Monday, July 11, 2011

The New Cathedral of Pristina

Even as dire as the state of ecclesiastical art and design may be in the United States, it is clear that the re-enchantment of church architecture has advanced here much farther than it has acoss the Atlantic, at least from what I can see from experience and anecdotal evidence. There are occasional exceptions to the rule--reconstructing old Orthodox churches in traditional style appears to be a growth industry in Russia, for instance, and on the other end of Europe, across the Channel in Great Britain, there is a small but robust classical architectural community currently practicing. I was thus quite startled to receive the good news that a new cathedral in a handsome Romanesque style is rising in Pristina, in the Apostolic Administration of Prizren. It will be dedicated to Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, and is being undertaken by Italian architect Livio Sterlicchio. The style appears, from the renderings I have seen, to be an exercise in Italian Romanesque. I am particularly pleased to see Siennese-style striping incorporated into the design; I am also intrigued by the campaniles at each transept, an arrangement that is not seen often enough in traditional design. I wonder if perhaps the clerestory is a little delicate for the style chosen, but am happy to reserve judgment until completion.

From the photos on Rorate Coeli and Fides et Forma, its walls and roof are up and it appears masses have been celebrated inside the unfinished shell since at least Christmas of last year. Of course, the real test of the work will come in how its ornamental detailing is handled (which has yet to be applied, and is hard to divine from the computer models), but we wish the architect and his patrons all the best as the project comes closer to completion.

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