This church, floor to ceiling in religious art, offers a portal to the past

Lauren Costantino, Miami Herald on

Published in Lifestyles

St. Thomas University theology professor David Masters takes his students to Christ the Saviour every year for an assignment on contemplating religious images, or “Visio divina.” Students are supposed to walk up to a scene at the church, learn about its meaning, then pray to God to reveal something through the image while meditating on the meaning.

“I prefer scenes from the Gospels or scenes from miracles, something where there’s a story to it. In this church, there’s a bunch of scenes to pick from,” he said. “ I asked them to ask God if there’s some messages in it for them.”

Student Darnel Charite said the style of worship doesn’t compare to what he’s used to in his own church in Miami Gardens, which he prefers.

“The way we would praise God is mostly through music and dancing. So in a Haitian church, that’s how it is and it’s very long.”

But Charite said he still found the tour, and the cathedral, captivating. “The architecture here is nice. The paintings represent everything about the different books in the Bible.”

It was a different story for Gabriel Gonzalez, a former student of Masters, who ended up converting to Orthodox Christianity after many years of struggling to connect to a religion. It was a series of tough events — including a near death experience and an emotional break-up — that led him to attend a service at Christ the Saviour.

“[Orthodox Christianity] oriented me into a better person and provided more structure. I felt more liberated.”


It wasn’t until he was pulling up to the church that he recognized the cathedral from his class tour years ago.

“We were one of the very last people to leave,” Gonzalez said about that first service. “A lot of things made sense to me in Orthodoxy ... The people from this community genuinely care for other people. This community means everything to us. It’s our family.”


This story was produced with financial support from Trish and Dan Bell and from donors comprising the South Florida Jewish and Muslim Communities, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners. The Miami Herald maintains full editorial control of this work.


©2024 Miami Herald. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus