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Author Topic: Most beautiful Church in America?  (Read 7347 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 18, 2011, 08:11:35 AM »

http://www.stsophia.org/video/huell_howser_visits_saint_sophia.htm
Quick tour in this Cathedral

Gorgeous Church, the detail and craftsmanship is incredible. But the biggest critiscm I had was a seperate area for the guy who founded it who could not only control the lights to his whims, but also his seating was much better than the standard pews.

I really like the different take on the Iconography.
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2011, 09:32:53 AM »

Electric deacons doors seems like a bit of overkill to me, but quite beautiful, thanks for the link Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2011, 02:12:11 PM »

It is a very pretty Church, but I prefer the look of Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco.
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2011, 02:30:00 PM »

Quote
Saint Sophia Cathedral is patterned after Saint Sophia of Constantinople (now Istanbul), the great and ancient church of Eastern Christendom, but offers a number of unique and exciting departures. Charles P. Skouras, the major benefactor of this magnificent Cathedral, architect Gus Kalionzes and iconographer/artist William Chavalas did not closely follow the sometimes rigid Byzantine tradition.
http://www.stsophia.org/about/cathedral_tour.htm

No kidding. One such exciting departure: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10122.msg517690.html#msg517690

Very efficient: http://www.stsophia.org/sacraments/pay_sacrament_fees.htm
"It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." -Matthew 21:13
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2011, 03:27:06 PM »

St. Nicholas OCA Cathedral in D.C or Holy Virgin ROCOR Cathedral in San Francisco.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 03:34:57 PM »

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Saint Sophia Cathedral is patterned after Saint Sophia of Constantinople (now Istanbul), the great and ancient church of Eastern Christendom, but offers a number of unique and exciting departures. Charles P. Skouras, the major benefactor of this magnificent Cathedral, architect Gus Kalionzes and iconographer/artist William Chavalas did not closely follow the sometimes rigid Byzantine tradition.
http://www.stsophia.org/about/cathedral_tour.htm

No kidding. One such exciting departure: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10122.msg517690.html#msg517690

Very efficient: http://www.stsophia.org/sacraments/pay_sacrament_fees.htm
"It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." -Matthew 21:13

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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 03:38:10 PM »

Very beautiful but also very baroque in an Italianate sense; reminds me of St. Alexander Nevsky in Sofia and Christ the Savior in Moscow--definitely not Saint Sophia in Constantinople. My idea of a beautiful Orthodox Church includes St John Orthodox Cathedral In Eagle River, Alaska (use of natural materials); Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral in Jordanville (traditional iconography and lack of pews); Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Austin (traditional exterior); and St Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas (for all of the above reasons).
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 03:43:41 PM »

"Pay Sacrament Fees"

I want to LOL but I should probably BOOHOO.
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2011, 03:47:50 PM »

"Pay Sacrament Fees"

I want to LOL but I should probably BOOHOO.

LOL, they could just sell a few pieces of their items to cover the costs for years (Church is estimated at 50 million dollars) Wink
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2011, 05:22:11 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Come on folks, lets not be so crass about this.  Cathedrals aren't quite intended for everyday sacramental worship services such as family baptisms and weddings.  There are plenty of local parishes where such things can be performed, but of a certain kind of family decides they just have to have all the sanctified gaudiness of that delightful cathedral (which is indeed a local gem here in LA) then perhaps that certain kind of family can pay the certain kinds of fees.  Its not like they were charging for the Eucharist, and by the way, over the centuries many traditions and jurisdictions have had specific tithe obligations for the flour and wine to make the Offering.  Lets then not all be so 'enlightened' and democratic about all this, this is Orthodoxy, either pay the fees or get married elsewhere without the gripe Smiley

stay blessed,
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2011, 05:40:54 PM »

Quote
Saint Sophia Cathedral is patterned after Saint Sophia of Constantinople (now Istanbul), the great and ancient church of Eastern Christendom, but offers a number of unique and exciting departures. Charles P. Skouras, the major benefactor of this magnificent Cathedral, architect Gus Kalionzes and iconographer/artist William Chavalas did not closely follow the sometimes rigid Byzantine tradition.
http://www.stsophia.org/about/cathedral_tour.htm

No kidding. One such exciting departure: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10122.msg517690.html#msg517690

Very efficient: http://www.stsophia.org/sacraments/pay_sacrament_fees.htm
"It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." -Matthew 21:13


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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2011, 05:44:16 PM »

I'm 100% against charging fees.  Asking people to pay the sexton for their time is one thing; but "sacrament fees" are completely against our understanding of the availability of the sacraments.  And I don't buy the, "that's what you get for going to the Cathedral," argument; if that's your closest Orthodox church, you should be able to get your sacraments there for FREE, not, "$500 minimum stewardship or $1,500 fee."

