The International Festival of Orthodox Church Music „Hajnówka” has been organized every year since 1982. The Festival’s organizer is the „Orthodox Church Music” Foundation in Hajnówka.
The aim of the International Festival of Orthodox Church Music „Hajnówka” is to present the great artistic and spiritual values of Orthodox Church music. The Festival’s program also creates an opportunity for discussions, meetings, an exchange of experiences, and establishing new relationships between participants coming from different environments — thus, it becomes enriched with aesthetic and educational objectives. The repertoire presented during the Festival is a historical cross-section of music ranging from the beginnings of Christianity to contemporary compositions — including those by Polish composers (S. Moniuszko, J. Kozlowski, K. Szymanowski, K. Gorski, M. Rogowski, P. Jańczak, P. Lukaszewski, R. Twardowski, K. Penderecki).
The Festival is organized as a competition, with participation from amateur and professional choirs from around the world, including leading Polish choirs. It includes choirs regardless of their nationality and religion: Catholics, Greek Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Old Believers, as well as Muslims, Buddhists and Jews. This year features the World Champions of the World Choir Games 2018 Harmonious Chorale, which happens to be the only African choir participating in the event. Harmonious Chorale will be performing on 18.05.2019 (Saturday) 3.00 p.m at The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic in Białystok, 2 Podleśna Street
The Festival’s openness, as well as the variety of repertoire and culture on display, is an example of mutual respect and tolerance, affirming the idea of this event being the Musical Forum for the East and West. By 2013, 726 choirs from 35 countries (from Europe, Asia, North America and Africa) participated in this event, which is also known as the „The Festival of the Singing Soul”.
The Festival is organized under the Patronage of the President of Poland as well as the Patronage of the Polish Minister of Culture, under the Artistic Patronage of prof. K. Penderecki and under the Patronage of the President of Bialystok.