The fifth Orthodox Music Festival in Pomorie, Bulgaria

Pomorie will greet more than 700 choristers from nine countries for the fifth Orthodox Music Festival, to be held from June 7 to 11. Among the new participants this year is the chamber choir of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Berlin. Russian and Greek church officials are expected to be present at the festival.

Officially named for the Holy Virgin Mother (Света Богородица - Достойно есть), the festival drew applications for participation from more than 3000 candidates; out of these were chosen 31 groups from Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Conductor Elitsa Hristova, who is the technical director of the festival, said in a press release that foreign participants from the previous edition of the festival had created a new website [] for the event.

In addition to being a place in which a global variety of beautiful music can be heard, the festival also serves as a forum for choristers. Alongside the musical performances, there will be lectures connected to the theme of Religious Music and Worship. It is hoped that this will spur discussions among participants, which, according to organisers, can be some of the most interesting aspects of the festival.

Composer Georgi Popov and conductor Yordanka Toudjarova can be credited with the idea for such a place of interaction, as they both, independently of each other, recognised the potential that it could have for the coastal town. Pomorie also has a history of strong Orthodox belief among its residents.

The festival has no competitive aspect, because, according to the organisers, Orthodox ethics are outside any type of classification.

Tradition has it that on June 11 in the year 982, a Bulgarian monk from the cell of the Assumption at Pantokrator Monastery on Mount Athos met a messenger of the Divine Revelation. On a stone, which remains there to this day, was inscribed by Divine means the lyrics to the God-inspired song Dostoino Est (He is Worthy), with which the Orthodox world gives praise to the Virgin Mary.

The musical forum in Pomorie in 2008 takes place with the partnership of Metropolitan Yoanikii of Sliven and Pomorie mayor Petar Zlatarov, among others. Festival director is Dafina Staneva.