Monday, February 7, 2011

Nishizaka Church, part 2, Nagasaki

 I've visited many church buildings in my lifetime, but the two most beautiful ones I can recall are San Carlino (San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane) in Rome, and Nishizaka Church in Nagasaki. Both are small churches, perhaps similar in size but from completely different time periods and, obviously, geographic areas and cultures. And that  probably says something about the intimacy of a space in relation to a certain emotional impact.

But the newer church still follows a tradition of "building as text", with a rich interpretation of spiritual/Biblical symbolism all over the building. Every time I have visited Nishizaka Church over the last year (4 or 5 times?), I have discovered something new that helps reveal the richness of the Gospel message...the broken vessels forming the spires penetrating the heavens, the open veil-like motif surrounding the altar, the distinctive Japanese plum-shaped figure repeated throughout the building, the "angelic" crosses that flutter throughout the upper reaches of the space, the ark-like roof... all seem to revolve around the notion of "worship", and all seem worthy of contemplation, leading the heart towards God, much like its Baroque counterpart.

More images here.  

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