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TRINITÉ The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris

J ean B éraud ’ s B elle E poque T he case of the missing organist

F riday lunches : A place of welcome

Spring 2007

The transforming love of God Dear friends,


The Gospels dramatically chronicle God’s continuing love for the human race. The message of the Gospels reminds us in clear and clarion tones of God’s hopes and dreams for the world and God’s steadfast loving presence with us “unto the end of the ages.” Even when we turn from God, as we continually do, God’s love always welcomes us “home” again into an embrace that is so unconditional and so forgiving that it almost seems too good to be true. This eternal, embracing love of God transforms us, calling us to goodness and courage, magnanimity and generosity, integrity and healing, justice and peace. In short, God’s love for us calls us into alignment with God’s dreams and hopes for all humanity. We have so much work before us; so much to learn about the depth of God’s love. We have so much to learn about trusting and accepting this divine gift and how to integrate it into our lives. More impor-

The American Cathedral in Paris 23 avenue George V Paris, France 75008 Tel: 33 (0)1 53 23 84 00

Dean The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood

n 14th century England the Black Death and Hundred Years War raged and terrorized, holding people in the relentless grip of dread and heartbreak. Out of the nightmare and chaos of those years rises an unambiguous, melodious, and ecstatic vision of the steadfast love of God. Dame Julian of Norwich emerges out of the calamity of her times as one of the great mystic voices the world has ever known. She writes: “. . . before God made us he loved us, and this love never slackened and never shall. In this love he has done all his works, in this love he has made all things profitable for us, and in this love our life is everlasting.”

Spring 2007

Canon Vicar The Reverend Todd McDowell Curate The Reverend Jonathan Huyck Canon Precentor, Organist and Choirmaster Edward Tipton Assistant Organist and Choirmaster William Buthod

Trinité The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris tantly, we have much to learn about how to be that love in the world around us, how to give voice to that love and reflect it in the midst of the chaos of our times. In this season of conflict and division within the Anglican Communion, I believe that we have a unique opportunity to speak the truth of God’s love. We do so not by cowering to the voices of intolerance and exclusivity. Rather, I pray that we will stand firm in our commitment to opening ever wider the doors of the Church, of this Cathedral, and of our hearts – to all people. I pray that we might open ourselves increasingly to the gentle, powerful possibilities of the Spirit of God living and breathing in us and through us. Empowered and ennobled by this gracious spirit, I pray that our own witness to Christ’s transforming love for the world will remain our central mission, lived out with ever-growing courage, boldness and radiance. The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood Dean and Rector

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Editors Nancy Janin Charles Trueheart Graphic Designer Dianne Henning Advertising Matthew Leum Cover “After the Service at the Church of the Holy Trinity” by Jean Béraud (detail) Please send comments and requests for free subscriptions to: Trinité: The Magazine of the American Cathedral in Paris 23 avenue George V 75008 Paris, France Or email us at:

Béraud and the Belle Epoque An emblamatic canvas recalls a young Holy Trinity and a changing Paris on the cusp of the 20th century.


dawned with the barring of Mary Cassatt from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts because she was a woman and ended with Marie Curie winning her second Nobel Prize ; the only woman ever to receive such an honor. It was a time of novelty and excitement.

striking painting entitled “After the Service at the Church of the Holy Trinity” depicts elegant parishioners leaving the young church after Christmas day services more than one hundred years ago. In the scene we notice the avenue de l‘Alma, as it was then called, the church before the tower was constructed, the ubiquitous carriages with their drivers, men sporting top hats and walking sticks and women adorned with furs and elaborate floral hats, their hemlines gently sweeping the street.

No one captured it more vividly than Béraud. Overlapping his portrait period and his religious paintings, his genre scenes are detailed descriptions of urban everyday life. Broad avenues lined with trees, hackney carriages – the precursor to the modern day taxi – errand girls with their round hatboxes, poodles, Morris columns, gendarmes in their red trousers and all flavors of well-dressed Parisians figure in these mostly lively portrayals of all that was new and stylish. The well-born and moneyed parishioners of Holy Trinity (built in 1886, it became a Cathedral in 1923) evidently were part of that world.

These are the signature traits of the 19th-century realist painter Jean Béraud (1849-1935), the quintessential chronicler of Belle Epoque Paris. This was a time of great vitality and change. Not only did it witness the emergence of electricity to replace gaslight, the first films by the Lumière brothers and the construction of the Metro, but also the burgeoning of the bourgeoisie and a newfound focus on individualism. The Opera house and the Eiffel Tower were erected, the latter quickly

becoming a controversial icon of modernity, and Jane Avril and la Goulue honed the cancan at the Moulin Rouge. The era

A visit with the artist A copy of “After the Service” hangs just inside the doors to the Cathedral nave, to the left. Although Béraud’s works can be found in the Metropolitan Museum, the Musée d’Orsay, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and the National Gallery in Washington, the most extensive collection is at the Musée Carnavalet in the 4ème arrondissement in Paris. The original “After the Service,” on extended loan to the Carnavalet, hangs alone among other period canvases in the Galerie de liaison, a passageway linking two sections of the museum; the rest of the Bérauds are together in a museum gallery with special hours, by reservation, but are well worth the effort, as is the whole museum. Trinité thanks Christian Gros, Director of Cultural Affairs at the Musée Carnavalet and the staff of the museum as well as Nancy Webster and the Archives Committee of the Cathedral, for their assistance with this article.

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Béraud’s “After the Service” demonstrates the characteristic combination of hasty brushwork, precise figuration and impressionistic play of light found in Béraud’s plein air works. The care the artist takes in including here a boutonniere on a man’s lapel, there the furrows left by the carriage wheels, the lace on a woman’s skirt or the warm breath emanating from a horse’s nostrils into the wintry air, contrast with the rapid rendering of the dramatic sky. Repeated touches of red lend both gaiety and equilibrium to the moment, allowing the observer’s eye to settle on the pair of flags presiding over the narthex entryway. Hanging at equal heights, these sister ensigns create a clear symbol of FrancoAmerican friendship.

