St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral & The Holodomor Memorial

Last week I was near St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (of the of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada) in Bloomingdale, Ill., so I stopped by for a look. It wasn’t part of Open House Chicago, but I’d read about the place a while back and realized it’s fairly close to where I live.

St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Being the middle of the week, the church itself was closed, as suburban churches often are. Still, a committee of holy men greets you above the door. At least, that’s what it looks like to me.
St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox CathedralIt reminded me a little of the artwork depicting Vladimir’s baptism of the Kievan Rus over the entrance of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago, which we saw a few years ago.

 Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic ChurchBut only a little. It doesn’t much look like any baptism is going on at St. Andrew, so I assume it depicts something else.

More than the church, I came to see the memorial to the victims of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine, which is on the church’s grounds, near its cemetery. The Holodomor, as it’s called, when Stalin starved untold millions of people to death.

Holodomor Memorial IllinoisHolodomor Memorial IllinoisThe plaque’s a little worn — it’s been out in the elements since the memorial was erected in 1993 — but it says, in English: In memory of over seven million victims of the great famine artificially created in Ukraine by the Moscow-Communist regime.

Holodomor Memorial Illinois

Much too somber a note on which to end, so I looked around for some comic relief about Stalin, and found this, attributed to Romanian writer Panait Istrati, who visited the Soviet Union in the late 1920s, just as Stalin had consolidated his dictatorship: “All right, I can see the broken eggs. Now where’s this omelette of yours?”

St. Edmund Catholic Church & Grace Episcopal Church, Oak Park

Unusually warm this week from Tuesday to yesterday. Still a lot of green leaves. Autumn, but not quite autumn. It’s also the time of the year for Halloween decorations, and to avoid any store or event that uses the terms boo-nanza or spook-tacular.

Two more places from last week’s Open House Chicago, both in west suburban Oak Park. One was St. Edmund, which the sign outside says is Oak Park’s oldest Catholic parish. The church building dates from 1910.

St. Edmund, Oak ParkHenry Schlacks, whose work I’ve run across before, design the church. The interior is resplendent.

St. Edmund, Oak ParkMuch of its splendor is the stained glass, created by a studio in Munich (presumably pre-WWI).

St. Edmund, Oak ParkSt. Edmund, Oak ParkAnd an interesting baptismal font that, when I was there, reflected one of the windows.

St. Edmund, Oak Park

A few blocks away, among the numerous churches on Lake St., is Grace Episcopal Church.
Grace Episcopal, Oak ParkFirst occupied in 1905 — and the building took a lot longer to complete according to its plans, namely another 70 years — Grace Episcopal also has a resplendent interior, in its more muted way.
Grace Episcopal, Oak ParkGrace Episcopal, Oak ParkA sign near the entrance reminds visitors that the church, designed by John Sutcliffe, figured in a scene in Home Alone. I wouldn’t have remembered that, since the last and only time I saw that movie was during a bus ride from Perth to Adelaide, or maybe it was Adelaide to Sydney, in early 1992. But I did see “Everything Wrong With Home Alone” not long ago, which was funnier than the movie itself.

We listened to the organist practice for a while at Grace. Very nice. It’s also good to see a church equipped with a gong.
Grace Episcopal, Oak ParkI understand that the gong used during the Winter Solstice Celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York is quite the thing to hear. And see.

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica

The only place we visited during Open House Chicago on Sunday that wasn’t in the northwest part of the city or in near suburban Oak Park was Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica on the West Side. Or more formally, the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, ChicagoIn our time, the neighborhood is blighted. Across the street from the basilica are more modest structures.
Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, Chicago neighborhoodBut as mendicants, I expect the Servite Order that runs the basilica wouldn’t want to be in a posh neighborhood. The basilica itself, however, is jewel-box ornate.
Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, ChicagoDesign credit is given to three gentlemen: Henry Englebert, John F. Pope, and William J. Brinkmann, with the structure going up from 1890 to 1902. I encountered a Brinkmann work earlier this year, out at Mount Carmel Cemetery.

No citation for it, but I have to mention his demise, as described by Wiki: “Brinkmann’s death was unexpected, gruesome and mysterious: his mangled, decapitated body was found on train tracks near 73rd street in February 1911… yet contradictory evidence prevented an inquest from finding a clear reason for his death or a finding of murder.
His funeral was held at St. Leo’s Church on 78th Street, a church he had himself designed in 1905. His death remains unsolved to this day.”

The AIA Guide to Chicago is succinct on the basilica: “It’s Bramante on the Boulevard — with a coffered, barrel-vaulted ceiling rising above the long nave. The stolid Classical facade is enlivened by an English Baroque steeple (its mate was destroyed by lightning).”

Looking straight up at that barrel-vaulted ceiling.
Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, ChicagoIt’s familiar from a short scene in the 1987 movie version of The Untouchables. In our time, that’s easy to confirm. Sean Connery and Kevin Costner are toward the back of the very long nave. I didn’t remember that scene, since I haven’t seen the movie since it was new, but I read about it. The Chicago way, eh? The Federal way — busting Capone for tax evasion — proved more effective.

The sanctuary.
Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, ChicagoAnd more.

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, ChicagoOur Lady of Sorrows Basilica, ChicagoOur Lady of the Sorrows Basilica Our Lady of the Sorrows BasilicaIt occurs to me that it’s been a good year for visiting basilicas. Our Lady of Sorrows makes the fifth so far. Hasn’t been a matter of planning, it’s just worked out that way.

Logan Square Walkabout

We’re no strangers to Logan Square, but there’s always more to a neighborhood. Aloft Circus Arts isn’t far from the square, but even closer is the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (Minnekirken). In fact, the church faces the square.

Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (Minnekirken) ChicagoThe church dates from 1912, when I suspect there were a lot more first-generation Norwegians in the area, and was designed by an architect by the fitting name of Charles F. Sorensen. As we entered, I wondered just how Norwegian the congregation is a century later.

Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (Minnekirken) Chicago

Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (Minnekirken) ChicagoMore than I’d have thought. According to the church’s web site, my emphasis: “Minnekirken serves as a reminder of a neighborhood heritage long past in which Scandinavians played a significant part. The church is a place where one can experience Norwegian culture in a very real way — whether it be the Christmas celebrations, the after-service coffee hour with traditional Norwegian delicacies, a codfish dinner, or when Minnekirken hosts performers either from Norway or with Norwegian ties. Minnekirken is the only remaining Norwegian language church in Chicago.

By golly, that’s interesting. Like finding out in Charleston that there’s still a French Huguenot church.

Also interesting, and something I didn’t realize at first: the above stained glass window looks like it depicts the Veil of Veronica. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a window with that as the subject.

On the southern end of Logan Square is Logan Square Auditorium, dating from 1915, in the Gilbert Building.

Logan Square AuditoriumThe first floor has retail and the second floor small offices, for doctors and the like. The upper floor has a large ballroom, though with enough chairs I suppose it could be an auditorium. Not especially picturesque, but it would be a good place for an event with a lot of people.

The volunteer in the ballroom showed us a print of a photo of just such a large event, taken in September 1927. A luncheon from the looks of it, with the crowd looking very much like you’d expect, down to the round eyeglasses and Bendel bonnets. Most of the men had taken off their suit coats, so I’d guess the room was warm in those pre-air conditioned days.

According to the caption, the guest of honor that day was Illinois Gov. Len Small, then in his second of two terms. Generally forgotten now, but true to the tradition of Illinois electing crooks to that office.

Not far to the south of Logan Square Auditorium is Armitage Baptist Church. The leaves in this picture cover its ugly, and unfortunately placed marquee.

Armitage Baptist Church, ChicagoDeveloped in 1921 as the Logan Square Masonic Temple, in later years the Masons bugged out and the building was by turns an event venue and a school. Now Baptists meet an auditorium-style sanctuary that’s very spare, except for mostly Latin American flags. And conga drums.
Armitage Baptist ChurchOn one of the upper floors is a gym in need of some restoration, though it looks like you could still shoot some hoops. The church is working on the building, when funds are available.
Armitage Baptist Church basketball courtFew gyms in my experience have Bible verses on the walls, but I don’t visit many parochial schools.

Before leaving Logan Square, we got a quick look at the Illinois Centennial Monument rising over the square.
Illinois Centennial MonumentI took a closer look at its base some years ago. Next year is Illinois’ bicentennial. I still don’t think we’re going to get another memorial.

Three East Town Milwaukee Churches

East Town is part of Milwaukee’s urban core, characterized by upmaket apartments and condos, smaller office buildings — the larger commercial properties are just to the south — and large churches. The district, also known as Juneautown, or the Juneau-Cass Historic District, or Yankee Hill, is east of the Milwaukee River (various sources give it various names).

Two large churches are on Juneau Ave. One is Summerfield United Methodist Church.
Summerfield United Methodist ChurchA handsome sandstone and limestone Gothic church, it dates from 1904, when it was occupied by the First Community Church. Later that church and Summerfield Methodist merged. Summerfield, as a congregation, goes back to the 1850s, when they were abolitionist to the core.

Coming from a Catholic basilica, the church seemed like an exercise in Protestant restraint.
Summerfield United Methodist ChurchBut it isn’t completely unornamented.
Summerfield United Methodist ChurchWith one of the more interesting church ceilings I’ve seen lately.
Summerfield United Methodist ChurchWhile reading about Summerfield, I discovered that its immediate post-Civil War pastor was Samuel Fallows. I’d met him before, in a way. I saw his grave at Waldheim Cemetery more than a decade ago.

Less than a block away from Summerfield is All Saints’ Cathedral, or more formally, the Cathedral Church of All Saints, seat of the Episcopalian Bishop of Milwaukee.

Cathedral Church of All SaintsEdward Townsend Mix, a busy 19th-century Milwaukee architect, designed the building for Olivet Congregational Church in 1868, but it wasn’t long (1871) before the Episcopal diocese bought it, consecrating the structure as a cathedral in 1898.

All Saints' Cathedral, MilwaukeeAll Saints' Cathedral, MilwaukeeI’ve read that the congregation there is Anglo-Catholic, and we found the interior traditionalist in one way at least: no air conditioning. That made the place warm on the day we were there. But that wasn’t so bad. We sat and listened to part of an organ concert at the cathedral, an all-J.S. Bach program by Canon Joseph A. Kucharski, cathedral precentor.

Interesting note from the handout that the cathedral gave us: “1825: The first Episcopal priest was brought to the Wisconsin Territory at the request of the Stockbridge (NY) Oneida (a.k.a. the Mohican tribe of the Algonquin nation), who moved first to the lands along the Fox River in 1818, then to the east shore of Lake Winnebago. To this day, the Cathedral Church of All Saints has active Oneida members.”

On N. Waverly Pl., near the other churches, is Immanuel Presbyterian Church.
Immanuel Presbyterian ChurchThe church asserts that it was the first congregation in Milwaukee, organized in 1837. The building dates from 1875, except that it burned down in 1887 and was rebuilt by 1889. Various other changes followed in the 20th century. Edward Townsend Mix again.

Spare indeed, but elegant.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, MilwaukeeWith many fine stained glass windows.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, MilwaukeeImmanuel Presbyterian Church, MilwaukeeThere was one more church nearby open for Milwaukee Doors Open, but we wanted lunch, and besides, five is probably enough for any one day. Aesthetic overload begins to set in: Gee, look, another beautiful church, with magnificent stained glass. Wow. You know, I’d really like a hamburger.

Return to the Basilica of St. Josaphat

The last time we visited the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee, the sky was slate gray and drizzly. This time, an unusually hot September sun in perfectly blue skies bore down on the church. The basilica looked as imposing as ever.
Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee

Back in 2011, I related the story of how the church was built of recycled bricks from a massive Chicago post office, and a bit about the saint, so I won’t repeat myself. The visit this time was mainly about getting a longer look at the opulent interior, patterned after St. Peter’s in Rome, only smaller.

Basilica of St. Josaphat, Milwaukee

The splendid dome.
Basilica of St. Josaphat, MilwaukeeAnd more.

Basilica of St. Josephat, MilwaukeeBasilica of St. Josephat, MilwaukeeBasilica of St. Josephat, MilwaukeeThe rose window.

Basilica of St. Josephat, MilwaukeeOther fine windows.

Basilica of St. Josephat, MilwaukeeDownstairs is the relic room. A big stash of them in many reliquaries. The room looks open, but I put my camera between iron bars to capture the image.
Relics of the Basilica of St. Josephat, MilwaukeeThere’s one from St. Josaphat, which seems appropriate, as well as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Nicholas of Myra, St. Sebastian, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Stanislaus Kostka, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Pius X, and St. John Paul II, among others.

There’s also a Relic of the True Cross, according to one of the signs. More easily obtainable than I would have thought. Well, you know what Calvin, who of course had his own agenda, said about that.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church & Stalin’s Tattooed Granddaughter

I had a short talk with one of the volunteers at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in near-suburban Milwaukee during the Open Doors event. That was the first place we visited. She was roughly my age, and knowledgeable about her church. I asked her about the church’s pews. That’s not something you usually see in the Orthodox tradition.

The pews arrayed in a semicircle, with all of them facing the sanctuary. Each pew is lined with sky blue cushions — with gold carpet underneath — and a fish is carved into the end. Interesting detail, I thought.

Yes, she said, pews are unusual for an Orthodox church. In all the others she’d seen, including in the United States and Europe, the congregation stands. Are pews normal in other churches? she asked me. Catholic and Protestant ones?

I answered yes, even as the implications of the question sunk in. Someone so informed about her church, and with plenty of years behind her, had never visited any other kind of church? That couldn’t be. Not even for a look? Not even in the great cities of Europe, where you can wear yourself out visiting churches of renown?

That’s just about inconceivable to me, who will enter a church or any other religious site that’s open, without hesitation. Especially unusual places such as Annunciation.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, WisconsinGenius or otherwise, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work is almost always worth a look. Interesting how he incorporated Byzantine elements such as the dome, and crosses in circles, into something that doesn’t look like other churches, Eastern or not. And doesn’t the church have that Space Age look as well? Like the Jetsons might have attended there.

This is facing the iconostasis. The pews are partly visible.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox ChurchRachel Minske writes in Wauwatosa Now: “The altar area, once carpeted, is now marbled. Egg tempera two-dimensional depictions of church icons surround it. The church choir normally sits high above the altar, on the second floor, and its members view the service using a video monitor as they are somewhat hidden from view, [Father John] Ketchum said.

“Stained glass windows are found throughout the church, which also were additions after the building was completed, Ketchum said. Glass bulbs line the church’s perimeter, up high near the dome. There are more than 200 bulb-shaped windows, each letting in a significant amount of natural light.

“…The original ceiling was tiled, but that was replaced with paint after changing temperatures inside the church caused the tiles to fall off the ceiling.

“To access the church’s bottom floor, there are three spiral staircases that wind downstairs. Each has a whimsical design and is lined with gold carpet.”

On the upper level, I got a few decent images of the stained glass.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church And a look at this sign.
Annunciation Greek Orthodox ChurchCurious that the church would draw attention to Stalin’s granddaughter’s baptism there. More current information about Ogla, now Chrese Evans, is all too easy to look up. I’ll take the NY Post as authoritative in this case.

Milwaukee Doors Open ’17

Temps have cooled down some, but it’s still warmer than usual for this time of year. At about 12:30 this afternoon, I saw an ice cream truck drive down our street. I can’t ever remember seeing one in October.

Last weekend, Yuriko and I drove up to Milwaukee to participate in Milwaukee Doors Open. Ann couldn’t make it, even if she’d wanted to, because she was attending her first high school speech tournament.

That’s a good thing. Her joining speech inspired me, while in Texas recently, to open up one of my high school yearbooks, the 1979 edition, to the page devoted to the National Forensic League. I was a member.
NFL AHHS 1979I discovered when Ann signed up for debate that it isn’t the NFL any more, but the National Speech & Debate Association, only since 2014. What kind of name is that? Hopelessly bland. It’s as distinctive as the name of a suburban office park in a mid-sized market.

Note in the picture above: the club’s officers (I was one of those, too) had fun with belonging to the NFL. We lined up like football players for the picture.

Doors Open Milwaukee 2017First we went to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which is in the near suburb of Wauwatosa. It’s best known for being one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last works, and in fact was completed after he died. As I read, and as I saw, this 1950s church is informed by traditional Byzantine forms. But I also couldn’t help thinking of space age forms.

From there, we went into the city and revisited the Basilica of Saint Josaphat. Last time we were there was Good Friday 2011, and as you’d guess, the church was fairly busy that day. This time, it was open just for a look, so we were able to do that at some length.

East Town, the part of downtown Milwaukee east of the Milwaukee River, was next. A number of churches along or near Juneau St. were open, so they became the focus. Doors Open features a lot more than churches, but with so many clustered together, I figured that would be a good theme for this year.

They included All Saints’ Cathedral (Episcopal), Summerfield United Methodist Church and Immanuel Presbyterian Church. All were worth seeing.

At one of them, a U.S. flag and another flag graced the entrance. The other one, which I’d never seen before, intrigued me. Y held it so I could take a picture, since the wind wasn’t up.
The People's Flag of MilwaukeeI asked the volunteer inside the door about it, and she told me it was the new flag of Milwaukee. I took that to mean officially, but that’s not so. There’s a movement to make it the official flag, to replace this embarrassment, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Currently it’s the People’s Flag of Milwaukee. Sounds like the banner under which the proletariat would storm City Hall, but I don’t think the organizers of online poll to pick a new design had that in mind. I’ll go along with it, though I don’t live in Milwaukee. It’s a good design. Vexillologists hate the current flag, and I agree with them.

Speaking of Milwaukee City Hall, that was the last place we went for Doors Open Milwaukee after a late lunch at the downtown George Webb, the local diner chain with two clocks. I interviewed the mayor of Milwaukee in his office at City Hall in 2003, but I really didn’t get to look around. It’s a splendid public building, dating from the Progressive Era.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness

There are two large churches in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver within walking distance of each other. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, on Colfax Ave., whose French Gothic facade must be impressive,  but which is undergoing restoration work, so I didn’t see much of it.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, DenverImmaculate Conception is the the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, built in the early 20th century. Its design, by one Leon Coquard of Detroit, was reportedly influenced by the Saint Nicholas Collegiate church of Munster in Moselle. Bishop Nicholas Chrysostom Matz, who had the basilica built, was from there.

The altar, statuary, and bishop’s chair are all made of Carrara marble, while other elements feature stone from Marble, Colo. A wedding party had the run of the basilica while I was there, getting ready for the ceremony, I think.
The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, DenverAccording to the basilica’s web site, its stained glass windows — all 75 of them — were crafted by F.X. Zettler Co. in Munich at the Royal Bavarian Art Institute, who did a lot of windows for American churches. “The firm and its secret for stained glass were destroyed during World War II,” the site also says, so presumably there won’t be any more made for anywhere else.

A few blocks away, deeper in the Capitol Hill neighborhood — where parking is tough — is Saint John’s Cathedral. Or in full, the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness, a wonderful name. It’s the seat of the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado.

It too is Gothic, dating from the early years of the 20th century, as a replacement for an earlier structure that burned down. The front was in shadow, so I captured an image of the church hemmed in by tall trees, from another angle. Wilderness all right.
Cathedral of St. John in the WildernessApparently the structure wasn’t quite built as planned, because of cost (what else?). According to the cathedral’s web site: “The two transepts, choir and great tower were never built. Only the nave was completed of limestone with a temporary’ brick chancel.”

Ah, well. It’s only been a century and change. Maybe these things will be built in the fullness of time.

Cathedral of St. John in the WildernessCathedral of St. John in the WildernessA nice, cool space on a hot day. I sat for a while and listened to an organist practice.

I saw one more church in the neighborhood, something unexpected: the Denver Community Church at 1595 Pearl St.

Denver Community Church at 1595 Pearl StObviously not originally a Christian church. In fact, the building used to be Temple Emanuel, built in the last years of the 19th century. A Baptist group bought the building in 1957, and a Pentacostal church did in 1977, so it hasn’t been a synagogue in a long time.

Denver Community Church, an independent evangelical group, acquired it in 2013. Wish the building had been open. Looks like an interesting space inside.

The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, Vincennes

Ah, woe is Houston. It could have easily been my hometown. Even though it isn’t, I hate to see it underwater.

Vincennes, Indiana, has a handsome downtown, or at least a well-appointed main street. We drove on that street on August 20, but didn’t stop because the 90-plus temps that day discouraged walking around. Elsewhere in the town, I noticed the grass as it should be in August: brown, indicating sustained heat and not a lot of rain recently.

A few blocks away from downtown Vincennes is the Greek Revival-style Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, dating from 1826 and built on the site of two previous churches, the first going back to Frenchmen building a log structure ca. 1732. A plaque near the entrance calls it The Old Cathedral.

Center of the Catholic faith and scene of the great events of early American history in the old Northwest Territory. This historic and stately cathedral was raised to the rank of a basilica by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, March 14, 1970.The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, VincennesThe Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, VincennesThe interior sports large wooden Doric columns dividing the nave from aisles, a painted ceiling, murals and some fine stained glass. Stately indeed.
The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, VincennesI told Ann how stained glass was used to tell Biblical stories to people back when most were illiterate, and that the tradition continued after that. Or sometimes they illustrate general principals, such as Jesus being Jesus.
The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, VincennesOne you don’t see too often, or at least I don’t think so: the Lord as a 12-year-old at the Temple.
The Basilica of St. Francis Xavier, VincennesI’m just guessing, but the mural to the left of the altar (its own left) seems to be St. Francis Xavier in the Spice Islands (Malikus). Here’s a detail.

St. Francis Xavier Basilica, Vincennes

Toward the back is a fine-looking organ. I can’t say a thing about it, except I wouldn’t have minded hearing its pipes blow.
St. Francis Xavier Basilica, VincennesOut in front of the basilica, there’s a statue that’s unlikely to rise the ire of any would-be memorial revisionists: Father Pierre Gibault (1737-1802). Sculpted by Albin Polasek, much of whose work is visible in Florida.
St. Francis Xavier Basilica, VincennesI had to look him up. He was a Jesuit missionary and priest in the Northwest Territory, and when war came, he provided vital help to George Rogers Clark in his effort to capture Vincennes from the British in February 1779. Perhaps that was his way of paying back the British, whom he witnessed conquer New France in the Seven Years’ War.