Wednesday 17 February 2016

Church architecture worth the name

I meant to post about this the other day but Fr Michael Brown (happily posting again at Gateshead Revisited) got there before me.  A new church of the Protection of the Mother of God at Yasenevo, on the outskirts of Moscow. You can see more fabulous pictures and read something of its development at the Orthodox Arts Journal.

How wonderful to see a that it is still possible to build a modern church completely in touch with its architectural and liturgical tradition. Not only that, this wasn't paid for by some Russian oligarch but:
The true miracle of the Yasenevo church, though, lies not in its richness, but its poverty. Astonishingly, this church, constructed in just seven years, had no major individual donors. There was no great oligarch or wealthy institution footing the bill. Rather, the money came in small donations from ordinary people and pious organizations – 800,000 donors in total.
So it can still be done. What an indictment on the attitude so often seen here in the west, where churches both new and when "re-ordered" are either completely unremarkable or remarkable for their abandonment or ignorance of anything in our Christian tradition. When we are expected to praise every style except our own, so far as church architecture is concerned.


Jacobi said...

This church is beautiful, in that is it represents the beauty of the Triune God.

Given the architectural ugliness which Catholics in the UK have been subjected to since the 1960s, it leaves one feeling ashamed.

I am a perhaps bit conscious of this. I come, as a Catholic, from a mainly Protestant family. The family (Protestant) parish church, which I go to for various events from time to time is about two hundred years old - and it is beautiful and Christian by any standards. I never cease to be reminded of this when I go to various post-sixties Catholic churches where I live.

David O'Neill said...

Perhaps even worse, Jacobi, are the many old & beautiful Catholic churches which were virtually destroyed by modernisation in the name of Vatican 2. There is, I believe, only 1 totally unspoiled church in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne where the High Altar, altar rails et al are still in place. Sadly that church no longer has a resident priest & has, I believe, only 1 Mass each week on Sundays.