Building Connections in Sacred Spaces

Admire four local houses of worship in Luzerne County during the 12th Annual Tour of Historic Churches. Jan Lokuta and architect Larry Newman lead the guided tour of sacred spaces on Sunday, June 25. The event begins at 1 p.m. and will cover churches and synagogues in both Kingston and Luzerne.

This year’s tour focuses on the dimensions of spiritual architecture and how traditions have endured and changed throughout the ages. The tour begins outside Temple B’Nai B’Brith in Kingston. This synagogue serves as an expression of modern architecture. From there the group will travel to Temple Ahavas Achim in Luzerne, a more traditional European structure that may have been built in the image of Solomon’s Temple.

At St. Mary’s Byzantine Church, visitors will see architecture that alludes to ancient roots. Its sanctuary houses an iconostasis, or icon wall, that separates the sanctuary from the nave of the church. Upon this wall, images of heaven and the Divine are depicted. A blend of Byzantine tradition and Western elements combine at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church. Finally, the tour concludes where it began—Temple B’Nai B’Brith—and visitors can further explore this 20th century synagogue and its beautiful stained-glass windows.

Lokuta believes this event allows people to take pride in their heritage, as well as explore elements of different cultures. “Highlighting the everyday beauty and importance all around us can only make people appreciate these structures and the congregations, which still play a vital role in this area,” Lokuta said. Since its beginning in Pittston in 2006, the tour has expanded across the upper Wyoming Valley region. This year, Larry Newman lends his expertise in architecture by discussing the structures that connect each house of worship to the Divine.

The event is free. No reservations are required. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and appropriate attire to visit active places of worship. Call 570- 296-6471 or 570-296-2181 (evenings).  Megan Kane

Photos: Temple B’nai B’rith