NATIONAL CATHEDRAL, History

Audio File length: 2.20
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hello, my name’s Marcy, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the wonders of the world: Washington National Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

 

It is the sixth largest cathedral in the world, and the second-largest in the United States. This place of worship of the Episcopal Church was completed after 83 years of construction, which began on 29 September 1907. It was inaugurated in 1990 by George Bush.

Although a number of important ceremonies had already taken place here before the inauguration, not all the chapels had been completed. In addition, the Cathedral suffered serious damage caused by an earthquake in 2011, and has just been restored.

 

Four architects worked on the building over the years. The original Neo-Gothic design was by George Frederick Bodley, while the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the area with the high altar and the presbytery. After Bodley’s death in 1907, one of his assistants made a number of changes to the original design, but work on the cathedral was halted during the First World War. When work recommenced, it was an architecture firm from New York that completed the project, maintaining the original idea, including the addition of the third tower and the extension of the large west facade.

 

The National Cathedral has hosted numerous public ceremonies, such as the funerals of three US Presidents, including Ronald Reagan, as well as religious services in memory of major personalities, such as the astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, and the South African President Nelson Mandela.

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, amongst others, came here to pray after they became President.

It was from the pulpit of this magnificent Cathedral that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his last Sunday sermon to the faithful on 31 March 1968, just days before he was assassinated.

 

An interesting fact: Philip Hubert Frohman, the last architect who contributed to the completion of the works, was very much a prodigy. He designed his first house at the age of 14, and received his degree in architecture at 16.

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