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ISSN# 1535-9387Sacred ArchitectureIssue 21 2012Journal of the Institute for Sacred Architecture


q u o V a d i s ?Three miles from Disneyland thereis another famous theme park,which proclaims itself as “America’sTelevision Church.” The CrystalCathedral, perhaps the first megachurchin the United States, is about toundergo conversion classes so that itcan finally get the cathedra and bishopit has always wanted. The Diocese ofOrange, California, has purchased thethirty-one-acre property and its fourbuildings for $53 million, a steal evenin this real estate market. Realizing thatrecent cathedrals built from scratchhave cost upwards of $200 and $250million on the West Coast, retrofittingsounds like a financially savvy move.However, turning this prismatic beaconof televangelism into a house ofGod may be easier said than done.Does this purchase signal a new rolefor Catholic charity: to buy up propertiesof bankrupt Protestant ministries?If so, there may be some good opportunitiesin the future. How does thebishop encourage full, active, and consciousparticipation in the liturgy bypurchasing one of the buildings mostassociated with religion as theater? Begunas an open-air service at a driveintheater, the church was designedaround Rev. Schuller’s flamboyantpreaching. Associated with glitz andmoney, it was the site of fancy and expensiveholiday celebrations includingtrapeze artists, live animals for Christmas,and a lavish $13 million productioncalled Creation.Said to be the first all-glass structurebuilt for religious purposes, it is associatedwith the feel-good theology of the1980s. How to convert a building likethis and at the same time disassociateit from its founder and his theology?Crystal Cathedral Ministries was a religionabout self-promotion, and, appropriately,its main buildings were designedin disparate modernist styles bythree well-known architecture firms:Richard Neutra, Philip Johnson andJohn Burgee, and Richard Meier. Eachbuilding is a personal expression of thearchitect, so that together they create acampus without much to unify them.Perhaps what may be of more concernto its future owner, the Neutra tower(1968) does not meet earthquake codesand the Crystal Cathedral (1980) andthe Welcoming Center (2003) are highmaintenance glass and metal buildings.This could be an expensive investment.Can the Crystal Cathedral be convertedto a Catholic Cathedral? Weshall see. After all, the much noted cathedralsof Oakland, Los Angeles, andSan Francisco are all expressionisticmodernist sculptures. The diocese hassaid that they will not change the exteriorof the church and will not compromisethe architectural integrity of the2700-seat interior. Yet, without a radicaltransformation the building willalways come across as a technologicalmega-church rather than as a sacredplace. It needs to be totally gutted andreconceived. And even if the interiorcan be functionally retrofitted for Catholicliturgy, many believe that its identitywill always be that of the CrystalCathedral.One of the major criticisms of Catholicarchitecture during the past fiftyyears is that it has incorrectly adoptedmany of the forms of low-church Protestantism:the theater form, a fear ofsacred images, asymmetrical layouts,vacuous sanctuaries, minimalist liturgicalelements, prominently placed Jacuzzisfor baptism, and the banishmentof the Blessed Sacrament to the baptistry.The altar area becomes a stage witha focus on entertainment alongsidepraise bands that perform upbeat music.In response, liturgists have arguedthat all of these things are simply theoutgrowth if not the requirement ofVatican II. Are they finally admittingtheir agenda by purchasing a ready forTV mega-church complete with a jumbotronand three huge balconies for the“spectators”?The timing of this is wrong. A wholenew generation of priests, laity, andtheologians has grown up with thisstuff and find these Protestant innovationsdated and lacking in substance.They desire an architecture that growsout of the Church’s rich tradition andthat will enable them in worship.Asked what cathedrals should look likein the twenty-first century, they pointto Saint Patrick’s in New York, SaintPeter’s in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris,and other obvious suspects. These arebuildings constructed hundreds ofyears ago, yet continue to speak to believersand unbelievers alike today. Atimeless architecture built for the ages,a cathedral should be a durable buildingconstructed out of masonry, transcendentin height, and directional inlength. Unfortunately for the new generationand their children, the Orangediocese has chosen the opposite directionand will foist on them a buildingthat is of its time and not particularlysuited to Catholic worship and devotion.Twenty years from now, it willnot matter that Orange got a reallygood deal whereas another Californiadiocese quadrupled its budget. Peoplewill simply ask if it is a beautiful cathedral,worthy of the Creator.WDuncan StroikNotre Dame, Spring 2012On the cover: North Portal of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France - Photo by Alain Michot


Sacred ArchitectureIssue 21 2012Contents2 W4 WWWWEditorialQuo Vadis? . .............................................................................Duncan StroikNews & LettersNational Cathedral endures earthquake damage W Richard H. Driehaus supports church building efforts WHoly Apostles Seminary dedicates new chapel W Diocese of Orange purchases Crystal Cathedral in California WSaskatoon dedicates new Holy Family Cathedral W New Chapel of Our Lady of Lebanon at the National Shrine WSaint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church to rebuild at Ground Zero W Wyoming Catholic approves masterplan WArticles12161825WWWWDomus Dei, Quae Est Ecclesia Dei Vivi: The Myth of the Domus Ecclesiae ....................Steven J. SchloederElegance Personified: The Black Madonna of Montserrat .................................. Joan L. RoccasalvoA Decade of New Classicism: The Flowering of Traditional Church Architecture ...........Denis R. McNamaraLiving Stone: The Beauty of the Liturgical Altar .............................................Randy L. SticeDocumentation28 WUplifting our Gaze and Spirit: Art and Prayer ............................... His Holiness Pope Benedict XVIBooks303233WWWThe Virgin of Chartres by Margot E. Fassler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . reviewed by Stephen MurrayArchitecture as Icon by Slobodan Curcic and Evangelia Hadjitryphonos ............ reviewed by Christ KamagesHoly Ground by Paul Post and Arie L. Molendijk . ...................................reviewed by Lisa Austin34 WFrom the Publishing Houses: a Selection of Recent Books ...................... compiled by Sacred Architecturewww.sacredarchitecture.orgJournal of the Institute for Sacred ArchitectureThe Institute for Sacred Architecture is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization made up of architects, clergy, educators and others interestedin the discussion of significant issues related to contemporary Catholic architecture.Sacred Architecture is published twice annually for $9.95.©2012 The Institute for Sacred Architecture.Address manuscripts andletters to the Editor:Editor, Duncan StroikP.O. Box 556Notre Dame, IN 46556voice: (574) 232-1783email: editor@sacredarchitecture.orgADVISORY BOARDJohn Burgee, FAIAMost Rev. Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap.Rev. Cassian Folsom, OSBThomas Gordon Smith, AIAPRODUCTIONDr. Melinda NielsenThomas StrokaCaroline ColeThomas DietzJamie LaCourtForest WaltonSacred Architecture Issue 21 20123


NewsSacred Architecture NewsCastel Gandolfo, the summer residence ofthe Holy FatherIn a general audience in August 2011,Pope Benedict XVI said that artisticbeauty can lead the human heart to God.Art evokes in its viewers a sensation ofsomething beyond mere matter whichcan touch the heart and elevate the soul,leading ultimately to God, Benedictsaid. He invited his listeners to openthemselves to that beauty and be movedto prayer and praise of the Lord. Thepope related a personal experience ofattending a performance of the worksof J. S. Bach, where he felt the musicconveyed the truth of the composer’sfaith, and moved him to praise the Lord.He concluded by urging those gatheredto visit churches and art museums,which are not only an occasion forcultural enrichment but can be “amoment of grace, an encouragementto strengthen our relationship and ourdialogue with the Lord.”The new church of Saint RoccoA new church established as a NationalHispanic Parish in the Archdioceseof Philadelphia was dedicated onAugust 16, 2011, the feast of the church’spatron Saint Rocco. His EminencePhoto: Berthold WernerPhoto: Southernchestercountyweeklies.comJustin Cardinal Rigali, the then-Archbishop, now Archbishop Emeritusof the Archdiocese, was present forthe ceremony and unlocked the frontdoors of the church. The 10,000-squarefootbuilding is located in Avondale inSouth Chester County and was designedby architect Michael P. O’Rourke inthe style of churches in Mexico andmissions in the West. The new church,made possible by a $5 million donationfrom a benefactor, will serve the 12,000members of the San Rocco congregationand serve the needs of Spanish-speakingCatholics in Philadelphia.Earthquake damage at the NationalCathedralThe earthquake that shook thenortheastern United States last Augustdamaged churches in the archdioceses ofWashington and Baltimore. Saint PatrickCatholic Church in the Archdioceseof Baltimore was deemed unsafeand is closed indefinitely for repairs.The steeple was badly damaged, butArchbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimoreexpressed thankfulness that no onewas injured when pieces of concretefell to the sidewalk. Several churchesin Washington were damaged by themagnitude 5.8 quake as well, includingsignificant damage to the central towerof the Episcopal Church’s WashingtonNational Cathedral.A decline in birth rates in the UnitedStates in recent years may be due tothe struggling economy. The currentpercentage of childless women is similarto the percentage during the GreatDepression of the 1930s. Sociologist W.The Vatican’s Congregation of DivineWorship will soon establish a newcommission to regulate churcharchitecture and liturgical music. The“Liturgical Art and Sacred MusicCommission” will evaluate constructionprojects for new churches to ensuretheir designs are appropriate for thecelebration of the liturgy. Music andsinging that accompany the Mass willalso be evaluated by the commission.The proposed new Minnesota Vikingsstadium will not be built three hundredfeet from the Basilica of St. Mary inMinneapolis. Minnesota Governor MarkDayton removed this location from thelist of potential sites for the new stadiumafter Church representatives voiced theirconcerns about the threat it would poseto parish life.4 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: Nationalcathedral.orgBradford Wilcox of the University ofVirginia in Charlottesville suggests thatunemployment among young adultsmay be a key factor. Some demographersbelieve the one child household willbecome the norm in the U.S. as inEurope, but others say it is a mistake tobelieve the decline will be permanent.The Basilica of Saint Mary sits at theintersection of I-94 and 394 in downtownMinneapolis.Photo: Babak Ha’Eri


Father Jack Wall is President of CatholicExtension and the Pastor at Old SaintPatrick’s Church in Chicago.Chicago philanthropist Richard H.Driehaus is supporting the rebuildingof neglected churches in underfundedareas. After being asked by Father JackWall, a priest at Old Saint Patrick’schurch in Chicago where Driehaus isa parishioner, the Richard H. DriehausCharitable Lead Trust matches 500 giftsper year of $1,000 to Wall’s nonprofitorganization, Catholic Extension. Witha strong donor base in Chicago, CatholicExtension has built over 12,000 churchesacross the country. Driehaus, who haspreviously donated to Saint IgnatiusCollege Prep, DePaul University, andOld Saint Patrick’s, says he considers hisdonations an investment in the future.Photo: Artefaqs, flickr.comA Vatican exhibition exploring the art,science, and spirituality of Barcelona’s LaSagrada Familia Basilica was on displayin the colonnade of Saint Peter’s Squarefrom November 24 through January 15.Lluis Cardinal Martinez of Barcelona, inRome for the inauguration of the exhibit,explained that it presents “another of thecontributions of Christian faith whichthe Church has made over the centuriesto the world of culture, art, and beauty.”The display was divided into threesections, which focused respectively onthe art, science, and spirituality of Gaudi’sdesign. Drawings for the façade anddesigns for the stained glass windowswere also displayed. The exhibitionwas accompanied by a colloquium onDecember 12 entitled “Architecture:symbolism and sacredness a centuryafter Gaudi.” Architect Maria AntonietaCrippa moderated the event, andaddresses were given by GianfrancoCardinal Ravasi, president of thePontifical Council for Culture, andarchitect Mario Botta.Architect Renzo Piano designed the newnuns’ dwellings, guest house and visitorcenter at Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp.Photo: Michel Denance, Metalocus.esNewsHoly Apostles College and Seminaryin Cromwell, CT, recently completed anew chapel dedicated to Mary, Queen ofthe Apostles. The 10,000-square-foot, $4million chapel was designed by architectDon Hammerberg Associates and builtby Sullivan Brothers, LLC. It replaces atemporary chapel that could hold only80 of the Seminary’s nearly 400 students.The new chapel has an octagonal designwith a cathedral ceiling that replicates afifth-century Byzantine design. BishopMichael R. Cote of Norwich presidedat the dedication of the chapel, whichhas since been used for the celebrationof both the ordinary and extraordinaryforms of the liturgy.Photo: Middletownpress.comAn exhibit on the Basilica of the SagradaFamilia lasted for three months in thecolonnade at Saint Peter’s in Rome.Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: gaudiroma.catA grand opening was held lastSeptember for Renzo Piano’s expansionof the chapel of Notre Dame du Hautin Ronchamp, France. When firstsuggested in 2008, the project was metwith protest by opponents who fearedthe new visitors’ center and convent forlocal Poor Clare nuns would distractfrom Le Corbusier’s iconic sculpturalarchitecture. To avoid this, Piano locatedthe oratory, the 9,700-square-foot nuns’dwellings, and the 4,800-square-footvisitors center in the side of a grassyslope leading up to the chapel. Pianobelieves his $16 million project enhancesthe chapel’s original purpose of religiousworship.A new altarpiece was unveiled at therecently restored Saint Joseph Churchin Crestline, Ohio. Entitled ‘The CalvaryTriptych’, the white oak Gothic retablewas designed by architect and parishnative, Daniel DeGreve, to fit aroundthe existing Crucifix and Modern-stylesunburst tableau, and features thepainted artwork of Craig GallagherLiturgical Art Studio of Minnesota.5


NewsA fire at Saint Malo’s retreat center inAllenspark, CO, caused significantdamage to the structure. Believed tohave been caused by a gas build-upin the chimney, the fire destroyed thelounge, dining room, kitchen, library,common areas, and small chapel, butdid not cause any injuries or deaths.The room that Pope John Paul II stayedin during his 1993 visit to Denver waspreserved, as well as the historic SaintCatherine of Siena stone chapel locatedon the property. The Archdiocese ofDenver will determine the future ofthe center once damage is completelyassessed. In the meantime, members ofthe Christian Life Movement who runthe center are staying elsewhere, butremain “in high spirits.”The Diocese of Orange purchased theCrystal Cathedral in California for $57.5million. The building has been on themarket since well-known TV evangelistRobert H. Schuller filed for bankruptcyin October 2010. The diocese originallybid $50 million in July, but increased theamount to compete with other groups,such as Chapman University, who werealso bidding for the property. Underthe terms of the agreement, CrystalCathedral Ministries can continue to usethe church and other campus structuresfor up to three years, when it will beconverted to a Catholic cathedral. The$57 million spent by the Church is muchless than the estimated $100 millionproposal for a new 2,500-seat cathedralthat the diocese has been planning forover ten years to serve the 1.2 millionCatholics of Orange County.Radius Track, a cold-formed steelframing fabricator, received a 2011Product Innovation Award for realizingthe design of the Interfaith PeaceChapel in Dallas. Designed by the latearchitect Philip Johnson just before hisdeath in 2005, the curving walls of theinterdenominational chapel have noparallel lines or right angles. RadiusTrack used BIM and 3-D modeling tocreate its framing details for the 8,000square-foot, 175 seat chapel which cost$3.7 million.Photo: estesparknews.comPhoto: inquisitr.comRadius Track won an innovation awardfor the Interfaith Peace Chapel of Dallas,designed by the late Philip Johnson.Saint Thomas More Chapel at theThomas More College of Liberal Artsrecently received a renovation thatincluded the installation of a new altarand three new icons, relocating thetabernacle to a central position, andrepainting the sanctuary. The newmahogany altar is positioned to ensurethat the priest celebrates the Massfacing Ad Orientem. The three newicons, painted by the College’s artist-inresidenceDavid Clayton, feature OurLady, Saint John the Evangelist, andSaint Thomas More.Photo: whitegownblacktie.comPhoto: newliturgicalmovement.orgThe diocese of Saskatoon recentlycompleted a new 1,250-seat cathedral toserve its growing Catholic community.The 65,000-square-foot, $28 million(Canadian currency) Holy FamilyCathedral is the first cathedralconstructed in western Canada in overfifty years. Saint Paul’s in downtownSaskatoon will be retained as a cocathedral.The eco-friendly design forthe new cathedral by Saskatoon firmFriggstad Downing Henry Architectsincludes a unique feature: solar cellsembedded in the stained glass windowsdesigned by artist Sarah Hall. The formaldedication and Mass of Blessing for thenew cathedral will be held on May 13.The floorplan and interior of the new HolyFamily Cathedral and Diocesan Chanceryin Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.Photo: catholicregister.orgPhoto: saskatoonrcdiocese.comPhoto: saskatoonrcdiocese.com6 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012


