Thank You (Dennis Aubrey)


As PJ and I are in the last stages of preparation for our trip to Europe, I decided to look at where we are on the Via Lucis blog. What I found was stunning. We have been doing this for five years; when we started, it was because we had some interesting shots of Romanesque churches in France and thought that a few people might find them interesting. Our first posts were tentative, a few words about a single photograph, most of the time. But then something happened.

As our focus sharpened and our explorations deepened, we found ourselves in a different world, writing articles on single churches, on the history of Romanesque architecture, monasticism, pilgrimage and exploring the meaning of the churches. In doing so, we found people who were interested in these explorations and who have been part of an ongoing dialogue for three and four years. What has resulted is amazing.

First, we have published over 500 articles. That’s a lot of writing. Admittedly some are reposts, some are short articles linking to items of interest in the world about us, but most are full articles. And they are written by others as well as by us. We have an active group of contributors from around the world. Jong-Soung Kimm has written eleven articles about churches in Spain and Germany. His description of Saint Michael’s church in Hildesheim is the third most-viewed post in Via Lucis history. His articles on the Cathedral Saint Peter of Worms and the Abbey Church of Maria Laach are top fifteen.

Nave to chancel, Dom Sankt Peter, Worms (Rhineland-Palatinate)  Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

Nave to chancel, Dom Sankt Peter, Worms (Rhineland-Palatinate) Photo by Jong-Soung Kimm

Douglas Reed’s Theories of Architectural Conservation is our fourth most viewed article, viewed almost 3,000 times by students around the world. Via Lucis articles have been translated into French and Italian, and there are more in the pipeline. We have found that there are tens of thousands of links to our site from other sites on the internet.

And as if this were not enough, the real news is the readership. As of the moment that I write this, we have had 262,000 visitors from 176 countries. Those countries represent 90% of the countries in the world today. They have contributed 5,681 comments, thoughtful and reflective. Because of this site, we have met Angelico Surchamp, Janet Marquardt, Servane de Layre Mathéus, and so many others who have made substantial contributions to the field of medieval art and architecture. We have corresponded with hundreds of amateurs and professionals who have helped us understand this world in a way that books might not be able to. Some of them we know by their names; Gordon Stewart, Trish Worth, Helen DeVries, Vivian Blake, Kalli Deschamps, Jay Fredrich, John McKean, Stephan Vitas, Aquila Herus, Nathan Mizrachi, Paul Iocono and so many others. Some we know only by their handles; Hesperatusa, Wife of Bath, or our Catalan guide, Covetotop.

From these individuals we have discovered whole groups of dedicated explorers of medieval churches; on Facebook alone we number Amigos del Romanico, Ancient and Medieval History and Archeology Nerd Group, George Hoezelman’s Beautiful Churches, The Beauty of History, Eglise Romanes, Medieval Art, Romanes.com, Romanico Digital, Art Romane en Saintonge, Centre de la Culture du Limousin Médiéval, and Eglises Gothiques.

In short, we have found ourselves in the middle of a community of extraordinary people. And we have found out that the small piece of history in which we are fascinated and compelled to explore resonates powerfully to people around the world. We are humbled and grateful. You have enriched our lives.

Thank you all.

PJ added a comment that I think is apropos: “I want to emphasize what Dennis said about community. The blog has brought so many of you directly into our lives. We’ve met you both at home and in our travels. You’ve helped us with your knowledge, suggestions and posts. You’ve moved us to tears with your comments and insights. Most importantly, through our readers, we reaffirm daily the importance of what we do and why we do it. In some way we take all of you with us through every door along the way. Thank you.”

33 responses to “Thank You (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Sorry, Dennis, but you got it wrong. YOU and P.J. have enriched OUR lives. When I see that y’all have a new post, the classical music goes on, and the hot tea is poured. Reading your articles, and those of your contributors, is always the high point of my day. I’m not a web junkie, and I spend far less time at the PC than most, but some things are just too special to save for later. Your blog fits that bill. Thank you for what you do, and know that we travel with you, and anticipate your every discovery and adventure. Bon voyage…. Vann

  2. I want to emphasize what Dennis said about community. The blog has brought so many of you directly into our lives. We’ve met you both at home and in our travels. You’ve helped us with your knowledge, suggestions and posts. You’ve moved us to tears with your comments and insights. Most importantly, through our readers, we reaffirm daily the importance of what we do and why we do it. In some way we take all of you with us through every door along the way. Thank you.

