Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine: A Sinister Site?

Christian 'art experts' seem to think so.

As their website states: "The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the seat of its Bishop."  St. John the Divine is an architectural marvel in this day and age, a cathedral constructed in medieval style with traditional stonework - worked by skilled masons... eh, eh, eh.  The all inclusive community at the Cathedral openly welcomes all types of people... even gays.  Cross your fingers and shout exorcism prayers as fast you can and get out of there!  Just kidding - but conspiracy theorists have a ball with that place.  Especially as it concerns the art and architecture - the black helicopter shaped sanctuary light, and, and, and...  Okay - I made up the sanctuary light design bit - but it could happen.

John the Divine is not a Catholic church, it isn't even a part of the new ordinariate - which was more or less formed because faithful Anglicans wanted to get away from their liberal counterparts at churches such as St. John the Divine.  No doubt it is a very liberal church.  But as such, it remains just a protestant church, the edifice of which is constructed in the ancient manner of the great medieval Gothic and Romanesque style Cathedrals of Europe.  The traditional ornamentation is executed in the traditional manner - chiseled by hand by skilled artisans.  The art and symbolism is decidedly modern and reflects the locality wherein the church is situated, with all its contemporary nuance and features. 

Typical of the architectural style of the old cathedrals, the entrance is surrounded by scenes of the Last Judgement, and in the article referenced here, particular scenes from the Book of Revelation are depicted in contemporary imagery: For example, scenes depicting NYC being destroyed - the World Trade Center towers visible, and so on.  This has always been a perfectly acceptable way in which to express end times motifs - especially since the original intent of sculpting such images in the first place was to evangelize the illiterate of the time and place.  A notion obviously lost on our highly educated and sophisticated society today.

The article, Prophetic Pillars on St. John the Divine, attempts to lay out all of the sinister symbols embedded in the art and architecture of the Cathedral and makes the claim there are occult images and 'prophecy' pointing towards the establishment of one world religion, and United Nations domination, leading to the rule of the Antichrist.  For instance the author sites a Kabbalah Tree of Life symbol - something not unknown in medieval times - the Christian variety of which even Bl. Raymond Lull delved into - before or after his conversion I'm not certain.  Nevertheless, it is not so unprecedented - despite the fact it is considered part of the "New Age".  I'm not sure it is a covert symbol in this case however.

On another pillar photo depicting the resurrection of the dead and a labyrinth - also very ancient - the author makes this notation:
A scene depicting a birth from some kind of flower, surrounded by mummies and above a lamb with its legs tied. Who is being born? Is the Anti-Christ who is said by the Book of Revelation to the beast “coming up out of the earth; and had two horns like a lamb“? Underneath is a spiral vortex (symbolizing change of consciousness?) and people apparently praising or worshipping the figure.

Even if the stone carving depicted exactly what the author implies, how can that be construed as sinister when in fact it depicts what is written in the last book of the Bible?  Which is in itself prophecy - and most suitable for an entrance to a Christian place of worship.

It is one of the more stupid articles and discussions (read the comments) on art and architecture I have ever come across since the embedded phallus on the Crucifix of San Damiano story.  Except maybe for the snake on the rosary crucifix story - that was just ignorance of Scripture.  (The reference goes back to the Book of Numbers 21 and corresponds to Christ's statement in the Gospel of John 3:14; "Just as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the desert, etc."   Old crucifixes sometimes have a variety of symbols on them. - sometimes illustrating the moon and the sun, along with the phases of the moon.

My advice, don't be superstitious.

Photo: Taken from "Prophetic Pillars" see more here.  The art and architecture is fantastic.


  1. 0 comments, and here I thought that something this titillating would unearth all of the crazies. :)

    I've been to St. John the Divine. Beautiful church.

  2. Sigh. I lived in New York City for most of my life (no longer), and have been in SJ the D more times than I can remember. It's a famously liberal and heterodox place, but portraying the end times in a local/topical way was probably meant to be sobering, rather than to be a symbol of some massive clandestine one-world-government conspiracy.

    Interestingly, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine IS portrayed as a sinister place in a wonderful and interesting YA novel, The Young Unicorns, by Madeleine L'Engle -- who was the librarian and writer-in-residence there for many years.

