The Cathedral of the twentieth century

The Cathedral of the twentieth century

Not one among several, and the only one designed by the architect such as built in évry (Evry), 30 km South from Paris.

Hearing about it was in the year of completion of construction, 1995. Then in June I went to the place to “see” with Evry Hiking in the cathedrals, which I then took.

Because Paris has its “Golden ring” – the cathedrals, the Gothic, separated from the capital of 80-150 km, the main features of repeating of Notre Dame. Feature its Gothic – the lack of the spires on the towers; they have the “perfect Gothic Cathedral” (the word Viole-Le-Duc) – Chartres. In Saint-Denis, however, were the spires, until one of them broke the zipper in the early 19th century.

The Cathedral of Evry summer.

Evry town grew from the 60’s and became the capital of the Department of Essonne (91), University and industrial centre.

Was open and a new Bishop. Appropriate for the size of the Church was not.

On old, established in the middle ages, the scheme needed a Cathedral near new city hall, the Prefecture, the chamber of Commerce. And the University has already been constructed.

A new time – a new shape, isn’t it.

Previous experiences – the Gothic revival of the 19th century ( Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Belleville in Paris…),Romanesque style (C. Saint-Denis Viole-Le-Duc in Saint-Denis…), Byzantium ( Saint-Esprit Field of Tournon [Paul Tournon 1881-1964]), eclectic (Sacre Coeur…), modernism (Corbusier in Ronchamp; the chapel /last week called for the vandals:/ shattered stained glass, signed by the architect) is interesting.

Italian Mario Botta had the experience of the religious buildings in Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro. In Evry he solved the problem of complex buildings . where the Church is one of them, and not opposed to others, but also recognisably different.

He chose a truncated cylinder (38 m in diameter, up to 34 m high in parts), in which is inserted another, smaller diameter, forming the nave.

The temple adjoins a residential building, resembling a cloister, hosts the diocesan administration and the Dominican monastery.

On the oval section of the cylinder 24 planted a silver lime, loaded – except the leaves of the diverse symbols. Spring Easter blossom leaves and remind us of the Resurrection — 24 hour daily cycle… 12 tribes of Israel plus the 12 apostles…

The cylinders are cast in concrete and faced with Toulouse brick, he’s pinkish and lighter made from North of clay. The pattern resembles the walls, according to some, homes in southern Tunisia (he still makes it very difficult to draw graffiti. )

The nave and choir.

The project of the Cathedral of Evry was seen at the Vatican in may 1990; the first stone laid on Easter a year in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio. At the dedication in may 1997, he was named the Cathedral of the Resurrection and St. Carbine (local ascetic of the 8th century); in August it was visited by Pope John Paul 2.

In 2006 created the Scola Cantorum.

Mario Botta, famous for its Museum of modern art in San Francisco, talked about the fascination with the Byzantine and Romanesque buildings of Northern Italy.

At the core of the cylinder is a circle, “the most perfect figure” (“…like God, whose circumference is everywhere and center nowhere” – this stray quote is usually attributed to Nicholas of Cusa… or BL. Augustine). Toulouse brick, used for lining, combines the 4 elements: it is made of earth and water, air dried and burned in the fire…

Bricks need 840 000. Highest part of the Cathedral is oriented to the Northwest, elevation of the cross section is 34/17 m. the Roof is transparent, with a self-supporting metal triangle in the middle, resting on three consoles. Add-in the high part supports a bell tower with five bells and a cross (weighing 3 tons). Access to the Cathedral is through three entrances: a traditional South-East, entrance for processions from the West and from the East.

The diameter of the cylinder of the nave is 29 m; it is lined with black granite.

Behind the choir is a stained glass window depicting the conditional tree.

Side galleries choirs descend in wide low steps, called the donkey steps . They covered the Windows with abstract stained glass Windows by Kim EN Jung.

The throne is made of white Carrara marble and rests on a pillar leading down into the crypt, where prepared 24 slots for future burials of bishops (enough for approximately 500 years…).

In the left part choirs have a 9-ton baptistery of white marble cylindrical shape; at baptism may be immersed.

In the depths of the nave, under the main South-East entrance, is the chapel of the Holy sacrament. He 8-coal forms, symbolizing the seven days of the week and eighth day of the Resurrection. Lighting is via a well from a window located behind the altar. The floor is covered with granite slabs and a visible pattern resembling the labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral.

Roof ceiling and the supporting triangle.

View of the nave from the choir.

The furniture was designed by the same Bott; here it is necessary to regret, that the decorative holes along the edges of the seat and backrest cause unnecessary Association with film and landed himself (and impoverish) the atmosphere of a religious space.

Burgundy oak, made furniture, not save the situation.

(Omit details of decoration, the iconography and bells; in French you can find them here ).

But the acoustics are magnificent: the voice of the preacher perfectly audible and without a microphone, the voice does not lose its qualities.

Capacity of the Cathedral 1400, of which seats 800.

External brick cladding.

The Cathedral was designed and built in an atmosphere of controversy.

Do we need a new Cathedral at the current slowdown of Christianization? Is it not strange the appearance of the new Grand temple? And cylindrical shape not like the traditional, in the form of a Latin cross…

Argued and on the financing of the construction, originally estimated at 90 million francs. According to rumors, the money was given to the state. However, the Ministry of culture allocated only 13 million at the anticipated space for the arts centre. Now it is open and is divided into two parts: the Field Museum of Delaware (African art) and the national centre of religious art.

The rest of the money came from the Church Fund Construction of Cardinal (Chantiers du Cardinal), donated by arhiepiskopii of Munich and Freising (5 and 5 million), the companies-sponsors. 400 thousands of believers have contributed. Upon completion of construction, all costs were covered.

At the same time in the city was erected the mosque of évry-Corcoran; began to fear the “confrontation” of two major religions. The fear subsided after the erection in Evry of the Vietnamese Buddhist pagoda Khan-Anh.

One journalist has sparked talk that the truncated cylinder of the Cathedral and the triangle on the roof structure reminiscent of Freemasonry. According to the architect, the triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity; the inclined plane trees he wanted to avoid the deadening static. In fact, from the oval Cathedral has a peaceful and more homely appearance in contrast to the solemnity and inaccessibility of the area.

The oval cross-section in the winter.

In 2000 I printed in the Catholic weekly “Life” ( La Vie ) an article in which he remembered “the Grand Inquisitor” and threatened to “feed” and to force to forget about Christ. And noted, as a curiosity, what grain elevators in France, its shape is remarkably similar to the Church! But the shapes chopped off, stupid…

Opening the latest issue, I was stunned: the illustrated edition of my article… the picture of the Cathedral of Evry! Without asking my opinion, being confident that I obviously agree.

But it’s not. Experience Evry interesting, the architect Botta – minded and modest. Of course, the repetition of his Cathedral it is impossible, it will never be “model”, architecture in our time – the art of unique structures. However, trees on the roofs of expensive mnogokvartirnym after Botta (Gagny…) …but did not survive. Cuba remained a concrete, visible above ground, the purpose of which is to be pot – no one knows.

The Cathedral of Evry winter.

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