Friday, December 31, 2010

DOCUMENT- Bisericile demolate de Ceausescu (1977-1986)

Demolished churches in Bucharest, Romania during the communist regime

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saint Apostol Andrew cathedral, Patras, Greece

Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of the city of Patras, Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Patras in Greece, Amalfi in Italy, Luqa in Malta, and Esgueira in Portugal. He was also the patron saint of Prussia.
Patras is a city in Achaia , North Peloponnese. There the Apostol spent his last years of his life untill his martyric death. As the first to be called by Jesus Christ into his service, St. Andrew commands a reverence a degree greater than those who have followed. For this reason, St. Andrew is called Protokletos, or "First-called."

St. Andrew, like his brother St. Peter, was a fisherman, a toiler with net and boat recognised in the Psalms of the Old Testament as one of those "who go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep." His love of the sea stemmed from his love of the Creator who made it, and the perils of the sea which he challenged daily forged the character with which he boldly assailed the seas of ignorance and paganism in the sacred trust that had been placed in his keeping.
St. Andrew, who lived in the Holy Land in the ancient city of Bethsaida, accepted Christ with all his heart and after a discipleship with St. John the Baptist went forth to become one of the greatest missionaries in all history. When the apostles drew lots to determine their sphere of labour for the Saviour, St. Andrew exulted in his mission to preach in Asia Minor, part of Greece, and an area along the coast of the Black Sea, including its gateway, the city now known as Istanbul, or Constantinople.
Wherever St. Andrew went he attracted throngs of people who thirsted for a spiritual knowledge. His message of deliverance was so eloquently convincing, even to hostile minds, that he is credited with having converted countless thousands to Christianity in a day when mass media did not exist. As an apostle, his only tools were his power of oratory and his love for Jesus, and his only press agent was the word of mouth of those privileged to hear his homilies.
St. Andrew came to Jerusalem for the First Synod of the Apostles, about 50 AD, another historic first for him and the other apostles, some of whom he had not yet met. There he rejoiced in joining the great St. Peter together with those but for whom Christianity might never have become the glorious human experience it is today. Out of the Synod, the apostles went forth with renewed vigour to establish the ecclesiastical system.
St. Andrew alone is credited with having set up parishes throughout Asia Minor, in Pontos, Bithynia, Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, Scythia (Russia, where he is still regarded as patron saint) and in the capital city of Byzantium. It was in Byzantium that St. Andrew ordained Stachys as first bishop of Byzantium (later Constantinople), thereby establishing an unbroken line of 270 patriarchs down to the present day Patriarch Bartholomeos 1st. From Byzantium, St. Andrew went on to more glory through his compelling oratory and power of healing through Jesus Christ. He eventually found himself in Achaia, in the city of Patras, where he was to suffer death.
St. Andrew committed the grave crime in the eyes of the state of converting Maximilla, wife of the ruler Aigeates, to Christianity. Despite the fact that he was then eighty years old, it was ordered that he be put to death by being nailed upside down to an X-shaped cross. After three days of agony on this vile device, St. Andrew died. The great fisherman had cast his net for Christ for the last time.
In 357 the relics of Saint Andrew were removed from Patras and deposited in the church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.
The head of the saint, was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461.On 24 September 1964, in an ecumenical gesture, the head was returned to the people of Patras by the pope Pope Paul VI.
The relics, which consist of the small finger and part of the top of the cranium of Saint Andrew, have since that time been kept in the Church of St. Andrew at Patras in a special tomb, and are reverenced in a special ceremony every November 30and . On 24 September 1964, in an ecumenical gesture, the head was returned to the people of Patras by the pope.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Unholy Conversion As Church Becomes A Tesco

Temple of commerce: A Tesco Express store has opened in Bournemouth, Dorset after the supermarket giant purchased a former Methodist church

Prophet exchanged for profit as Tesco opens latest convenience shop in a church!
(Bournemouth, Dorset, UK)

