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Title: A guide to the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the city of New York

Author: Edward Hagaman Hall

Release date: May 17, 2022 [eBook #68112]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: The Laymen's Club of the Cathedral, 1920

Credits: Charlene Taylor and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



A Guide to
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
in the City of New York.



(From Architect’s Design)


A Guide to the
Cathedral Church
Saint John the Divine
in the City of New York
Edward Hagaman Hall, L. H. D.

New York
The Laymen’s Club of the Cathedral

Fifth Edition.


Copyright, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924, by
The Laymen’s Club of
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine,
New York, N. Y.


Introductory Note

This Guide to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine purposely departs from the conventional guide book in several respects. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is not centuries old like those in Europe, but is in the building; and it has seemed appropriate in the first place to express something of its Spirit before describing the details of its Fabric. In the next place, the great majority of visitors to the Cathedral are strangers, people of other denominations, and, on account of its proximity to one of the leading American universities, students. For this reason, an effort has been made to avoid technical terms as far as possible; to explain the significance of much symbolism not generally understood; and to insert Bible references freely for the benefit of those who wish to study further the meaning of the scenes and objects described. Lest some of the explanations—as, for instance, that in regard to the probable date of the completion of the Cathedral—be deemed superfluous, it may be said that this, as well as nearly every other statement in the following pages, is an answer to some question asked among the thousand and one interrogations which manifest popular interest in the Cathedral’s growth. In response to more than one request, “some of those little things that one would tell informally in explaining the Cathedral to a friend” have been included. Among these are the incident of the blind woman who “saw” the Cathedral, which possesses[6] a touching human interest; and the story of the Dove of Peace, in which may be seen the beginning of the traditional lore that will grow up around the Cathedral as the years roll on.

For their valuable cooperation in the preparation of the Guide, grateful acknowledgment is made to the Very Rev. Howard C. Robbins, D.D., Dean of the Cathedral, and to the Rev. George F. Nelson, D.D., and the Rev. Robert Ellis Jones. D.D., Canons. Many thanks for courtesies and accommodations in photographing and studying the Cathedral are also due to Mr. Thomas Meatyard, the Verger.

The Cathedral Flag

(See Page 56)



The Real Cathedral 11
Praise in its Greatness 12
Praise in its Beauty 12
Praise in its Service 13
The Spirit of Democracy 14
A Civic Institution 15
A Great Symbol 16
A Sign of Stability 16
Name and Namesake 19
Location and Access 20
Administration and Clergy 22
Seals 23
Services 25
Visitors 26
Architecture 27
Plan and Size 27
Progress of Construction 28
Funds for Building 29
Foundation and Structure 31
Exterior of Chapels 31
Clerestory of Choir 33
Stone Shields 33
West Front 34
Nave 36
Crossing 40
Pulpit 42
Tapestries 46
Litany Desk 46
Choir 48
Choir Parapet 49
Pavements 51
Lectern 52
Choir Stalls 54
Organ 55
Cathedral Flag 56
High Altar 56
Credence Table 58
Great Columns 59
Clerestory Windows 60
Ambulatory 66
Founder’s Tomb 68
Choir Boys’ Stone 69
Seven Chapels of Tongues 69
Chapel of St. James 71
Chapel of St. Ambrose 76
Chapel of St. Martin 80
Chapel of St. Saviour 84
Chapel of St. Columba 87
Chapel of St. Boniface 90
Chapel of St. Ansgarius 95
Corner Stone 100
Crypt 100
Summary of Dimensions 101
Bishops of New York 102
Bishop’s House 104
Deanery 104
Choir School 106
St. Faith’s House 110
Synod House 110
Open Air Pulpit 114
Cathedral Organizations 115
Guide Book 116


Transcriber's Note: Click plan for larger version.



Seven Chapels of Tongues

The Old Synod House (formerly the Leake & Watts Orphan Asylum) stands on the site of the South Transept (5) and is not represented on this plan.



