Tuesday, May 28, 2013

St. Paul's Cathedral

Reflections on St. Paul's 
St Paul's Cathedral is a mandatory stop on the American Conservative tour of London.  St. Paul's Cathedral (http://www.stpauls.co.uk/) is simply one of the greatest monuments in the world testifying to man's longing for proximity to the divine.  St. Paul's, located in the heart of the ancient City of London (the square mile), is one of the glories of England and a treasure of the world.

Commander K. and Lord Nelson, St. Paul's
The location of St.Paul's Cathedral has been a place of worship for Christians since the 4th century AD.  It continues in its mission as a vital place of mourning England's losses and celebrating her triumphs.  It is an unapologetically imperial church which holds the mortal remains of Lord Nelson (see earlier post, Horatio Nelson: Champion of Liberty, 1/15/12), the Duke of Wellington and General "Chinese" Gordon.

Thatcher Funeral, April 17 2013
Photo courtesy: Marc Leslie
Recently St. Paul's was the site of Margaret Thatcher's funeral (see earlier post, Margaret Thatcher RIP, 4/17/13).  You will find a plaque to all those who perished in the 1982 Falklands war.
Lord Nelson, St. Paul's, London
When Lord Nelson's funeral was held here in January 1806 the sailors who were charged with carrying his coffin tore the Union Jack flag into fragments keeping them as mementos.
Christopher Wren's monument
The present Cathedral was consecrated in 1708 and designed by the brilliant Christopher Wren.  It is built of Portland stone and was the first Anglican Cathedral.  Wren has this carved into the walls of St. Paul's...."Lector, Si Monumentum Requiria Circumspice" -- "Reader, If you need to see my Monument look around you."

While the Blitz was raging during World War II Winston Churchill and his war cabinet were often forced to go underground into the Cabinet War rooms (see earlier post, Churchill War rooms, 2/1/12).  When the "all clear" signal was flashed Winston would emerge from the depths and ask a simple question, "Is St. Paul's still standing?"  Churchill knew the iconic importance that St Paul's possessed for English-speaking people everywhere.  Churchill's funeral service was held here on January 30, 1965 (http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Cathedral-History/Cathedral-History/Cathedral-History-Timeline/1965).
The "Dirty Corner" of St. Paul's
When you visit St. Paul's you must also check out the "dirty corner".  St. Paul's received a thorough cleaning after its walls had been blackened by centuries of candle smoke.  They, however, left one small section uncleaned to show what a tremendous difference the cleaning made.  This is the "Dirty Corner" of St. Paul's.  The cleaning was largely paid for by members of the Fleming family, that is to say by relatives of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1384682/St-Pauls-reveals-a-fresh-new-look.html).  One can, therefore, say, with only slight exaggeration, that it was James Bond (see earlier post, Commander Bond's London, 2/23/12) who cleaned up St. Paul's and brought it to its current pitch of perfection.

Commander K. and Lawrence of Arabia
Another covert operative, Lawrence of Arabia (see earlier post, Lawrence of Arabia, 12/27/12) is commemorated here at St. Paul's.

"Modern Major Composer"
Arthur Sullivan of musical theatre fame is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral along with many other "modern major generals".

George Washington, St. Paul's
Distinguished Americans are also represented at St. Paul's.  George Washington (see earlier post, George Washington...in London? 2/8/12) never visited England but you can find his bust at St. Paul's.
Roll of Honour, St. Paul's, London
At the east end of the Cathedral you will find an American Memorial Chapel that was paid for by subscription by the British people (http://www.angelfire.com/my/mighty8thlh/CHAPELUK.html).  Here you will find the roll of honour -- a book containing the names of over 28,000 American servicemen who died in World War II and served in the UK.  St. Paul's offers a welcoming American Thanksgiving service every year.
American Eagle, St. Paul's, London
Commander Kelly says, "A visit to St. Paul's should be on everyone's bucket list!"

Special thanks to Mark Hansen.

This below is not actually from St. Paul's but seems, nevertheless, appropriate...

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for leading such a pleasant e-pilgrimage through this unique space, standing, as it does, so close to the bosom of Western Civilization. In my capacity as Executive Director of the St. Paul's Cathedral Trust in America, I would be delighted to make arrangements for any of your circle to have a special visit in situ, and can be reached at mhillaryhansen@gmail.com . Cheers!