About Cathedrals

With all the press we are now getting about the devastating results of the fire at Notre Dame, I have been thinking more about cathedrals and why they inspire us so. More than 10 years ago I wrote a post about the Cologne Cathedral and the awe I have of it – religious building or not – and what the building of a cathedral meant – and today means – to mankind.

Here is that old post about the Cologne Cathedral – der Kölner Dom

If you have any interest in learning more about the building of cathedrals in medieval times, you might want to read Follett’s series of books starting with Pillars of the Earth. It takes you right into the world and the hearts of the people that built these structures.

And I remain in awe.

7 thoughts on “About Cathedrals

  1. barbara carlson

    That men began to built those huge edifices knowing they would not see them completed in their lifetimes (or even their children’s) is like planting trees. It’s not about the result, but the process — a tribute to something bigger than themselves.

    It’s how the cloistered nuns (who cannot leave the nunnery) was explained to me by a brother of one of them: they are the sap in a tree, unseen, but life-giving and as spend most of their time in prayer.

    What awed me re a total belief in a god was in Liss, UK, where the town could see a hilltop church where — in Medieval Times — there was a 1000-voice choir that sang praises (chants) to God round the clock, common folk joining and leaving as they worked the singing worship into their days and nights.

    Something indeed has been lost in the pagan world. Something comes through the composing and singing of music in the (tyrannical) religious age that lifts it somehow. Belief in a soul, I guess.

    It is left up to the individual, now that god is dead, to find the meaning of life. Many people don’t, or can’t, and need organized religion to get them through the night. That evangelical, “christian”, organized religion has become so fascist — and anti-Jesus’ teachings — must puzzle them, yet they stay…and do not seem to question it. That to me is a cult.

    A young friend asked me the other day — in the event of the end of the human race, will all the gods die, too?

    1. Thank you for the insightful comments. You’re bringing up topics that each deserve a blog post, if not a whole lifetime of study. Ah, so much to learn, so little time!

  2. barbara carlson

    Read your post on Cologne Cathedral — two things are remarkable: the crane story and that so many people took the time to lengthily comment (mainly about dropping bombs) but still. What a difference a decade can make in people’s expenditure of time and effort. Busy. Busy. Busy. Millions click on the political FBs I read daily, but the number of comments is infinitesimal , and comments on those comments is even smaller. (Yet I still comment, for who knows how many are reached but don’t comment themselves.)

    1. Comments are active engagement. We’re teaching ourselves not to engage. I often find it hard to just post. Every time I make a statement, I rate a book, I feel a little exposure. I am putting out a record. At the same time, I am proud of doing so. Most people don’t put out that record for what they stand. This blog has 3,555 posts and every one of them is some kind of record of my opinion. Scary, sometimes.

      1. barbara carlson

        Scary, yes, and why I won’t go to The States until Trump, et al. are gone and his customs chaps can’t see my social media comments and keep me out. (Altho I think that has died down a little. Or has it? Just because the media has moved on — which happens every few hours — doesn’t mean it’s over.)

        And being fearful is harmful to your health, so I try to do things that beat it back — like my (on-line) Really Short (True) Story Club. Some hilarious stories are coming in for May answering the question, “My Worst Night ‘On the Road’.”

        And the stories can always be signed: anonymous. If there is anyone out there who’d like more information, here is my FB info & you can Message me:


        I was born in So. California, but am now a Canadian citizen, with dual citizenship. Can and do vote as an American. So I feel I have a little skin in the extraordinary political game exploding across our lives, wherever we live.

  3. Kristen Aliotti

    Coursera – mostly-free online source of thousands of classes – has a course in Cathedrals. I took it last year and loved it. I even got an email from the professor last week, going into some interesting facts/aspects of the Notre Dame fire.

    1. Wow, Kristen, first it’s amazing that there are courses about this, and second, that you find the time to just take THAT course. Special! Thanks for letting us know!

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