Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Agnostic Anglican Astronomer Royal and Templeton Laureate on the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely

"No one can fail to be uplifted by great cathedrals – such as that at Ely, near my home in Cambridge," said Lord Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, quoted by Siris here — Cathedrals and Lack Thereof. More:
    Ely Cathedral overwhelms us today. But think of its impact 900 years ago – think of the vast enterprise its construction entailed. Most of its builders had never travelled more than 50 miles; the Fens were their world. Even the most educated knew of essentially nothing beyond Europe. They thought the world was a few thousand years old – and that it might not last another thousand.

    But despite these constricted horizons, in both time and space – despite the deprivation and harshness of their lives – despite their primitive technology and meagre resources – they built this huge and glorious building – pushing the boundaries of what was possible. Those who conceived it knew they wouldn't live to see it finished. Their legacy still elevates our spirits, nearly a millennium later.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.