‘Béraud captures the comings and goings – the stepping out and the stepping in – of Parisians in the latest fashions.’ Promoting cross-cultural friendship was probably what James Gordon Bennett Jr. had in mind when he ostensibly commissioned this painting from Béraud. It was certainly in the spirit of generosity that he donated it to the Cathedral in 1902. Interestingly, the precise year of the painting is not known, as Béraud rarely dated his works. What we do know, however, is that the image adorned the cover of the New York Herald’s Christmas edition in 1901. Bennett, an influential Cathedral parishioner, talented writer and frequently outrageous man about town, was publisher of the New York Herald, the flagship newspaper founded by his father. In 1877 he settled in Europe and launched the European edition of the New York Herald, the precursor to the International Herald Tribune. A colorful figure who championed race car driving in France and lent his name

to a peculiar Britishism (“Gordon Bennett” is the equivalent of “gosh darn it”), Bennett was finally married – at the age of 73 – in the American Cathedral. A man of his time and social class, Bennett was known for stepping out and standing out, so it is little surprise that he would have been drawn to Béraud. The son of a church sculptor, Béraud was born to wealthy French parents in St. Petersburg, Russia, where his father was working on the construction of a cathedral. As a young man, he obtained a law degree and planned to be a lawyer, but after the Franco-Prussian War turned to studying art and then set up an atelier in Montmartre. His first success came in 1876 with “Le Retour de l’Enterrement.” A post-funeral genre scene depicting friends and family of the deceased returning to their

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ordinary activities, it brought him renown and commissions. It was the unusual subject matter and the sensitive rendering of this scene which caught the public’s eye. His work was exhibited in the major salons and he was active in artistic circles, joining with Rodin, Meissonier and Puvis de Chavannes in the creation of the Sociéte Nationale des Beaux-Arts. His friends also included Marcel Proust, who in 1897 asked him to serve as a second in a duel. Béraud’s genre work of this period records one of the greatest transformations in the city’s history, the remaking of Paris by Baron Haussmann. Newly widened boulevards urged Parisians from all social classes to step out. First the grands boulevards and later the avenues became center stage for social intercourse. The well-to-do donned their finery and

Béraud and the Belle Epoque ~ continued emerged al fresco in search of distraction. Meanwhile, the trottins (dressmakers’ errand girls) and coachmen bustled about at their service. Café owners, too, joined in the fun, arranging small round tables for two along the street in front of their establishments. The chairs placed side by side facing outward – as they still do today – gave patrons a front row seat onto the bustling urban life. New accoutrements continued to spring up on Parisian sidewalks, encouraging strolling, people watching and a m’as-tu-vu (check me out) manner. All in dark green to blend in with the environment, these ranged from benches aligning the streets, to cast iron Wallace fountains – in some cases the only source of drinking water for the poor – and cylindrical Morris columns covered with playbills. The kiosks, as we commonly call them, were essential to inform the well-to-do ladies of upcoming theatrical events. After all, it wasn’t proper for a certin class of woman to read the newspaper. Béraud captures the comings and goings – the stepping out and the stepping in – of the city dwellers as they display the latest fashions. The titles themselves,

such as “Leaving the Opera”, “Descending the Steps of the Madeleine”, “Crossing the Boulevard” or “The Bourgeois Steps Out” suggest the perpetual motion of Parisian life. Frequently, Béraud uses this activity to showcase a landmark, a new structure or a fashionable establishment, for instance the Place de la Concorde, the Garnier Opera or the Théâtre Français (another name for the Comédie Française). These recognizable locations not only lend specificity to the scenes, but also inspire emotional attachment. They are or were actual places with which the Parisian viewer, both then and now, can readily identify. “After the Service at the Church of the Holy Trinity” is one such depiction with which prominent families of the American “colony,” as it was called then – could identify. Béraud himself was part of the colony’s entourage and, in fact, lived across the street from Holy Trinity when he executed this painting. It’s likely that the artist sat on the sidewalk in front of his building, or in the back of a hackney, to capture the churchgoers in this festive wintry display. Frances Plough Seder

The Cafe Gloppe: ‘Cafe owners join in the fun arranging small round tables for two.’

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Trinité contributors:

Writers: Philip Cacouris, who joined the Cathedral in 2003, is responsible for Anglophone companyspecific management programs at HEC School of Management. … Claire Downey, a parishioner since 1991, is director of This City Communication in Paris. … A former professor of English, Peter Fellowes recently retired from his position as European president of Fellowes, Inc. He is the Cathedral’s current senior warden. … The Very Reverend Zachary Fleetwood has been Dean of the Cathedral since 2003. … Sally Gordon-Mark, a Cathedral parishioner since 1988, is a music teacher, writer, singer and president of an association that organizes baroque music concerts. … Nancy Janin is a former senior warden of the Cathedral, currently its development chair, and co-editor of this magazine. … Matthew Leum, master of the acolytes at the Cathedral, consults and teaches in Paris. … Alice Ritcheson, a parishioner for 15 years, is a former stewardship co-chair of the Cathedral and longtime member of the Flower Guild. … A parishioner since 1994, Frances Plough Seder is director of the Trinity College semester-abroad program here and teaches English and art history at the Institut Supérieur des Carrières Artistiques. … Edward Tipton is the Cathedral’s canon precentor, organist and choirmaster. … Charles Trueheart, a coeditor of this magazine, was recently named director of the American Library in Paris. Photographers: Kristen Ketron, co-chair of the Sunday School program, was featured at the recent Les Arts George V photography exhibition. … Co-chair of the Mission and Outreach committee, Neil Janin is an amateur photographer. … Kim Powell-Jaulin, is an usher, president of a local organization for American women married to Europeans, and avid photographer. … Samson Tilahun is an Ethiopian tour guide and accompanied the recent pilgrimage throughout their visit.

The Cathedral’s Friday guests ‘They come, not only to eat well and be together, but to feel safe, welcomed, and free from harsh judgments.’


American Church, and a young church called Vintage. The costs are shared and each church sends a chef once a month. As Jonathan Huyck observes, “It’s an international group. Guests include pensioners, the homeless, and immigrants in irregular situations. They tell me their stories. I think they’re happy to come here because there are people who know and care who they are and where they’re from. It’s an oasis.” French is the common language, not the mother tongue, and many guests speak English. One of them, William, an American, has been living here for ten years, lodging with families, doing childcare and tutoring, although he has a Master’s Degree to teach English. In the parish hall, volunteers are setting eight tables covered with cheerful redcheckered and blue tablecloths. Rosemary Piggott, the volunteer mission lunch coordinator, is at the entrance to greet guests and sign them in. The guests, she says, come for the “nourishing food, freshly pre-

Photo: Kim Powell-Jaulin

ifteen years ago, in a determined response to people in Paris who find themselves isolated or living on the margins of society, a parishioner named Tom Myers created the mission lunch program at the American Cathedral. The program continues to bring food and fellowship to guests every Friday. “To share a meal is the centerpiece of the Christian faith, which has been ritualized into the Eucharist. Here we come back to the centrality of a shared meal,” says the Reverend Jonathan Huyck, curate of the Cathedral. Up to 64 men and women can be served. There’s no limit on how long or how often they can come and no questions are asked about their circumstances, no documents requested. The only requirement is that they come by during the week to sign up. Other meal programs in Paris suspend their operations during holiday periods, but lunch is served weekly at the Cathedral year round and in concert with three other churches: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the

Volunteer cooks and hosts at Christmas lunch.

