Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekly Blog Round-Up

Lots of religious art to be found out on the intertoobs this week, perhaps in honor of the start of Lent. Read on:


* A Serbian icon was recovered in Italy, via BBC. Looks like Jesus' baptism in the Jordan with my favorite, John the Baptist. Look at the motion happening in the icon. My cousin Anthony always refers to John the Baptist as the "Forerunner", and says that images of him are often full of energy, highlighting the awesome.

* Bob writes about the concept of the garden in his review of Nils Büttner’s The History of Gardens in Painting. There are beautiful images in this book, apparently. This quotation struck me, in particular, since it describes exactly the kind of floral symbolism in (religious) art that I've been fascinated by for years:

"Büttner easily transitions from this Roman contemplative use of the painted garden to the religious contemplative use of the early Christians, who linked Christ with the lost paradise of Eden. Without getting bogged down in detail, Büttner explains how flower symbolism developed around figures such as Christ and the Virgin Mary into a full-grown visual garden of salvation for believers. Büttner shows how even the garden of courtly love, a parallel development to the Christian painted garden, bought into the idea of garden as the means of salvation. “Nothing that conflicts with the ethic of courtly love is admitted into the garden,” Büttner writes, “wickedness, hate, greed, envy, and miserliness are banished from it as surely as are old age and poverty.” Sacred and profane love follow the same program of green power." Thanks, as ever, Bob!

* Narco Santo found on Tex[t]Mex. Long-time readers will remember my fascination with the Narco Santo phenomenon.


* Here is a fascinating "possible solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian land conflict - use bypasses! Blgdblog always finds great design ideas.

* An excellent green idea for algae-based batteries found on Pruned

* A beautiful story about growing a forest from the Aerophant blog


* I share something in common with Tai - I, too, have always wanted to live on a house boat.

* I just learned about a competition put on by British Airways called "Great Britons." "Where in the world would you go to take your passion to the next level?" As I've mentioned before, here and here, I would love to be funded to travel around countries that I think have the most moving religious art, and see it in situ. I'd love to take pictures, and talk about the art, and maybe even make a book about it. Maybe I shoud apply! I could see more art like this one from Mexico Cooks.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Good Idea

A good reminder from Gawker, that, back in the day, we used to dim the lights at night to save energy!

Another good idea would be to say a prayer for Lisa of Clusterfook, who is dying of Ovarian Cancer. Let's hope her passing is peaceful. I heard about her from BlogHer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Old Testament text, from the Online Daily Office:

Isaiah 58:1-12

1 Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
3 "Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?"
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras, all. Ladybird is in New Orleans right now, letting les bon temps rouler.

I am still trying to figure out what to "do" for Lent this year, since Lent begins tomorrow.

From Wikipedia:

There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.[7]

Perhaps I will try all to do all three. Our church is in the midst of a capital campaign, and I could use a fast to be a little more mindful about my food, and where it comes from and what it does to/for me. And I can always pray more. I've been toying with the idea of reading all the Gospels all the way through. I've tried it before, and never finished, but maybe this is the year! Or just praying in a better way. Check out the daily prayer option at this site I just found:

Dear Jesus, as I call on you today I realise that I often come asking for favours.
Today I'd like just to be in your presence.
Let my heart respond to Your Love.

Usually I check out the green (Christian) sites to see what ideas other people have about Lent, but it seems like everyone is in the same boat as me this year. Emerging Parents does ask what ideas parents have for observing Lent with children. And I have to say, that's a good question. I'm having trouble talking with La Prima about Lent - it's been hard to describe WHY I would want to give something up, in a way that makes sense to her. "What does 'spiritual' mean, mom?"

Here's a good clip from Susatainablog: "what does Lent have to do w/sharpening green habits?" with some ideas:

