Washington National Cathedral – officially the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul – is the national cathedral of United States.
Located at Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues, Northwest, in Washington, D.C., it is the second-largest cathedral in United States and is ranked sixth in the world. As recognition to its historic element, the Washington National Cathedral has been designated a place in the National Register of Historic Places.
Washington National Cathedral is the official seat of both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, mother church of the Episcopal Church in the District of Columbia and the Maryland counties of Charles, St. Mary's, Prince George's, and Montgomery.
Washington National Cathedral has a quite long and unusual history: in fact, the conception of the idea to build a national cathedral could be as old as Washington itself.
In 1791, when President George Washington commissioned Major Pierre L’Enfant to design an overall plan for the future seat of the government, a national church also featured in the architect’s scheme of things.
The plan for such a church passed in and out of various discussions for more than 100 years, but nothing solid happened until 1893, when the Congress passed a charter allowing the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation of District of Colombia to establish a church and institutions of higher learning.
The charter signed by President Benjamin Harrison was virtually the birth certificate of Washington National Cathedral, an official go-ahead which eventually culminated in the historic church.
Soon land was secured on Mount St. Alban – the most commanding spot then in the entire Washington area - and in September 1907, the cornerstone was laid.
There began one of the longest constructions ever to be undertaken for a church that would eventually take 83 years to attain completion. The project had Frederick Bodley as the head architect and Henry Vaughan as his supervising counterpart.
In 1912, the Bethlehem Chapel was opened for services in the unfinished cathedral, something which it has continued to perform daily since.
The General Convention of the Episcopal Church at the cathedral followed in 1928.
Though the construction was progressing in a snails pace, Washington National Cathedral continued to find itself in the pages of history. Woodrow Wilson’s tomb was dedicated here, in 1956, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., preached his last Sunday sermon from the Canterbury Pulpit, in 1968.
Washington National Cathedral has also witnessed the State funerals of two U.S. Presidents - Dwight D. Eisenhower’s in 1969 and that of Ronald Reagan, in 2004.
Washington National Cathedral’s nave and west rose window were completed in 1976. The dedication ceremony was blessed by Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President, Gerald Ford.
The Pilgrim Observation Gallery was completed in 1982, and finally the west towers in September 1990, thus bringing an end to a project that took more than a century of planning and 83 years in construction.
Since the first services were held in Bethlehem Chapel, Washington National Cathedral has always welcomed people of all faiths, as they have gathered to worship and pray, to mourn the passing of world leaders, and to confront the pressing moral and social issues of the day.
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Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral The official name for the Washington National Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul although it goes by many aliases including The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral,Washington National Cathedral The official name for the Washington National Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul although it goes by many aliases including The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral,Washington National Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul although it goes by many aliases including The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral, The Washington Cathedral ...
Washington National Cathedral
The Cathedral needs your support to meet the needs of people who come here; to present special programs and services; and to maintain this magnificent building. Please consider the ways you can contribute to this vital work. A Call to Support ...
Washington, DC--National Cathedral
... the Federal City set aside land for a "great church for national purposes." The National Portrait Gallery now occupies that site. A century later in 1891, a meeting was held to renew plans for the cathedral. In 1893 the Protestant Episcopal ...