Quick Takes: Church Bells, Stained Glass, and more

Today’s Quick Takes bring us to churches near and far, old and new



      - the famous “Pilgrim’s Panel” is actually a 20th century fake. image source

Scholar Rachel Koopmans gave a talk earlier this month at the University of Toronto, entitled ‘Fakes and Forgeries in Canterbury’s Stained Glass’

Because of the fragile nature of medieval glass, only a small amount of genuine creations have survived into the modern period. It was only in 1819 that restoration efforts were started in Canterbury. In 1897, this job was handed over to Samuel Caldwell Jr. from his father, and for the next six decades he would remove various pieces of glass from the church and take it to his workshop. Koopmans notes that Caldwell kept no drawings, photographs or written records of his work, and it seems that none of the church officials kept watch over what he was doing. This gave Samuel a lot of opportunity to create fake stained glass images as well as sell some of the real medieval works he found.

Caldwell’s forgeries were not discovered until after his death in 1963 at the age of 102.

Read more  in a post on The Medievalists blog,



Notre Dame, Paris, is changing out its 19th century bells for beautiful new bells, timed to celebrate the church’s 850th anniversary in 2013, but the plan is not without controversy:

there were expected to be few tears shed when the four bells, whose tolling has marked the march of time and a funereal adieu for the great and good at Notre Dame cathedral for 156 years, were taken from their belfry and consigned to the scrapheap.

Made and hung in 1856 to replace those torn from the cathedral during the French Revolution and melted down to make cannon – a fate that befell 80% of France’s church bells at the time – they were, declared the French campanologist and music expert Hervé Gouriou, “one of the most dreadful sets of bells in France … damaged and badly tuned”.

To mark the cathedral’s 850th anniversary next year, a new set of eight bells, intended to recreate the sound of the 18th-century bells made famous by Victor Hugo’s fictional Hunchback of Notre Dame, are being struck at a foundry in Normandy.

Now, however, dozens of cultural associations from France and abroad and at least one religious group have been going like the proverbial clappers to stop the bells being destroyed.

Father Alain Hocquemiller, the prior of a religious community in Normandy, went as far as to bring in the bailiffs to serve a legal notice to save them. He claims he was prompted to act after learning of plans to declassify the bells and melt them down for scrap   -source

read more in the Guardian online.

hat tip to Fr. Z:



more bells:

Yesterday the Vatican Insider site reported that Mass was celebrated in the old holy city of Najaf, Iraq

After a silence which lasted 17 centuries, the bells in a Christian church in the holy city of Najaf, in Iraq, have sounded once again. Saudi satellite television company Al Arabiya reported on this special event today. The ancient site of worship, located inside the “Abdal Massih” (from the Arabic “Servant of God”) convent, is in Al-Hirah, an ancient Christian city recently discovered near Najaf.

The Arab television company said Pope Benedict XVI sent Apostolic Nuncio Mgr. Giorgio Lingua as his envoy to the Middle East. A large delegation of Christian priests and bishops attended the religious ceremony, including Armenian Catholic bishop Emmanuel Dabbaghian and Raad Kachachi, head of the government bureau for Christians and other religions. The delegation was received by the highest religious authority in Shi’ite Islam, the great Ayatollah Ali al Sistani.- source

Archaeologists have discovered 33 convents and places of worship on the ancient Christian site.

Read more on theVatican Insider site.



more stained glass:

      - "Faces in the Glass", Coventry Cathedral  - source

In World War II, the cathedral district of Coventry, England was flattened.  Bits of medieval glass remaining from the Cathedral of St. Michael have been preserved, and are now on display for the public, through November 30:

Hidden from public view for 70 years, the salvaged medieval glass of St. Michael’s, Coventry is being bought back to life through an innovative joint project between World Monuments Fund Britain and Coventry Cathedral. 

During the week visitors will be able to see first-hand the delicate conservation of this stunning glass, meet conservators from Crick Smith/University of Lincoln, and understand the history, and future, of this glass. - source



On November 3, 2012, Magnificat hosted a Day of Faith at the Crystal Cathedral in California. As part of the event, Father Michael Morris, O.P. delivered a talk called “Allegory of Faith Through Sacred Art”.

You can watch a video of Fr. Morris’ talk on youtube



                                                                           - source: Flickr / drmartinus

I recently discovered a beautiful tumblr blog, called All about Mary, which features Marian quotes and prayers, and lots and lots of images of Mary.



Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland.  In her honor, my Tuesday Tour post this week features the Chapel of St. Margaret in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.


Jen of Conversion Diary hosts Quick Takes Friday each week; head over to her post to check out the many, many Quick Takes posts by bloggers near and far.