New three-dimensional mappingtechnology is being used by thePontifical Institute for ChristianArchaeology to study Rome’s Christianarchitectural history. The project, ajoint initiative between the Vatican andthe Swedish Heritage Board, involvestaking thousands of digital scans ofa structure and using them to build athree dimensional virtual recreation. Thehigh-resolution model can then be usedby archaeologists for detailed analysisand interpretation of a building. Theteam is currently working on a studyof the Lateran baptistery, located nextto the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran.The baptistery has been in continualuse since the fourth century, when, it isclaimed, the Emperor Constantine wasbaptized in its octagonal font.The Baptistery at Saint John Lateran isundergoing 3D mapping.Enrollment is up in seminaries acrossthe U.S. The Theological College inWashington, D.C., is at maximumcapacity with ninety students for the2011-2012 school year. The PontificalCollege Josephinum in Columbus,OH, currently has 186 seminarians,the highest level since the 1970s. SaintPaul Seminary School of Divinity at theUniversity of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul,Minnesota, has its largest new class since1980. In all, the United States has over3,600 post-baccalaureate seminarians,a net increase of four percent since theprevious year. Father Phillip J. Brown,rector of the Theological College inWashington, says he is impressed by notonly the numbers, but by the “qualityand spirit of the men who are coming… we’re seeing a real renewal of thepriesthood.”Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: Allie CaulfieldThe newest chapel at the Basilica of theImmaculate Conception is dedicated toOur Lady of Lebanon.A Marionite chapel dedicated to OurLady of Lebanon is the newest sidechapel in the Basilica of the NationalShrine of the Immaculate Conceptionin Washington, D.C. 300 people werepresent for the dedication of the chapel,which coincided with the fiftiethanniversary of Our Lady of LebanonMaronite Seminary in Washington, D.C,and the fiftieth anniversary of priesthoodfor the seminary’s rector, ChorbishopSeely Beggiani. The stone interior of thechapel, designed by Louis R. DiCocco IIIof St Jude Liturgical Arts Studio, reflectsthe design of Lebanon’s stone churches.The floor contains a Cedar of Lebanondesign. A Syriac cross adorns the altar,and images of the crucifixion and thefour evangelists are found behind thealtar, as well as images of Saint Maronand Our Lady of Lebanon.WThe Our Lady of the Sierras Shrine wasdestroyed in the 2011 fire.Efforts to restore a shrine devastated bywildfires in Arizona last June areunderway, with the hope that the workwill be finished by Easter. The OurLady of the Sierras Shrine, located in theHuachuca Mountains, was completelygutted by the fire, but the damagedPhoto: Serge MelkiPhoto: sonoranconnection.blogspot.comNewsciboria and tabernacle were able to besalvaged. A 75-foot Celtic cross, a 31-footstatue of Our Lady of the Sierras, andtwo marble statues of angels on the sitealso survived the fire.Construction continues at Our Lady ofthe Annunciation Abbey at Clear Creekin Oklahoma, designed by ThomasGordon Smith Architects. In December2011, the Benedictine monks completeda sizeable portion of their new abbatialchurch, including a Great Portal. AndrewWilson Smith is currently carving thetwelve Apostles on the lintel. The abbeywas founded in the Diocese of Tulsa in1999 by Notre-Dame de Fontgombault,a French abbey of Solesmes. The monkshope to resume construction in 2013 toserve monastic needs.Limestone column capital carved byAndrew Wilson Smith at Our Lady of theAnnunciation Abbey7Photo: Andrew Wilson SmithPhoto: Andrew Wilson Smith


NewsA new cathedral commemorates victimsof Soviet-era gulag labor camps inMagadan, Russia. Constructed overthe site of one of the notorious Kolymacamps, where an estimated 500,000to 3 million people lost their lives,including countless bishops, priests,nuns, and other Christians, Holy TrinityCathedral was consecrated by RussianOrthodox Patriarch Kirill on September2, 2011. Patriarch Kirill described thesignificance of this consecration, callingthe cathedral “a great sign showingthat God’s truth is alive and not eventhe most powerful human forces candestroy this truth … [it is] a symbol ofvictory over evil.”Photo: 3saints.comThe four great pillars at the crossing arereasonably undamaged, although giventhe extent of the settlement disparitybetween the interior and exterior ofthe building, repair of the pillars andarches they support is not consideredfeasible. Several heritage items havebeen recovered from the cathedralunder the supervision of OPUS Heritageconsultant Carole-Lynne Kerrigan,including: a Pat Mulchay crucifix, bronzetabernacle doors and a small crosssculpted by Ria Bancroft, icons of Christand Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, andseveral chalices, including those giftedby Pope Leo XIII (1891), and Bl. PopeJohn Paul II (1986).Damage assessment continues at theCathedral of the Most Blessed Sacramentin Christchurch, New Zealand.Eleven years after Saint Nicholas GreekOrthodox Church was destroyed in theterrorist attacks of September 11th, andfollowing litigation delays between theChurch and the Port Authority of NewYork, the church will finally be rebuilton a new site at the corner of Liberty andGreenwich streets near Ground Zero.The new design will sit on a platformabove a helical underground rampthat allows access to the service andparking areas of the new World TradeCenter. The Port Authority will provide$25 million to construct this platform,and the Greek Orthodox Church willpay $10 million for the church itself.Construction on the new church isexpected to begin in 2013.Photo: Steve TaylorPhoto: indyposted.comParishioners of Saint Paul the ApostleChurch and other community members ofSandwich, IL, watch as their pre-Civil Warchurch is relocated across town.The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramentin Christchurch, New Zealand,continues to undergo deconstructionand assessment following seriousdamage by two earthquakes last year.Photo: bdpowers.blogspot.comThe Chapel of the Immaculate Conceptionat Mount Saint Mary’s Universityin Emmitsburg, MD, was recentlyrededicated after a $2.7 million renovationby Design Story Architects. MonsignorSteven P. Rohlfs, vice-president andrector, began the project during theUniversity’s bicentennial celebration in2008.The design for the new Saint NicholasGreek Orthodox Church at Liberty andGreenwich streets at Ground Zeroin New York.8 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: archpaper.com


NewsVisioneering Studios won the WorshipFacilities Expo 2011 Solomon Award foradaptive transformation of a historicconcrete hanger in Stapleton, CO, intoa new church building for the StapletonFellowship Church. The planned townof Stapleton did not set aside a siteor parcel for a church, so the nearbyStapleton Fellowship Church looked foran opportunity to relocate to the area andtransformed the hangar into a worshipspace. Visioneering Studios won the2011 Solomon Award for “Best ChurchArchitect” for the fourth year in a row.Photo: stapletonchurch.comVirgin Mary of Guadalupe, Patroness ofthe Americas, and were present for theunveiling of the newly restored tomb ofPope Innocent VIII, a project funded bythe Knights of Columbus.Photo: Gianni AlemannoA church built entirely of ice and snowopened in Bavaria to commemoratea similar snow church built thereone hundred years earlier. Villagersconstructed the first church becausethey did not have a permanent churchnearby. The new snow church contains49,000 cubic-feet of snow and will likelybe a tourist attraction until the beginningof spring.The Knights of Columbus now have astreet to call their own in Rome afterthe Largo Cavalieri di Colombo wasinaugurated on December 6th in thepresence of Supreme Knight Carl A.Anderson and Roman dignitaries ofboth Church and State. Located nearthe historic Baths of Caracalla, the streethonors with its new name the over ninetyyears of charitable involvement in theEternal City by the Knights of Columbus.While in Rome the Knights also attendeda special Mass in the Basilica of SaintPeter on the Solemnity of the BlessedSacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: msnbc.msn.comThe newly consecrated Church of SaintPeter in Karachi is the largest Catholicchurch in Pakistan. The ApostolicNuncio to Pakistan, Monsignor EdgarPena Parra, concelebrated the inauguralMass with thirty-seven priests fromacross the country. The new 5,000-seatchurch totals 20,000 square feet and is78 feet tall. It was constructed in justeleven months and cost five millionRupees ($55,000). It includes a PerpetualAdoration Chapel, a devotional initiativethat will soon be implemented inchurches across Pakistan.The Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside theWalls in Rome is currently hostingan exhibition of original documentsof the Second Vatican Council. Theexhibition began on January 25, theliturgical feast of the conversion of SaintPaul, and includes such documentsas the handwritten texts of Pope JohnXXIII’s address to announce the counciland his opening speech on October11, 1962. October 11, 2012, marks the50th anniversary of the opening of thecouncil.Photo: ucanews.comSt. Cecilia Congregation, Nashville, TN13 Nave windows, 16 Clerestory windows.Detail: “Angel gives Crown to Cecilia andValerian”Franz Mayer of MunichStained Glass,Architectural Art Glass and MosaicEstablished 1847Appointed 1882„Royal Bavarian Art Est.“Franz Mayer of MunichSeidlstrasse 2580335 Munich, GermanyPhone: 1-888-661 1694www.mayer-of-munich.com9


Benedictine Hall of Saint Gregory’sUniversity in Shawnee, OK, wasdamaged in an earthquake that hit thestate on November 5th. One of the fourturrets on the central tower of the buildingfell to the sidewalk below, causing twobreaks in the water main. Another turretwas removed immediately to avoid itscollapse, and the remaining two arebeing disassembled piece by piece,with an effort to preserve the brick andmasonry for future reconstruction. Builtin 1915 and subsequently renovated,Benedictine Hall is listed on the NationalRegistry of Historic Places.Two 700-year-old frescoes will bereturned to the Greek Orthodox Church inCyprus after being on display in Houstonsince 1997. The frescoes were carved outof a thirteenth-century Orthodox chapelin Lysi, northern Cyprus, followingthe Turkish occupation of Cyprus in1974. An experienced art collector, Mrs.Dominique de Menil, noticed fragmentsof the frescoes on the black market andimmediately notified the Orthodoxarchbishop of Cyprus. Mrs. de Menilpurchased the fragments on behalf of theOrthodox Church in exchange for a longterm display of the frescoes in Houston.The loan period ends in mid-February,when they will return to Cyprus and bedisplayed in the Byzantine Museum ofNicosia, the capital city.Photo: turrettopics.blogspot.comPhoto: archeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.comConstruction continues on the SacredStones project of the Cistercian Abbeyof New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. An800-year-old Chapter House from amonastery in Ovila, Spain, is beingreconstructed stone by stone at theAbbey in California. Master StonemasonFrank Helmholz aims to complete theribbed ceiling vaulting and arch work bythe end of 2012. He says he finds stonecarving “a bit of a refuge” in the modernage: “To create something that takespatience, dedication, and is lasting isvery rewarding. And serving the monksin their spiritual lives gives a greatersense of meaning that is rare nowadays.”Helmholz also sees it as a humblingexperience, to realize that the project is“much bigger than one person and willsurvive us all by many centuries.”The construction of the ribbed ceiling vaultat the Abbey of New Clairvaux.Cogun, Inc. of Ohio won a WorshipFacilities Expo 2011 Solomon Award fora $4 million project to convert a formerWalmart into a 1,200 seat worshipcenter and administrative space forAthens Church in Athens, GA. Cogun,Inc. and LS3P-Neal Prince Architects ofSouth Carolina worked with the churchto complete the 45,188 square-footrenovation in six months.A former Walmart is converted intoAthens Church in Georgia.Solar panels installed on Faith LutheranChurch in Inglewood, CA, are saving thechurch $500-$600 per month in energycosts, or an estimated $83,000 over a tenyear period. Rev. Dietrich Schleef, headpastor of Faith Lutheran, said the pitchedroof and southern exposure of the churchmade the solar panels a natural fit. The144 panels were installed by CaliforniaGreen Designs of Tarzana, CA.The board of directors of WyomingCatholic College has approved a newlydesigned masterplan by Thomas GordonSmith Architects for their future campusat Broken Anvil Ranch. The 600 acreproperty lies near the Wind RiverMountains in Lander Valley, WY. Thecollege, which began its first academicyear in 2007-2008, will continue to hostits program at Holy Rosary Church inLander, WY, until the initial buildingsare completed on the ranch property.The original masterplan proposal in 2006by Anderson, Mason and Dale Architectsof Denver has been superseded by thenew design.10 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: sacredstones.orgPhoto: cogun.comThe Benedictine Monks of Saint VincentArchabbey broke ground for a new Mary,Mother of Mercy Chapel and Mausoleumto be located at Saint Vincent Cemetery.Photo: saintvincentarchabeey.orgPhoto: solarthinktank.eu


CUSTOMCHURCH ARTChurch InteriorsAdoraon and celebraon altars,mensas, ambos, pulps, bapsteries,enre presbyteral areas, staons ofthe cross.StatuesSaints, blesseds, copies of anquestatues, relief figures, carved portras.RestoraonsCleaning, renewal of interiors,renovaon of statues, integrave andconservave restoraon.WOOD – BRONZE – MARBLEChurch Interiors Statues Restoraons13 Petlinstreet - Orsei 39046 ITALYPhone Italy: 011-39-0471-796163Phone USA: 1-866-847-1153web: www.stuf lesser.come-mail: john.stuflesserstudios@ mail.cominfo@stuflesser.comSacred Architecture Issue 21 201211


ArticlesDomus Dei, Quae Est Ecclesia Dei Vivi:In the last century we have seen asteady devolution of Catholic sacredarchitecture from grand and formaledifices to decidedly more residentialscale and casual buildings. This wasnot accidental, but rather a deliberateeffort to return to what mid-centuryliturgical scholars considered was thetrue character of Christian worship asunderstood in the early Church.A desire of the ressourcement movementwas to recover the true meaningof the Christian liturgical assembly andthe true meaning of Christian assemblyspace. Therefore, it was commonlyheld that the Church should emulatethe early Christian Church in their liturgicalpractices and its surroundings.The architecture should be simplifiedto heighten the symbolic expression ofthe gathered community. Architecturalaccretions should be removed as nonessential,distracting, and counterproductiveto the goal of “active participation.”Active ParticipationIt is historically curious that thedesire to promote active participationof the faithful came to imply a radicalreductionism in the majesty, beauty,iconography, and symbolism of churchbuildings. The notion of “active participation”as the genesis of the twentiethcenturyliturgical reforms was first articulatedby Saint Pope Pius X (d. 1914)in a small exhortation on sacred music,Tra le Sollecitudini. Pius X reminds thefaithful of the importance of the churchbuilding in the formation of the Christiansoul through the Christian liturgy:Among the cares of the pastoraloffice…a leading one is withoutquestion that of maintaining andpromoting the decorum of theHouse of God in which the augustmysteries of religion are celebrated,and where the Christian peopleassemble to receive the grace ofthe Sacraments…Nothing shouldhave place, therefore, in the templecalculated to disturb or even merelyto diminish the piety and devotionof the faithful, nothing that mayThe Myth of the Domus EcclesiaeSteven J. Schloedergive reasonable cause for disgust orscandal, nothing, above all, whichdirectly offends the decorum andsanctity of the sacred functions andis thus unworthy of the House ofPrayer and of the Majesty of God. 1For Pius X, “the sanctity and dignityof the temple” was important so thatthe faithful might acquire the properspirit for true “active participation”in the holy liturgy. Active participationproperly understood is the goalof worship in the liturgy―it is the end,not the means. Among other things,the means include that the liturgy isdone well in a place aptly designedfor worship. In the mind of Pius, thechurch building ought be constructedto express the majesty and dignity ofthe House of God.Given the clear intent expressed inthis motu proprio of Saint Pius X as thepoint of departure for the twentiethcenturyLiturgical Movement, how arewe to explain the subsequent diminishmentof the church building as a sacramentalsign of the heavenly realities?The Mid-Century Liturgical ArgumentsThe typical rhetoric of the midcenturyliturgical authors was thatwe ought to build churches for the“modern man” or “constructed to servemen of our age.” Styles and forms fromprevious ageswere declared“defunct” or “nolonger vital.”One even findsthe condemnationof wantinga “church thatlooks like achurch” as being“nostalgic”―an unhealthyyearning for apast Golden Agethat really neverwas. 2For instance,Edward Millswrote in TheModern Church:“If we do not build churches in keepingwith the spirit of the age we shall beadmitting that religion no longer possessesthe same vitality as our secularbuildings.” 3 His book concerns topicssuch as efficient planning, technology,cost abatement, and environmentalconsiderations. It is worth mentioningthat only a few years before this book,Mills had written The Modern Factory,with the same rationalistic concernsfor efficient planning, technology, costabatement, and environmental considerations.But we see something else going onin the mid-century writers. One cannotsimply discard two millennia of sacredarchitectural forms and styles withouthaving a new paradigm to replace it,and one cannot have a valid new paradigmwithout have grounds for discardingthe old paradigm. The paradigmitself needed to change: and allthe better if the new paradigm was promotedas the “authentic” paradigm, therecovery of what was lost.Within this rhetoric of buildingchurches for our age and in the willingnessto discard the past is an embeddedmythos. By this accounting, the Churchbegan to formalize her liturgy andher architecture only after the Edict ofMilan, when Constantine first legalizedChristianity. The imperially sponsoredbuilding programs brought formalityand the hierarchical trappings of ele-Basilica of Constantine at Trier, nave and large apse at one end12 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: Berthold Werner


