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Barcelona's Sacrada Familia and Surroundings
In the midst of a great seaport city a modern cathedral rises
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You may click on any of the images in the table above to begin the journey at mid-point, or to start at the beginning, click on the image on the top row, center.  Or here  Images in this photo essay are copyright protected by Charles Henderson.

The Sacrada Familia cathedral of Barcelona, Spain, was the life work of architect Antoni Gaudí, who designed several other prominent buildings in this seacoast city and set the pattern for its emergence as a center of contemporary art and architecture. This is all the more remarkable when one considers that Gaudí was hired to design this new church in 1883 at the age of 31. He spent the next forty two years working on its design and construction. As a young man Gaudi was known as a party goer who socialized with the rich and powerful families of Barcelona and rode to the construction site in a carriage, conferring with his foremen dressed in top hat and black gloves. But during the four decades that followed, Gaudi became more and more involved in his masterwork. Toward the end of his life he took up residence within the unfinished church and lost all interest in fashion or even other building projects. When he was run over by a passing street car in front of the cathedral at the age of 74 in 1926, people mistook him for a homeless beggar.

Today work on the Sacrada Familia continues more than one hundred and twenty years after Gaudi set his hands and his imagination to work upon it. One of the things that makes a visit here worthwhile is the opportunity to see how such a massive undertaking has evolved across the decades, and how it represents a graceful merging of the imagination, the science of engineering, and the passion of a deep faith. The Sacrada Familia is very much a statement of faith in stone. Moreover, Gaudi's vision of an architecture that renders glory to God even as it celebrates the beauty of the natural world appeals to citizens of the 21st century as much as it did to those of the 19th century when the work was begun.

Charles Henderson

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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and Executive Director of
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).  
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here.
God and Science (Hypertext Edition, 2005).
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion:
Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).

Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.  

For more information about Charles Henderson.