Cathedral from northeast, complete exterior design, from architect’s drawing Frontispiece
Flag of the Cathedral 6
Plan of the Cathedral and Close 8-9
East end of Cathedral (exterior) 18
Seal of the Diocese 24
Seal of the Cathedral 24
ΙϹ-ΧϹ-ΝΙ-ΚΑ symbol “Jesus Christ Conquers” 34
SP-SF-SS symbol, “Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit” 34
Symbols of St. Luke 34
West Front, from architect’s drawing 35
Nave (exterior), from composite photograph of model 37
Nave (interior), from composite photograph of model 39
Nave foundation and Crossing (exterior) 41
Pulpit (indoors) 43
Barberini tapestry, “The Last Supper” 45
Crossing and Choir (interior) 47
Choir Stalls, south side 53
High Altar 57
Credence Table with Magna Charta Stones 58
The Founder’s Tomb 67
Chapel of St. James (interior) 73
Coats of Arms in windows of Chapel of St. Martin:
City of Rheims 82
Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris 82
Archbishop of Tours 82
Chapter of Poitiers 82
St. Martin of Tours 82
Archdiocese of Rheims 82
Dukes of Orleans 82
Niche of England Cathedral Stones 95
The Sacrifice 99
Bishop’s House 105
Deanery 107
Choir School 109
Synod House 111


Part One
The Spirit of the Cathedral

The Real Cathedral

On Morningside Heights, in the City of New York, on ground consecrated by the blood of our forefathers in the War for Independence, stands a trinity of institutions which represent with singular completeness the three-fold nature of man: Columbia University, which ministers to the Mind; St. Luke’s Hospital, which ministers to the Body; and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which ministers to the Soul.

This little book is designed to assist visitors to understand the meaning and purpose of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Some such aid, either written or oral, is needed, for a great cathedral cannot be comprehended in the glance of an eye. Certain features, such as its magnitude and general beauty, are obvious; but inwrought with these is a wealth of meaning which is the soul of the Cathedral—the real Cathedral—and which reveals itself only on intimate acquaintance. When Ruskin called Amiens Cathedral “The Bible of Amiens,” he used a figure of speech applicable to all cathedrals. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is “The Word in stone.” It is a sacred book, written in massive pier and ponderous arch, in sculptured marble and carved oak, in stained glass window and inlaid mosaic, in embroidered fabric and woven tapestry, whose pages are full of delight, inspiration and help for those who will take the trouble to read them.


The Cathedral performs its function as a place for the praise and worship of Almighty God in two ways—statically in the grandeur and beauty of the temple, and actively in the services held within it.

Praise in its Greatness

Like other great cathedrals, St. John the Divine first impresses by its size. Its magnitude is not only becoming to its rank as the chief church of the great Diocese of New York and necessary for the accommodation of large congregations, but it also has a spiritual purpose, for it gives one the feeling of something bigger than one’s self and of a Power greater than one’s own. “The Cathedral gives me a feeling of humility,” said a man to Bishop Greer one day. “When I go in,” said a college girl to him, “I forget myself.” And a man whom the Bishop met in the Ambulatory said to him: “If I came here regularly, something about it,—its size, its spaciousness, its loftiness, its great receding Choir—something about it would compel me to be a churchman.”

Praise in its Beauty

The Cathedral is designed also to praise God in the glory of its Beauty. Ruskin, in “The Laws of Fesole,” says that “all great art is praise.” Here we have the three great and enduring arts of Architecture, Sculpture and Painting (the latter as yet only in stained glass,) combined in a wonderful Te Deum of Beauty. For centuries the great cathedrals of the world have been the caskets of certain kinds of art—or, rather, of certain kinds of expression of art—not elsewhere to be found; and in this respect the Cathedral of St. John the Divine fills a place in our American life which no secular building can fill. In the beauty of its general form, in the beauty of its detail, in the beauty of its symbolism, and in the record of[13] human achievement in godly living which these express, the Cathedral stirs the most reverent emotions and creates the noblest aspirations.

Praise in its Service

But these silent though eloquent physical features are only adjuncts and helps to the active expression of praise in the Cathedral Service. In this, the impressive rites of the church and the congregational participation are aided by music brought to a high degree of perfection, and the preaching from the pulpit aims to interpret the Christian religion in terms of the practical every-day life of to-day.

In short, the Cathedral endeavors to employ all that is beautiful and majestic in Art and Service to bring God closer to men and to draw men closer to God.

