Monday, April 22, 2013
A Day of Symbolism (Part II) - The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
According to the visitor's guide, the Cathedral's "unique design combines architecture of Romanesque style on the exterior with Byzantine style interior."
The cathedral contains one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world, containing 41.5 million pieces of glass in more than 7,000 colors. The cathedral was designated a basilica in 1997 by the late Pope John Paul II.
The photo above is of the main altar. There is not enough space to describe the beauty and symbolism of the basilica, but I'll give a snapshot of facts included in their visitor's guide.
"In the sanctuary dome, mosaics picture the twelve apostles bearing symbols of their lives. The large structure over the main altar is the 'baldachino' whose top dome imitates the main exterior dome of the Cathedral. The white marble figure of Christ crucified dominates the sanctuary.
"The central dome includes mosaic panels dedicated to the Holy Trinity. At the base of the dome is a rippling wave symbolizing water. Sixteen angels represent eight archangels and eight commemorative angels. The lower wall in the narthex is buff marble, symbolizing the earth. The mosaic panels above are paves with scenes about the life of Saint Louis IX, King of France, and patron saint of the City of St. Louis. The vaulted ceiling is covered by a swirling green vine symbolic of Christ."
Here's a description of one of the four side chapels. "The Blessed Virgin's Chapel was created by Tiffany Company of New York in the Italian style. Panels in the chapel depict Mary's presentation, annunciation, visitation to Elizabeth, and the assumption."
Last Saturday we were at the cathedral basilica again for my grandson's confirmation. His sister was his confirmation sponsor. it was a lovely day and an uplifting ceremony. Both grandchildren are shown on the left in front of the sign for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
If you get to St. Louis and want to be inspired, not just by beauty and artistry, but also from a sense of peace, visit the cathedral basilica at 4431 Lindell Blvd. (at Newstead Ave.).
Tours are available Sundays at 1:00 pm and Monday-Friday at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. Masses and Confessions are available at varying times throughout the day.
If you can't make the trip to St. Louis, you can learn about the cathedral's history and see some of its beauty on the cathedral website.