FROM slavery to emancipation, Christianity, dominated mainly by Catholicism, has silenced many views of paganism and occultism. As Christian teachings swept through the enslaved Caribbean, the converted began to establish themselves through evangelistic drives. Many more who met the resurrected Christ were converted and churches were erected to symbolize the growing faith.
Throughout the region, these immaculate structures stand representing seemingly comfortable escapes from earthly condemnation. The aged European architecture of these buildings is complemented with stained spiritual narratives.
Martinique is home to numerous spiritual sanctuaries which are blueprints of cathedrals in France. Many of those buildings embrace the sophistication of Europe while maintaining a pious ambience.
Several of Dominica’s churches are aptly named after Catholic saints – many incorporating seventeenth century design with Roman columns, beautifully decorated domes and galleries.
In the world of Catholicism, Palm Sunday approaches. This is the time when believers begin to prepare to meet the crucified Saviour as he enters Jerusalem. Church services, which include the blessing of palms, will be held throughout the Island Neighbours.
Elsewhere, to com-memorate Francophonie 2015, Alliance Francaise of Dominica proudly presents Miss Francophonie 2015 at the Arawak House of Culture in Roseau on March 28. If you’re in Dominica, take some time out to experience the linguistic diversity of the region on parade.
May we invite you this week to a journey to explore aged spiritual architecture in a modern era? A visit to the Balata Church in Martinique will surely spark historical interest as you study this scaled-down model of theSacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris erected firmly in the middle of lush, green vegetation.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of FairHaven of Roseau in Dominica will also capture the interest of the historian. The church which dates back to 1916 is built in the gothic Romanesque style. Elsewhere, in Grand Bourg, Marie Galante the Notre Dame de Marie Galante sits. Built in 1827, the church is amongst the few which remained standing after the 1901 fire. It is most tranquil with bright sky-blue wooden ceilings and a marble altar with a bas-relief sculpture of the last supper.
To continue on the journey, we suggest a visit to the very centre of Sainte Ann, Guadeloupe where Place de l’église was built in 1660. As the name implies – it is a church in the centre square of the commune. Church services start at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays.
Historical note! In 1901 Grand Bourg, Marie Galante was destroyed by a fire which destroyed a lot of the architecture. Only the church, Notre Dame de Marie Galante, survived. Do you know that honoured Martinican poet and founder of the Negritude movement in Francophone literature Aime Cesaire, died in 2008?
A bit of the French Language for the Visitor
Going to church
When does the service start?:Quand commence le service?
The service started yet?:Le service a déjà commence?
May I have a programme?:Puis-je avoir un programme?
Where can I sit?:Où puis-je m’asseoir?
May I enter?:Puis-je entrer?
The Pope: le pape
To go to church (To worship): aller l’église
A prayer: une prière
Sins: les péchés
A church service: une messe
Born again Christian: un(e) évangéliste
Beliefs: les croyances