Statue of St. Aidan on Holy IslandThe southern part of the kingdom of Northumbria in what is now northern England had been converted by 627 when Paulinus established a bishopric at York, but by 632 the Mercians had taken over and restored paganism under King Penda. When King Oswald of Northumbria came out of exile later on he decided to bring back a mission to his kingdom. So, as Oswald had spent his exile with the Celtic Christians of Iona, St. Aidan, a monk of Iona was sent to spread the gospel to the Northumbrians. He was consecrated bishop and established an Abbey-church at Lindisfarne or Holy Island to serve as the seat of his episcopal see. He spent much time evangelizing on foot to all people he came across and was revered as wise and holy. The Venerable Bede wrote "He neither sought nor lovedanything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given to him by kings or rich men of the world". In 651 Aidan died at Bamburgh, two miles south of Holy Island, and is credited for converting the peoples of Northumbria and even down into Mercia. His relics were taken with Cuthbert's and Oswald's* to Chester-Le-Street and then to Durham, where they now rest in St. Cuthbert's tomb. The establishment of Durham Cathedral is descended from Aidan's foundation at Lindisfarne.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Church of the Transfiguration, Blue Mountain Lake
West window, Blue Mountain Lake
Nave window, Blue Mountain Lake
Nave, St. Luke's Saranac
Nave window with loon, Saranac
South transept window, St. Eustace, Lake Placid
(with St. Eustace, stag, and ADK landscape)
Chapel crucifix, Lake Placid
All Soul's Chapel, St Hubert'sAs I spent a couple weeks in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York this summer, I visited Episcopal churches and missions in the west-central wilderness area and in the area around Lake Placid and Saranac. Many of them in reflection of their isolated and wild locality displayed characteristics in architecture and scenery associated with the Adirondacks. One, in Blue Mountain Lake, was built of logs and was complete with stained glass windows featuring lily pads, loon and beavers. As I continued viewing more churches I noticed that many of the stained glass windows continued to depict the sweeping Adirondack landscape which, in some cases, was tied in with the more usual ecclesiastical subjects. Often the Virgin Mary could be seen on a green mountainside with a view of a land covered in green hills, lakes and pine trees; I could not help remembering some dutch Altarpieces depicting the crucifixion and behind a landscape complete with Gothic Cathedrals, pinnicled castles, and an assortment of Flemish looking cities. This is similar but with Adirondack elements.