Sky Arts and the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust Explore the Art and Roots of Faith, including Judaism
Submitted to: Television 
Posted: June 05 2008


Sky Arts, the UK’s only television channel dedicated to all areas of the arts, explores the art of faith this June in an exclusive 3-part television series. The films will be presented by broadcaster and former hostage John McCarthy. Art of Faith explores the art and architecture of significant and exceptional religious buildings.

The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, Chairman Lord St John of Fawsley, who is also Chairman of Sky Arts, presents a series of three accompanying lectures, which will be televised by Sky Arts. They will be on the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The lectures will be given by three world leading authorities on the different religions, Professor Hans Küng, President of the Global Ethic Foundation, Sir Jonathan Sacks, The Chief Rabbi, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster.

Lord St John of Fawsley states: ‘This major new project of Arts and Lectures is intended not only to promote a knowledge of art, architecture and religion but also to forward a religious dialogue between the three Abrahamic faiths and so contribute to the peace and unity of Britain and other countries throughout the world. It constitutes a major advance in Sky Arts scope and development, and strengthens the knowledge and shared esteem of the different faiths’.

Playing on Sunday nights at 7pm from 15th June, each hour-long episode is a high-definition visual experience. Divine in form, sacred buildings are amongst the most beautiful and enduring achievements of mankind. Art of Faith travels the world to visit the great buildings of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, exploring how the passions and complexities of religious beliefs have been expressed in architecture.

Looking back over the last 3000 years the series provides an insight into how we have celebrated faith through art. Taking each religion in turn Art of Faith provides exclusive access to nine iconic architectural buildings from the magnificent spectacles of St Peter’s in Rome, India’s stunning Taj Mahal and Israel’s Masada Synagogue to the simple yet exquisite Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking.

With contributions from architects, scholars and worshippers the series explains the buildings’ genesis, laying down the brush strokes of the sites’ design, whilst looking at the shared elements and contrasts between the religions and the aesthetics of the places of worship. The series confirms the notion that religious buildings are the most prominent symbols of faith as illustrated through Henri Matisse’s commitment to the construction and design of France’s Chapelle du Rosaire and Washington’s Chapel of St. Ignatius designed by the local celebrated architect Steven Holl.

The films contents and dates and times of transmission are: -

Episode One: Islam – Sunday, 15th June at 7pm

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Israel, late 7th century

Mosque at Kairouan, Tunisia, 836 and later

Great Mosque, Cordoba, Spain from 785

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey, 1609-1616

Taj Mahal, Agra, India1631-47

Madrassas, Samarkand, Uzbekistan 15th-17th centuries

Episode One: Islam [cont]

Shah Jahan Mosque, Woking, England 1889

Assyafaah Mosque, Singapore 2005

Jamme Masjid, London, England originally 1743

Episode Two: Judaism – Sunday, 22nd June at 7pm

Masada Synagogue, Israel 1st century

Old New Synagogue, Prague, Czech Republic 1280 onwards

Synagogues, Toledo, Spain, 13th-14th centuries

Bevis Marks Synagogue, London, England 1701

Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest, Hungary 1854-59

Central Synagogue, New York, USA, 1872

Princes Road Synagogue, Liverpool, England 1874

Rue Pavée Synagogue, Paris, France 1913

Beth Sholom Synagogue, Philadelphia, USA, 1954

Episode Three: Christianity – Sunday, 29th June at 7pm

Holy Monastery of St Catherine, Mount Sinai, Egypt, 5th century onwards

Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, 527-548

Durham Cathedral, Durham, England, 1093-1135

Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, Chartres, France, 1145-1220

St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, England 12th-15th century

St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy, 1506-1626

Cathedral of St Basil the Blessed, Moscow, Russia, 1555-1561

Chapelle du Rosaire, Vence, France, 1954

Chapel of St Ignatius, Seattle University, Washington, USA, 1997

Roots of Faith Lectures

Three lectures, collectively styled ‘The Roots of Faith’ and which will be filmed by Sky Arts are as follows.

The first lecture will be given on Monday, June 16th by Professor Hans Küng on ‘Islam - Challenges and Hopes’. The Hans Küng lecture can be seen on Sky Arts at 7.15pm on Monday, 23rd June.

The second lecture will be given on Monday, 6th October by The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, leader of Orthodox Judaism in Britain, on ‘Judaism in the 21st Century – A Voice of Hope in the Conversation of Mankind’.

The final lecture takes place on Wednesday, 26th November and is to be given by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, in the Queen’s Building, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, on ‘Christianity – From Shadows and Imagination into Truth’.

For more information contact:

Samantha Jones, PR Manager, Sky Arts and Lord St John of Fawsley

Tel: 020 7705 2842 / 07730 637 490 Tel: 020 7222 1066


Notes to Editor:

1/ Sky Arts (formerly Artsworld prior to 1 March 2007) is the UK’s only television channel dedicated to all areas of the arts offering a distinctive mix of classical music, opera, dance, jazz, architecture, film, design, drama, rock, and literature. Sky Arts is available in millions of Sky homes on Sky Channel 267 and in high definition as Sky Arts HD on Sky Channel 268.

2/ British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) is one of the UK’s largest arts sponsors and is currently exclusive sponsor of The National Trust’s Family Programme, and Sky Arts is National Tour Sponsor of English National Ballet as well as Season Sponsor of English National Opera until 2009.

3/ The Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, which exists to promote art, education and knowledge of religion, has co-operated with the Sunday Times and BSkyB for 17 years in presenting the highly regarded Building of the Year Award.


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