Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Putting on a Brave Face

Had to remind myself not to be cute about this post title.
No 'False Gods' stuff. I just wanted to spend some time researching the history of this eye-catching church on Johnston Street in Kingston.

There's no much online about the structure. The name also intrigued; fortunately that information was available. The Dormition of the Theotokos (theological words for the death or "falling asleep" of Mary, the Mother of God, and her resurrection and assumption into heaven) . There, I'm way out of my depth here, so I'll leave it at that.

As you can see, a pretty important event in the Greek Orthodox church, and a logical choice for a church name.

The architecture is eye-catching: an Italianate design, with the characteristic tall round headed windows. The classical pediment, some dentils and modillions, a parapet, arched portico, the triple Palladian style windows in the frontispiece are classical in origin,  The polychromatic brickwork (my companion observed the later repairs using different bricks) creates quoins and window hoods, and pilasters up the sides.

But here's the thing. Viewed from the front (and likely the interior, if the richness of the Greek Orthodox tradition of decoration lives here) the church is a pretty impressive.

The Ontario Heritage Trust inventory reports that construction was begun in 1881, by a denomination not specified. Looks like the Greek Orthodox church is a more recent inhabitant of the structure, and cannot be held responsible for the architecture.

 I don't want to cast aspersions on any house of worship, but a sidelong glance can be disconcerting. A look (askance) from the side reveals the truth - a rectangular hall with a gable roof and (hate to say it) a false front.

Isn't that (and a good haircut) worth the drive to Kingston, Brenda?

1 comment:

  1. It sure was! The haircut, the intriguing architecture, the historical exhibit, lunch, an urban stroll... AND I learn the meaning of the puzzling church name. Wow. That's value for time well spent.