An air of carnival mingled with the prayers of the faithful at the cathedral of Norwich, England. Since Wednesday, a thrilling 16 meters high enables tourists to discover the religious building otherwise. For two pounds sterling, the installation offers a stunning view on the medieval paintings in the ceiling of the cathedral. Once the tour is complete, visitors can descend via a slide circular.
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The idea came to reverend Bryant-in-full trip to Rome while he was visiting the Sistine Chapel. “It is true that it is fabulous, but in reality, the ceiling of the cathedral of Norwich is just as wonderful”, said he, as he tells the Guardian . “We have one of the largest collections of Saint Patrons of medieval Northern Europe,” he continues. The problem is that they are so high that most people never have the chance to enjoy them.”
“Encourage thoughts about God”
For the reverend, the attraction – which will remain in place until the 18 August – is a fun way to initiate conversations on the theme of the architecture of the building, as on that of the religious life. “The cathedral is what she has always done: encouraging thoughts about God.”
If this operation seems to make the happiness of some visitors, this is not the case of the theologian Gavin Ashenden, former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth. For him, the installation violates the good use of the building and distracted the faithful of their duty. “We are subject to a lot of stimuli and distractions in the life of every day. The pace and the pleasures of life are an obstacle to reflection and prayer,” he wrote on his blog. Gold, “a cathedral should be a place where we can be free of all this.”
This is not the only example of an initiative taken by a cathedral of the anglican Church to attract new worshippers. In Rochester, the canons of the cathedral have set up a course for nine holes of mini golf under the nave. This kind of initiative also has an interest in more trivial: in Norwich, the profits raised by the attraction will be used to meet the expenses of the cathedral.