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The Fantastic Ornate Building of Saint Philomena’s Church, Mysore

Fantastic Ornate Building of Saint Philomena's Church, Mysore

Though Mysore has been a stronghold of traditional Hinduism from time immemorial, it has been famous for the harmonious coexistence of other religions also. This is testified to by many churches and mosques, which have been serving the cause of religion of their followers without any hindrance. Saint Philomena’s Church on the Ashoka Road (and practically at the entrance of Mysore coming from Bangalore) is a testimony for the religious tolerance of the people of Mysore.

Attractive colonnades of Saint Philomena's Church, Mysore There was a church known as Saint Joseph’s church built in 1840 and it was reconstructed and was renamed as Saint Joseph and Saint Philomena’s cathedral. It is said that Sri Thamboo Chetty, the then Dewan of Mysore in one of his visits had brought a piece of bone and drapery of the famous religious savant from Magnano in France from Peter Pisani, Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies and he wanted to consecrate them in a suitable church for this purpose.

The cathedral was designed by French architects and its foundation was laid by the then Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadeyar II in 1933. This church is modelled on Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and the Gothic Church at Cologne in Germany.

Unique Architectural Style with Some Greek Features

The most attractive part of this edifice is the two tall imposing pointed towers at the facade itself. The two towers rise to a height of 165 ft. The elegance of this structure is enhanced by miniature pointed towers at different points, adding further height to the cathedral.

The vertically fashioned tall windows at regular intervals add a great charm. The pointed triangular gothic motifs at different places is another attraction.

Crypt with statue of Saint Philomena in Mysore

The church has a crypt in which is a statue of Saint Philomena in a catacomb-like cell. A piece of her bone is preserved at the center of a beautiful shield. There is also a piece of her drapery. Hence, this is important to Roman Catholics.

The interior of the cathedral is decorated with attractive colonnades and glass paintings made in France. Particularly noteworthy are the paintings of crucification of Christ and John baptizing Christ. The annual Saint Philomena’s feast is held in this cathedral. Large numbers of Roman Catholic devotees visit this sacred cathedral.

Unique Architectural Style with Some Greek Features of Saint Philomena's Church, Mysore

Hundreds of tourists of all religions to Mysore visit this cathedral daily to see the lofty and beautiful, tall and imposing towers and the architecture of a rare type not generally seen in many areas of this country.

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The Chapel of the Transfiguration in the Grand Teton National Park

The Chapel of the Transfiguration in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

This rustic Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration was built in the summer of 1925. First services were held here on July 26 of that year, and on August 16, it was consecrated by The Rt. Reverend N. S. Thomas D.D., then Bishop of Wyoming.

The first suggestion for a chapel in this location was made about 1920 to a group seated around a campfire at the summer camp of Dr. George Woodward, of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. Having made a long and tiresome trip that day from their camp near the outlet of Leigh Lake to the nearest place of worship in the town of Jackson, Mrs. Woodward expressed the wish that a chapel could be built at Menor’s Ferry, which was the center of what was the “dude ranch” portion of the valley. She discussed the idea with her friend, Miss Maude Noble, who owned and later generously donated the land where the chapel stands.

Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Plans for the building did not fully materialize until the early spring of 1925, when Archdeacon R.H. Balcom came to take charge of the Mission in Jackson’s Hole. He became actively interested in the idea, designed the building, and wrote of his plans to Mr. C. B. Voorhis, of Pasadena, California. Mr. Voorhis, who had a beautiful ranch on Torrey Lake, near Dubois in Wyoming, had been a lifelong friend of Bishop Thomas. He was greatly interested in the bishop’s work and had contributed significantly to the church and the first hospital in Jackson. Discussing the plans for a chapel at Menor’s Ferry with Bishop Thomas, Mr. Voorhis assured him that he and Mrs. Voorhis would be glad to finance the project. From that moment, work on the Chapel progressed rapidly.

The Chapel is built of lodgepole pine, with pews of quaking aspen, cut in the valley. Above the altar is a plate glass reredos window framing the Grand Tetons. For twenty-four hours every day during the tourist season, the door is open to all who come.

Chapel of the Transfiguration in the Grand Teton National Park is built of lodgepole pine with pews of quaking aspen.

The Chapel is named most appropriately in commemoration of the Gospel story of the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28–36), where we are told of Jesus going into the mountains with Peter, James and John and appearing to them in the company of Moses and Elijah, resplendent in dazzling white clothing. Then a cloud enveloped them, and a voice said, “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.” When the cloud went away, Jesus was seen, standing alone, by His disciples.

The Altar was given as a memorial by the C.B. Voorhis family; the font was given in memory of Miss Quita Woodward; the vestibule stained glass was presented by Miss Jessie Van Brunt. The bell, cast in 1842, is from St. Barnabas Church, Irvington, N.Y. The organ was given in 2009 by those who love worshipping here.

Address all communications to St. John’s Episcopal Church Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming 83001.

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Byzantine Architecture & Spiritual Glory of Hagia Sophia

The vast, echoing interior of Hagia Sophia

For 900 years, this mountainous hulk of a building was a Christian cathedral, then for 500 years a Muslim mosque. It has not only felt the tread of mighty emperors and sultans, but also suffered the cruel predations of invading armies. Indeed, for a place of worship, Hagia Sophia (“Holy Wisdom”) bears more than its fair share of scars. Many of its once-glorious Byzantine mosaics have been either damaged or destroyed, while its sumptuous Islamic carpets have been rolled up and removed, following the building’s conversion into a museum in 1935.

