Tag Archives: Cathedral

Spoleto Cathedral

The cathedral of the Archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, is full of art treasures. These sites have more details.

The cathedral at Spoleto.

Facade of cathedral.

This chapel houses art by Pinturicchio.

The Pinturicchio altar of the entombed Christ.

This and the next are from the 16th century Assumption Chapel.

Chapel of John Paul.

Entrance to chapel that houses an ancient icon of Mary.

Icon chapel.

Beautiful cosmatesque pavement.

Admiring the cathedral.


Eucharistic chapel.

Remnant of medieval frescoes.

Looking back at cathedral.

The Santiago Cathedral in Bilbao

Spain-163234The cathedral is dedicated to Saint James the Great. It is originally from the 14th-15th century. Notice the shell over the door at the peak of the arch. This was on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.



The facade.

Eucharistic Chapel

Eucharistic Tower

Saint James

Western Gallery

The Main Altar in the Apse

Cathedral Square


Gazing Heavenward

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria, is said to be the largest Orthodox church in the world. The church was built in 1882 to honor the Russians who died between 1877 and 1878 in liberating Bulgaria from the Islamic Ottoman Empire.



The golden dome is 45 meters high.

Christ the Teacher welcomes you into his cathedral.

The interior of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Gazing heavenward.

The iconostasis in the church of Saint Alexander.

From the museum under Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Saint Treime, i.e. Holy Trinity.

Saint Joseph Catholic cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

I am with my family this week in Vienna so I decided to catch up on blog posts from Cologne and from Vienna in the winter.

When the train crossed the river this morning [Dec. 30] I saw the cathedral. It was thrilling. I saw it with my mother in 1990 and she reminded me that it was one the last things her mother saw when she left Germany as a late teenager in 1895. My grandmother had a great love for the cathedral of the city where she spent most of her early childhood and life.

The cathedral was spared major damage during the bombings. However the photos are very haunting in that only the cathedral stands in a city reduced to a rubble of stones.

The cathedral was spared and today it still towers over Cologne. And gives witness that God is to be glorified in a beauty that invites us to share the beauty of human life that has been given as a gift.



The Black Forest, and Strasbourg

Today (December 16th) was a long day on the bus, however, traveling through the Alps was incredibly beautiful. Even though it was foggy the snow covered mountains were visibly showing the grandeur of the Alps.

We stopped for a few minutes at Liechtenstein which is a small country of only 37,000 people, with a vibrant economy. It was so foggy that in my picture Vaduz castle is barely visible. This castle is the residence of the princely family and is one of the oldest noble families of Europe. And of course we had to get our passports stamped!


We continued our way to Schaffhausen, Switzerland to view the thunderous Rhine waterfalls. This one of Europe’s most powerful.

We continued our scenic drive through the Black Forest which is an area of unrivaled beauty. Once again it was covered in fog which even made it more mysterious and evocative of all the legends associated with it.

We did stop for black forest cake and of cuckoo clocks, a profusion of clocks!


We then proceeded into the the Black Forest spa town of Baden-Baden with its Christmas market with ongoing Christmas bands throughout the evening. In days past this was the destination of European aristocracy; therefore its architecture is most elegant. And Brahms lived and worked here from 1865 to 1874. The hotel was a hotel that set forth the charm of yesteryear.

Dec. 17. We left this morning from Baden-Baden to travel to Strasbourg to visit the cathedral and its old town with its medieval covered bridges. It is located near the German border in the Alsace region and thus it is immersed in the Franco-German culture. Its historic center is beautiful and charming with its medieval streets. And of course decorated for the Christmas markets.


Then there is the cathedral dedicated to Our Lady. Although many parts are Romanesque it is a fine example of Gothic architecture from 1318. The cathedral was the world’s tallest building until 1874. And it is still the sixth tallest church in the world. Goethe said it was “sublimely towering, a wide spreading tree of God.” It is constructed of the beautiful local stone ftom the Vosges mountains or the Black Forest and this gives it a pink hue.

The west facade.

The west facade.

The apse

The apse

The cathedral houses one of the finest astronomical clocks.

The cathedral houses one of the finest astronomical clocks.

Rose window.

Rose window.

A whimsical medieval touch. They held a priest in high esteem for his preaching and his dog was always with him when he preached, so, notice the sculpted dog on the steps to the pulpit.

A whimsical medieval touch. They held a priest in high esteem for his preaching and his dog was always with him when he preached, so, notice the sculpted dog on the steps to the pulpit.


Medieval altar.

Medieval altar.

Medieval altar.

Medieval altar.

Detail of pulpit.

Detail of pulpit.

Camino Day 31, Santiago… Last day

Day 31. Thursday, September 25, 2014.

Santiago… Last day.

When we got up this morning most of the pilgrims in the albergue were already gone. After breakfast we dropped our backpacks at the hotel where we would spend our last night and went to the cathedral where concelebrated the 10:30 am English Mass.

We were early and explored the cathedral. We had bought Saint James medals and wanted to touch them to the statue that pilgrims traditionally hug on their arrival, as a sign of reverence. We prayed at the tomb of the saint for the protection of Christians throughout the world, especially those suffering persecution.

