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St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Patrick, often referred to as St. Patrick's Cathedral, is a decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church on 5th Avenue between E. 50th and 51st Streets in Midtown Manhattan. It is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and sits directly across from Rockefeller Center. It is considered one of the most visible symbols of Roman Catholicism in New York City and the United States.

The Diocese of New York, created in 1808, was made an archdiocese by Pope Pius IX on July 19, 1850. In 1853, Archbishop John Joseph Hughes announced his intention to erect a new cathedral to replace the Old Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. The new cathedral was designed by James Renwick Jr. in the Gothic Revival style. On August 15, 1858, the cornerstone was laid. The location, while in the heart of present-day midtown Manhattan, was far north of the populous areas of New York City in the mid-1800s.

Work began in 1858, but stopped during the Civil War, and resumed in 1865. The cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879. The archbishop's house and rectory were added in 1880, both designed by James Renwick Jr., and an adjacent school (no longer in existence) opened in 1882. The spires were added in 1888, and at 329 feet and 6 inches, were in fact the tallest structures in New York City, and the second highest in the United States, at that time. The final East addition, including a Lady chapel, was designed by Charles T. Matthews and constructed between 1901 to 1906.

In 1927 and 1931, the cathedral was renovated, which included an enlargement of the sanctuary and the installation of a new organ. The cathedral and associated buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. A second more recent extensive restoration of the cathedral was begun in 2012 and was completed by September 17, 2015, in time for Pope Francis’ visit on September 24 and 25, 2015. The restoration cleaned the exterior marble, repaired stained glass windows, painted the ceiling, and repaired the flooring and steps, along with other restorations.

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