Simony indeed!
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2011, 05:48:23 PM »

http://www.stsophia.org/video/huell_howser_visits_saint_sophia.htm
Quick tour in this Cathedral

Gorgeous Church, the detail and craftsmanship is incredible. But the biggest critiscm I had was a seperate area for the guy who founded it who could not only control the lights to his whims, but also his seating was much better than the standard pews.

I really like the different take on the Iconography.

As to the OP: I would not count this Church in even my top-10 for Orthodox Churches, let alone "Most beautiful Church in America."
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2011, 06:14:01 PM »

Sorry, never mind.   Embarrassed
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 08:07:05 PM »

It Is a Magnificent Structure For the Glory and Worship Of God.....I enjoyed watching the Video...        
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2011, 09:11:02 PM »

. . . Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral in Jordanville (traditional iconography and lack of pews) . . .
It is quite beautiful:  Holy Trinity
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2011, 09:17:54 PM »

http://www.stsophia.org/video/huell_howser_visits_saint_sophia.htm
Quick tour in this Cathedral

Gorgeous Church, the detail and craftsmanship is incredible. But the biggest critiscm I had was a seperate area for the guy who founded it who could not only control the lights to his whims, but also his seating was much better than the standard pews.

I really like the different take on the Iconography.

As to the OP: I would not count this Church in even my top-10 for Orthodox Churches, let alone "Most beautiful Church in America."

And what are the top and the most beautiful church?
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2011, 11:50:55 PM »

it's this one, of course.
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2011, 12:02:02 AM »

This one ring's close to home ...Monastery Churches no pew's Looove them....... Most Excellent Pictures.... laugh




. . . Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral in Jordanville (traditional iconography and lack of pews) . . .
It is quite beautiful:  Holy Trinity
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« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2011, 01:32:01 AM »

. . . Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral in Jordanville (traditional iconography and lack of pews) . . .
It is quite beautiful:  Holy Trinity


St John the Baptist in Washington is beautiful as well.


Link
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« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2011, 02:10:11 AM »

Nova Gracanica Serbian Orthodox Monastery Church......
Exterior:

Seminary:

Interior:






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« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2011, 09:52:36 AM »

THAT is beautiful. stashko.
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« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2011, 11:14:45 AM »

Yeah, I think that's probably the winner.
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« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2011, 11:43:59 AM »

THAT is beautiful. stashko.
It is quite pretty.  I like the Australian Church at the link below:

Holy Protection of the Mother of God

The Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. George the Victorious in Edmonton Canada is also quite lovely, and there are lots of pictures at the website link:

St. George the Victorious

I thought I would add a few non-American Churches to the thread.

P.S. - I still find Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco to be a magnificent example of a Byzantine Church.
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2011, 01:10:49 PM »

Holy Trinity Monastery Cathedral in Jordanville (traditional iconography and lack of pews);

Very traditional, in that they have a big ol' icon of God the Father above the altar.   Wink Grin

In all seriousness, I do agree that Holy Trinity is a gorgeous church and absolutely one of the most beautiful in America.
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« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2011, 02:33:20 PM »

My parish is pretty nice - possibly the only Orthodox church with real frescoes (in the traditional sense - any wall "mural" is NOT a fresco):

http://www.saintseraphim.com/photos/
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« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2011, 02:41:13 PM »


I  Like dark reds ,Blues, then different light shades of colors in icons......They stand out better with darker colors....... Grin



My parish is pretty nice - possibly the only Orthodox church with real frescoes (in the traditional sense - any wall "mural" is NOT a fresco):

http://www.saintseraphim.com/photos/

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« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2011, 04:12:54 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I'm 100% against charging fees.  Asking people to pay the sexton for their time is one thing; but "sacrament fees" are completely against our understanding of the availability of the sacraments.  And I don't buy the, "that's what you get for going to the Cathedral," argument; if that's your closest Orthodox church, you should be able to get your sacraments there for FREE, not, "$500 minimum stewardship or $1,500 fee."

Simony indeed!

No disrespect, but have you seen the kinds of weddings that are generally performed at this cathedral? They are often high dollar. People chose this particular church, not out of locality or geographic circumstances, but rather an ostentatious display of family wealth and social status.   This is precisely why beautiful cathedrals were NOT intended for parish weddings, but rather those liturgical services in relation to official church business or in relation to the Bishop. The grandeur of these kinds of churches not intended to facilitate showing off by wealthier parishioners but as it has been said, for the glory of God in particular circumstances where this kind of display is appropriate.  High holiday services with a lot of bishops or ranking clergy come to mind, but local weddings for the wealthier families who desire such a settings, well, honestly I am sure they could easily pay even large fees for the services of this building. The same with family baptisms and funerals.  There is a plethora of local Orthodox parishes here, but many jurisdictions use this cathedral (we had an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church wedding there a few months ago, needless to say they went all out) just for this kind of use, to show off, and that is fine, but for those who want that certain kind of setting for certain kinds of reasons can surely afford certain kinds of fees.

Further, your gripe is running on the assumption that this church may very well turn away the baptism or funeral or small wedding of one if its local parishioners if they do not have the money, and that is not fair.  Did you personally ask the clergy there about this? In Orthodox we implement the rules according to the individual needs of the laity in direct relationship with their Father-Confessors and clergy.  The clergy will make many necessary adjustments when needed.  Some people will be baptized without years of catechism, some may be allowed to receive the Holy Mysteries without Reconciliation.  We are not legalistic. That being said, I am sure that if the scenario you presented about there be no other local options (and I am from Los Angeles here, I can assure you that is simply not the case Smiley ) and also a lack of available funds by a couple looking to get married  there, then perhaps the priests will make exceptions.  But if you want to bring in your extended family and 3000 guests and pull up to the service in white, horse-drawn carriage, maybe you can also afford a relatively small fee for the nice setting?

The overwhelming majority of sacramental services performed at that Cathedral there are by wealthy families seeking to show off their socio-cultural and economic status, and so should the Church just take a loss so these people can show off? Should the majority of us laity giving tithe support the vanity of others? Or is asking a fee actually adding that bit of necessary and neglected humility to the service?  We are Orthodox, we should take it all in the spirit of humility.  If God is insistent that a person be married in that particular Cathedral, I am more than sure He can make it able, even if the money pops up in the mouth of a fish or simply the priest forgoes the fees at their own discretion.  We receive the Sacraments in the grace and Will of God, not ourselves, so we must accept and embrace them however God sends them to us.  If God wants us to get married, or baptized or buried in another church for a lack of money, who are we to complain against God?

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2011, 04:36:55 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I'm 100% against charging fees.  Asking people to pay the sexton for their time is one thing; but "sacrament fees" are completely against our understanding of the availability of the sacraments.  And I don't buy the, "that's what you get for going to the Cathedral," argument; if that's your closest Orthodox church, you should be able to get your sacraments there for FREE, not, "$500 minimum stewardship or $1,500 fee."

Simony indeed!

No disrespect, but have you seen the kinds of weddings that are generally performed at this cathedral? They are often high dollar. People chose this particular church, not out of locality or geographic circumstances, but rather an ostentatious display of family wealth and social status.   This is precisely why beautiful cathedrals were NOT intended for parish weddings, but rather those liturgical services in relation to official church business or in relation to the Bishop. The grandeur of these kinds of churches not intended to facilitate showing off by wealthier parishioners but as it has been said, for the glory of God in particular circumstances where this kind of display is appropriate.  High holiday services with a lot of bishops or ranking clergy come to mind, but local weddings for the wealthier families who desire such a settings, well, honestly I am sure they could easily pay even large fees for the services of this building. The same with family baptisms and funerals.  There is a plethora of local Orthodox parishes here, but many jurisdictions use this cathedral (we had an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church wedding there a few months ago, needless to say they went all out) just for this kind of use, to show off, and that is fine, but for those who want that certain kind of setting for certain kinds of reasons can surely afford certain kinds of fees.