Those who live near enough to the Cathedral to be able to attend its services frequently can appreciate the words of a man who lived most of his life in one of the great cathedral towns of England, and who said:

“I account it one of the greatest blessings of my life, and a circumstance which gave a tone to my imagination which I would not resign for many earthly gifts, that I lived in a place where the cathedral service was duly and beautifully performed.... If the object of devotion be to make us feel, and to carry away the soul from all earthly thoughts, assuredly the grand chaunts of our cathedral service are not without their use. I admire—none can admire more—the abstract idea of an assembly of reasoning beings offering up to the Author of all good things their thanksgivings in a pure and intelligible form of words; but the question will always intrude, Does the heart[14] go along with this lip service? and is the mind sufficiently excited by this reasonable worship to forget its accustomed associations with the business and vanities and passions of the world? The cathedral service does affect the imagination and through that channel the heart.”

The Spirit of Democracy

While the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is a Protestant Episcopal Cathedral, its ministrations are not restricted. “Our democratic age,” said Bishop Henry C. Potter, “demands a place of worship that will not disregard the teachings of the Founder of Christianity. In this Cathedral there will be no pews, no locked doors, no pre-payment for sittings, no reserved rights of caste or rank, but one and the same welcome for all.” And what Bishop Potter prophesied when the Cathedral was first planned is literally true to-day. The charter of the Cathedral requires that “the seats for worshippers in said Cathedral Church shall always be free;” and the Cathedral welcomes everybody to its services, irrespective of denominational affiliations, nationality or worldly estate. The Cathedral also welcomes those who belong to no denomination. Its appeal to the latter was particularly contemplated when Bishop Potter said: “The person in the period of suspense as to certain fundamental beliefs needs something larger, higher, wider and roomier, more impersonal for the time being, than the parish church.” It is hardly necessary to add as a corollary of the foregoing that there are no “strangers’ pews” in the Cathedral; and nobody, however unaccustomed to the Cathedral service, needs to feel any timidity or hesitation about attending. The large proportion of men in the Cathedral congregations is particularly noticeable.


A Civic Institution

In its present state of incompletion, without Nave and Transepts, the capacity of the Cathedral is taxed to the utmost by its ordinary congregations, and on special occasions thousands are turned away unable to enter. The completion of the Cathedral is therefore imperative; and this is so for more than denominational reasons, for the many notable special services held during and immediately following the late war already foreshadow the position which it is destined to occupy as a great Civic and National Institution. The Board of Trustees recently said: “The city requires a religious edifice where people can gather together in large numbers to express in a corporate way their religious promptings and to find spiritual interpretation of great events.” Such were the gatherings,—to mention but a few instances,—on the occasion of the Kossovo Day service June 16, 1918; the thanksgiving for the withdrawal of Austria from the war November 10, 1918; the thanksgiving for the cessation of hostilities November 17; the thanksgiving of the twelve Liberated Nationalities of middle Europe November 24; the great Thanksgiving Day service for victory November 28;[1] the rendering of Gounod’s “Death and Life” December 1, 1918, and Dvorak’s “Requiem” March 30, 1919, for all who died in the war; the memorial service of the 107th (including the former 7th) regiment April 27, 1919; the Lusitania memorial service May 7; the New York Letter Carriers’ memorial service May 25; etc. People rarely think of the English cathedrals as belonging to the[16] Church of England or of the French cathedrals as belonging to the Roman Catholic church. They are regarded as belonging to everybody. And such, it is believed, is the place which the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will occupy in the minds of the people of the city and nation.

A Great Symbol

The symbolism of various details of the Cathedral will be mentioned hereafter; but it should be said here that the Cathedral as a whole is a great and wonderful symbol. “The religion which is inwrought with all the history of the American people,” said Bishop Potter, “stands for certain lofty ideals of truth, purity, honesty, loyalty and self-sacrifice. Every ideal must have some visible expression or symbol, and this ideal of our religious faith from the very nature of it demands expression, incarnation, visible and material utterance worthy of its majesty and grandeur.” And the Trustees not long ago said: “New York is the chief city of the Western World. It impresses the imagination at every turn by visible evidence of the power and splendor of material achievements in American life. Such a city should be dominated by a building which, in its greatness, dignity and beauty, bears witness to those spiritual forces without which material achievement is valueless because soulless.”

