and shrines where the Franciscan Friars have been active for centuries: Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. It constitutes one of the rare occasions in the Middle East and in the Levant to experience the sound of the pipe organ outside of its normal liturgical context.
Music has been a significant part of Christian worship since the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, the organ has taken a prominent role in leading congregational song. Today, the sound of the organ has also become a sign of the Christian presence in the areas where such faith is under threat.
Last year the Custody of the Holy Land celebrated 800 years of history since the day when the first Franciscan friar landed in Acre in 1217. This milestone anniversary was celebrated in Italy with various events, including with the participation of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. To this day, the Custody continues to carry out its important mission of fostering dialogue among cultures and religions, safeguarding the most significant places of Christianity and supporting the Christian presence in the Holy Land by running schools, constructing housing and alleviating poverty.
Italy supports this event also in the context of its long-standing efforts to promote freedom of religion and belief as well as interreligious dialogue, which are also among the priorities of the Italian presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in (OSCE). Indeed, Italy maintains that the fight against intolerance and discrimination, and the promotion of pluralism, inclusion and inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue are the foundations of peace and security.
Full audience at St. Mary of Graces in Larnaca for the Cyprus Church Organ Festival
Maestro Eugenio Maria Fagiani with organ-builder Saverio Tamburini