Yesterday, I mentioned the Orthodox Church of the Third Caprican Fleet in “Cypriot Mothership.” Today, in the spirit of ecumenical misery, I offer you the Roman Catholic parish of Saint Francis de Sales in Muskegon, Michigan. You may take a virtual tour on the parochial web site to get a closer look at this Massassi Temple. See, I suspect that the church is where George Lucas filmed the award ceremony on Yavin 4 at the end of A New Hope. I report; you decide:
Saint Francis de Sales:
I shall say this for the design—it is bold and unrelenting. It pleases one’s inner fascist rather well. Next up, we shall discuss whether the Air Force Academy Chapel belongs in Colorado Springs or in Coruscant . . .
If Roman Catholics find Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles difficult to appreciate, I wish to let them know that they are not alone. The Church of Saints Barnabas and Makarios in Cyprus is our Orthodox space age equivalent.
It was built, to no one’s surprise, in the 1970’s. You may see more pictures of Patriarch Kirill’s visit to the Cypriot temple on the Moscow Patriarchate’s site.
At least, this building conserves traditional iconography, and one cannot argue that the design does not manifest the naval aspect of Christian architecture rather spectacularly. Still, I prefer traditional domed structures—and I hate a chaired laity! Even the Greeks in the old lands are succumbing to those hateful restraints! Toss out those chairs! Burn those pews! Let children crawl in the Lord’s house with abandon!
Christ is born!
On this synaxis of the seventy apostles, as the nativity season comes to an end, I offer you Ukrainian carols sung by the clergy and people of the Sobor of the Nativity of the Theotokos near Dubno. The carol page features many recordings that you may play.
The parishioners have created several videos for YouTube, as well, including the one for Christmas posted below. The singing is fine, but the background effects and the lip synched reproduction for the dramatic setting outdoors appear rather amateurish. Nonetheless, I am impressed that a small village community in the Ukraine has invested so much time and effort in multimedia. The video is in three parts. First:
The men look uninvolved and even embarrassed. They should have recorded the actual singing in the temple and interspersed that video among segments of the outdoors scene in traditional costume with no singing. The area is picturesque enough to make decent footage without the attempt at lip synching inside and out.
Here is “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” by King’s College Choir, Cambridge:
For a quite different interpretation of the carol, you may watch Annie Lennox’s music video.
Christ is born!
Here is “O Little Town of Bethlehem” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:
I resorted to the Mormons because the English do not use Lewis Redner’s “St. Louis” setting, which is the real way to sing our American carol. If you wish to hear the version that the Brits use, you may listen to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Forest Green” arrangement by King’s College Choir from Cambridge.
Christmas greetings on this feast of the circumcision and happy belated birthday wishes to my nephew!
Four years ago, “Once in Royal David’s City” was among the first batch of Christmas carols featured on this site. I so love the song that I present another performance of it—this time at Saint Paul’s in London:
I fancy those Jacobean ruffs! If only the Church of England would hold fast to old theology and morality, Albion might be saved from ruin!
Le Christ est né!
I hope that your nativity festivities merrily continue, though the secular world has already forgotten the feast. Here is “The First Noël” sung by King’s College Choir, Cambridge:
Christus natus est.
To celebrate the nativity and the feast of Saint Stephen, here is Michael Oldfield’s cheery version of “In Dulci Jubilo”:
Enjoy the feast!
Christ is born!
To celebrate the nativity and the synaxis of the Theotokos, here is “Away in a Manger” sung by King`s College Choir, Cambridge:
Hier ist eine andere schöne Performance des Songs beim Thomanerchor: