Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The Church of Our Lady of the Spasm marks the 4th station of the cross on the Via Dolorosa.

Along the left-hand wall you see something beginning with K, needed for today's ABC Wednesday.


Well, actually only the lower part, where you kneel, is called the kneeler.
The whole prayer desk is more properly called a prie-dieu.
The French names means literally "pray [to] God."
These prie-dieux look hard, but I think the Armenian Catholics (to whom the church belongs) are modest and tough enough to use them well.
More about this nice church and the Armenians in a previous post.
Just for contrast, I show you a more cushy prie-dieu.
It is in St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.
Either way, remember the saying that they taught me in Arkansas:
"God answers knee-mail."


Leslie: said...

These are usually found in Catholic churches, aren't they? Not being a Catholic, I'm not sure but I'm sure I've read about them. Great photos here - have a wonderful week. :D

Dina said...

Hi Leslie. I have only seen them in Catholic churches. I read that the prie-dieu is mainly for private devotion and is (was?) often found in the home.
It is said that the Orthodox Christians are the standing church, Catholics the kneeling church, and Protestants the sitting church.

Janella said...

Not all Protestants are "sitters"!! At our church we feel free to sit, stand, or even dance as we feel led by the Spirit!

Janet said...

I would prefer the cushy kneeler! Beautiful church.

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Yuk, yuk! I didn't know the names of those individual kneelers! Shame on me...
OK, but I am curious as to the name of the church-Our Lady of Spasm? I will have to Google that.


Dina said...

Janella, sorry, I was just giving one of those "It is said that" half-stereotype/half-anecdotal evidence about the different Christians. Glad you break the old stereotype.
The old generalization in Israel is or was "Haifa works, Jerusalem prays/studies, and Tel Aviv plays."

Rambling Round, hehe. Have you seen the little prayer stools used at Taize?

Paula, the answer is, spasm is just a mistranslation, I once read.
Another explanation is
what I wrote in the earlier post about it:
"This, the 4th Station of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, commemorates where Mary saw Jesus passing with his cross.
The tradition is that Mary fainted or swooned or expressed her sorrow with convulsions of grief, hence the name of the churches that have stood on this spot since at least the Middle Ages: the Church of Our Lady of the Spasm."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting entry of yours. Haven't seen anything alike before.

Please have a good Wednesday.

daily athens

Roger Owen Green said...

I've seen kneelers in the Episcopal church in the US as well. Not at all my tradition, but I find them interesting, if a bit uncomfortable.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Ann said...

Our Lady of the Spasm? The mind boggles. Obviously I'm not religious.

Kate said...

The top photo exudes a feeling of serenity and peace about it. The kneelers seem to reinforce the idea of penance or perhaps maybe faith?

VP said...

I have seen many funny names of churches lately but Our Lady of the Spasm beats it all!

Hilda said...

I prefer the cushy one, thank you.


Unknown said...

Wonderful post, the top shot is fantastic!

Tania said...

This is a beautiful church and with so many details.
Have not heard about the kneelers before..
Wish you a blessed day:-)

Jew Wishes said...

What fantastic captures of textures, tones and contrasts. Look at the stunning velvet in the last photo.

Eki said...

I've never seen kneeler chairs like those! What a curious thing!

Joy said...

The white architecture looks very serene, although possibly not when your knees start to ache. I'm sure there must be a technique, probably bring your own cushion, LOL.

Kay said...

Well, if I was of that faith, I'd choose the cushy one for sure.

Pietro Brosio said...

Wonderful images of the church. So fascinating that only window in the sunlight of the first picture.