Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Berliner Dom

Berlin's magnificent Cathedral, which sits on the 'Museum Island' in the heart of city, has benefited from a massive rebuilding programme which was completed in the 1980s. The bombing of WWII, and the fall of Berlin to the Red Army of Soviet Russia left many of Berlin's great landmarks in ruins. Photos from the years after the Second World War show a tattered building, with its great domed roof caved in. 1950s images shot from within the crumbling building, (with little regard for the health and safety of the photographer) reveal a view of the sky above the main sanctuary. 

It seems that no expense has been spared in the restoration process, which has been detailed, meticulous and spectacular. The Berliner Dom today functions as a working church, a museum, the place in which the tombs of many Prussian Kings rest, an architectural showcase, and a wonderful viewpoint.

I rarely take a 'selfie' with my camera (note cunning use of the Oxford English Dictionary's new entry as 'word of the year' there: making this blog 'contemporary' for perhaps the first and only time). However, a selfie here there is! See if you can spot me in the following photo, taken from the top of the Berliner Dom. And no, I'm not the statue.

The Berliner Dom has strong roots in the Lutheran/Reformed tradition of Protestant Christianity. This is celebrated at the top of the massive staircase leading up to the dome itself, in a huge carved stone relief depicting Martin Luther at a key point in the Reformation.

The Diet of Worms sounds like a rather unsavoury Horrible Histories gag. In fact in 1521 Luther, (depicted to the left of the image with hands clasped) had been summoned to the town of Worms, to an enquiry 'diet' to account for his writings which the Pope had pronounced heretical. Pressured to recant his views he allegedly said (but probably didn't), "Here I stand, I can do no other". There is no doubt however, that he bravely stood his ground and maintained his views in favour of "salvation by faith alone", and against the abuses of the Medieval Catholic Church. He did so, in full knowledge that previous people who had stood but such views had been executed.

The Victorians made recent Movember efforts look rather pathetic. Now this is a proper 'tache...

No comments: