We did a crazy amount of travel in 2018. When I started writing this post, I realized that we had visited way too many churches and cathedrals for one post, so I split it into several: Israel, Austria and Germany, Ukraine, more European churches, and this post, which contains New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt, and the United States!
Dunedin, New Zealand
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Dunedin was one of my unexpected favorite destinations of the year. After spending the morning watching a sheepdog demonstration, helping with sheep shearing, and walking on the beach, we spent the afternoon exploring the city. We got to St. Paul’s Cathedral after closing, but we did manage to find a grocery store with $2 Tuesday milkshakes, so we enjoyed them in front of the cathedral.
St. Mary’s Cathedral
St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney is very beautiful, inside and out. The architecture was both simple and elegant. The stained glass was beautiful. The paintings depicting Jesus crucifixion very well done. I enjoyed the cathedral as much as many that I have seen in Europe.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral
We managed to explore Singapore on May 1st, which happens to be Labor Day, so many of the sights were closed, including St. Andrew’s Cathedral. But, we still enjoyed wandering by it. Nearby, we toured the smaller and simpler Cathedral of the Good Shepard, and walked by the Chijmes, a shopping center that was formerly a convent, but again, it was closed for a private event.
The Hanging Church
In Cairo, there is a small section of town that has significant Christian history: Coptic Cairo. The Hanging Church is literally built on top of the Southern Gate of the Babylon Fortress. There is even a window in the floor that you can look down to see the ruins of the ancient fortress.
The church had some really nice mosaics on the outer walkway leading to the doors of the church. Once inside, there were a ton of icons that were really well done. The roof of the church was in the shape of Noah’s Ark (upside-down) and was considered a sign of protection. Other protective features were a wooden barrier between the main seating and the altar. There were two windows where priests would sit and watch for invaders. If they were attacked, all the people would rush behind the wooden barrier and escape into a secret 3 km long tunnel.
When Jesus was a baby, Mary and Joseph fled their home to escape Herod’s edict that all boys under the age of 2 be killed. It is believed that they sheltered in a cave along the Nile and that the close by Saint Sergius and Bacchus Church is built on that site. We entered the cavern and the kids were interested to see the rock bed where baby Jesus may have slept.
St. George Church
Nearby, St. George Church is built on top of the Northern Gate to the Babylon Fortress.
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
We decided to take the kids to a Handel’s Messiah performance at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Upon entering, the kids immediately noted the differences between European cathedrals and this one. The artwork definitely reflected that this cathedral was built in more modern times. Still beautiful, but different. There was also a lot of artwork that showed the fires that resulted from the 1906 earthquake.
In Kentucky, we noted a lot of little churches as we drove through the small towns and countryside.
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.
St. Philip’s Church
There are a lot of churches in Charleston. St. Philip’s Church was the only one we managed to photograph.
Savanna, Georgia, U.S.A.
St. John’s Church
In Savanna, John was delighted that many of the churches shared his name. Here is John at St. John’s Church.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
A little later, we came across the more impressive St. John the Baptist Cathedral. This Cathedral was both beautiful and reminiscent of European cathedrals that we have toured.
More Churches Around the World
And if you haven’t read the rest of the posts in this series, here is a teaser!
If you spend any time near Jesus’ old stomping ground, you will find a church or chapel over almost any location that is described in the Bible. We spent 9 days in Israel and the number of churches we saw was a bit overwhelming. My favorite was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, but the list of places to go is quite lengthy.
Austria and Germany
We also spent 3 weeks in Austria and Germany, which, like Israel, are covered with churches. It seemed to make sense to make a separate post highlighting the churches in these countries. Our road trip started in Cologne, went into Austria, then through Martin Luther’s and Johann Bach’s stomping ground, then back up to Berlin. We also stopped in Vienna for a few days earlier in the summer.
We only spent a week in Ukraine, but given the number of churches we saw and the uniqueness of the orthodox churches, I also made a post that only covered this country.
More Churches in Europe
Over the summer, in addition to Austria, Germany, and Ukraine, we also spent time in Italy, which has a wealth of impressive cathedrals and churches. Then in the fall, Jeremy made a solo biking trip from Amsterdam to Paris, seeing many impressive sights along the way.