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Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk

Stained glass window made by Stanisław Wyspiań...

Image via Wikipedia Church of St. Francis 1869 Krakow Poland

Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk.

via Heavenly illumination: The science and magic of stained glass | Andy Connelly | Science | guardian.co.uk.

I often find peacefulness in a soaring stone church, a cool open place to sit and contemplate. The giant trunk-like pillars and the gentle play of the light cast through the stained glass create a shaded garden of stone and multicoloured light.

Stained glass windows are never static. In the course of the day they are animated by changing light, their patterns wandering across the floor, inviting your thoughts to wander with them. They were essential to the fabric of ancient churches, illuminating the building and the people within, both literally and spiritually. Images and scenes leaded together into windows shed light on the central drama of Christian salvation. They allowed the light of God into the church.

The history of stained glass dates back to the middle ages and is an often underestimated technical and artistic achievement.

Glass itself is one of the fruits of the art of fire. It is a fusion of the Earth’s rocks: a mixture of sand (silicon oxide), soda (sodium oxide) and lime (calcium oxide) melted at high temperatures. Glass is an enabling material used for more than just drinking vessels and windows. It also allows scientists to observe distant stars and the smallest biological cells, and colourful chemical reactions in test tubes.

The history of glass

The earliest evidence of human interaction with glass was the discovery of flaked obsidian tools and arrow heads dating from more than 200,000 years ago. Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed when hot volcanic lava is rapidly cooled.

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October 31, 2010 Posted by | cathedral, culture, global, history, photography, religion, social | , | 1 Comment

In pictures: secrets of the Vatican archives | Books | guardian.co.uk

Pope Innocent XI

Image via Wikipedia

In pictures: secrets of the Vatican archives | Books | guardian.co.uk.The Grand Vizir of the Ottoman Empire, Karà Mustafà, attacked Vienna with an army of 160,000 men in 1683. Appointed as head of the Christian army by the intervention of Pope Innocent XI, the King of Poland, John Sobieski, led an army of 70,000 men to the walls, and broke the siege on 11 September after eight hours of combat. CLICK LINK FOR PHOTOS.

September 17, 2010 Posted by | art, cathedral, history, middle ages, religion, Rome | , , , | Leave a comment

USCCB Media Blog: John Henry Newman: Heart Speaks to Heart

USCCB Media Blog: John Henry Newman: Heart Speaks to Heart.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | cathedral, history, religion, Rome | | Leave a comment

Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel.

August 8, 2010 Posted by | cathedral, photography, religion | | Leave a comment

Canterbury Cathedral

As the photo above of Canterbury Cathedral shows, cathedrals were huge buildings – they were major long term building projects and their cost was huge.
Medieval Cathedrals were the most obvious sign of the wealth of the church in Medieval England. Huge cathedrals were found principally at Canterbury and York, and in major cities such as Lincoln, Worcester, and Chichester. The cost of these buildings was vast – but the money to pay for these huge buildings came from the people via the many payments they had to make to the Roman Catholic Church. 
How were such huge buildings built? Medieval workers worked with the most basic of tools and in conditions that modern day health and safety laws would forbid. But for all this, the most common driving force was to build a magnificent building for the greater glory of God.
The most obvious starting point was for an architect to be found who would design a cathedral. An architect would also know who were the best master craftsmen to employ – and many highly skilled men were needed.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | cathedral, London | | Leave a comment