The History behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral

212Access August 1, 2015 Comments Off on The History behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral

By Christian Balmaseda

You can’t miss it, walking along Fifth Avenue. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a gothic site full of history and architecture that draws you in.

With more than 3 million visitors each year, St. Patrick’s has grown to be more than just the seat of the archdiocese of New York. It has evolved into a museum of New York tradition.

The cathedral was originally constructed between 1858-1878. It showcased American artwork and architecture at its finest and 135 years later, it still inspires.St. Patrick’s Cathedral was also a place for grief for New Yorkers and the country during the public funerals of Robert F. Kennedy, Andy Warhol, and Joe Di Maggio.

Here’s a closer look at why NewYork’s most famous cathedral is more than a place of worship.

Exterior of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Artwork Galore

St. Patrick’s is home to a magnificent collection of artwork.  The Cathedral has showcased some of New York’s greatest feats in architecture and design for more than a century. From the moment you walk through the 20,000-pound bronze doors, you are surrounded by adorned statues and altars that are dedicated to notable figures in the Catholic Church. 

Rose Window

Just above the massive, 7,855 pipe, organ lays the famed Great Rose Window.  The thousands of pieces of stained glass that, together make this window, allow for natural sunlight to flood the nave of the Cathedral.  This masterpiece was crafted by Charles Connick and is considered to be his finest work.

La Pietà

Among this sea of marble and stained glass is the Pietà, one of the most famous subjects in Christian art.  Standing close to 18 feet in height, this marble statue is three times larger than Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Vatican.

A Concert Hall in St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Why shell out cash for an evening at the theater when St. Patrick’s Concert Series is free?  Five nights a year, the Cathedral transforms itself into a concert hall, featuring world-renowned musicians.  Each event promises a unique performance, featuring classical performers and expansive choirs.  This year St. Patrick’s will host a one night only performance by the Sistine Chapel Choir on March 13th.

http://www.saintpatrickscathedral.org/music_cathedral_concert.php

Bigger and Better

With more than a century on the hotlist of NYC attractions, it comes as no surprise that St. Patrick’s has seen some wear and tear. This gem of New York City tradition is set to undergo a massive, $177 million restoration that will restore both its interior and exterior to its former glory.

A Museum That is Free Year Round

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in its younger years.

If you want to see even more of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, you can book a free guided tour at the cathedral’s website – http://www.saintpatrickscathedral.org/visit.php. The tour will teach you about its rich history, and the artwork it holds, from experts. Visitors can even go underneath the chapel for a viewing of the crypt-the burial place of the former archbishops of New York- by making a reservation.