English is such a crazy language! I’m glad I don’t have to learn it as a foreigner! We have many words with more than one pronunciation (homographs), and many words that sound alike but are spelled differently (homophones). Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week plays on the theme of red: a pair of homophones RED – READ; a pair of homographs READ (present tense) and READ (past tense); and another homophone pairing: READ and REED. So here are my REDS, READS and REEDS.
RED: (adjective) a bright primary color
READ: (verb) past tense of read: I read an entire book yesterday. But I have not read any of the books in the two photos below, which are written in other languages.
READ: (verb) present tense. I like to read every day.
REED: (noun) any of several species of large aquatic grasses, such as those pictured below.
I am entering this post into Norm’s Thursday Doors, as part of my tour of Chicago’s places of worship. Today I feature two Roman Catholic churches, St. Edward Church and St. Gregory the Great Church, both on the north side.
We visited St. Edward Roman Catholic Church during Open House Chicago, having put it on my “must see” list because it contains a painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. We had seen the original in Bayeux, France only a few months before.
St. Edward’s take on the story of the tapestry focuses on Edward who had been king of England and his benevolence as king. He was very pious and supposedly saw visions and cured people by his touch, which later earned him the status of a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Edward was childless and William of Normandy was his cousin.
In Normandy, France, we didn’t hear much about Edward. There the emphasis was on William, Duke of Normandy (also known as “the Conqueror”), who invaded England in 1066 and took the English throne from Harold, who had succeeded Edward as king. Harold did not have long to rule: he became king in January of 1066, following Edward’s death, and William’s invasion, known as the Battle of Hastings, happened later that same year.
The replica was painted in oils on the ceiling of the narthex of St. Edward Church by Mae Connor-Anderson and is about 75 feet long. It is not complete, containing only 24 scenes and the Latin inscriptions were removed. The 24 scenes tell of St. Edward’s role in the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The merger of the Saxon and Norman cultures created a new culture from which the English language evolved. Government was a mix of Norman and Saxon traditions.
St. Edward Parish was founded in 1899 and its current church building was dedicated in 1940.
This is one of the doors from the narthex leading into the sanctuary. There are several of these which all have the same design.
Confessional and confessional door
The stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary depict many important events in Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ. The pair pictured below depicts the birth of Jesus and his presentation in the temple with Simeon.
St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church has been serving the north side of Chicago since 1904, when immigrants from Luxembourg petitioned for a new parish. Its congregation today comprises many immigrant and ethnic groups.
Although it was one of the sites open to the public during Open House Chicago, my visit there was with a friend for a concert by International Chamber Artists, who perform there often. The music director at the church arranges these and other concerts and is a fine musician himself.
St. Gregory is absolutely gorgeous inside. It was built in the 1920s in Norman Gothic style. It has a lavishly decorated ceiling and an intricate white reredos* behind the altar. The pulpit, shrines and stations of the cross were all hand-carved in Germany. The windows are made of English and jewel glass.
The door at the front of the church…
was not actually where we entered. Because we were ushers for the concert, we had to arrive an hour early to help with the preparation for the concert. Here is the door we entered.
You will notice that this and other doors in the church have small windows with diamond shapes in them.
The main sanctuary with its colorful and intricate decoration.
The main altar, with its white reredos in front of the back wall.
Shrine to the Virgin Mary, common in Catholic churches (St. Edward has one also, pictured above).
Inside the front entrance door
Confessional and its door
An inner door – I noticed that the diamond shapes all had pictures, symbols or Greek writing inside them.
I began to look at these more closely and saw a variety of pictures, each one unique.
On the church’s web site is their mission statement and that, guided by the Holy Spirit, they are committed to: *Celebrating and sharing God’s goodness by providing beautiful experiences of prayer and worship *Providing opportunities for people to grow in their faith, hope, and love *Extending the healing of Christ into the lives of all people so that they may come to know and share in the love Christ has for our world *Offering opportunities for fellowship, hospitality, and service *Evangelizing (spreading) the Good News of Jesus Christ through experiences of the fine arts
Of the two churches, I found St. Gregory to be the more beautiful and it has more interesting doors, but I enjoyed looking at the paintings of the tapestry panels at St. Edward, which were explained in a booklet the docents were giving out.
*What is a reredos? Promounced “RARE-eh-dahs,”according to Miriam Webster online, it is an ornamental wood or stone screen or partition wall behind the altar of a church. The term’s first known use was in the 14th century.
During Open House Chicago, one has the opportunity to see many architecturally and historically interesting places, but some of the places I choose to attend during that weekend are churches and temples. Chicagoans represent all faiths and worship in a variety of ways (if they worship at all, which many of them don’t and that also is OK with me). I intend to feature two faiths in each post on this subject.
Although I posted about the Krishna tradition last year, I am including it as part of this post’s topic of diverse faiths. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is the official name of the religion and place of worship.
Krishna is a major deity in the Hindu religion, one of its principal gods. Krishna can be portrayed as male or female and is not especially identified with either gender, I was told when we visited ISKCON last year.
According to Religious Tolerance: Hare Krishna and ISKCON web site, “ISKCON and Hinduism both trace their beginnings to the Vedas and to the Bhagavad-Gita text. Whereas mainstream Hinduism regards Krishna to be the 8th incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver and one of the Hindu trinity of deities), ISKCON regards Krishna to be the supreme Lord over all deities, including Vishnu. They are therefore a monotheistic faith group, one that stresses bhakti, the way of devotion.”
