Let me first start by saying, no I am not Catholic, not even close, but I recognize a beautiful church when I see one and this one is gorgeous! Here is some HX of the church.
Art & Architecture
In 1905, Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, a French architect trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, was selected to design what we know today as the fourth Cathedral of Saint Paul. Masqueray's devotion to the Catholic faith and his warm, personal relationship with Archbishop Ireland made him uniquely suited to the task.
Ireland and his building committee wanted to create a structure that would stand for centuries. The new Cathedral needed to be "a modern building, perfect in its acoustics, in its sanitary, ventilating, heating and other detailsâ€¦," according to a peer of Masqueray. Thus was the task of Masqueray and the many designers, craftsman, laborers, clergy and laypeople who worked on this structure.
Building and Architectural Facts
- Exterior walls are Saint Cloud granite
- Interior walls are American Travertine from Mankato, Minnesota
- Height: 306.5 ft. Length: 307 ft. Width: 216 ft.
- Seating capacity: 3,000
- The seven bronze grilles surrounding the altar depict the human response to God's grace. Since the Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Paul, special recognition is given to him in the bronze masterpieces.
- The chair in the sanctuary (the cathedra) denotes the Cathedral as the Archbishop's church.
- The Shrines of the Nations surrounding the sanctuary represent the national patron saints of the people who settled this city and state.
- The main walls of the Chapels are finished in Italian Botticino marble.
- The Ernest Skinner organ was installed in the sanctuary in 1927 and the Aeolian-Skinner organ in the choir loft in 1963.
- The east-facing window is the Resurrection window. The south rose window takes its theme from the Beatitudes and the north rose window depicts the eight North American Martyrs. These windows are the work of renowned stained glass artist Charles Connick.
The Cathedral's most prominent feature is a 120-foot-wide dome made of curved steel beams, covered with a clay tile surface and overlaid with copper. A copper-clad lantern, approximately 30 feet tall, sits on top of the dome. From the base to the very top of the lantern, the Cathedral stands 306 feet tall.
The church body is made of granite stone from St. Cloud, Minnesota, in the shape of a Greek cross with nearly equal length arms. Twin 150-foot towers flank the main faÃ§ade. The three front entrances rest under a monumental arch, which also frames a large rose window.
Masqueray completed only a few interior designs before he died suddenly in 1917. Consequently, the archbishops and designers who succeeded Ireland and Masqueray assumed the responsibility of transforming the Cathedral's stark, whitewashed interior into a decorative masterpiece.
The marble altar is surrounded by an ornamental structure called a baldachin. At its base are six monolithic columns of black and gold marble, each 24-feet high and weighing almost eight tons. A bronze latticework canopy, which includes two angels and a sculpture of Saint Paul, rests on the pillars.
Ornamentation on the dome above the main altar was completed in May 1927. At the highest point is a painting of the Holy Spirit. Beneath this image are paintings of the Holy Spirit's Seven Gifts: knowledge, counsel, understanding, piety, wisdom, fear of the Lord, and fortitude. The dome's seven stained glass windows each represent a sacrament: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.
Surrounding the sanctuary are massive bronze grilles, with depictions of the life and ministry of Saint Paul on the top, as well as of various angels and saints on the main sections.
The Shrine and Chapels
|Mary holding Christ after crucifixion|
Four ornate side chapels, constructed between 1914 and 1933, honor Saint Peter, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Joseph, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The First World War interrupted construction of The Chapel of Saint Joseph, but it was completed in 1918 with the aid of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and their benefactors.
The Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary received financial support from Catholic women in the Archdiocese. This chapel, completed in 1919, features a statue of a young Blessed Mother holding the Child Jesus. The sculptor, Leon Hermant, considered this piece his masterpiece.
The Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was built during the Great Depression and was established as a devotion to a compassionate Jesus who understood the struggles faced by his people. This was the side altar sponsored and built by the workers themselves, and features an unusual and beautiful reddish marble altar.
Four massive piers support the dome. At the top of each pier is a 25-foot-high mosaic, each with an angel representing one of the four cardinal virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice. At the base of each pier is a 12-foot statue of one of the four Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The symbolism here is unmistakable - just as the piers uphold the Cathedral, the Word of God upholds the Church.
East Rose WindowThe 26-foot-diameter east rose window, known as the Resurrection Window, depicts the Lamb of God in the center of a cross. Surrounding the lamb are the 12 apostles and a motif of vines and branches, representing Christ and his followers.
North Rose WindowThe American Jesuit Martyrs window, on the north side, commemorates the eight North American martyrs.
South Rose WindowThe south rose window is a pictorial display of the Beatitudes. Jesus sits in the center of the window and is surrounded by eight saints of the Americas who exemplify the beatitudes.
Other WindowsOther beautiful stained glass windows can be found throughout the Cathedral, not only in the various side chapels but in the transcepts and entryways as well. These windows have depictions of Christ and various saints and past figures of Christian history. Among them are ones of Saint Teresa of Avila, the Last Supper, Christ as the Good Shepherd, Pope Benedict XV, and Saint Dismas (the "Good Thief" alongside Christ on the cross).
Paintings and FrescoesThree large paintings in the Cathedral represent scenes from Christ's crucifixion and death. The Entombment, a painting in dark tones depicting the preparation of Jesus' body after his death, was painted by 19th century artist Theodule-Augustin Ribot. Two other paintings are The Crucifixion by Minnesota native Nicholas Richard Brewer and The Descent from the Cross (1867) by Karl-Ernest-Rodolphe-Heinrich-Salem Lehmann.
More recent additions are two frescoes painted by Minnesota artist Mark Balma in the mid 1990s. One tells the story of Bishop Joseph Cretin's arriving at his newly created diocese in 1851. The other fresco depicts Archbishop Ireland leading a procession for the first Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Paul on Palm Sunday 1915.