Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The lollipop pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation in Ljubljana, Slovenia; all that glitters is gold

Franciscan Church of the Annunciation - Ljubljana, Slovenia
The undisputed eye-catcher of Preseren Square in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is the lollipop pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation. It was built halfway the 17th century, which makes it a good five decades older than the Church of Saint Nicholas. It’s not immediately clear how an order that venerates poverty could be served or even acknowledged in a Baroque basilica, but perhaps this paradox is assailed in the near absence of light in the church.

Interior of the big  pink church in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Darkness seems to be the going theme of the Franciscan Church in Ljubljana. Amidst a gloomy expanse - shadowy smears on the ceiling instill a vague reassurance that it’s probably covered with very beautiful but quite invisible scenes - are stellar islands of light. Up ahead over the main altar shimmers a depiction of Mary’s annunciation by the lily-bearing Gabriel.

INRI in Ljubljana's Church of the Annunciation 
But the first object one will notice when entering the church is the unusual INRI to the side and forward of the main altar. It’s unusual because the arms of Jesus are more vertical than horizontal, but more so because its opulent execution is again quite contrary to Franciscus’ leanings. Another noteworthy detail are the tools in the hands of the two chubby cherubim, a hammer and a thong, which may point at a connection to freemasonry.

Another hint towards freemasonry may be found in the emblem on the front door, which reads MARIA, but also reminds of the rule and compass.

The name Maria on the door of the Franciscan church in Ljubljana
resembles the rule and compass symbol of freemasonry

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