Shoppers who pray for cheaper groceries might just get what they wish for after a branch of Tesco opened in a former church. The building has been drastically altered to sell groceries underneath its original ornate stained glass windows. The former Westbourne Methodist Church is now selling food, alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets after the retail giant moved in. Pews have been stripped out in favour of checkouts in the controversial conversion to a Tesco Express. The move has upset some members of the community, who have criticised the latest expansion of the multi-national supermarket. The Reverend Dr Bob McKinley, former minister at the church, said it was 'sad' to see the building become a shop - but that the church had no control over whom the building was sold to. He said: 'Our main concern was the people. Although it is sad, it is only a building. 'You could say it is not appropriate to have a Tesco Express in it but once it is sold it is no longer under our control.' James Rippon, a 36-year-old accountant who lives nearby, said: 'It just seems such a shame for this beautiful building to be turned into a Tesco. 'It seems like you can't go anywhere in England today without being within spitting distance of one. 'I understand that having the building empty is no good for anyone, but it seems odd that a former church is being used to sell cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets. 'It feels like just another step in the increasing marginalisation of Christianity in our community. 'I suppose it represents people's priorities nowadays - the convenience of being able to buy their bread a few miles closer is more important than prayer and religion.' The decision to open the store has been supported by some members of the Westbourne Traders Association, who hope it will attract more shoppers to the area. But Rob Forbes, owner of family-run Seamoor News, said the Tesco store 'spooks you out.' He said: 'I have to cross myself every time I walk past it.'

Tills ringing, not bells: A worker hands over change to a customer

Altar-ing the church: A customer pays for his purchase at the new shop which has caused some concern in the local community

Biblical characters depicted in ornate stained glass windows now look down on shoppers browsing the aisles in the historic building near Bournemouth. But the conversion of the former Westbourne Methodist Church has divided opinion. Christians opposing the scheme have highlighted a passage in the Bible detailing Jesus' efforts to rid the Temple of Herod, saying 'Get these out of here! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise'.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

World's tallest Jesus completed in Poland

Work on the world's tallest effigy of Jesus Christ was completed in the small Polish town of Świebodzin at the weekend. A giant 700-ton crane was specially drafted in to lift the figure's outstretched arms and crowned head into place. An earlier attempt some weeks earlier failed when a different crane was unable to lift the the plaster and fiber glass mass. The body of the finished statue measures 33-meters-tall, one meter for each year in Christ's life. A three-meter-tall crown and 16-meter-tall mound bring the figure's total height to 52 meters. The effigy overshadows Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer, which stands at 39.6 meters tall, and the Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which stands at 40.44 meters. The project has been the lifelong ambition of Father Sylwester Zawadzki who recovered from two heart attacks during the construction process to finally see his dream realized. “This is the culmination of my life's work as a priest. I felt inspired to fulfill Jesus' will, and today I give thanks to him for allowing me to fulfill his will,” Father Zawadzki, told onlookers and reporters. The statue will be officially consecrated on November 21.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Church of the Resurrection of Christ, St. Petersburg, Russia

This marvelous Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. After assuming power in 1855 in the wake of Russia’s disastrous defeat in the Crimean war against Britain, France and Turkey, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms. In 1861 he freed the Russian serfs (peasants, who were almost enslaved to their owners) from their ties to their masters and undertook a rigorous program of military, judicial and urban reforms, never before attempted in Russia. However, during the second half of his reign Alexander II grew wary of the dangers of his system of reforms, having only barely survived a series of attempts on his life, including an explosion in the Winter Palace and the derailment of a train. Alexander II was finally assassinated in 1881 by a group of revolutionaries, who threw a bomb at his royal carriage.
The decision was taken to build a church on the spot where the Emperor was mortally wounded. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church (a.k.a. The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood ). The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators. Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel). Interestingly, despite the church’s very obviously Russian aspect, its principle architect, A. Parland, was not even Russian by birth.
The church was closed for services in the 1930s, when the Bolsheviks went on an offensive against religion and destroyed churches all over the country. It remained closed and under restoration for over 30 years and was finally re-opened in 1997 in all its dazzling former glory. The view of the church from Nevsky Prospekt is absolutely breathtaking.
NOTE: Translations of the church’s name vary between guidebooks and include The Church of the Savior on Blood, The Resurrection Church and The Church of the Resurrection of Christ.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

