Weekly Photo Challenge: “Forward” — My South America Trip #21 – The Metropolitan Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge : Forward of WordPress.

I thought I have concluded my South America trip, but I haven’t.   Churches, temples, mosques, are the places of worship, and most of them I visited, are ancient or historic in their architectural style.  This is the first time I visited a well-known church with a modern history and style.

The Metropolitan church in Rio de Janeiro, is stunning.  Its beauty lies in the four rectilinear stained glass windows. Designed by Edgar Fonceca in a modern style, the current Cathedral was built between 1964 and 1979.

The New Cathedral, as it is sometimes called, is located in the center of the city. Conical in form and with a 96 metres (315 ft) internal diameter and an overall height of 75 metres (246 ft), it has a standing-room capacity of 20,000 people.

The cathedral’s four rectilinear stained glass windows soar 64 metres (210 ft) from floor to ceiling.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_de_Janeiro_Cathedral

As we had a very tight schedule, we only stopped there for a short while.  I took a few pictures and then stopped.  I am not a religious person but at that moment, I told myself that it was a church which was a place of worship.  We should pay respect to God instead of treating it as a tourist site.  Then I asked myself:  didn’t you go visit all the old churches in Europe, the mosques in Turkey, the Buddhist temples in China, and the sacred Potala Palace in Tibet?  There were lots of tourists also.  Why didn’t I feel the same way here?  Well,…. because it is a modern structure.  Does it mean, modernity does not deserve our respect?  I have no answer to this question.  Do we feel the same way when we appreciate the old masters’ paintings and the modern artwork of the contemporary artists?

I looked around with my eyes this time, but not with my camera (which was my iPhone).  I said, let me appreciate the architectural beauty, dear God, and forgive me for even having this question in mind…why am I questioning this place of worship whereas it never happened when I visited an ancient church, mosque or temple?

It came upon me at that moment, the urge to look forward to making changes, to creating advancement, to appreciating progress, in the world around me.  Let’s begin here, at the Metropolitan Church, in Brazil.  I left with our tour group, turning around one more time, to appreciate this beautiful structure.  Indeed it is also a work of God. The architect designed it, but God blessed it.  I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see it.  Thank you, dear Lord!

“The architect must be a prophet… a prophet in the true sense of the term… if he can’t see at least ten years ahead don’t call him an architect.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

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