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church

Repeating Patterns

Repeating Patterns
Repeating Patterns

Repeating Patterns

Have we always topped our most important structures with spires or towers that reach for the sky? I finally decided to capture a photo I’ve been wanting to get for years. I had to park my car and walk to a spot where I could photograph this because it wasn’t one I could get through my windshield while driving. I usually don’t take the time, but for this one, on this beautiful autumn day in Pittsburgh, I decided to take the time to get the domes of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church on the South Side with the spire-tipped buildings of downtown Pittsburgh in the background. Old and new, religious and secular, A handful of buildings along the river and a church with onion-shaped domes in gold and patina and several three-bar crosses, it’s one of the things that looks like home to me, important to the people who live here. Below is the full view, including the high-school football field and the homes surrounding.

The church, the city and the high school football field.

The church, the city and the high school football field.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

Friendship Friday on Create With Joy

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Gold

ukrainian orthodox churcn
ukrainian orthodox churcn

Gold Domes

Those gilded domes hold so many shades of gold, and the trees just starting to turn.

This is Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church  on Mansfield Boulevard in Carnegie, PA. My mother’s family attended this church and played roles in the building and administration of the church, social hall and club. It’s registered with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.


Thanksgiving

vase of wheat in front of stained glass window

Wheat

In the entryway of the Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie; not from this year, but from two years ago, before I was posting daily photos. Wheat is a very important symbol in the Ukrainian tradition and appears in the famous cross-stitch embroidery and pysanka, or easter eggs, in church windows and on liturgical vestments as well as in artwork.

I love to photograph the vibrant colors of stained glass church windows as well. One of these days I’ll have to collect my photos of stained glass into a slideshow.

I am thankful that I can share my photos with people I don’t even know as well as those I do, every day. At the end of this holiday weekend in America, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, or just a beautiful day.


Autumn Blue and Gold

yellow trees in front of church with blue domes
yellow trees in front of church with blue domes

Autumn Blue and Gold

The sun polished the remaining yellow leaves those humble street trees to pure gold, set against the patina blue domes of Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, and all set before a perfect blue autumn sky.

Wish I’d had my better camera with me, and I might have captured more detail, but this is very nice.


Blue and Gold: 2011

turquoise and gold church domes

Blue and Gold

Barely a wisp of a cloud in the sky behind the turquoise-finish domes of Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, the three-bar crosses finished with bright gilt. They just finished the “finish” last fall and it still looks brand new.

One dome really is taller and larger than the other, and note that it also has a lightning rod attached.

Here is a post from this spring of both Eastern Rite churches on Mansfield Avenue in Carnegie: Domes. These same domes look a little more saturated blue in the spring sunlight than they do here in the summer afternoon.


Spring Moon: 2010

moonrise with church

Moonrise

Very much like the late crescent moon rising tonight.

The eager Sap Moon rises early on her way to full, just as the sap rises in the trees at this time in March.


Ancestors

black and white photo of burial ground

Ancestors

Perhaps this is the season to remember out ancestors, or at least those who came before us in this place. This photo is a portion of the burial ground at Old St. Luke’s Church in Scott Township, PA.

The church was founded in 1765 and though in this century it was abandoned. I grew up near here and remember tiptoeing though that burial ground and peering into the church windows imagining we saw skeletons lying on the pews and ghosts flitting about in broad daylight. I am surprised the church survived intact with so many curious teens around, and yet it did, sans skeletons.

It has no congregation, but a group of people for the sake of history secured it, renovated and reopened it. Many of the markers date before the American Revolution and few in this section are newer than 1840. They are worn nearly smooth with age, or cracked and chipped, but a new technology has proved to show the text and images on the stones as if they were newly carved.

And in those days this little settlement on the bluff above Chartiers Creek was a tiny clearing the dense old-growth forest on the hills, hard to believe people could survive here.


The Light Within

photo of church window

The Light Within

The sunlight shone not only through the windows of this tiny historic church, but through the church itself, silhouetting the profile of someone waiting for the service to begin.

This is Old St. Luke’s Church in Scott Township, PA, the oldest Presbyterian church in America west of the Allegheny Mountains. Set on a bluff over Chartiers Creek, the setting sun shines through the west windows and right through the sanctuary to the east windows, very plain yet colorful and elegant stained glass in a traditional diamond shape.


Thanksgiving

vase of wheat in front of stained glass window

Wheat

In the entryway of the Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie; not from this year, but from two years ago, before I was posting daily photos. Wheat is a very important symbol in the Ukrainian tradition and appears in the famous cross-stitch embroidery and pysanka, or easter eggs, in church windows and on liturgical vestments as well as in artwork.

I love to photograph the vibrant colors of stained glass church windows as well. One of these days I’ll have to collect my photos of stained glass into a slideshow.

I forgot to put the battery back in my camera today, so didn’t get any photos form the shul today on my annual pilgrimage to one or another religious institution around town.

I am thankful that I can share my photos with people I don’t even know as well as those I do, every day. Happy Thanksgiving, or just have a beautiful day.


Witajmy

polish and american flags

American and Polish Flags

I also attended the annual PolishFest at All Saint’s Polish National Catholic Church on Saturday afternoon. Sometimes we never get too far from our roots.

