….in the language of the Angels
I have lived in London for the past 8.5 years and have never yet visited St Paul’s Cathedral; a situation that has now been rectified! I have of course explored the outer perimeters, popped my head through the doors and attended a Christmas service, but I had not yet taken the tour; yesterday I finally got to do the ‘supertour’. This is SO worth every penny invested in what is an awe-inspiring journey through time and history.
The interior of the Cathedral is beyond description, no words in the English language or any other language on earth for that matter could possibly convey the exquisite beauty – this would best be left to the language of the Angels.
Unfortunately I was unable to take photos inside the Cathedral. I will however give you a brief overview of the interior of this magnificent monument to vision and glory.
There has been a church on this site for over 1,400 years with the first church built here in AD604. The 4th on this site, it is named after Paul, one of the first Christians who brough the good news of Jesus to Europe.
The ‘old’ St Pauls a gothic style cathedral that took over 300 years to build burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666. Sir Christopher Wren was given the task of designing and building a new Cathedral; that which graces our fair city today. St Paul’s was built between 1675 and 1710.
The Nave – leads from the Great West Door to the Dome. This is where the congregation sits during major services. Monuments include the imposing memorial to the Duke of Wellington, There are three side chapels in the nave: the Chapel of All Souls, the Chapel of St Dunstan and the Chapel of St Michael and St George. Francis Bird’s 18th Century marble font is located by the West Door.
The Dome and Transepts – the altar and pulpit are beneath the Dome, one of the largest in the world, which was conceived by Sir Christopher Wren as an observatory linking heaven and earth. It’s interior is decorated with paintings depicting scenes from the life of St Paul by Sir James Thornhill.
The Quire – leading to the High Altar, is the focal point for music in the Cathedral. It’s ceiling is covered by a magnificent tableux of mosaics that depict the Creation and other Biblical scenes; an addition by Queen Victoria who complained the interior was dreary and dingy. It also features carvings (brought to life) by Grinling Gibbons, the great organ by Father Schmidt (played by both Mendellsohn and Mozart, and the wrought iron gates by Jean Tijou in 1700. At the east end of the Cathedral, behind the High Altar is the American Memorial Chapel, based in the UK who lost their lives in the 2nd WW.
The Galleries – inside the Dome and 257 steps up from the Cathedral Floor is 1) The Whispering Gallery (a whisper spoken against one wall of the gallery can be heard 32 metres away on the other side of the Dome).
Above the Whispering Gallery, on the outside of the Dome is 2) The Stone Gallery 119 steps up,
offering a breath-taking panoramic view across London…north, east, south and west.
3) the Golden Gallery a further 152 steps up takes you into the heavens to commune with the Angels.
Going down and below ground, a visit to the beautiful crypt is a must.
The Crypt is the Cathedral’s burial chamber, and holds tombs and memorials of many important figures from British history including Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington , Florence Nightingale, JMW Turner (painter) Willian Blake (poet) and Sir Christopher Wren, amongst many others.
There is a new exhibition opened in the crypt showing a picture-story time-line of the people and events that have shaped the Cathedrals which have stood on this site over the last 1,400 years.
No time in London, whether it’s 3 days In London or longer should be without a visit to this magnificent Cathedral.