Today the two religions co-exist inside, locked in a state of suspended disharmony. Gigantic wooden discs, bearing the names of Allah and his prophet Muhammad, stare across at restored gold images of Christ Pantocrator (“All Powerful”). One faith (Islam) forbids the representation of the human or divine form, the other (Christianity) exults in it, and here the contradiction finds dramatic expression.

Hagia Sophia, Ayasofya Museum, Istanbul But while the works of art on the walls may give off conflicting messages, the building itself communicates an aura of might, with its sturdy stone columns, echoing marble floors and great slabs of stone from across the Mediterranean world (Egyptian porphyry, black stone from the Bosphorus, yellow from Syria). The great central dome soars 180 feet above the floor, pierced by 40 windows, through which stream shafts of light, giving the effect that it is floating, weightless, suspended by some heavenly force. The Hagia Sophia was rebuilt at the orders of Emperor Justinian in 537 CE. Then, for 900 years, Hagia Sophia had been the center of Orthodox Christianity until 1453 when the city was concurred by Ottomans. 500 years following the conquest of Muslims, it became a jewel for the Muslim world and as the grand mosque of the sultans.

It took 10,000 laborers to build this immense structure, and by the time it was officially consecrated in 537 CE, it was already the third Christian cathedral to have been built on this site (the first was in 360 CE). Since then Hagia Sophia has endured the very worst that humankind (wars and looting) and nature (fires and earthquakes) can visit upon it. And it is still standing.

Hagia Sophia was chosen a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. Hagia Sophia has became one of the most important monuments on the planet with its architecture and historical richness.

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The Black Madonna Icon of Czestochowa in the Jasna Gora Monastery, Poland

Czestochowa, Poland

Outside Czestochowa, in an industrial area, is the Jasna Gora Monastery that houses the famous Black Madonna Icon. Over the years, this famous shrine to the Virgin Mary in Poland has become the most important center of pilgrimage for the Polish people and for Roman Catholics.

Legend has it that this portrait of the Black Madonna icon traces its origin to Luke the Evangelist. St. Luke is believed to have painted this portrait of the Blessed Virgin on a bench that was produced by Jesus when Jesus was a trainee-carpenter learning under the guidance of St. Joseph. Following the crucifixion of Jesus, this bench was brought to the Holy City of Jerusalem. After Jerusalem fell to the invading Romans, some Christian monks hid the Black Madonna icon during their itinerant travels.

Empress Helena, the wife of Emperor Constantius and the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great discovered this bench in the fourth century when searching for the relics of the True Cross and brought the picture to Constantinople, modern Istanbul. From the third century to the eighth century, this portrait remained in Constantinople.

Jasna Gora Monastery, Czestochowa

In the eight century, during the rise of Islam in the Middle East and the following the siege of Constantinople, some Christian holy men carried the portrait to Belsk in east-central Poland. During the looting that followed the 1382 Tartar invasion, the portrait remained hidden because a mysterious cloud enveloped the chapel that housed this portrait. After the Tartars abandoned their siege of Belsk in 1384, a Prince of Belsk took the Black Madonna icon to a then-obscure parish called Czestochowa and entrusted it with the Pauline monks of St. Paul of the Desert at the Jasna Gora Monastery near Czestochowa. Over the course of time, Jasna Gora became a centre of pilgrimage for Polish Christians and Catholics.

In 1430 The Hussites attached Czestochowa and embezzled the Black Madonna icon. Legend has it that as the Hussites were leaving Czestochowa, their horses mysteriously halted at the edges of the village and they could not be spurred to move forward without abandoning the Black Madonna portrait. When the Pauline monks found the portrait stained by mud and blood, they could not find any water in the wells of the village because the all the water had been used to fight a big fire incited by the invading Hussites. Then, a miraculous fountain initiated itself to aid the monks. This spring is said to have magical powers.

Kaplica Cudownego Obrazu, Chapel of Our Lady

After the Hussite invasion the Poles fought for three hundred years with the Teutonic Crusaders, and all the decisive victories won by the Polish nation in these battles are attributed to the miraculous help of the Holy Virgin. Thus the safety of the shrine of Czestochowa is identified with the very safety and independence of the whole nation.

In the seventeenth century, the Black Madonna icon is credited with saving the Jasna Gora Monastery when the Swedish army took siege of Czestochowa for more than six weeks during The Deluge. Even though this event is not significant from a military perspective, the event inspired the Polish unity and independence over the centuries. On 1-Apr-1656, the King of Poland Jan Kazimierz consecrated Poland to the protection of the Mother of God and proclaimed Her the Patron of his kingdom and acclaimed her the Queen of Poland. That preserved Czestochowa’s reputation as the spiritual capital of the nation of Poland.

Black Madonna Icon of Czestochowa

The Jasna Gora Monastery is a functioning Monastery inside which the ‘Kaplica Cudownego Obrazu’, or the Chapel of Our Lady, holds the venerated Black Madonna Icon, Poland’s most revered icon. The unveiling ceremony is held at 06:00 and 13:30 on the weekdays and at 06:00 and 14:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. The veiling ceremony is held at 12:00 and 21:20 on the weekdays and at 13:00 and 21:20 on Saturdays and Sundays.

A museum holds, among many artifacts, arsenals, and religious objects of interest, the medal from the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize received by Lech Walesa, the Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist.

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