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COVENTRY CATHEDRAL

The Modern Cathedral:
The First Impression



As we leave the remains of St. Michael's Cathedral and enter the modern building we are overpowered by a different type of grandeur and a different atmosphere. The consequences of the powers of darkness and destruction and the mixed sentiments that have accompanied us in the first stage of the exploration of the Cathedral are swept away in an instant. We are spiritually shaken and transported into a different world, a new world, a new life. Immediately on entering we experience something akin to a rebirth, a resurrection.

This is the scene that confronts us as we enter:

 

[Coventry Cathedral, the bapatistry window]

The baptistry window

No picture or web site can ever describe adequately the experience of suddenly leaving the old ruins and entering the new Cathedral. It is something you have to live through yourself

This baptistery window is one of the most impressive in England. This is our architectural introduction to the Cathedral as baptism is the introduction into the Church. The stained-glass window was designed by John Piper and created by Patrick Reyntiens and has a total of 195 panels. At the foot of the stained-lass window is the baptismal font (not visible in the picture). It is actually made of a huge rock brought over from the Holy Land not far from Bethlehem.

One can quite easily understand the symbolic value of combining the vivid brightness of the golden centre of the window and the baptismal font. The brilliant, golden, sun-like centre surrounded by the darker-coloured panes is symbolic of the essential value of baptism itself which lifts the newly baptised from the powers of darkness and incorporates him into the brilliant glory of Christ, the sun of righteousness. We have gone through an experience akin to this as we passed from the ruins of the old Cathedral into the newness of life of the modern building. An impressive architectural and spiritual experience all in one. I know of no other place that offers the same.

 

RJW

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latest update: 27/6/04