Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Westminster Cathedral and Brompton Oratory

Westminster Cathedral's Byzantine Wonders

Two of the most renowned Catholic churches in London are the magnificent Westminster Cathedral and the London Oratory (more popularly known as the Brompton Oratory). The architecture of Westminster Cathedral (completed in 1903 and not to be confused with the nearby Westminster Abbey) makes it distinct from other London landmarks, because of its Byzantine style of the eastern Roman Empire, rather than the familiar Gothic style of England’s native cathedrals. The interior boasts magnificent mosaics.

Westminster Cathedral, located in the City of Westminster (London), is the mother church of the Roman Catholic community of England and Wales. As such, it is the largest Catholic church in England. The dominating external feature is the great campanile, known as St. Edward’s Tower, 284-ft high to the top of cross (photo at beginning of this post).

Brompton Oratory

The famous London “Brompton” Oratory (completed in 1884 in Italian Renaissance style; photo above) is the second largest Catholic Church in London. Every Sunday, more than 3,000 people worship in this enormous church, including the rich and famous. Dedicated to St Philip Neri, it is located in west London adjacent to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Additional views of Brompton Oratory:

Despite much historical conflict, the tensions that existed between Protestants and Catholics have largely been eradicated in London. Nevertheless, the law still states that the Monarch cannot marry a Catholic. According to the Act of Settlement, those in the line of succession who marry Roman Catholics automatically forfeit their place in the line. When Peter Philips, the Queen's oldest grandchild and son of Princess Anne, became engaged to his Roman Catholic fiancée, she converted to Church of England so that he did not forfeit his place of 11th in line to the throne.

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