Gracious God, we offer thanks for the vision of Ralph Adams Cram, John LaFarge and Richard Upjohn, whose harmonious revival of the Gothic enriched our churches with a sacramental understanding of reality in the face of secular materialism; and we pray that we may honor thy gifts of the beauty of holiness given through them, for the glory of Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Category : Architecture
Becky Clark has been appointed to be the new Director of Churches and Cathedrals for the Archbishops’ Council. Becky has been Senior Cathedrals Officer and Deputy Secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission since 2013. Prior to starting this role she worked at English Heritage, Surrey County Council and the National Trust.
In her new role Becky will be Secretary to both the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) and Church Buildings Council (CBC) as well as a member of the Archbishops’ Council senior management team and the NCI Senior Leadership Group (SLG).
Secretary General, William Nye, said: ‘I know that Becky’s wealth of experience working in the heritage sector, leadership qualities, personal faith and her commitment to church buildings, equip her admirably to support the Church as it is transformed through Renewal and Reform.’
The skyline of Paris has just acquired yet another arresting feature. Only a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, a spanking new Russian Orthodox cathedral, complete with five onion domes and a cultural centre, was inaugurated on December 4th by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, amid sonorous rhetoric about the long and chequered history of the Russian diaspora in France.
To secular observers, this was the latest success for Russian soft power, showing that even in times when intergovernmental relations are frosty, ecclesiastical relations can still forge ahead. In October, Patriarch Kirill reconsecrated the Russian cathedral in London and had a brief meeting with the supreme governor of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth; this was a more cordial chat than any conversation the political leaders of Britain and Russia have had recently.
The new temple in Paris was, in a sense, both a product and a hostage of secular politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s then-president, agreed to its construction, with Russian funds, back in 2007 as a good-will gesture to Russia. Plans to turn the cathedral’s opening into a moment of diplomatic togetherness, attended by the French and Russian presidents, foundered after the countries’ row over Syria sharpened. But nothing prevented Patriarch Kirill from inaugurating the new house of prayer, with French cultural figures like the singer Mireille Matthieu in attendance.
I finally got to Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear hosted by Jim Cramer; its very worthwhile–put it on your list.
Construction of The Twin Towers, 1970 pic.twitter.com/hB3d4qXIfM
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) September 10, 2014
Almost two-thirds of those running England’s Anglican cathedrals are concerned about their finances, a BBC survey suggests.
Of the 38 cathedrals who responded fully, 26 said they were “worried” or “very worried” about the future.
Last year, the Church of England gave Â£8.3m to the historic buildings but the cash does not cover all of their needs.
Some cathedrals are now looking to new ways of fundraising including hiring the buildings out as venues.
Those who like angels ”“ and they’re popular at the moment ”“ have had a rolling feast of the creatures this week, with the Guardian Angels commemorated yesterday and a separate red letter day earlier in the week ”“ Michaelmas. Michaelmas is not about daisies. It honours St Michael, no man but the prince of the heavenly host of angels.
I celebrated by devouring The Angel Roofs of East Anglia by Michael Rimmer (Lutterworth, Â£19.95), enjoying the astonishing colour photographs. The book’s subtitle is Unseen Masterpieces of the Middle Ages, which may sound odd, since the carved angels have been on show for 600 years. But is quite accurate, since they are mostly so far above ground level and badly lit that only a telephoto digital camera can catch the true details.
People who use Twitter might know Michael Rimmer’s Angel Roofs account that since 2012 has shown the progress of his work recording the riches of East Anglian timber church roofs aflutter with angels. It’s a peculiarly English glory, and of the 170 or so angel roofs that survive, about 120 are in East Anglia.
As part of its Reform and Renewal programme, which was debated in the General Synod in February, the Church of England has today published a report and launched a consultation on proposals to improve the support for its 16,000 church buildings.
The report comes from the Church Buildings review group, which was chaired by the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge. It constitutes the first attempt in many years to undertake a comprehensive review of the Church of England’s stewardship of its church buildings and includes a wide range of statistics, a substantial theological reflection and a survey of various initiatives being taken in individual dioceses. The report goes on to identify a number of principles that should shape the Church’s approach and makes some specific recommendations.
The review notes that more than three quarters of the Church of England’s churches are listed, and the Church of England is responsible for nearly half of the grade I listed buildings in England. More than half of churches are in rural areas (where 17% of the population lives) and more than 90% of these are listed.
Read it all and follow the link to the full report.