* Confession. You’ve been incredibly good this year. You’ve spent countless hours poring over the Green Options blogs. You’ve made many changes to your lifestyle. For the CO2 you are guilty of emitting, you have purchased carbon offsets. You’ve even worked on promoting public policy aimed at a greener tomorrow. It is OK to be proud of yourself for being well on your way to carbon neutrality. But it helps to participate in a rhythm, every now and then, once a year, looking at how far we need to go as a society. Now that green is mainstream, green-washing and half-a**ing our way to a warmer planet is a new concern. Even if I were carbon neutral, I am still throwing my sustainably earned dollar into a carbon-spewing economy. Small doses of intentional reflection and confession every now and then keep us grounded and healthy.
* Fasting. For those of us who don’t yet have a Nobel in our pockets, a certain amount of giving something up for a specified amount of time has a centering effect. By the way, if I ever get a Nobel Prize, I’m totally carrying it around in my pocket. Anyway, this practice provides clarity to see what we really need and don’t need. I learned how few luxuries I really need last summer/fall as I backpacked the entire Appalachian Trail for 4 ½ months, hiking from Maine to Georgia. I didn’t even take coffee because I didn’t want to carry anything unnecessary. Even when I don’t have to lug it around in a backpack, I still limit my coffee consumption. (Note: I’m certainly not a locavore fundamentalist. I adore all things tropical. I think Equal Exchange is a more than worthy alternative to abstinence!) Rather than thinking of it as austere self-denial to achieve some higher spiritual plane, I think of these “fasts” as temporary periods when I evaluate my consumptive habits. It helps me rediscover gratitude and happiness in non-material things. If you are a traditional Lent observer, you might think of going without meat as a way to reflect on the effects of factory farming on the environment. If you want to try something crazy, try going without corn—it’s more difficult than you think! The purpose is to go an extra step for a short period of time to foster a more mindful lifestyle year-round.
* Hope. Of course, the solemn and gloomy practice of observing Lent is tempered with the hope that Easter is coming, which offers the expectation that things will get better, and not just because on Easter we break our fasts. We’re working together toward better days ahead and believe that we can do it together. Ultimately, we’re envisioning a better future and then living into the vision. This yearly rhythm is a good way to stay sharp.
* More info: Christians Told: Give up Carbon for Lent

So, anyways, what are YOU doing for Lent? I wish you all a fulfilling Lent.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Third Year Blogging

Hey All - I just finished my second year of blogging on February 15th! I've been at this 2 whole years! Wow. You know, I really love blogging. I like exploring the web, and finding images of great religious art. I think it's great that I'm not alone in my love for the art. And that I've "met" people, however virtually, who share my enthusiasm for religious art (Terry, Bob & Menachem come to mind immediately. But I have other friends from real time who also share this "crazy passion." You know who you are, and I thank you for your support, from the bottom of my heart.)

[Nativity poster from the AWESOME Churches Advertising Network - one of the first places to rock my world with religious art.]

So, in honor of the anniversary past, I will do one of these wack-a-doodle memes. This one I found at Emerging Pensées.

The bold ones are things that I've done. My commentary in parenthese. Feel free to do this meme too if you'd like and link back to me so I can read them too.

1. Started your own blog (yay!)
2. Slept under the stars (I camped a lot in High School)
3. Played in a band (does "band" from school count?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (I've seen them in CT and in Ontario, Canada)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (in church choir, and a duet in elementary school - ask Ladybird about that!)

11. Bungee jumped (I can't handle heights)
12. Visited Paris (my visits have thoroughly enhanced my love of religious art!)
13. Watched a lightning storm (who hasn't?)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (cake baking)
15. Adopted a child (though my godson is adopted - AND I get to see him this weekend! yay!)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables (I love to garden)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (with my cousin in the South of France. We were near Carcassonne. I felt so safe traveling with him!)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (Ummm, I think it's called a "mental health day")
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (my parents' neighbor is a sheep farmer)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (seen them, didn’t ride)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (For a past job I got to pick trips for an alumni organization. One of the best trips I've ever been on was a cruise through the Mediterranean on a ship with a French crew. Oh, the food was SO good!)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (Pillingsdorf, Germany; Philadelphia, PA)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (Spanish & German - but I def. need practice!!)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (I call it clamberin over rocks, but I've never used a harness, nor rapelled)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (I’d like to…)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (saw it with the same cousin as #22 above, and another)
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (I've been to the bottom)

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (I LOVE snorkeling. In fact, my friend who suggests I figure out all kinds of exciting things to do once I turn 40 says that since I love it so much, I should make plans now.... hmmm.....)
52. Kissed in the rain (I'm sure I have... is it bad that I can't remember?!)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China (see #32, above)
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class (two - an Asian self-defense course in middle school, and Capoeira, later in life, which I just loved!)
59. Visited Russia (in high school. It was a formative experience for me.)
60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (part of the reason I don't want La Prima or La Segunda to be girl scouts.)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (Is Winter Park part of the Everglades? I think it is, but if so, then YES)
75. Been fired from a job (pretty darned close, and I don't want to talk about it)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (with a cousin from #34, above)
80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (does walking by the outside count?)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (a fish)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous (I shook Al Gore's hand - he has a great grip!)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a mobile phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lampeter, Wales

I've been thinking about my time in kindergarten in Lampeter, Wales a lot today. La Segunda asked me about when she would start at La Prima's school after we dropped her off this morning, which got me thinking about my kindergarten days, I guess.

