Continuing on with our theme, here are some photos of cathedrals from our trips around the world (caveat: some of these are Orthodox rather than Catholic churches, so Cathedral is only the appropriate term for about half of them…) I love the architecture, the murals and the tiles, but I also love the intimate portraits of people praying, and scrubbing the floors of the church. Those moments are so much more compelling than a static photo of a timeless building:Some observations on visiting churches: even when I haven’t had the suggested donation, I have never been turned away. And although I’ve visited Notre Dame, and America’s National Cathedral, I tend to be just as fond of churches most people have never heard of, like the amazing Orthodox and Catholic churches in the city in Romania where I used to live. I find flash photography in churches obnoxious, so I never do it, and I occasionally visit churches where there is an additional charge to take pictures – I always pay it, because I feel wrong about defrauding someone else’s church, even though I frequently sneak pictures in random tourist traps instead of paying the fee. I find that it’s best to keep my shoulders covered and my dress modest, if I know I’m going to tour an active place of worship, as a sign of respect to the people who worship there. I’ve always found them welcoming, even though I don’t always know the traditions, and I’ve found their history fascinating – the relics and the monuments and the graveyards are often places where history is preserved.
My favorite church on earth is featured several times in this post: St. Matthias in Budapest, with its extraordinary tiled roof and muraled interior, might just be the most beautiful building I’ve ever entered. It’s well worth the trip, for those who are in or passing through Hungary!
Next up: the beautiful and haunting abandoned synagogue on the river, Oradea, Romania.