When asked about the Church, the first thing that often comes to people's minds is what sits on the corner down the street ... a building. We know though that the Church is not a building. It's not a place. It is people. Church is not something we are called to go to, but rather what we are called to be. It is the community of people that have given their lives to following the head of the Church, Jesus Christ.
That being said, I recently came across a fascinating series on Ten Of The World's Most Unique Churches, church buildings that is. What follows are ten remarkable feats of architecture. A true testament to the creativity of man.
May we as God's Church be as attractive and unique as the buildings that follow.
Harajuku: Japanese Futuristic Church
Saint Basil's Cathedral: The Red Square 's Colorful Church
The cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan. In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ, a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named.
Hallgrímskirkja: Iceland 's Most Amazing Church
Temppeliaukio Kirkko: The Rock Church
The Temppeliaukio Kirkko ( Rock Church ) is a thrilling work of modern architecture in Helsinki. Completed in 1952, it is built entirely underground and has a ceiling made of copper wire. It was designed by architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and completed in 1969. They chose a rocky outcrop rising about 40 feet above street level, and blasted out the walls from the inside. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki and frequently full of visitors.
Cathedral of Brasília: The Modern Church of architect Oscar Niemeyer
The Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida in the capital of Brazil is an expression of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. This concrete-framed hyperboloid structure, seems with its glass roof to be reaching up, open, to heaven. On 31 May 1970, the Cathedral's structure was finished, and only the 70 m diameter of the circular area were visible. Niemeyer's project of Cathedral of Brasília is based in the hyperboloid of revolution which sections are asymmetric. The hyperboloid structure itself is a result of 16 identical assembled concrete columns. These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven. The Cathedral was dedicated on 31 May 1970.
Borgund Church: Best Preserved Stave Church
The Borgund Stave Church in Lærdal is the best preserved of Norway 's 28 extant stave churches. This wooden church, probably built in the end of the 12th century, has not changed structure or had a major reconstruction since the date it was built. The church is also featured as a Wonder for the Viking civilization in the video game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.
Las Lajas Cathedral: A Gothic Church Worthy of a Fairy Tale
Later on, a mysterious painting of the Virgin Mary carrying a baby was discovered on the wall of the cave. Supposedly, studies of the painting showed no proof of paint or pigments on the rock - instead, when a core sample was taken, it was found that the colors were impregnated in the rock itself to a depth of several feet. Whether true or not, the legend spurred the building of this amazing church.
St. Joseph Church: Known for its Thirteen Gold Domed Roof
The St. Joseph The Betrothed is an Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Chicago . Built in 1956, it is most known for its ultra-modern thirteen gold domed roof symbolizing the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ as the largest center dome. The interior of the church is completely adorned with Byzantine style icons (frescoes). Unfortunately the iconographer was deported back to his homeland before he was able to write the names of all the saints as prescribed by iconographic traditions.
Ružica Church: Where Chandeliers are made of Bullet Shells
Located over the Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, Serbia, the Ružica Church is a small chapel decorated with... with trench art! Its chandeliers are entirely made of spent bullet casing, swords, and cannon parts.
The space the church now occupies was used by the Turks as gunpowder storage for over 100 years and it had to be largely rebuilt in 1920 after WWI. Though damaged by bombings there was an upshot to the terrible carnage of The Great War. While fighting alongside England and the US , Serbian soldiers on the Thessaloniki front took the time to put together these amazing chandeliers. It is one of the world's finest examples of trench art.
Chapel of St-Gildas: Built into the base of a bare rocky cliff
The Chapel of St-Gildas sits upon the bank of the Canal du Blavet in Brittany, France. Built like a stone barn into the base of a bare rocky cliff, this was once a holy place of the Druids. Gildas appears to have travelled widely throughout the Celtic world of Corwall, Wales , Ireland and Scotland . He arrived in Brittany in about AD 540 and is said to have preached Christianity to the people from a rough pulpit, now contained within the chapel.