The English Mass was more intimate than the pilgrims’ Mass we attended the last two days, but we packed the chapel that is reserved for the Mass. The priest, from England, who has volunteered three months to minister to English speaking pilgrims in Santiago. All in attendance were invited to tell people where they were from and if they had made the Camino. We were happy to see many pilgrims who had walked the Camino with us.


After Mass we had lunch at a parador restaurant, an elegant state run restaurant in a historic building. They offered a pilgrim menu which was by far the best we’ve had.

We checked in to our hotel which is humble but seems luxurious after sleeping in albergues for a month. We had no idea how we missed real sheets and towels! We rested and toured the cathedral museum and cathedral with an audio guide. It helped bring together the architectural development over the centuries of the cathedral from Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance to baroque.




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We were able to see Romanesque statuary that had been discovered in the ongoing renovation, reliquaries and antique liturgical vessels, and rooms of tapestries. After the museum the tour continued to the cathedral from the perspective of a medieval pilgrim. It emphasized for us the design of the cathedral to receive pilgrims. We got a better sense of the theology which celebrated welcome, love, conversion and salvation.

On emerging from the cathedral we happened on an orchestra concert just beginning to start in one of the plazas. What a wonderful way to conclude our Camino!


This is our last entry from Spain, however we will continue to reflect on this adventure. It has meant a lot to share this Camino with you.

We’ll close with a blessing used at Mass today marking an end of a pilgrimage:

Father we ask your blessing on us,
Pilgrims who have come to venerate the tomb of your apostle Santiago.
As you kept us safe on our Camino way
May You keep us safe on our journey home.
And inspired by our experience hers
May we live out the values of the gospel
As our pilgrimage through life continues.
We ask Saint James to intercede for us
As we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ,
Your Son and our Redeemer, Amen.

Please pray for our safe journey home.

Santiago at Last, Part 2

Day 29. September 23, 2014 (continued).


After our last post we walked to Saint Francis Church to obtain our second Compostela. This is the 800th anniversary of Saint Francis of Assisi making the Compostela and special certificates are being issued. We are thrilled to receive one.

It was an incredible church with a beautiful reredos.

The adjoining convent has been developed into a four star hotel whose proceeds help support the Franciscans in their worldwide missions. It was impressive.

Our real objective this evening was to get to the cathedral to “hug the saint.” Mission accomplished. There is a staircase behind the main altar which leads to the bust of Saint James which presides over the cathdral. Traditionally pilgrims have been invited to embrace this bust as a sign of veneration and petition. No photographs where allowed and absolute silence was maintained making it a solemn moment. We also descended to the tomb of Saint James where we offered a prayer at his tomb. The hall of glory which contains an image of Saint James on a pillar originally greeted pilgrims who could put their hands into the carvings of the pillar. This is no longer allowed. This was a very moving experience for both of us and we were glad we did it after we had some food and rest.

We ended tonight with dinner at an outdoor cafe near the cathedral. We ate looking forward to two days of enjoying Santiago at a restful pace.







Day 29. Tuesday, September 23, 2014.
Feast of St. Pius of Pietrelcina
We were so excited last night that it was hard to sleep. We were up and ready to go about a hour earlier than we had planned, so it was dark for the first hour of the last leg of our Camino. We stopped for breakfast and captured the moment with a photo.

We looked forward to the Monte de Gozo (Mount of Joy), where pilgrims saw their first glimpse of the cathedral of Santiago. We were disappointed that there is no longer a view due to urban sprawl. There is only a monument whose artistic merit escaped us. We prayed morning prayer on the mount.

We continued on the remaining 4.5K down the mountain, through the city, to the cathedral square. We met a number of pilgrims on the way. It was about 11:15am when we arrived. We stopped to take pictures and orient ourselves to the area.
There is a pilgrims’ Mass every day at 12:00 noon. We had said it was not important to attend the Mass when we arrived, but when it became a possibility we moved heaven earth to do it, finding our hostal to deposit our bags and rushing back to the cathedral for Mass.

The cathedral is undergoing renovation so it took us a few minutes to figure out which door to use. The pews were packed so we had to stand in the transept with a partial view of the sanctuary. The gospel was about Jesus saying “Whoever hears my word and acts on it is mother and brother and sister to me.” It was powerful to hear this proclaimed in the midst of the cathedral packed with pilgrims. We were treated to a blessing by the butofumerio, the monstrous thurible attached to the ceiling of the cathedral which almost touches the ceiling in its arc when it is hoisted in the air and swung by eight men through the transepts of the church. You could see the fiery coals as the smoke billowed throughout the church. We plan to concelebrate the Mass tomorrow.

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Ironically, in our excitement and exhaustion we forgot all about hugging the statue of the saint (Santiago). We plan to rectify this as soon as possible.

After Mass we rushed to the pilgrims’ office to show our credentials and receive our Compostela. We received it after a two hours wait in line.

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We were exhausted and tired and rushed to eat and then to take a nap. We are getting a second wind as we write this closing line.