Monday, 16 April 2012


We had a total church filled day! We visited the incredibly beautiful 'Our Saviour of the Blood Cathedral'. This cathedral was the model for the beautiful St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow (at Red Square); It was staggeringly beautiful and the interior is made up almost exclusively of mosaics. 

We then had a hideous walk in the torrential rain (monsoon season hits St.Pete's) to the stunning St. Isaacs cathedral. We were drenched to the bone when we arrived but were delighted to be told that because mass was taking place we didn't need to pay and we could just pretend that we were going to mass. YAY mass! This cathedral was very different to the  'Our Saviour of the Blood Cathedral' from earlier. It was elegant and gilded and quite ostentatious but stunning nonetheless.

These buildings are breathtaking but they are not the only breathtaking churches/cathedrals in the world and it really got us thinking about the wealth that certain religious institutions have. The financial resources of the Catholic church is quite staggering, and the beauty of all the religious institutions that we have visited, are quite obvious. We couldn't help but wonder why religions prosper where the people do not? This blog post is not anti any religious group (that would be quite counterproductive) but it is worth considering these controversial questions.

To us, despite the overwhelming beauty and wealth of the church, we do get uncomfortable knowing that so many people still want for so much. Obviously a church is a shrine to God but would God (if one exists) want people, who were created in his image, to starve whilst a really beautiful big building is built in his honour? Our guess is probably not. Beauty is so important, it makes life a little more wonderful but it should not come at the expense of people's lives. It seems quite absurd that certain religions preach about helping your fellow man and the righteousness of charity yet direct huge amounts of money into architecture whilst ignoring the needs of people. The Catholic church is probably (in our opinion) one of the wealthiest institutions in the world but yet millions of Catholics around the world starve and live in dire poverty. We are not saying that Catholicism doesn't help people, but what we are asking is if the Church is doing all it could to help?

We have really enjoyed our time exploring (intrepidly) the Cathedrals of Eastern Europe and we have stood open mouthed in awe at their beauty but we do think that religions perhaps need to re-evaluate their priorities if this is the legacy that they leave behind, rather than helping 'Gods' people. 

1 comment:

  1. Question - where does the church get its money from? Sure, in some countries the state patially funds the church, and that IMHO is totally wrong and not what I want done with my taxpayer money, but a lot of it comes from the pay cheques and goes onto the collection plates of the faithful. So something else to think about is that people, some of course and certainly not all or even most, but nevertheless, people are choosing to go without in order to give to the church.

    Another questions is what is their motivation behind it, but a whole other kettle of fish.