November 7, 2008 |
Archaeology left a lasting imprint on the arts of the 1980s in America and Europe, and Claus Mroczynski's photographs of awesome prehistoric American Indian habitats in the Southwest capture a strong sense of that interest. The Michener Museum recognizes the important legacy of this late, outstanding German-born New Hope photographer with the exhibit "Claus Mroczynski: Sacred Places of the Southwest" at its New Hope location. The 46 featured black and white photos represent 18 years spent, starting in the mid-1980s, constantly traveling back and forth from New Hope to remote sacred grounds of ancient Indians in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
December 17, 2002 |
CHURCHES and former synagogues are an unforgettable part of my regular walks in North Philadelphia. There they stand, like the Rock in old hymns, while so much else around them crumbles. Sacred places found in a neighborhood like Strawberry Mansion make several points to all who have eyes to see. First, these buildings memorialize a time when even middling neighborhoods erected magnificent monuments to their faiths. A hundred years ago, when North Central Philadelphia was thriving, these places of worship could hold a candle to anything in Center City or Chestnut Hill.
May 4, 2005 |
On a changeable cloudy day last week, the Rev. Constantin-Florin Salgau finally finished a grueling repair of his church roof. A remarkable feat for a Romanian Orthodox priest faced with a building's collapsing joists, crumbling plaster, dissolving murals and a host of leaks. But this was only a way station in the ongoing struggle to save historic Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church from disintegration. Before the roof work, Salgau reconstructed Holy Trinity's cupola.
May 19, 2006 |
The bell is old and heavy, its wooden supports weak and flagging. But that's only one building problem faced by historic St. Mary's Church, an 1873 neo-Gothic building on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The roof is in need of repair. The stained glass needs restoration. And the masonry is not in the best of shape. "There are holes throughout the entire facility," Alison Williams, church administrator, said with a sigh. But St. Mary's also has a plan for repairs and a great desire to preserve both its building and an ambitious cluster of community programs.
January 13, 2015 |
LIKE SO MANY churches that have closed in recent years, South Philly's massive Shiloh Baptist Church, built in 1870, has a small congregation burdened with huge repair bills, which is not a recipe for survival. But the Victorian-era church on Christian Street near 21st, one of the city's oldest African-American Baptist congregations, found two unlikely Earth angels. Shiloh Baptist rents its soaring second-floor spaces to Brat Productions, an edgy rock 'n' roll cabaret troupe, and to Brian Sanders' JUNK Dance Company, which choreographs around stuff that Sanders trash-picks on Philadelphia streets.
August 1, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Historical Commission has unanimously designated as historic the frescoes of St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, the oldest of their kind in this country. They were painted in 1848, one year after the church, at 243 N. Lawrence St., alongside the Ben Franklin Bridge, was rebuilt. It was burned down during anti-Catholic riots in 1844, a time when Irish immigrants largely made up its thousands of parishioners. It's remarkable, historians say, that the frescoes have survived to the present day. "The Lord Seeth," inscribed above a massive fresco depicting the Crucifixion, appears at the front altar of the Old City church, built in a style reminiscent of Roman cathedrals.
August 26, 1998 |
Our region's oldest religious buildings represent an enduring connection between people divided into suburb and city, white and black, rich and poor. After two generations of suburbanization and population loss, many congregations in the city have dissolved or moved to the suburban counties. Yet the buildings endure in older neighborhoods like North Philadelphia. And, in many cases, new congregations with different denominations inherit the historic properties of earlier residents.
December 3, 2000 |
Sacred art is his forte. Yet Bolton Morris is probably the best 20th-century artist in our region to have had hardly any career as an exhibitor, apart from respectful attention to individual works he was commissioned to make for sacred places. Now that this versatile artist is 80, Villanova University Art Gallery has filled the exhibition gap with a large retrospective show of Morris' work. From beginning to end, this 91-item display is more than a document of one artist's prolific underground career.
August 15, 1987 |
Badly typed, single-spaced, a copy of a copy of a copy. More flaky New Age stuff. It's amazing how much of it floats into my life. "On Aug. 16, 1987, a galactic beam surrounding Earth will phase acceleration to synchronization. There will be a break in the harmonic resonance of the electromagnetic field of Earth. Many enlightened beings are due to return around that time, among them the Lord of Unified Opposites, Quetzalcoatl. " I don't know why I read nonsense like this, but I do, I usually do, with a sort of incredulous fascination.
July 29, 2014 |
Trinity Memorial Church at 22d and Spruce Streets was failing in the summer of 1994, and the few dozen remaining congregants knew it. They talked about selling off the oak pews, or even the chocolate-brown Victorian building itself, but the conversation kept going in circles. The members of the little Episcopal church just couldn't agree what to do. Then, in the midst of their collective soul-searching, the historic church and its congregation were saved, oddly enough, by a bolt of lightning.