ArticlesInterior of Saint John the Evangelist Church, West Chester, OH,by Richard Vosko, PhD and John Ruetschle Architectsments take from the Imperial court. 4Prior to this Pax Constantiniana, theChurch was a domestic enterprise, andthe model of domestic architecture―thedomus ecclesiae (literally, “house of thechurch”)―was the simple, humble, andhospitable residential form in whichearly Christians gathered to meetthe Lord and meet one another in theLord for fellowship, meals, and teaching.This became valued as a model forcontemporary worship and self-understanding.The early house church―seenas pure, simple, unsullied by later liturgicaland architectural accretionswithout the trappings of hierarchyand formality―was to be the model formodern liturgical reform.As Father Richard Vosko surmised,“The earliest understanding of a Christianchurch building implies that it is ameeting house—a place of camaraderie,education and worship. In fact, theearliest Christian tradition clearly heldthat the Church does not build templesto honor God. That is what the civicreligions did.” 5 This notion was putmost forcefully by E.A. Sovik, writing:“It is conventionally supposed that thereasons that Christians of the first threecenturies built almost no houses ofworship were that they were too few,or too poor, or too much persecuted.None of these is true. The real reasonthat they didn’t build was that theydidn’t believe in ecclesiastical building.”6The ascendency of the residentialmodel as the authentic liturgical formraised another question of architecturalhistory: what to do with the intervening1700 years of church building? Forthe mid-century and later architecturalwriters, the simple answer was that theSacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: stjohnwc.orgdomestic modelwas the ideal, andall later grand andhierarchical buildingsare the deviations.Therefore,all the interveningeras, liturgical andartistic expressions,and architecturalforms andstyles came in forcensure.The changes inthe age of Constantinewere implicatedfor the adventof clericalism,turning the congregationinto passive viewers at a formalisticritual, the loss of liturgical andspiritual intimacy, and the subjugationof the Church’s evangelical mission tothe politics of the Emperor. The Christianbasilica was thereby rejected as anexpression of power-mongering andimperialistic tendencies. 7 The Byzantinechurches were rejected for theircourtly imperial formality, where theministers are hidden behind the iconostasis,only to venture out in courtlyprocessions. The Romanesque was rejectedfor its immensely long naves thatseparated the people from God, andthe proliferation of side altars requiredfor the monks to fulfill their daily obligationsto say private Masses. 8 TheGothic style was criticized for its alienatingmonumentalism and for its reliquariesof dubious merit. 9 Baroque architecturecomes in for special censure:for triumphalism, for Tridentine rubricism,for pagan artistic themes and sensuality,for hyper-valorization of theEucharist in reaction to Protestantism,and for dishonesty in the use of materials.10 Father Louis Bouyer’s judgmentof the Counterreformation liturgy wasthat it was “embalmed” – devoid of lifeand vitality. 11The decided trend of mid-twentiethcentury liturgical and architecturalthinking was to reject historical styles.Clearing the table to start anew, witha sweep of the hand, Father Reinholddismissed all previous architecturaleras, styles and forms:Conclusion: We see that all thesestyles were children of their ownday. None of their forms are ours.We have concrete, steel, woodcompositions, brick, stone, glass ofall kinds, plastic materials, reversecycle heat and radiant heat. We canno longer identify the minority,called Christendom, and split inschisms, with the kingdom of Godon earth. Our society is a pluralisticone and lives in a secularistatmosphere… [O]ur architects mustfind as good an expression in ourlanguage of forms, as our fathersdid in theirs. 12The Problem of the Domus EcclesiaeThus were 1700 years of Christianarchitectural history discarded as liturgicallyerroneous and inapplicablefor contemporary buildings in favor ofsimpler domestic-scaled places for assembly.This however, was not manufacturedout of thin air. It was clearfrom Scripture that the early Churchworshipped in the residences of thewealthier members of the community.The Pseudo-Clementine Recognitionsmention a wealthy and powerful manwho gave over his great house to theChurch to establish what ought to beconsidered the first ‘cathedral’ as thechair of Peter. 13 Given the lack of excavatedbasilicas from the pre-Constantinianera, it was assumed that therewas some sort of organic developmentbetween the domestic house and thebasilica that only found full expressionin the fourth century. In the latenineteenth and early twentieth centuries,many historians grappled with thequestion of transition between thesetwo forms, looking at the Roman housewith the triclinium, various sorts of intermediatestructures such as the aulaecclesia, adaptations of the Roman civicbasilica, and the architecture of the imperialpalace, among others. 14These speculations all went by thewayside in the mid-century, and themodel of the house church came to thefore, with the discovery of the churchat Dura Europos in the 1930s. This discoverywas of profound importancegiven that it was the only known identifiableand dateable pre-Constantinianchurch. It was obviously a residenceconverted to the needs of a small Christiancommunity. Significantly, it wasalso a rather late dated church―about232 AD―and quite in keeping with theexpectations from all the various scripturalreferences to a domestic liturgicalsetting. 15 Henceforth, especially in thelate 1950s and the 1960s, the dominant13


ArticlesSaint Georgeous Church, Rehab, Jordan, of 230 AD, whichstands atop an archeological site of a first century churchdiscovered in 2008.thesis in liturgical circles took the domusecclesiae as the architectural model forpre-Constantinian Christian architecture.The common vision for new parishesbuilt in the wake of Vatican II wastherefore toward simpler, more domestically-scaledbuildings in emulation ofthe domus ecclesiae in which Christianssupposedly gathered before the Imperialapprobation of Christianity in thefourth century.The only problem for this romanticmodel of a domestic residential architecture,built for a small gathering ofearly Christians celebrating a simpleagape meal, is its dubious merit.Domus ecclesiae―popular among liturgiststo emphasize the communalnature of the assembly―is not a particularlyapt term. More to the point,it is simply anachronistic. The phrasedomus ecclesiae is not found in Scripture.No first, second, or third-centuryauthor uses the term to describe thechurch building. The phrase domusecclesiae cannot be found to describeany church building before the Peaceof Constantine (313 A.D.), but ratherseems used to imply a building ownedby the Christians, such as a bishop’sresidence. 16There are many other ancient termsused to identify the church building,but domus Dei seems to be of particularimportance. Throughout the NewTestament, the assembly of Christiansis called domus Dei, the house of God.Paul’s passage in 1 Tim 3:15 could notbe clearer: in domo Dei … quae est ecclesiaDei vivi (“the house of God, whichis the church of the living God”). Likewise,domus Dei or its derivative domesticiDei (household of God) is foundPhoto: rihabresearchcenter.blogspot.comin Eph 2:19, Heb10:21, and 1 Pt 4:17.Following scripture,Tertullian (d.220) used domusDei in a way thatcan only mean achurch building.This key term,domus Dei andits Greek equivalentoikos tou theou,is found in Hippolytus(d. 235),Clement of Alexandria(d. 215), andEusebius (d. 339),among others. Buteven oikos or domusdoes not suggestany humble residential or domestic association.Oikos is generally a house,but it can also serve to describe a temple(as in a house of the gods). Similarly,domus could also refer to the grandestof buildings, such as the emperor’spalace—domus divina—or Nero’s ostentatiousDomus Aurea. These are hardlysmall-scale and intimate associations. Itseems that long before the time of Constantine,the Church had already begunto move out of the residential environmentswe read of in the book of Actsand the letters of Paul.Textual Counter EvidenceThe problem is that we know verylittle about pre-Constantinian liturgyor Christian architecture. Yet from thescant literary evidence we do have, weshould not reject the strong probabilitythat even in the second century theChurch owned land and built specialbuildings for the community. The earliestrecord of the special purpose churchbuilding seems to be from Chronicle ofArbela, a fifth-century Syrian manuscriptwhich tells us that Bishop Isaac(Ishaq) (135-148) “had built a large wellorderedchurch which exists today.” 17The Chronicles of Edessa mention aChristian church destroyed in a citywideflood around 201. 18 Around theyear 225 A.D. Christians acquired apiece of public property in a disputewith inn-keepers to build a churchwith the explicit blessing of EmperorSeverus Alexander, who determined“that it was better for some sort of agod to be worshipped there than forthe place to be handed to the keepers ofan eating-house.” 19The pagan Porphyry (d. 305), writingin the second half of the third century,attacks the Christians who, in “imitatingthe erection of the temples, buildvery large houses 20 , into which they gotogether and pray.” 21 The Emperor Aurelian(d. 275) makes passing referenceto a Christian church (Christianorumecclesia) in contrast to his own religioustemple (templo deorum omnia). 22 Lactantius(d. 320) recounts the destructionof the church in Nicomedia, calling it a“lofty edifice” and describes how it was“situated on rising ground, within theview of the palace” and how the emperorsDiocletian and Galerius couldsee it and debated whether to burn it tothe ground or pull it down. 23 It seemsthat, if the Emperor of the RomanEmpire knew a Christian church whenhe saw one, it was no simple obscurehouse.The Problem of PlaceDespite the textual evidence thatargues for significant church buildingsbefore the age of Constantine, thedearth of archeological evidence forformal church buildings has seemedpersuasive. With the recent discoveryof a pre-Constantinian basilica atAqaba it seems timely for liturgistsand architects to reconsider the validityof the residential domus ecclesiae asa meaningful model for contemporarychurch architecture. The Aqabachurch dates comfortably to 300, andperhaps as early as 280 A.D. 24 We haveno knowledge of what other pre-Constantinianchurches looked like, butwe can have certainty that Christianshad special, purpose-built, urban-scalechurches before the Emancipation in313 A.D. We should therefore reevaluatethe claims about the “authenticity”of the simple house church as ameaningful architectural model for theChristian assembly both in the earlyChurch and for today.However, we should also considerthe emotional impetus for the housechurch. The romantic notion of theprimitive house church has a strongsense of attraction: the desire for morecommunitarian and domestic churchbuildings is enticing in the alienatingcondition of post-agrarian and post-industrialmodern life. Both the massivescale of the modern city and the anonymityand placelessness of suburbansprawl contribute to the desirefor a sense of domestic rootedness. In-14 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012


Articlescreased mobility in the modern workforce and the consequent breakdown oftraditional community and family lifealso create a tension and a desire forfamiliarity, welcome, and belonging inthe parish community.These perhaps contribute to thenostalgic longing for a more domesticparish facility. But the church buildingmust function on a variety of levels.Church architecture is necessarily symbolic,and the various metaphors bywhich we understand church buildingsare derived from the metaphorsby which we understand the Church.These metaphors find their poignancyand potency in the human condition:matters of embodiment, relationship,dwelling, and community life form amatrix of symbols for the Church, theparish community, the liturgy, andchurch architecture. Among the mostsignificant Scriptural images for theEcclesia (and therefore the liturgy andthe church building) are the Body ofChrist, the nuptial relationship, theTent of Dwelling/ Temple of Solomon,and the Heavenly City. These speak ofthe fundamental human experiences ofembodiment, of marriage and domesticfamily life, of dwelling and habitation,Isometric of the House Church at Dura-Europus circa 232AD (after Crawfoot)Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012and of social life.This residential model of domus ecclesiaehas been placed into a false oppositionto the domus Dei as a model forsacred architecture. Both are modelsthat find their validity in the humanexperience of dwelling and family life,but the former has come to imply animmanent expression of the home forthe local community whereas the latterhas a transcendental and eschatologicalhorizon that is more apt for sacramentalbuildings that are called to be “trulyworthy and beautiful and be signs andsymbols of heavenly realities.” 25 Thedesire for a domestically-scaled liturgicalenvironment is not wrong per se,but it cannot stand in isolation withoutreference to the broader framework ofecclesiastical, liturgical, and architecturalsymbolism. All are needed for theperson and the community to understandhow the liturgy and the liturgicalenvironment express and participate ina greater sacramental reality beyondthe confines of the local assembly.If the domestic model has no surefoundation, then the arguments erectedfor rejecting the hierarchical and formalmodels of liturgy; for discarding thesacramental language of Christian architecturein favor ofa functionalist andprogrammatic approachto building;and for dismissingany appeals to therich treasure trove ofCatholic architecturalhistory and varioushistorical styles aresusceptible to fallinglike a house of cards.Photo: Dura-Europus, by JW Crowfoot, Antiquity Vol 19, No 75: 113-121Steven J. Schloeder, PhDAIA is the founder ofLiturgical Environs PC,an architecture firmspecializing in Catholicchurch projects across theUnited States. He is theauthor of Architecturein Communion (SanFrancisco: Ignatius Press1998), among many otherarticles in scholarly andpopular journals. He canbe contacted at steve@liturgicalenvirons.com.(Endnotes)1 Pius X, Tra le Sollecitudine, November 22, 1903.2 See for instance, Maurice Lavanoux, “Religious Art andArchitecture Today,” in F. McManus, ed. The Revival of the Liturgy(New York: Herder and Herder, 1963), 152-54.3 Edward Mills, The Modern Church (London: The ArchitecturalPress, 1956), 16. See also Mills, The Modern Factory (London: TheArchitectural Press, 1951).4 Cf. Kevin Seasoltz, A Sense of the Sacred (London: Continuum,2005), 95-98.5 Richard Vosko, God’s House Is Our House: Re-Imagining theEnvironment for Worship (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2006),22.6 Edward A. Sovik, “The Place of Worship: Environment forAction,” in Mandus A Egge, ed. Worship: Good News in Action(Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1973), 98. Quoted inMark A. Torgerson, An Architecture of Immanence: Architecture forWorship and Ministry Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007),152-53.7 Vosko, (2006): 27; Michael E. DeSanctis, Building from Belief:Advance, Retreat, and Compromise in the Remaking of Catholic ChurchArchitecture (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2002), 30.8 Joseph Rykwert, Church Building (London: Burns and Oates,1966), 81.9 H.A. Reinhold, The Dynamics of Liturgy (New York: Macmillan,1961), 87.10 H.A. Reinhold, Speaking of Liturgical Architecture (Notre Dame:University of Notre Dame Press, 1952), 13.11 Louis Bouyer, Life and Liturgy (New York: Sheed & Ward,1965), 7. Also Kevin Seasoltz The House of God: Sacred Art andChurch Architecture (New York: Herder and Herder, 1963),110-114.12 Reinhold, Speaking of Liturgical Architecture 32.13 Ps.-Clement. Recognitions. 10.71.14 E.g., S. Lang, “A Few Suggestions Toward a New Solution ofthe Origin of the Early Christian Basilica,” Rivista di archeologiaChristiana 30 (1934): 189-208.15 Cf. Kimberly Bowes, “Early Christian Archaeology: A State ofthe Field”, in Religious Compass 2/4 (2008): 575-619.16 Katerina Sessa, “Domus Ecclesiae: Rethinking a Category ofAnte Pacem Christian Space,” in Journal of Theological Studies, 60:1(April 2009): 90-108.17 Cf. Sources Syriaques. t.1, trans by A. Mignana (Mossoul:Imprimerie des Peres Dominicains, 1907). NB: Davies gives thedates even earlier as 123-136 in his The Origin and Development ofEarly Christian Church Architecture (London: SCM, 1952), 14.18 Cf. Uwe Lang, Turning Towards the Lord (San Francisco:Ignatius Press, 2005), 67. Harnack makes note of this in his TheMission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries(London: Williams and Norgate, 1908).19 Lampridius, Life of Severus Alexander, 2.49.20 The Greek in Macarius is “they build very large buildings”.Porphyry distinguishes between these large buildings andresidential houses, “their own houses”, in which they lived.In Ezra 4:1, the same construction is used specifically for thebuilding the Temple. There is no reason therefore to assume“oikos” meant a residential dwelling house, since it could beused for a house, any building, or a temple. Cf. Macarii MagnetisQuae Supersunt, ed. C. Blondel (Paris: Klincksieck, 1876), 201.21 Porphyry, Adversus Christianos, known to us from thefragment addressed by the later Macarius in Apocriticus, 4. 21. Cf.T.W. Crafer, The Apocriticus of Macarius Magnes (London: SPCK,1919), 146. Crafer notes that some took this passage as proofthat Porphyry lived and wrote after the Emancipation, thoughhe considers this argument weak. The conventional dates forPorphyry are c. 234 - c. 305.22 Epistle of Aurelian, quoted in Joseph Bingham, OriginesEcclesiasticae (London: 1722), 8.1.1.23 Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors, 12. Cf. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, VII, “Lactantius” (New York: Christian LiteratureCompany, 1886). Lactantius uses the term editissimum to speak ofthe tall building, and notes the church was ex palatio videbatur.24 Another formal basilican church, Saint George at RihabJordan, is quite controversially and, in my view, improbablydated to 230. The earliest accepted church currently is theChristian prayer hall in Meggido, Israel, which is not a basilicaand found in the structure of a larger early third-century Romanvilla. NM25 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 288.15


