Update on the Byzantine Chapel

Chapel -2012
Chapel -2012
The first phase of the Trumau Byzantine Chapel project at the ITI has already been completed. Our architect donated the first plans and our students did almost all of the work of this phase. They cleared the space, removed the un-needed walls to reveal the original arches and helped a local firm to level the dirt floor. We are now in the middle of the second and third phases.
Chapel - April 2013
Chapel – April 2013
The base concrete floor has been completed and the walls have been added to delineate the chapel space and create the sacristy and utility rooms.
Chapel - October 2013
Chapel – October 2013
In September 2013, the ceiling was plastered with careful precision to keep the lines of the original arches.
We installed the floor heating, electricity and plumbing. Then the second plastering coat was applied to the ceilings and sanded by hand, as this coating served as the base coat for the iconography.
Br. Ioan Gotia prepares sketches of the Iconography
Br. Ioan Gotia prepares sketches of the Iconography
While the ceiling preparation was in process, we hired two iconographers, Br. Ioan Gotia, dcjm, from Romania, and Fr. Tomas Labanic, from Slovakia to begin their artistic work. Both are graduates of the ITI. Fr. Tomas Labanic will work from home and do iconography on panels for the walls of the chapel. Br. Gotia first made sketches from home for the iconographic work he will do on the ceiling.
Chapel - January 2014
Chapel – January 2014
Br. Gotia arrived at the ITI in January 2014 and the first fruit of all this preparation can now be seen in the icons he is writing in the chapel. He will remain at the ITI for six months to complete the ceiling iconography.
February 2014 - Deacon Johannes van Voorst (STM '13) gives the homily at Mass in the Byzantine Chapel
February 2014 – Deacon Johannes van Voorst (STM ’13) gives the homily at Mass in the Byzantine Chapel.
Once the heating and electricity was installed, we were able to begin using the chapel regularly for Vespers, and recently had a Mass there to celebrate the visit of one of our graduates who was just ordained a deacon.

Walking Pilgrimage to Stift Heiligenkreuz

(by Nataliya Veresh for the Centre of Eastern Christian Studies)

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious, Holy and Life-Giving Cross continued for the ITI community on Sunday the 15th of September with a beautiful pilgrimage. More than 60 people of the ITI community including priests, professors, students and children walked from Trumau to the Cistercian Abbey, Stift Heiligenkreuz, which is dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Cross. After a 7 hour walk, we attended the Mass in honor of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross  celebrated by Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg. ITI’s Rector, Msgr. Prof. Dr. Larry Hogan, and three ITI Byzantine priests concelebrated along with Abt Maximilian and fifteen other priests. At the end of the celebration, the ITI pilgrims had the opportunity to venerate and to be blessed with the largest relic (north of the Alps) of the true cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a moment of true grace.

“The Mystery of Christmas Reveals the Mystery of Man” – Retreat in Vienna


Parishioners thank to Fr. Yosyp Veresh for the retreat

From the 8th to the 10th of December 2011, Fr. Yosyp Veresh, the Director of the Centre of Eastern Christian Studies (ECS), gave a retreat at the Greek-Catholic Parish of St. Barbara in Vienna with the theme: “The Mystery of Christmas Reveals the Mystery of Man.” The retreat started on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (the Conception by St. Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos). During these three days of prayer and meditation, participants of the retreat considered the various aspects of the theme with these questions: Who am I and what is my state today? How can I harmonize my relationships and what kind of healing do I need? What is the will of God for me now and how shall I realize it in my Christian life?

Divine Liturgy in St. Barbara in Vienna

The faithful had the opportunity to participate in the celebration of Divine Liturgies, prayer services and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The youth organization took part in a special meeting and a lively discussion ensued over questions of particular importance to young people. The retreat concluded with a Pontifical Liturgy on Sunday, the 11th of December.

Bishop Bohdan Dzurach

Bishop Bohdan Dzurach of Kyiv, Ukraine presided.

One of the missions of the ECS is to organize retreats and thus to contribute to the spiritual growth of different Christian communities and of individuals. It was a wonderful time to experience the grace of the Holy Spirit at work during this spiritual retreat!

Children of the parish of St. Barbara in Vienna

Keeping the Spirit of the November Papal Intention

ECS celebrates the Divine Liturgy in Vienna at Sts Cyril and Methodius Parish







“That the Eastern Catholic Churches and their venerable traditions may be known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure for the whole Church.” 

