The only church I had ever visited during my teen years was Velankanni , in TamilNadu and another Infant Jesus Church in Banglore, to which my Dad had taken me once before my marriage. And there stops my brush with Christianity and churches.With my recent visit to Italy, I can guarantee I had my fulfillment of visiting a lot of cathedrals and churches. An Amazing Experience.
I spent Christmas at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, waiting to see the big man, the Pope. Just the energy of the crowd was amazing , though most were tourists with cameras which made us easier to blend.
Last Christmas, I spent the whole day reading the book “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet. A historical fiction novel. A must read for everyone. One gets absorbed into the building of cathedrals at Kingsbridge. In the fictional town of Kingsbridge, the cathedral is finally completed, in the “French Style”, and becomes famous around England for its beauty: it is the first Gothic cathedral in England. While reading the book, I regretted the fact that I had not paid attention to the cathedral structure while visiting the West Minster Abbey in London , two Christmas ago. Another church devoted to St.Peter.I was more interested in the people buried there, William Blake, Wordsworth, Charles Dickens,Elliot to name a few and of course all the kings and queens who ruled. Never paid much attention to the structure. It is a classic Gothic style Cathedral. While reading Pillars of the Earth, the mega saver, Wikipedia helped me understand the book.
This Christmas, when we visited the St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican,apparently the burial place of St. Peter, I absorbed the whole structure of the church with the dome and all the different naves, chapels ,frescos and paintings. A WOW MOMENT! Building such a huge church( it can accomodate 60,000 people) is not a joke and it took a better half of 16th and 17th centuries with numerous architects, ideas, change of plans to build the biggest church in the world. The dome of St. Peter’s rises to a total height of 136.57 metres (448.1 ft) from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross. It is the tallest dome in the world.I think the final dome structure is credited to Michelangelo.
And to be blessed by the man of the hour, though not understanding a single word of what he was saying, gave me goose bumps. OK,the goose bumps were because of the cold wind..Let me have my moment.
After visiting all the churches in Italy, with their classical domes, I could appreciate the Gothic Style of Notre Dame in Paris, another cathedral that’s construction span two centuries.
I tried to focus and capture every nook and corner with all the windows, engrave it in my mind and get geared for another session of “Pillars of the Earth” . Oh! Yes, this defintely calls for a re-read before I forget my dream vacation.
The Chapel at Notre Dame..
Just wish we had bought even a wider angle lens. Well, next time. Yes, there were signs showing a camera with a slash on it, implying no photos. There were some places that we visited, where they did not allow video cameras but photography was allowed. Seeing numerous others clicking to glory, almost blinding you, we decided that the Arch Bishop of Notre Dame will forgive us this sin. Just to explain it better to Anand, who asked us not to do that.. 😉 😉