Monday, January 11, 2010

When Holiness Gives Way To Hipness

Rev. Mark Shinn leads service at St. Andrews Cathedral
When I was hanging out in Northern Liberties, a neighborhood not far from Center City Philadelphia, 15 years ago it was in transition. It's working-class roots were slowly but surely giving way to swank condos and hip restaurants, but its five historic Greek Orthodox churches were hanging on and I loved to stroll past them on Sunday mornings and listen to the congregants and choirs speak and sing in Old Church Slavonic, an archaic Eastern European tongue.

Today the transformation is nearly complete with the second and third generation immigrant families all but vanished. Northern Liberties has become Philadelphia's trendiest neighborhood and those five churches are now hanging on for dear life.

More here.
Photograph by Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer

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