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Antiochian Village Breaks Ground for New Wing






 Signing the documents

            Thanks to the generosity of the Antiochian Board of Trustees, churches, organizations and many individuals, construction is officially underway for a new, two million dollar, 16,600 square foot addition to the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center in Western Pennsylvania.  On Saturday, April 12, 2003, Bob Laham, Chairman of Village Council, joined with architect Peter Cecconi, Jr., AIA, and contractors to sign official documents and break ground for the project.

            The new wing, designed in a manner to reflect ties to the religious heritage of Byzantine tradition, will house the Eastern Heritage Museum’s collection of more than 700 icons, religious relics and cultural artifacts and will include a Rare Book Room addition to the library which will help preserve and make usable for research its collection of more than 150 rare or historical theological books, manuscripts and other documents.  The expansion will occur at the south end of the present facility becoming a connected and contiguous part of the present structure.  Additionally, it will contain a sloped seating lecture/performance hall, several seminar rooms, offices, and ancillary support areas.

Funds to begin construction of the facilities were raised within the Archdiocese primarily by contribuGround breaking servicetions from members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees with donations also coming from churches, organizations and other individuals.  To date, $1,320,500 has been pledged.  There are still many “naming opportunities” for donors for specific spaces such as the new auditorium, seminar rooms, rare book room, archival/work room, museum and lobbies.

Father Michael Massouh and the Very Reverend Father Nabil Hanna conducted a ceremony to bless the project prior to the first shovels being lifted to officially break ground.

The Heritage Museum will house and display delicate items behind glass enclosure walls where a constantly monitored, controlled atmosphere of 72 degrees and 50% humidity is maintained.  Lighting systems have been designed to avoid the damaging effects of ultra-violet rays.  Less sensitive items of metal and glass will be displayed in secured casework located in what the plans designate as “display lobbies.”  Public areas will be equipped with conventional heating, cooling and lighting systems.

            The Rare Book Room will expand upon the existing library.  The collection will be housed in a secured glass wall enclosure with a controlled atmosphere.  Other configuration changes will occur in the library to improve security and better accommodate library management and use.

            The Auditorium concept is an acoustically treated, tiered amphitheater that will be equipped with a motorized projector platform and projection screen, complete sound system, and a multi-controlled lighting system.  It will accommodate a variety of educational or entertainment venues.Fr. Michael Massouh, Antiochian Village Executive Director, and Bob Laham, Village Council Chairman, turn the first shovels

            Presently, the Village museum collections include 106 icons dating from the 12th through the 20th century representing 14 different countries or regions of the world outside of the United States.  An additional 634 artifacts, relics and items reflect the Middle Eastern and Eastern European ancestry of the Orthodox Christian heritage and culture.  The new wing and its facilities will articulate boldly the Antiochian Legacy through knowledge and understanding of its ancient and historical past and cultural contributions.  Upon completion, the museum will be open to the public with regular hours.  For more information, call Antiochian Village at 724-238-3677.