St Patrick's Cathedral

St Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral, on Fifth Avenue in New York City, is the largest decorated Gothic Catholic church in the United States. The historic seat of the Archbishop of New York and still an active parish, St. Patrick's has been the site of many celebrity weddings and funerals. The beautiful, massive ediface is a spiritual oasis amidst the hectic Midtown shopping and bustle of nearby Rockefeller Center.


The construction of St. Patrick's Cathedral was begun in 1858. At the time the site, a former orphanage, was far north of most of Manhattan's housing and urban development. It's hard to believe today, but it was practically in the country. Building was halted during the Civil War and the Gothic Revival Cathedral, designed by American James Renwick Jr., was finally completed in 1878. The Cathedral was dedicated in the following year. At the time it was completed, St. Patrick's was the largest church in the United States. Later additions to the Cathedral include the Bishop's house and rectory, in 1882-1884; the school, in 1882; and the magnificent pipe organ, in 1931.

The Building

St. Patrick's Cathedral is constructed of white marble from New York State and Massachusetts. The massive Cathedral measures 400 feet long and 174 feet wide. Its two front spires rise 330 feet above street level. The Cathedral seats approximately 2200 people.

St. Patrick's is home to a number of artistic treasures. Several of the stained glass windows were crafted in Chartres, France, after designs from the famous cathedral there. Two of the altars, the St. Michael Altar and the St. Louis Altar, were designed by Tiffany and Company, and another, the St. Elizabeth Altar, by Paolo Medici of Rome. The Cathedral houses a replica of Michelangelo's "Pieta", three times the size of the one in Rome.

St. Patrick's has two organs, the Chancel Organ, a pipe organ with 1480 pipes and the Gallery Organ, a chord organ, added in 1930, with two consoles and 177 stops. The Cathedral is noted for its fine acoustics, and the Cathedral hosts a periodic schedule of free concerts, featuring the organs, the parish choir, and, usually, guest artists.

The eight deceased Archbishops of New York, six of them Cardinals, are buried in the crypt below the sanctuary. Their symbolic red hats, called "galeros", hang above each of the graves.

Visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral

Over three million people visit St. Patrick's Cathedral each year. Visitors are invited to join the congregation for the celebration of mass, held several times daily. Visitors may also view the building between services on self-guided tours.

St. Patrick's has a gift shop in the rear of the Cathedral that sells devotional items, postcards, and seasonal gift items. Proceeds from the gift shop go to further the parish's charitable efforts.

The Cathedral is the starting point for New York City's annual Easter Parade as well as a stop along the city's St. Patrick's Day parade route.

Location: at 460 Madison Aveune, New York City, New York
Phone: 212 753-2261

Click here to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral official website.