The word cathedral is derived from the Latin word cathedra (“seat” or “chair”), and refers to the presence of the bishop’s or archbishop’s chair or throne. In the ancient world, the chair was the symbol of a teacher and thus of the bishop’s role as teacher, and also of an official presiding as a magistrate and thus of the bishop’s role in governing a diocese.
Though now grammatically used as a noun, the term cathedral was originally the adjective in the phrase “cathedral church”, from the Latin ecclesia cathedralis. The seat marks the place set aside in the prominent church of the diocese for the head of that diocese and is therefore a major symbol of authority.
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), officially known in Italian as the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as St. Peter’s Basilica, is located within the Vatican City. St. Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is the symbolic “Mother church” of the Catholic Church and is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”. In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession.
Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St Peter’s since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626.
To the east of the basilica is the Piazza di San Pietro, (St. Peter’s Square). The present arrangement, constructed between 1656 and 1667, is the Baroque inspiration of Bernini who inherited a location already occupied by an Egyptian obelisk of the 13th century BC, which was centrally placed, (with some contrivance) to Maderno’s facade. The obelisk, known as “The Witness”, at 25.5 metres (84 ft) and a total height, including base and the cross on top, of 40 metres (130 ft), is the second largest standing obelisk, and the only one to remain standing since its removal from Egypt and re-erection at the Circus of Nero in 37 AD, where it is thought to have stood witness to the crucifixion of St Peter. Its removal to its present location by order of Pope Sixtus V and engineered by Domenico Fontana on September 28, 1586, was an operation fraught with difficulties and nearly ending in disaster when the ropes holding the obelisk began to smoke from the friction. Fortunately this problem was noticed by a sailor, and for his swift intervention, his village was granted the privilege of providing the palms that are used at the basilica each Palm Sunday.
Notre Dame de Paris (‘Our Lady of Paris’ in French), also known as the Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic Cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the “cathedra”, or official chair, of the Archbishop of Paris, André Cardinal Vingt-Trois. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world. It was restored and saved from destruction by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of France’s most famous architects. The name Notre Dame means “Our Lady” in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.
Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral’s architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, (French: Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal), is a Roman Catholicbasilica on the northern slope of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
In 1904, Blessed André Bessette, CSC, began the construction of a small chapel on the side of the mountain near Notre Dame College. Soon the growing number of visitors made it too small. Even though it was enlarged, a larger church was needed and in 1917 one was completed – it is called the Crypt, and has a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica was inaugurated; it was finally completed in 1967. The Oratory’s dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in the Ivory Coast and Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the church is the largest in Canada.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous Protestants. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982.
The Guadalajara Cathedral or Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady (Spanish: La Catedral de Guadalajara or Catedral de la Asunción de María Santísima), located in Guadalajara, Jalisco-Mexico, is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara and a minor basilica. It is built in the Renaissance style, with neo-gothic towers.
The first cathedral was built in 1541 on the site of the present Templo de Santa Maria de Gracia. This primitive church was built with adobe and a thatched roof. On May 30, 1574, during Mass, neighbors fired shots into the air. Some of these fell onto the church and caught fire, severely damaging the church. Work began on a new cathedral designed by master architect Martin Casillas, but progressed slowly because of scarce funds. The new cathedral was completed in February 1618. Finally in April of that year, the blessed sacrament was moved from the former church to the new one. In 1818, an earthquake shook the city, causing the towers and the dome to collapse. These were replaced, but the new structures were destroyed by a subsequent earthquake in 1849. The new towers were designed by architect Manuel Gomez Ibarra. Construction took three years and cost 33,521 pesos. The new structures were completed in 1854. PopePius XII elevated the cathedral to the rank of minor basilica.
