I travel a little and often come across unique places. Many are duds, some are interesting, but some are stunning and cool. This series is about the stunners.
I didn’t have to travel very far for this one. I first discovered it after my Father passed away in 2004. I was looking for some mementos for my children to remember him by and to commemorate his life. He was always proud of his Byzantine heritage (yes we are Catholics too) and I wanted to get each of them a cross to be blessed by his priest during the memorial services. Our Byzantine cross is different from the one used in the Roman Catholic church in that it includes the place where Jesus’ feet were and the sign that was hung mocking him (see photo – the Byzantine cross is on left). Most religious stores do not sell these crosses.
The Byzantine Seminary Press is located at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary on Pittsburgh’s North Side (address below) and you would have to search for it and even then you would probably over look it. They don’t advertise as most of their clientel is probably clergy. They sell the religious items that is used in churches and have a large selection of printed material and jewelry. The store is not very big, but is full of beautiful items. Another feature of the Byzantine faith is that we do not have statues in our churches, but use icons. I think the Eastern European icon art is some of the most beautiful that you can experience.
The gem part of this store, however, is that they travel to the “old country” as part of their mission and have brought back collectible items made my local craftsmen. Some of my favorites are the hand carved and painted Christmas ornaments that are available in the fall and the Pysanky (decorated eggs) that are available around Easter though they often have both all year round. Beyond the beauty they offer these items at a reasonable price. I have seen similar items at gift shops for twice the price.
I hesitate to publicize the Byzantine Seminary Press because that may reduce what is available to me, but it is a true gem. If you live in the area, they are having an open house this Saturday (November 6, 2010). I already did my shopping, but will be attending to see if they have any new surprises. They don’t sell over the Internet, but this link will take you to their website and their contact information is:
BYZANTINE SEMINARY PRESS, 3643 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214, Phone: (412) 322-8307 Fax: (412) 322-9530