Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth

Cathedral of Christ the Light (2 images)


Here are a couple more images from my camera club outing to Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.  We had a most excellent docent who gave us all kinds of interesting information about this church.  I was totally fascinated!  I decided that I would post a picture or two for a few posts along with something I learned about the Cathedral that I found interesting.  This cathedral is full of symbolism and is a representation of ancient and new coming together.

There is a history of churches being built in the shape of a cross, but this one is different.  The footprint of the Cathedral is the shape of a fish.  You’ve probably seen those fish symbols on bumpers of cars, jewelry or greeting cards.  I always thought that was a new Christian symbol, but I came to find out it is very old.  The shape is a vesica piscis, (fish bladder in Latin) which is an oval with pointed ends created by the intersection of two circles of the same radius.  The shape of the vesica piscis calls to mind a fish, which was used as a symbol by the earliest Christians because its Greek spelling— ΙΧΘΥΣ—could be used as an abbreviation for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

To carry this even further, in ancient times people didn’t wear the cross as people do now.  The cross in ancient times represented death and pain…criminals were crucified and it was very bloody.  If you admitted you were Christian, you would be killed, so the cross was not worn.  So instead, when someone was wondering if another was Christian, they would draw in the sand or dirt with their foot half a fish.  If the other person completed the other half of the fish by drawing with their foot for example, both knew they could talk about their faith together.

Not only is the fish the footprint of the church, but its shape is repeated throughout the church as you can see in the ceiling.  After all that I’ll leave you with these images!



Author: lauramacky

Journey of a Body on this Earth

27 thoughts on “Cathedral of Christ the Light (2 images)

  1. I so liked this building in black and white when you post it earlier. It is stunningly beautiful in color. Thanks for playing Laura. 😀

  2. The church is beautiful Laura. Thanks for adding the history too, I really enjoy learning about things like this.

  3. Wonderful couple of Catedral of Christ.! Glorius.!

  4. I used to work in the building right beside the church. It was fascinating to watch them build it. The base is entirely concrete, with the wooden ribs inside, and then all glass on the outside. All the concrete is a number of layers with rubber shock absorbers, etc., between them to handle the moving earth we have in this area. Because it’s right beside Lake Merritt, there’s not much of a deep foundation either.

    But you are right, it’s a beautiful building. Quite interesting all around.

    • I saw it being built as well. At first I was totally perplexed as to r shape on the outside. Of course now I know it’s a pope’s hat. The docent explained about the support used to build it but I’ve forgotten. It’s some sort of bearing support that can withstand up to a 7.2 earthquake which shocked me. I thought it would be at least 8.0!

  5. This is beautiful. How wide was the lens if I may ask?

  6. Great photographs. As always. I see that roof as the rib cage of some vast beast. Nice use if symmetry. I’ve never come across a building with the fish footprint before. The cross is so standard I suppose I expected no deviation. I rather like that this building bucks the trend of so many previous architectural generations.

    • It does look like a rib cage! I’m so glad you enjoy this too. I love unique buildings and while the churches in Europe Etc are magnificent, this place is so incredible and unique! Thanks much Laura for your engaging comments. 🙂

  7. Nice ones… Especially the one on the right

  8. Thanks for the background information. Very interesting to know, I had no idea about that tradition.

  9. That Baptismal fountain is pretty impressive with the water rushing around.

  10. That is quite an amazing church. And your use of a wide angle lens really brought the dynamic architecture and the feeling of open space. Beautifully captured.

  11. Thank you, as a Catholic, I never knew the meaning of the “fish” symbol. Lovely photos.

  12. Pingback: Cathedral Circle | Laura Macky Photography

  13. I always appreciate the story behind the photos. The history of the fish symbol is fascinating. There are modern religions that also avoid wearing the cross for the exact reason you mentioned.

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