Eastern Europe – Sanctuary Moments: Writing in Churches

Dubrovnik, Croatia
June 2013

St. Blaise Church
   There will be no ‘alone’ in this church as many tourists mill about. They are adorned with neon stickers that identify their tour tribe. CaCIMG4135meras, iPads and phones are the tethers to prove being here at this moment in time. Without them, how would we know where we’ve been? What remains of and with us?
We arrive in time to participate in some sort of blessing. Two priests hold large wax candles; they are crossed in the shape of an ‘X’. The men hold one end in each hand, the other end looks like a divining rod. We process forward slowly as the priest lowers the candle on each shoulder moving it all the way until the center of the ‘X’ touches each of our necks. They speak a blessing.
When everyone is duly blessed; we return to the pews and a song is sung (in Croatian) by the congregation. It is a tune that seems to connect the people with joy hope and thanksgiving.

St Luke’s Chapel (1786)
   While walking and observing the buildings around us, we realize that we’ve passed this little Chapel several times having not taken much notice of it except for it is now an art gallery. We stop in to see the architecture and art. We visit with the artist Boris Kousier and buy one of his works that capture the Old City Dubrovnik.

St. Ignacio Church
“IHS” – I know this stands for three Latin words of significance, words of great importance* – which I can never remember. Since a teenager, whenever I see “IHS” I always mentally read it to mean “In His Service.” That works for me.
The people shuffle and I can hear the grit beneath their feet. Their whispering voices create a murmur that echoes as a chant.
The altar area swoops up and I think of it as a vortex, drawing in hearts that seek. The art creates a perspective of advancing angels which surround, encapsulate, compel; a place of worship, holy guidance and expectation of and to.

*IHS means Iesus Hominum Salvator (“Jesus, Savior of men” in Latin)


About richardandlisa

Richard is the photographer, typically. Lisa is the writer, typically. We've both been know to cross-genre...is that allowed?
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