Entry

Entry

A recent trip to St. Louis, MO, provided me with the opportunity to visit the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.  Not being Catholic, my first question was “what differentiates a Cathedral from a Basilica?”  According to catholiceducation.org, a Cathedral is “the chief church of the diocese, the bishop’s church.”  It does not have to be magnificent or highly decorated; the key component is the Bishop.  A basilica, on the other hand, refers fundamentally to a form of Roman architecture.

“When the ancient Romans spoke of a basilica they were referring to a large, high-ceilinged hall with three long aisles. The Romans used basilicas as courts, public meeting areas, and even as indoor markets — an early form of our shopping malls. In the fourth century, after Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, many bishops modeled their churches and cathedrals on the Roman basilica, setting up the altar at the far end of the hall.”  (catholiceducation.org)

 

 

A Catholic basilica moves beyond architecture by virtue of papal identification of the site/building as having “unusual historical significance,” or as being “especially sacred because of the presence of a relic or relics.”  On April 4, 1997, the Saint Louis Cathedral was made a Basilica by Pope John Paul II.  The Cathedral’s huge mosaic installation (one of the 3 largest in the western hemisphere, if I understand correctly) is one of the things that makes this building so treasured.

I was somewhat uncomfortable entering this sacred space with a camera and wearing street clothes.  However, as neither was prohibited in the Basilica’s Code of Conduct, I quieted my qualms and crossed the threshold with appreciation for the willingness of the Church to share this astoundingly beautiful building with the public.  Truthfully, the only camera I had was on my phone.  These photos are by my husband (Cleeo W. Wright) who, although his non-phone camera is not set up for architectural photography, is much more capable than I am.  If you enjoy this peek and would like to see more but can’t make it to St. Louis, the Cathedral website has a virtual tour.

Narthex

Narthex

Narthex detail

I have fought a good fight. I have kept the faith.

 

Nave

Nave with domes

Central Dome

Central Dome and West Transept

Symbolic of  the Power of God's Love

Symbolic of the Power of God’s Love

 

 

East Transept and Pulpit

East Transept and Pulpit

West Transept

West Transept

Blue Rose Window

Blue Rose Window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of pictures of the Baldacchino, a domed structure that covers the main altar.  (The Cathedral website has some good shots from angles we couldn’t achieve)

Baldachino

Baldachino

Baldacchino, west side

Baldacchino, west side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few examples of the mosaics:

Mosaic Arches

Mosaic Arches

Mosaic Ceiling

Mosaic Ceiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child

Mosaic Detail: Stars

Mosaic Detail: Stars

Mosaic Detail: Sun

Mosaic Detail: Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Altars, Aisles, Pillars, Statues

Hall with Statue

Aisle with Statue

Arch with Altar

Arch with Altar

Mosaic hall

Mosaic Aisle

Mosaic Pillar

Mosaic Pillar

Altar

Altar

 

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