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  • Praxiteles

  • Praxiteles

    Collected Letters of A.W.N. Pugin

    Margaret Belcher has finally concluded the definitive edition of the letters of A.W.N. Pugin with the publication in February of the fifth and final volume of her magistral work. The book covers the last period of Pugin’s life, 1850-1852.

  • Praxiteles

  • Praxiteles

    A list of Keely’s churches in the United States and Canada

  • Praxiteles

    A Symposium on the Architect Patrick Charles Keely

    Twenty-Fifth Annual Symposium on Public Monuments
    in Tribute to Rudolf Wittkower*

    DATE: FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2015
    TIME: 8:30 A.M. TO 6:00 P.M.
    ADMISSION: FREE. R.S.V.P. (212) 764-5645, EXT 10

    Patrick Charles Keely (1816-1896) designed and built an estimated 700 churches and ecclesiastical buildings in the
    eastern and western United States and Canada from the 1840s when he emigrated from County Tipperary, Ireland,
    to Brooklyn, New York, until he died there in 1896. In 1884, he was awarded the Laetare Medal, the oldest and
    most prestigious award for American Catholics. Yet, today, few authorities in the fields of American and European
    art and architecture and nineteenth-century studies even know his name. Nor is anything known of his architectural
    education, only that he was trained as a carpenter and builder by his father, a draughtsman and builder.
    Keely arrived in the United States just as the Roman Catholic Church was experiencing unprecedented expansion.
    A chance meeting with a young parish priest led to designs for Keely’s first church in America—the highly
    acclaimed Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Brooklyn, 1848 (demolished in 1957). Designed in the Gothic Revival
    style, which was fast becoming the hallmark of Catholic Church design throughout the country, the Brooklyn
    commission spawned a succession of designs for cathedrals, churches, and institutional buildings that distinguished
    Keely as America’s leading Catholic architect of the 19th century.
    In the symposium the past two years, we have addressed the failure of recorded history, in an effort to rediscover
    Patrick Charles Keely and to define his legacy. Speakers from the fields of art and history, conservation of the
    decorative arts, psychology, and photography shared their individual pursuits in that rediscovery. Their efforts laid
    the foundations for the program this year.
    Keely was a devout Roman Catholic, and he attended Mass daily, which was, of course, the Traditional Latin Mass.
    For him, the altar, as the site of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was the focal point of his Faith—and his churches.
    All of his architectural lines converge on the altar, and all of his symbolism and decoration is oriented to the altar
    and subordinated to the Eucharist.
    Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812-52), the famous architect and theoretician of the Gothic Revival and
    convert to Catholicism, whose writings had as much, perhaps even more, impact on the course of architectural
    history as his buildings, said, “The belief and manners of all people are embedded in the edifices they raise.” That
    describes Keely’s artistry as well as Pugin’s and helps us to understand why Keely was known as “The American
    Pugin,” which J. PHILIP McALEER, retired art and architectural historian,Technical University of Nova Scotia,
    In order for us to understand Keely’s artistry, we need to understand the primary spiritual reality that inspired it—
    his devotion to the Eucharistic Sacrifice on the altars he created. FATHER KENNETH MYERS, formerly
    Chaplain of the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community, examines how traditional Catholic architecture is centered on
    the altar where the Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated. He describes the Mass as a sacrifice, both in its historical
    origins in Jewish Temple liturgy, and as it is expressed in the text of the Traditional Latin Mass.
    FATHER MATTHEW McNEELY, FSSP (The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter), explains that the object of the
    FSSP is the sanctification of priests through the exercise of the priesthood, and in particular, to turn the life of the
    priest toward that which is essentially his reason for being: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He thereby makes
    present, in a certain sense, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in this world in his own life and in the lives of
    those he serves. As a priest of the FSSP, this is accomplished through the lens of the liturgy, specifically the
    Traditional Latin Mass, the liturgy for which Keely designed and built his many churches and the principles of
    which, it seems clear, would have formed the foundation of his architectural education and inspiration.
    In Keely’s attention to detail in everything in his churches from the exterior shape of the architecture to the detailed
    carvings of his altars, from the stories in stained glass to the symbols of the elaborate murals, he clearly identified
    his structures as “portals of heaven,” where American Catholics participated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
    Author DELMA TALLERICO clarifies how Keely built his churches as the earthly intersection of heaven and
    With Vatican II came the Novus Ordo Mass and its re-orientation in which the celebrant at Mass faces the
    congregation. Along with new altars, came modernized symbolism and decoration. Change in sanctuaries and
    shrines, including those in many of Keely’s churches, ranged from modest modification to destruction of tradition.
    Then, on July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued his Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, which affirmed the
    right of every Catholic priest in the world to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. His Apostolic Letter ushered in a
    renewal that has reverberated around the ecclesiastical world.

