UNESCO recognizes Byzantine Music and Byzantine Chant as an official intangible cultural heritage

Nikolaos Giannoukakis

Παλαιό Μέλος

Congratulations to all who made this a reality. This is a very significant development of historical proportions.

For the record, the idea to inscribe Byzantine Music and Byzantine Chant into the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO was the brainchild of the late blessed Emmanuel Hatzimarkos, in 2008. After a number of discussions, starts and delays, in the summer of 2013, the American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology together with the European Art Center in Greece, submitted a dossier on the matter to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Section of UNESCO. Even though the submission and theme did not make it to the final round of accepted themes, the proposal was discussed at the 4th International Conference of the American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology in Greece. The idea was championed by Mr. Konstantinos Politis, then President of the Federation of Societies of Chantors of Greece, and his associates, especially Mr. Haris Symeonidis.

We are very delighted that those initial seeds came to fruition.

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Thank you for the news. I am surprised that it was just done now. An important step!

I am not so sure I would call it “Byzantine”, I mean one could specify that the current tradition of monodic chant is regarded as a continuous tradition dating back to the time before 1453, but according to UNESCO the field itself defines ICH, not a musicologist, not even an experienced ethnomusicologist.

Another suggestion concerns the place, I would definitely add Constantinople, since it is still the residence of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and probably some more Balkan countries whose tradition follows closely the way of Archon Protopsaltes at the Analogion of the Patriarchate.

This answer is just intended to keep this interesting discussion going...
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