1 March 2016

Musical Chairs?

Some time ago, Prince Hassan of Jordan, so I believe, suggested that Cordoba Cathedral should be swapped for Hagia Sophia ... each building thus returning to the religion, Moslem or Christian, which originally built it. But I am glad that idea came to nothing. Celebrating the Eucharist in a former mosque can be a joyous experience; I remember, in Crete, many years ago, going to the Divine Liturgy in the Church of S Titus, which still retained all the glorious architectural features of the mosque it had once been (built, needless to say, on the site of a church ... such is the Levant).

Rambling still further: I recall a superb Orthodox church on the waterfront at Rhodes, which was built by the Italians and, after the war, "purified from the dogma of the Latins" and adorned with very fine murals in mid-Byzantine style. Rather more depressing is the Hospital Chapel in Exeter; the area directly in front of the Aumbry, where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved, is set aside for Moslem prayer and equipped with prayer-mats.

My local Greek Cypriot church along the Camberwell New Road in South London had started life as a "Catholic Apostolic" (Irvingite) church; and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Cathedral in Mayfair was originally the King's Weigh Chapel, a very high church Congregationalist place of worship (I believe the minister, a Dr Orchard, had secured 'vagans' ordination; he eventually ended up as a Catholic priest). Didn't the SSPX church in London begin as a church for Welsh Anglicans? I wonder if they honour their origins by singing Cwm Rhondda at Benediction (not a stupid idea ... you just think about it).

Heading off at a slight tangent ... do British readers recall that marvellously surreal occasion when somebody had himself filmed ranting against Islamic infiltration with Westminster Cathedral immediately behind him ... poor, dim, soul, he had thought it was mosque.

Ah, the thought of the Call to Prayer (Extraordinary Form, I would hope) resounding in Latin from that lofty minaret!

(One of the ... er ... many oddities about Oxford is the very attractive empty mosque built on the Magdalen College vegetable patch but, I believe because of financial complications, never opened. It would make an unusually fine Quaker Meeting House. Magdalen, come to think of it, could be converted into a pretty decent madrassa.)

15 comments:

Adrian said...

Magdalene? Is that near Christchurch College or New?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

I have corrected my regrettable misspelling of Magdalen College!!

B flat said...

Dear Father,

God forbid! The mere thoughts you evoke by the musings in this post fill me with dread.

It is strange that so tottery and ravaged an ancient Queen as Hagia Sophia should still be a tempting prize. God has not been served, worshipped or praised within for over half a millennium. Soloviev in his story of Antichrist has him bestow it on the Greek Church to win their submission.
How much better does the liturgical axis of Westminster Cathedral comply to the direction of Mecca? And with a ready minaret as well!
When these nightmares become a reality, will the Son of Man find Faith upon the Earth?

Marco da Vinha said...

His Highness Hassan was operating on a faulty premise, no? After all, before being a mosque, the cathedral in Cordoba had already been a church...

Pelerin said...

According to a link to your site from other blogs yesterday there was a post on 'The Wit and Wisdom of Pope Francis.' However on clicking this I find that 'this page does not exist.' Has it been removed?

Matthew Roth said...

The Liturgy was served by a Hellenic Army chaplain at the end of WW1 in Hagia Sophia.

Matthew Roth said...

Yes, wasn’t it the Visigothic (Arian) and then the orthodox cathedral? Those also are only buildings which survived and wouldn’t be contentious. The Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque were churches, built on the site of the Temple Mount; the current building of the al-Aqsa was never a church, and fearing the reversion, they out in the most blasphemous sections of the Quran against the Trinity.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Pilgrim

Sorry; that was due to a technological malfunction (what do these words MEAN?). It is a piece which is drafted and "loaded" for a specific day in the future.

Mike Hurcum said...

Fr, for what it i worth, I am with you all the way with Cwm Rhonnda the welsh baptists wrote some wonderful words for singing as prayers. Katherine Jenkins gives a most wonderful performance singing love vast as the ocean in Swansea with the Ocean View church.My heart ments at the words Peace and justice kissed a guilty world with love.

Pelerin said...

Thanks Father - I thought it strange and wondered if perhaps you had decided against posting it for a reason.

Marc Puckett said...

In my experience, 'technological malfunction' is generally equivalent to 'user error', ahem.

John said...

Cwm Rhondda for Benediction! I've been smiling for five minutes. It fits a treat, doesn't it.

". . .Præstet fides, Præstet fides, Præstet fides supplementum,
Sensuum defectui."

I do love that tune. But. . . just a trifle over-exuberant, perhaps?

And a happy S David's Day.

Joshua said...

I prefer to sing O salutaris Hostia to the tune of Jerusalem. It fits quite well.

Antony Sillett said...

The church currently used by the SSPX in Holloway was originally built as an Irvingite
conventicle. The Welsh speaking congregation which then took it over was I believe a part of the Established Protestant Church.

scotchlil said...

only tangentially relevant, but legend has it that the late Canon Cheslyn Jones exhibited a strangely inventive repertoire on the organ at Benediction while a novice at Nashdom. Community folklore numbered 'Salad Days' and 'Happy Birthday' among the offerings...