Swiss Evangelicals Give Gift of Music to Moscow Cathedral

A Church Organ Strikes an Ecumenical Note

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MOSCOW, JAN. 18, 2005 ( The new organ of Moscow’s Catholic cathedral is an instrument of ecumenism.

The new organ was blessed Sunday during a Mass presided over by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, president of the Russian Catholic episcopate.

Thousands of faithful attended the Mass, concelebrated by Archbishop Antonio Mennini, apostolic nuncio in Rome, together with numerous priests, including Father Rolf Schonenberger. To his efforts is owed the organ, a gift of the evangelical Protestants of Basel, Switzerland, as well as its transportation and installation.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz himself, head of the Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God of Moscow, asked the Swiss-born priest for an organ for the cathedral. For years this priest has brought aid to Russia from various parts of the world.

Father Schonenberger says, on the (Korazym Web page, that he contacted a company that makes organs and asked for one that was not too expensive.

The company replied: «Father, you are really fortunate. There is an organ in the evangelicals’ church in Basel that will not cost much.» But the price was still too high for the priest.

«Then they decided to put an ad on Internet, including the price, but they found no one to acquire it,» the priest said. «I had already forgotten about the organ when one day they called me from Basel saying: ‘You can have the organ for free: It is our gift to the Catholics of Moscow. You need only pay for the transport and installation expenses.'»

The instrument in its new location «will enhance the quality of the organ concerts that have been held in the cathedral for years,» and which are attended by «Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and faithful of other religions and nonbelievers,» noted Archbishop Kondrusiewicz.

A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, Deacon Aleksander Wasiutin, and the representative of the Lutheran-Evangelical Church, pastor Dietrich von Brullow, joined personalities of the diplomatic and cultural world in the inaugural celebration.

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