Churches and cathedrals were originally built to be read. They are alive with images and symbols--all of which are packed with meaning. But today few people, from regular visitors to tourists, truly understand the wealth of meaning in what they find there. How to Read a Church is must reading for anybody who wants to know more about what they see in a church or cathedral. It explores the principal features of churches and what each represents. It also explains: " the significance of church layout " the importance of such details as the use of colors or letters " the identity and significance of people and scenes " the symbolism of animals, plants, colors, numbers, and letters " the meaning of it all In addition to exploring these brick-and-mortar motifs, the author also reveals fascinating and unexpected details such as how to 'read' the priest and the congregation, and he shows the varied ways that church architecture and appointments reflect the Christian year. From major themes to small but vital details, How to Read a Church will serve as a fascinating guide to the history, meanings, and messages of these beautiful buildings and the treasures they contain.