Further, your gripe is running on the assumption that this church may very well turn away the baptism or funeral or small wedding of one if its local parishioners if they do not have the money, and that is not fair.  Did you personally ask the clergy there about this? In Orthodox we implement the rules according to the individual needs of the laity in direct relationship with their Father-Confessors and clergy.  The clergy will make many necessary adjustments when needed.  Some people will be baptized without years of catechism, some may be allowed to receive the Holy Mysteries without Reconciliation.  We are not legalistic. That being said, I am sure that if the scenario you presented about there be no other local options (and I am from Los Angeles here, I can assure you that is simply not the case Smiley ) and also a lack of available funds by a couple looking to get married  there, then perhaps the priests will make exceptions.  But if you want to bring in your extended family and 3000 guests and pull up to the service in white, horse-drawn carriage, maybe you can also afford a relatively small fee for the nice setting?

The overwhelming majority of sacramental services performed at that Cathedral there are by wealthy families seeking to show off their socio-cultural and economic status, and so should the Church just take a loss so these people can show off? Should the majority of us laity giving tithe support the vanity of others? Or is asking a fee actually adding that bit of necessary and neglected humility to the service?  We are Orthodox, we should take it all in the spirit of humility.  If God is insistent that a person be married in that particular Cathedral, I am more than sure He can make it able, even if the money pops up in the mouth of a fish or simply the priest forgoes the fees at their own discretion.  We receive the Sacraments in the grace and Will of God, not ourselves, so we must accept and embrace them however God sends them to us.  If God wants us to get married, or baptized or buried in another church for a lack of money, who are we to complain against God?

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie

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« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2011, 04:48:47 PM »

Everyone knows that the Joy of All Who Sorrow/Holy Virgin Cathredral in San Francisco is the most beautiful cathedral in America. It was built by and houses the relics of St. John Maximovitch the Wonderworker.
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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2011, 04:54:33 PM »

And what are the top and the most beautiful church?

I haven't given it a lot of thought as far as ordering; but I've certainly seen a great number of more beautiful Churches. I was always impressed with Holy Transfiguration in Lowell, MA; the new Church of St. Catherine's in Braintree, MA; a few of the NY area Churches (including the fantastic Cathedral of St. Paul in Hempstead); All Saints in Canonsburg, PA; a few in the greater Chicagoland area; a few in the South.  There are also a number of non-Orthodox (EO or OO) churches that I would rank above LA's Cathedral, first amongst them St. Patrick's in NYC.

"The Trans" in Lowell: http://www.transchurch.org/mosaics/index.html (the controls for the slide-show and music are in the upper-right corner)
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« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2011, 05:22:14 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The canons are clear, one cannot charge for the Mysteries of God. It is the heresy of Simony!
I do believe that would only be truly applicable in this circumstance of the Cathedral did not facilitate any alternatives, and thus completely rejected the offering of the Mysteries in regards to finances.  If the Church still provides the essential Divine Mysteries, but at a differing location how is that simony? I say demanding without any regard to have your wedding exclusively at that church without flexibility is more prideful than Orthodox, and as a matter of fact, people in the midst of the sins of pride and vanity perhaps should not receive the Mysteries in that state in the first place! So,I suppose that humility goes a long way.  If the Church closes the door, saying "No Money, No service" than I agree with you, but if the Church facilitates a Divine service but in a different location in regards to costs, where is the true simony? We are Orthodox, we must trust that God operates in the decisions of our Priests and Church, and embrace and accept these decisions in the spirit of humility.  Besides these arguments really just sound like sour grapes and gripe to me Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2011, 05:27:17 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The canons are clear, one cannot charge for the Mysteries of God. It is the heresy of Simony!
I do believe that would only be truly applicable in this circumstance of the Cathedral did not facilitate any alternatives, and thus completely rejected the offering of the Mysteries in regards to finances.  If the Church still provides the essential Divine Mysteries, but at a differing location how is that simony? I say demanding without any regard to have your wedding exclusively at that church without flexibility is more prideful than Orthodox, and as a matter of fact, people in the midst of the sins of pride and vanity perhaps should not receive the Mysteries in that state in the first place! So,I suppose that humility goes a long way.  If the Church closes the door, saying "No Money, No service" than I agree with you, but if the Church facilitates a Divine service but in a different location in regards to costs, where is the true simony? We are Orthodox, we must trust that God operates in the decisions of our Priests and Church, and embrace and accept these decisions in the spirit of humility.  Besides these arguments really just sound like sour grapes and gripe to me Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

No, heresy is never ok. Simony is always wrong. The Mysteries are not for profit. EVER!
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« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2011, 05:30:36 PM »

Yeah, I think that's probably the winner.

