Friday, December 05, 2008

Church Circles

The is part of the top of the door on the main entrance to the Cathedral of St. Paul, an imposing structure itself built on a high hill overlooking the downtown area.

History: The Cathedral of St. Paul is over 100 years old. The cathedral is the vision of Archbishop John Ireland, and architect and devoted Catholic Emmanuel Louis Masquery. Construction of the building commenced in 1907 and the exterior was completed in 1914. Work on the interior proceeded at a slower pace, as funding allowed, but the Cathedral was able to hold the first Mass in the partially completed building on Easter Sunday in 1915.

Masquery died in 1917, before completing his design for the interior. Archbishop Ireland passed away only a year later. Archbishop Ireland's successors, Archbishop Dowling and Bishop John Murray, oversaw work on the interior, which was to take until 1941 to complete.

Architecture: The Cathedral of St. Paul is considered to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals in America. The design is in the Beaux-Art style and was inspired by Renaissance cathedrals in France.

The exterior is Minnesotan St. Cloud granite. The interior walls are American Travertine from Mankato, Minnesota, and the interior columns are made of several types of marble.

Topping the Cathedral is a 120-foot wide copper dome. A lantern on top of the dome brings the total height of the Cathedral to 306 feet tall from the base to the top of the lantern.

The interior space is no less impressive. As you walk into the Cathedral, watch out for the people visiting the cathedral for the first time. They tend to stop abruptly in front of you to stare at the stunning interior.

Laid out in a Greek cross, the interior is bright and open. Masquery envisioned a Cathedral with no obstructions for anyone attending Mass.

The interior ceiling soars to 175 feet high at the top of the 96 feet wide dome. At the base of the dome, stained glass windows let in light, and more several windows pierce the walls.

A bronze baldachin, a canopy over the altar, honors the life of St. Paul.

Although the Cathedral's design was inspired by ancient French cathedrals, it has modern conveniences, like electric lighting, and heating. Heating a place like this can't come cheap, but it's sure to be appreciated by the congregation on winter days. (by Clara James,
If you wish to know more about the Cathedral, check this Wiki site.


  1. merci pour l'histoire de cette cathédrale.
    thank you for the history of this cathedral.

  2. Ahhh, I had thought of their windows for circle theme day. I never made it over there to take a photo of it, glad to see you also thought of it.


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