St. Peter’s Basilica

Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City near Rome, Italy
Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City near Rome, Italy

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican is the formal name of the principal church of the Roman Catholic Church.  St. Peter’s Square leads you to the Basilica, and after a security check, the massive Renaissance cathedral is not only a spiritual pilgrimage site, but an architectural wonder as well.   I visited during an Easter week, but the crowds were manageable.   I didn’t see the Pope at the Vatican, but did make it to the Stations of the Cross held on Good Friday each year outside of the Roman Colosseum – here’s a photo of what it looked like while sitting on a nearby hill.

popecoliseum
Pope Benedict XVI celebrating the Stations of the Cross outside of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

The Basilica site was chosen on the location it was believed Saint Peter was buried after he was martyred in October 64 A.D.  The first Basilica was built in the early 300s, but the replacement you see today was started in 1506 and completed more than a century later.  There are several masterpieces of art inside, including Michelangelo’s Pieta. Thanks to an attack with a hammer in 1972, the famous sculpture is now seen through a glass panel.

 

In addition to the Basilica, the Vatican Museums are a must see, and a visit includes the Sistine Chapel.

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Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris or Notre Dame, Paris, France
Notre Dame, Paris, France

I was planning on adding Notre Dame to the blog this week, and then the sad events of this afternoon occurred.  Notre Dame (“Our Lady) is in the center of Paris, France and is nearly 900 years old.  When I was in the city, I took a few hundred photos from as many areas as I could and left without a doubt of why it’s one of the most visited churches in the world.  Despite the destruction from today’s fire, the church fared better than I would have expected and hopefully will be restored over time.  The Roman Catholic Cathedral has survived destructive events in the past, including desecration by atheists during the French Revolution and World Wars, so there’s reason to be optimistic.  There’s also a lot of history about this church online, so I’ll just add a couple more links if you want to read more.

Kempt Shore Presbyterian

Kempt Shore United Church and Cemetery, Hants County, Nova Scotia
Kempt Shore United Church and Cemetery, Hants County, Nova Scotia, Canada

Kempt Shore Presbyterian Church is in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s a wood frame church built on a sandstone block foundation and includes a basement.  The church was built in 1865 at the junction of the Avon River and Minas Basin by a former shipyard owner.   It became part of the United Church of Canda in the early 1900s and services were held in the church until 1967.  The church was added to the the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Iceland Churches

Small Church, Vatnsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Iceland is an old country and has had churches for over 1000 years, but the Protestant churches you’ll see if you visit are typically 50-150 years old.  I stopped at a few as I passed them in various parts of the island, but have limited information on each.  Although there are still a healthy number of churches standing, Iceland has become decreasingly religious over the decades, and I didn’t see any in use while visiting.

Here are a few spotted along the way.

Vik Church was included in an earlier post.

 

Haven Memorial Methodist Episcopal

Haven Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, Waynesboro, Georgia
Haven Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, Waynesboro, Georgia (Burke County)

Located near the railroad line in Waynesboro, Georgia, is the old wood-framed church of Haven Memorial Methodist Episcopal.  The building was constructed in 1888 and has Gothic Revival detail, including pointed arches.  The church was associated with Haven Academy, which was a school founded just after the Civil War to serve the former slaves.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

 

 

Postscript-In September, 2017, arson struck this church and it was completely destroyed.

Vik Church

Vik i Myrdal, Southern Iceland

Vik Church is a Lutheran church built in 1934 that, in my opinion, has one of the most spectacular views in Europe.  It sits at the top of the small village of Vík í Mýrdal which is located in southern Iceland.  This photo was taken in early summer when the wildflowers were peaking.

Cedar Grove Methodist

 

Cedar Grove Methodist Church, Tattnall County, Georgia
Cedar Grove Methodist Church, Tattnall County, Georgia

This is another abandoned church with a doubtful future.  Located in rural Tattnall County, Georgia, Cedar Grove Methodist was organized in 1887.  From information found online, it looks like the church was last used for services over 30 years ago.  There are a few grave markers behind the church, but not much more evidence of its long history.