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pared and served in courses in a nice and respectful atmosphere.” The bonding that goes on in the parish hall also happens in the kitchen, where the smell of peppers, onions, and lardons permeates the air. As in a time-lapse photograph, the long wooden tables seem to sprout bowls of salad, baskets of bread, plates with cheese and lettuce. There’s chatter among the volunteers, but concentration. The helpers move in harmony, organically, as smooth as in a dance routine, half smiles on their faces like the Buddha’s. At the Friday lunches, there is always a main course, salad, cheese, dessert, and coffee, prepared and served in the parish hall restaurant-style by volunteers. Among the current volunteer chefs are two professionals, Duncan Caldwell and Anne Des Jardins. (In the past, student chefs have even come from the Cordon Bleu, carrying, says Huyck, “stainless steel attaché cases with good knives.”) The volunteers – about eight to ten every Friday – are parishioners from the participating churches, students who come to do required community service for their schools, and American college students on their junior year abroad. Tourists have been known to stop by having heard about the program from their churches in the United States. And more volunteers and coordinators are always needed. Jeff Plowman is chef of the day the first time I visit the mission lunch for Trinité. He and Katherine Ussery come from Vintage Church and are sponsored by the Junior Service League of Paris, which reimburses the cost of the food. When asked about the most moving moment she’s had helping the mission lunch, Ussery recalled the day someone discovered it was the birthday of one of the guests. A candle was found, an extra por-

Meet some of the guests: Dany captures the spirit of the mission lunch. “We cross each other in the street like phantoms, but when we are welcomed to a meal, we can meet each other. We learn to know people of another world.”

Ahmed is Algerian. “Coming here is like being in a family,” he tells me. He lost his father at the age of ten; he came to Paris in 1957 after serving with the French Army. He worked as a hotel waiter and barman, and is now retired and lives alone in a small room.

Kim and Ong are twin brothers, one partially paralyzed. They are political refugees from Cambodia whose family paid to get them out of the country when the population was being massacred by the Khmer Rouge. After schooling in Paris, they couldn’t return to Cambodia and found themselves stranded in France.

Gisèle Houlbert was born in the Sarthe. Orphaned at 22 and unable to take care of the family farm alone, she came to Paris in 1960. She found work as a caretaker of elderly people and enjoyed reading about history aloud to them: “Alexander the Great has no mystery for me!”

Marius Mazières has been coming for six years. His hearing has failed and he needs to get a hearing aid. Although he no longer participates much in the conversations, he is still happy to be there.

Matthew is originally from Bosnia. He has come to Paris to study to be an Orthodox priest. He speaks English, French, Russian, German, Serbian and Spanish. He is a gentle spirit: courteous, peaceful and sensitive. Seeming fragile, he is always bundled up in his jacket and scarf even indoors. He tells me it’s a “pleasure to be with God.”

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Photos: Sally Gordon-Mark

tion of dessert was brought, and everyone sang to her. “I realized that for this woman, it was perhaps her only place of communion,” she said. One of the most moving moments for me came a few days before last Christmas, at a special luncheon that Dean Zachary Fleetwood opened with a prayer. Parishioners Margaret Harrison, Mary Ann Warrick Alexander and I sang Christmas carols in English and in French, with Donna Fleetwood, the dean’s wife, singing and playing the piano. The guests accompanied us, clapping, ringing bells, banging on drums and tambourines. At the close, volunteers joined us to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” then gifts were distributed as the guests departed. On one of my visits I meet Eric, a young man from Belgium, who has come here from Spain and works in the computer field. He’s traveled in many countries and finds France the most difficult. Other organizations that offer free meals demand papers and proof of poverty. If someone is in the country without working or residence permits, they have to go to places like the Gare St. Lazare, where hungry people stand in line for hours outdoors, even in bad weather, sometimes enduring the humiliation of being photographed by tourists. The French themselves can fall through the cracks of the system: No job, no apartment. No apartment, no address. No address and no gas bill, no job and no aid. Many of the people at lunch in the parish hall live alone in small rooms or make the rounds daily to find food and shelter. There are young people who can’t find work and middle-class French people who are finding it increasingly difficult in the face of higher prices and fixed incomes to make ends meet. So they come, not only to eat well and be together, but to feel safe, welcomed, and free from harsh judgments. The atmosphere has been so convivial that I regret it’s time to leave. A Frenchman named Jean-Michel kisses me goodbye on the cheek, telling me: “Friendship, human warmth, and conciliation between men and women, means living longer.” Right on, Jean-Michel. Sally Gordon-Mark

A typical parishioner?


oya and Troy Zaboukos and their daughter Sophia have lived in Paris since 2005. With roots in Seattle and San Francisco respectively, Moya and Troy met in Portland and settled down together in Seattle. But inspired by the memory of much-enjoyed visits to Europe, they decided they were ready to take the plunge and transfer here. Troy came over as a product manager for Microsoft, and Moya exchanged the dynamic world of pharmaceutical sales for the dynamic world of full-time motherhood. Despite the fact that neither of them spoke fluent French, they bravely eschewed London for the more culturally different expatriate experience of Paris. They have settled into what Hello! would describe as a bright and uncluttered apartment in the stylish Passy quarter of the 16th arrondissement. Having grown up in the Catholic tradition, Moya and Troy thought of church


Photo: Kristen Ketron

hile attending a rally against the war in Iraq a few years ago, French lawyer Marc Lemperière and his American-born wife, Kate Lancaster, heard the Cathedral’s Canon Theologian, George Hobson, speaking eloquently

as something comfortably familiar and as a community contact point. As recent arrivals in a new city, and particularly as Americans in a non-American culture, they realized the importance of a strong local support network. So, they sought out some of the English-speaking places of worship in town. After a couple of experiences that were fine but not particularly personal or engaging, they decided to try the American Cathedral. They were immediately impressed by the availability of a nursery – which Sophia embraced as well, happily making new friends while her parents went to the service. From that first Sunday, Moya and Troy felt the quality of the worship experience at the Cathedral, and were particularly struck by the powerful preaching and the exalting music. They also felt very quickly at home in the community, and they have become key players in parish life activities such as the 20s/30s group and as ushers.

to the crowd. Marc and Kate thought, “if this is the type of people at the American Cathedral, maybe we should check it out,” says Marc. It took only one Sunday service to convince them they had found a home at the Cathedral. “We felt perfectly comfortable there,” he said. Marc was raised and confirmed in the Eglise Reformée de France. A graduate of Sciences-Po and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Marc is a member of the New York and Paris bars and works in Paris for a British law firm, where he specializes in commercial law. He also spent a year on an Erasmus exchange at Christ Church College, Oxford, where he not only attended his first Anglican service but also met his wife. The Lemperières also enjoy attending 20s/30s group events each month. Kate, who works at the OECD, teaches in the Sunday school. “She loves it,” Marc says.

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Photo: Kristen Ketron

There’s no such thing.

