Favorite Churches in Paris: Church of the Holy Spirit


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“Tongues of light shall fall upon you!”
Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007
(This photo is dedicated to Michel at Spirit of Paris.com)

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Interior Church of the Holy Spirit
Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

Parislogue readers know that my favorite churches tend to be off the beaten track. Not always, but sometimes. This is one of the less frequented ones. It is ONE of my favorites – but not THE favorite. That will be a subject of a future post.
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Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

The Church of the Holy Spirit was built between 1928 and 1935. You can easily walk past its un assuming Burgundy red brick exterior without paying much attention to this church. The interior is another story.

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With a nod of recognition to St. Sophia of Constantinople (Istanbul) the architect Tournon used reinforced concrete to create a stark, somber framework (which for this observer has an almost Escheresque quality). Even though I find some of the architect’s choices jarring: pillars that at times seem too slight to carry such solid arches, for example, the overall effect of the interior is mesmerizing.

Like Rome’s pantheon, one cannot avoid looking upward, in search of inspiring light.
The whole aura of this church exemplifies the state of confusion and fear one experiences before enlightenment and the subsequent peace and revelation. How appropriate that the day I happened to drop into this church, a sermon was being given by a priest from Ivory Coast about how he came to his vocation of priesthood.
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Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

Regardless of one’s religious affiliations, beliefs, or scientific persuasions, a tribute to that moment of revelation in life – in whatever form that may arrive – is a worthy cause for celebration. For many of us it takes half a lifetime to find away through a labyrinth of well-meaning advice, expectations of family and friends, our own personal delusions of our ‘raison d’etre’, the serious business of survival, putting bread on the table, before we can allow ourselves the exquisite leisure of discovering our life vocation.
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Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

One always hopes that this will happen before one’s last breath! Paris has no shortage of churches to explore and admire. Perhaps few would agree with me that the Church of the Holy Spirit deserves to be lauded alongside some of the masterpieces of the Gothic and Renaissance eras. Each church, temple, mosque exudes its own particular aura – and it’s your challenge to find the church, temple, or mosque that speaks to you.

L’Eglise du Saint Esprit
186 Avenue Daumesnil
Metro: Daumesnil 12eme Arrond.
Tel. 01 44 75 77 50 (Call for the time and dates of church tours)
www.st-esprit.org

Remember you read about it first on Parislogue!