Foreword – Church design
For someone like me, designing a church is a celebration.
Time and again, the processions of my childhood, the women of long ago strewing flower petals from their baskets, the banners, the priest marching slowly under the baldachin with the golden-rayed Eucharist, the singing under the dark canopy of trees, the “Blessed be the Lord”, all this comes flooding back to me.
When I design a church, all the churches I have ever seen line up before my eyes, from the chapel in Remete-kert to the church in Kolozsvár. And along with them appear to the mind’s eye József Darvas-Kozma, Lőrinc Németh, Márton Józsa, and the other priest who have commissioned churches. I can see the bit of land, I can feel the vibrations of the construction site, the trees, the village, the town, from Vargyas and Kolozsvár to Pethőhenye – all the places where I could experience the feeling of building a house for the Lord.
I do not concern myself with those who prevent my designs from being turned into churches. My heart has no room for the cowardly, the nameless Reverend and Very Reverend Fathers, because a church is a celebration, it is a celebration of God’s universe. It is a prayer in which heaven and earth meet, a prayer that beckons the angels and drives damnation from my path the moment I sit down to work.
My first commission for a chapel came from Lőrinc Németh in Győr. It was built into a garret space. Two life-size angels stand on either side of the glass roof, peering down into the chapel below. There were many other commissions besides – Szentegyháza, and before that Sepsiárkos, Sepsiszentgyörgy, Kolozsvár, Vargyas, Csíkszereda, and so on.
Each is a celebration.
The most important is yet to be built – the church of the survival of the Hungarians. Perhaps the day will come when the plotting and scheming will cease and the church of Upper Christina Town will rise on sacred ground in Budapest.
A church is the mysterious scene of redemption, transformation and renewal. It is the place where the celestial and the earthly find one another, the place of animate stone and resounding, triumphant discourse turned into song. It is the sacred, holy space of the eruption of God’s silence, of the bone-splitting moment of seeing through from one dimension into another.
A church is a celebration, and if given a chance to partake in it, to help ease its way into existence, I am happy to serve this celebration.
Mártély, August 21, 2010
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