And I recently talked with a friend about falling down the stairs at the Lampeter school, and staying with Mrs. Williams in the teachers' lounge while we waited for my mom to come get me.

I even remember the lunch food fondly [I'm really not sure what that means! I actually remember fondly: piles of mashed potatoes, brown meat stew, peas, rice pudding, etc. which you all can interpret any way you want. I guess I consider all that comfort food now.]

But, anyway, I found this BBC site with children's drawings of the town, and thought I'd share. Enjoy.

And if you're lucky, the "sacred destination of the day" that shows up to the right, will be Carnac, which I first saw during our year in Wales, when we vacationed in Brittany. [La Forêt-Fouesnant] If you've read this blog before, you know I have another story about Carnac too!

Future High-Speed Rail Map!?

Check it out! Found on Huff Po. Wow, maybe it will actually happen.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Baggu" (tm) Rocks!

I interrupt my normally scheduled broadcast to tell you about the wonders of Baggu! Given that there is a glob of plastic material, blown in from landfills, the size of TEXAS (and we know that's big!) out in the Pacific Ocean somewhere, I have decided to forgo plastic bags at every place I shop. This has been my attempt at a New Year's Resolution.

So far, I have not accepted many, many bags. And I can do so because that is so easy with Baggu. And so well-designed - I can keep this easy-to-fold bag in my purse and whip it out whenever I need to carry some impromptu purchase home from the market. It's AWESOME! And I recommend it highly to everyone.

I am not paid for this endorsement.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

St Agatha & Sexualized Women in Religious Art

St Agatha - and the gruesome story of her martyrdom. Apparently a spurned admirer turned her in to the authorities during an era when Christians were being martyred. She served a sentence in a brothel, then went to prison, and was there tortured by having her breasts cut off. I think the idea of sexual attraction, lasciviousness, and piety is virtually inseparable in this image. Interesting that this has become a theme recently on this blog (here and here). Thanks, as ever, to Terry from Idle Speculations for the image and the commentary. You do a great job! Here's some of Terry's discussion of the erotic in religious art:

There are clear signs from the picturer that the female figure portrayed is meant to be as beautiful and erotically desirable as the Venus sculpture it mimics.

The facial type of Sebastiano's Saint Agatha was in vogue in Rome at the time. It is the probable representation of a contemporary woman in the guise of a saint, presented semi-naked in the pose of a fragment of a classical sculpture of Venus

It is clearly documented that at this time there was a problem calling up lascivious rather than pious desire in the viewer through images of beautiful saints.

It was against paintings such as these that the reformers in the Council of Trent railed and acted against. In 1563, the Council of Trent ruled that in religious images, "figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust."

The reformers were not exercising a prudish dislike of nudity, but were consciously rejecting a new genre of image, one that deliberately, and intentionally, exploited equivocal--and sometimes contradictory--social notions about flesh, sexuality, and spirituality.

I wonder also about the "story" or "narrative" itself. What do we make of the spurned guy? And does Agatha's eventual achievement of sainthood diminish his jerk status? I don't think so...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Weekly Blog Round-Up

Talking about sex from the conservative christian point of view. Not mine, but I share a lot of her goals! Found on BlogHer.

It WOULD have to be a Welshman who is an agricultural saboteur! Sheesh! from bldgblog

Art-o-matic via TreeHugger

Apparently, it's not just me. "Even The Rich are Taking Home-Made Sandwiches for Office Lunches." On TreeHugger

Cool! From Pruned - an anonymous hugging wall!

Mexico Cooks wooden boxes photo.

From Idle Speculations the Presentation in the Temple is a feast day that also happens on/near February 2nd. Terry has some examples of religious art depicting the presentation. See, I love these ancient churches in Turkey.

