st. gregory house

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◆ Mission Statement

St. Gregory House, Institute for Religious Music, was founded by the leadership of the late Gereon Goldmann, OFM (Franciscan), in 1979, in his pursuit of a three-pronged goal: prayer, research and education. The House has steadily broadened its activity in creative ways since then. As a diaspora in Japanese culture, the House, since its foundation, has communicated not only with Roman Catholic but with other denominations. A case in point is its ecumenical activities including union worship services.

P. Gereon Goldmann OFM
1916-2003
◆ P. Gereon Goldmann OFM, the founder

The late Gereon Goldmann OFM, came to Japan from Fulda, Germany, in 1954, and served  as the Rector of St. Elizabeth Church, in Itabashi, Tokyo for the next 24 years. He then founded the Institute for Religious Music, St. Gregory House in Higashi-Kurume, Tokyo, and served as both its chairman and principal for the first 16 years of its existence. Father Gereon Goldmann devoted the last phase of his forty years of service in Japan to liturgy and church music, returning, due to his physical condition, to his home monastery in Fulda, Germany, where he passed away on July 23, 2003.

◆ Characteristics of St. Gregory House

In the spirit of the Church in diligently preserving and propagating traditional church music, St. Gregory House has attentively studied Japanese culture and tradition, as well as engaging with Buddhist temples in joint musical performances. Since the very objective of church music is the glorification and admiration of God as well as the consecration of Christians, this cannot be accomplished without our worship of and prayer to eternal God – Prayer. It is simply through our uninterrupted day-to-day worship, that all activities and events follow. These words of Gereon Goldmann clearly explain his conviction that the celebration of liturgy is the most sacred act of humankind.

This conviction for St. Gregory House is explained by his youthful engagement with the liturgy movement of Romano Guardini in his youth. Since its foundation, the activities of the House have adopted the spirituality and liturgy of the Benedictine Confederation. In 1993, the House started to have a close relationship with the Archabbey of Ottilien, Germany, and it currently hosts over 30 Oblates recognized by the Archabbey.

St. Gregory House
◆ The Building

The building was designed in the period when the management of the House was occupied in creating the programs which achieve its three objectives of prayer, research and education. The challenge was to design an architecture without any assumptions as to its operating scale, number of personnel, operational days during the year, or other considerations. The architect had to anticipate some of these factors of operation and size, which sometimes were subsequently confirmed and sometimes constrained our activities. 

It was an architectural accomplishment to incorporate these concepts and activities in the small space of 1800 square meters.

One space for the integration of prayer and music, another for the community of prayer, and a third for education and lodging are intersected by a belfry, while the central square for the general public and the inner garden of the community are separated by a corridor which creates a much deeper impression of the entire structure.

The chapel is designed on one-quarter of a circle. However, the circle is externally recurring with its center moving toward the very center of the chapel, where the altar is located. This provides a concentration within the very abstract space.

◆ JIA 25 Years Prize

At the convention of the Japan Institute of Architects (JIA), November 2006, St. Gregory House was awarded JIA 25 Years Prize.
Architect: Masamitsu Nagashima & Nagashima Architects


St. Gregory House
2-7-12, Hikawadai,
Higashikurume City
Tokyo
203-004 JAPAN
info [at] st-gregorio.or.jp

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