I recently bought a copy of Hidden Johannesburg, a hardback coffee table book featuring 28 of Joburg’s most interesting (and difficult to access, in some cases) buildings and interiors.
I’m enchanted with this book; I love flipping through, gazing at the beautiful photographs, and reminiscing about my own visits to some of the places featured. I’m pleased to say I’ve been inside 15 of the 28 buildings in the book.
Now, of course, I want to visit ALL the buildings in Hidden Joburg. And last week I got to add a new one to the list: St. Charles Borromeo, a.k.a. the Lemon Squeezer Church, in Victory Park.
St. Charles Borromeo, the Lemon Squeezer Church
I visited St. Charles Borromeo thanks to my old friend and former blogger Lucy Sarah O’Connell, who is a member of the congregation and saw me musing on Instagram about how badly I wanted to see the church. Thorsten, Gail, and I met Lucy there last week and she gave us a tour.
St. Charles Borromeo was built in 1966, at a time when avant-garde Catholic Church architecture was a trend. (There is a similar-looking lemon squeezer in Maputo, built around the same time, which I was able to photograph from the outside in 2019.)
I don’t go to church. But if I did I would love to attend one like the Lemon Squeezer, which allows congregants to sit on all sides of the service. I also love the modern mural painted behind the altar, which illustrates the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The design of this church feels very exciting and unexpected to me — it’s full of surprises.
Thanks again for the great visit, Lucy. Now, who can get me in to that old Park Station concourse? Hopefully I’ll have more Hidden Joburg posts to come.
The Lemon Squeezer was one of a few cornerstones or our social lives back in the ’70s, another being St Mungo’s in Bryanston, where liberal priests thought it much better that we consume rock music and cbeap booze and dance like people with St Vitus disease under their watchful eye than elsewhere. Champions. All the best bands of the day played there.
A lot of people seem to have these kinds of memories of this church. Very interesting! And cool.
Wow, what a stunning church. Thanks for sharing
That mural behind the altar is very similar to the recent first radioastronomy ‘pictures’ of a black hole. So – very appropriate – both black holes and God are largely unknown …
Wow, that’s so cool!
The stained glass windows seem a a jarring juxtaposition with the modern architecture, but that church definitely isn’t boring! How are the acoustics?
Yeah, I guess that’s why they didn’t have stained glass originally. But then I guess they started to feel envious of all the other stained glass churches.
Glass bauble envy!
What gorgeous architecture! And a great nickname to boot!
It is an exceptionally great nickname.