Through studying the Romanesque architecture, it has brought a new reflection of my view of the purpose of a church. Throughout my years, I have always been taught that a church is for a place of worship, a place for people with adjoining views and beliefs to come together to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Growing up I attended a rather small church with few stained glass windows and few decorations. My youth pastor always told me “It is not the look of something that makes the thing great and purposeful, but rather the people within.” Therefore, studying cathedrals and their sacredness and beauty at first made me confused why people would worry so much about the appearance of their church, but then it made me appreciate their faithfulness and desire to create something for God rather than for their dwelling place of worship. The cathedrals were created for God, for his message to be spread throughout his kingdom. The detail with the churches, such as the capitals and the tympanum were created for the people to understand his beauty and word. The beauty of the whole, however, was created to show their utmost appreciation and desire of God.
After a time of war and despair, the people had something that would give them hope for a better future of this life and the next. As humans, we generally need something to make us feel whole whether it is a loved one or a god. We are biologically and genetically programmed to want to be loved whether by an actual person or a god. We feel as though there must be a greater explanation for our existence, and that we must have something to worship and believe in. Our beliefs, no matter what they are, give us some sort of hope and optimism of our future and our afterlife. The churches gave people a place to worship and express their beliefs and feelings. Even just the architecture taught the people stories of the Bible and pagan warnings so that they might live and enjoy a better and fruitful life.
As in Notre Dame la Grande, the façade from right to left displayed stories within the Bible and through the art alone, it expressed the significance of each story. For example, the first depiction, Adam and Eve, is presented of a man and a woman separated by worldly desires, the tree of knowledge and evil, the coiled snake around the tree.
Through this façade, a person even not of Christian faith can learn the beliefs and truths of a Christian. It allows people to observe the Christian life and has no exclusivity of who can become a Christian. This is largely why I am so fascinated by the Romanesque churches and architecture, because rather than orally telling the Christian belief, which is largely used today, it showed the Christian belief. Orally expressing Christian belief did play a substantial factor even back in the Romanesque period; however, I believe too many people have lost their ability to show a non believer their faith. And with just a building, a non believer can grasp the importance of and visually recognize the religion.