Dormition Basilica on Mount Zion

From the earthly to the heavenly Jerusalem

"In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli"
Competition Entry 2019


With both the Jerusalem chandelier and the Marian chandelier so openly visible, the interior architectural design is lent a decorous equilibrium. The burdens and gravity of this world glide upwards, towards God, transcending their cares.

Michael Hammers

Plans have been made to install a grand wheel chandelier at the Dormition. It is to represent the symbolism that graces the Heavenly City of Jerusalem, just as John described in the Book of Revelation.

The Deutsche Verein vom Heiligen Land (German Association of the Holy Land) approached me to work out an initial design sketch for a competition inviting ideas.  Using the accepted symbolism was mandatory; any other ideas that were included would only enhance the originality of my idea.

According to local legend in Jerusalem, we envision the spot where Mary the Mother of God passed over.

Both the Abbey and the Basilica were named after this dormition and the Virgin is also the patrocinium.

At the center of the crypt in the Basilica's rotunda there is a Marian Dormition.  “Each day you’ll find hundreds of pilgrims kneeling before the statue of Mary as she lies dying, looking towards her Son who is gazing upon her from above in the mosaic cupola, his arms open wide to welcome her – body and soul – to heaven.”

Mary’s Assumption I want to perpetuated in the entire space of the upper church.  

On the same plane as the clerestory meets the cupola, I will install a quadrangular shaped chandelier.  In terms of formal architecture this aspect will mirror the four outer transverse towers of the rotunda into the inside.

On each side of the square chandelier there will be three pearls upon which an angel each will be sitting.  This element will symbolize the 12 city gates of the Heavenly City of Jerusalem.  The design and arrangement of the chandelier will invoke the Vision of John.

The dimensions of the chandelier allow lamps to be placed to be shining in all directions.
They will be able to orchestrate the most distinctive lighting effects, reaching well into the depths of the room.  

Most significant for me is that light sources will be radiating horizontally into the interior of the square, sending a dazzling pillar of light onto the heavenly Jerusalem.

The cupola itself shall be covered in platinum gold.  The windows in the rounded vaults will be made of a white glass that will be covered in glass crystals, letting the sunlight stream in through the windows as spectral colors reflected in the cupola, so that each sunbeam infuses room with light.

At the vertex of the cupola there will be a Marian chandelier.

In an inner ring of 12 candles there will be a statue of the Mother of God, all of them surrounded by an outer ring of 60 candles.  I will have the Magnificat inscribed on the inner element; the outer element will host the Ave Maria.

The Marian chandelier will be figuratively lifted from the earthly Jerusalem to the heights of the heavenly Jerusalem into the cupola of the Dormition: The Jerusalem chandelier bears the words of the 'In Paradisum' in its inner ring.

Michael Hammers


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