Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Houses of Worship: St. Mary's Cathedral

Centrally located just off Union Street is Aberdeen's Roman Catholic cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. It's one of the handful of sites that I visited, just by chance, when I was in Aberdeen in 2004. Its location is a bit odd, as it's sort of visible from Union Street, but a few steps out of the way; basically, you'd kind of have to know that it was there to be able to find it, despite the big spires. (By contrast, the Starbucks on the corner is quite prominent!) Even so, it's a beautiful little cathedral, and its location off of Union Street quiets things down considerably. It's not quite as remote as St. Machar Cathedral, but if you need to duck in somewhere for a bit of quiet contemplation and prayer, St. Mary's Cathedral is a great option. One of the great things about St. Mary's is that it has a sort of vaguely nautical feel to it, consistent with Aberdeen's history as a port and a hub for the offshore oil industry.

Some longtime readers may remember that I marked St. Mary's Cathedral on my pre-deployment maps. It's one of the places that I remembered quite fondly from my accidental overnight in Aberdeen nearly nine years ago. It's odd to think of just how many cathedrals Aberdeen boasts, even if some of them are no longer considered true cathedrals. It's especially odd when you consider that Scotland, like many areas of Europe, is extremely secular. In fact, Aberdeen itself boasts a number of beautiful gothic churches that have been turned into clubs or even casinoes - Soul Casino, Slains Castle, and Triple Kirks, to name but three. As such, it's nice to see that some of Aberdeen's beautiful houses of worship are still operating in their original capacity.

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