The cathedral of Seville, Spain
The cathedral of Seville – in English die Kathedrale Sevillas – auf Deutsch La Cattedrale di Siviglia – in Italiano La cathédrale de Séville – en Français De kathedraal van Sevilla – in het Nederlands La catedral de Sevilla – en Español
It is one of the last Spanish Gothic cathedrals, and the Renaissance style is already evident there. Its impressive size makes it the third largest in the Christian world, after Saint Peter’s in Vatican city and Saint Paul’
The exterior shows off particularly well the artistry of the unknown architect in playing with volumes and spaces. You enter by the Pardoner’s door, formerly the majestic entrance of the old mosque and you will see another vestige: the peaceful Orange tree courtyard.
Inside the cathedral of Seville you will be struck by the size and richness of this universe of stone, stained glass windows and wrought iron work. The lightness of the columns accentuates the height of this hall-church with five spaces and lateral chapels. The simple crossing ogive vaults cover the nave except for the transept crossing where the flamboyant vaults stand 56 m tall. A mirror in the floor lets you appreciate the superb carving.
St. Mary Major, Rome
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its original structure, left intact despite several additional construction projects and damage from the earthquake of 1348. It is one of the five ancient basilicas of Rome. Pope Liberius Pope from 352 to 366. Liberius was pope during the turbulence caused by the rise of Arianism—a heresy teaching that Christ was not truly divine but was rather a created being. commissioned the construction of the first Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore circa 360. The night between August 4th and 5th 352 the Pontiff dreamed that the Blessed Virgin Mary invited him to build a Basilica where on the next day he would have found snow. According to legend, the outline of the church was physically laid out on the ground of the miraculous snowfall that took place on August 5, 358. Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows, local Roman Catholics commemorate the miracle on each anniversary by dropping white rose petals from the dome during the feast mass.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark, New Jersey
The Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, is an impressive French gothic cathedral with intricate sculptures, bronze doors, and over 200 stained glass windows. It’s about the size of London’s Westminster Abbey – only in Newark, New Jersey.
Following nearly 95 of planning, building, planning some more, and changing plans, the cathedral was finished in 1954. The Cathedral was elevated to the status of a Basilica by Pope John Paul II when he visited in 1995.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located at 89 Ridge Street, in Newark, New Jersey. In addition to the Mass schedule, the cathedral is open to the public Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 7 pm, and Sunday 1-3 pm. Concerts and other musical performances are offered throughout the year.
Sacred Heart is the fifth largest cathedral in the United States, and holds the largest pipe organ ever built. To fully appreciate the power and magnificence of a pipe organ, you really must hear it in person. But until you can, here’s a wonderful taste of what’s to come.
Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Grace Cathedral is home to a community where the best of Episcopal tradition courageously embraces innovation and open-minded conversation, where inclusion is expected and people of all faiths are welcomed, where beliefs are put into action and where people are encouraged to seek God and progress on their own spiritual journeys. The cathedral itself, a renowned San Francisco landmark, serves as a magnet, where diverse people gather to worship, celebrate, seek solace, converse and learn.
The National Cathedral in Washington DC
This Cathedral is officially known as The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. It had its beginning in 1803 when Congress incorporated the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation. The Foundation was laid in 1907 in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and the Cathedral was completed in 1990 in the presence of President George W.H. Bush. Built of Indiana limestone this is the 6th largest church in the world. It is built in the Gothic Style.
Cathedral ST. Gerhard ,Vrsac, Serbia
It is located on the site of the former church which had been dedicated to the same saint and it existed until 1860. The new church, which today represents one of the most representative buildings in the town, was built between 1860 and 1863, using the projects of a certain architect from Vienna, whose name was not recorded. His project was made in detail, according to the medieval Gothic culture. The building is composed as the basilica with three naves with strongly made transept in the east, wich gives the base a shape of a Latin cross. On the west side is a small porch with two thin, high bell-towers, covered with sharp-pointed roof. The lavish decoration of the facade is the most beautiful on the portals, windows, rosettes, counterfores and bell-towers.The interior of the church is richly equipped with the carved furniture, decorated with wall and altar painings, stained-glass windows and sculptures. The main altar was painted by Peter Johan Geiger, a professor of the Vienna Academy, in 1863.