Strasbourg Symposium

The second Symposium weekend celebrating the achievements of Protestants and Catholics during the 500 years since the Reformation was held in Strasbourg, France. I fell in love with the leafy city at river’s edge.

Strasbourg has changed hands from France to Germany too many times to recount unless you are a historian. The city has a distinct openness and flavor precisely because of the marriage of the two cultures — literally, German husbands and French wives and vice versa. Then there are the two religions, Catholic and Protestant intermingled over generations. The best of the bilingual living is the wonderful food and the semi-timbered architecture.

Strasbourg3The cathedral is one of Europe’s architectural gems, having been on my art teacher’s ‘must see’ trips for her classes many, many years ago. This trip included visits to many of the interesting churches of the early Protestant era, Strasbourg being one of the first cities to decidedly turn Protestant.

We also visited a museum  with a famous and magnificent triptych or maybe sixtych ( as there were movable sections for different times in the church year) by Matthew Groenewald. The museum had been the old Catholic Dominican Abbey in Unterlinden (Under the Linden trees).Strasbourg2

The museum was the renovated old church but the cloister was untouched and you could still feel the loveliness of the old prayers being walked and said under its vaults. A pair of doves felt the same way as I did, having nested in one of the openings close to the spines of the vaulted ceiling of the cloister. The tourists trouped by me as I sat on a bench to enjoy the quiet. The doves know where to find peace.



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