Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Salzburg - Sunday Mass in Salzburg Cathedral

Date: 13th April 2014

It was a pleasant weather that Sunday morning when we were in Salzburg. The white clouds hid away the blue sky from our gaze. With poor natural lighting, my Nikon DSLR with attached tiger eyes has failed to give good picture. Hence, I depend on my Iphone and Anne's camera for blog entries in Salzburg.

Our first destination was heading towards the courtyard of Salzburg Cathedral using a guide map given by the hotel. After some photos on the area, we went inside to join the Sunday mass. The church was full. We were truly blessed with such peaceful sights where the choirs and majority of Sazlburg citizen were worshipping our same, monotheist God. The Christians and the Jewish are our brothers and sister reunited under the chain of Holy Book. I like this cathedral much more than St Stephen Cathedral in Vienna. In my opinion the church reflected and suited humbly for worshiping house of God but the other 1 was more grandeur reflecting human desire of the worldly life. 2 cathedral with 2 different perspective in my eyes. 

I'm using mostly the photos, snapped using Iphone of internal side of the cathedral for this entry as it's beauty truly captured my heart. This 833 year old Salzburg Cathedral is the 17 century Baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg dedicated to Saint Rupert and Saint Vergilius. It was founded by Saint Rupert in 774 on the remnants of a Roman town, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. In the seventeenth century, the cathedral was completely rebuilt in the Baroque style under Prince/Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau to its present appearance. The baptismal font in which composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized is still safely kept safe for tourist to see.

The first cathedral was built under Saint Vergilius of Salzburg, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Dom was recorded in 774. The so-called Virgil Dom was built from 767 to 774 and was 66 metres long and 33 metres wide. Archbishop Arno in 9th century was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years. In 842, the building burned down after being struck by lightning. 3 years later, the re-erection of the building started.

The original church experienced at least 3 extensive building and rebuilding campaigns during the early Middle Ages, the final result of which was a somewhat ad hoc Romanesque basilica. In 1598, the basilica was severely damaged, and after several failed attempts at restoration and reconstruction, the building was finally ordered to be demolished by Prince-Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau (Archbishop from 1587–1612). Wolf Dietrich was a patron and supporter of modern Italian Baroque architecture, having seen it from its origins in Italy and particularly Rome. The Bishop was also responsible for the building of the nearby Alten Residenz, which is connected to the cathedral till to date.

Wolf Dietrich hired the Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi for a comprehensive new Baroque building. Construction did not begin until his successor, Mark Sittich von Hohenems (Archbishop from 1612–19), in 1614 laid the cornerstone of the new cathedral. The present cathedral, designed by Santino Solari, who fundamentally changed the original Scamozzi plan was completed in less than 15 years, being finished by 1628. At its consecration on September 24, 1628, 12 choirs positioned in the marble galleries of the cathedral sang ”a Te Deum”, (meaning the score of which is since lost) composed by Stefano Bernardi, the Kapellmeister to the Salzburg court. The present Salzburg Cathedral is built partially upon the foundations of the old basilica. The relics of Saint Rupert were transferred here when the cathedral was completed.

Salzburg Cathedral is located adjacent to Residenzplatz and Domplatz in the Altstadt (Old Town) area of the city. The Domplatz is accessed by three open arcade arches in the north, south, and west. These "cathedral arches" unite the cathedral with the Salzburg Residenz and St. Peter's Abbey to form a unique self-contained square. According to a plaque on the side of the cathedral, the figure group shows reactions to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception where the angels are delighted, human wisdom vanishes, the envious devil growls, and the triumphant Church rejoices.

The body of the church is made of dark grey conglomerate; the ornamentation and façade are made of bright Untersberg marble. The richly decorated facade is framed by 2 towers and a curved gable. The north tower houses an old oven used for baking communion bread. The façade is divided into 3 horizontal sections. The lower section has 3 high round arches or portals that provide access to three bronze doors. The portals are flanked by 4 large sculpted figures representing the diocesean and cathedral patrons.

The central section of the facade contains statues of the 4 evangelists, Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, Saint Luke, and Saint John represent the salvation offered through their preaching. The mantelpieces over the central windows contain a lion and an ibex, the animals depicted in the coats of arms above, and a golden crown that aligns with the Marien column in the Domplatz. The top section tympanum bears the coats of arms of the builders of the cathedral, Markus Sittikus and Paris Londron. The figure group on the pediment represents the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, showing Christ as Salvator Mundi, with Moses holding the tablets on the left and the prophet Elijah to the right.

Everything inside the cathedral offerred an awesome views as it has the best collections of a very fine arts from centuries ago well maintained. What I like most was watching a beautiful church choir performing collections of prayer songs from the Psalms, the Holy Book of Prophet David. I even recorded a full songs in my phone. For those who has read the Psalms (I read from King James translation, the best that I would search of it's originality from the hebrew version) would definitely deeply touch by the sweet soothing life performance. 

For those who has not read Psalm (zabur) before, I'm sharing below Psalm 4 verses 1 to 4 given to the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm by David :-
4:1        Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness.
Give me relief from my distress.
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
4:2        You sons of men, how long shall my glory be turned into dishonor?
Will you love vanity, and seek after falsehood?
            Selah (take a moment to asses yourself).
4:3        But know that Allah has set apart for himself him who is godly:
Allah will hear when I call to him.
4:4        Stand in awe, and don’t sin.
Search your own heart on your bed, and be still. 

Last but not least is the front view of the cathedral that is visibly alright to share from my Nikon DSLR and 1 out of the 3 bronze door which is so beautiful.

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