Since watching 60 Minutes Sunday night, I have not been able to stop thinking about the majestic vision portrayed in the show’s piece about one of the most remarkable buildings ever built by human hands: The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain.
The church was begun on March 19, 1882 by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. At the end of 1883 Antoni Gaudí was commissioned to take up the work, which he continued until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have carried on his vision for this grand church in a project that has now proceeded for 140 years.
The building is in the center of Barcelona, and over the years it has become an icon of the city and its country. Millions of people visit every year and many more study its architectural and religious content.
It has always been an expiatory church, which means that since the outset it has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: “The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people.”
in November 2010, La Sagrada Familia was consecrated as a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI. Though incomplete, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project is scheduled to be completed some time between 2020-2030, some 100 years after the death of its visionary, who has been called, “God’s Architect.”
I could go on talking about Gaudi’s amazing tribute to God’s majesty, but this marvel begs to be seen. I have included two videos below. The first is a shorter, contemplative portrait of the basilica. The second is a longer look at its history, and includes a fascinating look at the church’s facades and some of the symbolism portrayed on them.
If you want more, click the “60 Minutes” link above and you can watch their segment. And the website devoted to La Sagrada Familia (also linked above) is a treasure trove of information, pictures, etc.
Of this great building, one art critic said, “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art.” One may have to go back to the Middle Ages to find such a building project for the glory of God. When asked about the time it would take to build such a structure, Gaudi is reported to have said, “My Client is not in a hurry.”
If any of our readers has visited La Sagrada Familia, I would especially love to hear from you today.