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A History of the Church through its Buildings

Author/EditorDoig, Allan (Emeritus Fellow of Lady Mar (Author)
ISBN: 9780199575367
Pub Date10/12/2020
BindingHardback
Pages392
Dimensions (mm)245(h) * 165(w) * 25(d)
Allan Doig explores the Christian Church through the lens of twelve particular churches, looking at their history, archaeology, and how the buildings changed over time in response to developing usage and beliefs.
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The History of the Church through its Buildings takes the reader to meet people who lived through momentous religious changes in the very spaces where the story of the Church took shape. Buildings are about people, the people who conceived, designed, financed, and used them. Their stories become embedded in the very fabric itself, and as the fabric is changed through time in response to changing use, relationships, and beliefs, the architecture becomes the
standing history of passing waves of humanity.

This process takes on special significance in churches, where the arrangement of the space places members of the community in relationship with one another for the performance of the church's rites and ceremonies. Moreover, architectural forms and building materials can be used to establish relationships with other buildings in other places and other times. Coordinated systems of signs, symbols, and images proclaim beliefs and doctrine, and in a wider sense carry extended narratives of the
people and their faith.

Looking at the history of the church through its buildings allows us to establish a tangible connection to the lives of the people involved in some of the key moments and movements that shaped that history, and perhaps even a degree of intimacy with them. Standing in the same place where the worshippers of the past preached and taught, or in a space they built as a memorial, touching the stone they placed, or marking their final resting-place, holding a keepsake they treasured or seeing a relic
they venerated, probably comes as close to a shared experience with these people as it is possible to come. Perhaps for a fleeting moment at such times their faces may come more clearly into focus...

The History of the Church through its Buildings takes the reader to meet people who lived through momentous religious changes in the very spaces where the story of the Church took shape. Buildings are about people, the people who conceived, designed, financed, and used them. Their stories become embedded in the very fabric itself, and as the fabric is changed through time in response to changing use, relationships, and beliefs, the architecture becomes the
standing history of passing waves of humanity.

This process takes on special significance in churches, where the arrangement of the space places members of the community in relationship with one another for the performance of the church's rites and ceremonies. Moreover, architectural forms and building materials can be used to establish relationships with other buildings in other places and other times. Coordinated systems of signs, symbols, and images proclaim beliefs and doctrine, and in a wider sense carry extended narratives of the
people and their faith.

Looking at the history of the church through its buildings allows us to establish a tangible connection to the lives of the people involved in some of the key moments and movements that shaped that history, and perhaps even a degree of intimacy with them. Standing in the same place where the worshippers of the past preached and taught, or in a space they built as a memorial, touching the stone they placed, or marking their final resting-place, holding a keepsake they treasured or seeing a relic
they venerated, probably comes as close to a shared experience with these people as it is possible to come. Perhaps for a fleeting moment at such times their faces may come more clearly into focus...

Allan Doig read Architecture at King's College, Cambridge, where he also completed a PhD. After a number of years as a university lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Kent, Canterbury, he was ordained, and during his curacy at St Helen's in Abingdon was responsible for the restoration of the fourteenth-century painted ceiling in the Lady Chapel there. From his curacy he took up the Chaplaincy of Lady Margaret Hall in the University of Oxford and was elected to a Fellowship in 1996. He has served on the Oxford Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches, the Council for the Care of Churches, English Heritage's Places of Worship Advisory Committee, and the Fabric Advisory Committees of Salisbury and Ely Cathedrals, and he has also published many books and articles on the history of church architecture. He is a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society.

Acknowledgements Introduction 1: 'The World's Most Miraculous Place': the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 2: Christianity at the Heart of the Roman Empire: Old St Peter's Basilica on the Vatican Hill 3: New Rome and the Horizons of Empire: Hagia Sophia in Istanbul 4: 'The Third Rome': the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin 5: Renovatio Romani Imperii: Charlemagne's Church of the Holy Mother of God at Aachen 6: 'Transported from this inferior to that higher world': The Abbey of St-Denis 7: 'To the increce of oure merites': God's House at Ewelme, Oxfordshire 8: The Western Caliphate and the Christian Monarchs: the Cathedral, Cordoba 9: Ultimate Authority Under Attack: the Building of Renaissance St Peter's 10: The Iberian Empires and the Evangelisation of the World: the Church of Sant'Ignazio, Rome 11: English Parish Churches Exported: the Crimean Memorial Church, Istanbul 12: 'A Phoenix too Soon': Coventry Cathedral Index

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