Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away today. It is with deep gratitude that Arvo Pärt remembers a great theologian and Christian role model, but also a close soul with whom he was bound by a long friendship and a special quiet relationship.
Arvo Pärt had the honour of knowing Pope Benedict XVI for more than 30 years, a period which included many cordial contacts and events. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named Arvo Pärt a member of his cultural council, the Pontificium Consilium de Cultura, and in 2017, the composer received a special honour, the Ratzinger Prize. Despite his advanced age, Pope Emeritus greeted the opening of the Arvo Pärt Centre in Laulasmaa in 2018, sending a personal message to the composer and the Arvo Pärt Centre.
Arvo Pärt dedicated his 2005 work “Vater unser”, written to the words of the prayer of Our Father, to Benedict XVI, and it sums up the composer’s respect, love and gratitude towards him.
The Arvo Pärt Centre joins the composer’s condolences.