Sunday, April 19, 2009

On Orthodox Easter - The Arches of the Abbey de Fontenay

On this Orthodox Easter, though it was not an orthodox monastery, but rather a Cisterian one, the Abbey de Fontenay speaks through the ages to deliver a timeless message of beauty and truth.  We often forget how the Christian religion has splintered over the years, with the Orthodox and Roman Catholic split descending into Protestants, who divided into Lutherans, and Baptists and Presbyterians and , and yet in the process of divergence we should not loose sight of the commonality of all religions, and the inner peace they seek as we chart our paths through a perilously uncertain world.

We may not all agree on the spiritual underpinnings of our various beliefs, but we can all agree on the legacy of art and architecture, of culture and stability that has been left to us over the centuries. Such as the Abbey de Fontenay with its spectacular setting, stunningly beautiful architecture, and its endless use of arches and form to convey the universal belief in beauty, truth, and spiritual understanding.

So from the hallways of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, to the churches of ancient Constantinoploe (now Istanbul) to the darkened corners of the Armenian and Greek Orthodox Churches in Jerusalem (indisputably the oldest branches of the Christian church) we say Happy Easter from the other side of the ecumenical gap, confident in the knowledge that we are all fellow travelers under one sun, on one planet, with one universal truth: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

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