You Knew This Post Was Coming – The Basilica

by Prince Of Petworth May 12, 2009 at 11:44 pm 6 Comments


Of course I couldn’t go to the Brookland area without checking out the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It is located at 400 Michigan Avenue, NE. It most definitely is impressive. There are tons of mosaics that are pretty fresh.


Actually what I liked most was the hall with all the names engraved on the walls:


And there are thousands of names. I couldn’t believe I randomly spotted this one:


Truth be told I was more blown away by the Franciscan Monastery. Nevertheless it’s most definitely worth a visit. A couple more photos after the jump.



  • Anonymous

    The upper church is a garish mismash of styles whose gaudiness is unrivaled. The crypt is quite subdued and lovely, however.

    The enormous blond, blue-eyed Jesus in the main church is often referred to by students as the “Soloflex Jesus” since he’s pretty hot and muscled.

  • dani

    The church has marble donated from the four corners of the world- hence the colors/textures dont always match up. the upper church is downright maginificent, resplendent. so much to look it, it really harkens back to the middle ages when the mosaics in churches were used to teach the illiterate parish stories from the bible. for those not well versed in Roman Catholic symbology, the basilicia, i imagine, seems garish and gaudy. It is very Catholic to build such a large shrine to the Virgin.

    the “scary jesus” upstairs is what is know as “Christ Pantocrator,” and is more of an orthodox icon. Its a cool symbol- “Christ the Almighty” as in Christ the creator and the destroyer. I’m a liberal catholic, so i’ll go out on a limb- this concept always reminded me of “Ganesha” the great destroyer in Hindu. To me its a similar concept.

    the crypt church (the lower church) was always my favorite place to celebrate mass. there is a student service at 430pm on sundays i think.

    each “enclave” in the crypt is like a mini chapel, and are decorated to reflect the nationalities of each respective enclave.

    Mary’s garden, in the back of the basicilia (toward taylor, ne) is quite possibly the loveliest place in d.c. you really need to stop by to visit.

    I love the basicilia, and I love how it represents the unique culture and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. It is quite a large symbol of the Church’s special devotion to the Virgin.

    I hope you all get a chance to stop by to visit.

  • JohnnyReb

    One Christmas Eve, about 12 years ago, my friend and I attempted to go to Midnight Mass at the Shrine (it was still just a mere shrine back then); we got there too late to get a seat (meaning a good 45 minutes pre-Mass start time), so we spent a good hour-and-a-half wandering around the basement, trying to find unlocked doors that might take us to the tower. We went through one door, up a set of stairs, and almost walked right out on the altar! The architecture is a bit strange and foreign, but no more out of place than that godless Episcopal pile up on Wisconsin Avenue…

  • Anonymous

    Even some of us very well versed in Roman Catholic symbology (catholic grade school, high school, college and grad school) and well-traveled find the Basilica revolting. It’s hideous.

  • peaceyall

    i like how the marble labeled from places it comes from is specific about the country or state of origin – except for Africa. all the other european marble is linked back to a specific country, but not Africa because it’s all one big country.

  • E

    @ anon – We always called him “Angry Jesus” because of the flames shooting out of his head and his kinda menacing expression…


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