Thursday, June 29, 2006

St. Thomas Cathedral III

[This is India. A sacred cow lounges at the back of the Cathedral :)]


assiniboine said...

Thanks for these. Everyone I know from Bombay wants to know if I have visited St Thomas's and I never have, despite having stayed in Colaba several times. I don't know what Catholic churches look like in South Carolina but I gather you'd be surprised at their Presbyterian (even Unitarian) austerity in Canada outside Quebec. Australia too, apart from one or two magnificent Gothic structures that can't be stripped down without impairing the fabric. Middle-of-the-road Anglican (and even many United/Presbyterian) Churches look downright Byzantine by comparison. I will email you a photo of the RC cathedral in my hometown where I once played the organ. A matter of the RC church being culturally mainstream in such jurisdictions, perhaps?

Lady chapels, though perhaps not very often statues and icons of the BVM, are, however, far from uncommon in middle-of-the-road Anglican churches in Canada, Australia and Pakistan, and I suspect also in India.

Strange seating configuration in St Thomas's: I've never seen its like! It would be fascinating to go to a Sunday Eucharist there. Karachi Cathedral is pretty high church in style....Well, albs and chasubles on clergy; servers in cassocks and surplices (though not cottas); you'd probably even recognise the little old lady in a shalwar-qameez playing the electronic organ with her elbows and knees instead of her fingers and toes! Curious irony that the hair-raisingly conservative evangelical Protestant (well, Southern Baptist, even!) Anglican diocese of Sydney historically derives its extreme low church position from having been an outpost of the diocese of Calcutta, whereas the CSI and the CNI have gone all middle-of-the-road. An Indian Anglican friend of mine here in Australia is most at home in extreme high church parishes (my Mum dragged him off to church when she visited after she asked him, "Sam, what religion are you?" thinking he'd say something interesting like Jain or Hindu or Parsi or Muslim. "Anglican." "Oh. [Ka-thunk!]" And then got all spooked by his outward pieties in the pew and at the altar rail!)

Aren't the historic wall plaques astonishing! Alas, they were all swept out of Canadian Anglican churches in the 60s and 70s.

Thank you again for these wonderful photos. But surely the "sacred cow" is a buffalo, n'est-ce pas? Don't Indian cows have humps, same as the "brahma cows" in Texas?

assiniboine said...

(Curiously, rectors of Canadian Catholic cathedrals are not deans of the diocese as in Australia though, as I mentioned before, Canadian RC bishops are "Your grace." Not, however, "My Lord.")

Gashwin said...

I knew that you, perhaps, of the regular perusers of my ruminations, would enjoy this the most :).

Catholic Churches in SC run the gamut from 19th century neo-classical, with statues galore to modern monstrosities that resemble space-ships at launch.

Nope that is a cow. The humps are really on the bulls. The Indian water buffalo is quite distinct. In fact I have a picture of a few in the post from Baroda from a couple of weeks back.

Deans? Hmm. In the US, the larger Diocese (geographically) at least are divided into Deaneries, (Charleston has five) with the Dean being elected by the local presbytery for a term. The one who shares some episcopal jurisdiction is the Vicar General, a priest appointed by the Bishop and serving at his pleasure.

At least in the US, as far as I know, the rector of the cathedral doesn't enjoy too much more prestige, other than probably being given the title Monsignor.

The term canon is not used in the US, though it's quite common in Rome, for the priests assigned permanently to the major basilicas

assiniboine said...

(HAIR-RAISINGLY awful sacramental wine in a Pakistani Anglican church! You'd think that the issue of keeping wine from going off when it sits in the hot sun on the tarmac would make them turn to watered port as in the West instead of going for seriously terrible claret. "The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation," the dean says as he passes the cup." Oh is that what it is.)

Did a bit of a search about and yes, rectors of Canadian RC cathedrals are "rectors," or, somewhat rarely as in Lutheran churches, "pastors." Never "deans." Curiously, though the Lutheran Church of Canada is episcopal it doesn't have cathedrals; and they only have "bishops" and "pastors." Whether their bishops are rendered more or less kosher in RC eyes by the recently established intercommunion with the Anglican Church of Canada is possibly not worth thinking about: they had committed the solecism of having an all-male episcopacy but the Anglicans told them they weren't going to get away with THAT, and they quickly mended their ways!

assiniboine said...

Well, it only goes to show you how small-c Catholic (in the sense of inclusive, and culturally locally-attuned) the RC church is, eh? Presbyterian in Canada; Anglican in Australia. I wonder what it is in India: Portuguese?