Local Heart, Global Soul

January 23, 2016

An Stunning Church That Commands Your Attention…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The amazing church that dominates the skyline at the end of the Skólavörðustígur street in yesterday’s post, is as I mentioned there:”Hallgrímskirkja” (church of Hallgrímur) which is the Lutheran Church of Iceland.

Nordic Adventure Travel, Places of Worship” website (link below) tells us:

Ideally situated on the hill Skolavorduholt, overlooking the centre of old Reykjavik, the church of Hallgrimur is the crown on Iceland’s capital with its magnificent 73 m high steeple rising above all other buildings in Reykjavik.

It is the largest church of the country with a seating capacity for 1200 people in the nave. It was under construction longer than any other building in Iceland and has at times generated considerable controversy.

The name of the Rev. Hallgrimur Petursson (1614-1674), without a doubt Iceland’s most beloved poet, was soon linked to the plans for the proposed church.

He influenced the nation’s spiritual development perhaps more than any other person, and generation after generation of Icelanders have read, memorized and quoted his best known work, Hymns of the Passion.

Iceland adopted Christianity in the year 1000 and was a part of the Roman Catholic Church until the Reformation in the 16th century, when the Icelandic church became Lutheran. to this day about 95% of the Icelandic population belong to the Lutheran Church.

State Architect Gudjon Samuelsson (1887-1950) was commissioned to design the Hallgrims church in 1937.  The design  is reminiscent of the rugged mountains and icecaps, which dominate Iceland’s landscapes.

Inevitably the design engendered controversy, especially its size and the towering steeple. Nonetheless a large number of people was determined to see the project through and the design remained unchanged.

The steeple and both wings were completed in 1974, providing the congregation with a better place for worship and other facilities. The nave was consecrated in 1986 on the bicentennial of the city of Reykjavik.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

60% of the cost of construction has been raised by the congregation and private donations from all over the country, even from abroad, but government and city contributions have increased in latter years. In December 1992 a grand organ of 72 stops, commissioned from Johannes Klais in Bonn, was inaugurated.

The organ, by far the largest in Iceland, has four manuals and pedals, 5.,275 pipes and mechanical tracture. It stands 15 meters high and weighs some 25 tons.

The Hallgrims church has many  interesting features. The main door into the sanctuary , large, stained window above the front entrance of the church and pulpit decorations were designed and made by the artist Leifur Breidfjord. The church also possesses a copy of the first Icelandic Bible, Gudbrandsbiblia, printed at Holar in 1584.

The Motet Choirs is among the best choirs in Iceland. it was founded by the church’s organist and cantor in 1982 and since then it has given numerous concerts and toured most countries of Europe.

The steeple is among the best known and most visible of Reykjavik’s landmarks and provides an unmistakable signpost for the city’s visitors. The view of the capital and its surroundings is superb from a platform 83 meters above sea level.

The steeple is open to the public against a small charge for those who use the elevator, which proceeds go towards the maintenance of the church. There are three big bells in the steeple and a carillon of 29 bells. The big bells carry the names Hallgrimur, Gudrun and Steinunn, named after the Rev., his wife and a daughter, who died young.  The carillon is the first in Iceland and the church is one of only three churches in Reykjavik, which chime on the hour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Hallgrímskirkja / church of Hallgrímur

 

November 10, 2015

Titus Brandsma Parochie… I’ve Found Another Interesting Church

Whenever Himself and I head out to our small rented garden plot, we pass by an interesting looking church. I looked up the address and found that it was called “De Titus Brandsma Parochie” which translates as “The Titus Brandsma Parish”, a Roman Catholic church. So far we have only driven by, so I don’t have photographs of the inside, but this is definitely a church I would like to follow up with a more detailed post.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Titus Brandsma
a. Kamperfoeliestraat 279, 2563 KH, Den Haag
t. (070) 325 56 75
@. secretariaat@titusbrandsmaparochie-denhaag.nl

The Titus Brandsma Parish

October 7, 2015

Arriving At The Church Because You Just Can’t Say No…

Filed under: CHURCHES,Limburg (Province),PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Belgium has a large city called Mechelen, but there is also a Mechelen in the Netherlands, just over the border from Belgium in the Dutch province of Limburg.

The Dutch Mechelen is a tiny fraction of it’s Belgian city cousin, but they share a feature of stunning architecture.

After I exited the little café mentioned in yesterday’s post, and  had watched a trail of racing cyclists puff their way up the bend, I saw a driver of a van stop and wave for me to cross the road.

