St. Lawrence Basilica…

… The kook-buggery of Asheville aside, it does have the beautiful St. Lawrence Basilica. The entire structure is over a hundred years old, held together entirely with tile and mortar, and has the largest free standing elliptical dome in North America. The architect, Rafael Guastavino [who’s also entombed here], designed the Basilica after his childhood parish in Spain. Guastavino’s tile work can also be found in Union Station, Grand Central Station, and in the birdge market under Queensboro Bridge. He came to Asheville after being commissioned to create tile work for the Châteauesque-styled mansion of Biltmore Estate, fell in love with mountains and retired in NC. I don’t blame him. I’ve lived up and down the east coast and all along the southern region of this country and decided North Carolina is my home. I won’t be moving again till I’m ready to retire at my seaside villa in Italy.

Mrs. Digi snapped these wonderful photos with her fancy-schmancy camera and I wanted to share them with you. She did a wonderful job using an HDR technique that enhances the detail and some other photography jargon. She explained the whole technical process to me over a few beers once, but I’ll spare you since you probably aren’t drinking. Or maybe you are. Who am I to judge if you read blogs drunk?

Main Altar

Crucifix detail

My most favorite statue ever… Christ offering Himself. I’ve never seen another statue like this, with Jesus holding a Host.

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  • Mrs. Digi did a wonderful job capturing the lovely parts of the basilica. And thank you for ‘spaining the inspiration of the architecture. I couldn’t place it. I just gapped.

    A few years ago my dh and I took a trip to Asheville. Boy were we happy to find a Catholic Church and such a beautiful one.
    The only thing that came in a very distant ‘second’ was the shrimp and grits at the Horizon’s Dinning room at the Grove Park Inn.

    I thought I got a little sample of Heaven.

    Can you believe we didn’t even visit the Biltmore? We could have but figured, eh.

    I loved the mountains.

    I got a little ‘tired’ of Asheville and never plan on going back*. But if I did, it would be to see St. Lawerence’s Basilica.

    *A lot of the retired wealthy were moving from Florida to Asheville in recent years. Elite elite. It made the local papers, what with all those moneyed people saying Sarasota and Fr. Lauderdale didn’t have enough ‘culture’. Our next family trip after this Thanksgiving will probably be the Florida Keys. You can’t tell who has money sittin’ at the bar.

  • Michael

    Does the Basilica keep tradition with its namesake and hold a BBQ as its chief fund raiser?

  • Dan

    Is the Traditional Latin Mass offered there?
    This will say a lot.

    • Katrina Fernandez

      I am not sure if it does or not. I’ve attended the vigil masses on Saturday evening and they are very solemn and reverently celebrated n.o.

      “This will say a lot.” Dan, I am not sure what your implication is.

  • A.R.

    Wow, His Sacred Heart is bleeding into the chalice!

  • JRS

    Rafael Guastavino also did Saint Mary Catholic Church in Wilmington, NC. Absolutely beautiful. My younger brother just got married there in October.

  • AML

    Aahh that is gorgeous!! This adds yet another reason to visit Asheville…..I am one of those new North Carolina residents who wants to go to Asheville and Charlotte to experience the mountainous region of my new state. I live in the sandhills, and I have been to Wilmington. There is so much variety here!