Monday, September 26, 2005

Where I’ve been
Part of a marvellous weekend in Chicago celebrating my 39th birthday (I reckon I have about six more years as a ‘young’ fogey):

St John Cantius
Chicago’s answer to the Brompton Oratory in a wonderful towering 19th-century building that suggests the baroque style of the old country (Poland) with a perfect mix of the right equipment, gilding and colour faded with age inside.

Note that they have public recitation of the office.

The only things I’d miss here would be Cranmer’s English (not to be confused with his theological spin) and English/anglophilic eccentricity but one can find all that elsewhere.

Also...

The Church of the Ascension
Which at least has most impressive remnants of religion

And in this tradition:

Русский baroque
Малый а мировой кафедральный собор! Chicago is very Slavic but apparently not particularly Russian. This cathedral, historically an ethnic Ruthenian congregation (as described a little here and elsewhere in this blog) in a church built and run by Russians, is near a Ukrainian neighbourhood* with a Ukrainian Orthodox and lovely old Ukrainian Catholic cathedral (St Nicholas) within walking distance of each other.

The U-505
As anti-war as I am I enjoyed a dose of 1940s nostalgia and the artisanly beauty of an old machine that happens to be a weapon, along with the aspect of humanising soldiers on the other side as this story did. There’s lots of memorabilia showing the bad (of five officers three were Nazis — many career military officers weren’t) and the good (a Lutheran prayer book printed in fraktur as all German was before the war).

Then there’s the issue of shooting at civilians (commerce-raiding). The US did the same thing to the Japanese in the Pacific.

And when the U-boat’s crew were captured the US broke the Geneva Convention by not reporting the men’s survival via the Red Cross to Germany ... in order to protect the secrecy of the mission to capture the sub and its equipment.

*With streets like ‘Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky Way’. Honorary street names alongside the official names are big in Chicago — sometimes you can’t find the sign with the ‘real’ name!

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