I used to go to this event with a number of relatives during the day, but not all at the same time. Now they are all gone, my mother, her sister, my godparents and another aunt. I still go in their memory and to support this church which is so important to its little community of Irishtown in Carnegie. I know, what’s a Polish National church doing in a neighborhood called Irishtown? Because that’s the way it should be. Welcome, to everyone.

sign that says "witajmy"

Witajmy


Blue and Gold

turquoise and gold church domes

Blue and Gold

Barely a wisp of a cloud in the sky behind the turquoise-finish domes of Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church in Carnegie, the three-bar crosses finished with bright gilt. They just finished the “finish” last fall and it still looks brand new.

One dome really is taller and larger than the other, and note that it also has a lightning rod attached.

Here is a post from this spring of both Eastern Rite churches on Mansfield Avenue in Carnegie: Domes. These same domes look a little more saturated blue in the spring sunlight than they do here in the summer afternoon.


The Domes of St. John the Baptist

orthodox domes

The Domes of St. John the Baptist

Skylines around Pittsburgh are full of domes topped with three-bar crosses bristling against the sky, but when the evening sun catches the bright gold and copper patina, especially against a bright blue sky, they could nearly stop traffic. These tight city neighborhoods with row houses mixed with small businesses, traffic, congestion don’t seem they’d naturally host the architectural splendor of a five-story church seating 1,000, but back in the day they were the center of culture.

They also still sell pretty good pyrohi and make the best kielbasa in the city.


Domes

orthodox churches in carnegie pa

Domes

Two of Carnegie’s Eastern Rite churches look fresh and sparkling in the clear spring evening sun.

We had had heavy rains for more than a day so everything looks washed clean and the clouds are lovely. I had to do a fair amount of editing because there are traffic lights and power lines at this intersection, but well worth it; I’d been waiting for the trees to begin to bloom.

The church on the left with the gold domes is Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church, on the right is Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church.

My mother’s family helped to found Sts. Peter and Paul and we attended no small number of weddings and other events here along with a few memorable services. My father was Roman Catholic so along with Catholic School we went to a St. Luke’s Catholic Church, also in Carnegie, on another corner. Attendance at mass several times a week was required along with all the main holy days and Stations of the Cross, so I was no stranger to long services in a foreign language, Latin. But mass was no match for the two- to three-hour mass in the Orthodox church, especially if a wedding or funeral was involved. But the icons then were lovely, and now have been repainted by a nationally-known iconographer who lives in Carnegie and is a member of this church, and when the mass gets beyond me I can study the stories all over the walls and ceilings.

This churchis also on the national register of historic places.


Polish Fest

polish festival

Polish Festival

Carnegie still has about 20 different churches, the Polish National Catholic Church being one of them. The first Saturday of every October they host a festival which has mostly to do with food, lots of it, made by the good ladies of the Auxiliary from scratch, from ancient recipes, with no shortcuts.

The big social hall is filled with tables of people eating and drinking and speaking English and Polish, which I rarely hear any more and can barely speak, though I can usually understand it if it’s spoken slowly. Everything is red and white, the colors of Poland. I greeted Father Rick and his wife Karen, priest of the church, and waved at friends.

There was an older man with a really bad combover who was playing a little electronic keyboard and singing out-of-date songs, but singing them well, a little one-man band.

I met my brother there; he is mildly disabled and a little slow after a traumatic brain injury 10 years ago, but he gets along well under many watching eyes. He’d gotten there before me and highly recommended the potato pancakes. I took his suggestion.


Coming to a Close

Old St. Lukes Church in Scott Township

Winter Mood

As the winter solstice approaches the quickening days of late autumn bring earlier sunsets, sometimes much earlier than we are prepared to accept. Bare trees allow the sun to illumine familiar sights that have been draped in cool shade and fluttering leaves all summer. The lower winter angle of the sun casts dramatic shadows, especially at sunset. The whole effect can change a world we take for granted into a place that looks familiar but is somehow strange.

And sometimes the place just has an “otherness” about it. This is Old St. Luke’s Church in Scott Township, established as a stockade church in 1765 but serving as a lookout point for centuries before that for tribes of Native Americans who paddled the “Catfish Path”, now Chartiers Creek, after hunting on the verdant hills. The overlook stands above a bend in Chartiers Creek and overlooks a flood plain valley, and even prior to European settlers’ Christian homage, the site seems to have had a spiritual essence. No doubt the very soil remembers many feet, many words, many prayers.

The church yard holds the graves of settlers from the Revolutionary period, and a scattering of others from later years. The building was rebuilt at least twice and served as a church and burial ground from 1765 until about 50 years ago when it closed and fell into disrepair. While I was growing up we were all sure it was haunted and that Revolutionary War soldiers’ bodies littered the pews inside. About ten years ago a group of interested people found funding to re-open it, preserving a part of it as a museum, conserving the church yard and offering tours and services.

Today was dark with heavy, lowering skies from the first light, but nearing sunset the clouds parted and drifted away toward the east, leaving the sun to set in a varied sky, etching the old oak tree against the brilliant display. Still, as welcome as the sunlight was after a short dark day it looks somehow ominous, and I remembered the long history of the site as I stopped to take the photo.

Visit the website for Old St. Luke’s at www.oldsaintlukes.org.