theology in stone

Download Theology in Stone

Post on 31-Oct-2014




0 download

Embed Size (px)


Architecture Book


Theology in Stone

This page intentionally left blank

Theology in StoneChurch Architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley

richard kieckhefer



Oxford New York Auckland Bangkok Buenos Aires Cape Town Chennai Dar es Salaam Delhi Hong Kong Istanbul Karachi Kolkata Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Mumbai Nairobi Sao Paulo Shanghai Taipei Tokyo Toronto

2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc.

Published by Oxford University Press, Inc. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kieckhefer, Richard. Theology in stone : Church architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley / Richard Kieckhefer. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-19-515466-5 1. Church architecture. 2. Liturgy and architecture. I. Title. NA4800 .K53 2003 726.5dc21 2002153721 Rev.

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

To the memory of my mother Virginia Kelley Kieckhefer (19172002)

This page intentionally left blank


Church architecture is a contentious eld of inquiry. Polemics, dogmatism, and caricature abound. It would be unrealistic to think any book could resolve the controversies, but a fresh look at the most basic questions about churches, their meanings and their uses, may prove useful to all sides. The incentive to write this book was mixed: it grew out of historical interest, but also out of an urge to see more clearly what churches have meant and what they can mean for communities that build and use them. It might seem that the rst four chapters deal with theological questions, while the extended case studies that follow shift the focus to historybut in fact theology and history are intertwined throughout. With a book of this sort, readers may have more than the usual degree of curiosity about the authors background and point of view. Sufce it to say that my most extensive experience of worship has been in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches; that I am old enough to have recited mass responses for many years in Latin and to have learned plainchant in rst grade; that over many years I have visited churches extensively in Britain and North America and have had occasion to study them in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Greece; that I dream of exploring the churches of Lali bala indeed, I literally dream quite often of visiting churchesbut have not yet done so; that my academic research has focused mainly on western Europe in the late Middle Ages; that my doctorate is in history but I have taught for decades in a department of religion; that I have done much work on the history of magic, which I see as



relevant to the broader study of ritual; that one of my maternal grandmothers uncles was pastor of the rst Polish church in Chicago, and some of my information on Saint Stanislas Kostka Church is from an unpublished family history; that I have had considerable experience in a Newman Center designed in the years of experimentation after Vatican II; that I have sung for over a decade in the choir of an Orthodox cathedral; that I have been deeply involved at an Anglo-Catholic church where women are welcomed as priests, where openly gay men and lesbian couples with children occupy positions of lay leadership, and where liturgy and an exceptionally strong music program are balanced by ministry to refugees and others; and that if this book is inspired by any particular theological tradition it is that of liberal Anglo-Catholicism. The last point may seem the most important but cannot be isolated from all the rest. Three people especially have given me the benet of their wisdom and learning as I have worked on this project. My wife Barbara Newman shares a passionate interest in liturgy and its setting and has contributed immeasurably to the progress of this book at every stage; when I tell of experiences we have had in visiting churches, she is invariably my companion. Frank Burch Brown read and gave exceptionally detailed and insightful comments on an early draft; he is largely responsible for giving my research a series of unexpected turns. And Karl Morrison, who read the book when it was in its longest and untidiest state, challenged me helpfully on many points in his double role as scholar and priest. Various specialists have shown themselves kind and generous with their expertise: Wolfgang Pehnt gave perceptive comments for the chapter on Rudolf Schwarz; Rosemary Horrax helped with the chapter on Beverley; Father Michael Komechak, O.S.B., has showed kindness on many visits to Saint Procopius Abbey, shared his wisdom on contemporary church design, and provided valuable suggestions on various chapters; and David Van Zanten made clear how my perspective relates to that of an architectural historian. All these individuals have contributed immensely toward my project. I am deeply indebted also to Benjamin D. Sommer for insight into the conceptions of sacrice in ancient Israel; to David Collins, S.J., for reactions to an early draft; to Richard Webster for giving me a musicians perspective on the subtleties of church acoustics; to Amelia J. Carr for revealing to me something of an art historians grasp of churches in the Chicago area; to Adhemar Dellagustina, Jr., for expert help with photographs; to Marian Caudron for sharing with me her experiences in sacred places; to Edward Muir, for the subtitle; to Stuart Baumann and Linda Kelley, Roger Boden, Emily Erwin, Amancio Guedes, Lawrence Haptas, John Kemp, Angela Lorenz, Susan B. Matheson, Kelli Peters, Maria Schwarz, Claudia Swan, and Michael Swartz, for various kindnesses; to parishioners at Saint Lukes in Evanston and to students at Northwestern University and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, for



giving me the invaluable opportunity to learn by teaching; and to Cynthia Read at Oxford University Press for proving the ideal editor for a book of this sort. The interlibrary loan staff at Northwestern University Library have obtained a constant stream of materials to sustain my research habit. Countless people have given me invaluable help on my visits to their churches, including at times the most basic service of providing a key. Unfortunately many of them are nameless to me. I must at least express gratitude to Father Donald Schell and Father Richard Fabian, of Saint Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco, and Father Johannes Floss and Christa Schinkenmeyer, of Sankt Fronleichnam in Aachen; and Father Duncan Ross, of Saint Pauls Bow Common. The Northwestern University Research Grants Committee has provided partial support for the publication of this book, and I am grateful for this assistance. Over the decades, several church communities have informed my sense of how ecclesiastical architecture comes alive in a range of liturgical uses: Saint Thomas More Church in Louisville, where I grew up at a time when the church building was architecturally unambitious but the liturgy was more richly developed than I could then appreciate; Sheil Center in Evanston, which accommodates with equal grace the throngs of Ash Wednesday and the quiet few on weekday afternoons; Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, known as the Louis Sullivan church but more importantly a coherent specimen of traditional Russian design; and Saint Lukes Episcopal Church in Evanston, which was begun in the early twentieth century as a classic Anglo-Catholic church and still (like the Church universal) awaits its nishing touches. Not all these people and communities would agree with what I have to say. But I hope, at least, not to have been blind or deaf to what they cherish and what they have tried to teach me. This book is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Virginia Kelley Kieckhefer, whose contribution to it was by far the most vital: she rst took me to a church for baptism when I was an infant, she took me again when I was a very young child (I looked about and asked where God was, and she said he was all around us), she went with me exploring churches even as her health declined, and now she has passed beyond symbols and metaphors to that eternal and blessed church which others pregure.

A Note on IllustrationsIn addition to the plates given in this book, readers may consult the listing of churches on the Emporis Web site, This site gives a wide selection of images, including many for churches discussed here.

This page intentionally left blank


Introduction, 3 1. The First Factor: Spatial Dynamics, 21 2. The Second Factor: Centering Focus, 63 3. The Third Factor: Aesthetic Impact, 97 4. The Fourth Factor: Symbolic Resonance, 135 5. Late Medieval Beverley: Traditional Churches in a Traditional Culture, 167 6. Chicago: Traditional Churches in a Modern Culture, 195 7. Rudolf Schwarz: Modern Churches in a Modern Culture, 229 8. Issues in Church Architecture, 265 Notes, 293 Index, 363

This page intentionally left blank

Theology in Stone

This page intentionally left blank


Robertson Davies tells of an English country church where the women make a slight curtsy to a blank wall on entering. Why they do so is unclear, until the vicar explains that a statue of the Virgin once stood at precisely that spot, and Cromwells troops destroyed it in the seventeenth century, yet even these iconoclasts could not destroy the


View more >