Church architecture reflects the faith of the people who build churches.
These days many of the modern Catholic churches I have seen look more like municipal airport buildings than structures to house the most sacred thing humans can undertake, the place where heaven and earth meet.
I was recently sent a link to a site about a new church in Moscow. The church was recently completed and consecrated by Patriarch Kirill in December 2015.
But most astonishing by far was the project to decorate the interior of the main church. It is ornamented in the style of the Sicilian Cathedrals of the 12th century – without doubt the most sumptuous and refined style that ever emerged in the Byzantine-influenced world. Virtually the entire inside of the Yasenevo church is mosaic iconography in glittering glass and gold. There have been but a handful of churches decorated like this in all of history, and this church ranks fifth among them in area of mosaics. The lower walls of the church are revetted in white marble and the floor is finished in splendid Cosmatesque marble and mosaic interlace. The church is lit with a great brass choros and a constellation of glittering chandeliers. The marble iconostasis bears jewel-like icons with a powerful Romanesque gravity. It is a vision of medieval splendor the likes of which have never before been seen in Russia, and only rarely in all the world.
The true miracle of the Yasenevo church, though, lies not in its richness, but its poverty. Astonishingly, this church, constructed in just seven years, had no major individual donors. There was no great oligarch or wealthy institution footing the bill. Rather, the money came in small donations from ordinary people and pious organizations – 80,000 donors in total.
Go there… really, go… to see the rest, astonishing pictures.