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.