Regarding “Domes of the archdiocese,” Jan. 3, Pages 10-11:

I read with great interest your article. A couple of comments and a correction.

The architectural style of St. Patrick Church is an “American” interpretation of “Italian Renaissance Revival.” I’m sure that’s what John Czarnecki meant in his conversation with you.

Hagia Sophia is a state museum today, not a mosque. It was transformed from a Christian church to a Muslim mosque in 1453 by Sultan Mehmet II (the conqueror of Constantinople), and then to a state museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s after the modern country of Turkey was established. It has been a museum with an entrance fee ever since. I just visited Hagia Sophia in November.

You have mentioned, but perhaps glossed over the fact that the dome was developed and brought to its highest architectural expression by the pagan Romans and not the Christians of the former western Roman Empire. The Christian domes that you mention are beautiful and inspiring, but also derivative of pagan forms.

Nice article. I hope you write more on architecture, especially the religious architecture in Mount Angel.

Eric Wheeler

Historian/tour guide

Positively Portland Walking Tours

John Czarnecki responds: While the “American Interpretation of the Italian Renaissance” is OK, a rich notion of specific influence by precedent and process should be more descriptive. Your notion actually works, and something like “Structure built of local stone in Renaissance-inspired tradition” also gets my vote. Tradition is alive, and based in part on the genius of the place. It’s a living language.