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 St. Mary in Minneapolis. One of the most distinctive cathedrals in the United States
, it sits on Cathedral Hill overlooking downtown St. Paul and features a distinctive copper-clad dome. It is the third largest completed church in the United States, and the fourth tallest.
The current building opened in 1915 as the fourth cathedral of the archdiocese to bear this name. On March 25, 2009, it was designated as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican.
The building of the current cathedral was instigated by Archbishop John Ireland
in 1904. At Ireland's direction, the archdiocese commissioned well-known French Beaux-Arts architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, who was also the chief architect of the 1904 World
's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, and construction began in 1906. Masqueray's open design allows visitors unobstructed views of the altar and pulpit.
The design was inspired by French Renaissance architecture. The dome of the cathedral is 76 feet (23 m) in diameter and 186 feet (57 m) 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 (from the Clark quarry). The interior walls are American Travertine from Mankato
, Minnesota. The interior columns are made of several types of marble.
The interior is illuminated by twenty-four stained glass windows featuring angelic choirs. There is also a rose window in the transept designed by Charles Connick. Electric lighting was installed in 1940.In 1987 the Cathedral acquired five bronze bells cast in France
. The copper dome was renovated in 2002.
The Cathedral is normally open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. On March 25, 2009, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared the Cathedral of Saint Paul to be a National Shrine - the first in Minnesota and the only one in North America
dedicated to the Apostle Paul.The Cathedral is now also known as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul.