Re: Re: reordering and destruction of irish cathedrals and churches
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Most beautiful the mosaics in the sanctuary and chapels of Cobh cathedral. Pity about the present clutter in the Lady chapel – we have come a long way from the tender devotion to Our Lady to which the great Catholic cathedrals of the Middle Ages testify, and not to our benefit, I might add. Many, such as Paris and Chartres, are dedicated to Our Lady, and practically all would have a prominent and beautifully maintained Lady Chapel.
I was struck too by the titles of Our Lady in the Cobh chapel (beautiful as the moon, morning star, mystical rose, like a lily, etc.) – these, like the Sacred Heart chapel, reflect a culture which saw Old and New Testament as one. Many of the titles of Our Lady, as we find them in the Loreto Litany, come from the Old Testament, especially the Canticle of Canticles. The central part of the mosaic, with its reference to the Immaculate Conception, brings to mind the Genesis text as found in the Vulgate: “ipsa conculcet caput tuum”. These are God’s words to the serpent: she will crush your head. This would of course tie the theme of the Lady Chapel with the Sacred Heart chapel, where the same idea is expressed in the verb “conculcabis” – the crushing of the serpent’s head, the crushing of the animals representing evil. All ties up with the mosaic in the chancel, dedicated to the Passion of Christ, by which evil and death are definitively overcome. The passion theme is seen in the use of passion floors in the mosaic, on the altar gates, and again in the sculpting of the south transept wall. Incidentally the shamrocks in the chancel mosaic, also taken up in the sculpting in the nave, are an obvious reference to the Blessed Trinity and are a good example of inculturation (St Patrick, etc.)
All of this, as Praxiteles so well illustrates in his references to the medieval bestiaries and the Physiologus, is clear evidence of the level of thought that went into the interior decoration of the cathedral. It would be a very brave man (or one who is completely oblivious and insensitive to this) who would interfere with the present layout!!