Monday, March 26, 2012

Communing with Cathedrals....and Pirates :)

I just adore Cathedrals and Temples.

They are built with the talent of artists, stone masons and musicians, imbued with the devotion of countless prayers of both rich and poor, and the assembly of wisdom of communities from the Middle Ages forward in time. The smell of incense and candles, the sound of organs, the glint of stained glass all work together to make me just RELAX in their presence! I relish quiet moments in pateened wooden pews, gazing at and adoring architecture the likes of which is, unfortunately, is not built like this, anymore.

My dream is to go to Italy, France & Greece and live, eat and breathe Temples and Cathedrals, washed down with dry red wine and Brie and savored by turquoise water and sprinkled with sandy beach and rocky shore.

How'ere, my dreams will have to wait until I am sufficiently worshiped by a sugar daddy or am out on a Dream Adventure of a Merry Mischief singing tour of Castles.

Does this mean that I have to lay aside my vision?


I say "Bloom where you are planted!" There are many gorgeous structures right here on our own continent, aye, even in my own New York State! I have found friends who have the same interest as I in Cathedrals and Temples.

Back in December I visited the beautiful St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. It is one of the biggest in the state, and in North America!

My friend Lorie and I had discussions about our joint love of this type of architecture and we have decided to start. What better time is there than NOW?

It was a VERY cold and windy day but that did not stop our adventure today as we met at the appointed time at Denny's in Syracuse for coffee and accompanied by Merlyn's "List" :) After sufficiently girl chatting, getting caught up on each other's lives, and swilling good black joe, we started our Quest in Sooth with a stop at nearby Tipperary Hill, by Coleman's Irish Pub to the 100 year old "St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church" at 207 Tompkins St. We couldn't wait to get in. Unfortunately it was LOCKED. Before when calling to several of these places, they just advise to "stop in".

Undaunted, we asked at the school and one of the teachers suggested we knock on the Rectory's backdoor, as possibly there may be someone there today and would hear at that entrance. No Answer. We were going back to our cars, unfulfilled, when on a whim, I suggested, "well, let's try the front door. It can't hurt." We knocked. Nothing. So with the cold wind blowing, we turned to leave...just as the sound of a lock and door opened. It was Father Michael and after we asked him if we could see the church, he said, "Come back on Sunday." We explained that we were from out of town and would love to see the inside. He graciously agreed and let us into a most beautiful sanctuary.

The entire front altar was a wall of icons and fresco! It was gorgeous and Father Michael filled us in on some of the history.

It was built by Ukrainian immigrants who worked hard at their low-paying blue collar jobs in mills and factories in the late 1800s. "We have 3 services on Sundays, one of which is in English, one is 1/2 English & 1/2 Ukrainian and one is spoken and sung all in Ukrainian. The one at 11am is a beautiful music service! You should hear the choir! All in the language of home." We took some pictures, lit a candle and left a small donation and thanked him for his generous gift of time with us!

We then stopped for gas for Lorie's car. I stood chatting with her at the pump, so happy we were to have had that experience! Just then a car pulls up, a man rolls down his window:

"I really like your bumper sticker, Surrender the Booty!"

He winks at us.

We laugh. I said, "Aye we are Pirates" (for of course, we ARRR")

"You girls are dancers?" (I guess all these diet and exercise changes are paying off! :)

Laughing, we said, "No."

"Do you have a card?" (we are assuming at this point he wants to hire some Pirates. But what he really wants to hire is...) Then he sort of leers at us.

"Um, NO. But thanks anyways!"

"Can you give me your number?"
Laughing again, still pumping gas, Lorie says "NO."

"How about I give you MY number?"

I look at him and say in my best piratical voice, "Wrong kind o' BOOTY, mate!"

He drives off, a bit dejected, but he tries a couple more times to persuade us to no avail. Aye, well, ye can't blame a fellah fer tryin', eh?

Lorie and I decide it's now lunchtime and we go back up to Coleman's for a lovely lunch of salad and broiled scallops ...A lunch fit for a PIRATE :) We enjoy the company, the food and the piratical joke of the day.

Next stop we try is the beautiful double-spired, Sacred Heart of Jesus Basilica at 927 Park Avenue in Syracuse. This church was named a "Minor Basilica" in 1999. The term "Basilica is a special designation given to certain churches because of their antiquity, dignity and historical importance." This particular Basilica was founded in 1892 by Polish immigrants and construction began in 1907 here in Syracuse.

This time we were lucky to find the church OPEN!

Only a couple of meditative parishioners were there and we wandered and admired the altars, stained glass and artwork.

This beautiful building is laid out in the traditional form of a cross in pure Gothic style. The spires reach 212 feet and can seat 1000. They have 5 services on any given Sunday! I read online that the stained glass windows here were imported from Germany.

The Stations of the Cross were framed sculptures in gorgeous Gothic frames that date from 1910.

While we were there one woman walked up to the altar and wiggled her fingers at us, and smiled and started playing piano as her gift of worship. It was truly a magic moment.

Sitting with my kindred friend, eyes full of glorious architecture and sunshine streaming through intricate stained glass...and bellies full of a Pirate's lunch truly made for a magickal day!

We have decided that this day was such a hit, that we intend to continue and seek out more "Treasures all around us" in the form of local Cathedrals and Churches!

Next Adventure day will most likely lead us to The Zion Episcopal Church in Rome....ah...


We will keep you informed and visit and report back after we imbibe in wine and cheese and PRETEND it's ROME, ITALY :)


MissLorieO said...

I do so love our adventures! :-)

Ravyn said...

I do so wish I could have been there as well - I, too, have a love of this type of architecture!

Homeligth said...

How did the energy feel in these churches?

Merlyn said...

Interesting question~
The first church felt very reserved. Contained. As probably are the people that worship there. Very ordered. Structured. The church was of a modest size. The stained glass was just geometric and pattered with shapes and not with scenes. The beauty of this place was in the paintings. There was even one on the ceiling like the Sistine Chapel!

The 2nd church felt more boisterous, and freer, even though it was pin needle drop quiet. I think it is the vaulted ceilings and the stained glass that make peoples spirits soar there. There was more room and space for imagination. The church was of a much larger size and height too.

Myriah said...

If you get a chance, and want to head west, there's Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, NY.

Merlyn said...

Oh thanks for the tip Myriah! I just checked it online and it's beautiful!! :)