ArticlesElegance Personified: The Black Madonna of MontserratJoan L. Roccasalvo, CSJFew places in the world resembleMontserrat in the Catalan regionof Spain. There nature, culture, andfaith are united as one. Spectacular sawshapedmountains rise like a geologicalcathedral about 3,500 feet above sea levelto embrace the Benedictine Abbey atMontserrat. Within the Abbey is foundthe shrine of the regional patroness, thestatuary of Our Lady of Montserrat andChild, a flawless gem of Romanesque art.The mountains themselves are anopen-air museum in the middle of arugged landscape containing about1,050 species of plants. There arevarious routes up the mountains to theAbbey, but going by cable car only intensifiesthe gradual and exhilaratingascent into thin air.The Benedictine Abbey of MontserratThe Abbey’s history began in theninth century with four hermitages,and the Benedictine sanctuary itselfwas founded in the eleventh century:a sheer feat of architectural genius! Bythe end of the sixteenth century, thepresent Gothic and Renaissance-stylebasilica was consecrated. After Napoleonset fire to parts of the Abbey,restoration was accomplished by themid-nineteenth century. Poets, artists,and musicians have sung the Basilica’spraises as man’s praise of the transcendent.The Abbey is a symbol of Catalonianculture and faith combined. 1In the Spanish style, the façade isornately decorated as is the interior,which is a cavernous place for a plethoraof liturgical services as well as forpersonal prayer. Of note are the mainaltar―an enormous solid block cut outof a mountain―and a huge stainedglass window at the rear of the Basilica.A Paradigm of Western Religious ArtThe famous statuary of theMadonna of Montserrat was sculptedin the twelfth century by an exceedinglygifted anonymous artist. TheMadonna of Montserrat is also knownas La Moreneta, “the little dark-skinnedone.” There is no definitive proof asto why this and other depictions ofthe Madonna-type are black. A simplereason may be due to the wood havingbeen darkened over time. The versefrom the Song of Songs (1:5), “I amblack but beautiful,” has been linked tothis Madonna-type because it was a favoritephrase at the time. Though a regionalshrine, devotion to it has spreadthroughout Europe.Statuary and sculpture are decidedlywestern art forms. Virtually everyculture in the world that venerates theMother of God and Divine Child hasdepicted them according to its own regionalview of them. Like the belovedand universally-known Byzantine icon,“Our Lady of Vladimir,” this statuaryranks as one of the loveliest depictionsof the Mother of God with Child. Itconveys a greater accessibility to theviewer than does the icon. The statue,however, imitates the internationalByzantine conventional and stylizedform. Its anonymous sculptor offers theWest a paradigm of sacred art that hascharm, warmth, and beauty. Locatedin this remote Benedictine Abbey, thestatuary measures about thirty-eightinches and is painted in polychrome.One can see a striking resemblance tothe statuary of the Egyptian goddessIsis and her son Horus.The Majesty of Sainte Foy (983-1013)in Conques, France, is another modelfor the statuary of the Black Madonnaof Montserrat. 2 Antique Isis-Mothers,also called Thrones of Wisdom, werebrought back from the Crusades andwere kept in the shelter of Christiancrypts. They attracted people andpointed them toward Chartres, Rocamadour,and Marseilles. These modelswere known in the region of Montserrat.The sculptor shows Our Lady ina pose assuming a majestic reserveand a certain detachment as she sitson a throne, hieratic and exalted. Thepattern of the statuary derives fromthree type-origins: (1) the Egyptianstatuary of the goddess Isis and her sonHorus; (2) the type of Black Madonna;(3) “Seat of Wisdom” (sedes sapientae),a phrase first used by St. Augustine.The art-historical name is “Throne ofWisdom.” 3Mary is the seat of wisdom because,in her, the Father found a dwellingplace where the Son and Spirit coulddwell among humankind. She isdaughter of God the Father, mother ofGod the Son and the cathedra or seatof the Logos incarnate, and spouse ofthe Holy Spirit. As sanctuary of theTrinity, she presents the triune Godto the world acting as intermediarybetween transcendent Divine Wisdomand human wisdom. Mary is the embodimentof communion between thedivine and the human. 4The Statuary ProperA cushion serves as the footstoolfor this figure which exudes a mysteriouspresence. This is no ordinary16 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: Oficina de Turisme de Montserrat


Articlesregal figure. Mother and Child are depictedin their idealistic attributes andnot as figures of sentimentality. As asign of asceticism, the Mother’s body isslender, even thin. Her elongated faceexpresses delicate features: eyes alertand wide-open, petite nose, slightly-curved,depressed in the middle,and an upturned tip. Mary’s fulsomecheeks symbolize plenitude and joy asshe reveals her delight in being herselfand in being the Child’s mother. Hersmile suggests deep satisfaction, redolentof her Magnificat where she recognizesher privileged stature in beingsingled out among women. Her quiet,jubilant face contrasts sharply fromthat of the Mater Dolorosa, the sorrowfulMother, a role she will laterassume. But for the present, she enjoysher exalted position as do we, togetherwith the Christ-Child. Like OurLady of Vladimir, the light, radiatingover Mary’s black face, makes herentire visage sparkle with radiance. Inkeeping with the period, her headdressis draped, and beneath the crown, aveil adorned with stars, squares, andstripes in subtle polychrome. The golden-edgedborder falls symmetrically,encircling her face like a halo that highlightsher delicate features. Tunic andcloak gracefully envelop her slendershoulders. Our queen of heaven andseat of wisdom holds an orb of theearth in her right hand, while the otherhand, gracefully cupped and extended,monitors the Child’s left side. It is impossibleto grasp her inner composure,a stunning beauty in one glance. Hereis elegance personified.Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Not surprisingly, the Child is depictedas the God-Man. His hand israised giving the formalized and traditionalEastern blessing, three fingersraised (symbolizing the Trinity) andtwo folded inward to the palm (symbolizingthe two natures of the Godman).Like his mother, the Childexpresses contentment. He does notgrasp his mother but is shown frontallyand is firmly seated between his mother’slegs. Though barefooted, he wearsa crown and regal garments. Curiouslyenough, the thin draped coveringof their legs accents the knees of bothfigures with feet firmly on the ground.The sculptor has portrayed a classicMother and Child accessible to us evenas their aesthetic distance remains inplace. The verticality, mass, density,balance and symmetry render the statuarya peerless beauty and one capableof bringing its beholders to their knees.Saint Ignatius of Loyola at MontserratDevotion to this image of Our Ladyhas wrought many miracles, as withthe founder of the Society of Jesus, theJesuit Order. Shortly after his remarkablere-conversion to Christianity, thesoldier Ignatius of Loyola was determinedto join the army of Christ andwent to Montserrat to make his consecration.Before the beautiful BlackMadonna, Ignatius transformed theancient ceremony for the making of aknight into the “new soldier of Christ.” 5In pilgrim’s garb and in keeping withthe chivalric code, he kept an allnightvigil there. In March 1522, heplaced his sword before the statue ofthe Mother of God, stood, knelt, sanghymns and prayed with the other pilgrims.6 Ignatius began his new life inGod under the inspiration of the beautifulstatuary which thousands todayrevere.Monastic Apostolic WorksThe Abbey’s eighty monks dedicatetheir works to the service of theChurch and country. Not surprisingly,the monks make Spanish liqueurs andother delicacies. Their library and scriptoriumcontain 300,000 volumes withabout 400 incunabula. The Abbey’smuseum contains five collections: archeological,iconographical, gold andsilver articles, antique paintings of thefifteenth through the eighteenth centuries,and modern painting and sculpturesof the nineteenth and twentiethcenturies. The monks are committedto pay special attention to pilgrimsand provide accommodation adaptedto everyone’s needs and budgets. Asone of the oldest Abbey music schoolsin Europe, Montserrat boasts of aboutfifty choir boys who receive excellentmusic training added and integratedwith their general education. At nooneach day, they sing the Hymn to Virgin,the virelai, “Rosa d’abri” that beginswith the phrase, “The Virgin, the skinglistened,Black Madonna, soaring upover the peaks . . . .”A pilgrimage to Montserrat cannever be forgotten; it is etched intothe memory for immediate recall andsavored time and again. It is a feast forthe eyes, revealing beauty that leads toprayer.Sister Joan Roccasalvo, CSJ holds Ph.D’s inmusicology and liturgical studies andwrites a weekly column entitled “The Wayof Beauty” for the Catholic News Agency.(Endnotes)1. “Montserrat: Nature, Culture, Spirituality,” booklet publishedby the Montserrat Tourist Agency.2. The reliquary statue of Sainte-Foy is made of wood coveredwith metal and gemstones, glorified bodies being the preciousstones of the heavenly Jerusalem wood, gold leaf; preciousstones, pearls, enamel; she sits on a throne with her feet on afootstool and her hands outstretched. See Maurice Dilasser, TheSymbols of the Church, translated by Mary Cabrini Durkin, OSU,Madeleine Beaumont, and Caroline Morson (Collegeville, MN: ALiturgical Press Book, 1999), 78.3. Catherine Combier-Donovan, “Mary, Throne of Wisdom:Twelfth-Century Statue, Twenty-First Century Icon,” EnvisionChurch, Jan, 2009.4. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 721.5. Pedro Leturia, Iñigo de Loyola (Syracuse: Le Moyne CollegePress, 1949), 95.6. James Brodrick, St. Ignatius Loyola: The Pilgrim Years, 1491-1538(New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1956), 86.17


A Decade of New Classicism:The Flowering of Traditional Church ArchitectureIn 2001, the newly-founded LiturgicalInstitute at the University of SaintMary of the Lake in Mundelein,Illinois, hosted a conference entitled“Building the Church for 2010:Continuity and Renewal in CatholicLiturgical Architecture.” 1 Invitedspeakers addressed the topics of renewaland tradition in church design, andthe firm of Franck, Lohsen, McCrerypresented the “Church for 2010,” ahypothetical church design using NewClassical architecture. Because of theliturgical-architectural climate of thetime and the requirements of the editionof General Instruction on the Roman Missalthen in effect, the proposed churchappears today as something of a hybridcompromise. Though it showed a skillfulapplication of the language of traditionalarchitecture, a blending of liturgical anddevotional areas, monumental Christianiconography, and a classically-inspiredatrium based on those of early Christianbasilicas, it nonetheless displayed acompressed, centralized plan, seatingin the round and a separate chapel forthe reservation of the Blessed Sacrament.As a classical design for a new Catholicchurch, the “Church for 2010” wasno doubt a revelation to many of theconference attendees. Though the NewClassical movement in architecture hadfound a certain maturity by this timeand the School of Architecture at theUniversity of Notre Dame had establishedits classically-oriented programsome twelve years earlier, one couldpoint to very few newly-built Catholicchurches that embraced traditionalarchitecture. Although in 1989 Britisharchitect Quinlan Terry had completedEngland’s new Brentwood Cathedral,a low church, congregation-dominantplan using sophisticated credible classicalarchitecture, it made little impacton the architectural establishment inthe United States. Allan Greenberg’sChurch of the Immaculate Conceptionin Union, New Jersey, existed inthe architecture world primarily as abeautiful rendering, since the pastorof the parish had passed away duringits construction and the design passedon to other architects. Thomas GordonDenis R. McNamaraSmith’s Our Lady ofGuadalupe Seminaryin Denton, Nebraska,had been started, ashad his Benedictinemonastery in ClearCreek, Oklahoma,and promising planswere being made byDuncan Stroik forAll Saints Church inWalton, Kentucky.But two contemporarybooks on therenewal of Catholicchurch architectureshowed that most ofthe revival of traditionalCatholic churcharchitecture lay inthe arena of hopeand even perceivedwishful thinking. 2Most projects displayedin the bookswere either hypotheticaldesigns orsome odd compromiseswith modernism,or the prevailingironic moves ofpostmodernism, orthe dominant view ofthe nature of churcharchitecture as domestic buildings.Essays and roundtable discussionsabout the revival of church architecturehad appeared in a number of journals,3 but in academic publications andpopular articles lamenting the stateof Catholic church architecture, noone could point to a completed majorcommission in the United States fora Catholic church designed by a competentarchitect using credible classicalarchitecture which could prove tothe architectural and liturgical establishmentthat it could and should bedone. 4 Prominent Catholic projectsthat did appear in liturgical and architecturaljournals, such as the designsfor the new cathedrals in Los Angelesand Oakland, embraced mainstream—if somewhat tired—modernist designmethods while consciously avoidingCathedral of Saints Mary and Helen, Brentwood, Essex,designed by Quinlan Terrythe unofficial New Classical alternatives,often by students or graduates ofthe University of Notre Dame. Prominentrenovations, such as those at theCathedrals of Saint James in Seattle(1994) and Saint John the Evangelist inMilwaukee (2002), still promoted theeven then largely discredited notion ofchurch as a meeting house.So the dream for the renewal of theclassical tradition in liturgical architecturepresented as hoped for by participantsat the “Building the Churchfor 2010” conference appeared largelyunlikely to many, or at best, perhaps,a sub-sub specialty within the architecturalprofession for those communitiesdedicated to the exclusive use of theMissal of 1962. Though in hindsightone sees that the seeds of the classicalrenewal in church architecture had18 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: John Armagh


Articlesalready been planted, they had notyet sprouted; and the hopeful churchclient faced great difficulty in findingan architect with expertise in classicalarchitecture, extreme hostility fromthe architectural profession, disdainfrom many liturgical professionals,and skepticism or outright antagonismfrom some bishops and diocesan officials.Though the year 2010 did notseem far off chronologically, it seemedwishful thinking indeed that the shortspan of nine years could bring aboutthe necessary revolution in thoughtand practice required to see a floweringof New Classicism in the Roman CatholicChurch.But to the delight of many architects,clients, and parishioners, a floweringof traditional church architecture hasoccurred far beyond even the optimistichopes expressed in the year 2001.The controversial iconoclastic documentissued by the Bishops Committeeon the Liturgy in 1978, entitled Environmentand Art in Catholic Worship,was succeeded and replaced in 2000by the National Conference of CatholicBishops’ text Built of Living Stones.Though largely absent of positive theologyof art and architecture, Built ofLiving Stones tossed off most of EACW’smost problematic theological languageand firmly rooted its guidelines for artand architecture in the revised GeneralInstruction of the Roman Missal that accompaniedPope John Paul II’s newMissale Romanum. 5The wider New Classical movementoperative at the time was once consideredso reactionary that its practitionerswere characterized in the NewYork Times by a leading modernist architectas “bizarrely backward… Luddites”who “have no new ideas” andwere simply “looking for their marketniche.” 6 But despite some continuedresistance from mainstream architecturalprofessionals, New Classicismmatured and carved out for itself afirmly established place in the profession.The Institute for Classical Architecture,founded in 1991 and dominatedby domestic and institutional architecture,had grown into a credible placefor the study, education, and practiceof classical work. Common enough tobe almost unremarkable in the architecturalpress, large university designsroutinely provided not only “contextual”campus additions, but designspositively identified as embracing traditionalarchitecture.Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Within ecclesiastical circles, certaingroundbreaking decisions appeared,notably Bishop Raymond Burke’s decisionin 1995 to build a large Marianshrine dedicated to Our Lady ofGuadalupe using classical architecturein the Diocese of Lacrosse. Youngerbishops appointed in recent years havebecome friendlier to traditional architectureand have likewise appointedchancery officials with similar outlooks.Perhaps the peak of success ofNew Classical architecture for Catholicecclesiastical use to date was theannouncement in September of 2011that Bishop Burbidge of the Dioceseof Raleigh, North Carolina, has proposeda major cathedral commissionto be designed by a demonstratedexpert in classical architecture, the firstnew classical cathedral in the UnitedStates since the Council, and for manydecades before that. 7Postmodernism and New ClassicismThe roots of the New Classicalchurches seen flowering today arefound in several differing sourcesspanning several decades. The broadphrase, “postmodernism” is widelyused to characterize many streams ofarchitectural design which followedthe dominance of High Modernism.High Modernism’s iconic glass andsteel boxes and sculptural concreteforms were heralded in the 1940s and50s as the pinnacle of the entire historyof architectural development, definedby their rejection of traditional buildingmethods, refusal of actual or apparentload bearing masonry, the completeelimination of traditional ornament,and the truly radical redefinition of allarchitectural typologies as fundamentallybased on those of the engineer’saesthetic and the materials of mass production.But even the apparent hegemony ofHigh Modern architecture was neveras thorough as its proponents desiredit to appear. Much has been made ofthe “classical survival” or “Gothic survival”church architecture which lastedin an unbroken stream through eventhe early 1960s, exemplified by churcharchitects like Joseph W. McCarthyand Meyer and Cook in Chicago, theenormous ecclesiastical output of Cincinnatiarchitect Edward Schulte, andthe still largely underappreciated Cathedralof Mary Our Queen in Baltimore,a modernized Gothic buildingdedicated in 1959. An article in a 1955Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist,Milwaukee, renovated in 2002issue of Church Property Administrationmagazine claimed that three “traditional”churches were being built for everyone “modern” church. 8 Nonetheless,academia and the mainstream architecturalpractice had without doubt“gone modern” by the late 1940s, andsuch traditional holdovers were seen asretardataire movements of those whohad not accepted the great new age ofarchitecture, and their buildings werenot covered in the architectural press. 9The year 1966 saw the publicationof Robert Venturi’s now famous bookComplexity and Contradiction in Architecture,a polemical treatise that critiquedthe monovalence of modernist design,which he argued could be remediedby looking at complexity in architectureand not simply the mechanisticsimplicity of the engineer’s aesthetic.Though written only six years after theconsecration of a great Gothic Revivalchurch like the Queen of All Saints Basilicain Chicago, its argument camenot from an intellectual underclass, butfrom an architect trained at Princetonwho worked for such notable architectsas Eero Saarinen and Louis Kahn. Helater taught at the University of Pennsylvania,Yale, and Harvard. ThoughVenturi’s mantra, “less is a bore” answeredMies van der Rohe’s equallyfamous quote “less is more,” it was certainlynot a broadside for wholesale reappropriationof the classical tradition19Photo: Duncan Stroik