House (of God) for Sale (II)

3BR, 2.5BA, Pulpit, Bell Tower, $7.5M

The century-old church has a pulpit, a pew and a bell tower. But instead of a congregation, the historic, red-brick structure has a single occupant, the homeowner. Siamak Akhavan purchased the 20,000-square-foot building five years ago and transformed it into an unusual single-family residence. Now, he's ready to sell. He has put the former Golden Gate Lutheran Church on the market for $7.49 million. "Some people say that it's weird and eerie, but my perspective is that this is a house of the Lord," Marcus Miller, a real estate agent representing Akhavan, told AOL News. "What better place to re-purpose and live than a house that has been blessed. One could say it's a step toward heaven."
The city of San Francisco condemned the church. Attempts to sell it were unsuccessful until Akhavan, an engineer who ran a seismic retrofit company, stepped in and paid $2.25 million for it in 2007. "Face it, in our society, our values are changing and people are spending the Sabbath day differently," said Miller, the son of a Lutheran minister. Akhavan spent nearly $3 million converting the church into a 12-room single-family residence, with three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a meditation room at the top of the bell tower, a chef's kitchen and a very large living room. He said the conversion of churches to serve other purposes has become common in many parts of the world. "I travel a lot, and I see a lot of churches being transformed into houses, restaurants, even nightclubs in Europe," Akhavan told AOL News. "In Montreal, I have seen them turned into galleries. There is not as much demand for churches. The congregations hang on to it until they have to do a lot of work, and then they decide it's not worth it." The church is in a neighborhood that is zoned residential, so Akhavan could not turn it into a commercial structure. Converting the space into condominium units would have meant substantially altering the character of the building and damaging such features as the high ceiling of the nave and chancel. So he decided to turn the church into a single-family home and maintain as much of its original character as possible. He hired artists to hand-paint the coffered ceiling and restore the stained-glass windows. He spent $200,000 to put on a new roof and $400,000 to replace windows and doors. He installed skylights, restored wood floors and paneling, and created a six-car garage in one corner of the vast ground floor.


 Living Room
 Master Bedroom
 Bedroom 1
 Bedroom 2
 Dining Room

 Floor Plans

Monday, October 25, 2010

Formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church for Sale on (I)

Take a look at this former church in San Francisco’s Mission District that has spared no expense for its re-do and furnishings.
It’s for sale for $7,490,000.

COMING SOON! Formerly the Golden Gate Lutheran Church, this stunning Gothic Revival style building is now one of the most extraordinary and largest single family homes in San Francisco. This one-of-a-kind property features an enormous living area that includes the original sanctuary with soaring, coffered and hand-painted ceilings, arched windows framing Dolores Park as well as most of the original stained glass windows, custom mahogany wood finishes, four fireplaces (2 wood-burning & 2 gas), a new chef's kitchen and a spacious dining room. The Master suite level features a marble Roman tub room, dressing room and incredible 360 degree views from the tower meditation room and deck. The home includes an expansive ground floor level that could be used as exhibition space, recording studio, gym and/or home office. There is also a garage that accommodates 4-6 cars.

This is an amazingly warm and inviting space, in spite of the square footage due to all the warm wood. Incredible neighborhood with Dolores Park directly across the street and some of the hottest cafes and restaurants in San Francisco just a short block away.

