Tag: Byzantine Architecture

  • Domes of St. John the Baptist

    These famous domes figure in many postcard views of Pittsburgh. There are actually two St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic churches on the South Side. This, the Ukrainian one, is the one everyone sees. The lesser-known one is on Jane Street near 18th; it belongs to a Ruthenian congregation that split from the larger St. John the Baptist to have its own liturgy in its own language.

    The picture above is a high-dynamic-range image made from three separate photographs at different exposures. Below, the church from across the Monongahela.

  • St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church, South Side

    It is impossible to get a picture of the front of this church without ugly and intrusive utility cables, and old Pa Pitt is not quite obsessive enough to edit out the cables.

    This is a Ruthenian church. Back in 1900, the congregation split from the other St. John the Baptist Byzantine congregation a few blocks away at 7th and Carson Streets so as not to have to put up with those Ukrainians. You will search a map of Europe in vain for the nation of Ruthenia, but the Ruthenians or Rusyns in America have an ethnic pride perhaps all the stronger for never having had a nation of their own. The present building was dedicated in 1958, and the modernist-influenced Byzantine style bears a strong family resemblance to the style of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Oakland.


  • St. Boniface in Black and White

    More of St. Boniface on East Street. These pictures were taken with a Samsung Digimax V4, which was quite a camera in its day. Though it fits (lumpily) in a pocket, it has a Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan lens and allows manual control of everything. It is also the slowest camera old Pa Pitt has ever used, and he includes folding roll-film cameras in that calculation. It is especially slow if you set it to save in uncompressed TIFF format; then the time between shots is about 45 seconds, during which one could probably expose a whole roll of 620 film in a 6×9 roll-film camera.

    But Father Pitt has decided to make this limitation part of the artistic experience: he knows he will be taking one shot, and thus has a strong motivation to compose it carefully. He has also set the camera to black-and-white only, making it his dedicated monochrome camera. In effect he has turned it into a Leica Monochrom, but one with a 4-megapixel sensor instead of a 40-megapixel sensor. It is in fact nowhere near a Leica Monochrom, but it does take pretty good pictures. And Father Pitt paid about $8 for it instead of $8,000, so he believes his money was well spent.


  • Capitals, St. Boniface Church

    Three different carved capitals at the entrance to St. Boniface Church on East Street.

  • St. Boniface Church

    St. Boniface Church

    An isolated survivor of the once-populous East Street Valley, this splendid church (designed by A. F. Link and completed in 1926) was spared by a slight rerouting of the Parkway North. Since the latest reorganization in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, this is now part of Christ Our Savior parish.

    The picture above is fairly large if you click on it; it’s a composite of eight separate photographs.