Monday, April 8, 2013

The new Pope is a simple man not consumed with all the richness that the church has been known for in the past. Even in the most run down cities throughout America there stood or still stands a large stone elegant place of worship. Throughout Italy some of the most valuable paintings were done by famous artists depicting images from tales from the Bible. There is one place that already is the most spectacular place of worship that isn’t even finished in constructing yet.
Call the man behind it God’s Architect The Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Our past Pope during his only 8 years as Pope, Benedict XVI, carried out thousands of official duties but only once did he travel out of Rome to bestow the Vatican’s highest honor on a church. Renaming it a Basilica, meaning a sacred place forever.
It may be one of the most spectacular buildings ever constructed by man. Go to Barcelona, Spain this summer, you can’t miss it. You will be spiritual after witnessing the greatness and meaningful scenes carved in the stones everywhere. The architect died almost a century ago but his vision is still being constructed taking 130 years and the outside of the building still isn’t finished. It is now known to be the longest running architectural project on earth.
When the Pope visited the Basilica two years ago, it was the first time Mass had been celebrated there. It was in 1883 that the Architect dreamed of that day. The Mass had 800 voices singing in one of the largest Choirs in the world. Seven thousand people were seated comfortably inside the church celebrating a Mass that took 128 years to arrive. From the outside you can see the construction cranes and towers of the church from miles away. Antoni Gaudi wanted to make amends to God for the sins of the modern world. He was a devote Catholic.
He wanted to depict the history of the Catholic church in one building. There is a Nativity side of the building that is the only part of the building that was finished while he was alive to see it. The interior is an example of the man’s engineering genius. He wanted the ceiling to have the feel of a forest with trees cascading to the top. He chose stones from Iran to carry the heaviest loads because it is the strongest stone on earth. His plans and vision placed him a century ahead of anything being constructed during his lifetime.
He knew that he would not live to see the building completed so he built elaborate plaster models of the ceiling so that future generations of architects could see his elaborate designs and finish the project. He designed the structure to be 3 feet shorter than the surrounding mountain so that God’s creation would still prevail the landscape portrait. It is expected to take at least another 13 years before it is finished construction. It has been completely paid for by donations to the church.
There have been 3 generations of sculptures and workers who have brought the vision to reality. Most people are excited to know that the project will finally be complete during their lifetime. This is the one expression of religious opulence that I am not opposed to because it is a lasting story set in stone for future generations to see and read that will not need batteries to power to see. Much like the drawings the cave men left on their walls to let us know they existed.

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