Traveling can have a great effect on the soul. Getting away from your routine can help you see your life from a distance. You might find that you come away changed, strengthen and uplifted. It is with great hope that I write to you. Great hope that we all will be able to travel soon. For now let’s imagine what it must have been like for those who traveled a great distance on foot to see the great Chartres Cathedral. It was surprising for me to learn that this beautiful edifice was completed between the years of 1190-1220. That is was a time of great achievement in architecture and that those who worked on these huge stone houses of worship, are largely unknown to us.
The people during this time were look for:
- a place of pilgrimage to visit a holy relic
- some kind of tangible evidence of God
- a sense of pride for their community
- a destination where people could transcend this world.
Many of us today might go on a retreat, usually someplace quite to commune with nature and create a time of prayer and fellowship. However, I imagine these people worked in nature and so getting away for them required something very different.
Interesting things I discovered while reading about Chartres Cathedral:
- Chartres Cathedral was built to house the tunic of the Virgin Mary. Because of this, 10s of thousands of Pilgrims came to this place making this small town southwest of Paris a major religious center.
- It contains 176 stained-glass windows
- The spire rose 345 feet in the air. ( equal to a 30 story building)
- Try to imagine the reaction of those who lived in a one room hut without windows and traveled on foot for days or even weeks to see this beautiful cathedral.
- It is surprising to think that the construction largely happened in the span of 30 years.
- People came together after a fire in 1194 dragging carts of stone sometimes great distances to build their cathedral. The were praying, chanting and celebrating. It must have really been something to see.
I hope to make this the first post in a series of posts about the Cathedral and Stones of Hope.
Here is a little video by Rick Steves which gives you a little peak inside. See you next time:)