ICA conserves Icon Screen at Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center, Tremont



As part of ICA’s continuing commitment to our community, we often act as collaborators in the preservation of our shared artistic and cultural heritage. One such project involves the preservation and conservation of a ninety year-old icon screen (iconostasis) at the historic Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church in Tremont. This fall, ICA conservators worked onsite at Holy Ghost Church to treat the hand-carved, wooden and gilt, Hungarian icon screen. It stands–30 feet high and 29 feet wide–at the front of the church’s sanctuary.

Andrea, examining the carved wooden screen

Andrea, examining the carved wooden screen

Holy Ghost Church was closed as a parish church in 2009, but after a creative visioning process was reopened as the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center. The site plan for the mission of the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center at Holy Ghost Church– “Bringing Faith to Life in Tremont”– includes a café, gallery space, men’s discernment community house, and the Shrine of the Martyrs inside Holy Ghost Church, where the iconostasis is located. Extensive repairs to the church’s ailing roof and heating system will be completed in the coming months, after which groundbreaking for the new additions to the building and exterior courtyard may take place in the spring of 2015.

As this region’s nonprofit conservation center for both artistic and historic works, ICA was delighted to work with the Center to plan and execute the conservation of their beautiful iconostasis. Treatment of the screen began in early September and included a section of the carved, painted and gilded wooden structure as well as four of the forty-eight icons painted in oil on canvas. ICA staff conservators and technicians were on site for five days to install scaffolding and work on a 131” high and 71” wide section of the iconostasis. Loose paint and gilding on the carved elements were consolidated, and heavy deposits of dust were removed. Losses to the gilding were toned in with bronze and gold paint.

Three icons, The Descent of the Holy Ghost, The Conversion of St. Paul, and The Dormition of the Virgin, were removed from the screen and treated on site, while one additional painting, Pentecost, has been taken to ICA’s lab facility to remove a darkened varnish. A stable, reversible varnish will be applied, and the icon will be reinstalled. With Phase I of the treatment project now complete, the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center is currently working to raise funds for conservation of the remainder of the iconostasis and the church’s altar.

For more information about the Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center, or to donate to this worthwhile project, please contact the Reverend Father Richard J. Plishka, at 216-357-2933, or via email to director@byzcathculturalcenter.org. The Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center and Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church are located at 2420 West `14th Street in Cleveland, Ohio.

ICA Art Conservation

2915 Detroit Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44113




First three photos credit: Images courtesy of ICA – Art Conservation, copyright 2014.


Photo of Andrea in optivisor examining the carved wooden screen: Image courtesy of Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center, copyright 2014.