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Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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Cathedral of St. John the Divine
St. John the Divine Cathedral, St. John the Divine Episcopal Cathedral


Structure in General

under construction [frame assembly]


church (anglican)


  • This church is the largest gothic cathedral in the world.
  • Originally conceived as a hybrid of Romanesque revival and Byzantine design by Heins & Lafarge.
  • Construction started in 1892, but 15 years into construction the lead architect died, and the cathedral released the firm from its contract.
  • Ralph Adams Cram was chosen in 1907 as the lead architect, though he had a different idea of what the cathedral should look and redesigned everything in a gothic style.
  • By 1911, the choir and the crossing were completed. A dome was placed to cover the crossing of the cathedral bringing the cathedral's height to 162 feet. The plans for the massive spire were scrapped.
  • In 1916, ground was broken on the massive nave, and the foundation for it was laid that year.
  • In 1918, the Chapels of the Tongues were completed. These chapels are each dedicated to a different group of New York City immigrants, and are located around the Choir and High Altar.
  • From 1921 to 1946, Bishop William Thomas Manning oversaw the construction and completion of the west front, nave, baptistry, and part of the north transept. The full length of the Nave was opened on November 30, 1941.
  • Construction halted in 1941 due to World War II, and nothing else was constructed on the cathedral until the early 1970s. Even today, work is intermittent, at best.
  • As of 2005, the full cathedral is two-thirds completed. The great crossing, choir roof, towers, and transepts remain unfinished.
  • When completed, St. John the Divine will be the largest church in the United States.
  • The church has a seating capacity within the nave of around 6,000. If completed, though, and including all other smaller chapels, the seating capacity could be around 10,000.
  • Once completed, the area could be anywhere from 109,000 to 120,000 square feet, and include 16,822,000 cubic feet of space.
  • When completed, the western twin towers of the church will rise to a height of 268 feet, and the central cathedral tower will soar to a height of 455 feet.
  • The basement level of the church includes a gymnasium for the Cathedral School, and the crypt, which was once the temporary chapel when the church was being constructed.
  • The cathedral is faced in Mohegan granite, which was quarried in upstate New York.
  • The cathedral is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

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More Information


1021-1061 Amsterdam Avenue
419 West 110th Street
1047 Amsterdam Avenue
Morningside Heights
New York City
New York

Technical Data

601.01 ft
207.00 ft

Involved Companies

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
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