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The Red Monastery Church: A Roundtable on Preserving and Developing Living Religious Heritage

The Red Monastery Church: A Roundtable on Preserving and Developing Living Religious Heritage

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The Red Monastery Church: A Roundtable on Preserving and Developing Living Religious Heritage
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The Red Monastery is situated within the expanding urban fabric of Sohag

Coined by Dr. Webber Ndoro with reference to the preservation of Great Zimbabwe, the title ‘Your Monument, Our Shrine’ invites the reader into the realm of heritage management, where local, national, international, secular and sacred interests intersect.

As ten years of conservation at the Red Monastery Church in Sohag (funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development) nears completion, the time to discuss questions about the future preservation and stewardship of this extraordinary church and important example of living religious heritage dating from the sixth century, has arrived.

From conservators and donors,
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Site management addresses the demands of modern life on the preservation of ancient heritage sites

to congregants, the Coptic Church and the antiquities and tourism ministries, the time for dialogue is at hand. To launch this dialogue, ARCE will hold a Roundtable on Preserving and Developing Living Religious Heritage at the Red Monastery in December 2012. The Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) will fund the symposium with a grant from the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the U.S. State Department.  Participants at this gathering will discuss questions reconciling the values of the religious community with those of the conservation community, ownership and use, the pressures of secular interests on places of religious value, access and exclusion, the ‘museification’ of religious places and objects, and the use of modern materials and the challenges they pose to the environment, among other topics.

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The entire interior painted space has been conserved. Late antique paintings are visible for the first time in centuries, exposing them to additional risks. Video of the Red Monastery >>

While all religions have had to confront the effects of change and modernism on both tangible and intangible aspects of their cultures, the pace of change today has accelerated this encounter due to the rapidity of electronic communication and the broad availability of materials and commodities that threaten the physical and intellectual environment. It is intended that the ideas generated at this roundtable, while discussed within the context of the Red Monastery Church, will contribute to the wider conversation in religious heritage management and preservation that is a firmly established part of the conservation field.

Additional background on the Conservation of Living Religious Heritage >>

More information about the Preservation of Great Zimbabwe >>

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