13 Nov 2011 – ITI graduate Deacon Joseph Bolin invited the ITI Center of Eastern Christian Studies (ECS) to celebrate Divine Liturgy (Byzantine Rite Mass) at the parish he serves in Vienna, Sts. Cyril and Methodius. 

Deacon Joseph proclaims the Gospel during the Liturgy

Deacon Joseph’s idea to invite the ECS coincided perfectly with the Pope’s intention for the month of November.  

Time stops and we experience Heaven on earth

Father Joseph Veresh, ECS Director, gave an introduction about the Divine Liturgy and explained that during and through the celebration, time stops and we experience Heaven on earth.  The Liturgy was enthusiastically attended by 300 parishioners – most of whom were seeing a Byzantine Liturgy for the first time in their lives. 

Many of the parishioners had never experienced the Byzantine rite before

ITI Meets Patriarch of Syrian Catholic Churches

His Beatitude Patriarch Igatius Youssif III with ITI representatives of ECS

10 Nov 2011 – The ITI Center of Eastern Christiaan Studies (ECS) went to a lecture in Vienna given by His Beatitude Patriarch Igatius Youssif III, the Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Churches.  The lecture was organized by Pro Oriente and was part of a special synod for the Bishops of the Middle East.

 His Beatitude spoke of the suffering of his people in theMiddle East. 

His Beatitude speaks of the suffering of Christians in the Middle East

He said that their main task is to give witness to the Gospel…to spread the Good News, but how can they do this, when their very presence is against the law?  He wanted to send a wake up call to the EU and UN about their suffering.  He said he finds it hard to encourage his own faithful to return, or to remain in the face of violent attacks.  It is one thing to decide to remain and sacrifice yourself.  It is quite another thing to demand this same sacrifice of your children.

ECS representatives speak with the Patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Churches

After the lecture, the ITI was presented to His Beatitude and was able to visit with him and the other bishops and representatives who were present from the Middle East and India.  This event helped us to deepen our understanding of the situation of the Christians in the Middle East.  Since some of our students belong to the Syrian Catholic Churches, it was a great gift to be able to meet His Beatitude in person and to build up relationships with these representatives in the hope of future collaboration. 

ECS representatives visit with a Syrian Orthodox Bishop after the lecture

The Good Shepherd: Priesthood Today in the Footsteps of the Saintly Hierarchs of the Ruthenian Greek-Catholic Church

Center of Eastern Christian Studies Summer School 

Photo montage from the Eastern Christian Studies Summer School

From June 20th to July 4th of this year the ITI Centre of Eastern Christian Studies (ECS) in Austria organized a summer school with the theme, The Good Shepherd: Priesthood today in the footsteps of the saintly hierarchs of the Ruthenian Greek-Catholic Church.

Clergy and seminarians from the Byzantine Catholic Eparchies of Phoenix and Parma in the USA flew over to participate in the program. The summer school combined conferences and seminars with pilgrimages to the most significant places for the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholics in Slovakia, Ukraine (Zakarpattya), and Hungary.  Participant Fr. Diodoro commented, “The course topics were uniquely forward-thinking. I found the specific areas of study, like those of the Good Shepherd and Obedience, and Conjugal Life and Eucharistic Purity very relevant and necessary topics in our Eastern Church that need to be addressed.”

The meetings and discussions during the pilgrimages with local bishops, clergy, seminarians and those working in the formation of clergy contributed much to the study of the topic. Seminarian Michael, another participant, shared his experience about the pilgrimages, “Looking back on our trip to Eastern Europe, I felt connected with the living, breathing roots of our Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church. Perhaps one of the best highlights of the trip was praying in the different churches where Blessed Romzha, Blessed Hopko, and Blessed Gojdic’s relics rest. I was also moved to spend time at the shrine church of Our Lady of Mariapoch in Hungary where the original icon as well as the current icon copy has wept and many people have been healed. With so many beautiful pilgrimage places that we visited, I think the significance and spiritual benefits of this trip will be something I realize over time.”

ECS-SummerSchool 2011 Photos

We also hope that all the meetings with the hierarchy and clergy during this program will contribute to the development of collaboration between the Byzantine Rite Churches in Central and Eastern Europe and in the USA.

Rev. Dr. Yosyp Veresh

Director of ECS