Articlesfor Catholic use or otherwise. 10Although Venturi is hailed as breakingopen the possibility of mainstreamacademic use of traditional architecturalforms, the coherent initial phaseof postmodernity in architecture lastedfor only a few years, and was imbuedwith a modernist sense of irony andwit intended to remind the viewer ofthe continued relation of new buildingsto the break with architectural traditionespoused by modernism. Onefinds therefore in this postmodernisma certain kind of faddish relativismwhich made no specific claims for theclassical tradition other than as an interestingHegelian antidote to the univocityof modernism. Simply stated,postmodernism was not what we knowof today as New Classicism. However,by breaking the stranglehold of modernismand its extreme prohibitionsagainst any literal use of traditionalforms, it shattered the architectural professioninto many shards, one of whichwas picked up by those believing thatcontinuity with a legible, coherent classicalarchitectural tradition, sometimescalled “canonical classicism,” was anaim worth pursuing. From this postpostmodernlineage grows an evensmaller subset ofarchitects whohave chosento specialize inchurch architecture.In the UnitedStates, one cannot address theemergence ofNew Classicismin Catholic ecclesiasticalarchitecturewithoutunderlining theimportance ofarchitect AllanGreenberg. Anative SouthAfrican born in1938, he learnedtraditional architecturalmethodswhile in architectureschool inJohannesburg,though his earlywork was withleading modernistsin Europe.In 1963 he cameto the UnitedStates, earning a master’s degree atYale University in 1965. By the early1970s he had encountered the critiqueof Yale colleagues Robert Venturi andDenise Scott Brown, and became associatedwith an architectural movementdominated by architects known as“the Grays,” those who rejected modernism’s“black and white” rejectionof the use of traditional architecturalforms. By the early 1980s, he was establishedas one of the few architects inthe world willing to design buildingsusing canonical classicism, developinga successful practice largely dominatedby private homes and institutionalbuildings. While not known for churchdesigns, Greenberg’s office becamesomething of an unofficial postgraduateacademy, taking in recent architectureschool graduates with an interestin classical architecture and teachingthem how to make their self-taughtand postmodern designs convincinglycanonical. Two of today’s leading classicalchurch architects, Duncan Stroikand James McCrery, worked as youngdesigners in Greenberg’s office.But even the work of such a committedcanonical classicist as DuncanStroik depended in part upon the appearanceof postmodernism in secularacademia. As a 1984 graduate from theSchool of Architecture at the Universityof Virginia, Stroik’s education cameunder the deanship of architect JacquelinRobertson, a man deeply involvedwith the postmodern movement of the1980s and known for bringing leadingpostmodernist architects like AllanGreenberg, Robert A. M. Stern, andLeon Krier to the school to discuss architecturalpractice. Robertson’s 1982conference on postmodernism broughttogether twenty-five leading Americanarchitects and became the book knownas The Charlottesville Tapes. Historiansand theorists like Carroll WilliamWestfall gave the embrace of classicismand urbanism a deep theoretical base.This short-lived embrace of postmodernarchitecture at the University ofVirginia nonetheless created at leastsome alumni who would embrace theNew Classical mode of architecture.Almost at the peak of the postmodernmovement in the mid-1980s, Stroikcontinued to Yale University to earna graduate degree, where under thedeanship of Thomas Beeby, professorslike Robert Venturi, Andres Duany,and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk continueda postmodern approach to architectureand urbanism.But Stroik credits his awakening asa classical architect to the influence ofCathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore20 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: wikipedia.org


Immaculate Conception Church, Clinton, NJdesigned by Allan GreenbergThomas Gordon Smith, himself one ofthe first of the postmodern architects toembrace canonical classicism. As earlyas the 1980 architecture exhibition at theVenice Bienniale, “Smith was almostalone in adopting a literate treatment”of classical forms, earning the praise ofarchitectural theorist Charles Jencks,who wrote: “Smith is the only architecthere to treat the classical tradition as aliving discourse.” 11 Stroik was deeplyimpressed that Smith called himself a“classicist,” and encouraged his studentsto look broadly at all eras of classicalarchitecture. Moreover, Yale’s legendaryart historian Vincent Scully hadbegun to promote the postmodernismof Robert Venturi. Another art historian,George Hersey, championed AllanGreenberg, notably in an article in ArchitecturalRecord, and later wrote TheLost Meaning of Classical Architecture,one of the first systematic attempts tosearch for the underlying meaning ofthe terminology of classicism. 12 HereStroik found a certain completion ofthought, combining his love of the classicalwork of Thomas Jefferson at theUniversity of Virginia, the urbanism ofEurope, and the creative melting potof intellectual inquiry into architecture’shistoric roots evidenced by thevisionary leadership of broad-mindedacademics. He found his first job aftergraduate school in the office of AllanGreenberg, and was later hired by hismentor Thomas Gordon Smith as afaculty member at the School of Architectureat the University of Notre Damein 1989, where Smith presided over thefounding of the first classical architecturecurriculum in the United States innearly half a century.Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: Hansob, panoramio.comToday’s NewClassical churcharchitecture alsofinds an unlikelysource in two graduatesfrom the OhioState University,James McCreryand David Meleca.Though known asan unremarkableprogram in modernistdesign inthe 1970s and early1980s, Ohio State’sKnowlton Schoolof Architecturestabilized after thearrival of architectRobert Livesey aschair of the Department of Architecturein 1983. Architects who representedseveral of the existing strains of postmodernismbegan coming as criticsand teachers to its graduate program:Peter Eisenman, Charles Guathmey,Stanley Tigerman, Michael Graves,and Charles Moore among others. Theschool was perhaps bestknown at the time for itsvisiting architecture professor,Deconstructivist PeterEisenman, designer of thecampus’ Wexner Centerfor the Performing Arts.Though the architectureschool at the Ohio StateUniversity could hardly becalled friendly to New Classicism,even an architectureschool infused with Deconstructivistthinking had toset itself in the context ofpostmodernism, since Deconstructivismitself grewas a variant of the postmodernexplosion of the modernistbreakdown. McCrerylistened to the postmoderncritics in graduate jurieswhile an undergraduate,but later became philosophicallyconvinced of theEisenman-inspired theoriesof Deconstructivism.Meleca’s time at the schoolcame just before Livesey’sreforms, and though hepersonally had an interestin traditional architectureand urbanism from studyingabroad in Oxford, hefound no support–andArticlesmuch resistance–from the school itself.McCrery earned a master’s degree atOhio State and then worked in Eisenman’soffice, only later to find himselfunconvinced of Deconstructivism’sclaims. Inspired by the caliber of AllanGreenberg’s work, he was receivedinto Greenberg’s office where he spentnearly eight years learning and practicingclassicism. Later he discoveredservice of the Church as a vocationwithin his vocation to architecture.By the late 1980s, the initial postmoderninterest as a defined architecturalmovement was winding down,yet postmodernity’s shattering of themodernist stronghold allowed theemergence of New Classicism. In Columbus,a major move toward practicaland tangible use of classical designmethods was made possible by a sonof Russian-born Jewish immigrantsnamed Les Wexner, retail entrepreneurand owner of The Limited Brands.Wexner had not only been the philanthropistbehind Eisenman’s WexnerCenter for the Performing Arts, but cofounderof the New Albany Company,Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation of ClearCreek designed by Thomas Gordon Smith Architects21Photo: Roecoli


ArticlesChurch of the Resurrection, New Albany, OH by David Melecaa real estate development company inOhio consciously incorporating traditionalarchitecture as a quality oflife issue. The New Albany Companyhired the aforementioned Universityof Virginia Dean Jacquelin Robertsonto design a pivotal classical building inthe new community: the New AlbanyCountry Club, completed in 1993.Architects who wanted work atthe New Albany development werestrongly encouraged to learn traditionalarchitecture for both domesticand commercial designs, and, as onearchitect who worked there at the timestated, “Columbus got serious aboutclassicism.” Traditionally-minded architectslike Brian Kent Jones and JohnReagan of Columbus became influentiallocal designers, while Wexner encouragednew architects and buildersfor the company to study traditional examples,even sending some on a studytour to Colonial Williamsburg. So theNew Albany Company as a private enterprisebecame a critically importanttastemaker and place for builders andarchitects who had otherwise receivedvery little training in canonical classicalarchitecture to learn with a seriousapproach to New Classicism. Melecabenefitted from this informal designstudio while working with Columbusarchitects. He stayed rooted in Columbus,eventually being asked to developthe architecture for New Albany’sCatholic Church of the Resurrection,a large building inspired in part byFranck, Lohsen, McCrery’s Church of2010, exhibited at the Liturgical Instituteconference which Meleca himselfattended. Meleca has since amasseda number of large-scale New ClassicalCatholic churches in his portfolio.McCrery has made a name for himselfas the architect of the aforementionedPhoto: franklincountyauditor.comproposed new cathedralfor Raleigh,North Carolina,with a number achurch projects inhis portfolio and onthe boards.Amidst themachinations of theacademic and professionalworldsof architecture inthe 1990s camegrowing theologicalclarity, largelyaround the work ofMonsignor FrancisMannion, founder of the Society forCatholic Liturgy and then-Rector ofthe Cathedral of the Madeleine in SaltLake City. The first issue of the Society’sjournal, Antiphon, appeared in1996 and included its statement ofprinciples in an article entitled, “Whatis the Society for Catholic Liturgy?” 13Among the Society’s general principleswere expressed deep interestin careful scholarship, a transhistoricalview of the many strengths of theCatholic tradition, a renewed attentionto Catholic devotional life and itsrelation to the liturgy and insistenceon the importance of artistic beauty,“especially in the areas of music, art,and architecture.” From the outset, architectDuncan Stroik was a memberof the Society’s governing board, andother architects in leadership positionshave since included Thomas GordonSmith, Dino Marcantonio, and JamesMcCrery, who now serves as the Society’spresident.Mannion had already put his statedprinciples to work as cathedral rector,overseeing perhapsthe most sensitiverenovation ofan historic cathedralbuilding sincethe Council, andhelping to founda cathedral choirschool. Mannion’sinfluential contributionon liturgicalarchitecture wasmade clear in hisessay “Toward aNew Era in LiturgicalArchitecture,”which appeared inStudia Anselmianain 2001. 14 His carefully-consideredapproach synthesizedan immense amount of scholarship onthe subject of liturgy, art, architecture,and ritual studies, zeroing in on deficienciesin modern praxis and theologywhile providing workable alternativeswhich remained within both the mainstreamteaching of the Church and thelegacy of the Second Vatican Council.Under Mannion’s leadership, priests,lay people, academics, clients, andarchitects who had been developingnotions about the renewal of Catholicarchitecture found similarly-mindedcolleagues. As director of Mundelein’sLiturgical Institute, founded by CardinalFrancis E. George, O.M.I, in theyear 2000, Mannion brought his expertiseand connections to conferencesand publications supporting a renewalof church architecture. Since then, thefaculty and students of the LiturgicalInstitute have contributed significantlyto the scholarship and practice of liturgicalart and architecture both at theacademic and professional levels. 15The intellectual prehistory of amovement is by definition complex,formed by a vast network of contributionsby many minds and handsworking together and alone, meetingin academia and on the constructionsite. The architects and thinkers highlightedhere are no way meant to beconsidered the only people involvedin the movement, but represent a firstattempt at a study of New Classicism inchurch architecture. Moreover, a wholegeneration of architects has graduatedfrom the School of Architecture at theUniversity of Notre Dame since its refoundingas a classical program in 1989,many of whom have made names forthemselves as newcomers in the field.Saint Cecilia Chapel, Nashville, TN by Franck Lohsen McCrery22 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: orderofpreachersvocations.blogspot.com


Saint Edwards Chapel, Casady School, Oklahoma City, OK byEthan Anthony, ArchitectA perusal of the last thirteen years ofSacred Architecture, diligently producedby the Institute for Sacred Architecture,surveys well the achievements of thelast decade and more. Architects likeEthan Anthony, William Heyer, DinoMarcantonio, Michael Imber, MatthewAlderman, Michael Franck and ArthurLohsen, and many others rightlydeserve the publicity and attentionthat they have received. One would beremiss not to mention the influence ofthe popular writings of Michael Rose,especially his 2001 book Ugly As Sin:Why They Changed Our Churches fromSacred Places to Meeting Places and HowWe Can Change Them Back Again, StevenJ. Schloeder’s 1998 book Architecture inCommunion or the influence of MotherAngelica’s Shrine of the Most BlessedSacrament in Alabama, an earlyattempt at recapturing Gothic architecture.The New Classical movementin Catholic liturgical architecture hasreached something of an adolescence,perhaps even in some places a vigorousyoung adulthood. Careful study ofits leaders, thinkers and practitionerswill someday produce a significantchapter in the renewal of sacred art andarchitecture found in the post-Conciliarand post-postmodern periods.Going ForwardIn the year 2000, the National CatholicReporter featured an article on severalof the architects at the center of theUniversity of Notre Dame’s ecclesiasticalrenewal of architecture. Skepticalof the movement, the article’s authorpointed out some of its genuine foibles,but at the same time characterizedSacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: Chris Landsbergersome of New Classicism’spromotersas people who“trivialized publicdiscourse” and reflected“an attitudeof both paranoiaand self-righteousness.”16 To somedegree, the authorput his finger onone of the weaknessesof some ofthe post-moderntalking points ofthe 1990s, whichoften characterizedclassicism asthe new “new,”rather than thatwhich was timeless, enduring, andtheologically appropriate. An honestreader has to admit that much of theearly New Classical polemic in Catholicarchitecture wasoften lacking inunderpinnings ofbiblical and sacramentaltheology,using instead languageborrowedfrom secular academia.The authorclaimed that thepractitioners ofcanonic classicismwere thereforebound to “ingratiatethemselves totoday’s tabernacleobsessedbishops,biretta-toppedseminarians, anda handful of cardboard monsignori.”Luckily, sacramental theology in relationto the arts has made great stridesas well since the year 2000, thoughit lags behind architectural practice.But it does seem that the author in theNational Catholic Reporter was on thewrong side of history.A strong signal that New Classicalchurch architecture has been welcomedin from the cold is a 2010 coverstory on Duncan Stroik’s Chapel ofOur Lady of the Most Holy Trinity atThomas Aquinas College in the liturgicaljournal Faith and Form, an interfaithjournal on liturgical arts with a longstandinghistory of promoting bothHigh Modernist design and low churchecclesiology. 17 By virtue of the sheerscale and excellence of the project, itArticlesproved a force to be reckoned witheven by those not inclined to agree withits architectural and theological underpinnings.The author of the Faith andForm article was forced to ask as a subtitle,“What Does the Thomas AquinasChapel Mean?” precisely because thebuilding brought New Classicism outof the shadows, making it evident thatreal, effective, liturgically appropriate,highly desired, supported-by-donors,and beautiful-to-look-at architectureis not merely the dream of an enthusiast,but a building that foils the modernistclaim that cultural advancementhappens through rejection of the past.The article’s author, architect GeorgeKnight, a critic at Yale University’sSchool of Architecture, recognized thewide acceptance of traditional churcharchitecture evident today by writingthat there is “no shortage of traditionalarchitecture, or at least what aspiresto look like traditional architecture,Restoration at Immaculate Conception Church, Lexington, MOby William Heyer, Architectin contemporary church building.”Knight’s quietly-mentioned remarkon buildings that “aspire” to look liketraditional architecture only hints atperhaps what is the most significantproblem affecting traditional architecturetoday: the extremely commonmanifestation of pseudo-Classicism,the “strip mall” classicism done byfirms with little to no training in traditionalarchitecture hired by clientswithout the knowledge to recognize canonicalclassical design.During the pioneer stages of the recoveryof classical tradition, one couldalmost understand spending money tobuild buildings full of architectural mistakes,as was particularly evident in therebuilt Church of Saint Agnes in Manhattanin the mid 1990s. But in 2012, the23Photo: heyerarchitect.com