I’ve noticed before the strange tendency of hateful buildings to become almost lovable after the passage of decades. Not all of them, of course. Some, like the 1960s highrise clones lining Moscow’s New Arbat (Kalinin Prospekt) become more annoying as they get shabbier. But the Moscow State University building on Lenin Hills, one of Moscow’s seven late-Stalinist wedding cakes, has definitely undergone a metamorphosis in my mind. When I lived there in the late 1960s, I regarded it as an anti-people monster, guarded by dragons who, if you had lost your pass, would throw you out to die in the snow. (According to Hatherley, they now use swipe cards to protect the building against invasion.) But I noticed a while back that I had started regarding the wedding cakes with something like affection; apparently the passage of time has naturalised them.
But Hatherley is young, and so are the Poles who like the Palace of Culture; their reassessment must come from somewhere else. Actually it seems to come from two different places. One is the Western pop/youth phenomenon that might be called Soviet ruin chic ”“ a fascination with Soviet imperial ghosts or, as Hatherley puts it, ”˜tourism of the counter-revolution’. Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker, with its memorable imagery of the Zone, is a reference point here, as is real-life Chernobyl, now a tourist destination for those with a ”˜ruin chic’ sensibility. Hatherley distinguishes his own position from that of the admirers of Totally Awesome Ruined Soviet Architecture, and his ideological and personal baggage is definitely not counter-revolutionary. But there’s some family ”“ or perhaps more accurately, generational ”“ resemblance.
The other place this re-evaluation comes from is Eastern Europe, specifically young people who grew up in the Soviet bloc at the end of the communist era, and don’t share their parents’ bad memories.
Read it all from the LRB.
European churches are currently engaged in an architectural culture war.
Cardinal GianÂfranco RavÂasi declared the outbreak of hostilities in 2013 with a sweeping condemnation of many recently built churches in Italy, which, he said, were intended to win design prizes rather than to serve the needs of liturgy. Instead of seeking to create a suitable mood for celebration or meditation, architects have extolled abÂstract geometric form. IgÂnoring religious needs, they “tend instead to focus on space, lines, light and sound.”
Nonsense, replied those proÂgressive architects. ConÂcepts of the appropriate setting for Christian worship have changed enormously through the centuries. Throughout history reactionaries have condemned innovative buildings that over time come to be recognized as epochal masterpieces.
I can see both sides in this debate, although I do take Ravasi’s point that some recent structures seem deliberately intended to infuriate traditionalists. What is most startling is that such a debate is raging at a time when Europe’s mainstream churches have been so weakened by secularization and when the Roman Catholic Church in particular faces so many challenges. Yet, as in centuries past, these institutions are not only creating many new buildings but serving as key patrons of great architects.
In an unremarkable corner of Westminster Abbey is a wooden door marked “Private”. Behind it are 78 wooden steps spiralling upwards in a narrow staircase. And at the top of those is one of the Abbey’s hidden treasures: what John Betjeman once called “the greatest view in Europe”.
More than 20 metres above the floor of the Abbey, and largely invisible to the tourists taking pictures below, is a vaulted gallery that runs the entire length of the building. This is the Abbey’s eastern triforium, a centuries-old secret expanse that is to be opened to visitors for the first time as part of a gallery and exhibition space.
The Dean, Dr John Hall, invited us, a group of reporters, to join him in a final tour around the triforium before building work begins in earnest to transform the dusty space into the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries
Read it all and make sure not to miss the slideshow.
New bells, made from the recycled metal from an old peal, have been hoisted into a church tower in Gloucestershire.
St Andrew’s and St Bartholomew’s in Churchdown raised more than Â£80,000 to replace five of its six historic bells, damaged by centuries of ringing.
The new peal of bells is due to be rung for the first time on Friday.
The church near the corner of Peace and Blount streets looks as though it could have been there for centuries, with its peaked roof and mottled brick walls ”“ except for the insulating wrap that still sheaths half its exterior.
It’s the first new church building to be built in downtown Raleigh for half a century.
“We wanted to build a transcendent space,” said the Rev. John Yates III, his breath hanging beneath the arching steel bones of the sanctuary. To his left, a construction worker rode an accordion lift to finish the details of a window that reached toward the 60-foot ceiling.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church formed about a decade ago, splitting off from the national Episcopal church alongside scores of other groups.
Read it all from the News and Observer..
Westminster Abbey has won planning permission to add its first new tower in almost 300 years, which will create public access to a museum of treasures and curiosities housed in the triforium, the church’s attic gallery.
At present, the public can get only a distant glimpse of the spectacular and shadowy space through the stone arches 70ft up at the top of the walls above the high altar.
The only way in is a perilous journey up narrow spiral staircases and along ledge-like passages high above the nave. The spectacular but vertigo-inducing view down to the altar and nave has mostly been enjoyed by maintenance staff and camera crews covering major state events.