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Eastern Churches Seminar Explores Sacred Spaces

Notre Dame College’s Center for Pastoral Theology and Ministry will present the 28th annual Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar, titled “Sacred Space: Speaking to the Heart,” on Oct. 12 and 13.

This year’s Eastern Churches Seminar incorporates but goes beyond art and architecture to reflect on the reality of our churches as sacred spaces, “holy ground,” where the faithful encounter and worship God. The seminar discusses how creating a sacred space can impact the designing and restoring of our churches, and explores how those spaces speak to our hearts.  

Notre Dame’s Center for Pastoral Theology and Ministry, together with its co-sponsors, presents this seminar with the hope that knowledge will lead to greater understanding and mutual respect. It opens at St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Orthodox Church in Richmond Heights on Friday evening, Oct. 12, and continues at Notre Dame College in South Euclid on Saturday, Oct. 13.

The Friday evening program will begin with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Dr. Christina Maranci, who is Dadian and Oztemel associate professor of art and architecture and director of the Graduate Department of Art History at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., will then open the seminar with a reflection entitled “Sacred Space in the Armenian Tradition.” A reception will follow at 8:30 p.m.

The Saturday program at Notre Dame College features three speakers. Nicholas Loya, co-owner of Eikona Studios, Inc. in Cleveland, will discuss “From Theology to Finances: The Process of Creating a Sacred Space” at 9:15 a.m.; Archpriest Michael Butler, pastor at St. Innocent Orthodox Church in Olmsted Falls and adjunct professor of theology at Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, will address “Cosmic Renewal and Change of Heart” at 10:30 a.m.; and Fr. Robert Kropac, pastor at St. Wendelin and St. Peter Churches in Cleveland and liturgical consultant, will present “New Wineskins for New Wine: The Challenge of Adapting Older Places of Worship and Building New Ones” at 1 p.m.

A discussion with all speakers will follow at 2:15 p.m. A light breakfast and lunch will be served during the day. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. on the ground floor of the College’s Administration Building.

The Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar is an annual dialogue between the clergy, bishops and laity of the Orthodox, Byzantine and Roman Catholic churches in the Greater Cleveland area. The seminar was the first of its kind in the United States and over the years has become a prototype for similar efforts in the United States and around the world.

The seminar is open to all clergy, religious and laity of the Eastern and Western churches, and is especially helpful for religion teachers and pastoral ministers to aid their understanding of the Eastern traditions.

The Center for Pastoral Theology and Ministry co-sponsors the event with the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Council of Orthodox

Clergy, the Romanian Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Canton, St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Orthodox Church, St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, the Raymond Malburg Family and the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of St. Josaphat.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Orthodox Church is located at 678 Richmond Road in Richmond Heights. Cost for the Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar is $30 before and $35 after Oct. 5. For further information, contact Sr. Mary Ann Baran, SND, director of the Center for Pastoral Theology and Ministry, at 216.373.5389 or mbaran@ndc.edu.