Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is the Christian season of abstinence, almsgiving and prayerful reflection—forty days of preparation before the most-important Christian celebration, Easter Sunday. On Ash Wednesday, the faithful are marked on the forehead with black ashes and instructed, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
The Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris is amongst the most famous houses of worship in the world. Last year, on 15 April—the day after Palm Sunday—the 850 year old Cathedral suffered heartbreaking damage in a great fire. Ashes to ashes, indeed.
For me, the heartache contains a personal resonance. I once attended Mass in Notre-Dame on a Palm Sunday, some years ago. The Mass was in the early evening, perhaps 6:00 pm, and the celebrant was His Eminence Cardinal Lustiger, the Archbishop of Paris. As he processed into (and out of) the church, the congregation—all holding palm branches—intently followed the man with their eyes. I felt like I was in the presence of a truly holy and charismatic person. His history is fascinating: he converted from Judaism to Catholicism as a young teenager and was hidden from the Nazis (who imprisoned and killed his mother). When he died in 2007, the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of Gods's praise, was recited by his cousin in the great Cathedral's portal.
The bookends above were made in the 1920's. They are cast iron with an aged copper finish. Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248