Benedikt Mohelník OP
Place of Spiritual Worship
A Theological Sketch of Conception of the Liturgical Space
The study – a theological sketch – deals with the basic notions of the Christian conception of the liturgical space. The cultic behaviour of a religious community and the concept of space derive from the understanding of the central cultic act – bringing a sacrifice. The self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ and its representation in the celebration of the Eucharist imparts the Christian service with a radical uniqueness. A person connected with Christ and the community of Christ’s disciples are the only “place” of sacrifice-worship. A need for liturgical space then results from a spiritual-physical structure of the human existence. Space and time thus become a necessary part of the cultic behaviour of the Christian community.
Liturgy as an Agent of Change
The article presents a sketch of some important changes in the liturgy and its space in the relevant historical context. With regard to the current dilemmas (touched by the topic of the conference), the author deduces from this historical experience the necessity to exceed simplistic applications of the known principle of liturgy, that liturgy creates the space. The problem in question is indeed in its essence really a theological one, and only the present Mysterium Christi, the only mystery of God, of man, and of the church and her liturgy, can present the key for shaping the future in the landscape of the past.
May Our Mind Be in Harmony with Our Voice
The reflection of the Abbot of the Trappist monastery in Nový Dvůr refers to relations between the spiritual life of a monk and the external aspects of his life – among them in the first place the monastic liturgy, which can have an inspirational influence on the liturgical practice of other communities. Dom Samuel emphasizes aspects of stability, and points towards some hasty reactions to liturgical reform, which headlong questioned things whose meaning has been proven by centuries. The author indicates that the young monk lives primarily from experience transmitted by older ones. Against the tendency to adapt religious life to the given period of time he puts a divine duty, e. g. the divine office itself, which is to be carried out, according to our possibilities and capabilities. The monastic liturgy, not only its content, but also its form, constitutes a framework which can – or can not – mature our spiritual life, our own and that of those entrusted to our pastoral care. At the same time: the activity during the liturgical rites doesn’t consist primarily in understanding, but in attendance, chiefly pleasing to God and desirable by the Church. We are performers, actors, there lies our role.
Art and Liturgy
Stefan Kraus, the director of Kolumba – the Art Museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne, considers in his study the liturgy by the standards of art: neither as a theologian, nor as an expert on the liturgy, but as an intermediary of art. The liturgy is a formalized representation. As such it is necessarily dependent on speech and images, on music, singing, on the movements of people in space and their gestures, vestments and vessels. Kraus recalls that a work of art when successful means the transformation of material, which acquires an aesthetic gain, and a humane quality, which is peculiar to the work of art. In art, as well as in the liturgy, the transformation occurs as the only possible way to make the invisible perceivable in the visible. For the proper service the art of celebrating (ars celebrandi) is essential. This should benefit from the experience of all, who work with various types of art. The liturgy is apparently the oldest, continuously realized Gesamtkunstwerk of the world. There is a mutual progress of interaction between the constantly developing order of worship (liturgics) and the types of art, which are already partly present in liturgy; in part they are entering into it (speech, singing, architecture, painting, and sculpture). Liturgical books have the same relationship to the Church as expressive forms of the rules of aesthetics have to art. Aesthetics¸ an experience of beauty understood not in a decorative sense but existentially, is inseparably connected with the reality of our faith. The Art Museum Kolumba may serve as an inspiration, because its goal is to perform an aesthetical influence from the space of the museum towards the space of the church.
The construction of Churches and the Liturgy after Vatican Council II
Possibilities and Limits of Changes in the Church Space
The art-historian and liturgist Walter Zahner looks in his extensive treatise through the history of German sacral architecture of the 20th century, and outlines its main lines of direction. He begins with the theoretical fundaments for the construction of sacral buildings, as they result from the history and Church documents of the first part of the century. The author deals extensively with buildings of Rudolf Schwarz and with his association with Romano Guardini, which gave the fundamental impetus to the sacral architecture in Germany in the whole 20th century. In the second part Zahner pursues theology of the church space after Vatican Council II, and demonstrates on the example of particular buildings, how these theoretical fundaments are specifically expressed.
Cathedral in the Heart of the Society
The Parisian Cardinal André Vingt-Trois summarizes in his reflection the significance of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for Church and society. On the level of social and political life the cathedral is one of the main symbols of Paris and France as such. It keeps however from the very beginning a reasonable distance from any political power. In this way the cathedral can be a symbol and a scale of the relationship between the Church and the state. Concerning religious life, the cathedral is in principle a potential enrichment of the everyday life of the city, the place where the experience of local and international drama is completed, an ecumenical centre. This, in connection with tourism, poses – among others – the question: how to receive visitors? At the end Ving-Trois emphasizes the importance of the liturgical life of the cathedral, which is both sacramental and missionary. On the practical level it carries the necessary adjustments of the liturgical space, care of liturgical music, and the community of priests working in the cathedral. Last but not least the author mentions the personality of the bishop, who necessarily belongs to each cathedral, and recalls the heritage of Cardinal Lustiger.
Josef Pleskot – Norbert Schmidt (AP Atelier)
Life Around the Solid Centre
Adaptation Design of the Liturgical Space in Parish Church of Holy Trinity in Dobříš – September 2010
Architects Josef Pleskot and Norbert Schmidt present their competitive project of a liturgical adaptation in the Church of Holy Trinity in Dobříš near Prague. In clear steps (need to brighten the space, finding the centre of gravity, creating a life around the solid centre, further equipment of the space, enrichment of the liturgical life) they outline their concept; and although it was recognized as the best, at the end it was not accepted because of its radicalism and novelty.
Built-in of the Retreat House in St. Theatin Church in Prague
The architect Petr Tej in his diploma project at the School of Architecture of Professor Emil Přikryl, at the Academy of Fine Arts in the spring of 2010, introduces the built-in project of the retreat house within the area of the Church of St. Theatin in Nerudova Street, Lesser Town in Prague. Architect Norbert Schmidt in the review of the project, highlights its topicality (what to do with unused churches in the historic center of the city?) and welcomes the idea of using the Church as a retreat house, which meets the requirements of the time. “Parasitic” architecture of light construction design built-in into the historic interior of the Church provides a new view of the old architecture and gives the place an opportunity for a new meaningful life.
Dominican Monastery in Prague-Lysolaje
The architect Jan Alinče presented as his diploma project at Faculty of Architecture of Czech Technical University (ČVUT) in Prague a building project of a monastery of Dominican nuns in Prague-Lysolaje. There are presented the opponent’s reviews of Norbert Schmidt and Ladislav Lábus holding a stimulating discussion about the exceptionally high quality project.