Some days the news brings glad tidings. Here is the joy that can be found in the building of a church: Russia has successfully acquired the land and approval from the French government to build a traditional Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris, in the neighborhood of the government. The cathedral's design has not yet been declared, but news reports say it will be modeled after St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, with gilded onion domes.
Russian churches have been a fixture in France since the time of the Tsars, and Paris holds a number of Orthodox locations. I'm sure I learned of this this morning on Lucianne.com but cannot find the L Dot story now. Details here (link opens a PDF):
Other details and background are here and here and here.
The Orthodox Church is deeply, deeply mystical, and it must be said that the increased presence of a praying body bode well for Paris and France as a whole, and for Europe.
If you have never been exposed to Orthodox Christian theology, there's no better place to start than by reading Father Stephen's blog, linked from my sidebar, "Glory to God for All Things". Read, even if you are not a believer, and understand, at last, why.
My first exposure to Orthodox theology was through the writings of Fr.Alexander Schmemann. Sometimes theology is like water to a dying thirst, and his writings were that for me.
Recent accounts by individuals of their conversion to Orthodoxy are found at "My Way to Orthodoxy"
We are truly witnessing pivotal events in the resurgence of faith. The Orthodox believe that Christian worship brings Heaven to earth. Can Heaven be far away when God walks in the world and restores Christianity at every point?
06/08/10 P.S. I neglected to credit the painting, which my mother painted in acrylic, of St Basil's, Moscow.