October 07, 2010

Student Blog by Phil Lehmann: St. Peters Cathedral in Regensburg

I am thoroughly enjoying my time here and I am finding myself oddly ok with the notion that i will not see america again for many months and i wish that this trip could continue on another semester.

Here is where i wax poetic:
There is a large cathedral here called Dom St. Peter  (Dom=Cathedral auf Deutsch). It is quite the impressive piece of architecture and is featured on the cover of the book Germany: Unraveling an Enigma. It survived the bombing of WWII with the rest of Regensburg due to the actions of three important town figures that accepted a deal from the americans to hand over the Nazis and be spared. They were executed for their actions but they were eventually successful. The reason i tell you all this is because when i enter the Cathedral itself i am overwhelmed with a sense of power. These were built as monuments to God. The almighty God. I find myself wishing i was Catholic and able to take part in the mass that is held there every sunday. Wishing that i had been steeped in this power all of my life. It literally takes me many seconds to realize that God dwells everywhere, not just in this edifice. The simple existence of this place, devoted to the worship of God, astounds me. I guess we just do not have this sort of thing in indiana, but i love it. I love the sombre atmosphere inside the church, love the darkness that seems to be omnipresent, love the stained glass windows that are so ornate they can have Ph. D.s written about a single scene. When i first entered there i found myself in the area devoted to prayer, not sightseeing. I was accompanied by a few older germans and we individually prayed what we felt we should. I havent a clue what those germans were saying in their prayers. I hadnt a clue what prayer to offer up to God in that place. I said the Lords prayer in german, a remnant from my memorization for German class. yet it seemed oddly appropriate. An old prayer for an old building and an old God. Im not about to convert to Catholicism, and i do not necessarily like the fact that the cathedrals also had their political purposes and the altars is coated in white gold/silver. But the simple size of that place draws me to it, draws me to heavier things, to the metaphysical realm of which we have little knowledge and much desire. It makes me want to know more, to want more, to be more.

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