A great restoration St. Paul's Cathedral


The Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, MN, is in my estimation a candidate for “grandest cathedral in these USA”. It is also the National Shrine of St. Paul.

One of the advantages of this cathedral is that is wasn’t badly ravaged by the liturgical vandals that swept across the Church with their jackhammers and whitewash and sentimental gewgaws. There was one casualty, however: the cathedra, the bishop’s chair, the symbol of his authority.

In the ancient Roman churches, the cathedra was placed in the center of the apse. The bishop would preach while seated in the stylized chair. Over time it was generally moved to the “Northern” wall of the sanctuary and surmounted by a canopy. In the Roman Rite, when the bishop was present at Mass or celebrant, it would also be draped in the color of the vestments. Moreover, like a classic Roman altar, it was elevated by an odd number of steps and it had a platform wide enough so that the bishop could be flanked by deacons.
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