Monday, October 31, 2011

St. Etienne Cathedral & the Protestant Temple Neuf in Metz

The First Day Cover displayed was issued to commemorate the 84th FFAP Congress at Metz in France. On Sunday June 12th, the 84th congress of the French Federation of Philatelic Associations brought together representatives of 623 philatelic associations comprising the F.F.A.P. About 250 collections, grouped in 16 different exhibition classes, competed in the Championnat de France de philatélie. The SAMOLUX'11 was also held in Metz on these days. This is the ninth event of the interregional stamp exhibition bringing together collectors from Saarland (Germany), Moselle (France) and Luxembourg. The Metz stamp design is by Claude Andréotto. Since the Nancy congress in 2005, the stamps issued on the occasion of the F.F.A.P. congresses have included an attached commemorative label or vignette with no postal value. In this case, the group shows 3 of the main monuments of the city, the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, the Temple Neuf and, in the vignette, the Porte des Allemands, a vestige of the old medieval walls. This same building also appears in the first day postmark, also designed by Claude Andréotto. For those interested in more details about he pictures on the stamps, a short brief on them would not be out of place. This stamp and its coupon on the FDC are featuring some emblematic monuments of the city of Metz, the Prefecture of the department of Moselle (Region of Lorraine).

We can indeed see the St. Etienne Cathedral, built from 1220 to 1522, nicknamed the "Lantern of God" because of its impressive stained-glass surface (6,500 m², a record in France !). Saint Étienne de Metz (French for Saint Stephen of Metz), also known as Metz Cathedral) is a Gothic, Catholic cathedral in the city of Metz, capital of Lorraine, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Metz and the seat of the Bishop of Metz.
To the right on the same stamp and attached to it is a coupon, which depicts the Rhine architecture's Protestant Temple Neuf, inaugurated in 1904 by German Emperor Wilhelm II.
The cathedral is sometime nicknamed the Good Lord's lantern as it possesses the largest expanses of stained glass windows in the world with 6,500 m2 (70,000 sq ft). The stained glass windows include works of Hermann von Münster (14th C); Théobald of Lixheim and Valentin Bousch (16th C); Laurent-Charles Maréchal (19th C); Roger Bissière, Jacques Villon and Marc Chagall (20th C). Its nave, 41.41 meters high, is one of the highest in France only overtopped by Beauvais Cathedral and Amiens Cathedral, and is the 10th highest nave in the world. Protestant Temple Neuf was built in 1903, under the reign of the Germans in this town. Like many of the border territories in this area of France, the control of political power has swung between Berlin and Paris for many centuries, making it a place with a multi-cultural feel. This church is a perfect example of that, designed in an obvious Rhenish style; the neo-Romanesque finish is typical of Protestant churches that were built across Germany in the early 20th Century.
This wonderful First Day Cover was given to me by my dear friend Maria.

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