The website "Abbazia di Montecassino" ["Montecassino Abbey"] is a highly graphic site containing a sizeable number of images and other resources covering the history and role of the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino, located in the Campania region of Southern Italy. The site outlines the major events in the Abbey's history from foundation by Saint Benedict in 529 to its reconstruction in 1964, following the destruction of 1944. In the course of its history, the Abbey was destroyed or severely damaged on a number of occasions, most notably by the earthquake of 1349 and heavy bombardment in 1944. For each event explanatory text is available together with images and, in the case of the 1944 destruction, additional film footage. A virtual tour enables users to explore the Abbey, moving through its floor plan to the various parts of the building. Texts and images are available including 360 degree viewing. Additionally, users can listen to a selection of monastic chants as performed by the chorus of Abbey monks. A section is dedicated to Saint Benedict (ca. 480 - ca. 547) founder of the Abbey, and the Rule which governs the monastic life of the Benedictine order. The life of Saint Scholastica (480-547), Saint Benedict's sister, who lived in the vicinity of the Abbey, is also recounted. The Diocese and to-day monastic life at the Abbey are described. Additionally, the site offers information on religious events and the "Terra Sancti Benedicti", a historical procession held in March each year during the Benedictine celebrations at Cassino and Montecassino. The site and its resources are accessible in both Italian and English.
Art and Christianity Enquiry (ACE) is an organisation specialising in visual art and religion (registered charity number 1035221). This website offers information about the research projects and educational activities they engage in (e.g. lectures; study days; workshops) and the conferences they organise. ACE publishes a quarterly journal called 'Art and Christianity'. This website provides the contents of its latest issue and information about how the back issues could be obtained. A recent article is available for downloading. ACE also offers a listing service for individuals' research projects and the site provides information about the three biennial awards it gives to recognise architectural and artistic projects in religious buildings. The site contains a number of photographs and images; as well as links to relevant websites. This should be an interesting resource for those researching on religious art and religious architecture.
This website offers a virtual tour of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York. Hypertext links provide additional information on notable features of the building, including the Great Rose Window, which is the largest stained glass window in the United States. The Cathedral's home page provides a wide range of visitor information, including details about the Cathedral music, choirs and organ.
The Sanctuaries and Pilgrimage Sites website from the Lithuanian Catholic Internet Service provides information about churches, sanctuaries, monasteries and shrines in Lithuania, a country rich in catholic monuments. There is a page for each of seven pilgrimage sites: Sanctuaries of Siluva; the Hill of Crosses; the Gate of Dawn; Zelmaiciu Kalvarija; the Marian shrines in Pivasiunai and Krekenava; and the relics of Matulaitis. Each page contains an explanation of the site's religious meaning, as well as some historical information and a current description. The Hill of Crosses is a very unusual shrine - believed to have started after the rebellion in 1831, when many people lost their lives, it is a tradition to leave a cross (home-made or purchased) on this small hill, which is now completely hidden by thousands of donated crosses. Ausros Vartai (Gate of Dawn) is also very interesting architecturally: a chapel over an archway in the city wall, it immediately opens up possibilities for ceremonial processions. The information is thorough with good pictures, but not properly credited so a student would need to check the facts against other sources.
This is the website of the Chapels Society: an organisation that seeks to foster public interest in, and knowledge of, the architectural and historical importance of all places of worship and their related structures in the United Kingdom, loosely described as Nonconformist. It also promotes the survival of these places of worship and works closely with the Historic Chapels Trust (which cares for and restores redundant chapels). A list of current activities is provided plus a page of links to other relevant websites. The Society publishes its own newsletter, The Chapels Society Newsletter bi-annually. The site is hosted by the Council for British Archaeology.
This interesting website seeks to provide information on church buildings in Dorset, England. Over 200 churches are featured on the site and these are listed in alphabetical order. The level and kinds of information provided for each church are not uniform. Whilst many are accompanied by photographs of the building, brief descriptions of the church itself, web-links and suggested print-based resources for further information; others only contained a number of recommended readings. The site also suggests many general resources about Dorset churches; history; and church bells in Dorset. These include published works and online resources.
This is the homepage of Faith and Form, a non-profit organization dedicated to the cause of improving the quality of art and architecture for places of worship for all faiths. It was established in 1967 to represent the views of those concerned with design for worship, and serves as a forum for exchanging information among those who create and use religious art and architecture. It also publishes a journal known as the 'Faith and Form Magazine: The Interfaith Journal on Religious Art and Architecture'. This website contains the table of contents of the latest issue of the magazine, including access to its feature article. The site also allows free access to one article from each volume published since 2006. A number of these contain links to audio and visual recordings. The magazine is also a co-sponsor of an annual Religious Art and Architecture Design Award. Photographs of the winning entries from previous years can be viewed from here. An interesting website for anyone involved in the study of religious art and architecture.
This website, part funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, explores the history and buildings of the Great Hospital, Norwich. Founded in 1249 the hospital still retains many of its original buildings and unique archives, giving a valuable picture of the life of the unwell poor over seven centuries. The website narrates the institution’s history, from its beginnings in the spiritual care of the poor to its modern day existence as sheltered housing for the elderly. The website uses high quality digitised images of key documents, photographs and three dimensional architectural illustrations to chart the evolution of the hospital as an institution.
This is the website of the Historic Chapels Trust: an organisation that takes into ownership redundant Nonconformist chapels, Roman Catholic churches, synagogues and private Anglican chapels of outstanding architectural and historic interest in England. Running costs are supported by a seventy per cent grant from English Heritage but private subscriptions are encouraged (there is an online application form). The site gives details of all chapels restored or currently under restoration. Each one has a separate page with photographs, drawings and a history of the building. The News section, updated regularly, gives bulletins on specific on-going repairs.