    KATHLEEN HECK, who served as Special Assistant to the Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General for the
    Boston Archdiocese from 2004 to 2008, reveals how the responsible re-use of Church art and sacred objects, as
    well as the transfer of great altars and other sacred objects and liturgical art, brings to life those sacred objects in
    appropriate settings.
    In a glimpse of Keely’s early years, EDWARD FUREY, Founder and President of the Keely Society, reminds us
    that the prejudices Keely faced in his early years in Ireland were more profound than those challenges his churches
    faced in the post-Vatican II years. He shows how Keely’s architectural genius was nurtured in his homeland and
    brought to full flower in the 1840s to affect the Catholic Church in America.
    PEDRO d’AQUINO, Acting Music Director of the Latin Mass Community in the Parish of Holy Innocents in
    Manhattan, analyzes the relationship between the Gothic Revival in architecture and the revival of Gregorian Chant
    at St. Peter’s Abbey, Solemes, France, as different yet complementary aspects of a romantic quest for the recovery
    of lost monuments and a lost liturgy. He looks further at the irony of the postmodern recovery of the Traditional
    Latin Mass and its sacred music as the epitome of the realization of Keely’s ideal for Holy Innocents: just as in the
    wake of the devastation of the French Revolution there came the great revival of Benedictine monasticism in
    Europe and of the musical patrimony of the Roman liturgical tradition, so in the aftermath of the liturgical
    iconoclasm of the post-Vatican II deformation of the church came the revival of the Latin Mass and its sacred
    music and iconography in the pontificate of Benedict XVI.
    For years, The Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City has had an active liturgical, spiritual, and social
    outreach program that serves not only members of the parish but also the host of area commuters in the garment
    district and the working poor. However, following Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum,
    7 July 2007, affirming the right of every Catholic priest in the world to offer the Traditional Latin Mass, that
    program was transformed by dedicated parishioners and priests. Holy Innocents, alone, in the entire Archdiocese
    of New York, offers her 2.8 million Catholics both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass,
    seven days a week. Art historian and Holy Innocents parishioner DONALD REYNOLDS characterizes that
    liturgical and spiritual transformation and coexistence as “The Miracle on 37th Street.”
    In 1958, an instruction was issued about various aspects of celebrating the liturgy called De Musica Sacra et Sacra
    Liturgia. It was issued by the Congregation of Sacred Rites on September 3 of that year and approved by the
    Venerable Pius XII. FATHER LEONARD VILLA, Administrator of The Church of the Holy Innocents, clarifies
    one of the matters it addresses: the laity’s participation in the Mass, both the sung Mass and the so-called dialog
    Mass. And because Holy Innocents is the only church in the Archdiocese of New York that has both the
    Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo seven days a week for its 2.8 million Catholics, Father Villa also
    clarifies the possible cross-pollination between the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
    8:30 Registration and Coffee
    9:00 Welcome and Acknowledgments. Donald M. Reynolds, Art Historian, New York City.
    9:15 Patrick Charles Keely, “The American Pugin.” J. Philip McAleer, Art and Architectural Historian, Retired,
    Technical University of Nova Scotia, Bradford Nova Scotia.
    10:00 The Traditional Altar and the Concept of Sacrifice.. Father Kenneth Myers, Former Pastor, The Pittsburgh Latin
    Mass Community, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    10:45 The Traditional Latin Mass in the Context of the Sacred Tradition of the Church. Father Matthew McNeely,
    FSSP (The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter), Administrator, Our Lady of Fatima Chapel, Pequannock, New Jersey.
    11:30 The Postmodern Recovery of Gregorian Chant in the Traditional Latin Mass and its Roots. Pedro d’Aquino,
    Acting Director of the Latin Mass Community, Church of the Holy Innocents, New York City.
    Lunch Break
    2:00 The Keely Architects, Ireland and America.. Edward H. Furey, Artist, Educator, Founder and President of the Keely
    Society, Enfield, Connecticut.
    Consolation through Conservation: The Responsible Re-use of Church Art and Sacred Objects. Kathleen Heck, Special
    Assistant to the Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, 2004-2008, Boston,
    3:00 Keely Design: Sites for Sacrifice. Delma Tallerico, Independent Scholar, Author, Lecturer, Wexford, Pennsylvania.
    3:45 “The Miracle on 37th Street”: Transformation and Coexistence in Keely’s Church of the Holy Innocents. Donald
    M. Reynolds, Art Historian and Holy Innocents Parishioner, New York City.
    4:15 The Possible Cross-Pollination Between the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Father
    Leonard Villa, Administrator, The Church of the Holy Innocents, New York City.
    5:00 Reception
    *Founded by Donald M. Reynolds in 1991, on the twentieth anniversary of the death of the renowned art historian Rudolf Wittkower, the
    symposium is made possible through bequests of Elaine Zlobik Skinner, Joan Zlobik Gdosky, and John Leo Zlobik, siblings of Nancy Zlobik
    Reynolds, parishioner of Holy Innocents Church.
    The wise man preserves that which he values and celebrates that which he preserves

