Friday, January 31, 2014

Churches of Brisbane - Worship Down Under

St. John's Cathedral (Anglican)
A church is always a part of a Filipino tourist's itinerary every time he steps into a strange new land. And if you're in Brisbane, this task becomes an easy one because the heritage-listed St. Stephen's Cathedral is situated in the heart of Brisbane's CBD (central business district) along Elizabeth Street, just a few steps from Brisbane Central Station. Moreover, a stroll along Ann Street will show you several churches from different denominations.

My favorite, as per architectural form, is St. John's Cathedral (top photo), an Anglican cathedral whose construction took 100 years to complete. The structure looks like a castle in Victorian Gothic style (Gothic revivalist), the only one of its kind in Australia. Its groundbreaking started in 1901 initiated by the third Bishop of Brisbane, William Webber, and designed by architect John Pearson. It houses the largest cathedral organ in Australia, a four manual pipe piece. It's also home to an all-men (adult and boys) choir.

Meanwhile, the Cathedral of St. Stephen is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Brisbane. Built between 1864 and 1922, they commissioned architect Benjamin Backhouse who designed a large church with Gothic Revivalist style (like St. John's) to accommodate the growing population of Brisbane. However, this design was downgraded several times for economic reasons.

The interior feels small for a diocesan seat which makes a visit more intimate. A special feature of the cathedral is the "floating block" of a Jerusalem Stone - the sacred place where Christian Faith was born. Though it may initially look like a mislaid cornerstone, the religious piece is held with pious regard. Religion really puts a premium on historical items that help remind people of the proof of a Higher Being. This is also why items like a strand of Buddha's hair, or a tooth relic, or a footprint, easily becomes a highlight in temples all over Asia.

Albert Street's Uniting Church easily grabs attention because of the brick color. The Good Shepherd Church of Christ holds free barbecues every Saturday afternoon at 5 PM. All Saints Church, along Ann Street, near Cathedral Square, is perched on a hill. I was reading their mass schedule and noticed something that piqued my interest. Its schedule mentions a "Low Mass" and a "High Mass" - and a separate schedule of "Evensong and Benediction". I've been schooled in religious and/or Catholic Schools from grade school up to my University years, yet I have never encountered such terms. What would constitute a "High Mass"? Or a "Low Mass"? Doesn't that make you think? Or at least make you run back to your laptop for Google's help? All Saints Church also has a backyard with a lovely prayer station - a cross, a few benches and the statue of a man praying. Isn't it hopeful that man still finds solace in a house of God?

This is the Eye in the Sky.

The Cathedral of St. Stephen

Jerusalem Stone is on display at the Chapel of Unity,a smaller enclave at St. Stephen's.  

The backyard of St. Stephen's. Mass schedule - Sundays at 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 noon, 7:30 PM; Monday to Friday: 8 AM, 10 AM, 12:30 PM, 5:10 PM; Public holidays at 10 AM; Saturday has a Marian Mass at 11: 30 AM. Penance has a list of schedule too.  

Albert Street Uniting Church
Mass Schedule: Sunday - 9 AM, 11 AM, 6:30 PM; 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 1:15 PM; Friday (Holy Communion) at 1:15 PM. Website:
St. Andrew's Uniting Church at the corner of Ann and Creek Street.
St. John's Cathedral (above and below)

Good Shepherd Church of Christ
All Saints Church (Anglican Episcopal, above and below)
Mass Schedule: Sundays - 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 6:30 PM; Weekdays: MTTh at 12:15 PM; WF at 7:45 AM; Saturday during Advent and Lent at 9 AM. Email at


Ramakrishnan said...

Churches are so beautiful-the art,architecture, sculpture & paintings always amaze and attract.

eye in the sky said...

They're tourist attractions too. :)