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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, Paris

Don't know if you guys remember my mention of a book I was reading (listening to), The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, and my lament that the library didn't have the audio version of the sequel. Happily, my sister gave me a gift certificate to Amazon for my birthday and I've bought the audio discs for The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel).

When last we left our heroes, they were in Ojai, California, but traveling through a magic mirror, they end up in Paris, materializing in the Sacré-Cœur Basilica located at the summit of the butte Montmartre. Here's a little about the basilica from Wikipedia, which attributes its construction to a response to the deaths caused by Parisian communists during the Paris Commune uprising of 1870-71 (though many more of the communists were killed after their side lost) ....

[...] Though today it is asserted to be dedicated in honor of the 58,000 who lost their lives during the war, the decree of the Assemblée nationale, 24 July 1873, responding to a request by the archbishop of Paris by voting its construction, specifies that it is to "expiate the crimes of the communards". Montmartre had been the site of the Commune's first insurrection, and many hard-core communards were forever entombed in the subterranean galleries of former gypsum mines where they had retreated, by explosives detonated at the entrances by the Army of Versailles. Hostages had been executed on both sides, and the Communards had executed Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, who became a martyr for the resurgent Catholic Church. His successor Guibert, climbing the Butte Montmartre in October 1872, was reported to have had a vision, as clouds dispersed over the panorama: "It is here, it is here where the martyrs are, it is here that the Sacred Heart must reign so that it can beckon all to come".

The foundation stone was laid in June 1875 and the building, constructed of travertine, was designed by Paul Abadie, but the basilica was not finally completed until 1914. The portico has two equestrian statues of French national saints - one of Joan of Arc and the other of Louis IX - by Hippolyte Lefèbvre, and the basilica contains one of the largest mosaics in the world, Christ in Majesty.

- the mosaic

Wikipedia goes on to mention ....

In response to requests from French bishops, Pope Pius IX promulgated the feast of the Sacred Heart in 1856. The basilica itself was consecrated on 16 October 1919. Since 1885 (before construction had been completed), the Blessed Sacrament (a consecrated host which has been turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during Mass) has been continually on display in a monstrance above the high altar. Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has continued uninterrupted in the Basilica since 1885.

- bronze equestrian statue of Joan of Arc

Can't wait to see what happens next in the story.


Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

Nice photos. I've always enjoyed religious art and architecture, especially churches and cathedrals, the interiors and exteriors; and statues, especially angels.

Most of the angels I've known were women - wait, I'm still talking about statues here... so I was surprised once, speaking with someone from the Eastern Orthodox church in eastern Europe, that most of their angel statues are male.

8:50 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Paul,

the archangels, Gabriel, Rapjael, Michael and Uriel - all male, I believe. It's hard to tell in art, though, as they can seem either way :)

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

That's true, there does seem to usually be an androgynous character.

Just got a mental image of the Statue of Liberty - female/strong. Guess that statue is a kind of secular angel figure, never thought of it that way...

5:58 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Oh, yeah. She's like the winged victory of samathrace.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Paris Photo said...

nice blog..religious!

6:13 AM  

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