Hidden Saints - Religion meets Listros

Foto: Dominik Fleischmann

Believers of different religious communities meet up with the installation of Ethiopian shoe shine boxes veiling the altar and read the "Letters to the World," written by shoeshiners in Addis Ababa. In a panel discussion and subsequent dialogue with the audience impressions and thoughts are shared.

Hidden Saints - Religion meets Listros
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 18:00 hrs
St. Matthäus-Kirche im Kulturforum
Matthäikirchplatz | 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten
Presenter: Pfarrer Dr. Reinhard Kees, Berliner Missionswerk

The custom of veiling the altar hails from an ancient Christian tradition to cover the altar with a so-called hunger cloth - the symbol of repentance. In the 12th century the custom vanished, the cloth became smaller and turned into a symbol for Lenten fasting.

Misereor resumed the practice in 1976 and invited international artists to design the cloth. "As part of the preliminary considerations for the fasting season we became aware that Misereor needed to include tasks that understood foreign aid / development cooperation not only as a financial one-way street, but as a cooperative exchange of ideas and that community members in this country needed this most of all,“ Dr. Erwin Mock, who revitalized the custom, recalled in 1998. "Conversion, reversion – the ancient biblical vocabulary was to be translated for Christians today as using the values of other cultures and churches as a means to question oneself, to again become capable and willing to learn.“

The new cloths were to discover a liturgical tradition anew, relate it to the current situation in a global world and invite people to act for each other. The first cloth by Indian artist Iyoti Sahi from Bangalore was followed by others created by artists from the African, Asian continent and Latin America. They all showed the importance of Lent as a time for conversion, reversion and a new life together.

With art installations made up of shoe shine boxes, the art project MOVING BOXES aims at initiating a change of perspective, to deepen the dialogue between Ethiopia and Germany, to respect differences and to discover similarities.

Which thoughts does the veiling of the altar with Ethiopian shoeshine boxes trigger with believers of various international religious communities? How do the "Letters to the World" by Ethiopian shoe shine boys resonate when being read? What remains enigmatic or incomprehensible? What leads to new insights?

Dr. Reinhard Kees, Afrikareferent des Berliner Missionswerkes, in dialogue with the panel participants and audience.  

In cooperation with Berliner Missionswerk and Ökumenischer Rat Berlin-Brandenburg