August 11, 2023 - 8:30 pm

All Seated
$60 – $40 – $30 – $20



Under the direction of S. Marana Saad, Philokalia Choir, (known till 2018 as Saint Rafqa Institute Choir), has established its reputation as one of the leading choirs in Lebanon. Since its foundation in 2010 by S. Marana, several concerts, festivals and occasions conducted each year have allowed the choir to showcase their work technically, vocally and musically.

Philokalia choir has covered a varied repertoire ranging from sacred to secular music, from oriental to Arabic and classical music, the most notable works: Syriac Maronite repertoire “traditional and modern”, Mozart’s “Requiem”, Palestrina’s “Missa Brevis”, Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio”, Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, Iyad Kanaan Hymns and songs, Toufic Succar “Maronite and Lebanese polyphonic songs”, Old Mouwashahat, Rahbani Brothers repertoire, Zaki Nassif repertoire, Sayyed Darwish, Phelemon Wehbe, Marcel Khalife, Charbel Rouhana, etc. and new songs composed especially for Philokalia Choir.

The Choir provides education in the field of music for both choral and solo. Philokalia Choir has participated in concerts alongside prominent orchestras, received many invitations to festivals, and has also collaborated with other leading choirs. Some of the most known are: Christmas concert at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, concerts at the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Bkerke, concerts at Beirut Chants Festival (2017/2021/2022), and in different churches and theatres in every corner of Lebanon. The Choir has received invitations to international festivals and big celebrations and events, such as: Crossroad Festival in Cyprus (2013/2018), Maronite Churches festivities in Virginia and Washington – U.S.A. (2016/2018), Frankfurt – Germany (2018) and Rome-Italy (2016), World Youth Day with The Pope Francis in Poland (2016) and Lebanese International Choir Festival (2015/2018).

Philokalia Choir has also presented an operetta with live orchestra in Rafqa’s musical theater written and directed by Georges Khabbaz (2014), and participated in big events with different orchestras in concerts with prominent artists such as Magida El Roumi, Charbel Rouhana in “Let Your Light Shine”/ “Salami Ma’ik” at the Casino Du Liban (2016), Marcel Khalife at Amchit Festival (2017) and Khaled Mouzanar at Baalback Festival Lebanon (2018). The Choir has also collaborated with the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music – the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Music conducted by Maestro Lubnan Baalbaki, with “Mazeej by Lucas Sakr” (2019) and Oussama Rahbani and Hiba Tawaji (2020). Philokalia Choir built strong friendships with Lena Farah Ghaoui and Rafca Fares Rahbani, who participated as soloists in Philokalia’s various concerts and musical events. Moreover, the Choir has recorded seven albums of Lebanese, oriental and sacred music, and performed many soundtracks for TV and movies, in which it had special appearances.


Ashtar Vocal Ensemble was founded in November 2022 at Philokalia Institute by Sr. Marana Saad. It is an ensemble that comprises professional oriental singers who thrive to achieve and accomplish high-quality music. It visions a wide repertoire of different musical genres including traditional, Arabic-oriental, classical and modern. This ensemble welcomes professional singers, from various musical backgrounds allowing it to create a unique and charming oriental sound.

Ashtar’s main mission is to spread the Arabic-oriental and Lebanese musical culture, and to be a source of beauty, hope, resilience and perseverance from Lebanon to all over the world, despite all the critical circumstances that the country is facing. Moreover, Ashtar aims to give Lebanese professional singers the opportunity to reap the fruits of their hard work throughout the years, by participating in fructuous, local, and international festivals and musical works. Additionally, this ensemble focuses on promoting Lebanese composers, musicians, and writers.


A Lebanese singer, was born in Ehmej on April 24th, 1980

Carla began her singing career at an early age when her father Michel Ramia, a Lebanese artist discovered her musical talent.

At the age of 5, she recorded «’ammo ya ‘ammo» (عمّو يا عمّو)  an album of 14 children’s songs. It was distributed in Lebanon, as well as in many Arab countries. She also performed in many children’s concerts in different regions around Lebanon.

After Carla graduated high school, she carried on with her university education in music at the Holy Spirit University-Kaslik (USEK), where she obtained :

  • in 2002: a bachelor’s degree in Musicology – USEK.
  • in 2004: a master’s degree in Musicology – USEK.
  • in 2004: a diploma in Arabic Chant – USEK.

On June 21st, 2002, the Faculty of Music at the Holy Spirit University-Kaslik awarded Carla the «Wadih El Safi» prize, for her vocal, artistic and academic skills, in the presence of Wadih El Safi himself.

  • She performs religious and secular concerts in Lebanon and abroad ( France, London,  Montreal, International festival of Jarash, Australia).
  • She teaches music in many schools and institutes, among which  The holy spirit University of Kaslik And She’s a trainer in Teachers’ training college – Jounieh.
  • She teaches singing lessons to participants on TV singing competitions (star academy 10/11).


S. Marana Saad is the Founder and the President of Philokalia Institute and Organization. Holding a PhD in Theology from Saint Anselm’s University – Rome and a PhD in Music from Holy Spirit University of Kaslik – Lebanon. S. Marana is a Theology and Musicology instructor at several Universities and Institutes. She is a member of the Lebanese National Commission for Unesco Lebanon from 2022.

She studied choral conducting under Maestro Walter Marzilli at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra in Rome. In 2010, she founded Saint Rafqa’s Institute Choir (Youth and children) known from 2018 as Philokalia Choir, where she is currently teaching and conducting. She also founded the Philokalia Vocal Ensemble “Hymnos” and “Ashtar” Arabic Oriental Ensemble in 2022 as professional Ensembles.

She got an Executive Certificate in Strategic Management and Leadership from Georges Washington University, School of Business, USA (2018) and Sensitization to Music Therapy, Nantes Music Therapy Institute, France (2013).

S. Marana participated in different conferences and workshops (Vatican-Rome, Estonia, Richmond, Limassol, Croatia-Zara, Sweden) and she received many invitations to international festivals and concerts (France, Cyprus, Italy, Poland, Germany and USA). She published several articles about theology and spirituality, sacred music, choir management and leadership. She is also the author of several theological and musical texts, and has composed and directed several religious texts.