The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, also known as the Mother Church, is the world headquarters of the Christian Science faith, founded in 1875 by Mary Baker Eddy.
The Christian Science complex in Boston incorporates a variety of buildings, including the original Mother Church (1894), the larger extension (1906), and an impressive urban plaza with reflecting pool designed by I.M. Pei (1960s).
History of Mother Church of Christian Science
The Christian Science movement was founded by Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), who is called Mrs. Eddy by church members. She was a sickly child and semi-invalid who learned from Phineas Quimby the possibility of cures without medicine.
In 1866, Eddy suffered a severe injury after a fall on ice, and claimed a complete cure without the intervention of medicine. She was reading an account of one of Jesus' healings in the Bible when she suddenly realized that healing comes by spiritual means, and she was instantly cured.
Eddy thereafter devoted herself to the recovery of the healing emphasis in early Christianity, and in 1875 she completed the first edition of her major book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
In 1879, the Church of Christ (Scientist) was incorporated. The Mother Church was completed in 1894, with the extension added in 1906. Eddy became its chief pastor and wrote The Manual of the Mother Church to govern its affairs.
At the end of the 20th century, there were about 2,500 Christian Science congregations in 70 countries. There have been no human pastors since Eddy; she designed the Bible and Science and Health as the only pastors. Christian Science services therefore have no sermon and no minister; only Readers that convey the lessons to the congregation. There are also hymns, recitation of The Lord's Prayer, silent prayers, and testimonies of healing.
Christian Scientists use the Christian Bible as their scriptures, with Eddy's Science and Health regarded as an authoritative text for interpreting it. Their most fundamental and distinctive belief is that matter does not exist; only spiritual things are real. This means that sin, sickness and death also do not exist, and humans only experience them if they believe in them. God heals by stripping away this ignorance.
What to See at Mother Church of Christian Science
The Original Mother Church was erected in 1894 in the Romanesque Revival style. It features a floor of hand-laid marble, lovely stained glass windows and frescoes that weave around the ceiling.
The windows' subject matter is interesting - instead of the more typical apostles and biblical stories, they emphasize the themes of healing, resurrection and women's religious leadership. The center of the Rose Window features Eddy's Science and Health rendered in stained glass.
Next door is the much larger and more opulent Mother Church Extension, built in 1906 in a domed Byzantine style. Its theater-style seating can accommodate 3,000 people.
One of the most notable features of the Mother Church Extension is the organ, which is one of the largest in the world. Built in 1952, it has 13,290 pipes and must be kept at a constant temperature to maintain its tuning. Organ concerts are regularly held here.
Also part of the complex is the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, opened in September 2002. It houses 500,000 documents related to Mrs. Eddy, including letters, periodicals, journals and most of her unpublished work. The library is planned to also include documents related to the larger themes of women, medicine and religion in 19th-century America.
Quick Facts on Mother Church of Christian Science
|Names:||Christian Science Center · Mother Church · Mother Church of Christian Science|
|Styles:||Romanesque Revival; Byzantine Revival|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||42.344470° N, 71.085062° W|
|Address:||175 Huntington Avenue|
|Hours:||Summer: tours of Mother Church (original and extension) on the hour from 10 to 4 and on Sundays at 11:30am.|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Mother Church of Christian Science|
- The First Church of Christ, Scientist - official website
- Jana Reiss, The Spiritual Traveler: Boston and New England (HiddenSpring, 2002), 98-102.
- Christian Science - ReligionFacts
Map of Mother Church of Christian Science, Boston
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