Meanwhile, Sophia continues to go to the crèche and enjoys it so much that she has learned to climb stairs in order to get there on her own. Philip Cacouris

“The Sunday school is one of the very special parts of the Cathedral community for us.” What does Marc like most about the Cathedral? “I think that Zack is really wonderful and I enjoy his sermons very much. We had a baptism for our one-year old daughter last year, and he made it very personal for us in the presence of our families. When he preaches, his delivery is so natural and easy, it is almost like having a conversation with him.” About the liturgy, Marc said, “I love the processions, and the combination of the music with the liturgy is really quite beautiful. We also really enjoy hearing the Children’s Choir sing. The fact that there are so many nationalities represented in the congregation each week is very impressive; it shows that the Cathedral is a home for so many people from so many places.” Matthew Leum


osalie Hook has been a member of the parish since the late 1970s, when she moved to Paris to marry George Hook, whose deep involvement in the Cathedral dated to the 1950s. Until George’s death in 2000, the Hooks lived in a big farmhouse in Normandy. This meant that Rosalie would rise early to drive all the way to Paris to church every Sunday – “you could do it in 45 minutes in the old days. Not a cat on the road, and certainly not a policeman – ever,” she recalled

attending French schools from the age of six. After university, she worked as translator for the American Army and then as bilingual secretary in Geneva. Having long dreamed of going to the United States, she now did – to New York. In time, she met and married Joe, and they had a son, Alexander. Joe started to write for Money; Sigun earned her teaching credentials and began to teach French at Trinity School, where she was attracted to the Episcopal liturgy, as had Joe, while a trustee at Alex’s school. In 1996, Joe retired and began to write freelance; Sigun retired three years later. They promptly pursued another dream, of travel – a trip across the country by car, a long stay in California, two months in East Asia and India, and finally, realizing a youthful dream of Joe’s, a year’s stay in Paris. That year was extended. Once back in New York, they sold their apartment, bought a house in East Hampton, then returned to Paris, and have been living in two places ever since. Sigun was confirmed by Bishop Rowthorn in 2000, and is moved still by the

memory of the many hands of friends she felt on her shoulders when she was presented. Early in our interview, both Sigun and Joe stated – in unison, as it happens – that it was really because of the Cathedral community that they decided “to make a home in Paris.” “We have roots here now,” says Sigun. Alice Ritcheson

one day over lunch at l’Appart, a few steps from the Hook pied-a-terre in the 8th arrondissement where she moved after turning the farm over to George’s grandson. Those who know her only in her Paris incarnation may not know the full story of Rosalie Hook. Born in 1924, Rosalie Fletcher was raised in New York City – 620 Park Avenue – and educated at the Spence School, including a French tutor she called “La Tigre.” She wanted to be an archaeologist, but her parents preferred that she go to stenography school – “and I was not about to do that. When I put my foot down I put my foot down.” Instead, however, she got married. She was 18. Three children followed, but it was not a happy marriage, and the couple were divorced after ten years. She married again in 1955 to “the bachelor of the day” and another child, her daughter Lisa, followed in their new home, Palm Beach, Florida. Rosalie Bolt, as she now was, remained in Florida after their divorce in 1971, and started a catering business called The Perpetual Hostess. Mutual friends in Palm Beach urged

the eligible divorcé, George Hook, to call Rosalie when she visited Paris in the late 70s. They had lunch, and then dinner the next night, and then she went to have another lunch at the Normandy farm, where George’s dog indicated his approval. She returned to her hotel in Paris to find roses. “You could see. I was just gone.” George Hook had been senior warden of the Cathedral, and Rosalie Hook now began to contribute her talents to the Altar Guild. The Hooks have been generous supporters of the Cathedral in ways seen and unseen, including the establishment of a special dean’s discretionary fund to support needy parish families. It is named in memory of Lisa Hook, George’s elder daughter from his first marriage, and of whom Rosalie became very fond in the years before her untimely death. In memory of George, Rosalie also underwrote a new sound system for the church and with Nicholas and Dorothy Porter donated the six candlesticks, attributed to Cathedral architect George Edmund Street, seen on the altar each Sunday. Charles Trueheart

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Photo: Kristen Ketron


n a given Sunday morning from November to April, you might find Sigun and Joe Coyle with other members of the Welcome Committee at the entrance of the Cathedral, greeting arrivals; a week later, they could well be just inside the church, as ushers, handing out bulletins. At meetings of the Junior Guild, you would certainly see Sigun, who recently completed a three-year term as president, and remains deeply engaged in its programs and fund-raising projects. On Thursday afternoons, you would find her at her volunteer post at the front desk at the entrance of the Cathedral. On a Friday, she might be in the kitchen, cooking for the mission lunch. A remarkably active couple – the more so that they live in Paris only six months of the year and that Joe, a Roman Catholic, is also a reader at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where he and Sigun regularly attend Saturday evening mass. German by birth, Sigun grew up in Saarbrücken, then still under French rule,

The case of the missing organist How Lawrence Whipp survived the Nazi Occupation and imprisonment – and wound up dead.


ho was Lawrence Whipp? The question has haunted me since I arrived at the American Cathedral eighteen years ago as organistchoirmaster, the position Whipp held with distinction and courage for nearly a quarter century. We know that he served his church and his fellow-Americans during the worst years Paris knew in the twentieth century. We know that he experienced both a Nazi internment camp and a close relationship with Nazi officers; he was willing, it was said, to help just about anyone. Yet his life and his death remain a great mystery to this day. As the facts are often uncertain and sometimes contradictory, perhaps the complete and accurate story of Lawrence Whipp can never be told. But I will try. The Cathedral archives are a fount of knowledge and lore about this man and his times. I have also collected information from others and independent research, much of it made possible by the internet; serendipity and the passage of time, too, have played roles in my discovery. Lawrence Kilbourne Whipp was born in 1888 in Lake City, Minnesota, and moved to Denver as a young man. We know little of his musical education, but I recently learned he had written settings of poems of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science movement. After serving as assistant organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York, he assumed his duties in Paris on October 1, 1921. He studied with the great French organist, Marcel Dupré, then at Notre-Dame de Paris. His music programs, to judge by the parish Kalendar, the Cathedral newsletter at the time, suggest a true virtuoso. Soon after his arrival, Whipp was taken into the home of the Benoît family in the


Auteuil section of Paris. According to Sylvie Benoît Gatier, a child at the time, her father had met Whipp on shipboard en route to Paris, and “found the poor man so very wretched and upset by his mother’s death that he brought him home to his mother’s (my grandmother’s) home, and

there, surprisingly, Whipp remained.” Whipp continued to build the reputation of the Cathedral music program, already considerable, for the next seventeen years. In June 1940 Paris fell to the Nazis. Most of the American community fled the city, including the Dean, Frederick W. Beekman, who returned to the United States for the duration of the war. In an extraordinary deputation of responsibilities, Whipp agreed to remain in Paris to care for

