In the Philippines, Easter is something we build up to during the entire Lenten season with a gradually with increasing intensity, reaching a climax during the three days that precede it, called the Holy Week Triduum. They are declared holidays, so there’s no work, no school, and most establishments cease operations on these days. Local non-cable television channels even have special programming on these days. Traditionally these days are set aside for prayer and reflection. Though a lot of people spend this long weekend in the beach or fly off somewhere on vacation, quite a number still stay and take some time for quiet contemplation.
Today is Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday, and one of the traditional practices is to go on Visita Iglesia (Spanish for “Church visit”), which entails spending Thursday evening going around and visiting different seven Churches, taking a few minutes to pray in each one. I’m not exactly sure why seven is the optimal number, but I have spent a whole lot of Holy Thursdays with my parents, and sometimes cousins and other relatives, doing this. I was surprised to find out that there are other countries that observe this practice too.
So for this post I thought I’d do a cyber version of Visita Iglesia, and drop by these seven churches from around the world. I picked these because they are all modern and fabulous and so different from the way I expect churches to look and yet they all exude that lofty, reverent, peaceful air that identify them as places of worship.
1. Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
Architect: Gines Rivera
2. Église Notre-Dame de Royan
Architect: Guillaume Gillet
3. Bruder Klaus Kapelle (Brother Klaus Chapel) – Wachendorf, Germany
Architect: Peter Zumthor
4. Dio Padre Misericordioso (Merciful God the Father)
a.k.a. The Jubilee Church – Rome, Italy
Architect: Richard Meier
5. Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida
(Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida) - Brasilia, Brazil
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
6. Christi Auferstehung (Church of The Resurrection of Christ) -
Architect: Gottfried Böhm – 1970
7. Chiesa del Santo Volto (Church of the Holy Face) – Torino, Italy
Architect: Mario Botta