By Joseph Flot
On a hilltop in the northeast corner of one of the largest cemeteries in Pittsburgh, Allegheny cemetery, sits the Garden of Peace. The garden holds space for around 5,000 burial spots spread across a beautifully kept lawn of grass that intertwines with small roads. The most central feature, the bronze Christus, lies within the center of the installation. The statue rises well above the landscape, standing at around 33 feet including the granite base. The bronze of the statue has oxidized over time, developing a deep patina that covers the statue’s entire surface. Upon the tip of Christ’s right hand, the Dove of Peace sits perched, admired by Christ’s gaze. According to cemetery documentation, the figure hails from Italy, created with the same proportions as Michelangelo’s David. On either side of the central figure stands two more features, both composed on bronze. On the right-hand side is the the Sundial, a large wireframe spherical sundial with the zodiac signs place around the equator. On the left-hand side stands another wireframe sphere but with a bronze casting of the continents on the surface to create globe.
Though the cemetery itself has no official religious affiliation, the statue of Christ reflects the prominence of Christianity in the surrounding community. Lawrenceville from the 19th to 21st centuries has been home to over 30 churches, with sects of Christianity ranging from Presbyterians to Baptists. Many of these sects often celebrate religion using images or idols of Christ. It seems appropriate that this method of worship finds itself in a place of final rest and remembrance.
More can be said for the impact that the cemetery and the garden have on the community. The cemetery currently serves as the resting place for around 124,000 people. The sheer number of people it memorializes means that it attracts people from many backgrounds. The religious nature of installation combined with the number of people that come to the cemetery lends itself to profound and widespread effects on the religious experience of those who pass through its grounds.
Allegheny Cemetery Historical Tour. Allegheny Cemetery Historical Tour, Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association.
Powers, Tom. “Lawrenceville Churches.” Lawrenceville Historical Society, Mar. 2015.
How to Cite
MLA: Flot, Joseph. “Allegheny Cemetery Garden of Peace.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 17 January 2020, https://religyinz.pitt.edu/allegheny-cemeterys-garden-of-peace/.
APA: Flot, Joseph. 17 January 2020. Allegheny Cemetery Garden of Peace. ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh. https://religyinz.pitt.edu/allegheny-cemeterys-garden-of-peace.
Chicago: Flot, Joseph. “Allegheny Cemetery Garden of Peace.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 17 January 2020. https://religyinz.pitt.edu/allegheny-cemeterys-garden-of-peace/.