North American churches have history; however, the interiors and exteriors are nothing like the huge, historic churches in London, England.
Open your eyes to the cathedrals of England
BY PHILL FELTHAM
North American churches have history; however, the interiors and exteriors are nothing like the huge, historic, breathtaking gothic churches–or cathedrals–in London, England. I really wanted to visit the city’s cathedrals, and now I had that opportunity.
PHOTO: Westminster Abbey (Phill Feltham)
Royal events of epic proportions occur on occasion in London’s cathedrals. The only drawback is that tourists are only allowed to take a limited number of pictures. Tim, my travel buddy, and I were not too thrilled about this ridiculous rule.
The most memorable church–not a cathedral–was Westminster Abbey, in the City of Westminster, in London. The Abbey acts as a place of worship, a burial ground, and museum.
The English have performed coronations, celebrity funerals, and royal weddings at the Abbey. Queen Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947. Subsequently, the queen–along with many other English monarchs–was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
A memorable moment within the Abbey was Poet’s Corner. Here I saw the grave sites of England’s legendary authors, actors, playwrights, poets, and other celebrities. Those buried were author Charles Dickens, actor Sir John Irving, as well as novelist and poet Thomas Hardy; playwright William Shakespeare and English poet Lord Byron were commemorated within the walls of Westminster Abbey with memorials.
ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL
I spent at least twenty minutes taking pictures of the outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral. I had just finished visiting Westminster Abbey, so St. Paul’s Cathedral ended up being the first large gothic church Tim and I ever stepped into. Unfortunately, pictures aren’t allowed to be taken within the cathedral. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Paul, author of Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, and other books in the bible.
Next stop was Canterbury Cathedral. I was looking at the map searching for another huge church to visit. I had seen St. Paul’s, so the size should have been obvious enough. However, that wasn’t the case. I had to go through a ticket office before I could see Canterbury in all its glory.
PHOTO: The beauty of Canterbury Cathedral (Immanuel Giel)
I was allowed to take pictures within the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. St. Augustine, the first archbishop of the church, built Canterbury Cathedral around 597. The local community uses the cathedral regularly for local, regional, national services, and events. Sometimes the cathedral is closed to general visiting to accommodate such events.
ST. GEORGE’S CHAPEL AT WINDSOR
St. George’s chapel is the place of worship for Windsor Castle. The highlight for me in this chapel was seeing the grave of King Henry VIII. I even ran my forefinger down the marble grave to leave my fingerprint. What can I say, I’m a sentimentalist.
I was proud to experience some of London’s Christian history. My perspective of church is different now, instead of childhood memories of Sunday school classes. Now, it’s your turn to experience some of God’s greatest houses in London, England.
Phill Feltham is the publisher of The Weekly Wanderer. He’s traveled to eight countries and lived overseas for two years. He recently returned from England and Scotland.