The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for May 1st, 2023

An Epiphany

with 2 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

So… you know how I always mention the ‘vampire rule’ which I religiously follow? The one about needing an invitation to do my thing? Well, under the prevailing interpretation of Vampire law in these United States, an open door is a literal invitation. Imagine the cacodaemonic joy that arose within a humble narrator’s breast upon noticing that the entryway door to the lovely church, pictured above, was propped open. It was everything I could do not to transmogrify into a cloud of bats and chaotically fly in there.

That’s the 1902 vintage Church of the Epiphany Catholic Church, designed by architect Edward Stotz, with interiors by John T. Comes. It’s a landmark! Really, I took a picture of the sign. I’ve seen several contradictory descriptions for the section of Pittsburgh I was walking through – Uptown, The Bluff, or The Hill District. Still quite new to this region, I don’t know where one neighborhood starts and another one ends. Perhaps I was at a locus point twixt the three.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One scuttled through the door, and then into the main chapel area. I didn’t linger, as the vampire way calls for one to get in for a quick snack, and then depart in surreptitious fashion. The lights within the building were not on, or perhaps they had dimmed because of my presence… who can say? The Church of the Epiphany’s website offers a detailed history of Epiphany Parish and the structure itself, naming the muralists and stained glass crafts people – check it out here. Really, really nice sacred space this.

As mentioned in the past, despite my Judaic upbringing and heritage, I’ve got a real appreciation for Roman Catholic architecture and iconography. Part of this is due to the fact that my Dad worked for the Archdiocese of New York, at the New York Foundling Hospital in Manhattan for over thirty years, and thereby I spent a bunch of time as a kid in proximity to the Sisters of Mercy and the Jesuits. As an adult, whenever I’ve had a chance to point my lens at a Catholic Church or cemetery I’ve taken it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Over in one of the corners, there was a display which was likely Easter related, but my initial reaction to it was “somebody must be a Star Wars fan.” “Look it that – they got Statues of three Jedi, but they’ve got the color wrong on the Baby Yoda one.” Right after thinking that, the filthy black raincoat was suddenly filled by a man shaped pyramid of rats. All of my constituent parts then scuttled back onto the street where a reassembly into the normal simulacra would be accomplished. Two particularly large rodents carried the camera, if you’re curious.

Note: I, of course, realize that those aren’t statues of Jedi Knights nor is the little one Baby Yoda. It should also go without saying that my experience of leaving the church building didn’t exactly play out like this, but it’s not far from what happened.

Back tomorrow.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 1, 2023 at 11:00 am

%d bloggers like this: