The desire to congregate when worshiping is an important aspect of man’s relationship with God and with each other. Throughout the centuries, grand and elegant structures have been created to satisfy man’s desire to glorify God and worship in community. As illustrated by St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Basil’s Cathedral, some of the most magnificent architecture in the world is dedicated to houses of worship. The structures presented here are unique, even weird, and run the gamut from breathtaking to ridiculous.
Chapel of the Blessed Kinga, Wieliczka, Poland
Deep in the Wieliczka salt mine near Krakow, Poland is the Chapel of the Blessed Kinga. Kinga, the Patron Saint of miners, was in life the daughter of Bela IV, a king of Hungary. She was to marry the Polish king, Boleslaw the Modest but as legend has it, was none too pleased with her engagement. The story goes that she was so unhappy with the match that she threw her engagement ring into the Maramures salt mine in her native Hungary. The ring, through divine intervention, rolled along vein of salt to the Wieliczka mine, where miners later found it. The Chapel of the Blessed Kinga is carved completely out of salt, as are the sculpture, biblical bas-relief scenes, chandeliers, and floor. Due to the chapel’s large size (54 m long, 15-18 m wide and 10-12 m high), it is also called the Underground Cathedral. As amazing as this seems, three miners carved the chapel and everything in it by hand on their own time. It took the men 68 years to complete. The room is still in use today and is a popular location for weddings, concerts, and other large gatherings.
Drive -in Church, Daytona Beach, Florida
Short on time? Don’t feel like dressing up for church? If you are in the Daytona Beach area of Florida, the First Christian Church of Daytona Beach can accommodate you. Sundays since 1953, the ministers have offered the Good Word to folks who never even leave the car. The converted drive-in theater serves as a church to an estimated 700 people a week, most from the near-by communities, but it is not uncommon to see a curious tourist or two among the flock. In addition to the ministerial message, services include Communion kits and a personal goodbye from Reverend Larry Deitch. The drive-in church is affiliated with the Church of Christ.
Abston Church of Christ, Abston, Fictional Land
The Abston Church of Christ, located in the fictional village of Abston, is the product of 18 months of adult play with Lego plastic blocks. Computer programmer Amy Hughes began her construction project in June 2000 and hundreds of hours and more than 75,000 Lego blocks later, the 7’ft long 5 ft in wide church was complete. The building is intricately detailed with a pulpit, alter with crucifix, restrooms, a coatroom, pews to hold a congregation of more than 1,300, and an elaborate organ. The stained glass windows are made of real glass. Ms. Hughes has seated the congregation, has the choir is in the balcony and the Reverend John Ashley is in his proper place at the pulpit. The figures are called minifigs; 38 of the figures are “sig figs” or signature figures that are modeled after real people. Ms. Hughes has written a sermon for the Rev. Ashley to deliver, a copy of which is on her website. Although the Abston Church of Christ is not intended for human use, it is a church nonetheless and has been dedicated to Precious, Ms. Hughes’ cat who enjoyed the planning and construction phase of the project but pass away just as construction was completing.