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Event organizer Jan Lokuta said this year the tour will focus on the way the church inspires the creation of art.

Last updated: June 16. 2013 11:32PM - 3738 Views

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PITTSTON — The 8th Annual Tour of Historic Churches of Greater Pittston, which will visit St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church and the Italian Christian Church, is set for Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.


Event organizer Jan Lokuta said this year the tour will focus on the way the church inspires the creation of art.


“It is meant to give people the opportunity to see really great works of art in the setting for which they were designed,” Lokuta, a Pittston native, said.


Lokuta has organized the tour since 2006. This year, he said tour-goers will be exposed to two very different churches. He picked St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church and the Italian Christian Church because they were unique and represent the wide spectrum of churches in Pittston, from visual driven St. Michael’s to a much simpler Italian Christian Church.


“Pittston has a complete spectrum of religious art and it is something that people should appreciate,” Lokuta said.


The tour will start at St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church on 205 N. Main St., Pittston. St. Michael’s is decorated with magnificent icons, abstract two-dimensional images of the divine meant to depict the spiritual being of a person.


The Rev. Joseph Bertha, an expert on icons, will lead the tour at St. Michael’s and will explain the spiritual significance of them. He will also explain how they are created and how they are different from Western European art.


The next hour of the tour, at the Italian Christian Church, 40 E. Oak St., will focus on music rather than visual art. At this stop, the members of the congregation will sing traditional hymns in Italian for tour participants.


Gina Malsky, owner of the former St. Casimir’s Church in Pittston, will be a special guest to present a new venue of performing arts. Malsky recently transformed the old Baroque-style church into an arts center by replacing the altar with a stage. At the end of the tour, she will give participants a sneak peek of the renovated interior of the center.


The former church, located at 65 Church St. in Pittston, is not part of the “official” tour, Lokuta said, but a visit there will give people a chance to see how the former church is being reborn. He said it is “another example of how the church, in this case the beautiful architecture of a century-old former house of worship, can once again become a space that inspires.”


Tour participants are reminded to dress appropriately for visiting active houses of worship.


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