That is where my bishop sits. The wife and I went for a Sunday liturgy there about a year and a half ago when visiting the Chicago area. It looks just as amazing in person.
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« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2011, 06:00:43 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The canons are clear, one cannot charge for the Mysteries of God. It is the heresy of Simony!
... We are Orthodox, we must trust that God operates in the decisions of our Priests and Church, and embrace and accept these decisions in the spirit of humility.  Besides these arguments really just sound like sour grapes and gripe to me Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Yes, we are to follow those of the Laos who have been appointed by the Lord to lead us. On the other hand, our baptism also confers upon us the obligation to discern whether priests and bishops (indeed any of us) are teaching the correct doctrine or acting in an orthodox manner. We cannot abdicate this responsibility IMHO. In Christ, Kyrill
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« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2011, 07:39:52 PM »



This is the Monastery i mentioned in another thread ,where they buired the croatian Catholic woman justina ,next to her serbian husband Zhivko,they didn't allow a catholic priest on the Monastery grounds to officiate at her burial internment...Her Funeral service was Held at the funeral home instead.....

Part of her family decided to do some sight seeing ....They were trampling behind the Iconastasis ,children ,men and woman..I got so angry and went balistic
on them and threw them out of the altar area and the church...Common sense dictates not to trangress areas that have doors..I told them what if i went into there catholic church and started walking around there Altar area.....I mentioned im not allowed back there if i have no business there it's forbbiden even for me...So i said Get Out.....and they left....Though i did give my condolences to Justina's daughters at the grave sight....... Grin




Yeah, I think that's probably the winner.

That is where my bishop sits. The wife and I went for a Sunday liturgy there about a year and a half ago when visiting the Chicago area. It looks just as amazing in person.
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2011, 12:32:45 PM »

I think the extreme shininess would give me a headache. Tongue
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« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2011, 12:35:56 AM »

The answer is clear: Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas:

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« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2011, 12:43:02 AM »

The answer is clear: Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas:



I like how they have the globe at the center of focus for their worship, where most churches, depending on tradition, either have a cross or crucifix or icon of Christ.
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« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2011, 05:52:06 PM »

The answer is clear: Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas:



I like how they have the globe at the center of focus for their worship, where most churches, depending on tradition, either have a cross or crucifix or icon of Christ.

Is that the home of the 'prosperity' preacher?
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« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2011, 06:05:28 PM »

The answer is clear: Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas:



Yikes. 
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« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2011, 09:56:35 PM »



Is that the home of the 'prosperity' preacher?

Yes it is. I have to say, if you think about it, having the globe in the center is kind of appropriate.  Cool
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« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2011, 01:12:28 PM »

Actually, it sort of looks like the Star Trek Federation or the Star Wars republic could use that set for their next meetings.  Wink
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« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2011, 03:26:00 PM »

My parish is pretty nice - possibly the only Orthodox church with real frescoes (in the traditional sense - any wall "mural" is NOT a fresco):

http://www.saintseraphim.com/photos/


I believe St. Seraphim's in Dallas also has real frescos -- one reason why it took over ten years for their iconographer to finish everything. Alas, I have not had a chance to visit since around 2005, so I haven't seen the finished product, but am assured it is extraordinary (what was there was quite extraordinary when I was there!).

My vote, though, goes to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, in (naturally) St. Louis. An enormous, Byzantine-style cathedral complex, 100 years in the making, adorned entirely in mosaic. See the first comment here for links to many pictures of the interior.

Main sanctuary:


High altar:


Lady chapel:


Blessed Sacrament chapel:
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« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2011, 10:02:54 PM »

in my opinion, this is the most beautiful Church I've ever seen, Orthodox or not.







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