The Architecture of Eco-Theology: Towards a New Typology for Christian Sacred Space

By Roberto Chiotti
Religions 2022, 13(1), 29

This paper will begin by exploring the underlying scriptural and theological foundations for a Christian response to the ecological crisis with particular focus on the writings of cultural historian, Father Thomas Berry, CP. It will then describe the first worship space in Canada that attempts to embody the emergent “Eco-theology” to invoke both the transcendental and imminent presence of the divine by reconsidering every design decision from first principles. As articulated in its architecture, the traditional elements of Roman Catholic sacred space have been re-imagined and given unique expression to emphasize that when we gather for Christian worship, we do so within the greater context of creation. St. Gabriel’s Passionist Parish church therefore represents a distinctly new typology for Christian Worship that contributes towards an understanding of early scriptural teachings which emphasized the sacredness of all creation and not just the sacredness of humankind. The new building as sacred space presents a “Gestalt whole”, and like the medieval cathedrals of Europe, becomes itself a form of Catechetical pedagogy, engaging the senses, demanding reflection, and inviting transformation.

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