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the church buildings and to minister to the tiny contingent of Americans who chose to remain in Paris, including a vestigial diplomatic presence, until the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into the war. On December 12, 1941, Whipp was arrested and sent into internment at the subsequently notorious Nazi camp at Compiègne, north of Paris. A postwar account in Time magazine depicts Whipp “sitting in the dark in his study listening to a verboten BBC broadcast when the Gestapo came. He was expecting them. He had his bags and a pianist’s finger-exercising machine packed and waiting.” Sylvie Benoît Gatier, in a letter to then-Dean Ernest Hunt in 1994, offered her speculation: “I don’t think he was arrested because he listened to the BBC, nobody would have heard him in the Deanery, but he did express very strongly his hope of the German defeat. On Sundays, quite a group of ‘faithful’ would meet in the Cathedral, listen with great pleasure to his blatantly optimistic prognostics on the outcome of the war, sing ‘My country ‘tis of thee’ with gusto, while invariably some Germans wandered in, attracted by the music, thought they heard ‘God save the King’ … it certainly boosted the morale of his audience, and certainly led to his arrest.” At Compiègne, such was Whipp’s character and leadership that the Nazis appointed him a “trusty,” sometimes known as a Kapo – to serve as a judge of his fellowprisoners to adjudicate minor offenses. The murder of a Kapo was not uncommon. Whipp was not long at Compiègne. The “official” version of his release, which appeared in a number of U.S. and French publications, was that on August 2, 1942, he played an astonishing piano recital at

the camp, from memory, and that the ranking German officer, a certain Commander Nachtigall, was moved to release him. One unofficial theory is that a wealthy friend agreed to sell Hitler’s enforcer, Hermann Goering, a rare tapestry in exchange for his release. For whatever reason, on October 19, Whipp was freed from Compiègne and ordered to report to a German pastor, Rudolf Damrath, who had taken charge of the Cathedral when it was requisitioned by the Nazis in Whipp’s absence, (on August 23, 1942), and became a place of worship for Protestant officers. Whipp’s postwar account suggests an exceptionally smooth working relationship with Damrath, who had been pastor of Potsdam Cathedral, built for Frederick the Great and known for its outstanding preaching. He described Damrath after the war as “a very intelligent, simple, frank friend.” He told U.S. Army Counterintelligence investigator that from the outset Damrath had declared his anti-Nazi convictions. “He told me during this first meeting (October 21st 1942) textually, that he was and always had been an active anti-Nazi; anti-Hitler; anti-Gestapo, that his life was constantly in danger, menaced by the Gestapo as a dangerous enemy of his country.”

Whatever the case, Whipp later reported that “our relations never ceased being mutually helpful during all the seventeen months which followed this meeting. …The antiaircraft guns and shrapnel constantly broke the slates upon the roofs – which necessitated repairs – The German directors of the Cathedral property were mindful of all the necessities of upkeep and always ordered these necessary repairs. As the Germans transformed our heating system from oil to coal, they spent thousands of francs upon our antiquated heating pipes and finally arrive at the temperParis under the Occupation: the bookstore atures (both in the Deanery and on the rue de Rivoli now known as W.H. Smith in the Cathedral proper) which we, more modest church-goers and ‘Deanery-livers’ considered frankly exover to Whipp. I reproduce his erratic cessive, remembering the fact that the rest grammar: of Paris shivered.” On June 6, 1944, the Allies landed on “On August the 19th, I was asked the Normandy coast and began their sumto be ready for a German automobile mer-long advance to retake Paris and move which would fetch me to the Catheon to Berlin. Paris was liberated on August dral. When I arrive they turned over 25, but six days earlier, the end clearly very the property to me in a long room-tonear, Damrath turned the Cathedral back room visit; a visit which was marked by a grim, correct formality; a wish upon the German’s part that I ‘find everything in perfect order.’ Champagne and crackers were served to me accompanied by a ‘suitable gift’ as they said. The gift proved welcome: - some cigarettes… Thus ended for me the long tension of studied ‘path-finding.’ If the Cathedral had to be directed and employed by other hands than ours, then should we be grateful that those other hands were really pathetically earnest hands; courageously Christian Hands; hands that helped me help others in countless and dangerous ways! I say this in all soberness and ‘justice’ to an exceptional personality…” Whipp did, however, have a bone to pick about the treatment of the Cathedral organ, and I can sympathize….

The west end of the Parish hall set up for worships services during the Occupation years when Lawrence Whipp filled in for clergy.

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“Tuning of the organ was the sole thought of the two organists. Through their lack of a sense of personal respon-


sibility toward the instrument, the motor room and its delicate installation were quickly ‘burned out’ (electrically): their ‘engineers’ ordered the installation of rheostats and other ‘gadgets’ which would work. The entire felting in the great-wind chests [sic] and individual pipe-controls is rotted; the air leakage is everywhere apparent; the keyboard (back of the choir-stalls) and its contacts will have to be entirely re-worked.” Finally, Whipp recorded that “our first free Sunday Morning Service” occurred under his lay pastorate on August 27, before a congregation of twenty-five – “worshipers who had to walk to church – some of them a great distance (for the Metro has longed since ceased to function).” The service was “audibly accompanied by the noise and fury of battle in and around Paris.” Following the Liberation, Dean Beekman returned to Paris, and in his official report Whipp recorded having “read thirty-two funeral services and held six baptisms” during the Dean’s absence. “Each month, our books and accounts have been balanced, and at the end of the year closed… We have made sick-visits and have assisted our countrymen, our prisoners and other friends in every way possible.” But Whipp was “thin, old and tired,” he said. He is reported to have told Beekman, “Take back your damn baby!” On Sunday February 11, 1945, he played the morning service at the Cathedral. The Dean supposedly congratulated him in the garden, saying he had never played better. As was his custom, Whipp lunched with the Benoît family. Time magazine wrote the end of the story this way a few weeks later: “The lunch was pleasant and friendly. Larry Whipp glowed with the news that his passport was ready for a holiday trip to the U.S. At 4 p.m. the organist put his grey soft hat on his balding head, picked up his neatly rolled umbrella and walked out into Auteuil’s gloomy Sunday twilight. No one has seen hide nor hair of him since.” On April 17, 1945, his body was dragged from the Seine at Argenteuil.


Whodunit? There are several theories. • Given his support and close working relationship with Pastor Damrath, remnants of the Résistance caught up in the postwar épuration of collaborators eliminated him. • One of his former fellow-prisoners at Compiègne carried out an act of retribution for Whipp’s role as a Kapo. • Whipp knew “too much” about collaboration involving U.S. diplomatic per-

Whipp at Cathedral organ, before 1940 sonnel and the occupiers, was planning to expose them, and was silenced. • Whipp was depressed and tired, perhaps seriously ill ever since his internment, and committed suicide. During the summer of 2001, two tourists, John and Elaine McLevie, approached me in the nave of the Cathedral and asked if anyone knew anything about a former organist named Lawrence Whipp. I reeled, then asked them what they knew. Their story concerned Whipp’s sister, Sheridan, who lived the last decades of her life in Encinitas, California. After some hasty and excited email communication with Sheridan’s friends John and Connie McIntire, they sent me some of Lawrence Whipp’s personal effects – mother-of-pearl