ArticlesThomas Aquinas College Chapel byDuncan Stroikprofession still sees clients spendingmoney badly by hiring architects withlittle to no education in the principlesand requirements of canonical classicaldesign. And so their buildings becomeinarticulate and illiterate exampleswhich not only discredit the CatholicChurch as patron of the arts, but giveammunition to the opponents of NewClassicism who desire to characterizetraditional architecture as cartoonishand backward-looking. 18 When onedesires to preach to the world by use ofthe eloquent language of architecture,there is no excuse for the architecturalequivalent of bad grammar and typos,especially when the architectural professionis now rich with competent andtalented poets of architectural form.While on the one hand it is encouragingto see clients looking for traditionalarchitecture even on the local level, thisinspired intuition would be well servedby a quest for architectural excellence.Its trials notwithstanding, it is fairto say that New Classical architecturehas not suffered the fate of academia’spostmodernism. In retrospect, postmodernismseems to have consisted, inpart, of reactionary moves founded onsomewhat shallow philosophical underpinningsunlikely to provide deepintellectual satisfaction except amongPhoto: schafphoto.comrelativist historians convinced of theprinciples of Hegelian determinism.Though it found some initial nourishmentin post-modern academia, NewClassicism has in many ways beensupported by numerous grass rootsmovements, whether the readers ofAdoremus Bulletin or the concernedbishops, priests, and lay people whoread, attend conferences, visit churchesand pray, getting ever more groundedin an authentic understanding ofthe documents of the Second VaticanCouncil and the strong theological andaesthetic leadership of Pope BenedictXVI. Practitioners of New Classicismstill face obstacles from pragmatists,ideologically-driven liturgical professionals,misperceptions about the costsand practicalities of traditional architecture,and the continued resistanceof professional societies in architectureand liturgy. But the momentumtoward a theologically-informed reengagementwith the Church’s greatarchitectural and liturgical traditionsis not waning, but growing. And althoughevery movement must be waryof the “change beyond the change,”even an objective observer can foreseein the year 2012–in a way that could notbe seen in 2001–that a more profoundunderstanding of both the Council’sdocuments and church architecture iscurrently at play, with even the hint ofglory beyond the horizon.Dr. Denis R. McNamara is an architecturalhistorian who teaches at the LiturgicalInstitute at Mundelein Seminary. He haswritten extensively on sacred architecture,including his recent book How toRead Churches: A Crash Course inEcclesiastical Architecture.(Endnotes)1. This conference, organized by Liturgical Institute directorMonsignor M. Francis Mannion and Denis McNamara, includedkeynote speaker Father Robert Barron, as well as architectPaige Cowley, Father Brian Hughes, Yale Divinity Schoolprofessor Father Jaime Lara, architects James McCrery andDuncan Stroik, and University of Virginia professor of Easternreligious art, John Yiannias. The title of the conference was aplay on the “Church for 2000,” an international competition fora new Jubilee church in Rome sponsored by the Archdiocese ofRome. Its finalists included the winner, Neo-modernist RichardMeier and Deconstructivist Frank Gehry among other leadingsecular modernist architects. The Liturgical Institute sponsoredsubsequent conferences on church architecture in 2002, 2003,2006, and 2010.2. See Reconquering Sacred Space: Rediscovering Tradition inTwentieth Century Liturgical Architecture (Rome: Il Bosco e laNave, 1999) and Reconquering Sacred Space 2000: The Church in theCity of the Third Millennium (Rome: Il Bosco e la Nave, 2000).3. Notable examples of early coverage of the renewal of churcharchitecture include: an entire issue dedicated to architecturein the May-June, 1997 issue of Catholic Dossier and the July 2002issue of The Priest. Ann Carey’s article “Ever Ancient, Ever New”appeared in the journal Sursum Corda in the issue of Summer,1998 and Thomas Gordon Smith’s article, entitled “Reconnectingto Tradition,” appeared in the same journal in the Fall, 1998issue. Other articles appeared regularly in Sacred Architecture andAdoremus Bulletin.4. One exception to this statement was architect John Bartlett’sdesign for rebuilding the parish church of San Juan Capistranonear the famous mission in California. The new building, whichopened in 1986, was built along the lines of traditional MissionStyle architecture with the help of Dr. Norman Neuerberg, whohad earlier provided archaeological expertise for the new J. PaulGetty Museum in Malibu California, a building meant to displayancient art and modeled on an ancient Roman villa. Whileindeed this church was completed and being used, it was mostlikely seen as closely related to an archaeological endeavor andwas not highly influential in the liturgical-architectural climateof the time. For more information on this project, see PatrickJames Riley, “The New Church of San Juan Capistrano,” SacredArchitecture 4 (Fall 2000): 19-21.5. Although the General Instruction of the Roman Missal bynature gives only the broadest laws for church design, one majorchange in the new text gave first option to the placement of thetabernacle in the church sanctuary rather than a separate chapeland specifically mentioned the preservation of older altars “nolonger used for celebration” (par. 315, section a).6. Patricia Leigh Brown, “Architecture’s Young Old Fogeys,”New York Times (Feb 9, 1995). The architect quoted was JamesStewart Polshek, former Dean of the architecture school atColumbia University, and at the time of this writing in 2012, stillone of the leading modernist architecture practitioners in theUnited States.7. For more on the proposed Raleigh cathedral commission, seeNC Catholics (September 2011): 20-23, 34. The architect for theproposed 2000 seat Cathedral of the Holy Name of Jesus is JamesMcCrery of McCrery Architects in Washington, DC.8. William Busch, “Secularism in Church Architecture,” ChurchProperty Administration 19 (November-December 1955): 33.9. For some of the early polemic about the appearance ofmodernism in church architecture see “The Church Functional,”Time 39 (23 March 1942): 52; Joseph Hudnut, “Picture,Sentiment and Symbol,” Architectural Record 96 (September1944): 84; William Heyl Thompson, “Concrete for EcclesiasticalArchitecture,” Architectural Concrete 2 (1936): 21; John F. Ryan.“Modernism Goes to Church,” American Architect 138 (November1930): 50-53, 86; Joseph Hudnut, “The Modern Spirit EntersContemporary Church Architecture,” American Architect 142(December 1932): 12. For a sample of two late traditionalchurches see “The Church of Our Lady of Victory,” ChurchProperty Administration 12 (January-February, 1948): 22-23, 66-67and “Traditional Gothic Blends with Modern,” Church PropertyAdministration 17 (January-February 1953): 32-35.10. It is interesting to note that the aforementioned architectEdward Schulte wrote in an unpublished paper read before theCincinnati Literary Club entitled “Quotations” from 1968: “Theman who said that ‘less is more’ is also saying that nothing is themost.” Cincinnati Historical Society Archives, Edward Schultepapers.11. Richard John, Thomas Gordon Smith: The Rebirth of ClassicalArchitecture (London: Andreas Papadakis, 2001), 45. For more onThomas Gordon Smith’s biography and work at the Our Ladyof Guadalupe seminary in Nebraska, see Denis McNamara, “‘Lively Mental Energy:’ Thomas Gordon Smith and the Our Ladyof Guadalupe Seminary,” Sacred Architecture 18 (Fall 2010).12. George L. Hersey, “Allan Greenberg and the ClassicalGame,” Architectural Record 173 (October 1985): 160-61 andHersey, The Lost Meaning of Classical Architecture (New Haven:Yale university Press, 1988).13. “What Is the Society for Catholic Liturgy?,” Antiphon 1(Spring 1996): 12-13.14. M. Francis Mannion, “Toward a New Era in LiturgicalArchitecture,” Studia Anselmiana 131 (2001): 45-76.15. Several of the Liturgical Institute’s graduates havepenned architectural guidelines in their roles as directors oftheir diocesan office of worship. See also Denis McNamara,Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy (Chicago:Hillenbrand Books, 2009).16. Michael E. De Sanctis, “Notre Dame’s Neo-Classicists Yearnto Build Grand Old Churches,” National Catholic Reporter 36(April 21, 2000): 12.17. George Knight, “Style As Substance: What Does the ThomasAquinas Chapel Mean?,” Faith and Form 2 (2010): 6-11.18. One recently built seminary chapel in the Northeast,for example, began its design by consulting a company thatproduces beams for log cabins, and produced an octagonalchapel which fails in nearly every attempt to produce credibletraditional detailing, window placement, and liturgicalfurnishings.24 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012


Living Stone: The Beauty of the Liturgical AltarYou are beauty...You are beauty!exclaimed St. Francis of Assisi ofGod. 1 God who is beauty is alsoBeing, the source and sustainer of allthat is (cf. Col 1:16-17). Beauty, then,is a category of being, and all beautyparticipates to some degree in the beautyof God, as the Second Vatican Counciltaught: “Of their nature the arts aredirected toward expressing in some waythe infinite beauty of God in works madeby human hands.” 2 Since beauty is acategory of being, in determining thebeauty of something one must first knowits essential nature. Jacques Maritaincalled this its “ontological secret,” whichhe defined as its “innermost being” and“spiritual essence.” 3 The ontologicalsecret of things is “the invisible spiritualreality of their being as objects ofunderstanding.” 4The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgyoffers the key to the ontological secretof things used in the sacred liturgy:“all things set apart for use in divineworship should be worthy, becoming,and beautiful, signs and symbolsof things supernatural.” 5 This is theirontological secret—they are “signsand symbols of things supernatural.”For this reason, the ultimate goal is“noble beauty rather than sumptuousdisplay.” 6 Thus, in order to judge thebeauty of the liturgical altar, we mustdetermine how it is a sign and symbolof supernatural realities, which in turnrequires that we first determine this forthe church building.Before we consider the question ofontology, however, we first need tooutline our aesthetic methodology.For this we will turn to Saint ThomasAquinas. Aquinas taught that beautifulthings possess three qualities: integritas,consonantia, and claritas. Integritasrefers to completeness and perfection—nothing essential is lacking, nothing extraneousis present. Consonantia is thequality of proportionality in relation toan end, “the goal that God had in mindfor it.” 7 Claritas, the third element, isthe power of an object to reveal its ontologicalreality. Umberto Eco describesit as “the fundamental communicability ofform, which is made actual in relation tosomeone’s looking at or seeing of the object.The rationality that belongs to everyform is the ‘light’ which manifests itselfSacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Randy L. SticeChurch as Heavenly City mosaic, Santa Prassede, Rometo aesthetic seeing.” 8 Something that istruly beautiful has all of its constituentelements (integritas), is proportional toits ultimate purpose (consonantia), andmanifests its essential reality (claritas).In his discussion of consonantia, Ecoalso describes the important relationshipof different but interconnectedthings, forming what he calls “a densenetwork of relations….In fact we arefree to consider the relation of three,four, or an infinity of things, proportionateamong themselves and proportionedalso in respect of some unifyingwhole.” 9 “In brief, what is involved is atwofold relation of parts to one anotherand to the whole of which they areparts.” 10 Applied to a church buildingand its furnishings, this describesa multitude of relations: sanctuary tonave, altar to sanctuary, altar to tabernacle,ambo to presider’s chair, and soon.Having established our methodology,we can now turn to the questionof the ontological secret of the churchbuilding and the altar. The ontologyof the church building is derived fromthe ontology of the Church. LumenGentium described the Church in thefollowing words:This edifice has many names todescribe it: the house of God inwhich dwells His family; householdof God in the Spirit; the dwellingplace of God among men; and,especially, the holy temple. ThisTemple, symbolized in places ofworship built out of stone, is praisedby the Holy Fathers and, not withoutreason, is compared in the liturgy tothe Holy City, the New Jerusalem. 11Notice how this passage moves fromthe nature of the Church to the natureof the church building, from biblicalimages descriptive of God’s dwellingwith his people to “places of worshipbuilt out of stone” that are“comparedin the liturgy to the Holy City, theNew Jerusalem. 12 Ontologically, then,the church building is an image of theTemple, and the Holy City, an imageof the New Jerusalem described in theBook of Revelation.The central figure in the New Jerusalemis the Lamb (cf. Rev 21:22-23;22:1, 3), which provides the context forthe ontology of the liturgical altar. Itis a symbol of Christ, the center of thethanksgiving made present throughthe Eucharist, the altar of sacrifice,and “the table of the Lord.” 13 Firstand foremost, the altar is a symbol ofChrist, as St. Ambrose asserted in thefourth century: “The altar representsthe body [of Christ] and the Body ofChrist is the altar.” 14 The Catechismsummarizes this important symbolism:“the Christian altar is the symbolof Christ himself, present in the midstof the assembly of his faithful, both asthe victim offered for our reconciliationand as food from heaven who is givinghimself to us.” 15If the altar is the symbol of Christ,then it must perforce also be “the center25Photo: Father Lawrence OP


Main altar at the Basilica of Saint Louis, Saint Louis, MOof the assembly, to which the greatestreverence is due.” 16 The General Instructionreaffirms this teaching of EucharisticumMysterium, describing it as “thecenter of the thanksgiving that is accomplishedthrough the Eucharist.” 17Third, the altar is “the place at whichSaint Michael’s Church, Creeslough, Irelandthe saving mysteries are carried out,”the altar of sacrifice. 18 It is the place,says the GIRM: “on which is effectedthe Sacrifice of the Cross made presentunder sacramental signs.” 19 Fourth, itis the table of the sacrificial meal, “thetable of the Lord to which the Peopleof God is convoked to participate inthe Mass.” 20 Drawing together the lasttwo aspects, the Catechism says, “Thealtar, around which the Church is gatheredin the celebration of the Eucharist,represents the two aspects of the samemystery: the altar of the sacrifice andthe table of the Lord.” 21 An altar that“worthily and beautifully serve[s] thedignity of worship” 22 will reveal thisfourfold ontology.Although Church documents donot use Aquinas’ terminology, theyPhoto: Jeff Geerlingdo show an implicitawareness ofhis three elements.In discussing thespecifications of thealtar, the Churchdocuments addressseveral elementsof its integritas, itswholeness or completeness.TheGIRM refers to thecentrality of thealtar: “the altarshould occupya place where itis truly the centertoward which theattention of the whole congregation ofthe faithful naturally turns.” 23 Built ofLiving Stones makes reference to twoother elements, the altar of sacrificeand the table of the sacrificial meal:“The shape and size should reflect thenature of the altar as the place of sacrificeand the tablearound which Christgathers the communityto nourish them.” 24Each of these passagesis addressingwhat Aquinastermed integritas.The concept ofconsonantia, proportionalityto an end,is also referred toin ecclesial documents.The Introductionto the OrderPhoto: Steve Cadmanof the Mass statesthat the altar’s“size and proportionsshould be appropriate to thenormal Sunday Eucharistic celebration,and it should be able to accommodatethe patens, ciboria, and chalicesfor the Communion of the faithful.” 25Consonantia as “a dense network ofrelations” 26 is also implied. Take forexample the exhortation in EucharisticumMysterium: “Pastors must realizethat the way the church is arrangedgreatly contributes to a worthy celebrationand to the active participation ofthe people.” 27 This is echoed by Built ofLiving Stones:In considering the dimensions ofthe altar, parishes will also wantto insure that the other majorfurnishings in the sanctuary are inharmony and proportion to the altar….Impact and focal quality are not onlyrelated to placement, size, or shape,but also especially to the quality ofthe altar’s design and worthiness ofits construction. The altar should becentrally located in the sanctuary andthe center of attention in the church. 28An altar possessing consonantia willbe appropriate to its liturgical functionand harmonious with the other sacredfurnishings.Aquinas’ third element, claritas,refers to the power of an object to revealits ontological reality. Something maypossess consonantia and integritas, butif these are not perceivable then itwill not be beautiful. This is what theGIRM is saying when it specifies that“the nature and beauty of the place andall its furnishings should foster devotionand express visually the holiness ofthe mysteries celebrated there.” 29 Accordingto Eucharisticum Mysterium,the altar should be “so placed and constructedthat it is always seen to be thesign of Christ himself.” 30 A key aspectof the altar as a symbol of Christ is afixed stone altar. The GIRM urges “afixed altar in every church, since it moreclearly and permanently signifies ChristJesus, the living stone (1 Pt. 2:4; cf. Eph2:20).” 31 Although in the United Statesaltars made from wood are permitted 32 ,an altar “with a table or mensa made ofMain altar at the Cathedral of Saints Peter& Paul, Philadelphia, PA26 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: parkwaymuseumdistrictphiladelphia.org


