Week 7 Asteria

During my trip to Ireland and England, I went to a lot of cathedrals. For the first few times, I was excited to enter in each cathedral and look at the amazing architecture. Near the end of the trip, however, I was not excited to go into more Cathedrals. However, when I stepped foot into any cathedral, no matter now uneager I was, I was always in constant awe of the grand architecture dedicated to God.

The main thing I think I am in constant awe of is the beautiful stained-glass windows. These amazing feats of architecture took generations to build. The amount of precision needed to build these sturdy cathedrals is amazing, given the lack of technology they had. The new architectural design of the flying buttress forming an arch with the wall provided more support, allowing for taller and bigger buildings. The force of the ceiling is not only supported by the walls, but also by the flying buttress, thus providing less stress on the wall itself. The lowered stress allowed for larger window panes and stained glass to illuminate the church and thinner walls.

The stained glass provides depictions of passages found in the Bible. These ginormous feats of architecture required a lot of manpower and planning. I think putting in hard work for a building dedicated to God is an act of worship. The stained glass, similar to the illuminations, provide an artistic reflection of Scripture to showcase God’s greatness.

Creating these masterpieces calls for a lot of calculations and measurements. I have a minor in math, and sometimes I wonder how math can help others and be used to give God glory. With chemistry/pharmacy, I can use that to provide service for others. But after learning more about the Gothic architecture and the cathedrals, I see that math and engineering can be used to create these amazing buildings dedicated not only to God, but also provide a place for others to worship.

Exterior of the Salisbury Cathedral

I decided to look up more about the Salisbury Cathedral, since I was there to fully experience the view. The Magna Carta is currently housed there, and the spire on the cathedral is the tallest in Britain. To preserve the Magna Carta, no photographs were allowed to be taken, unfortunately. The Salisbury Cathedral was built with the English Gothic style, which can be recognized by numerous pointed arches and lancet shapes everywhere. The differing weight distribution allows this cathedral to contain more windows than most other cathedrals. Another difference between the Salisbury Cathedral and other typical Gothic style is that the ribs spring from the corbels rather than the floor (seen in the photograph below).

A nice view of how the ribs are from the corbels




Doves above the reflection pool



I honestly love this cathedral due to the vast number of nooks and sections within the cathedral and the amount of stained glass. There have also been many renovations both within and outside the cathedral. When I went, there were hundreds (maybe even a few thousand) folded white doves hanging from the ceiling. I think looking inside cathedrals, I love looking at the intricate design of the ceilings as well. The mix of old and new was an interesting sight to see. It was amazing – both the grandness of the cathedral and how much time and effort the builders placed into this building.


Ceiling of Salisbury Cathedral, with views of the ribs

Adams, L. S. (2001). A History of Western Art (3rd Edition ed.). New York , New York: McGraw Hill.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Gothic Architecture.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 Nov. 2017

“Gothic Architecture.” Victoria and Albert Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, 10 Sept. 2013

Spanswick, Valerie. “Gothic Architecture: an Introduction.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy

9 thoughts on “Week 7 Asteria”

  1. When I was on my junior’s abroad trip, I was feeling the same way you were about visits to cathedrals. They were all very beautiful and ornate, but I think when you are tired, they start to look very similar. I agree with you that the stained-glass windows are always amazing. Each window has so much detail and you can really tell that it probably took the person who crafted it a long time to finish. I love how they tell a story and add another element to the already incredible cathedrals. The Salisbury Cathedral is beautiful. The folded white doves hanging from the ceiling is so unique. I like how you decided to specifically research more on this cathedral. Great job!


    1. My favorite thing to look at inside the cathedrals were the stained glass. Each one is so different, and I just love how different shards of glass, even if they were “broken” could come together and form something so beautiful. These panes of glass were also enormous! Everything was just so grand.


  2. One article that I read for this blog prompt explained that a lot of the workers involved in the building process of these cathedrals were motivated by the thought that God had given them the mind power and body strength to use for a purpose. I think that can apply to you with your math minor as well as many other things. Even though some activities and focuses don’t seem like they could be connected to the glorification of God, whenever we use our bodies or minds, we are using the tools that God made for us, and that’s pretty cool.
    I LOVE the image with the doves reflecting off of the pool; it’s amazing and I’m sure it was even more impressive in person. My parents had hundreds of origami cranes made out of gold paper at their wedding (for Japanese good luck or something) and the folded white doves you talked about and showed remind me of origami. Super cool!


    1. Wow your parents’ wedding must’ve been beautiful! The doves and the reflection pool were defiantly more of a “modern” addition to the cathedral, but I love the mix of the old and new. They had a dove folding station off to the side too – which was very cool.


  3. I can see how going into countless cathedrals would be tiring, but each one is so different which helps stay engaged and excited! I love that you were able to relate these chapters to things that you have already seen. I also agree that cathedrals are a testament to how beautiful math can be. Did you become a math minor because you really enjoy math, or want to go in some field that requires math? It truly is amazing and beautiful how God can use our unique gifts and talents to glorify him.


    1. I chose to minor in math because it was just 3 additional classes with my current major. I also love the consistency of math, I’m not going to wake up the next day and find out that everything I know about counting is wrong. I have always wanted to do something that serviced others, like the medical field, but I see that engineering/math can dedicated to God in building these grand cathedrals.

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  4. Why is that the truest thing about any travel?! I can think of countless times that I have been so “yay!! travel!! wow!! this is so travel-y” and after checking out the same thing only slightly different for the seventh time, I am SO over it while my mom snaps more pictures of the scrapbook. I think you’re really on to something though, about those cathedrals. Even if at a viewer standpoint of seeing similar things over and over, it’s hard to not be in awe of the toil that went into each piece. Not to mention the years it took to finish.


  5. I really enjoyed reading you blog post. I like how you found the commonality between things like the grand cathedrals, and the illuminated manuscripts. I guess in a way they are meant to do the same thing. Can you find anything in the modern day that shares the same commonality?


    1. That’s a really good/tough question! I’m not sure if there’s anything in modern day that took generations or a lot of time investment to make. I think the closest thing I can think of off of the top of my head would probably be worship songs or hymns. While music doesn’t require years or generations to compose, it does take dedication and can be enjoyed by others.


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