Tuesday, 23 October 2007

St. Urs Cathedral in Solothurn

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If Solothurn might be famous for something, then it would be their cathedral. Switzerland has two main religions, Swiss Reform church (founded by Zwingli and Calvin to name the two I know) and Roman Catholic. We also have "Christ catholic" which could be compared to Anglo catholic in England, and of course the ethnic minorities of other races.

At last I was able to take some photos in the cathedrale. Over the last two weeks it was booked up with weddings on Saturday afternoons, but I think the wedding weather is now slowly disappearing and the church is left to itself on Saturday afternoon. I hadn't been in the cathedral for a few years, and actually only really went in on a family occasion, or when my son was singing at the service in the St. Urs boys choir. The choir would sing every second Christmas, and as he was then still a boy I would go along as I didn't like the idea of him walking through the streets of Solothurn on his own in the early morning hours. The midnight mass in Solothurn at Christmas is quite an occasion, but unfortunately standing room only if you get there a bit late, which I did.

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There were few people in the church on Saturday, mostly late tourists so I didn't feel completely alone, although I was the only one taking photos everywhere. They didn't spare with the money and everything seems to be in gold and silver, here is a bit of history. I did a rough translation as I couldn't find anything in English.

"In 1763 the architect Gaetano Matteo Pisoni (1713-1782) from Ascona took over the organisation of the building of the St. Urs cathedral according to his own plans. However the Tessiner (inhabitant of the Italian part of Switzerland) was a bit too original in the way he took things over, which actually led to his dismissal. His nephew, Paolo Antonio Pisoni (1738-1804) took over from 1772. On 26th September 1773 the new cathedral was inaugurated by the bishop of Lausanne - Josef Niklaus von Montenach. The church further maintained the function as collegiate church for the choir as well as the parish church.

After the confusion caused by the French revolution, the circumstances of the diocese in Switzerland had to be newly organised. In the 1828 concordat the governments of the cantons Solothurn, Lucerne, Zug and Bern as well as the holy see set the seal on the new borders of the diocese and made Solothurn the bishop's see.

The parish church became a cathedral. As Bishop's church she is the clerical centre of the diocese. The bishop celebrates with the faithful the church services of the high days in the church year. "

As I was taking my walk around the church, the organ started playing. It is quite high up, and seems to be played from an invisable hand, but I decided it was worth a short film with sound.

What impresses me in the church is the ceiling with its white stone and ornaments.

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I must have spent an hour in the cathedral, but eventually made my way out into the town again. It seemed to be another world. It was worth the visit, but I don't think I will be going again this year.

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