FOUNDATIONAL TO THE NARRATIVE
OF A LEGITIMATE CULTURAL INHERITANCE
St Lambertus Church in the Village of Immerath. Photo Credit: Huffington Post
Archeological sites of a religious nature have yielded more anthropological data than the any other class of archeological sites on the planet.
Ritualistic acts of a religious nature are cultural cornerstones. They are cultural anchors buttressing the granite blocks of Stonehenge, giving endurance to the Mayan temples of the Yucatan. From Egypt’s Giza Plateau to the numerous Greco-Roman temples of the Mediterranean region, religious traditions have been an important part of the most prolific civilizations of our collective past. What we know of those who have come before us and their comprehension of themselves and the world in which they lived, has been colored by our understanding of their religious monuments. For it is often that these are all that remains to tell their story. They are our ancestral legacy, our patrimony and our collective inheritance.
Twenty-first Century Humanity is fast losing its understanding of legacy and patrimony. As we relearn to conserve the resources of the earth for utilization by future generations, so too must we recognize that like generations before, our greatest eulogizer will be our architecture. What story will architecture tell of Twenty-first Century Humanity? Will it be a complete and accurate narration of our times if we adaptively convert all of our churches, masque and synagogues into condominiums, recreational centers or restaurants while working in earnest to preserve with the utmost of historical accuracy the great homes of the wealthy and houses of commerce and industry? What will future generations think of us? That we practiced a religion of commerce while worshiping the god-man deities who controlled it?
The natural progression of society does not warrant that we preserve every structure of historical character whether they be places of worship or not. However, we must strive to conserve those structures that are of our time and that best tell our story - religious houses that narrate in art and architecture, the saga of our faith and communal religious experience. As world nations continue
to move away from a Christocentric orientation, we would be wise to acknowledge now, before it is too late, the immense role that religion has played in the cultural formation of humanity. As the institutional contraction of Christianity continues, we should work to retain the cultural memory of our religious practices, exercises, and the indelible impression they have left upon us. From age to age the saga of religion has been told best through the medium of art and architecture. Therefore, it stands to reason that through these two it will be best communicated to future generations.