Of things Spiritual...................

There's so much religious history in London. There are Churches of every persuasion, young, old and ancient, many of which I have always been eager to visit. One in particular is the Temple Church (and may I say, well before a certain novelist made it a "must see" for conspiracy theorists), which on my third attempt I found open. I had gone down to New Temple when I first arrived, walked around and sat in the gardens, but couldn't find the Church. The second time I actually found the Church, but it was closed (as the choir was practicing for a performance of Handel's Requiem (very apt!), so I sat on a concrete bench outside for a while and just listened. Finally I made sure I got there when it was open and I was so glad I did! Apart from the Knight's Tombs (which everyone makes a bee-line for), the leadlight windows are stunningly beautiful and I stood for ages just watching the sunlight move through them, transforming the floor into a multi-coloured tapestry of light. The nave of the church is beautiful, despite a number of "restorations" (including one beginning in 1678 by Christopher Wren). The "Round" is where most people focus their interest, because this is where the tombs are and surrounding the walls the "heads", originally made of Caen stone, but replaced in the 1820's (during yet another refurbishment), with heads made of Portland stone. They are truly ugly, one picking his nose, one having his ear chewed, others with horns and all with ugly grimaces.........it reminded of something Mum used to say when we "pulled faces" when we were kids, "If the wind changes you'll be stuck like that", I wondered if this was what happened to the poor models for these heads?

My spiritual quest has also included attending Evensong at both St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey. These are two absolutely amazing Anglican cathedrals, the architecture of each illustrating their original functions. Westminster Abbey is obviously a monastery church and a beautiful one at that! Walking around and seeing the burial site and memorials of Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Geoffrey Chaucer, Anne of Cleves, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Sir Lawrence Olivier etc. is extremely moving. The building itself is in the process of being extensively restored and you can see the effects of the years on the architecture, but you know, I actually like that!

My experience at St. Paul's was totally different. It wasn't being surrounded by the graves of so many eminent people that moved me, but the music of the place. There's something about the acoustics that makes you feel that you are "wrapped up" in the music of the choir, surrounded by angelic voices that make you feel weightless. My heart felt like it would explode.............it was absolutely awe inspiring! Afterwards I walked out onto the steps, just hoping I might see he "bird- lady", but alas, she was nowhere to be seen. Ah, well!

So I'd better get myself to Westminster Cathedral (the Roman Catholic cathedral) next before I'm excommunicated! But before that, it's off to the Tower of London for me (anyone notice the irony here???????)

Photos (from bottom up): 1. Temple Church 2: Westminster Abbey 3: St Paul's Cathedral

1 comment:

emmie said...

and we think the mcg is something to crap on about my god those buildings are amazing