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shirt studs, gold cufflinks, a medal from some scholarship Whipp won as a boy, and a gold watch. The watch was rusted, Sheridan believed, because Whipp was wearing it when he was dragged from the Seine. The McIntires told me that I should feel free to wear the cufflinks and studs, which I have been doing, on occasion, when I want to feel part of the Whipp musical tradition! More intriguing was a 1947 letter to Sheridan from a couple identified only as “Eugenie and Donald,” from Geneva, proffering all kinds of dark theories about Whipp’s end. Excerpts: “Once Paris was liberated the strain of all he had been through began to manifest itself in Larry. …he complained of being terribly tired at moments, and was in an extremely nervous state and had very little self control.” The letter writers develop complicated scenarios that, they believe, “lend credence to the idea that he had been able to get hold of facts that connected certain collaborationists in our Embassy with some of those amongst the French, and that these ‘gentlemen’ were out to make sure that they were not shown up for what they were. … Things probably got pretty hot for them at that time so there was only one course left open. … From what I can gather, there was NO water in his lungs which shows he was dead before being discovered!!!! So I am certain that he had been done away with some time before and they just waited for their chance to dispose of the body.” We shall probably never know the whole truth about Lawrence Whipp. Maybe that is what keeps him and his story alive for me today. Lawrence Kilbourne Whipp’s ashes rest in a heavy wooden box under the High Altar of the Cathedral. Visitors to the Chapel of St. Paul, to the right of the High Altar, near the organ console, will find a plaque that reads: “In memory of Lawrence Whipp, 18891945, Choirmaster-Organist-Lay Reader, Placed by his friends in this corner which he loved in especial remembrance of his brave and devoted service during enemy occupation 1940-1944.” Edward Tipton

The Good News in poetry


nce a primary vehicle of Western cultural expression, poetry today occupies a small and precarious niche in our image-driven, mass-market culture. Yet it remains true that there are some things that cannot be said any other way. The American poet William Carlos Williams put it succinctly:

What makes poetry special? The figurative powers of poetry give it special status as a verbal form, and paradoxically, it draws these powers from its very weakness as a vehicle of communication. Compared to prose, poetry is thinly and elusively referential. Because of this quality, some have said that poetry amounts to a special way of listening rather than an intrinsically distinctive style of discourse. In coming to a poem, we know its aim is to evoke rather than to stipulate, to associate rather than to delimit its subject. The symbolic resonance of a poem creates concentric circles of meaning that extend its meaning in multiple directions. Ambiguity, not clarity, is the prize. But poetry is also exceptional in that it is almost always lyrical in rhythm, even when it is not formally organized in metrical or stanzaic form. As a song, a poem gains access to the mind through a different portal than prose, as established by more than a few stroke patients. Encountering meaning as song, we find our emotions more easily touched. The standards for plausibility are relaxed as felicitous turns of phrase or rhythm or rime promote our sympathetic participation in the meaning of the poem, thus magnifying its credibility. These two qualities – the figurative force and the lyrical appeals of poetry – make it an hospitable vehicle for the expression of religious belief. Whatever else it may be, the presence of the God in the world is not

Photo: Neil Janin

It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.

a self-evident, empirically verifiable proposition. As a Christian, one can only say that the claims of truth made by the scriptures appear to be validated by one’s own experience. The suggestive powers of poetry, aided by the consonances of song, make it well-suited to portraying the fragile linkage between personal experience and faith. Unless one is working within an explicitly Christian context such as Donne’s in Holy Sonnets or Herbert’s in The Temple, the challenge for the lyric poet is always one of tact: how to avoid the temptation of forcing experience into facile or unearned proclamations of faith. In being true to experience, in giving preference to sensory over abstract language, a poem must take on the risk of not being understood. “Morning Hunt” was drawn from a morning I spent on the terrace of a home in Tuscany a few years ago. Like many of my poems, it tries to evoke a particular moment with appreciation for its sensory value and then to turn that moment in a way that yields an inference. For me, the subject of the poem is the companionable presence of God in the world, that sense of the mysterious wholesomeness of life that can break into certain moments and make one thankful. But I would quickly add that it is not necessarily about that at all. It depends on how one listens. TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2007

Morning Hunt Blue overhead, the valley still in clouds yields rumors only, the muffled percussive echoes of game sighted, faint shouting of hunters, dogs barking, and then nothing but stillness, unless a shovel’s blade catching a stone in a garden be noticed. With only a daub of ochre recalling a neighbor’s walls, the hillsides of olives beyond, awaiting an old ladder of joined olive wood polished by three generations of toil, shouldered at the hour appointed for the first pressing of oil. And the blue hilltops brimming with daylight now, scalloped like waves, divulging such allowances – a curtain parts, voices call – one incurs and settles a debt of gratitude opening a folding chair in lifting mist, a blinding white paper, pen. Peter Fellowes


The lives of clergy spouses Striking a balance between service and independence and confronting the expectations of a parish.


s recently as a century ago, the priest’s wife (there were no husbands of priests) worked for the church no less than her salaried spouse. She might love her life, and enjoy a certain social status, but it was still a life that revolved around the day-to-day needs of her husband’s congregation. If a woman’s place was in the home, the clergy spouse’s place was in the church, organizing bake sales and charity events, essential but unpaid help. Certain stereotypes fade very slowly, and lag far behind the evolution of reality. Today, clergy spouses are more likely to be both integral members of the parish and have an active life outside of the church. According to a recent multi-denominational study in the United States, seven out of ten clergy spouses hold full- or part-time jobs. And for a range of contemporary examples, we have only to look at the men and women married to the Cathedral’s own clergy. Donna and Zachary Fleetwood were each pursuing careers in teaching when Zachary made the decision to be ordained. Donna continued as a music educator specializing in Orff Schulwerk, an approach to music and dance education inspired by the composer Carl Orff. Her career has taken her to teaching posts in prestigious schools and universities along the East Coast. Her background is put to good use in the Cathedral Sunday School program. Twin professional lives have meant difficult choices. When Zachary was called to be rector of St. Peter’s Church in Morristown, New Jersey, Donna and their son Reed stayed behind in Washington for over a year so he could finish high school and she could continue to teach. A tough choice for any couple, but one that would


have been unthinkable for a clergy family even 20 years before. It was Martin Luther, himself married to a former nun, who laid the groundwork for the image of the supportive clergy spouse working tirelessly alongside her husband. Of course, at that time there were only

“...we don’t want to fail God or our parishes or our families or ourselves.” female spouses, who would bear children, thus personifying Christian family values. “Less frequently discussed yet nonetheless embedded in this norm,” writes Paula D. Nesbitt, author of “The Sociology of Religion,” “has been the occupational value of a spouse willing to assume the role of traditional ‘minister’s wife’ as unpaid church co-worker.” Many priests meet their future husbands or wives well before they’ve become ordained, or even entered the seminary. It’s no wonder the spouse might need a little time and advice to prepare for his or her new role. A.T. Wall is the husband of the Rev. Maria de Carvalho, who was a Visiting Priest in residence at the Cathedral in January. She was ordained sixteen years ago, long after her marriage to A. T., who went on to become Director of Corrections for Rhode Island – the head of its prison system.

