Church Cats

If you have a cat, you know you don’t own the feline, they own you. Your house is not yours, it belongs to your cat. You are just the caretaker. In England some churches are a cat’s domain.

Unlike in the United States or some other places, many British churches are open or unlocked during the day. This is great for tourists who would like to enter and view the architecture or interior. It is also great for people who want to have a quiet moment to reflect. Propped open doors or constant visitors have enabled some local cats or strays to claim the building as their own. They may like to get out of the rain, enjoy the soft seat cushions on the pews, or even sun themselves where light filters in through the stained glass windows onto the floor.

Locals are so used to seeing particular cats lounging about that they know them by name. They may even be afforded the status of official church cat.

We were told by locals in Corsham that this was Cyril. He was owned by a local florist, but he liked to hang out at the church by day. We met him inside the church. He walked us out and walked right back to the florist shop around closing time.

Some church cats belong to a local and just like to hang out at the church. Others are strays that have shown up at a church and the staff end up adopting them and allow them to stay. The cats presence helps curb the mouse population.

Another cat I encountered inside a church in the Cotswolds. This one followed us outside the church as well. He tailed us around the churchyard.

Southwark Cathedral in London even elevated the status of their church cat by honoring her in stone with a grotesque. The named her Doorkins because she would be waiting by the door to be let into the church every morning before they adopted her.

The grotesque made in honor of Southwark Cathedral’s church cat-Doorkins.
Doorkins is older now. She is less social and sleeps a lot. Here she was in the Harvard chapel in the church. She was on a comfortable chair.
Doorkins enjoying a nap.

In her heyday Doorkins was more sociable. She met the queen when she visited Southwark Cathedral. She would join in church services and choir practices angling for a pet or a scratch behind the ear. Even though she is on in years and is less active, she still enjoyed a little attention.

They sell this book at the Southwark Cathedral store relating Doorkin’s story.
This is Jones of St. Paul’s in Covent Garden in London. Jones is getting on in years as well. He is named after Inigo Jones who designed the church. His sibling, who passed on was Inigo and he was named Jones.

I have been lucky enough to meet some of these cats. The ones I met were people friendly and enjoyed attention. In a country that obviously favors dogs, church cats in England can be considered an icon.

Temple Art

Is it a lion or a dragon? I think it may be a dragon. I looked online and could not find a similar image.

I took this image several years ago when in the Pusan/Busan area of South Korea at one of its lovely Buddhist temples. It was taken on an old Pentax K-1000 as slide film. I recently scanned this image.

Buddhist temples are known for their artwork. Besides statues of Buddha, the temples are like an art museum on the inside and outside. If in Korea or another Asian country, be sure to stop by one. You won’t regret it.

Fishermen’s Buddha

In the Catholic tradition there are saints for different causes. St. Erasmus or St. Elmo is the patron saint of Sailors. St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Animals. What do they have in Buddhism?

In Buddhism it appears they have different Buddhist shrines focusing on different causes. This was taken a while ago when I worked in Asia. This was a Buddhist Temple in the Pusan/Busan area. I was told by a Korean who went with us that the photo below was the Fishermen’s Buddha and that the women there were praying for the safe return of their husbands and a good catch. The top photo may be from the same temple or from another Buddhist temple focusing on fertility in the same area.

The two images I used on this post were taken several years ago on an old Pentax K-1000 as slide film. I tried to scan them recently.

I find it interesting to see the traditions in other cultures and religions. Sometimes we have some similarities and sometimes there are differences. It makes visiting a new place even more interesting. What are your traditions?