This post is heavy on some geeky history, so if you’re here to see some frou frou cupcakes, think again. You have been warned.
When I visited Germany in December, one of the neat historical places we stopped was Nürnberg Castle. It was kind of like a time share property for the Holy Roman Empire. Visiting dignitaries would stay there if they were passing through, and all the local nobles would donate their best furniture to deck out the castle. After the emperor (or whoever was staying) left, all the furniture would be returned.
The castle had a 50 meter well dug straight into sandstone (it probably took them ten years), but the most interesting part to me was the double chapel. It is called a “double” chapel because there were two levels, the main level for the nobles, and the lower level for the peasants. There was no direct access to the lower level (which is literally beneath the feet of the upper class) because the nobility thought it horrible to associate at all with the lower class. There was only a big hole in the floor through which the peasants could hear what was going on above them. It is thought that this practice was the beginning of the phrase “to hear mass.”
Technically, though, this is a triple chapel. The above shot was taken from a landing made specially for the emperor, above the nobility level. You can see the face of Christ above the archway there? When viewed from the peasant level, he looks like he is frowning. When viewed from the nobility level, he has a straight face. And when viewed from the emperor level, he is smiling. So weird! But what interesting architecture.
Sidenote: this whole situation is so far from how the church is supposed to function. Jesus loves everyone the same, and no one has limited access to him.
Someday this will all be made right,