Ely Cathedral rises out of the town that bears its same name like a mighty fortress. Though relevant to the present, its history is quite intriguing and the thoughtful artwork within inspires us to look upward to an everlasting future. The seniors at the school where I work are graduating in this famous cathedral, so when they went on a field trip to learn more about it and develop an appreciation for its significance, the ever curious me was right there as well.
The tour was fantastic. Our guide had bright white hair and strikingly smooth, ruddy skin. He regaled us with stories about the Reformation, the miraculous healings that occurred, and the meaning of the spiritual art. I learned that centuries ago the town that became Ely in Suffolk, England, was surrounded by marshes. There was a huge hill in the middle, and a visionary nun by the name of Etheldreda (who later became a saint) decided it would be ideal for a monastery.
They built it and because people gathered there for mass, prayers, help, food, etc, a town grew up around it. Inside the gorgeous cathedral is a choir (room). Along one side are carved out images of Old Testament stories, and along the other side are images of New Testament miracles of Jesus. They put such thought into the artwork that some of the symbolism and prophetic symbols of the OT mirror the NT, for example, Jonah and the big fish are opposite of the scenes of Jesus after his resurrection.
There is also a Ladies Chapel. In the center of the cathedral there is a picture of Jesus in stained glass at the very top, a visual of our salvation, redemption, and path to Heaven.The beauty was designed to give us all an earthly picture of Heaven.