This place has so much beauty, it is difficult to decide what pictures to post. On my delightful tour of Down Town NYC, the highlight of my trip was seeing Dagger John’s gift to God, Man and posterity.
After having shamelessly used other artist’s work for years on end, I present my own humble examples. Most of these are taken with my cell phone, so the quality isn’t quite up to my standard.
However, the subject matter is so wonderful I’m going to use it anyway. If you don’t mind, I may use several Sundays to cover the best highlights. Remember, guys, the com box is there for a reason!
[above] The Cathedral is situated right downtown, next to office buildings and several malls– in the middle of everything. Really should have brought the wide angled lens for this shot.
[above] It’s not quite as integrated with the surrounding area as St Peter’s in Chicago. Then again, St Peters of the Loop is built into a slab like building along the row, so it would be hard to build a church to look more at home with a bunch of rectangular glass buildings.
Here, the surroundings have had to blend in to St Pat’s than the other way around. When St Patrick’s was first built, this was the outskirts of Town.
[above] This is for scale. When I first saw the church in place, I thought it looked a bit on the small side… until I saw people in context with the building. Ah, yes, now THAT is a cathedral.
[left] Some exterior details, plus [ right] a wonderful floor mosaic with the coat of arms of the first Archbishop of New York. Click on the image to see more detail.
St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York Photo Credit: Margot St. Aubin :: I release this FDL.
[above] This is a view of the sanctuary from the front door, angled in favor of showing off the magnificent French High Gothic ceiling. The golden structure in the distance is the Holy of Holies, where the altar and tabernacle reside. The dark T shaped structure on the right is the ambo, an elevated shelter where the priest stands to give his homily. These were used in the days before microphones to project the priest’s voice so everybody in a large space could hear. Contrary to popular opinion, people cared about the congregation getting something out of the mass well before Vatican II came about.
[above] This is a clearer picture of the sanctuary itself. Clearly, mass is being said, which limits my options in terms of approach and angle.
[above] Here’s a closeup of the ambo. The candelabra is really gorgeous, too.
[above] Here’s a side view of the altar. Green fabric, the gold framework, and the candles… Also is a nice canopy shot. Look at the filigree in both the wood and the gold. You can see how it ties into the Celtic knotwork in [#1b below], too.
[above, #3a] Another view from the altar, to the rose window, where the organ is. The beautiful blue window cascaded blue light over us.
[above, #3b] Now we turn our attention to the floor. I wish I could have asked everyone else to leave so I could have better displayed how gorgeous the floors are in here. This is a sample near the altar. Uh, I think it was built by and for the Irish… but I’m not sure… 😛
[above, #3b] I found this in the photo compilation of my companion on our trip here. I don’t remember him taking this one, probably because I was “high on architecture.” Yep, that is an official architecture rush.
[above] The church was full of gorgeous detail to admire for those paying attention. Stuff like this doesn’t need to be there, but it certainly points to the devotion and artistry of those who designed and built this place.
There are a lot of beautiful churches that make a nice facade that otherwise are not reinforced by robust construction and layered attention to detail in their function. This is a church that will be admired and looked to for thousands of years for “how you build a structure dedicated to a purpose.”
People keep telling me how elitist it is to have beautiful churches.
I say, “No. This was built for everyone, not the just the church. For most people throughout history, this was the only palatial structure that a person of any station could just walk into and take a rest, pray, and ask for a priest. Yes, even in the middle of the night.” For hundreds if not thousands of years, the official position was that a church never locked it’s doors. Period.
And that is how it should be. Our hard and modern hearts make allowances for locks and whatnot today, but even in eras more dangerous than our own, it was the last refuge for the lost.