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Golden Sunny Southwark

The Shard and Southwark Cathedral.jpgLondon’s neo-Gothic Southwark Cathedral (also known to its close friends as The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Saviour and Saint Mary Overie) is a hodgepodge of renovations and additions dating back to the 1200’s. It was the first Gothic church in London. Southwark’s age is all the more striking given its position athwart the London Shard, which, with the Gherkin, ranks as the boldest among London’s innovative pieces of architecture. During an otherwise bleak, rainy January day in London this week, rays of golden yellow sunshine streamed through Southwark’s clerestory windows — enough to warm the heart of even stern non-believers:

Southwark Cathedral.jpg

The Gothic church was meant as a facsimile of heaven.

Addendum: A man of the cloth writes in (eloquently):

Enjoyed your post today about Southwark Cathedral. Beautiful photos and compelling copy. A couple of further thoughts:

Cathedrals are designed to cause a person to look up. That is the physical manifestation of an internal disposition of worship: We look up.

The aesthetic feast and over-the-top opulence cathedrals display can strike well-meaning people as excessive. After all, the resources and efforts showered on such spaces could have been used in more practical ways to help people in need. Yet there is an egalitarian aspect to these sacred meeting places. Cathedrals were “the palaces of the poor” — a glimpse of abundance and heaven itself for those whose daily lives were hard and spare. Here, in the architecture, music and aromas, the transcendent drew near to our senses so that one could become enveloped in goodness, beauty and truth. And, like heaven itself, all who entered these cathedrals did so on equal footing, for earthly positions, pretensions and portfolios melt away in God’s overwhelming presence.

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