natural stone” will strengthen the claritasof the altar, “since it represents ChristJesus, the Living Stone (1 Pt 2:4).” 33 Asthese references make clear, the altarmust clearly show forth its ontologicalreality.Beautiful things reveal most easilyand completely their ontological realityand convey the attractive power ofthe Truth. The beauty of a churchbuilding will reflect its ontology asthe Temple and New Jerusalem and abeautiful altar will manifest its realityas the image of Christ himself, the altarof sacrifice, the table of the heavenlybanquet, and the table of thanksgiving.Saint Thomas Aquinas’ three constituentelements of beauty—integritas, consonantia,and claritas—provide a usefulmethodology for ensuring that allthings destined for the sacred liturgyare worthy, beautiful and able to turnmen’s minds devoutly toward God.Fidelity to ontological realities willproduce a church building that is “avehicle for carrying the presence of theTranscendent One” 34 in which “everyaltar…from the greatest to the least,is lit from that golden altar in heaven[Rev 8:3], and becomes its replica onearth, the representation of Our LordHimself.” 35Flannery (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing, 1996), art. 6.Henceforth, LG.12. Ibid.13. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC:United States Catholic Conference, 2000), 1383. HenceforthCCC.14. Ibid.15. Ibid.16. Second Vatican Council, “Eucharisticum Mysterium, ” inVatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ed.Austin Flannery (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing, 1996), art.24. Henceforth, EM.17. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, GeneralInstruction of the Roman Missal (Washington, D.C.: United StatesConference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), 296. Henceforth GIRM.18. EM, 24.19. GIRM, 296.20. GIRM, 296.21. CCC, 1383.22. SC, art. 122.23. GIRM, 299. Italics added.24. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Built of LivingStones: Art, Architecture, and Worship (Washington, D.C.: UnitedStates Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2000), art.58. HenceforthBLS. Italics added.25. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, Introduction to theOrder of Mass (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference ofCatholic Bishops, 2003), art. 52. Henceforth ITTOM.26. Eco, 119.27. EM, 24. Italics added.28. BLS, art. 58. Italics added.29. GIRM, 294. Italics added.30. EM, 24. Italics added.31. GIRM, art. 298.32. GIRM, 301.33. BLS, art. 57. Italics added. See also GIRM, no. 298 andRDCA, art. 934. Evdokimov, 147.35. Geoffrey Webb, The Liturgical Altar (Westminster, MD: TheNewman Press, 1949): 100.Father Randy Stice is a priest of the Dioceseof Knoxville, TN, where he serves as theDirector of the Office of Worship andLiturgy, the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies,and Associate Pastor of the Cathedral of theSacred Heart of Jesus. He holds an STL inSystematic Theology from the University ofSt. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminaryand an MA in Liturgy from The LiturgicalInstitute.(Endnotes)1. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, n. 6.2. Second Vatican Council, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” inVatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ed.Austin Flannery (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing, 1996, n.122. Henceforth SC. Italics added.3. Jacques Maritain, Art and Scholasticism with Other Essays, trans.J. F. Scanlan (North Stratford, NH: Ayer Coompany Publishers,1930), 20.4. Denis McNamara, Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit ofthe Liturgy (Mundelein, IL: Hillenbrand Books, 2009), 22.5. SC, 122.6. Ibid., art. 124.7. McNamara, 26.8. Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, trans. StevenHugh Bredin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988),119. Italics original.9. Ibid., 89.10. Ibid., 90.11. Second Vatican Council, “Lumen Gentium,” in VaticanCouncil II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ed. AustinSacred Architecture Issue 21 201227


DocumentationUplifting our Gaze and Spirit: Art and PrayerHis Holiness Benedict XVI gave thefollowing address at a General Audience atCastel Gandolfo on August 31, 2011.Dear Brothers and Sisters,In this period I have recalledseveral times the need for everyChristian, in the midst of the manyoccupations that fill our days, to findtime for God and for prayer. The Lordhimself gives us many opportunitiesto remember him. Today I would liketo reflect briefly on one of these channelsthat can lead to God and can alsobe of help in the encounter with him.It is the way of artistic expression, partof that “via pulchritudinis” — the “wayof beauty”, of which I have spokenseveral times and whose deepestmeaning must be recovered by menand women today.It may have happened on some occasionthat you paused before a sculpture,a picture, a few verses of a poemor a piece of music that you founddeeply moving, that gave you a senseof joy, a clear perception, that is, thatwhat you beheld was not only matter,a piece of marble or bronze, a paintedcanvas, a collection of letters or an accumulationof sounds, but somethinggreater, something that “speaks”, thatcan touch the heart, communicate amessage, uplift the mind.A work of art is a product of the creativecapacity of the human being whoin questioning visible reality, seeks todiscover its deep meaning and to communicateit through the language offorms, colour and sound. Art is able tomanifest and make visible the humanneed to surpass the visible, it expressesthe thirst and the quest for the infinite.Indeed it resembles a door open onto the infinite, on to a beauty and atruth that go beyond the daily routine.And a work of art can open the eyes ofthe mind and of the heart, impelling usupward.However some artistic expressionsare real highways to God, the supremeBeauty; indeed, they help us to grow inour relationship with him, in prayer.These are works that were born fromfaith and express faith. We can see anexample of this when we visit a Gothiccathedral: we are enraptured by thevertical lines that soar skywards andAddress by His Holiness Benedict XVIThe nave at the Gothic cathedral ofCologne, Germanyuplift our gaze and our spirit, while atthe same time we feel small yet long forfullness....Or when we enter a Romanesquechurch we are spontaneously promptedto meditate and to pray. We perceivethat these splendid buildingscontain, as it were, the faith of generations.Or when we listen to a piece ofsacred music that plucks at our heartstrings,our mind, as it were, expandsand turns naturally to God.I remember a concert of music byJohann Sebastian Bach in Munich,conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Atthe end of the last passage, one of theCantatas, I felt, not by reasoning but inthe depths of my heart, that what I hadheard had communicated truth to me,the truth of the supreme composer, andimpelled me to thank God. The Lutheranbishop of Munich was next to meand I said to him spontaneously: “inhearing this one understands: it is true;such strong faith is true, as well as thebeauty that irresistibly expresses thepresence of God’s truth.”Yet how many pictures or frescos,fruits of the artist’s faith, in their form,in their color, in their light, urge us tothink of God and foster within us thedesire to draw from the source of allbeauty. What Marc Chagall, a greatartist, wrote, remains profoundly true:that for centuries painters have dippedtheir paintbrush in that colored alphabetwhich is the Bible. Thus howoften artistic expression can bring usto remember God, to help us to pray oreven to convert our heart!Paul Claudel, a famous French poet,playwright and diplomat, preciselywhile he was listening in the Cathedralof Notre Dame to the singing ofthe Magnificat during Christmas Massin 1886, had a tangible experience ofGod’s presence. He had not entered thechurch for reasons of faith but rather inorder to seek arguments against Christiansand instead God’s grace workedactively in his heart.Dear friends, I ask you to rediscoverthe importance of this path also forprayer, for our living relationship withGod. Towns and villages throughoutthe world contain treasures of art thatexpress faith and beckon to us to returnto our relationship with God. May thevisits to places filled with art, then, notonly be opportunities for cultural enrichment— that too — but may theybecome above all moments of grace,incentives to strengthen our bond andour dialogue with the Lord so that — inswitching from simple external realityto the more profound reality it expresses— we may pause to contemplatethe ray of beauty that strikes us to thequick, that almost “wounds” us, andthat invites us to rise toward God.I end with a prayer from a Psalm,Psalm 27[26]: “One thing have I askedof the Lord, that will I seek after; thatI may dwell in the house of the Lordall the days of my life, to behold thebeauty of the Lord, and contemplatehis temple” (v. 4).Let us hope that the Lord will helpus to contemplate his beauty, both innature and in works of art, so that we,moved by the light that shines from hisface, may be a light for our neighbour.Many thanks.28 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Photo: MkillW- His Holiness Benedict XVI


Sacred Architecture Issue 21 201229


Book ReviewThe Virgin of Chartres: Making Historythrough Liturgy and the Arts. By MargotE. Fassler. New Haven and London,Yale University Press, 2010. 612 pp.ISBN 9780300110883. $55.00.Reviewed by Stephen MurrayEach great cathedral gathers arounditself a group of amateurs—lovers,really—who take upon themselvesthe task of interpreting and creating themeanings of the great multi-media work:an architectural envelope that leads usto the sublime; luminous multi-coloredimages that hang, suspended in thedarkness; three-dimensional life-likesculptured figures—originally brightlypainted—that provided the “virtualreality” of the twelfth and thirteenthcenturies, and, most important, theliving, human, performative dimensions:song, procession, pilgrimage, liturgicalperformance. In the Middle Ages suchliturgical performances provided theinterface between the resident body ofclergy (bishop and seventy-two canons,plus ancillary personnel at Chartres) anddifferent kinds of lay participant: patron;pilgrim; bourgeois; rusticus. MargotFassler opens her magnificent new book,The Virgin of Chartres, by locating herselfand her work within the context of suchChartrephiles (if I may coin the term), pastand present; in the pages that follow, sheallows us to excavate layer upon layer ofstories that have been told about this, themost-beloved cathedral of all. This is theconstruction of history.Ecclesiastical institutions in theMiddle Ages competed with each otherto establish apostolic roots: the cult ofsaints and the liturgical arts, as wellas the writing of chronicles providedthe means by which such “histories”might be constructed. The story-tellersof Chartres took the narrative evenfurther back in time with the myth ofa pre-Christian female deity served bya community of priests, a Virgin aboutto bear (paritura). The cult with its pilgrimagewas served by a sacred site:a miracle-working well, identified byeighteenth-century antiquarians as thewell in the crypt of Chartres Cathedral.Margot Fassler strips away this layer ofstory-telling, documenting the relativelylate origins of the myth in the fourteenth-centuryVieille chronique, and itsdramatic post-medieval embellishment.The Throne of WisdomThe Marian dedication of ChartresCathedral can be documented as earlyas the eighth century. During theepiscopacy of Bishop Giselbert (858-879/85) the cathedral received fromEmperor Charles the Bald (reg. 840-877) the gift of the great relic—the Virgin’stunic—that would provide theessential mechanism for so much subsequenthistory-making. The authorpasses over this momentous acquisitionwith very few words: it is certainlytrue that the full implication of theevent was only realized later throughsubsequent stories about miracles. Themost famous early miracle came in 911when a Viking band, led by Rollo, attemptedto capture Chartres: “Whensuddenly Bishop Walter charged out ofthe city, robed as if to celebrate Mass,and bearing the cross and the tunic ofthe Holy Virgin Mary in his hands…”(17). Rollo, discomforted, withdrewand soon afterwards was baptized—Mary of Chartres had engineered histransformation. Fassler provides thereader with a fascinating account ofthe way this story was told and retoldin subsequent writings; similarly, howthe myth of the miracle-working wellwas fabricated and the story of the ignominiousdeath of Bishop Frotbaldduring a Viking attack was turned intoa glorious victory. Such stories werecreated and recreated in the tenth andeleventh centuries largely through theliturgy: they certainly helped establishthe reputation of this city and bolsterthe status of counts and bishops at atime (the tenth century) of great instabilityand struggles between thefamily of the counts of Champagne/Blois (who controlled Chartres) andthe Angevins, Capetians, and Anglo-Normans.Bishop Odo (967-1003) appears tohave been the first to systematicallypromote the Marian cult with the sanctacamisa as its focal point—a major incentivewas the need to raise money for thereconstruction of the cathedral, whichhad burned in 962. And it is from thetenth century that we first begin to hearof the sumptuous châsse that containedthe chemise and of custom-designedchants like the Hac clara die sequenceadded to solemnize the cult of theVirgin.The principal liturgical developmentof the tenth-to-eleventh centurieswas the assembly of a coherent liturgicalbook on Advent. Advent is aboutarrival: adventus. Originating in theceremony for the reception of a rulerinto his kingdom, a key text was foundin Psalm 23: “Lift up your gates, O yeprinces and be ye lifted up, O eternalgates: and the King of Glory shall enterin. Who is this King of Glory? The Lordwho is strong and mighty: the Lord,mighty in battle.” The Church transformedthe idea and the ceremonyto mark the period of the year (fourweeks) when the darkest days turnedto light announcing the arrival of theMessiah. Margot Fassler repeatedlyfinds the sources of inspiration for theextraordinary sculptural program ofthe western portals in the same modesof thought and in ceremonial practicesthat lay behind the adventus ritual asthe column figures that populate theportals line up in a ceremony of greeting.A devastating fire destroyed most ofthe cathedral on September 7, 1020, thevigil of Mary’s Nativity. The massivework of reconstruction and the continuingdevelopment and propagationof the cult of the Virgin went hand inhand during the episcopacy of BishopFulbert (1006-1028). New tropes andsequences were added and sermonspreached to develop the theme ofMary’s lineage (prophetic and royal)and the story of her life. Bishop Fulbert’spreaching did much to propagatethe metaphor of the stirps Jesse—the Tree of Jesse—an image that was toenjoy a fabulous later life in Gothic art,while the “Book of the Cult,” attributedto Fulbert, provided a narrative for30 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012


the life of the Virgin—and inspirationfor the famous “capital frieze” that issuch an important feature of the portalprogram of the western frontispiece.The vibrancy of Fulbert’s episcopacywas later matched by Bishop Ivo (1090-1115). Ivo was a reforming bishop,whose sermons were intended to propagateChristian mysteries to a wide audience:he focused particularly on thestory of Mary, seeing the Virgin’s tunicas a metaphor for the entire Church.Like Bernard of Clairvaux, he found inspirationin the Song of Songs.In 1134 just before the feast of theNativity of the Virgin Mary when thetown blazed with the light of candles,another fire damaged the cathedral.Margot Fassler links the work of reconstructingthe western frontispiecewith its three portals squeezed tightlytogether between two towers, with theendowment of choral offices and theproduction of stained glass windows:critical to her thesis is the notion thatportals and glass need to be understoodas part of the same program as singingand processions. Particularly importantis the way that the ideas developedin liturgy and preaching from BishopsOdo to Ivo found expression in theportal program, which is a vast speculationupon time, especially focussingupon Advent. The passage from Oldto New is marked by the emphatichorizontal line of capitals that bringthe story of the Virgin and the Nativityand Passion of Christ into present time.The figures lining the portals: kings,queens, prophets, and priests form partof the Old and belong to the lineageof Mary. The three tympana provideglimpses of the New and the yet-tobe.Particularly important is the presenceof the Virgin Mary on the right(southern) tympanum as the Throne ofWisdom: the Wisdom of Solomon hasbeen transformed into a new Logoswith the incarnation of Christ. The Virgin’sbody is the new Temple that is theChurch, to be reunited with Christ atthe end of time.There is little not to like about thisbook. It tends at times to be repetitiveand could have been a little shorter.This reviewer, an art historian, wouldhave liked a more systematic descriptionand visual documentation of theportals and windows. We may retainsome skepticism about the extent thatthe non-clerical user of the buildingwould actually be able to “see and understand”all, as the author suggests.But, finally, The Virgin of Chartresis, I believe, destined to find its placeamongst the classic works on thegreat cathedrals of the Middle Ages.It appears at a time when much of thework of many of the scholars of a previousgeneration who attempted tounscramble the meanings of the greatchurch has been questioned: I think ofthe writings of Otto von Simson, ErwinPanofsky, and Emile Mâle. Scholarshipof the past three decades has soughtto establish new ways to unlock themeaning of the cathedral. This book,with its sweeping historical overviewcoupled with detailed analysis andtranscriptions of the liturgical sourcesand investigation of the images, sets anew standard of excellence.WStephen Murray, PhD, was educated atOxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art,University of London. He has been teachingArt History at Columbia University since1986. His publications include books on thecathedrals of Amiens, Beauvais and Troyes;his current work is on medieval sermons,story-telling in Gothic, and the Romanesquearchitecture of the Bourbonnais.“ The quality of the carving your companyhas provided for Bishop Sherlock’s Room is,by common consent, simply outstanding.The craftsmanship on display is extraordinaryand the appearance of the room is remarkableas a result.”Dr. Scott Cooper, Director, Fulham PalaceAgrell Architectural Carving provides bespoke,high quality architectural woodcarving,consultation and design services.Wood carving: With offices in the UK, New Yorkand San Francisco and a capacity of over 50,000hours of hand carving a year, we proudly standby our reputation for producing high qualitywoodcarving on time and within budget, regardlessof project size or location.Consultation and Design: With over 50 yearsexpertise in woodcarving and design, Ian Agrellprovides a unique service that if utilised during theplanning stages can result in significant time andmonetary savings.Contact:New York and SF:(415) 457 4422UK: (01233) 500252www.agrellcarving.comThe Human TouchBook ReviewPhoto: Wikipedia.orgSacred Architecture Issue 21 201231


