Churches of Melbourne

It’s Sunday morning and the sun is shining. There are two beautiful churches across the road from the hostel I am staying at and yesterday I saw some impressive church spires poking up in the distance when I was in Melbourne. So this morning I use the internet to locate some churches of various denominations around the CBD area, mark up a map and set off.
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St Mary’s Anglican Church is quiet and relaxed. Like other Anglican Churches I have seen during my travels, St Mary’s reminds me of someone relaxing in a garden. It was squat and sprawled comfortably under the shade of a tree.
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The nearby St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church is almost medieval in style. Yesterday a wedding was taking place here. This morning, a few of the faithful are gathering for Sunday Mass. When I say a few, I mean that a quarter hour before the mass there are still less than twenty people at the church. Inside, the church is beautiful. I stay for a few moments to take in the atmosphere but leave before the mass starts to continue my wanderings.
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My next stop is the Romanian Orthodox Church where a few elderly women with walking canes are making their way through the gates. They are well-dressed in dark-coloured dresses. The mosaics on the front of the church are a beautiful touch.
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After a walk up Lygon Street, which is quiet this early in the day, I circle the Corpus Christie Seminary a few times before I find St George’s Church hidden behind locked gates. I could see the spire but couldn’t find my way there until I saw a driveway. There was an 11:30am mass advertised outside the church but at 11:05am the gates were still locked and no access is possible. It’s a shame because this church looks absolutely beautiful and must be a lovely place to sit and contemplate.
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The Sacred Heart Church is a bonus on my walk. This church seems to be part of a school and didn’t come up on the map that I checked this morning. The round tower makes me think of fantasy films and novels.
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The low key exterior of the Greek Orthodox Church belies it’s popularity. There is a crowd of men, women and children outside the church where some sort of cakes are being given away or sold. The dress code is conservative and the older people wear dark colours. Greek language hums through the air and it is almost odd when I hear a couple speaking English in this setting.
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Around the corner I come to St Patrick’s Cathedral. These are the spires I could see from the city yesterday. I feel like I might be somewhere in Europe. Mass started half an hour ago so I don’t want to go inside lest I disturb the faithful. But even from outside I can tell the cathedral must be incredibly grand.
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Across the road the German Lutheran Trinity Church is tiny by comparison and I can’t help but wonder what parishiners of the two churches thought of the other’s buildings. The German Lutheran Church still has all its signage in German, indicating that mass might even still be conducted in that language.
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Down on Collins Street St Michael’s Uniting and the Scotts Presbytarian Churches stand opposite each other. Both are beautiful examples of structure and calm amidst the bustle of the busy city streets.
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And finally I come to the unobtrusive little grey Welsh Church nestled between modern buildings. It seems modest in comparison to the other churches I have seen and is a pleasant end to my explorations.

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2 thoughts on “Churches of Melbourne

  1. That must have been quite an interesting walk.

    I have always found the number and diversity of churches in London very impressive. Coming from France where there isn’t such diversity, it was a lovely discovery in London. I love doing what you have just done and walking around, observing the churches. They often tell a lot about the kind of services and beliefs they hold.

    • Ooh … I’ll have to go on a church walk when I am in London too. Churches do tell such a lot about a city and it’s people both past and present. They also tend to be older structures so are architecturally interesting too. The really interesting thing I’ve found is that it doesn’t seem to matter what religion or denomination a place of worship is: they almost always feel calm and peaceful inside. If I am feeling a bit overwhelmed or rushed I often will just duck into the nearest church and sit there for a while. I have learned that most priests / pastors / ministers / community members etc don’t mind you taking time to sit in their places of worship so long as you are respectful, quiet and appropriately dressed by their standards.

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