Friday 29 January 2010

Front Elevation

Today I took some pictures from various angles, which show the Front Elevation of our new Church.

The works continue in various parts of the building.

The pictures taken from the Brent side of Kenton Road (opposite the Church) offer an interesting impression of the building.

Thursday 28 January 2010

"The Church-Builder"

Thomas Hardy is a famous English poet. This year (2010) is the 170th anniversary from his birth (2nd June 1840). Apart from being an important poet he was also trained as an Architect and was involved in building as well as restoring Churches. One of his well known poems, which is inspired by his profession is the following:

The Church-Builder

The church flings forth a battled shade
Over the moon-blanched sward:
The church; my gift; whereto I paid
My all in hand and hoard;
Lavished my gains
With stintless pains
To glorify the Lord.
I squared the broad foundations in
Of ashlared masonry;
I moulded mullions thick and thin,
Hewed fillet and ogee;
I circleted
Each sculptured head
With nimb and canopy.
I called in many a craftsmaster
To fix emblazoned glass,
To figure Cross and Sepulchure
On dossal, boss, and brass.
My gold all spent,
My jewels went
To gem the cups of Mass.
I borrowed deep to carve the screen
And raise the ivoried Rood;
I parted with my small demesne
To make my owings good.
Heir-looms unpriced
I sacrificed,
Until debt-free I stood.
So closed the task. "Deathless the Creed
Here substanced!" said my soul:
"I heard me bidden to this deed,
And straight obeyed the call.
Illume this fane,
That not in vain
I build it, Lord of all!"
But, as it chanced me, then and there
Did dire misfortunes burst;
My home went waste for lack of care,
My sons rebelled and curst;
Till I confessed
That aims the best
Were looking like the worst.
Enkindled by my votive work
No burning faith I find;
The deeper thinkers sneer and smirk,
And give my toil no mind;
From nod and wink
I read they think
That I am fool and blind.
My gift to God seems futile, quite;
The world moves as erstwhile;
And powerful Wrong on feeble Right
Tramples in olden style.
My faith burns down,
I see no crown;
But Cares, and Griefs, and Guile.
So now, the remedy? Yea, this:
I gently swing the door
Here, of my fane--no soul to wis--
And cross the patterned floor
To the rood-screen
That stands between
The nave and inner chore.
The rich red windows
dim the moon,
But little light need I;
I mount the prie-dieu, lately hewn
From woods of rarest dye;
Then from below
My garment, so,
I draw this cord, and tie.
One end thereof around the beam
Midway 'twixt Cross and truss:
I noose the nethermost extreme,
And in ten seconds thus
I journey hence--
To that land whence
No rumour reaches us.
Well: Here at morn they'll light on one
Dangling in mockery
Of what he spent his substance on
Blindly and uselessly!...
"He might," they'll say,
"Have built, some way,
A cheaper gallows-tree!"

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Programme of works

The works on our building site are continuing according to the programme.

By permission from our Project Manager I took a picture of his office wall where he displays the programme of works week by week, until the 19th March 2010. Andy, well done! Very well organised!

In the meantime the workers are busy creating an interesting facade.

Monday 25 January 2010

Photo of the week - 22

The works are focused these days on the roof, but the Bell Tower is also being developed, as well as the sides’ walls.

Friday 22 January 2010

Final Elevation

Our Architect has just given us a nice picture with the Final Elevation, the final look of our new Church.

It certainly looks very impressive.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

The barrel roof

Today I was offered a tour by our Project Manager, in order to see the progress of the works in general.

First of all we had a look at the Sanctuary apses, which have started being concreted.

Then we moved up on the second platform, which has been laid in the interior of our Church, in order to facilitate the making of the barrel roof.

It was very interesting to see the progress of the works which is not clearly visible from the ground level.

I normally have a fear of heights, but when I go up in the Church I feel uplifted and I remember the Nobel prize winner Greek poet George Seferis, who has written the verse: “Little by little we get raised up, raised up, raised up”.

The next few weeks will mainly have intensive works on the roof, in order to produce the barrel roof as well as the dome.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

A side view

Today I thought of taking a couple of pictures from a neighbouring garden, in order to show a side view of the new Church.

This is a view from the Harrow side of our area.

As I was coming back I’ve seen once more the “hand of God” in action.

It was lifting up some heavy reinforcement.

Monday 18 January 2010

A meeting

This morning the Parish Priest, the President of the Community and members of the Community Council had a very helpful meeting with the Engineers of our project.

The first part was held at the Vicarage. Then all people had visited the building site, where they were joined by the Project Manager.

They all had a good look at the new Church and suggested various ideas, especially as far as the level of the Sanctuary is concerned.

Photo of the week - 21

This photo of the week shows good progression on the Bell Tower.

Friday 15 January 2010

The Bell Tower is progressing

It is interesting to see how the front part of the Church building is getting fixed slowly - slowly.

The Bell Tower is progressing nicely. The two bells that will go on it have now been ordered from Greece.

Preparations are also continuing at the back side of the Church (where the Sanctuary will be) in order to be concreted early next week.

Today I’d met the man who works (drives) the crane. We had an interesting chat. He told me about his experiences and feelings up there.

He actually said to me that the crane is called in building sites “a God”.

It was amazing as I had named myself the crane’s “hand” as the “hand of God”, for the great assistance that it offers to the building works, without knowing how the crane is called in the secular building sites.

Thursday 14 January 2010

In the Archbishop’s words

The new Year Book 2010 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain has been published. At the Prologue of His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios (p. 447) we read the following extract:

The Archdiocese has blessed the efforts and intentions of the sacred Community of St. Panteleimon, Harrow, Greater London, to erect an Orthodox church building for the Community. The work has already begun, and the Community is using temporarily the new Community hall for its services until the new church building is ready for use and thus it is able to continue its liturgical life and educational activities without difficulty. From the bottom of my heart, I pray that Christ, the Cornerstone of the Church, will bless its work and bring it to a swift and satisfactory conclusion, and that I shall thus have the joy and privilege of consecrating it. It is also appropriate that I should mention that it will be the first time since the Church of St Nicholas in Cardiff was erected in 1905 that a Greek Orthodox church has been built in this country. And so, with willingness and generosity, let us all support this work in a practical way and participate in the construction of the new building”.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

The "hand of God" in action

The crane is a great tool of modern technology, which has been of invaluable importance in our building works.

We called it metaphorically “the hand of God”, as it offers a powerful and very helpful “hand” to our engineers and workers.

We have collected a few pictures of the crane in operation.

The last two ones are from today.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

The central Sanctuary apse

Work is continuing for the concreting of the Sanctuary apses. The central one stands behind the Altar.

On the upper part of it, according to the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, we paint the icon of the Mother of God, as the “Wider than the Heavens”.

This icon is called “Wider than the heavens” because Mary gave birth to Christ, Who is God, the Creator of all things. Thus, because she received and conceived in herself, He Who cannot be contained in the whole of Creation, Mary is indeed wider than the heavens.

The icon of the Holy Mother of God with the Christ Child in the apse of the Orthodox Church reminds worshippers that the purpose of our life is that Christ be formed in us. Mary shows us that a Christian is a person in whom Christ lives. She invites us to receive within us by faith, by the Word of God, and by the Eucharist the Christ Who was conceived and formed in her so that we too may become God bearers.

Monday 11 January 2010

Photo of the week - 20

Our building site is still full of snow today. Works are visibly being done on the top of the bell tower.

Sunday 10 January 2010

A view from the platform

Most of the work these days is actually taking place on the walls.

The workers are stepping on the platform which has been formed within the Church building and they are preparing there the casting and the concreting of the walls.

Apses are being erected there and they will eventually form the basis for the Church’s roof and the dome.

Although the weather conditions are really freezing the work continues, according to the plan.

The view of the works from the platform is quite interesting.

The view of the neighbouring area is also extraordinary.

The snow makes our poor earth looking very rich and nicely decorated.