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For A.T., who met his future wife on her first day of college, the time he gives to the church is his own. “I’ve always wanted to be very involved in the churches we attended, even prior to Maria’s ordination. I have never felt that a church required my participation.” He is eloquent on the subject of their vocational lives: “Each of our jobs has required understanding, support and sacrifice on the part of the other spouse. In each case, the hours are unpredictable, the work brings a level of intensity, and we have made a commitment to respond to people in their times of needs, and that has often interrupted family plans. I am so proud of Maria and I know that my work matters a great deal to her. The faith we share has shaped these understandings.” For Annie Huyck, whose husband Jonathan joined the Cathedral staff in September 2004, the same year they were married, the American Cathedral has been a good place to “sort out the expectations of being a clergy spouse. People have been very welcoming,” she says, “and I’ve had good role models.” Annie is teaching at l’Academie Américaine de Danse à Paris, and will look to continuing her career in dance, and ballet history when she returns to the United States. But she also finds time to assist the Cathedral with the Welcome Committe and with the Friends organization. Annie met Jonathan in New York where she was completing her Master of Fine Arts degree in dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. When fellow students found out that her boyfriend was preparing to become a priest, she says “it either stopped the conversation dead, or began new conversations I might never have had. Suddenly people were opening up, discussing their own experiences with religion.”

Focus ( is a support group formed in 2000 to help clergy families find their place within the church, and to address the feeling of living in a fishbowl. Reverend Harper Turney, a member of the group who is breaking new ground as the chaplain for clergy spouses in the Diocese of Ohio, says clergy families put expectations on themselves “that are very tough to achieve and to stick by all the time. It’s not so much that, I think, it’s spiritual pride as it is that we don’t want to fail God or our parishes or our families or ourselves.” At Community of Spice (, a website run by clergy spouses, their newsletter talks about the pressures of raising children literally inside the church. “When our children were little and we were in a parish, I felt their behavior was being scrutinized. I felt tension between wanting them to have a positive church experience and the expectation of parishioners for their behavior.” Donna Fleetwood mentions another kind of awkward expectation that clergy couples confront – being viewed as a “lead-

ership couple,” in which the non-priest spouse is approached by parishioners on a pastoral basis or for information on vestry and clergy decisions. Sabine McDowell, the German-born wife of Canon Vicar Todd McDowell, met him at the Anglican Church in Hamburg where he was working. He was not yet a priest, and in fact, “if there had been women clergy at the time, I might have considered it,” Sabine confides. Almost nine years later, when Sabine moved to the United States and married Todd, she says she had no real role models for what a clergy wife should be. Fortunately, it is a role that comes naturally. “I feel very lucky,” says McDowell who has chosen to work on those church projects that best match her considerable talents, including Sunday School and co-editing our Cathedral newsletter. “My only question is, how do I serve Christ best?” says Sabine McDowell, “You have to know who you are serving.”

✟ In memoriam The American Cathedral is saddened to report the death of Cecile Amelia “Titi” Blaffer von Furstenburg on 17 November 2006. She was 87, and is survived by two sons and five grandchildren. Titi was the widow of Prince Tassilo von Furstenburg of Austria, and retained the title of Princess after his death. She was an avid supporter of the arts, an art collector and opera maven, and a tireless traveler fluent in four languages. She was also devoted to her churches, St. Martin’s in Houston and the Cathedral in Paris, frequently hosting events for the Friends of the American Cathedral at her apartment in New York.

Claire Downey

Making the Cathedral a part of your plan Trinity Sunday, June 3, 2007, will see the creation of a legacy society for the American Cathedral, to be called The Trinity Society. Many parishioners, Friends, and their families have remembered the Cathedral through charitable bequests in their wills or in some other planned giving arrangement. On Trinity Sunday they will be formally recognized as founding members of the society. And annually, each Trinity Sunday, those who have made such plans during the year will be formally inducted into the society. Two long-time parishioners, Patti and Ted Cumming, will be among the founding members of The Trinity Society. Over the years, they have given generously of their time, talent and treasure; so it is not surprising that they have made arrangements to continue their support of the Cathedral, even after death. The Cummings have recently established a pooled income fund through the Episcopal Foundation, with the Cathedral named as beneficiary. Ted says, “I chose the pooled income fund because it gives us income during our lives, takes these funds out of our estate for tax purposes, and leaves a nice donation to the Cathedral.” If your loving legacy includes plans for the Cathedral, but you have not yet informed us of your intention, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to share the good news with us. We want to thank you and invite you to join us for the June 3 induction ceremony if possible. If you are considering such a donation but need more information please contact Nancy Janin, Chair of the Development Committee, at Patti and Ted Cumming

The Trinity Society

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Photo: Neil Janin

An Epiphany of total immersion Episcopal pilgrims on a journey of discovery.


velyn Waugh traveled to Ethiopia in 1930 to write about the coronation of Emperor Haile Selassie and remarked: “One learns always to expect the unusual, and yet is always surprised.” Waugh accurately described the experience of a handful of Episcopalians, including a Cathedral contingent, who made a pilgrimage to Ethiopia in January 2007 for the enchanting, transporting Feast of Timkat, the Ethiopian Feast of the Epiphany. We were fascinated and charmed by this expression of Christian faith that mixes Jewish practices, folklore, African style, yet remains a vital and dynamic religion for millions. It is the cornerstone of a rock-solid sense of identity and value in the world.


The fourteen of us were fortunate to be immersed in this unique, authentic ritual – and within only two hours of arriving in Addis Ababa for our two-week pilgrimage. We found ourselves in a large clearing above the sprawling city in the midst of tens of thousands of Ethiopians, dressed in their finest robes and carrying velvet parasols hung with fringe, small mirrors or even photographs carefully sewn on with bright thread. Heads were covered with simple white shawls, turbans, fezzes and elaborate headgear of all sorts. Families with children wearing clearly new, and often overly large, Western-style clothes moved in step with loin clothed skeletal figures sporting dreadlocks down

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to their waists. Groups of men held hands as they ambled along. Some women had bluish markings on their faces and hands where they had rubbed an oil and ash mixture into small designs cut into their faces. On closer inspection these turned out to be tiny crosses. Goats nibbled what little grass remained around the periphery of the space, small groups gathered around several open areas where a blindfolded volunteer tried to hit a ball suspended from a post, to the amusement of the crowds. Women let out high-pitched ululations, that quintessentially Arab and African sound that has been compared to the howl of a wolf or dog. An excited party atmosphere reigned.

Photo: Samson Tilahun

All this activity was directed towards the supreme leader who sat just before the stage on a throne, dressed in royal velvet and wearing an immense crown, a talisman in his right hand. The Supreme leader was the Orthodox Patriarch of Ethiopia, Archibishop Paulos. Not only spiritual leader of Ethiopia’s nearly 50 million Christians, he is also one of eight presidents of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches, of which the Episcopal Church is a member. The dancers and singers surrounding him and about twenty of his senior assistants were deacons and choir members of churches in Addis Ababa, and the holy men standing throughout the ceremony at the back of the stage were the parish priests of the city.

The rattle held in the right hand of each dancer is a type of sistrum, the lance held in the left hand a prayer stick – a necessary prop during the three- to four-hour Orthodox services where all remain standing. The music and dance date from the 6th century when a priest, Yared, was taken to heaven by three angels, disguised as birds. There twenty-four angels sang, and played instruments, while the Holy Spirit revealed secret songs to him. Yared returned to earth and revolutionized sacred music. The instruments, dance and songs used today are virtually all exactly as Yared taught and Ge’ez, the language of Yared’s time, has been retained as the language of religious song and poetry.

