The Cathedral of Saint Paul is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of St Paul, Minnesota. It is the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis along with the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis. One of the most distinctive cathedrals in the United States, it sits on Summit Hill overlooking downtown St Paul and features a distinctive copper-clad dome. The current building opened in 1915 as the fourth cathedral of the archdiocese to bear this name.


The building of the current structure was instigated by Archbishop John Ireland in 1904. At Ireland's direction, the archdiocese commissioned well-known French Beaux-Arts architect Emmanuel Masqueray, who was also the chief architect of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Masqueray's open design allows visitors unobstructed views of the altar and pulpit. Construction began in 1906. Masqueray died in 1917, having completed only a few designs for the interior, which has been filled by other designers in the subsequent decades.

The inspirations for the Cathedral of Saint Paul were the traditional cathedral designs of Europe. The dome of the cathedral is 96 feet in diameter and 175 feet high. Warm-colored paint and gold leaf were added during a major renovation of the dome in the 1950s. The exterior walls of the cathedral are Rockville granite from St. Cloud, Minnesota. The interior walls are American Travertine from Mankato, Minnesota. The interior columns are made of several types of imported marble.

The interior is illuminated in the dome by twenty-four stained glass windows of the angelic choirs, as well as a rose windows in the transept designed by Charles Connick. Electric lighting was installed in 1940.

The cathedral has statues of the four evangelists in the four corners of its main pier. The life of Saint Paul is honored by a bronze baldachin, as well as massive bronze Te Deum and Magnificat grilles. The cathedral also has six chapels dedicated to the patron patron saints of the European ethnic groups that settled the area around the city: St. Anthony for the Italians, St. John the Baptist for the French Canadians, St. Patrick for the Irish, St. Boniface for the Germans, Saints Cyril and Methodius for the Slavs; and St. Therese of Lisieux for the missionaries.

In 1987 the cathedral acquired five bronze bells cast in France. The copper dome was renovated in 2002.

From 2001 through early 2005, members of the Rainbow Sash LGBT support movement had been receiving Holy Communion at the cathedral. A policy change was made (reportedly under pressure from the Vatican), and about 100 people were denied the Eucharist on May 15, 2005. Demonstrations for a variety of causes have occurred at the cathedral over the years, likely due in part to the building's proximity to the Minnesota State Capitol (also a notable domed structure).

The cathedral is open seven days a week for approximately 12 hours a day. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

External linksEdit

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