It was only at that point that I realised that since I was standing on the curb he must of thought that I was waiting to cross the road, and that it was difficult because I was on crutches.

Yes, it is difficult to cross roads on crutches but I hadn’t actually intended to cross the road at all, I was just taking photographs by the curb. Now I’m in a position where someone is doing me a kindness I don’t actually want and trying to tell him that I don’t actually want to cross the road is going to get awkward. The man is smiling and waves again… so I do what most of us have probably done at some time in their lives, I cross a road I had no intention of crossing and give him a smile and a wave back to say  Thank You for a deed I had never intended for him to do.  Now I’m on the opposite side of the road from our car parked around the corner and that’s how I ended up taking photographs of the local church…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Small greenery…

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Bigger greenery … chestnuts?

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Yes it’s crooked, standing straight on one leg whilst taking photos: an art-form I haven’t yet mastered.

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September 1, 2015

The History In Every Stone Inspires Me…

I’m leaving Saint Servatius in Maastricht and before I head away I want to post more photographs of this beautiful building . The detail delights me, the textures,  patterns, carvings and the history in every stone inspire me. If you are a lover of historic architecture like I am, then I’m certain that you will be delighted too….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 31, 2015

In Memory Of…

Outside the Basilica of Saint Servatius on one side wall, is a memorial with many hundreds of names on it. It looks like a war memorial, but I didn’t get close enough to check it out properally because Himself was arriving with the car to pick me up and since there were no spare car parking spots available, he was going to have to double park whilst I got in as quickly as possible. I’m always mindful that many people in Europe and around the world gave their lives sothat I could enjoy and appreciate my  freedom so like to honour their sacrifice whenever I see a war memorial. R.I.P to them all…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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In Memory Of...

In Memory Of…

 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 30, 2015

I Think That I Need To Confess…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The interior of the Basilica of Saint Servatius is an art-lover’s paradise.

One of the things that captures my eye are the large number of confessionals around the church.

Not just any confessionals either: these are massive pieces of furniture, each of them has a sitting area for the priest in the center and then a cubicle to the left and the right that contains a small seat and a screen separating if from the priest’s seat.

The confessionals are located in pairs throughout the Basilica and so in theory at least eight or twelve confessions could be heard in quick succession by three or four priests.

They are more than two meters high and at least four meters long but are dwarfed by the huge spaces in which they stand. I confess I love these too because they are decorated with ornate carved statues and are great examples of all aspects of the woodcarvers craft. It also proves that even the most functional pieces of furniture in the Basilica have been crafted with care and detail.People took pride in their work and valued beauty, something that I think has been almost completely lost when it comes to public and community spaces in the 21st century.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 29, 2015

The Last Glimmers Of Light…

There were too many photographs to fit into yesterdays  post so today’s post is a continuation of it and the very last of the stained glass windows here. Actually there were more, but the windows were further away and I thought that the resulting photographs were not worth posting, the detail mostly lost because my zoom lens was not sufficiently powerful to capture them at their best. The lack of photo quality was definitely the fault of my camera  rather than the windows… My apologies if you are sick of the sight of stained glass, this is the last post about glass for a while I promise!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 28, 2015

Raising My Eyes To The Stained Glass Again…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m finishing my tour of the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht.

As my regular readers will know, I love stained glass, so a Basilica full of the stuff is like an intoxicating drug.

There are roundels of celtic-like interwoven floral designs, heraldic shields and crests, stunning black glass painted background motifs that connect the larger coloured pieces and large stand out central panels which are round or semicircular in most cases, surrounded by detailed backgrounds.

I do laugh though, both of the heraldic lions that stand either side of a shield have remarkably human faces, probably because in all likelyhood the glass artist had never seen a lion in real life so made do as best he could.

There is also real artistry in the intricate painted letters on the glass, the charactors are more uniform than I would have imagined possible. If you contrast this to the lettering in the coat of arms panel with crowned lions and a large crown right next to it, which I think is supposed to have some sort of royal connection, since the “je maintaineri “ (“I shall maintain”) motto which is still on the Dutch royal family coat of arms appears almost clumsy by comparison.

Of course it was usual for there to be a whole team of glass artists working on a single window at one time so probably these lettering examples were made by different people.

If you are wondering why the words are written in French rather than in Dutch is it probably because French was the official language of The Netherlands for some three hundred years when France ruled over a considerably larger land area than it does today.

In the bottom of one of the figure panels where two (priests ?) are kneeling, a little read book lays in the green grass, the book is tiny in the figure photograph but I managed to get a detailed close up of it at the top of the panels in the second from bottom row of glass in the big window. Even such a tiny book has detail on the clasp, and it’s this possibility to look at a window like this a hundred times and discover something new each time that so fascinates me.

Lastly there are some very modern windows, I personally like them a bit less than the more traditional glass, but fully appreciate the amount of work and skill needed to make them. They have very dramatic colour and movement that isn’t really possible in the old style and are beautiful in their own way.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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st Servatius stained glass 2 (Small)

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 27, 2015

Weaving Was (And Still Should Be) Rated As High As The Goldsmith’s Art…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst visiting the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht several years ago I was delighted to find an exhibition of textiles in a room, fittingly located next to the room where the gold, silver, ivory were displayed.

I have been an avid embroiderer for many years, but my passion for stitching has been put on hold since my accident because high doses of pain medication have effected my concentration levels to the point that I was unpicking more than I stitched.

Various drugs such as Prednison, used to control my chemical lung damage and asthma have also affected my eyesight and I find it increasingly difficult to see tiny stitches that I had no trouble with just five or six years ago.

Even if I am not currently stitching, I still love the pattern, texture and feeling of all things fiber and this, blended with my love of history means that an exhibition like this makes my heart sing.

There is an information board that gives some background to the pieces on display, it says:
“From the beginning of Christianity, articles belonging to a beloved and respected person have played an important role, the owner of these articles could depend on the special protection of the concerning Saint.

In the default of relics, people proceeded to consider articles as a relic, which had a close relation with the Saint. That also goes for the objects and the art-treasures which are in the treasury which have belonged by tradition to Saint Servaas (+ 384 A.D.), the fist bischop of Maastricht and of the Netherlands: the cup, the key, the pectoral cross, the seal, the altar, the travelling chalice and the paten, the crosier and the pilgrim’s staff.

St Servatius textiles 1a (Small)

It was owing to the great veneration of Saint Servaas that important documents concerning textile and needle art have been preserved for us.
The sanctity of the relics faded into the textures in which they were wrapped in, and these textures became “secondary relics”
Like this, the so called “bandea” developed in the old christian times: linen or silk sheets which were draped over the grave or over the reliquary-shrine. By that these sheets became sanctifying, and for the future, honoured as a relic. The numberous textures in which the relics were wrapped in, became also part of these relics.

From the earliest christian times, these, often very small packets, received a certificate of authenticity: aparchment slip (cedula) with the name of the saint. This packet was put away in an alter or in a reliquary.

This tradition has been maintained up to now. Recently a few reliquaries were covered with sixteenth-century textile. They are exhibited in one of the show-cases in our treasury.

The textile bandage served also as a purse or bag, but also as a relic-holder, like the purse of green goldbrocade that was found in the shrine of Saint Servaas and that contained some small fragments of his bones.
The used textiles were very precious. Silks were consideed as valuable as gold and the art of weaving was rated even as high as the goldsmith’s art. The fragments of such reliquaries are the principle source of our knowledge of medieval textile art, especially since the end of the 19 th century when scientific curiosity took out the relics-packets from their hidden exitance.”
The light is deliberately fairly low in the room, this is intentional because light damages textiles, since I am aware of that I take (as is my usual habitanyway) all of my photographs without using the flash. Some of the pictures in this post are therefore slightly out of focus, keeping very still whilst leaning on crutches is a talent I’m still perfecting despite almost five years on sticks.

Lulu, of  Lulu’s Musings… one of my regular readers is a weaver and fellow blogger and lover of textiles, so Lulu my friend, I dedicate this post to you…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

August 26, 2015

Something Is Not Quite Complete Here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several years ago Family Kiwidutch visited the southern Dutch city of Maastricht and one day I left Himself and the children to explore the city center whilst I visited the Basilica of Saint Servatius.

I like visiting churches, the peace and tranquility revitalizes me and I love the stained glass, wood and stone carvings that demonstrate a level of skill and workmanship seldom demonstrated in the twenty-first century.

This alcove is yet another example: on one side wall there are panels of beautiful detail: the pattern includes large floral motifs that surround several large circular panels, inside of which are something that might be a boat, castles, crowns and star.

Below this is yet another set of panels that sports another floral motif in a diamond-like shape. On the opposite wall the painting is completely different to it’s partner piece: it depicts four panels, three of which are filled with paintings of figures, the fourth of which has been left completely blank. The reason for this is unclear: possibly they are some sort of memorial plaques, awarded on special occasions or for special people who have been Sainted from here. Once again the pattern, composition, colour and style of these wall decorations amaze me…

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 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

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