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St-James United Church

On Sat­ur­day morn­ing, I escape from work for an hour to go visit a church I had noticed the night before, as I was pac­ing St Cather­ine street up and down look­ing for food. St-James United Church is a national his­toric site of Canada and a Que­bec reli­gious her­itage build­ing. The church was hid­den behind com­mer­cial build­ings for 70 years before they were finally demol­ished in 2006. The church was there­after opened to St Cather­ine, in the heart of Mon­tréal, and came to life again.

Even as an athe­ist, I enjoy vis­it­ing places of wor­ship, tem­ples, churches or mosques. Some are beau­ti­ful work of art. Some make me under­stand why peo­ple believe, and why they find peace in these places. As I explained before, I can’t stand pros­e­lytism — but I hope I’m open-minded enough to accept that reli­gion isn’t always the root of all evils, even though some peo­ple use it as an excuse to spread hate and intolerance.

I was greeted at the entrance of the church by Rob Bull, the Super­vis­ing elder. When I asked him if I could take some pic­tures, he decided to give me the grand tour and took me upstairs where I could enjoy the overview of the inside of the church. He com­mented on many of the stained win­dow, explain­ing that one of them was actu­ally made by a Turk­ish artist in Mon­tréal, a prac­tic­ing Mus­lim. He was proud to tell me that the church wel­comed every­one, and added that many Jew­ish and Mus­lims came to pray as lunch time because they didn’t have the time to make it to their respec­tive places of wor­ship. “Every­one is wel­come here”, he said, ” “no mat­ter what you believe in and how you inter­pret your faith. We do not judge.”

This church cer­tainly gave me a great impres­sion: lovely build­ing, amaz­ing art inside and a con­gre­ga­tion that seemed friendly and open-minded. Def­i­nitely worth a visit!

You can see the full set of the pic­tures taken in Mon­tréal here.

Church Open

Church Tower

Stained Glass Window

Details of the Window

Stained Glass Window

Details of the Window

The Work of the Turk­ish Artist

Stained Glass Window

Overview of the inside of the Church

19 comments

  1. wow — the inside of the church is sim­ply amaz­ing! I love the vivid colors.

  2. Very nice! Even though I do not have a reli­gion as well, I tend to visit churches when­ever I travel, as I find them to be cul­tural bas­tions full of his­tor­i­cal relics. And it is always bet­ter when they let you take pho­tos inside.
    .-= Linguist-in-Waiting´s last blog ..Assy­met­ri­cal Atti­tudes =-.

  3. tres joli! I love stained glass art and old churches.
    .-= Seb´s last blog ..They’ve Come For You. =-.

  4. Wow–those really are beau­ti­ful! I know on my trips to Europe we vis­ited many churches with beau­ti­ful stained glass win­dows. Don’t see alot here in the US.

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