The spiritual leader of ISKCON is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who introduced Westerners to the faith by publishing 60 books in only 12 years and over 60 million published in 30 different languages. He initiated over 4,000 disciples of Lord Krishna, established ISKCON which has more than 100 temples, and he travelled around the world 14 times preaching the message of Krishna consciousness.
Musical instruments such as drums, keyboards, and sitars are used in Krishna worship.
The roots of the faith can be traced to the advent of Krishna, 5000 years ago in an Indian village, and was revived in the 16th century by Guru Caitanya Mahaprabu who is considered to be the reincarnation of Lord Krishna himself. He taught that Krishna was the one true deity and that anyone can gain a personal relationship with the god through sankirtana, congregational chanting of God’s names, specifically the Hare Krishna Mantra, also known as the Maha Mantra.
As Krishna worship is an offshoot of Hinduism, I now turn to one offshoot of the Protestant Christian tradition. This year we visited the Moody Church. This non-denominational evangelical faith was named after Dwight L. Moody, an evangelist of the mid to late 19th century. The present church building, completed in 1925, combines Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, meant to bridge the gap between the Roman Catholic cathedral and the typical Protestant church buildings of the 19th-20th centuries.
In this vast sanctuary which seats 3,700, people of all faiths are welcome. The Moody Church is fundamentalist and evangelical in its beliefs, including the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus, published on their web site.
Here are some excerpts of their Doctrinal Statement:
Article I God is triune, one Being eternally existing in three co-equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; these divine Persons…work inseparably and harmoniously in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world. …
Article II The Bible, including both the Old and the New Testaments, is a divine revelation, the original autographs of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. …
Article III Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God…He is Himself very God; He took upon Him our nature, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary; He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world; … He will come again personally and visibly to set up His kingdom and to judge the quick and the dead. …
Article IV Man was created in the image of God but fell into sin, and, in that sense, is lost;…[unless a person is] born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; …the retribution of the wicked and unbelieving and the reward of the righteous are everlasting, and as the reward is conscious, so is the retribution. …
Article V The Church is an elect company of believers baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body; its mission is to witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations; it will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air ere He appears to set up His kingdom. …
I had Norm’s Thursday Doors in mind when, two weekends ago, we went into the city for Open House Chicago. I took some random pictures of doors as we drove down the street. Most of these were on Belmont Avenue.
This is not a door, but a gate is a portal, an entryway, so I consider it worthy of inclusion. I like the way it connects two buildings.
I also include some interesting non-door architectural features on Chicago buildings, and a couple of other random things.
The decoration on top of this building is typical of the art deco style of the 1920s.
This house looks as though it might have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or one of his disciples.
The door isn’t visible but what you see is above the door.
Partial doors visible here – I don’t know what church it is.
Inside Wintrust Bank, Old Town
Chicago architecture is amazingly diverse – I recommend a visit to the city for any architecture buffs. Take an architectural tour on the river, but also take time to wander the streets of the older parts of the city. There are many hidden gems!
Last Saturday, we participated in the annual Open House Chicago event, in which over 300 buildings are open to the public. People can tour these buildings and most have volunteers that can answer questions about the building or organization housed there.
For Norm’s Thursday Doors this week, I feature some of the doors we saw on our tour of Lincoln Park and other nearby neighborhoods.
St. Edward Catholic Church, Irving Park neighborhood: We were interested in seeing this church for its painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, France. We saw the original stitched tapestry last June when we were in Normandy.
St. Edward has a particular interest in the tapestry because part of it tells the story of Edward the Confessor, King of England. In Bayeux, it is celebrated as the story of William the Conquerer’s invasion of England in 1066, and his son’s coronation as king of England and Normandy.
Dank Haus, German American Cultural Center, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood:
It was Oktoberfest at Dank Haus, so the public was invited to hear a German oompah band in the 5th floor ballroom, and while there, buy a German snack and beer. We had a pretzel, but we don’t drink beer! There is also an impressive full wall sized (including the elaborate frame) portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm I and a beer stein museum.
The building was originally the home of the Three Link Association, also known as the Oddfellows. Door knobs contained the symbol of that fraternal order.
The Belmont by Reside (formerly the Belmont Hotel) in Lakeview is an enormous u-shaped building that has always amazed me, so I made sure we took time to see it. Designed in elegant Georgian style, its elegant ballroom is now a parking garage, while retaining the original ceiling and ornamentation.
The New Elephant Resale Shop on N. Clark in Lincoln Park used to be Sphinx Storage, so its exterior décor has an ancient Egyptian theme. We did not go inside but I took these photos showing the ancient Egyptian symbols displayed outside.
The Elks War Memorial in Lincoln Park honors the more than 1,000 Elks members who fought in the wars since WWI. Its magnificent rotunda is the grandest domed rotunda in Chicago.
Moody Church in Old Town: This massive Romanesque Revival church has Byzantine elements. Its sanctuary seats 3,700 people, making it the largest column-free auditorium in Chicago. It is named after famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody.
Under each seat is a rack that men used to use to store their hats.
These were not the only sites we visited, just the ones with interesting doors! 😉 More doors from OHC next week!
Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge has the topic signs.
Here are some signs taken at Open House Chicago on Saturday. Open House Chicago is an annual event that takes place on a weekend in mid-October, in which over 300 buildings around the city open their doors to the public. Docents inside answer questions about the architecture, the place and its function, etc. This is the second year we have attended, visiting places we never could or even think about in the city of Chicago.
I hope to write more about these places in future posts!