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Czech Week a resounding success

The Czech Cultural Week organised by the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic in Malta together with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Czech Embassy in Rome came to an end last week.

The week was marked by various activities held in Valletta at St James Cavalier, Teatru Manoel and St John’s Co-Cathedral.

Between the 17th and the 22nd October a Czech Film week was held at St James Cavalier where various Czech films were projected. These clearly showed the evolution of the Czech Film Industry especially from the period of the Soviet occupation to the present times.

A Czech National Day Reception and the inauguration of a Czech Contemporary Jewellery Exhibition were held on Sunday 22nd October in Sala Isuoard at Teatru Manoel. The event was attended by HE The Acting President of and Mrs Hyzler, Presidents Emeriti Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici and Dr Vincent Tabone and their respective wives, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps and a large number of Czech residents and Members of the Maltese-Czech Society lead by the President Mr Lawrence Attard Bezzina.

HE Dr George Hyzler and Mr Jiri Sittek, First Secretary and Consul at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Rome delivered speeches. HE Dr Hyzler recounted his experiences when he himself served as Malta’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic and also on the relations between Malta and the Czech Republic following accession into the European Union.

In his speech Mr Jiri Sittek emphasized the excellent relations existing between the two countries and the projects being undertaken through the initiatives of the Honorary Consulate to secure relations at people’s level through contacts between Local Councils and Czech Towns and Regions. Mr Sittek also referred to the co-operation agreement signed between the National Theatre of Prague and Teatru Manoel and the new established relations with the Maltese Association of the Order of Malta.

Following toasts for the good health of the Presidents and People of Malta and the Czech Republic, the National Anthems of both countries were played. During the evening Soprano Martha Hanfova and Maestro Richard Melmuka gave a taste of what one was to expect at the Celebrity Concert held on Tuesday 23rd October at Teatru Manoel

The highlight of the week was certainly the visit to Malta of His Eminence Tomas Cardinal Spidlik S.J., who officiated during a Pontifical High Mass held at St John’s Co-Cathedral in

Valletta on Monday 23rd October 2006, when a porcelain replica of the “Infant Jesus of Prague” was donated to the HE Comm. Dr Jaime H. Cremona, President of the Maltese Association of the Order of Malta.

The High Mass was concelebrated by HG The Archbishop of Malta Mons G. Mercieca, HE The Apostolic Nuncio Mons Felix Del Blanco Prieto, Mons. Annetto de Pasquale, The Acting Provincial of the Society of Jesus Fr John Scicluna, the Provincial of the Theresian Carmelites Fr Victor Mallia and various Provincials and Rectors of Religious Orders and Parishes of Valletta.

St John’s Co-Cathedral was again packed to capacity for another Czech event.

The ceremony was attended by HE The Acting President and Mrs G. Hyzler, The Hon. Prime Minister and Mrs L. Gonzi, The Chief Justice and Mrs de Gaetano, members of the Diplomatic Corps, The Mayor of Valletta Dr Paul Borg Olivier, HE Mr Antonio Ganado Ambassador of Malta to the Holy See & Mrs Ganado, HE Dr & Mrs Vella, Malta’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic and HE Mr F. Cachia Malta’s Ambassador to the Republic of Slovakia together with a large contingent of Members and Dames of the Association of the Order of Malta.

After Mass the members of the Association of the Order of Malta carried the Statue of the Infant Jesus in procession to the Church of Our Lady of the Victories in Valletta where a deed of hand over was signed by Comm. Dr Jaime H. Cremona and Tonio Casapinta Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic in Malta and witnessed by Marquis de Piro and Mr. Jiri Sittek, First Secretary and Consul of the Czech Embassy in Rome. This was followed by Benediction. A reception was afterwards held at Casa Lanfreducci, the seat of the Association.

During his stay in Malta Cardinal Spidlik made an official visit to the President of Malta Dr Edward Fenech Adami at the Palace in Valletta and to HG Mons Joseph Mercieca at the Curia in Floriana. The Cardinal also celebrated Mass at St Paul’s Grotto in Rabat and at The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha. Before leaving Malta on the 25th October Cardinal Spidlik visited the University of Malta and had lunch with the Jesuit Community.

The Czech Week came to an end with a Vocal Recital by Soprano Martha Hanfova and Maestro Melmuka at Teatru Manoel in Valletta. This was held under the patronage of the President of Malta and Mrs. Fenech Adami. Czech biblical songs were offered as a gift to Cardinal Spidlik (who also attended the recital) and these were followed by arias from Dvorak, Buhagiar, Smetana, Chopin, Gounod and Puccini.

During the Czech Week the Consulate accepted donations in aid of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Ostrava, Czech Republic who run a home for distressed women and children. A Maltese nun Sister Doris Saliba manages the home


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