Falling Through Cracks / City churches are closing because they can't afford earthquake retrofitting

Even with its parapets and stained glass, Golden Gate Lutheran Church on the corner of 19th Street and Dolores in the Mission isn't the prettiest building around. Truth be told, the red-brick edifice built in 1912 has a bit of the humble workhorse about it. Nor does it attract the most worshippers. According to Pastor Ed Miller, the congregation of active members amounts to only about 35 or 40 people.
But like so many inner-city churches, it made itself relevant -- and for some people indispensable -- by filling gaps in our yawning social safety net. Until recently, it was a bustle of activity morning, noon and night. Over two dozen 12-step programs met there weekly, some with hundreds of participants.
In the past few years, the church housed a homeless shelter and a preschool. Four afternoons a week, it sponsored a drop-in program for anyone who needed a hot meal and a place to come in off the streets.
Three other churches -- two Pentecostal churches (one gay and one straight) and a Mennonite church -- shared the sanctuary for worshipping services. In the purest sense of the word, despite the small congregation, the church had become a refuge. For those without family, it offered fellowship. For those without government assistance (or enough of it), it offered food, shelter and other basic needs.
Now the building grows ever quieter as its many groups search for other places to meet. Soon the doors will close altogether. Then the church will enter a real estate no-man's-land. Why? Because it's caught between a seismic building code and a very hard place.
Golden Gate Lutheran Church is only one of over 25 places of worship and an estimated 2,500 buildings around the city that have been affected by new seismic codes for unreinforced masonry buildings. In the years since the unreinforced masonry building code was written in 1992 (generally referred to as the UMB code), most of these buildings have been brought up to code or demolished.
But an estimated 300 buildings -- including several churches and synagogues -- remain noncompliant. Feb. 15 was the deadline for bringing all buildings in San Francisco into compliance, so the city is stepping up its efforts, after granting repeated extensions to property owners.
"We try to be as fair as we can," said UMB building inspector Jerry Sullivan. "We try to make it clear to property owners what their legal responsibility is."
But for many congregations, fulfilling that legal responsibility carries too high a price.
"We just can't afford it," said Miller from his shadowy book-lined office off the sanctuary. He told me the church had made a good-faith effort to bring the building into compliance, spending $130,000 to fix the roof and parapets in 1998. But the estimates for the interior work -- around $2.5 million -- are far beyond the community's means.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral designed by Louis Sullivan - Chicago, IL

Address: 1121 N. Leavitt St.
Year Built: 1903
Architect: Louis H Sullivan
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: March 21, 1979

Designed to resemble the Russian provincial churches known to its first parishioners, this elegant church is an unexpected feature of its neighborhood. Even more surprising is the fact that its construction was partially paid for by Russian Czar Nicholas II. The walls of the church are load-bearing brick covered with stucco; the detailing of the two-story rectory repeats the same sinuous curve found in the roofline of the church. The ideologies held by the client and the designer harmonized well in this project, producing one of the most-inspired, small-scale works of influential architect Louis Sullivan.


The church was commissioned by the growing Russian congregation of Chicago, Illinois, and stands within the neighborhood known today as Ukrainian Village. It remains one of only two Orthodox Churches servicing the orthodox community in Ukrainian Village. Construction work, partly financed by Tsar St. Nicholas II of Russia, lasted from 1899 to 1903. The church retains many features of the Russian provincial architecture, including an octagonal dome and a frontal belltower. It is believed that the emigrants wished the church to be "remindful of the small, intimate, rural buildings they left behind in the Old World". Actually, the church would have passed unnoticed in the Russian countryside, if it were not for Sullivan's hallmark modern sensibility. The cathedral's interior is based on the St Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev. The church is highlighted in numerous books on church architecture, among them Chicago Churches: A Photographic Essay by Elizabeth Johnson (Uppercase Books Inc, 1999) as well as The Spiritual Traveler's Guide to Chicago and Illinois by Marilyn Chiat (HiddenSpring 2004). The church was consecrated by St.Tikhon of Moscow and was under the spiritual guidance of St. John of Chicago (Kochurov) during its early years.
The church was elevated to a cathedral in 1923, and stands today a member of the Orthodox community in Chicago. It serves as the Cathedral Church of the Orthodox Church in America with Archpriest John Adamcio as its dean.