Kirkkolaulupäivät Valamossa vuonna 1929 taitekohtana suomenkielisen ortodoksisen musiikkitoiminnan kehittämisessä
The Sacred Song Festival at Valaam Monastery (1929) and the Development of Finnish Orthodox Church Music
This article focuses on the organization of the first Finnish Orthodox sacred song festival at the Valaam Monastery in 1929, and the processes of development that it initiated. The author bases her findings on previously unexplored archival sources. The article relates to the nationalization of the Finnish Orthodox Church in the interwar period by means of exploring how the adoption of Finnish as the liturgical language, instead of the old Church Slavonic, brought about changes on the level of daily worship and musical activities in the Orthodox parishes.
The sacred music festival brought together some 200 singers and a large audience from the Finnish-speaking Orthodox parishes of the Karelian Diocese. The programme included rehearsals, excursions, and worship, during which the participants constituted one choir. The festival concluded with a formal meeting of amateur and choir singers at the invitation of the Archbishop. The meeting issued sixteen initiatives which focused on the status, funding, and the professional training of the cantors, and the measures to be taken in order to promote congregational singing in the Orthodox parishes. Together with the detailed information about church choirs, collected by the organizers in preparation of the festival, the initiatives of the singers’ meeting provided guidelines for future action. During the 1930s, many of these initiatives bore fruit. Three subsequent church music festivals were organized (1930, 1933, 1936), the Finnish Orthodox Church founded a publishing committee for liturgical music (1930), professional training courses for cantors were launched (1932), and the status of the cantor improved in several ways.