Giorgi Mtatsmindeli Higher Educational Institution of Ecclesiastical Chant takes its sources from the “International Center for Georgian Chant and Song” which was founded in 2006 by Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, the Archbishop of Mtskheta-Tbilisi and Metropolitan Bishop of Abkhazia and Bichvinta, His Holiness and Beatitude, Ilia II, as a structural unit of Patriarch’s charity foundation. The Institution, specialized onto the education of regents of the Georgian Ecclesiastical Chant and conductors of Georgian folk songs, has long been the cherished dream of the society of amateurs of Georgian traditional music. At the same time, together with the resuscitation of the Orthodox faith in Georgia, in hundreds of temples there has appeared the demand for chanters equipped with professional skills and knowledge.
Archimandrite of St. David’s Monastery, Ioane (Kikvadze) and Anzor Erkomaishvili, the great maestro of Georgian folk songs and chants, both stood at the origins of foundation of the Institution. Grandfather of Anzor Erkomaishvili, the famous song conductor Artem Erkomaishvili used to say: “the government must open a special school where the youth will be taught only the old folk songs and chants.” This initiative, expressed as a will of the ancestors, was supported by the businessman Ivane Chkhartishvili, a music amateur, by the joint efforts of whom as well as of the leader of the Church of Georgia, there has become possible to form this longed-for educational establishment.
On 19th September 2006, during the blessing of the building of the Institution, His Holiness and Beatitude, the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia said: “We are starting a very great endeavor. I am sure that the song conductors that we shall instruct, will create the choirs everywhere in Georgia, and by means of them the whole Georgia will be able to praise the Lord.”
The School of Ecclesiastical Chant and Folk Song was initially founded next to Tbilisi Spiritual Academy by the order #100 of 3rd October 2006 of the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. It was initially located next to the All-Saint Sameba Patriarchal Temple, at #4, Gabeskiria Street. Archpriest Basili Kikvadze (nowadays Archimandrite Ioane) was appointed as a dean, and BadriBeraia as a curator. Ever since the foundation, the leading circle of the Institution is represented by the workshops of famous song conductors AnzorErkomaishvili and Malkhaz Erkvanidze. The study process began in December. Later, in the academic year 2008-2009, the Institute moved to the building of the Spiritual Academy and Seminary itself. Since 2010-2011 it turned into an independent higher educational institution and moved to #9, Delisi Street. Since 2012, the Institution changed its address again, this time to #3, SandroEuli Street, 5th level in the building of “Ertsulovneba,” Television of Patriarchy.
There must be specially noted the care of the supervisory council of the Institution performed under the leadership of Ivane Chkhartishvili for the support of the teaching process, by means of ensuring the corresponding infrastructure and wages fund.
During its existence, the Institution has issued 5 streams of alumni. Regents and song conductors educated by our Institution already work with success in various regions of Georgia: Guria, ShidaKartli (Inner Kartli), Svaneti, Imereti, Kakheti, etc. The students and alumni of the Institution appear successfully on the stages and at the scientific conferences.
In 2014, there occurred certain reforms in Giorgi Mtatsmindeli Higher Educational Institution of Ecclesiastical Chant. The administration underwent some alterations, and Nana Gotua was appointed as the Head of Administration. The Supervisory Council is still presided by Ivane Chkhartishvili. Lekso Toradze and Sesili Gogiberidze are members of the Council. The Institution changed its statutes, the administrative personnel was renewed as well as there was partially renewed the personnel of professors’ staff. The office work has been facilitated and that has caused many benevolent changes for the new academic year. Nowadays the Institution, just like a university, already offers the students not only the Bachelor’s degree courses, but also Master’s degree courses, too. There was rearranged the infrastructure, the students will see the renewed lecture-halls and library. On 4th August 2014, first time within the theological educational space of Georgia, 5 alumni (2014) of our Institution were issued diplomas recognized by the State.