In an effort to promote ecumenicalism through the medium of Religious Icons, a tour of various parishes was recently created in Calgary.  It consisted of 6 separate parishes held over two weekends, February 3rd and February 10th.   The tours begin at 8:45am and ended at about 11:45am.  This allowed for a 30 minute presentation including a history of the church, the icons and religious artwork as well as 15mins for questions and answers.  As well it provided some time for travel to the next stop.  It was arranged that all of the parishes each Saturday were in relatively close proximity.

On Saturday the 3rd we begin at St Demetrious Greek Orthodox parish as we often think of Greece as somewhat of the epicenter of Byzantine Icons.  The group moved on to St Mary’s Romanian Orthodox parish and concluded at St Stephen Protomartyr Ukrainian Catholic Church. The rationale for having the final parish this morning was that St Stephen parish is very contemporary including traditional icons, mosaic icons and stained glass   All which fit the description of icons, that being images.  This also raised questions about communion distribution and other topics related to our Liturgy.

The second weekend begin at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is a very traditional and beautiful church with extensive iconography and iconostas. From here we moved on to St Kidanemihret Ethiopian Orthodox Church which has been converted from on old Muslim mosque. Being from Africa they have a very unique style of iconography.  Finally we concluded at the St Mina Coptic Orthodox Church where they have relics form 57 different Saints on display in specially designed cases.

There was no charge for the tour and each individual was responsible for their own transportation. In addition to Ukrainian Byzantine Catholics we has many and various Orthodox parishioners attend as well as people who were Evangelical, Anglican and Roman Catholic.  The tour opened up a whole new world to many attendees and provided an opportunity for answering a plethora of great questions.  It was interesting to observe that 5 of the 6 parishes normally celebrate the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.