Book ReviewRitual Space Liberated from TraditionHoly Ground: Re-inventing Ritual Spacein Modern Western Culture. Editedby Paul Post and Arie L. Molendijk.Leuven: Peeters, 2010. 318 pp. ISBN9789042921788. $80.00.Reviewed by Lisa AustinRituals evolve over time. Recently,a California funeral homeoffered mourners the option ofstaying in their car while paying theirrespects. Holy Ground does not address“drive-thru visitation” but discussesritual space through a contemporarysocial-cultural lens. Arie L. Molendijkexamines scholarly views of the “holy”and “sacred” and Paul Post offers anexamination of spatial-ritual-religiousanalytical models. Eight other authorsconsider rituals, shrines, memorials, andspaces of contemplation.The “sacred” exists in oppositionto the everyday, the profane. “Holyground” and “ritual space” are specificlocations where limited sets of symbolicactions occur. But, as Judith Tonnaersays, today people “actively exhibitsigns of their mourning” by creating“fluid, flexible and mobile” rituals. EricVenbrux describes the “ritual communication”of throwing coins into wateras a symbolic attachment to a place.Can any place become sacred? IreneStengs suggests that the two millionwho watched the “farewell ceremony”for Theo van Gogh on televisionwere located in temporary “ritualizedspaces.” If Jane Doe is watching afuneral while resting from home, is herbedroom a “ritualized space?” Folkswho attend funerals can also doze offtoo, but they are not wearing pajamas.Stengs reports that after the deathof a popular singer, many memorialevents were held: a concert in astadium with coffin arriving by hearse;cremated ashes rocketed into the NorthSea; tattooing of loved ones with ashes.A six-part TV mini-series followed.Memorials always involve economic,social, and political influences; butcontemporary events are created in amedia hothouse. Perhaps our westernmourning rituals are only as genuine asthe tears for Kim Jong Il.Several writers address church architecture.Justin E. A. Krosen discussedthe Netherlands’ “financiallyburdensome” churches andreported that even atheistsview some re-use optionsas sacrilegious. Woulter E.A. van Beek writes aboutMormon architecture andthe Zoetermeer Temple in theNetherlands. If you visitWashington, D.C., take adrive on the Capitol Beltwayand watch for the Wizard ofOz-like palace that once inspiredthis spray-paintedmessage on a nearby overpass:“Surrender Dorothy.”The Washington Temple’sdramatic façade promisesa wild interior volume, butwhen I attended an openhouse, the windowless conferencerooms disappointed.Mormon temples are designedto maximize spacesfor meetings; and by limiting accessto upper floors, van Beek says thatMormons create a “sacred hierarchy.”In contrast, the Tor Tre Teste JubileeChurch in Rome was designed withspatial intentionality. Paul Post’s photographsshow huge curving wallscreating movement reminiscent of anairport terminal. Minus pews and crucifix,the interior functions as a non-denominationalplace of reflection. Postnotes that the sacred was once viewedas being “fundamentally experiencedin spatial terms...” and that rituals were“always connected with a place.” Now,Post reports, “events, not buildings”are primary in “assigning meaning”and “Christian worship is not tied toa definite place.” But folks still wanttheir churches! Lizette Larson-Millerdocumented the painful process of unifyingvaried cultural expectations tojoin four parishes in Oakland, California.As churches are shuttered, JorienHolsappel-Brons discusses the increasingnumbers of “rooms of silence” inhospitals, airports, and even shoppingmalls.Kenneth Foote says spontaneousshrines are creating sacred space withincreasing speed for a wider range ofevents involving more “voices.” Whilememorial planning can be a catharticprocess for wounded communities,I must note that design by committeeand jurying by “stakeholders” canMormon Temple in Washington, DCresult in conceptually vague examplesof “Hallmark-card minimalism” andpedantically literal monuments. Incontrast, Maya Lin’s masterful VietnamVeteran’s Memorial was selected by ajury of elites (architects, landscape architects,and sculptors) in a competitionorganized by an architect, Paul D.Spreiregen.Many authors of Holy Ground viewboth ritual and the sacred as liberatedfrom religion and tradition. While cointossing, tattoos, tree plantings, concerts,and marches may offer comfort;they seem a thin substitute for traditionalrituals. Other than discussion ofthe Jubilee Church, Holy Ground omitsconsideration of the aesthetic-architectural-spatialcontext that groundsmuch ritual, and is silent on contestedspaces. Despite these omissions readersinterested in rituals and ritualizedspaces will find Holy Ground a sourceof valuable information on scholarlydiscussions of contemporary sacredspace.WArtist Lisa Austin collaborates withlandscape architects, and others engagedwith urban space, on social sculptureprojects, public art and memorials; sheteaches three-dimensional design andsculpture at Edinboro University ofPennsylvania. lisa@lisaaustinpa.comPhoto: Joe Ravi32 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012


A Window to HeavenBook ReviewArchitecture as Icon: Perception and Representationof Architecture in ByzantineArt. Edited by Slobodan Ćurčić andEvangelia Hadjitryphonos. Princeton,NJ: Princeton University Art Museum,2010. 356 pp. ISBN 9780300122114. $48.Reviewed by Christ J. Kamages, AIASacred Architecture Issue 21 2012Architecture as Icon is a catalogueof a joint exhibit presented at theMuseum of Byzantine Culturein Thessaloniki, Greece and PrincetonUniversity Art Museum. Editors Ćurčićand Hadjitryphonos served as curatorsof the exhibit, culling artifacts frommuseums in Europe and the UnitedStates. This book and its related exhibitoccurs in the recent epiphany of interestin the Art and Architecture of Byzantium,despite Gibbons’ portrayal in the Riseand Fall of the Roman Empire, in whichthe era with the largest time period wasportrayed with minor and diminutiveattention. Recent major exhibits suchthe Icons of Sinai at the Getty, The Gloryof Byzantium at the Metropolitan in NewYork, and Holy Image, Holy Space: Frescoesand Icons from Greece at the WaltersMuseum in Baltimore are emblematicof this new interest in the Byzantine era.This project intends to revisit theimportance of the elements of architectureand space in Byzantine icons andother representations rather than thefocusing only on the holy figures inconventional scholarship. The book isa soft-bound but thick volume, dividedinto two parts, with the first comprisedof a series of essays by the editors andadditional contributors, and the secondrepresenting the catalogue of the Byzantinepieces. The items, includingpanel icons, models, liturgical ware,reliquaries, coins, and jewelry, were selectedfor their common incorporationinto a built environment.The first chapter written by Ćurčićsets up the framework for the book,affirming the recent surging interestin Byzantine art by western scholars,and outlining the divergent developmentsof western and eastern representationand understanding of space. Hereminds us, “for Westerners, art wasa means of representing reality and attimes even bettering it, while for Byzantines,art was never an end in itself,but a facilitator of access to the spiritualworld, the indescribable, non-containableuniverse of the divine spirit”(7). An icon is not merely a picture orrepresentation, but a window and abridge to a spiritual reality. The essaygoes on to present examples from thecollection which illuminate a certainaspect of the icon, including a reliquaryin the form of a Serbian monasteryclosed during Ottoman rule, whichpeasants used for prayer and adorationwhen not allowed to enter the church.Ćurčić also presents a very interestingand potent counterpoint betweenMasaccio’s Holy Trinity fresco, with itsimportant one-point perspective, and aRussian icon of the Crucifixion. Whilethe two pieces depict the same subjectin a similar composition, Masaccio’suse of perspective draws the viewerinto the space, whichis divided into earthlyand heavenly zones ofcube and dome, withChrist mediating. TheRussian icon places theCrucifixion in front ofa planar wall of Jerusalem,providing a symbolickind of divisionand an overall sense ofinfinite, uncontainedspace. Next he brieflydescribes the typicaliconostasis of an Easternchurch as an unfolded,condensed churchbuilding serving as aninterface between thealtar and the congregation,with examples such as panelicons which appear to be an unfoldedmap of a church interior, organizingthe myriad saints and prophets in twodimensions.Additional essays explore a range ofinterrelated topics―symbolic interpretationsof Early Christian architecture,with renderings of church architecturefrom mosaics of the period, and theidea of space in Byzantine thought,naturally taking the Trinitarian form of“earth, heaven, and beyond heaven,”corresponding to the three parts ofthe church―narthex, nave, and sanctuary.The fourth chapter explores thepreviously unstudied practice of architecturaldrawing and model makingin Byzantium. Ancient orthogonaldrawings and scale models had beenknown of in Mesopotamia, Egypt, andGreece, but continuous use could onlybe speculated. Sketches from Giulianoda Sangallo, Antonio da Sangallo theYounger, and Villard de Honnecourtare contrasted with a nineteenth-centurybuilder’s sketch for a house inAthens, which to modern western eyesappears unrealistic or cubist, but demonstratesa different understanding ofthe organization of space and elements,and relies on the concept of time as anelement in the experience of the buildingand the drawing.The second half of the book containsthe catalogue of artifacts, includinga polycandelon in the form of a churchwith the exterior and interior synthesized,thirteen-century stone modelsJustinian and Constantine offering Church and City toTheotokos, above the south entrance at Hagia Sophia33


Book Reviewof church forms, architectural censers,and many icons which incorporatean architectural motif or structure,whether it be a single element such asa tower or saint’s shrine, or an overallorganization of figures representinga church or a city. The catalogueis grouped into themes, from GenericRepresentations, Specific Representations,Symbolic Representations, finallyculminating in Jerusalem, orientingthe entire book towards that holy cityand its liturgical meaning. It is in thissection that we find the cover imageof the book, the icon illustrating theHymn to the Virgin, “In Thee Rejoiceth…”This Russian icon from the sixteenth-centuryserved as a guide to thehymn within the liturgy of Saint Basilthe Great, giving visual form to thepriest’s silent prayers to all the ranksof saints. The base of the icon is a bandof martyrs, saints, and bishops, lookingup toward the central enthroned VirginMary with Christ Child, who are surroundedby the archangels in front ofa multi-domed church and paradisiacalpalm trees. The image and its accompanyinghymn intend to lift prayersfrom the earthly realm to the heavenlyrealm, transcending finite space anddirecting the sung hymn to she whois “wider than the heavens.” The icon,often thought of as a devotional tool,unites private prayer, liturgy, music,painted image, and architecture.In Orthodox theology the icon is “awindow to heaven.” Architecture as Iconoffers a provocative theme that projectsthe transformative nature of Byzantinearchitecture, as witnessed anddocumented by Vladimir’s emissariesof Kiev in 988 AD, one of the greatestevangelical conversions in history,where it was proclaimed, “We did notknow whether we were in heaven oron earth. For on earth there is no suchsplendor or such beauty, and we are ata loss how to describe it.”WChrist J. Kamages, AIA is the principalof CJK Design Group in San Rafael, CA.A graduate of the Boston ArchitecturalCenter and SUNY at Buffalo, Christ hasbeen designing Orthodox churches forforty years and was inducted as an ArchonArchitekton by Patriarch Bartholomew inthe year 2000. cjkamages@cjkdesign.comFrom the Publishing HousesA Selection of Recent BooksLost in Wonder: Essays on Liturgy and theArts, by Aidan Nichols, OP. Burlington,VT: Ashgate Publishing Company,2011. 184 pp. ISBN 9781409431619. $80.In the middle of the book, Nicholscovers some architectural principlesand contemporary difficulties, includingthe domestication of church interiors.He proposes suggestions for thealtar and tabernacle, and states that thechurch building is an icon of the spiritualreality of the Church. He writes achapter on the theology and history ofthe Russian icon, and another on thepoet Paul Claudel and sacred art. Ultimately,Nichols argues that Christianitycan and should inspire high culturein both the East and the West.WThe Cathedral of Christ the Light, by Skidmore,Owings & Merrill LLP. Ostfildern,Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2012. 192pp. $52.50.This monograph on the newly dedicatedOakland Cathedral includes 72illustrations, including full page colorphotographs and black & white plandrawings. Essays in the book are composedby the Most Rev. Allen Vigneron,Paul Goldberger, Maristella Casciatoand Craig Hartman, FAIA.WThe Cathedral of Saint Joseph, by theDiocese of Sioux Falls, 2011. 221 pp.$30.This monograph on the restoredSaint Joseph Cathedral tells the historyof the cathedral and a detailed story ofits restoration over the last three years.The Old Mass and the New: Explaining theMotu Proprio Summorum Pontificum ofPope Benedict XVI, by Marc Aillet, CSM.San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2010.126 pp. ISBN 9781586173623. $12.95.The author is a priest of the Communityof Saint Martin, which celebratesthe Mass of Paul VI in Latin. Easy tounderstand, this book gives an overviewof the history and theology of theliturgy. Aillet also looks to a reconciliationof the two forms of the Latin rite.Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpiecesbefore 1500, by Scott Nethersole.London: National Gallery Company,2011. 184 pp. ISBN 9781857095258. $34.This book provides beautiful color illustrationsof Italian altarpieces paintedbetween 1250 and 1500, most of whichare in the collection at the National Galleryin London. Scott Nethersole of theCourtauld Institute of Art, London, exploresthe original purpose of the altarpiecesand how they were made.W34 Sacred Architecture Issue 21 2012WStephen Dykes Bower, by Anthony Symondson.London: RIBA Publishing,2011. 185 pp. ISBN 9781859463987. $33.Dykes Bower was a 20th-centuryBritish architect who rejected modernismand emphasized fine detailand craftsmanship. He built four newchurches, including St John’s at Newbury,and designed the high altar andbaldacchino at Saint Paul’s Cathedral.This book reveals Dykes Bower’s workand his widely unknown career.WSt Paul’s Cathedral Before Wren,by John Schofield. Swindon, UK:English Heritage, 2011. 386 pp. ISBN9781848020566.This research book consists of an archeologicaland historical study of thesite of St Paul’s Cathedral, includingthe Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods,the medieval St Gregory’s Church andthe Great Fire of 1666.


SACRED ARCHITECTUREArticles“A flowering of traditional church architecture has occurred far beyond even the optimistichopes expressed in the year 2001...a perusal of the last thirteen years of Sacred Architecture,diligently produced by the Institue for Sacred Architecture, surveys well the achievements ofthe last decade and more.” - Dr. Denis R. McNamara, The Liturgical InstituteDonations of $35 or more to Sacred Architecture will receive the newbook by Denis R. McNamara, How to Read Churches:A Crash Course in Ecclesiastical Architecture.Visit www.sacredarchitecture.orgor fill out the enclosed card to subscribe or make a donation.For more information, telephone (574) 232-1783, fax (574) 232-1792 ore-mail editor@sacredarchitecture.org.


Sacred ArchitectureP.O. Box 556Notre Dame, IN 46556$6.00 Newsstand PricePresorted StandardU.S. PostagePaidPermit No. 6New Hope, KYISSN# 1535-9387spACe foRmAtIon, LItuRgICALfuRnItuRe, AppoIntments,sACReD ARt, stAtuARy, CARvIngs,mosAICs, gLAss ARt, muRALs.st. John seminary Chapel RestorationBrighton, MAIt was Cardinal William o’Connell,who commissioned the Romanartist gonippo Raggi to decoratethe interior of the chapel in 1908.Rohn Design and Associates isnow privileged to restore theoriginal colors and forms whichhave, through time and previousrestorations, lost much of theiroriginal brilliance and detail.RestoRAtIons • neW ConstRuCtIonRohn & Associates Design, Inc. has served as Liturgical Designers, Artists and Artisans since 1952www.rohndesign.com • rolfrohn@rohndesign.com1(800) 245-1288Catholicliturgicalarts.blogspot.comConsuLtIng • sACReD ARt • RenovAtIonsCatholic LiturgicalArts JournalpIttsbuRgh • neW y o R k • s A n A ntonI o • f L o R enC e • Rome • kRAkoW

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