A Sign of Stability

This ever-changing city also needs the Cathedral as an evidence of stability. Business structures and apartment houses rise and disappear in a generation under the exigencies of the city’s growth. Even parish churches give way under this seemingly irresistible pressure. There is consequently little upon which to fasten permanently one’s memories, affections and historical traditions. Amid the changes and uncertainties[17] of human life, man instinctively looks to the Church for something of permanence—something after all to which he can fasten his faith and upon which he can anchor his hopes. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, resting in its massive solidity upon the ancient rocks of Morningside Heights, gives an idea of firmness and stability in contrast with the fleeting changes around it and symbolizes Eternity as nearly as anything erected by the hands of man can. It will stand for unmeasured time as an eloquent memorial of the best and noblest of human effort and will serve as a visible bond to bind together generations of high endeavor. “A cathedral,” said Dean Robbins in a sermon on December 17, 1916, “is a symbol of continuity of life through the ages. It is a reminder of the relatedness in which men stand not only to one another but also to those who have preceded them, to all that is still memorable in a not quite vanished past.” And looking to the future he spoke of the meaning of the Cathedral to coming generations when it should have become adorned with associations growing like ivy over walls made venerable by time. “Perhaps they will be greater memories, more glorious associations, than our best hopes can now forecast.... Who can tell what the hidden, wonderful, all-possible future may have in store for our Cathedral, what hopes and purposes and sorrows and rejoicings will receive their consecration within its slowly aging walls?”



(Choir School at left)


Part Two
The Fabric of the Cathedral

Name and Namesake

The legal title of the Cathedral is “the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the City and Diocese of New York.” The adjective “cathedral,” commonly used as a noun, is derived from the Greek word “cathedra” which means “seat.” In the Cathedral is the cathedra of the Bishop of the Diocese of New York. It is not a parish church and has no members in the sense in which a parish church has members; but persons desiring to assist in cathedral work may join the auxiliary organizations mentioned on page 115 following. The Cathedral is the chief church of the Diocese which embraces 294 different parishes and missions.

The Cathedral is named after the author of the fourth Gospel, the three “epistles general” bearing the name of John, and the book of “The Revelation of St. John the Divine.” The word “Divine” in the title is not an adjective[2] but is a noun in apposition with “St. John” and is rendered in the seal of the Cathedral by the Latin word “theologus,” meaning “theologian.” St. John was one of the twelve Apostles, and a brother of St. James the Great. He was “the Disciple whom Jesus loved” (John xiii. 23), an expression implying exceptional sweetness and lovableness[20] of character. He founded the seven churches in Asia referred to in the Book of Revelation. Toward the end of his ministrations, in which he suffered many persecutions, he was banished to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. When he returned from this exile, he continued his work until he died at the advanced age of over 90 years. His traditional grave is at Ephesus. The two principal symbols of St. John are the eagle with book, (explained in connection with the symbols of the four Evangelists on page 44) and the chalice, the latter sometimes having a serpent issuing from it. The sacramental cup without the serpent is sometimes interpreted to refer to Christ’s reply to James and John: “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of” (Mark x. 39). The cup with the serpent refers to the tradition related by St. Isidore to the effect that at Rome an attempt was made to poison St. John in the communion wine, but that by a miracle the poison vanished from the chalice in the form of a serpent. The Memorial Day for St. John is kept on December 27.

Location and Access

The Cathedral is located between Cathedral parkway (110th street,) Amsterdam avenue, 113th street, and Morningside drive.

The Cathedral can be reached by taking the Broadway subway to 110th street and walking one block east and two north; the Broadway surface line to 112th street and walking one block east; the Amsterdam avenue surface line to the entrance at 112th street; the 6th and 9th avenue elevated line to 110th street and walking two blocks west and two north; or Fifth avenue omnibuses marked route “4” via 110th street, or ’buses transferring thereto.

Morningside Heights being 100 feet above the level of the adjacent Harlem Plain, the Cathedral commands[21] a sweeping prospect toward the northeast, east, and southeast, over the roofs of the city and past the trees of Central Park to the regions beyond the Harlem and East rivers; while from the main entrance at Amsterdam avenue and 112th street, one can look westward to the Hudson and see the columned Palisades on the New Jersey shore beyond. Morningside Heights is the modern name for the ground on which the battle of Harlem Heights was fought on September 16, 1776. Washington, whose figure occupies a niche in the Choir Parapet (page 51) and adorns the entrance to the Synod House (p. 114), personally directed the troops in this engagement. At that period an old colonial road ran through the Cathedral site and down the Heights of Morningside Park to the ancient King’s Highway or Post Road. During the War of 1812, the Cathedral grounds were immediately within the lines of defence erected in 1814, one of the blockhouses of which stood on the bluff on the eastern side of Morningside drive just northeast of 113th st.[3]

