Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Beautiful Enchantment of the St. Paul's Cathedral

Churches within England have withstood the longstanding tradition amongst the accelerated progression surrounding them. The role of churches provided the entire population a place for spiritual connection and the head figures had the ability to wield power over the masses. The Church of England, established by Henry VII, infused elements of both Catholicism and Protestantism to fundamentally create a new religion. Today, the Church of England infusion of two different religions within Christianity produced highlighted key elements within each of the respective religions. This can be clearly seen in the St. Paul’s Cathedral, a Vatican-like status for the Church of England and its people.

            The building itself introduces the service and supports the overall experience throughout. The entrance towers over all the buildings and sets the tone for this cathedral. The grand stairs lead up to the massive Corinthian pillars, which framed the entrance into the cathedral. Silence. The first sense used as the bustling street filled with sounds of cars and people evaporated when walking into the St. Paul’s Cathedral. The spirited imagery and architecture stimulate all of the visual senses. The meticulous images consume every wall and the ceiling, full with icons of Jesus and other holy figures. Within each of the paintings is a biblical story with the original intent to convey a certain message without the use of words. Each step towards the service brought more religious illustrations. Upon arriving to the dome, the setting displays vibrant paintings, sculptures, architectural features, with the seating focused around the service. 

            The service mimicked the overall ambiance felt in the cathedral. The service followed a traditional guideline, since its establishment in 1534. Due to this customary principle, the atmosphere instituted a specific standard that must be kept. The ambiance could only be felt with the assistance of the music. The music played a key element in the service as the majority of the service was through song. The music throughout the service left a daunting impression. The constant disruption in the music and heavy use of minor notes created an eerie mood in each of the songs. The combination of the organ and the choir- embodied with the range of young boys to elder men- heightened the overall theme of the service. Beyond the music, the service itself imitated many characteristics of the Catholic Church, with little representation of Protestantism. Throughout the service, many traditions of the structure with the Bishop representing the highest position and standing while the Bishop speaks are similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church. While there is no priest within the Church of England, the Bishop has impersonated the role in the similar manner. Although a slight deviation from Catholicism, the mass had the biggest shift when incorporating modern issues into the service. They spoke about the inclusion of women to be Bishops. The current concerns within the Church of England clashed with the traditional setting and service, which overall brought relevance to the churchgoers. The theme of weakness and power was incorporated from the historical use of Latin in songs to the speech concerning the matters of today. The final conclusion of the service left the overall mood unsettling contrasting to that of the scenic aesthetics of the St. Paul's Cathedral.

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