The Cathedral of St. Patrick (commonly called St. Patrick’s Cathedral) is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church and the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. It is located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in midtown Manhattan, directly across the street from Rockefeller Center.
Here are the facts you ought to know:
- the cornerstone was laid on August 15, 1858
- opened on May 25th, 1879 (took 21 years to build)
- James Renwick’s design was based on the cathedral in Cologne, Germany
- it takes up the entire sity block is the largest gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral in the US
- it is in the shape of a short-armed crucifix: 332 feet long and 172 feet wide
- it is made of brick and covered with white marble
- the spires rise 330 feet above street level
- there are 35 interior columns
- it seats 2,400 people
- it has 21 altars and 19 bells, each named after a different saint
- it has over 2,800 stained glass panels
- the giant stained glass Rose Window facing above the 5th Avenue entrance is 26 feet wide
- the new gallery organ, which was replaced in 1930, has 7,855 pipes (there are 2 other, smaller organs)
- there are between 18 and 15 masses said every day, and 150 weddings every year
- over five million people visit the Cathedral every year (that’s almost 1.5 million more than the Empire State Bldg)
The Cathedral was named after St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, in response to the increasing numbers of Irish immigrants in the city.
Prior to the opening of the “new” St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York resided at the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral, or Old St. Patrick’s which was and still is located on Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan.
The baldachin over the main altar is solid bronze.
The St. Michael and St. Louis altar were designed by Tiffany and Company. The St. Elizabeth altar was designed by Paolo Medici of Rome.
The Stations of the Cross are works of art which won first prize at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
The Pieta is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter’s, Rome.
The enormous door in the central porch, weighing nine tonnes, is decorated with sculptures depicting some of New York’s most important religious figures.
Archbishops of New York are buried in a crypt under the high altar. Their honorary hats, called galeros, hang from the ceiling over their tombs.
A recent chapel was added in homage to the Polish saint, Our Lady of Czestochowa.
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