Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Patterns of Light

I know you have all been anxiously sitting at the edge of your chair WONDERING what the inside of the church looks like.  I didn't mean to leave you hanging yesterday, but last night I was loading my weekend pictures up to my computer when I discovered the sensor of my camera has dust all over it.  This means that the pictures from my Friday excursion, our huge Saturday hike, and my little meander yesterday ARE ALL FRECKLED!  I was seriously pissed about this, and spent the majority of my evening sitting on the couch with my arms and legs tightly crossed, seething in anger.  All my attention channelled into properly marinating in my foul mood, and I was unable to blog.  Dan found a camera cleaning place today, so I've dropped my baby off to get dusted.  I miss her. I have problems.  Moving on though, here's the post about the inside of the church!

Berner Münster: Inside

So it wasn't until my third visit back to the church that I actually worked up the nerve to go inside.  And I realize that by saying 'worked up the nerve' I sound like I was freaked out that maybe there was, I don't know, some sort of soul detector at the door, and the alarm would go off when I walked through: SHE DOESN'T GO TO CHURCH, SHE DOESN'T GO TO CHURCH, GET HER OUT, GET HER OUT.

Really all I mean to say is that I didn't know if during the week there was a small admission fee to tour around, and the first time I stumbled upon the church, I didn't have my wallet on me.  The second time I went, it was large tours going through and so I thought maybe you needed a special pass to get in.  The third time I thought 'whatever!' they can shout at me in Swiss-German all they want if I'm not supposed to be here, because I won't have a clue what they're saying. 

I'm going in!

And I'm so glad I did!  There is no small admission fee to get in unless you want to climb the bell tower (more on that), and instead you are greeted with a quiet light shining on empty pews.

I read that some of the stained glass windows were destroyed in a 16th century hailstorm. 

Broken light

Though the Berner Münster is impressive in size, the interior lacks the ornate flamboyance that you will find in Catholic churches.  The reason for this is that the Berner is a Protestant church, and during the Protestant Reformation all the elaborate alters that had been privately commissioned were ripped from the sandstone walls and chucked into the area that is now the garden.  Thank goodness they left the stained glass be!

This is from the back of the church looking towards the entrance

But just because it doesn't drip with gold doesn't mean the Berner can be classified as plain.  There are little details everywhere, and not just in the windows. 

A marked pew.  Sunday seat, saved.

Noble shepherd on the choir stall.

A sage light



In the left nave of the church, at the very back is a statue of Christ after the crucifixion, with Mary kneeling before him.  Now, I think that's Mary but I could be dead wrong.  I forgot to read up on this statue when I was inside, and my knowledge of all things Biblical is so small you need a magnifying glass to see it.  If I'm wrong about the woman's identity, leave me a comment and let me know.

Marble bodies with moving lines.

Wounded light.

Answers don't often come easily.

The subtly of the Berner's details are polished to an understated glow under the stained light that streams through arched windows.  Without a doubt my favourite features of the church, are its stained glass windows.

There is one particular window it is famous for, and that is the window called Dance of Death.  Save for the bright colours, it is otherwise not a very cheery piece of glass.

Dance of Death

"So I said to the guy, 'listen...do you know who you're dealing with?'"

"Oh great, I guess this means I'll have to cancel my dinner plans if he's shown up."

Doesn't the guy getting choked look a little too nonchalant considering Death's hands at are at his throat?

And what is anything but a sum of all its parts.  So on a grander scale, here is the inside of the Berner Münster.

If you're going to be in Bern, definitely stop by and check it out.  And if you're lucky you might even be able to catch the organ as it groans out it's heavy melody.  Otherwise, I leave you with a short video of it's troubled song. 


mom said...

I will be glad when you get your camera back Cait. The pictures are beautiful and the stained glass windows are magnificant. The organ music....not so much.


T said...

All through this entry I was in awe at how beautiful the pictures are Caitie. I've never managed to get such great pictures of stained glass! I love the lighting on the statues too. I'm definitely going to need to get some tips from you one of these days!

Dad said...

Magnificent Cait! The organ music was a bit off the wall, but nice effect putting it on the blog. It made me feel like I was really there. The name of the church makes me wonder what it means.... Berner Munster. I keep thinking of the old TV show, "The Munsters" - Herman, who was a Frankenstein like guy, his wife Lily, who looked like bride of Frankenstein, their son Eddie, who was a little Dracula and Grandpa, who was a bigger Dracula. They also had a normal daughter, but can't remember her name. Anyway, I think the church needs a grander name, but hey, how do you argue with centuries of history.

Ais said...

Hey nice pictures! I liked the organ music!!!! I thought it was pretty and kind of haunting

Jessica said...

"Doesn't the guy getting choked look a little too nonchalant considering Death's hands at are at his throat?"

LOL! HOOT! You're so right! What's wrong with that dude!?? It's like he's saying, "Oh, you're Death now are you? Well, alright... I guess I had it coming." HAHAHA

Love the photos. You really captured it beautifully. I love for Switzerland again looking at these photos.

Don't be afraid to go without flash when shooting the pews. The wooden carvings look so much more lovely in the soft orange glow. ;)

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