Saturday, February 1, 2014

Nautilus Design On St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral Church In Boston Sparks Controversy

From Boston-

The pediment of The Cathedral Church Of St. Paul in Boston has stood empty for 190 years, as the builders of the impressive Greek Revival structure ran out of money during the initial construction phase. It was finally completed in May of 2013, but since then it's come under fire for its unusual design, which features a backlit nautilus sculpture.

Though the original plans for the Episcopal church called for a classical relief of St. Paul preaching to King Agrippa, the current design is absent of traditional Christian iconography, featuring instead the clean lines of a seashell's interior which allude to Oliver Wendell Holme's poem "The Chambered Nautilus," writes The Living Church in a review.

Reverend and Dean of St. Paul's, Jep Streit, told Radio Boston that the nautilus was "the perfect metaphor for a spiritual journey." He elaborated, "The nautilus is evocative of so much more than the church. It creates its shell by outgrowing each previous compartment. It’s always moving into a new, bigger space, and it can never go back."

Father Tim Schenck, an Episcopal priest, explained in a post on his Clergy Family Confidential blog why he finds the choice of a nautilus as a spiritual symbol to be "contrived" and "empty." He wrote, "I’m still not sure why Paul was pushed aside for a seashell."

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