Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Construction at St. Sava's Cathedral

Every few months I like to go to St. Sava's Cathedral in Belgrade to check on its construction updates. While the exterior has been finished for a number of years now, much remains to be done to its massive interior.

As I approached the cathedral, its bells began tolling. Inside, the soothing recorded sounds of a choir greeted me. Just imagine when the real choir members sing their praises - with a choir seating capacity of 800 members!
I noticed an absence of large equipment inside the church. Actually, even these large construction vehicles are dwarfed in the church, 70 meters at its highest point. Piles of carved marble normally scattered around the floor were less conspicuous. Tour guides were pointing out aspects of the construction, with its already impressive green columns and carved white arches. To the left of the entrance, a large mosaic panel was well underway. The left gallery actually looked like a functioning worship area, complete with an altar, multiple podiums with icon paintings, and rich red-colored carpets. Thee area right gallery served as the place to light the candles for the living and the dead. Despite a rope cordoning off the front area, two older women approached the altar there, the light obscured partly by scaffolding.
Looking up, one only sees gray concrete cupolas. Already a beautiful play in light, it will be an impressive sight once the surface is covered with mosaics, including Christ in the central dome with eyes the width of 3 meters.

Outside piles of white carved marble slabs and sections of columns awaited their proper place in this magnificent structure. The sight reminded me of some of the Roman sites in Tunisia, portions of former temples and homes in the landscape. Children leaned over into the dancing fountains, located next to the library. The ubiquitous ice cream stand was present, with plenty of customers enjoying the tasty treats. People sat in the many benches along the flower landscaped grounds.
The bells tolled again. It was time for me to leave. Perhaps for the last time.

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