World Wetlands Day on Pruned. Here are their top 8? reasons to support wetlands:
1) Wetlands are "the kidneys of the landscape," able to filter out pollutants from, for instance, agricultural runoffs and urban effluents.

2) Because of their bioremediating properties, wetlands can be a cheap alternative to municipal waste water treatment.

3) During particularly heavy storm events, they act as temporary water storage tanks. They then release the excess water slowly rather than in a deluge, lowering flood heights and minimizing the damage of valuable property downstream.

4) Wetlands also store carbon within their live and preserved (peat) plant biomass instead of releasing it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Therefore, wetlands world-wide help to moderate global climate change.

5) Along the coast, they are good at mitigating the effects of hurricane storm surges, tsunamis, and the less energetic but no less destructive normal ebb and flow of ocean waves.

6) Wetlands help to replenish aquifers that so many people depend on.

7) They are "biological supermarkets," producing annual commercial harvests of fish and shellfish that sometimes amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. Indeed, many people rely on wetlands for their livelihood.

8) As eco-attractions, they inject a sizable amount of tourist income to the local economy.
Wetlands, in other words, provide so many beneficial services for people that they are very much deserving of a sacrificial virgin. Or two.

Marisa Tomei on Fug - but in the "well played" column. I think she looks fantastic. Are those Bjorn Weckstrom pieces she's wearing? I totally love the Fug Report, which is where I found this photo.

It would be nice if Republicans got it, and would stop being the "party of No" but they won't. via NYT.

Google Oceans. Sounds pretty cool! Via BBC

From a friend on Facebook, this discussion of school lunches just reflects my own views so closely. This was written by President Obama's new chef, on his blog: Hull House Kitchen.

Interesting point - that we humans are not really thinking about our "place" within the world-wide ecosystem. And we may end up paying a dear price for that ignorance. Trust TreeHugger to shine a light on this issue. Upshot: it will take a multi-disciplinary course of action.

From BlogHer, here's a v. interesting look at Saints' lives from the viewpoint of someone who was raised Catholic and remembers the "Saints Days" and how exotic the names and stories sounded. She asks us:
"Saints were exotic, mysterious, and did magical things.

It got me thinking -- if I could name five women to Sainthood (spiritual sainthood) what measuring stick would I use and who would be my first five saints?

I guess I would choose woman who lived exemplary lives, role models, grounded and inspiring women. I would choose women who helped me move along spiritually in some way, even if we had never met.

Here is my list -- at least the one I have in my soul tonight. They are in no particular order. Now who is on your list? And why?"
They aren't all women, but nonetheless, my votes for saints.:

Ladybird, a dear friend who has taught me so much about life and its peaks and valleys.
Hiphopopotamus and Rhymenocerous, another dear friend, who has taught me about spirituality and light. She has the sunniest disposition I know.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health
Lawrence Marshall, The Northwestern Law prof. who researched convictions and led to IL Gov. Ryan putting a moratorium on all death row convictions.

There are more, but they aren't coming to mind just yet. Pass it on....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Ten Unique Churches"

This came to me as an email from a friend. I don't have any idea who wrote it, or where it came from. But I love the churches, and that someone else shares my fascination. Thought I'd pass it along.

Enjoy your day.

Ten Unique Churches

Harajuku: Japanese Futuristic Church
This futuristic non Catholic church is located in Tokyo and it was first unveiled by the design firm of Ciel Rouge Creation in 2005. The ceiling is specially made to reverberate natural sound for 2 seconds to provide a unique listening experience for worshipers and tourists.

Harajuku Futuristic Church

Saint Basil's Cathedral: The Red Square 's Colorful Church

Saint Basil's Cathedral

(photo: Lst1984)

The St. Basil's Cathedral is located on the Red Square in Moscow , Russia .

A Russian Orthodox church, the Cathedral sports a series of colorful bulbous domes that taper to a point,

aptly named onion domes, that are part of Moscow 's Kremlin skyline.

The cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan.

In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ,

a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named.

Hallgrímskirkja: Iceland 's Most Amazing Church

Church of HallgrÃÆ'­mur

The Hallgrímskirkja (literally, the church of Hallgrímur ) is a Lutheran parish church located in Reykjavík , Iceland .

At 74.5 metres (244 ft), it is the fourth tallest architectural structure in Iceland .

The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 to 1674), author of the Passion Hymns.

State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson's design of the church was commissioned in 1937; it took 38 years to build it.

Temppeliaukio Kirkko: The Rock Church

Temppeliaukio - The Rock Church

The Temppeliaukio Kirkko ( Rock Church ) is a thrilling work of modern architecture in Helsinki .

Completed in 1952, it is built entirely underground and has a ceiling made of copper wire.

It was designed by architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and completed in 1969.

They chose a rocky outcrop rising about 40 feet above street level, and blasted out the walls from the inside.

It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki and frequently full of visitors.

Cathedral of Brasília: The Modern Church of architect Oscar Niemeyer

Cathedral of BrasÃÆ'­lia

The Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida in the capital of Brazil is an expression of the architect Oscar Niemeyer.

This concrete-framed hyperboloid structure, seems with its glass roof to be reaching up,

open, to heaven. On 31 May 1970, the Cathedral's structure was finished,

and only the 70 m diameter of the circular area were visible.

Niemeyer's project of Cathedral of Brasília is based in the hyperboloid of revolution which sections are asymmetric.

The hyperboloid structure itself is a result of 16 identical assembled concrete columns.

These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven.

The Cathedral was dedicated on 31 May 1970.

Borgund Church: Best Preserved Stave Church

Borgund Stave Church

The Borgund Stave Church in Lærdal is the best preserved of Norway 's 28 extant stave churches.

This wooden church, probably built in the end of the 12th century, has not changed structure

or had a major reconstruction since the date it was built.

The church is also featured as a Wonder for the Viking civilization in the video game Age of Empires II:

The Age of Kings.

Las Lajas Cathedral: A Gothic Church Worthy of a Fairy Tale

Las Lajas Cathedral

The Las Lajas Cathedral is located in southern Colombia and built in 1916 inside the canyon of the Guaitara River .

According to the legend, this was the place where an indian woman named María Mueses de Quiñones

was carrying her deaf-mute daughter Rosa on her back near Las Lajas ("The Rocks").

Weary of the climb, the María sat down on a rock when Rosa spoke (for the first time) about an apparition in a cave.

Later on, a mysterious painting of the Virgin Mary carrying a baby was discovered on the wall of the cave.

Supposedly, studies of the painting showed no proof of paint or pigments on the rock - instead,

when a core sample was taken, it was found that the colors were impregnated in the rock itself to a depth of several feet.

Whether true or not, the legend spurred the building of this amazing church.

St. Joseph Church: Known for its Thirteen Gold Domed Roof

The St. Joseph The Betrothed is an Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Chicago .

Built in 1956, it is most known for its ultra-modern thirteen gold domed roof symbolizing the twelve

apostles and Jesus Christ as the largest center dome.

The interior of the church is completely adorned with byzantine style icons (frescoes).

Unfortunately the iconographer was deported back to his homeland before he was able to

write the names of all the saints as prescribed by iconographic traditions.

Ružica Church: Where Chandeliers are made of Bullet Shells

RuÃÆ'…¾ica Church

Located over the Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, Serbia, the Ružica Church is a small chapel decorated with... with trench art!

Its chandeliers are entirely made of spent bullet casing, swords, and cannon parts.

The space the church now occupies was used by the Turks as gunpowder storage for over 100 years and it had to be largely rebuilt in 1920 after WWI. Though damaged by bombings there was an upshot to the terrible carnage of The Great War. While fighting alongside England and the US , Serbian soldiers on the Thessaloniki front took the time to put together these amazing chandeliers. It is one of the world's finest examples of trench art.

Chapel of St-Gildas: Built into the base of a bare rocky cliff

Chapel of St-Gildas

The Chapel of St-Gildas sits upon the bank of the Canal du Blavet in Brittany, France . Built like a stone barn into

the base of a bare rocky cliff, this was once a holy place of the Druids.

Gildas appears to have travelled widely throughout the Celtic world of Corwall, Wales , Ireland and Scotland .

He arrived in Brittany in about AD 540 and is said to have preached Christianity

to the people from a rough pulpit, now contained within the chapel.

Ethiopian Christmas at Bet Maryam

Check out this beautiful audio slide show from the BBC. I have added Ethiopia to my list of places I want to travel to! My fantasy tour of religious art sites (Mexico, Britain, Ireland, SW France, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, and now Ethiopia) is expanding.