The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the Mother Church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, as well as the official seat of the Bishop of New York. The construction of the Cathedral began over 120 years ago, in 1892, but today it is still an unfinished work. It is not complete but is still among the largest churches in the world. The buildings were designed in many different styles and construction has taken a lot of time.
Real Miracle of Engineering
Despite this being one of the largest cathedrals in the world, it is a landmark of the Anglican world in the United States.
Due to its complexity and size, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is considered to be a real miracle of human engineering.
The continuous interruptions of the work of the Cathedral have meant that today we can admire a series of decorative elements that have been made according to different architectural styles. Both outside and inside the Cathedral, visitors are overwhelmed by the wonderful combination that manages to convey the details in Romanesque, Byzantine and neo-Gothic style.
Largest Cathedrals in the World
The Cathedral was designed following ancient medieval traditions, and in fact, its footprint recalls the shape of a Roman cross. The central facade is dominated by an imposing bronze door, known as the “Portal of Paradise”, on which a series of bas-reliefs are engraved.
In a metropolis, there is the Big Apple, dominated by the immense skyscrapers of Manhattan, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, the impression for its architectural grandeur and its 70 meters high towers dominates the panorama of Amsterdam Avenue. The idea of building an Episcopal cathedral in New York City was launched way back in 1828 by Bishop John Henry Hobart. In 1887, thanks to the then Bishop Henry Codman Potter, a 13-acre land known as Morningside Heights was acquired.
The first stone was laid by Henry Codman Potter on December 27, 1892, and excavations for the construction of the Cathedral began immediately after. The first phase of the work is entrusted to the architects George Lewis Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, who design the structure according to the Romanesque-Byzantine style by providing seven apsidal chapels in the design. The second phase of the construction of the Cathedral begins in 1911 and bears the signature of Ralph Adams Cram, who designs the central nave according to the neo-Gothic style and giving life to a large central rose window of clear medieval origin which is composed with images and figures in style modern and art deco.
Saint John the Divine Cathedral was consecrated on November 30, 1941, but a week later its construction was halted due to the Pearl Harbor attacks that brought the United States into World War II. The third phase of the works begins in 1979 and leads to the construction of the south bell tower and the sculptures of the central facade of the Cathedral.