Photo: Samson Tilahun

We were enthralled but puzzled by what was taking place before us on this, the tenth day of the Ethiopian month of Tir, (our January 18) and Timkat (Epiphany) eve. With the help of Samson, our local guide, the clergy amongst us, and our collection of reference books, the spectacle began to sort itself out.

‘Rival singing and dancing filled the time.’ Yared’s influence was blessed by the king, Gabre Meskel, who When the sun rose on Epiphany, the turned over all church matters to him. He 11th day of Tir, we newly-rested pilgrims so appreciated Yared that returned for the culmination of the festival: he asked him to teach him The baptism of thousands of new Chrissome of the dances. His entians. In the booklet presented to Timthusiasm was not matched kat worshippers, the Patriarch states that by dexterity; a painting in “Epiphany is the day when the three names the Church of St. Qirqos – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit monastery on Lake Tana were bodily seen.” The Epiphany is the shows Yared being stabbed understanding of the Trinitarian nature of in the foot by the clumsy God. This was first seen at Jesus’ baptism king. (See facing page.) – God the Father, announcing that “This is my beloved Son,” and the Holy Spirit The relics on the priests’ descending as a dove (Matthew 3:16). heads are the tabot, replicas of the Ten Commandments The baptism began as the patriarch that each church keeps in a slowly walked around a water-filled basacred space on the east side sin, the size of a backyard swimming pool, of its building. The tabot around which were arrayed vested deacons must never be seen by anystanding at attention and chanting. Three one other than the priest times around and then the patriarch blessed – thus the bulky covering the water, turning it into holy water for the over the rectangular tabots mass baptisms to follow. which make each priest look like a table dressed for dinWe had noticed power hoses lying ner is perched on his head. around us which had been used to fill the After the sun goes down all water basin. But they were now turned to the tabots are taken to a spespray holy water on the crowds – in our cial tent to be guarded durEpiscopalian case, uninitiated and un‘The patriarch slowly walked around ing the night. prepared. The patriarch personally hosed a water-filled basin.’ TRINITÉ ~ Spring 2007


many of us, laughing as we tried to take cover behind eager-to-be-baptized locals.

One by one the clergy processions approached the circle, the tabot-carrying priest shaded by several of the colorful parasols, the deacons and choirs chanting. The waiting parishioners filed in behind their respective group and they all moved off to their church. We adopted the Kiddist Maryam Church, as it was conveniently located across the street from our lunch restaurant. While surprised to find fourteen new white parishioners in their midst, the parish greeted us warmly and swept us into the churchyard.

Photo: Samson Tilahun

At this point we repositioned ourselves to a strategic traffic circle from which roads ran to five different churches. We wandered from group to group of parishioners as they waited for their priest, deacons, and choir to arrive from the field. Rival singing and dancing filled the time and, perhaps because they were out of sight of clergy, the formal pageantry gave way to spirited shoulder shaking and wild waving of prayer sticks. Bands of twenty or so adolescents formed tight running groups, moving around the traffic circle while lifting their sticks in time to their secular songs.

‘Vested deacons standing at attention and chanting.’ This self-confidence, and will to go their own way is reflected in other aspects of Ethiopian life, we found. Time itself is on an Ethiopian standard. While they count seven days to a week, as do we, the time of their sunrise is 1 o’clock (our 6 a.m.). The proverbial cocktail hour, just before sunset, is thus 11 o’clock. There are 13 months to

the year – 12 of 30 days plus Pagumen, the catch-up month of 5 (or 6) days. And while the developed world abandoned the Julian calendar in 1582, the Ethiopian saw no reason to change. Thus it is now 1999, good news for anyone who wants another shot at a millennium celebration. Nancy Janin

Photo: Samson Tilahun

Seven parishioners (The Reverend George Hobson and his wife Victoria, the Reverend Joanne Dauphin and her husband Patrick, Pamela Johananoff, and Nancy and Neil Janin) joined Friends and others on a pilgrimage to Ethiopia in January 2007. The pilgrimage was led by the former Canon Pastor of the Cathedral, Nicholas Porter, now rector of Trinity Church in Southport, CT, and his wife Dorothy. Former parishioner Polly Hodgins organized the logistics of the trip. Also participating were former parishioners Norman Leinster and Dan Conaway, Board of Foreign Parishes member, Peter Trent, and Trinity Southport parishioner Lisa Newton. The two week tour by bus and plane took the group from the capital Addis Ababa to the rockhewn churches of the Lalibela region, the royal cities of Axum and Gondar, and to Lake Tana and the source of the Nile. ‘The relics on the priests’ heads are the tabot, replicas of the Ten Commandments.’


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n The Cathedral Treasurer, Rhoderic Bannatyne, is a photographer (see photo at right) and also a songwriter and singer performing as Rhoderic Land. You can hear his soon-to-be hit song, “Kong Kong Tonight,” on A stranger who took a liking to the song wrote on his blog: “Rhoderic Land’s tale of bittersweet romance is created from retro cloth but is tailored with sharp modern wit.” A bawdy romp through the jungles of a dream, “King Kong Tonight” is the latest of Rhoderic’s compositions; attendees at the Bishop’s Dinner at the Convocation Convention in October 2006 were treated to some of his others, which range from ballads to sly social commentary à la Tom Lehrer. Please note: the Cathedral Choir will not be performing “King Kong Tonight” at any service.

Getting to the church on time? A photographic study by Rhoderic Bannatyne.

Creative parishioners and Friends n Parishioner Gianne de Genevraye, known professionally as Gianne Harper, was invited to show her work at the pres-

tigious Salon Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibit last December. Although she works in oil on canvas also, this show was limited to her dry pastel on paper works. In this technique the artist applies pure pigment to paper with the hands. Gianne paints imaginary landscapes “a decantation of infinite images I see every day, and particularly on voyages. There are never figures in the paintings, as the human is the sole viewer of his own vision he creates while contemplating the pieces”. A graduate of the University of California, Gianne has been exhibiting for nearly thirty years, in the U.S. and in major galleries and exhibits in Europe. Now her work will be available en permanence at the Gallery Jean-Luc Méchiche, at 182 rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. Coral Cloud Study (2005) by Giannne Harper

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n Anne Rowthorn has published “Your Daily Life is Your Temple,” reflections on how to see God and live our faith in all we do. One reviewer says that the book “will challenge your notions of what spirituality is, where you find it, and how you practice it.” Included in the many personal experiences are several that took place when Anne and her husband Jeffery were in Paris, where he served as Bishop-in-Charge of the Convocation. The book is available on the web at or through

n The March 2007 issue of The Atlantic Monthly featured “The Royal Oui?”, a profile of French presidential candidate Segolene Royal, by Charles Trueheart, former senior warden of the Cathedral and former Washington Post correspondent in Paris. His piece on Nicolas Sarkozy appeared in the September 2005 issue. Watch for the forthcoming (summer) issue of The American Scholar, where Charlie’s essay on the writer Lawrence Durrell will appear. Please let us know if you or someone in the Cathedral community has news to share (email: