Friday, June 17, 2011

"All around the Cathedral, the saints and apostles look down as she sells her wares."*

Great article and video up at The Telegraph about the completion of the 15 year renovation project at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

I have had a bit of a weird history with St. Paul's: it took me multiple trips to London to actually visit the building. This was not from a lacking of desire or attempts! The first time I went to London in 2000 with my family, we couldn't get into St. Paul's because there were private events that week for the Queen Mum's 100th birthday.
St. Paul's Cathedral

I made my second attempt during my visit in February of 2003, but JR and I couldn't go in because it was too close to Vespers. (Permanent note to self: don't plan on doing sightseeing at a church on a Sunday.) That trip, we got stuck in London an additional day because a blizzard in the Northeast canceled our return flight, but we visited too late in the day and had only an hour to sight see before the building closed. We got to hear choir boys rehearse, but I didn't have enough time in the crypt, and the interior renovations prohibited us from seeing much of the Nave. We did make it up to the Whispering Gallery, but my fear of heights prevented me from going any higher up.
St. Paul's Cathedral

Third trip was the charm. When Je Glide and I went to London in 2008, I finally got a proper visit to St. Paul's. (Although we were at first told by the police that we couldn't go in because there was some kind of scare there. I felt CURSED! We went to lunch, and when we came back, we finally got inside. I was ECSTATIC!) The interior renovation was completed, and the building looked AMAZING. While Je Glide climbed up into the Dome, I crawled around in the crypt and explored the ground floor of the church, seeing the effigies of Donne and Lawrence and the tombs of Wellington and Nelson. We met up again to look at the American Memorial Chapel, dedicated to the memories of the American service men and women based in Britain who died in WWII. While we were in the Chapel, a bell sounded, and everyone there was invited to join in saying the Lord's Prayer for peace. It was very moving, and I remember thinking to myself that maybe I was meant to wait to see the Cathedral until it was restored to its proper glory.
St. Paul's from the South Bank

St. Paul's Cathedral is definitely a MUST SEE during a visit to London: for its architecture, its history, and the sacredness of its space. (Just be sure to check the website ahead of time to make sure that you are well within visiting hours!)

* "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins

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