    Not to be parochial (no pun intended), but it's a safe bet that whoever wrote that analysis/exposé is NOT a New Yorker. Few New Yorkers would think that way

  3. You know, when I first discovered your site, it was your attitude towards that disgusting film Rape of the Soul that made me realize you were sane :)

  4. Thanks Merc - that is reassuring! LOL!

    Pentimento - The Cathedral would be a terrific setting for a novel. I agree - New Yorkers would never see the stone work that way. I really think it is simply a contemporary interpretation of what has been done on Cathedral doorways for centuries.

    Thom - I was so hoping for crazy comments too!

  5. PS - I've only been by the Cathedral on the bus.

  6. The Serpent was punished by God for allowing its nature to be used by Satan in tricking Eve; the Angels would appear as serpents and talk to Adam and Eve in the Garden.

    That is why Eve was so easily fooled by the Body of the Serpent concealing Satan.(Satan was not further punished for doing this, just the Serpent).

    These days, Jewish Freemasonry is convincing people Catholic Freemasonry is God's will.

    This is one way the anti-Christ will be so widely accepted.

    Satan has angelic intellect, and has been planning his move for thousands of years.

    Many people that eventually become aware of what Catholicism really is and entails, would probably not like it, or Christ either, for that matter, when they meet our Divine Master.

    Theistic Evolution is one modern day method he has changed Catholic thought.

    May God our Lord in His infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us His abundant grace, that we may know His most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

    Que Dios nos agarre confesados.


  7. They accept GAY PEOPLE?

    The horror, THE HORROR!

    Maybe the RCC could learn a thing or two from the Episcopal Church.

    Or, they could continue their slide into irrelevancy in the western world.

  8. In his recent papal brief, Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has specifically identified the value to be found for the church, consistent with Catholic teaching, in the extensive patrimony of Anglicans, called Episcopalians in the USA.

    Not content to take the pope's suggestion to look further into the remarkable riches of the Anglican patrimony, instead we see articles like the one referenced here on St. John the Divine, New York City. In reality, as another comment here says, 'Perhaps there is something to be learned'.

    Who else is to build a stone building but a mason? Duh! A plumber? I assure you there is no masonic "pyramid" on the roof of St. John the Divine. The photo merely shows the unfinished gable end of the nave roof.

    As Terry himself suggests, the referenced article is pure prejudicial conjecture and fantasy. I do want to say, though, joining with Pope Benedict's sentiments in the matter, that St. John the Divine is much more than just another protestant church.

    There is something worthwhile to be learned of value at St. John the Divine by any Catholic visitor.

  9. Well-said, Robert.

  10. Thanks Robert - very well said.

  11. I walked through this church once. The only thing I remembered was how big it was and that the whole thing seemed to be under construction.

  12. There is absolutely nothing, Zero, to be gained from Anglicanism.

    As with any other Protestant group, what Truth they have came over with them from the Catholic Church they so gleefully left centuries ago.

    The Holy Father is misleading Catholics when he states Anglicans can add to the treasury of Holy Mother Church, as if Jesus Christ Himself left something to be added to by the succeeding Holy Fathers, Doctors of the Church, of heretics.

    Apparently His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has never read the following quote:

    Truth is not our making, but God's. And hence the Church in her history, due reparation made, has always welcomed the heretic back into the treasury of her souls, but never his heresy into the treasury of her wisdom.

    Pray for the Holy Father and all his Priests, Nuns, and Religious.


  13. "...There is something worthwhile to be learned of value at St. John the Divine by any Catholic visitor..."

    I visited that place with a Padre a few years ago.

    When he asked my opinion I stated:

    "These folks don't realize all those Saints they have around their Church will be the ones to help Saint Michael throw them in Hell for being heretics, and those demons will gladly accept their souls".

    Yes people, heretics do not make it to Heaven.

    And it was Masons, Freemasons that built the Vatican, and many other Church properties because Satan still remembers the spherical dimensions of the Heavens as God created them.

    Roman Catholics (except for a few Priests and truly Catholic Architects) have never learned how to be Catholic in all things, even into the beautiful architecture that comes from the busom of Holy Mother Church.

    Kinda like a Mexican that dutifully Baptizes his kids, but never marries their mommy, or his mistress, but still thinks he is a devout Catholic.



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