Press release

X International Liturgical Conference
The liturgical adaptation of churches
Bose, 31 May - 2 June 2012
Monastery of Bose
Italian bishops' conference - National office for the Church's cultural heritage


PRESS RELEASE May 18, 2012

From Thursday, 31 May, to Saturday, 3 June 2012, the 10th International Liturgical Conference will be held at the Bose Monastery (Magnano BI). The Conference, organized by the Bose Monastery in collaboration with the National Office for the Church Cultural Heritage of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, will have as its theme: Identity and Transformation: the Liturgical Adaptation of Churches.


The choice of the theme arises from the realization that the adaptation of churches to the liturgical reform of Vatican II has today come to the fore, more so than in past decades. In recent times particular attention has been paid to the adaptation of liturgical space of several Italian and other European cathedrals, operations that at times arouse sharp polemics, as in the recent cases of Reggio Emilia and Arezzo, to limit ourselves only to Italy. In the years immediately following Vatican II, the first phase of adaptation was characterized by the urgency to absorb what the council proposed, carrying out interventions that for the most part were provisional and of scarce artistic merit. From the 1990s on, a second phase of adaptation has begun; it is characterized by a greater awareness of the theological and ecclesial sense of liturgical space and by a desire to carry out work that will endure and will be of high artistic merit. The insertion of contemporary art works, in particular the altar and the ambo, inside historical churches, which often are of great architectural and artistic importance, creates many uncertainties and difficulties today. One confirmation of this is the recent rejection by the commission that judged the three finalists, major Italian architects and artists, who presented projects for a new ambo in the Florence cathedral.

Through historical theological, and liturgical reflection, the Conference hopes to furnish useful cognitive elements so that the phase of liturgical adaptation of churches that is going on today may see the complexity of such work, with particular attention given to liturgical, canonical, and civil norms and to artistic and cultural value. Among the scholars and personalities who will speak at the Conference, a decisive contribution will come from the undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, Roberto CECCHI, from the undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacramental Discipline, mons. Juan Miguel FERRER GRENESCHE, and from mons. Pasquale IACOBONE, official of the Pontifical Council for Culture and consultor of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, present at the conference as the official delegate of cardinal Gianfranco RAVASI, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.


The opening session of the conference will be presided jointly by br Enzo BIANCHI, prior of Bose, and by mons. Stefano RUSSO, director of the National Office for the Church Cultural Heritage of the IBC.

Among the personalities present at the Conference will be Alceste CATELLA, bishop of Casale Monferrato and president of the Episcopal Commission for the Liturgy of the IBC; bishop Gabriele MANA of Biella, the local Ordinary of Bose; archbishop Piero MARINI, president of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses; bishop Giovanni GIUDICI of Pavia.

In addition, among those present will be archimandrite Job GETSCHA, official delegate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople; Konstantinos KARAISARIDIS of the Church of Greece, lecturer of liturgy at the University of Thessalonica; Christos YANNARAS, honorary professor of the Panteion University of Athens; reverend Kenneth HOWCROFT, representative of the World Methodist Council to the Holy See. These important presences attest to the ecumenical dimension of the Conference, in which take part Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed scholars.

Of special significance is the presence of don Fabrizio CAPANNI, head of the Office of the Pontifical Commission of the Cultural Heritage of the Holy See; Mario SODI, SDB, president of the Pontifical Theological Academy and president of the Pontificium Institutum Altioris Latinitatis; don Franco MAGNANI, director of the National Liturgical Office of the IBC; father Corrado MAGGIONI, head of the Office of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacramental Discipline; Paola GRIFONI, superintendent of the Architectural and Landscape Heritage for the provinces of Bologna, Modena, and Reggio Emilia; Sabina FERRARI, superintendent of the Architectural and Landscape Heritage for the provinces of Venice, Belluno, and Treviso; Giuseppe STOLFI, superintendent of the Architectural and Landscape Heritage for the provinces of Lucca and Massa Carrara. In addition, several functionaries of the Superintendancies of the Architectural and Landscape Heritage for the provinces of Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Turin, and Vercelli will also participate in the Conference.

