Darth Vader on Washington National Cathedral
My boyfriend and I were having a spontaneous and rather long Skype conversation last night. It started with Darlene’s suggestions about churches to see in Chicago, followed by my boyfriend’s love of Gothic architecture. I mentioned that he would probably love the Washington National Cathedral (OK, it’s neogothic…and Anglican), and that we should go see it this summer. Of course, I ended up trolling Wikipedia for interesting information on the church’s architecture, as it’s been over 10 years since I last visited. But I happened upon this little gem: the National Cathedral has the helmet of Darth Vader in place of one of its gargoyles on the outside:
Now, as a sworn fanatic of Star Trek who isn’t really impressed with Star Wars, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Either way, I’m pretty sure my field trip here in the fifth grade never mentioned Darth Vader up on the building; I think we all would have been a lot more interested.
It turns out when the National Cathedral was under construction (a laborious process taking from 1907-1990), National Geographic had a contest in 1980 for what four of the small gargoyles should look like. Darth Vader placed third. As Wikipedia says: “The Cathedral boasts what is probably the world’s only sculpture of Darth Vader on a religious building.” Yeah, probably.