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #925197


    Restoration Work on Chratres Cathedral: The Most Recent Controversy

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #925196


    A Happy Christmas to all and everybody

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #924781

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #924780


    From the Ecclesiogolist:

    Wednesday 3 December
    17th Dykes Bower Memorial Lecture
    Lecturer: Ptolemy Dean, Surveyor of the Fabric, Westminster Abbey
    Subject: Westminster Abbey: Continuing and New Projects
    Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London, WC1. 6.00 for 6.30. Reception after

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #924779


    From the Ecclesiological Society

    Michael Hall’s much anticipated biography of Bodley has now been published, and the publishers, Yale, are offering a discount to recipients of this email, from tomorrow (21 November) until 31 December.
    George Frederick Bodley & the Later Gothic Revival in Britain and America by Michael Hall is available at the special discount price of £35.00 (rrp £50.00) from the Yale University Press website.Visit this link and include promotion code Y1412 at the checkout stage of your order. Free p&p for UK customers.

    Apocalypse: the Great East Window of York Minster, has now been published. It is by our Council member Sarah Brown. It details the major conservation programme that began on the largest of all the medieval stained-glass windows in Britain, and includes essays on the history and creation of the window. It can be ordered here:

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #913846


    Well, here is the answer:

    Christies South Kensington, 18 March 2014, Auction no. 5233, lot 96A

    Lot Description
    CIRCA 1840
    Carved on both sides, in the form of two connecting scrolls, pierced and carved with trefoil decoration with conforming trefoil finials, losses
    19 in. (49 cm.) high; 28 in. (71 cm.) wide

    Lot Notes

    St. Patrick’s, the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland was designed by two architects as work was suspended part way through in 1844 due to the Potato Famine. The bottom half was designed in 1838, in the English Perpendicular Gothic style, by Thomas Duff of Newry; the top half designed in 1853, in the French Decorated Gothic style, by J. J. McCarthy of Dublin. It was dedicated in 1873.

    The rood screen from which this section of panelling is thought to originate was destroyed when the cathedral was remodelled in 1980 along with the High Altar designed by the Italian sculptor Cesare Aureli (1844-1923).

    It made £375

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #913845


    Finally, we can see what I was trying to ask about.

    Well, any suggestions as to what this item is?

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #913843


  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #913842


    ` <li><ol>
    <img src=”http://[URL=][IMG][/IMG][/URL]” alt=”null” />

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #913840


    Any ideas about this piece?


  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #906749


    Two world wars and now this….

    Re-Wreckovating the Cathedral of Berlin

    The church of St Hedwig in Berlin was constructed over the middle decades of the 18th century, on land donated for the purpose by the Calvinist King of Prussia, Frederick II, and consecrated in 1773. Between 1930 and 1932, the interior was modified so that it could become the cathedral of the newly-created Catholic diocese of Berlin, which was raised to the status of an archbishopric in 1994.

    Interior 1886

    The exterior after post-war restorations

    During the Second World War, the church’s distinctively shaped dome was completely destroyed, and the interior gutted, by a fire-bomb. It was then rebuilt with this strange arrangement, opening up a large hole in the floor to expose the bulk of the crypt. The large pillar that unites the altars of the upper and lower churches probably seemed like a good idea at the time.'t%2Bwork.jpg

    The hole in the floor

    This design, which clashes in a particularly unattractive way with the building’s neo-Classical exterior, was completed in 1963.

    Well has it been said that nothing ages so quickly as the modern, and the Archdiocese of Berlin is now proposing an extensive remodelling of the entire cathedral for the 3rd time in less than a century. The new design is the result of a competition among architectural firms held by the Archdiocese; the winners are Sichau & Walter GmbH Architects and Leo Zogmayer. It proposes to close the massive hole in the floor of the cathedral, separating the crypt from the upper church, and turning it into a combination baptistery and chapel for Masses with smaller groups. Both spaces will then be completely redesigned; the complete set of new proposals can be seen in a brochure published on the website of the Archdiocese.

    The upper church will become a true church-in-the-round, with a circular white altar shaped like a coffee cup. There will be no pews, but rather specially designed “liturgical chairs.” The “presider’s chair” will be set off from the rest by being slightly elevated and of a different color; an ambo will be placed in between the chair and the altar.

