St Marks cathedral is very well known in the Seattle area. You mention that name to almost anyone and you automatically feel a sense on nostalgia beaming from them as if their experience there was synonymous to going to Disneyland or eating grandmas homemade-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies as a little child. and now, I know why.
Every Sunday evening at 9:30 at St. Mark Cathedral a breathtakingly beautiful event occurs.
The monks sing.
If you ever make it to Seattle for any length of time promise me that your time here will land on a Sunday so that you can experience what my best friend, Luda, eloquently describes as "the closest thing to what it would be like in heavens when the angels sing". I've been in church when the worship leader asks the women to sing one part of a song and the men to sing another. This is always wonderful, because its not often that you hear a group of male voices, in unison (and all-be-it, not always on perfect pitch), singing a song to their Savior. Its incredibly moving. Now take that and multiply it by 100 and you will begin to scratch the surface of this awe-inspiring encounter.
Upon entering they gather in a crescent shape around the conductor or choir leader or whatever you would call it, each with their hymnals...and as the conductor (this is what I've decided to call him) lifts his hands, indicating commencement, the rather fat Friar Tuck looking monk, who has eaten a few too many communion crackers (ifyouknowwhatimean) and the others open their mouths and begin to sing. As I listen, intently, it's as if every note were escaping from their ribbed cage, exploding from their chest to their tongue and then, after properly collecting themselves, like ballerinas behind a curtain, they dance, gracefully and softly out into the air and delicately in my ears. One by one they fill the cathedral from floor to sealing, swirling around hand in hand creating an unparalleled harmonious blend of verbal expression and picturesque imagination.
It was rapturous.
...the monks have forever stolen my heart.