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Philadelphia Cathedral

Episcopal Cathedral recalls 4th-century Christian basilica

Philadelphia Cathedral

The sanctuary of the Philadelphia Cathedral. Credit: B. Krist for GPTMC

Description

The Experience

Vaulted ceilings, brilliant stained glass windows, art, open space and symbols of early Christian worship greet the visitor to this building, which has undergone many transformations since 1855. The interior architecture and minimal furnishings recreate the feeling of a 4th-century Christian basilica.

The windows in the apse depict the patron saints of the Allies in World War I. Above the new baptismal pool is Initiation, a mobile of 110 pewter shapes symbolizing some of the life and death that occurred on September 11, 2001: 45 shapes for the individuals who died on Flight 93, and 65 for the children born that day in Philadelphia.

History

The Church of the Savior, originally built in 1855, was redesigned by Charles Burnes, Jr., in 1889 and rebuilt in 1906 after a fire destroyed most of the original structure. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it was named the first Cathedral of the Pennsylvania diocese in 1992. The 2002 renovation removed the pews to create space consistent with the earliest Christian buildings in design and purpose: a space for worship, community, protection and inspiration.

Other Information

Open to public: Mon – Fri

Service times

Sunday: 10 a.m. (English),
1 p.m. (Korean)
Weekdays: 12 noon (English)

Insider Tip

The mural dome by Edwin Blashfield in the chancel and the Tiffany stained glass window along the north wall were each given in memory of church member Anthony Drexel, founder of Drexel University.

Kids’ Stuff

The new baptismal pool allows for baptism by immersion.

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