Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A trivium for Tuesday

In order to ensure the full and complete accuracy of what we are about to tell you, we have spent more hours than we could really afford searching the inter-thingies for confirmation.  And what have we achieved?  Zilch.  Zero.  Splat.  Not a thing.  We shall, therefore, rely on our increasingly unreliable memory for the nugget that is today's trivium, the pearl we intend to cast before the swine.

Although the swastika is most commonly associated with Hitler and the Nazi party of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, it is in fact a very ancient symbol which for centuries had positive meanings.  Before Herr Hitler adopted it, the swastika was associated with Hinduism and it is, I believe, still viewed positively in parts of the east.  But here in the west, we regard it as symbolizing evil.

And today's trivial question:  which is the only Christian church in which one can see a swastika?

I'll give you a clue:
Photo: Dr Thomson's Tours
 Still not sure?

Think Thomas à Becket.

You must have it now.

The answer, to the best of my belief, is Canterbury Cathedral.  I have been trying to find a reference to a modern (post-WW2) stained glass window on the south side of the cathedral in which are depicted the gates of Hell.  The keyhole in the gates is in the shape of a swastika.

Another delight in the cathedral is a double row of pillars, four on each side.  These pillars are, as I recall, in the crypt and date from many centuries ago.  The first pair are intricately carved all round.  The second pair are plain, but the third pair are also carved in great detail.  The fourth pair . . .  Well, one of the pillars in this pair is plain and unadorned.  The other one is plain and unadorned also - for the most part.  There is a bit at the top which is partly carved.

The mason who did the carving on that pillar must have spent many hours on his work, using, as he would, only chisels and hammer and working very delicately.  I love to imagine his reaction when the foreman pointed out that this pillar was supposed to be left plain!

And here is a picture of those pillars.


joeh said...

Very interesting! And yes his expression would be priceless...funny visual.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Thanks, Joe.