  3. What beautiful thoughts you have shared today. And the comments prior to mine on this post have been an accurate reflection of my own. As I check my e-mail in the morning I can feel a smile appearing as soon as I see I have the pleasure of reading another of your wonderful posts.
    Thank you for including my name as one whose identity you know. One correction, however. My full name is Kalli Deschamps. Rafter D. is our ‘brand’ and the name of our ranch. The e-mail I used prior to rafterd1972 was also attached to Ed’s French heritage and is the license plate on my car. “alonze” which as you know means “Let’s Go”

    • Kalli, I can’t believe that I didn’t write Deschamps! I’ve known that for years. I was in a zone, of course, as is usual while writing. Thanks so much for all of your support and kind wishes. Allons-y!

  4. Your “Catalan guide Covetotop” is very happy to follow Via Lucis 😉 As a Romanesque Art lover, I am looking forward to reading your next 500 articles, one after the other. Go on, Mestres PJ and Dennis!

  5. Via Lucis has found its way into the minds and hearts of people around the world because there’s nothing like it on the web or anywhere else — top-flight scholarly work, beautifully illustrated with world-class photography — all free for the asking. All of your thousands of followers undoubtedly wish, in their hearts, that they could do what you do as well as you and that probably explains why you’ve become a fixture in so many lives. Ad multos annos!

  6. Via Lucis is an inspiration. Your travels and researches and photographs make a pathway for your readers into the world of medieval architecture.

    • Thanks, Graham. We really did not think that there was this much interest in a subject as seemingly arcane as medieval architecture. It delights us so much to find fellow travelers.

  7. Thank you Dennis Aubrey

    The title of your blog says it all.

    Sometimes there are months between my finding a moment to read your tales, but never is it time wasted. Working as an architectural historian, I can only say: would that there were a dozen couples with the sensibilities and skills (and lack of professional prejudice) that you display – each falling in love with a different element of the world’s cultural history.

    As I’m in Italy, I raise my prosecco and toast you – complimenti e auguri!

    • Grazi, John. We wish that we could have met you when you were in Italy (our own trip is being delayed because of a family emergency). We could have shared the prosecco toast together.

    • Thank you so much, Margarita. It is so nice to meet a friend of the Romanesque from Spain. The riches of the country there in both pre-Romanesque and Romanesque are a powerful draw to us. We hope to return to photograph in Asturias and Cantabria next year.

  8. As stated so well by those who have already commented, it is for us to thank you. We have not met in person, but we have met in spirit and you both are considered true friends, by me at least. You have made it possible for me to see places I will likely never be able to go, to learn about those places and that they touched you both. It shows in your photographs, in your words, the Romanesque is a special joy for you. I keep coming back and studying the images, reading the words and connecting to something ineffable, that is your spirits. Your generosity in sharing this blog with us all is a blessing. Have a marvelous time in France. And thank you for the mention, I am humbled.

    • Aquila, we have indeed met in spirit and we hope one day to actually meet you, as we have done with others who have similarly enriched our lives. Thank you so much for being part of our journey.

  9. Fantastique. Thanks for adding my name to your credits. So cool to be able to follow your blog while I’m in France or Spain, as long as there’s a wifi café open. A bold new world.

    • Trish, you have been a valued resident of our medieval world for several years now. It is always a pleasure to see a comment that begins with “Wish says:”.

  10. Pingback: Saint-Julien, Estavar, France | Sounds like wish

  11. Dear PJ and Dennis,
    As many of the followers have already said, Thank YOU for bringing the wealth of photographs, essays and profound observations!
    Jong-Soung

    • Jong-Soung, as always, we thank you for the immense contributions you have made to Via Lucis. Who could have thought that when we asked you to contribute an article to the blog that you would have been so influential. As always, you are in our thoughts.

  12. Pingback: Frescoes and keyhole arches: Saint-Martin de Fenollar, France | Sounds like wish

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