08 December 2011

Not finding, and then finding.

Day 11 - 5 December 2011, Spandau and Berlin

We have to keep remembering why we came here.  It was not for museums, churches, and public buildings (although we are always drawn to such venues) it was for the Weinachtsmarketen.  So, with that in mind, we go out to Spandau, and the suggestion of our waitress from last evening.  I've been out once before, when I went to see the Olympiastadion, which was all fenced off while they remodeled.  So I went on to Spandau, curious about the place where Speer and others spent a great deal of time thinking about things.

It is very cold when we get there, but the people on the street seem to be living in some other climate.  They seem to love it.  We, on the other hand, are constantly jumping into some place for hot chocolate or tea.  We wander all the markets, and they all seem the same: Glühwein, wurst, und holzwerk.  We investigate the Rathaus and wonder when it was built - it seems pre-war, but we're not too sure.  What is a delight, as we wander about looking for an Adventspyramid, is Saint Nicholas Church, a Lutheran church of the far end of town.

It's a medieval building, carefully restored after the war, and with some liturgical sensibility as well.  There is a chapel for the Krippe and the Virgin.

There is a wonderful medieval crucifix, and contemporary liturgical art as well, but what really captures my attention is a painting that stands near the prayer lights in the back of the church.  It seems to depict an archducal ceremony held at St. Nicholas in the 18th Century.  The (Lutheran) Bishop of Brandenburg is communing the Kurfurst with other members of the Court in attendance.  The bishop is wearing a cassock/robe(?) with a surplice and a cope.  In the foreground there is a deacon in dalmatic and a thurifer with his smoking thurible.  I want to find out more about this painting because it seems to document that Lutheran parishes maintained vestments and other practices well into the 18th or even 19th centuries before the forced union.

We're cold and disappointed in the quality of the markets, (and a very slow lunch) and head back to Berlin.  We plan to go hear an Advent concert at St. Norbert Church.  It's a student concert again, and this time it is choral, and choral direction students.  They do a good job and we are well satisfied.  Following the concert we train back to Tiergarten, and have dinner at Quelle again.  The family that invited us to share a table with them the other evening, now come in, and it is we who invite them to join us.  There is a long conversation about church, government, taste, vocations, growing up in the DDR, and universal brotherhood - all quite satisfying.  What wonderful people they are.  

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