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Liturgical Fabrics: Ely Crown

Summer travels in our family always combine work with a bit of fun. This year was no exceptions –  except that the rolls were perhaps a bit reversed this year. The play was physically hard work, and the work was so very enjoyable! Hidden Lake Glacier Park

The hard work came about at Glacier Park with miles of hiking through the back country. We were blessed with sightings of a wide variety of wildlife, albeit from a safe distance, as well as with spectacular views of glacial lakes and more waterfalls than one can count. And for those who may be wondering, yes, that is still ice covering most of Hidden Lake at the top of Logan Pass.

The beautiful mountains with their soaring peaks and vast view were not the only source of heavenly delights to view on this trip. There was another sight that equally struck the heart, soul, and mind with heavenly splendor.

Cathedral of St. Helena, Helana, MT

The Capital of Montana is Helena. And rumor from a very reliable source had mentioned there was a grand cathedral to visit.  After an hour’s drive through the mountains, we arrived in Helena at the Cathedral of St. Helena. As we rounded the corner of the parking lot, the tall steeples immediately drew our eyes heavenwards and the sight was as lovely as any mountain top vista.

Cathedral of St. Helena, Helena, MT

There was promise of great beauty inside with the vast rose window flanked by windows on either side.

Cathedral Entrance St. Helena, MT

The entrance inspires awe with the stone carvings as one looks up while ascending the steep staircase. Interior Cathedral of St. Helena MT

The interior is grand and elegant with rich colors of burgundy accented with metallic gold paint and brass light fixtures illuminating the center and side aisles. And then there is the stained glass!  It looked somewhat familiar, yet this is a cathedral that I had never visited before. It reminded me of a place I had recently been, and of another set of stained glass windows that I had enjoyed tremendously hundreds of miles away……..

Cathedral of St. Helena, MT

We had a lovely visit with a volunteer who was a wealth of knowledge with regards to the design and interior of the Cathedral. The original interior was stark white. The painted interior as shown in these photos was from a renovation done more recently. Great care was taken with the renovation to respect the original design and furnishings, and the painting enhances the beauty and grace of the Cathedral.

aSt. Helena Cathedral Stained Glass

While the painting and grill work is lovely, the other striking feature demanding one’s attention is the stained glass. There are upwards of 75 stained glass windows in the Cathedral. They all have a richness of detail in the glass as if an artist painted the scene first directly on the glass, and then put the glass together. Note the fine details of the face – the shadow making one see the curve of the cheek and the neck, and the detail of the hair as if one could almost count the number. And then there is the eyes, glancing up toward heaven, as if Christ is looking at the his Heavenly Father.

There is so much more to share about the Cathedral of St. Helena in Helena, Montana.  There are many more photos to edit, and a few stories to tell. Here is a hint at another story waiting to be told. It has to do with fabric. But not just any fabric.

Cathedral of St. Helena, Ely Crown Liturgical Vestments

Can you guess the name of this Liturgical fabric?  It looks exactly like this one in the photo below, but it is much older, dating back to the early days of the Cathedral.

ElyCrown_Ivory copy

If you guessed Ely Crown, you are correct. The pattern Ely Crown is still made today and will be available at Ecclesiastical Sewing. More details on that will be coming soon, too.

Thanks for following along.

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.


Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing, Liturgical Fabrics Tagged: Ecclesiastical Sewing, Liturgical Fabrics
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