    The brochure describes it thus:
    … the liturgical gathering will be configured in the form of a circular communal room. The cathedral community gathers in a concentric circle around the communal centre of the altar. In spite of the known reservations and contrary to liturgical space usage, the place for the altar has indeed been recommended to be in the middle of the gathering in the real centre of the cylindrical room. This point – exactly beneath the dome opening and over the cylindrical baptismal font – will be perceived as the strongest point of the whole church space by everyone who enters the church.
    The positioning is unfamiliar for many celebrants, but for the priest, unlike at the presider’s chair or at the ambo, direct eye contact with the community gathered is not a defining criteria.
    The liturgical places are located at the same level as the gathered community, who are essential liturgists here in the circle (translator’s note: the German is “im Rang”, a term usually associated with theatres). … The cathedra and priests’ chairs are differentiated from the community’s seats by height and color and the place of the presiders is clearly indicated. …
    The often mentioned problems of the confrontation between the liturgical participants with those directly opposite are not an issue with the circular form. Unlike in rigid rows, one can look around the circle of the gathered community in which one feels secure. Specifically drafted “liturgical chairs” have been deliberately suggested instead of pews. In union, the chairs create a light, transparent network. The floor remains a visible and palpable constitutive, fundamental element of the architecture. …
    Altar and Ambo
    The altar takes the form of a lightly modified hemisphere which is a complementary response to the dome stretching over the central room. The static limestone hemisphere fixed in one place asserts itself as iconic as well as liturgical in the monumental room. As the mighty stone altar barely seems to touch the floor, it appears both massive as well as weightless.
    The halving of the ideal shape of the ball has a symbolic meaning: what appears to be divided and broken in the dualistic world, should be made whole in the performance of the celebration.
    The ambo is finished in the same stone as the altar. The reduced cuboid shape conforms to the minimalistic geometric figure of the hemispheric altar.
    The positioning of the ambo has been calculated according to the demand that no liturgical participant should sit behind the celebrant/lector. …
    The design of the upper church does not quite revel in the ugliness seen in so many modern church designs, especially in Germany, but featurelessness has an ugliness of its own. There is, however, at least a nod toward the idea that the altar should be the focus of the church. In that sense, the arrangement of the lower church is even more badly conceived. Here the baptismal font will be larger than the altar itself, to accomodate baptisms by immersion, and positioned in the center, directly underneath the main altar of the upper church. An altar and ambo will be set in a line with the presider’s chair to either side of the font.

    Very possibly, though, the worst feature will be the Sacrament Chapel, which will reuse the tabernacle from the present arrangement of the lower church. As described in the brochure:
    This prominently placed room for devotions, adoration, meditation and small group liturgies is designed to be a place of silence. Spacial concentration, meditative lighting – by daylight as well as in the evening (high narrow window out of real antique glass) and the eastern oriented location of the tabernacle (Schwerd/Förster, 1963) which serves as an exemplary element of historical continuity, make this chapel a high-level contemplative center.
    It will be interesting to see what kind of “small group liturgies” are celebrated in a Sacrament chapel without an altar.

  • in reply to: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches #775118


    @praxiteles wrote:

    From the quondam Cork Examiner of 18 June 2014

    Triptych artwork found in shed could fetch up to €120k

    By Brendan Furlong

    A religious artwork discovered among junk in a presbytery outhouse is expected to fetch up to €120,000 at auction next month.

    The triptych featuring scenes from the Crucifixion was found by Piercestown parish priest Fr John O’Reilly in a shed behind the parochial house which is situated just five miles south of Wexford town.

    It has been identified as a rare 15th-century altar piece from the Flemish school of art in Belgium. Mystery surrounds how it ended up in Piercestown.

    Fr O’Reilly said parishioners were amazed when they heard about the exciting find, but no one was able to offer any information about its origin.

    Sheppards, the art auction specialists in Durrow, Co Laois, have estimated the piece to be worth between €80,000 and €120,000.

    It will be auctioned at an international market on July 9. Fr O’Reilly said the proceeds will be used for the benefit of the parish.

    They contacted the National Gallery and a Dutch University in The Hague, which confirmed the piece was an original from the Flemish School.

    The priest told his parishioners about the find at Sunday Mass. Photographs of the triptych were put on display in the church.

    Sheppards have suggested two possible theories on how it arrived in Wexford. One is that a wealthy local merchant may have brought it back from a trip to the continent, while the other is that it may have been taken for safe-keeping by monks or nuns fleeing Germany at the beginning of the Second World War.

    Well, it did not and was it worth flogging it off for the few shillings it made?

  • in reply to: the work of J.J. McCarthy #906750


    Do not forget that it was quicker and easier to bring the stone for the building of the Cathedral in St. John’s, Newfoundland from Dublin and Galway !!

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