Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Prester John cross figures


Following on the post about the Cross of Prester John and the Portuguese Explorers between City Hall and the old Post Office building, I decided to post a more closeup picture of the two figures sitting inside the cross.  The figures represent Prester John on the one side and a Portuguese explorer on the other side.  There is a whole lot more symbolism on the cross, but I'm going to have to do a little more research before posting about that.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The cross of Prester John and the Portuguese Explorers

Wedged in between City Hall and the Old Post Office building with the Feather Market Centre on the other side of the right is the Cross of Prester John.  The monument has no significant link to Port Elizabeth other than the fact that it was a stop en route to the East for Portuguese explorers who, in addition to looking for a way around Africa to the East, were also hoping to make contact with Prester John as a Christian ally.  A local philanthropist paid for the monument which was unveiled by the Portuguese Ambassador to South Africa in 1986. 

The story of Prester John is a mysterious one.  In some circles he was believed to be a descendant of the Three Wise Men, some believed he was a crusader-era Christian king based in Ethiopia or possibly a high-born Mongol from the time of Genghis Khan.  Then there were those who said that he watched over the Holy Grail, never growing old but wiser and wiser as the years went by.  Whoever this mythical king-priest Prester John was, it was the quest of the Portuguese explorers not just to find a sea route around Africa to the East, but to also find and make contact with Prester John as a Christian ally. 

Prester John (Latin: Presbyter Johannes) is a legendary Christian patriarch and king popular in European chronicles and tradition from the 12th through the 17th centuries. He was said to rule over a Nestorian (Church of the East) Christian nation lost amid the Muslims and pagans of the Orient, in which the Patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided. The accounts are varied collections of medieval popular fantasy, depicting Prester John as a descendant of the Three Magi, ruling a kingdom full of riches, marvels, and strange creatures.

At first, Prester John was imagined to reside in India; tales of the Nestorian Christians' evangelistic success there and of Thomas the Apostle's subcontinental travels as documented in works like the Acts of Thomas probably provided the first seeds of the legend. After the coming of the Mongols to the Western world, accounts placed the king in Central Asia, and eventually Portuguese explorers convinced themselves that they had found him in Ethiopia.

You can read more about Prester John on Wikipedia where I got the above information.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

3, 2, 1 stained glass windows

A week ago I posted a picture of the big stained glass window in the St Augustine's Cathedral.  When I was doing the post I considered posted the three pictures in this post along with it, but decided that it was magnificent enough to warrant a stand-alone post.  So here is stained glass post #2 featuring a 3, 2, 1 combination of stained glass windows. So...



2


1

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Lovemore Heights Chrismas House lights turning on this weekend

One of the pre-Christmas highlights in Port Elizabeth is the Lovemore Heights Chrismas House's annual event where they turn on the lights,  After skipping last year for personal reasons, the Grootendorst family and all their helpers are coming out guns (or in this case Chrismas lights) blazing this year with a full program this coming Saturday evening.  The Lovemore Heights Chrismas House is located at the top of Melsetter Road and if you want to get a good spot for the evening you better make sure you come early as it looks like there's going to be a lot of people.  The road is going to be closed so a good spot to park will be on the Charlo side of the water reservoir, a short walk down the hill.

Here is the programme for the evening of 2 December 2017:  

18H00-19H00:  The LoveMore Mascots will be out on patrol. Come take some photos with your favorite characters.

18H30 -19H15:  Young singers will entertain us with Christmas songs.

PARADE

19H00: Parade from upper St Clair’s Way down Edmonds Road to 24 Melsetter Road.  The parade includes the Algoa Calendonian Pipe Band, Santa and Mrs Claus along with the Elves and dancing girls with ribbons.  Everyone is welcome to walk down with them.

19H30: The programme starts at 24 Melsetter Road Lovemore Heights

Opening master of ceremony
Stephen Moore
Opening Prayer
Eastern Cape Junior Children Choir
Largo Vocal Ensemble preforming
Christmas carols sing along
Switching on of the lights
Natasha Tait Dance Studio
Algoa Calendonian Pipe Band

Photos can be taken with Santa

Monday, November 27, 2017

Looking along Kings Beach from the harbour

When was the last time you've walked to the bottom of Kings Beach and back?  Been a while or even never?  Do reward yourself with this stunning view up the beach looking at the beachfront skyline from the harbour wall.  

Thursday, November 23, 2017

St Augustines stained glass window

St Augustine's Cathedral has some stunning and striking stained glass windows.  Dating back to September 1875, the windows are part of the original design and are from F. Barnett of Leith.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

St Augustine's tour

I got to see the inside of St Augustine's Cathedral for the first time a few weeks ago while on a tour of Route 67.  The church isn't generally open like St Mary's on the other side of the Public Library, so if you want to see it you need to make special arrangements or alternatively just attend a service.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The history of St. Augustine’s Cathedral

When the first Catholic priest, Father George Corcoran, set foot in Port Elizabeth in 1840 it wasn't just a case of getting off the boat and taking up his position. No, he was shipwrecked in Cape St Francis and had to travel the last 100km to town on horseback.  Once he arrived here he found that there were only 42 Catholics in the town.  But the show had to go on and in the ensuing years the Catholic community in Port Elizabeth started to flourish.  It meant that the congregation needed a church and Father Corcoran obtained a plot for a church on Prospect Hill / Castle Hill in 1844.  By 1847 a new two-storey building was erected on the site on which the MacSherry hall stands today.

In 1847 Dr Devereux who was based in Cape Town at the time was appointed as the First Bishop of the newly formed Vicariate of the Eastern Cape.  Father Corcoran died of yellow fever in South America in 1852 and Dr Devereux transferred Father Thomas Murphy from Grahamstown to Port Elizabeth.  Father Murphy was responsible for the building of the church as it is today although he first extended the then existing building which became known as St. Augustine’s Hall. This served as school, church and hall.

The design of the church was apparently based upon the style of a church in Selbridge near Dublin, Ireland with the plans being formulated by a Mr McCarthy but executed by the local architect and first Town Engineer of Port Elizabeth, Robert Archibald.  The Foundation Stone was laid in December 1861 and construction took place under the watchful eye of Father Murphy. Five years later on the 25th April 1866, with the steeple almost completed, St.Augustine’s was opened and solemnly consecrated by Bishop Patrick Moran.  It's very interesting to mention that this magnificent building was built as a parish church, not a cathedral.  Apon his death Father Murphy was buried beneath the high altar in the cathedral. 

The bronze statue of Christ the King which can be seen above the door was donated by the Frost family in 1931.

The parish church of St Augustine's became the bishop’s church and cathedral some 54 years later but was only formally declared and consecrated as a cathedral in 1939.

Information courtesy of http://staugustinespe.co.za/history/