Five Reasons to See the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine is one of the most impressive buildings in Manhattan. The imposing Gothic-revival structure on Amsterdam Avenue hosts hundreds of events, both secular and sacred, throughout the year. While the cathedral may be nicknamed “Saint John the Unfinished,” the gloriously incomplete edifice attracts and fascinates visitors from around the world. Here’s some reasons why you should check it out:
It’s the World’s Largest Cathedral (Or Is It?)
Undeniably massive, there’s still some debate as to whether Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine is indeed the largest cathedral in the world. Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy, is indeed the biggest church, but it is not technically a “cathedral.” (To be a cathedral, a building must host the ceremonial seat of a bishop.) However, there’s some debate as to whether Liverpool Cathedral beats Saint John the Divine for the title of the world’s largest cathedral. At over 600 feet long, Saint John the Divine is at least one of the top five largest church buildings in the world.
You Can Climb To The Rooftop
Every Wednesday and Saturday, cathedral tour guides take visitors up the spiral staircases to experience the sheer heights from the flying buttresses. The tour culminates with a trip to the rooftop, offering spectacular views of northern Manhattan. Guests will climb up to 124 feet high, therefore this is not for the faint of heart.
There’s a Stained Glass Window Featuring a Television
The cathedral features possibly the only stained glass window of a television. In the cathedral nave, there are fourteen themed windows celebrating human professions and achievements. The “Communications” section shows a 1925 prototype television, though some argue that the futuristic-looking square also looks suspiciously like a computer, too.
There’s an Animal Blessing Every Year (Including Elephants!)
To celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals, the Cathedral hosts a wondrous Blessing of the Animals liturgy, featuring music, dance, and a procession of all types of animals. Previous guests have comprised a pair of llamas, retired circus elephants, even a giraffe.
Peacocks Live Here (and They Have Their Own Twitter)
Phil, Jim and Harry are the resident cathedral peacocks. Peacock Phil is the most famous of the trio, and is something of a local celebrity with his own twitter and youtube. Don’t be surprised if you catch him showing off his plummage as he struts his stuff on the cathedral campus.
Visit http://www.stjohndivine.org/ for information on visiting hours, tours, etc.