GOD ONLINE: Exploring media spirituality

Web sites, TV, films, books and the search for meaning.

Pictures worth a thousand prayers

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Traditions are one thing; seeing the spots that inspired them is another. Christus Rex brings them together, with photos and text put together by a Marian priest.

Bearing a distinctly Italian Catholic feel, Christus Rex has a lot of virtual pilgrimages, guiding you around holy sites with devotional as well as historical comments. A nice clickable map shows biblical highlights of Jerusalem, such as St. Stephen Gate and Hezekiah’s Tunnel.

An evocative section shows the Via Crucis, or Way of the Cross, retracing Jesus’ steps on the day of his crucifixion. But it does need some updating. The webmaster’s idea of a standard page width is a mere 700 pixels.

Check out the Pater Noster Convent on the Mount of Olives. The convent houses plaques with the Lord’s Prayer in 1,444 languages. (Pictured: Farsi and Sanskrit.)

Vatican City is shown in a lush collection of photos — not only the familiar St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel, but also the little-seen apartments of the pope.

There’s more: a Catholic calendar, an online lectionary, a celebration of the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome (see why I said the site has an Italian Catholic feel?). Two other sections, though, seem out of place.

One section is on the 1989 student uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and the military repression that ended it. The other is on the medieval Khazar Empire, which converted to Judaism in 740 A.D. The section accepts the controversial theory of author Arthur Koestler that the Khazars became Europe’s Ashkenazic Jews.

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Written by Jim Davis

November 28, 2008 at 10:31 pm

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