Alison Stones's Images of Medieval Art and Architecture website, based at the University of Pittsburgh, is an image bank featuring pictures of castles, monasteries, cathedrals, churches and maps from England, Wales, and France. Many of these were scanned from a collection of slides donated by Ruth Dean. The number of images available for each building varies widely, and in some cases the photographs are supplemented with older drawings and floor-plans, and occasionally suggestions for further reading. Although the site lacks a search function, it is easy to navigate. It comprises three main sections: images of Britain and images of France (both arranged alphabetically by location), plus a helpful glossary. This last feature will be particularly useful to students who are new to this area, and includes illustrations of many of the described features.
The Jasna Góra website provides an illustrated guide to the most revered Roman Catholic shrine in Poland. The Shrine of the Most Holy Virgin Mary of Jasna Góra near Cracow is home to a much venerated icon, also known as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, and the site also offers information about the painting and its history. The Pauline Monastery which houses the icon was built in the late 14th century. According to tradition, the icon was painted by St Luke the Evangelist on a table top belonging to the Holy Family; art critics, however, date the work to between the 6th and 9th centuries. The site provides an overview of the history of the painting and of the Pauline monastery that shelters it. The text of the site is available in a variety of languages: Czech; Slovak; English; Spanish; German; Hungarian; and Italian although the original Polish is the most extensive of all.
This is the website of the Matthias Church (Ma´tya´s-templom), the church of Buda Castle in Budapest which was founded as the Church of Mary in 1015. This site covers its historical development, and its current spiritual community. It details the reconstruction which has happened and which needs to take place to preserve the fabric. The church is both a place of worship and a museum. It also holds many concerts featuring its orchestra and choir. Details of these, plus its musical history, history of the organ and a list of musical publications are to be found on the website.
Narodnyi katalog pravoslavnoi arkhitektury is a user-generated content project aiming to collate and catalogue photographs of all the Orthodox churches, monasteries, chapels, belltowers and cathedrals in Russia. The site holds over 60,000 images, searchable by: keyword; geographical location (including Belarus); building type; construction date; architect; or a combination thereof. The catalogue can be browsed by: geographical location (oblast; region; town); diocese; participant (contributing photographers). There is also a links page and a forum. Many photos are accompanied by entries about the history of the building with citation references; others simply have an address, and sometimes details of how to get there or a link to the parish website. This site will be of most use to researchers and teachers of Russian religious architecture, culture and history.
'Sacred places' is a website examining the nature of the sacred. It aims to explore both why certain sites come to be regarded as sacred, and how that sacredness is embodied through art and architecture. After a brief general introduction, there is a discussion of a variety of types of natural phenomena that have frequently been imbued with sacredness: these include caves, mountains, trees, and water. Secondly, a wide range of specific sacred sites from all over the world are considered. To name just a few, Stongehenge, the Holy Sepulchre in Israel, the Athenian Acropolis, and Lourdes are covered. Illustrative images are provided, and many of the sections contain suggestions for further reading and links to related websites. A general bibliography is also given. Easy navigation is facilitated by two sidebars which provide internal links to the major sections. This attractive, informative site is the work of Christopher Witcombe of Sweet Briar College in Virginia.
The website of the temple of the sacred tooth relic in Kandy provides users with access to the full programme of religious events and festivals held at the temple. It also, however, has a large collection of photographs detailing these events in past years as well as a number of pages detailing the history of the temple and its founding, the significance it holds for Sri Lankan buddhists and the stories of the various deities associated with it. Most interestingly, the website also presents a selection of articles investigating the role of religion in society and in particular the future of religious ceremony and tradition.
This website provides a guide to the history and architecture of St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, England, built between 1883 and 1888. It includes illustrated essays on the abbey itself, the crypt, and monastic life. The centre-piece of the website is a virtual tour of the building using 'Live Picture' software. The site is available in English and French.
This is the website for St. Paul's Cathedral in London, which was re-built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666. The 'about St. Paul's' section provides information about: the architecture and the structure of the building; the Cathedral library; the bells and change ringing; and music, choir and organ, along with an historical timeline of events relating to the Cathedral from 314 to the present day. The 'worship and events' section includes lists of music sung at the services and upcoming concerts and events. The 'visit St. Paul's' section of the website includes a virtual tour of the Cathedral, which requires the use of Flash.
The church of St Mary's Speldhurst in Kent was rebuilt in the late 19th century, with the addition of stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. The site provides general information about the church, including sections on its history, services and the church bells. In addition, a section dedicated to the windows provides a brief introduction and a gallery of enlargeable images.
This website contains a searchable database of images, which focuses on South Indian cultural and religious faiths. The database is the outcome of work undertaken by Revd Dr Paul M. Collins at the University of Chichester, who conducted research in South India into cultural and religious practices. In particular, the database is "offered as a resource for those interested in the inculturation of Christian worship and buildings. It will also be useful for any whose interest lies in understanding more fully the rich cultural context of South India both historic and contemporary." The database is searchable by keyword, as well as browsable by categories including: Hindu temples; Indian culture; inter-religious buildings; Jain temples; Jewish synagogues; Muslim mosques; orthodox Christian tradition; palaces; Protestant traditions; Roman Catholic Latin tradition; secular architecture; and St Thomas Christian tradition. The project was supported by a research grant from the British Academy.