The many participants come from Italy and also from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Brasil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United States. The presence of monks from Italy and abroad attests to the particular attention of monasticism to liturgical themes.

Now in its tenth edition, the International Liturgical Conference of Bose is an annual event in which international scholars and experts discuss topics on the relationship between liturgy, architecture, and art. The large public present, composed of theologians, liturgists, architects, artists, directors of diocesan offices for the liturgy and for the church cultural heritage, persons having to do with the construction of places of worship, university professors, and those interested in a particular topic, is thus offered a place where they can come for common reflection, animated by a desire to recognize fully the value of liturgical space and of Christian art.


The scientific committee responsible for preparing the International Liturgical Conferences of Bose is composed of Enzo Bianchi (Bose), Stefano Russo (Rome), Emanuele Borsotti (Bose), Goffredo Boselli (Bose), Frédéric Debuyst (Louvain-la-Neuve), Paul De Clerck (Brussels), Albert Gerhards (Bonn), Angelo Lameri (Rome), Keith Pecklers (Rome), Giancarlo Santi (Milan).


The course of the Conference. In his opening discourse the prior of Bose, Enzo Bianchi, will introduce the theme of the conference, showing how the adaptation of churches is an integral part of the liturgical reform that Vatican II desired and should follow modes that unite liturgical needs and respect for the historical forms of each church. Mons. Stefano RUSSO, director of the National Office for the Church Cultural Heritage, will present the commitment of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, through the office directed by him, in promoting and guiding the liturgical adaptation of churches and the conservation of their artistic patrimony.

The first two papers will trace the historical aspect of the conference theme, showing how the problem of the adaptation of churches following various liturgical reforms goes all through the history of architecture and art. Michele BACCI, ordinary professor of the history of medieval art at Freiburg University, will present medieval spaces of worship and their transformation. Tomaso MONTANARI, lecturer of the history of modern art at the Department of Literature and Philosophy at Naples University, will expound the theory and practice of the adaptation of liturgical space in modern times. Francesco NOVELLI, lecturer of architecture at Turin University, and Walter ZAHNER, member of the Sacred Art Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference, will present some examples of the adaptation of celebrative spaces according to Vatican II’s liturgical reform.

Friday morning, 1 June, will be reserved for specifically liturgical reflection, with talks by two of the most important European liturgists. Paul DE CLERCK, former director of the Institut Supérieur de Liturgie de l’Institut Catholique of Paris, will show how liturgy shapes space, configuring a single place for various celebrations. In turn, Albert GERHARDS, lecturer of liturgy at Bonn University, will show how liturgical space shapes the liturgy, adapting the liturgy to the place. In the afternoon some examples of liturgical adaptation will be presented: Adapting a cathedral to a new ecclesiology: the project of the Créteil diocese?(Marie-Pierre ETIENNEY, Créteil); The abbatial church of Pannonhalma: ?the liturgical adaptation of John Pawson?(Jákó ÖRS FEHÉRVÁRY OSB, Budapest); Devotions within the liturgical space?(Mark FRANCIS, Chicago); New artworks ?in historical iconographic contexts?(Hubert NITSCH, Linz).

Of special interest are the talks of the final day. Juan Miguel FERRER GRENESCHE, undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacramental Discipline, will indicate the Holy See’s position regarding the principles, the orientations, and the criteria for the adaptation of churches according to the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Roberto CECCHI, undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, will present a relationship between the adaptation of churches and protection of the Italian cultural heritage. The prior of Bose, br Enzo Bianchi, sum up the Conference’s proceedings in his final remarks.

All the papers will be translated in the auditorium into Italian, English, and French. At the end of the opening session there will be an official presentation of Volume 9, of the Conference Proceedings of 2011: Ars Liturgica. L'arte a servizio della liturgia, ed. G. Boselli (Magnano: Edizioni Qiqajon 2012), added to the series of Proceedings of the previous Conferences.


For further information, please contact:

Identity and Transformation.
The liturgical adaptation of churches
Monastery of Bose
I-13887 MAGNANO BI (Italy)
Tel. + 39 015.679.185 - Fax. + 39 015.679.290
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Official website of the conference: