Monday, March 21, 2011

Beauty: Man-made and Nature-made

On a number of our trips into Lafayette (LA), we have passed the Cathedral of St.John the Evangelist, often commenting, "We should take a closer look inside."

Well, our first decision was to take a good look at the exterior of this Cathedral that was completed in 1916 after four years of construction. The intracies of the artwork in the architecture of the towers and arches required more than a passing glance.

The simplicity of the interior's architecture produced a beautiful setting without being ornate.

The front piece of the Italian marble altar (below) also has mosaic representations of wheat and grapes, symbolizing the bread and wine of the Eucharist. The center symbol a mother pelican feeding her young, is also a Eucharistic symbol, i.e., as the mother pelican feeds and nourishes her young, so the Church nourishes its members with the Eucharist.

The five large sanctuary windows depict scenes from the Last Supper to Easter morning.

Painted on the ceiling of the nave of the church are the heads of the twelve apostles.

The sources of lighting also fit our description of beatuiful simplicity.

On both sides of the center aisle are these arches. The photos on the right and below show the view to the right of the entrance to the church.

The bapistery is located to the right of the main altar.

The smaller light fixtures along both sides of the nave are equal the beauty of the larger fixtures.

The Cathedral's stained glass windows were numerous and striking. There must have been a dozen sets of three windows near the ceiling above each of arches in the nave.

The three photos here show one set of three and a close view of one of these windows. Each set of three was different--colorful, but different.

The window (right) is one of four round windows depict scenes of special significance in the church.

The church's organ presented an impressive, if not imposing, structure in the rear of the church. The organ has three manuals and pedals consisting of 54 ranks with a total of 3,038 pipes, ranging in size from 16 feet down to an eighth of an inch. The organ case also contains the 16-foot montre and trompette de fete (trumpets).

The mammoth oak tree next to the church is one of the charter members of the Live Oak Society and one of the oldest members (estimated to be almost 500 years old). It is said to be one of the largest in the U.S. It stands approximately 125 feet high with a spread of 210 feet.

The diameter of the trunk is 8.5 feet with a cir-cumference of 26.7 feet. The weight of the large horizontal limb near the church has been computed to be 72 tons.

A fitting companion to the magnificent Cathedral.

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