St. Patrick Cathedral, New York

By | October 2, 2022

An unmissable landmark and highly valued monument of New York is the Cathedral of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is the largest neo-Gothic cathedral in North America. It is a popular place of peace where you can relax from all the chaos and hectic life of the metropolis.

Built between 1858 and 1878, the cathedral is wedged into a densely built-up area, located on the block between 50th and 51st Streets, Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, near Rockefeller Center. Although it reaches a respectable height of 100 meters, it is lost among the New York skyscrapers like a dwarf. Nevertheless, the building is really huge, measuring 101 meters in length and 53 meters in width. Its premises are thus an ideal place for various events, such as weddings, funerals, religious services and various city celebrations. The main ship can accommodate up to 2,500 people. It is the parish church and seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

According to, The history of the diocese in New York dates back to 1808. Two years later, the land where the cathedral stands today was purchased for 11,000 dollars as a site for a boys’ Catholic school. However, the plan to build a school was not realized, so the land was sold in 1813. In 1858, Archbishop John Joseph Hughes announced plans to build a cathedral to replace the old cathedral, which had been destroyed by fire in 1866. Construction began relatively early, the foundation stone being laid on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1858.The new cathedral began to be built south of the orphanage, which belonged to the diocese, but at the same time far from the densely populated part of the city.

The work followed the plans of architect James Renwick Jr. He built the cathedral in the Gothic Revival style and its architecture is truly timeless. His model was the Gothic cathedral in Cologne, but he also used some elements from other places in Europe. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is built from white marble quarried in the states of Massachusetts and New York. The windows were made by artists in Birmingham, Boston and Chartres.

During the civil war, the construction of the cathedral was suspended. From 1865, the first American cardinal, John Cardinal McCloskey, continued the construction. The construction of the new cathedral was completed in 1878 and on May 25, 1879 it began to serve its purpose. In the years 1882 – 1884, the archbishop’s house, rectory and school were added. Finally, Archbishop Michael Corrigan had two towers built on the west side of the cathedral. These were completed in 1888 and have dominated the cityscape ever since. Until the advent of skyscrapers in the 1930s, the cathedral was the tallest building in New York.

The cathedral was originally decorated with Renwick’s east wall. However, in 1906, at the request of Bishop Michael Corrigan, it was replaced by the Lady Chapel designed by Charles T. Matthews. In 1946, three more bronze doors leading towards Fifth Avenue were added. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first saint of American origin, is depicted on the front door today, together with other saints. An altar with a bronze statue is also dedicated to her.

The construction of the Marian chapel was completed by Cardinal Farley. After the interior restoration was completed under the leadership of Cardinal Gates, the entire cathedral had to be renovated on the outside in the years 1927-1931. The exterior of the cathedral, but also the high altar, was repaired by the bishopric of Cardinal Francis Spellman. Over time, it was necessary to carry out other work, such as repositioning a large part of the roof or modifying the external stairs.

When entering the cathedral, notice the large eight-meter rosette above the main entrance, through which light flows into the church. During the tour of the cathedral, it is necessary to behave quietly and respectfully. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is not like other Gothic cathedrals, because it lacks supporting arches, but there is a seventeen-meter bronze canopy above the altar. Be sure to also visit the Lady Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, where you can see the marble Pietà by William O. Portridge from 1906.

Also in the second half of the 20th century, substantial funds were spent several times to repair the cathedral. In the 1980s, Cardinal John O’Connor undertook further restoration work. In 1988-1989, modern lighting was installed in the cathedral. In 2003, the Lady Chapel and Chapels of Sts were restored. Anghony, Louis, Michael and Elizabeth.

Cathedral of St. Many special guests have visited Patrick in the past. One of the rarest was Pope John Paul II in 1978, whose bust is located in the back of the cathedral. Currently, the cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of New York and is visited by over 3 million people every year. Every year, on the feast of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 is celebrated by Irish Catholics. Old Cathedral of St. St. Patrick’s is still used as a parish church and is the oldest Catholic site in New York.

St. Patrick Cathedral, New York