The Cathedral grounds,—called the “Close,” from the practice in olden times of securing the privacy of the cathedral precincts by enclosing them with a wall and gates,—comprise 11½ acres. Upon them are situated, besides the Cathedral, the Old Synod House (brick with columned portico, formerly the Leake & Watts Orphan Asylum,) the Bishop’s House and Deanery, the Choir School, the New Synod House, and St. Faith’s Training School for Deaconesses. See plan and descriptions of buildings hereafter. The Close cost $850,000 and the buildings other than the Cathedral about $1,000,000. A portion of the Close is set apart for recreation grounds for the boys of the choir; and a portion of the lawn as a playground for small children.


Administration and Clergy

The affairs of the Cathedral are in the hands of a Board of 25 Trustees which constitutes the Corporation, and is composed of the Bishop of New York, 12 other clergymen and 12 laymen. The Bishop is President of the Board.

The Clergy of the Cathedral are the Bishop, Dean, Canon Bursar, Canon Sacrist, Canon Precentor, and the Honorary Canons, not to exceed seven in number. The Bishop is elected by the Diocesan Convention and the election must be confirmed by a majority of the Bishops and Dioceses of the Episcopal Church. The Dean and Canons are nominated by the Bishop and elected by the Trustees. The Bishop, besides his diocesan duties, has general direction of the services of the Cathedral, which direction he expresses through the Dean. The use of the Cathedral for worship and for charitable and benevolent work is entrusted to the Dean and Chapter. The Chapter consists of the Dean, the Bursar, the Sacrist, and such other Canons as may be elected. The Dean is Chairman of the Cathedral Chapter and the executive head of the Cathedral, leading and co-ordinating the various branches of its work. The Canon Bursar is the agent of the Treasurer of the Corporation, receives the offerings and sees that they are applied to their proper objects, and is Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds. The Canon Sacrist has the care of the Cathedral as a place of worship and is Master of Ceremonies on all occasions. The Canon Precentor is responsible for the fitting performance of the musical parts of the Cathedral services. The offices of Canon Sacrist and Canon Precentor are vacant, their duties being performed by the Precentor. The Dean and Canons may have Vicars as assistants.

Following is the Cathedral Staff:


Bishop of New York


Canon Bursar


Honorary Canons

Head Master of the Choir School

Organist and Master of the Choristers

Head Verger

The post-office address of any of the above mentioned is “The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, N. Y.”

The Bishop’s office is in the new Synod House at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and Cathedral Parkway. The offices of the Dean, Canon Bursar, etc., are in the old Synod House which stands on the site of the South Transept. (See page 9).

Seals of Diocese and Cathedral

The seal of the Diocese is in the form of a pointed oval, or vesica,[4] and is as follows:


Quarterly gules and argent, over all a cross counter-changed of the same. In dexter chief the American eagle with wings displayed or; in sinister chief and dexter base the sails of a windmill proper from the arms of the City of New York. In sinister base two swords in saltire or from the arms of the see of London. Surmounted by an episcopal mitre proper. The arms surmounted on a field purpure and enclosed by a bordure azure lined (or edged) or bearing the legend “Seal of the Diocese of New York MDCCLXXXV” or.

The red color (gules) and the swords are historically reminiscent of the fact that prior to the Independence of the United States the church throughout the American Colonies was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of London.

Diocesan Seal

Cathedral Seal

The seal of the Cathedral, also vesica-shaped, is as follows:

Tierce in pairle reversed. 1st, from the arms of the City of New York: argent four sails of a windmill[25] in saltire, between the ends in chief and base a beaver couchant, in fess dexter and sinister a barrel of flour all proper. 2d, from the arms of the State of New York: azure in a landscape the sun in fess rising in splendor or behind a range of three mountains the middle one the highest, in base a ship and sloop under sail passing and about to meet on a river bordered below by a grassy shore fringed with shrubs all proper. 3d, azure seven six-pointed stars argent between as many candlesticks or. Surmounted by an episcopal mitre proper. Enclosed by a bordure gules edged or bearing the legend “Sigil. Eccles. Cath. S. Johann. Theol. N. Ebor.” or.

The seven stars and candlesticks refer to the Revelation of St. John the Divine, i. 20.


The Cathedral is open for private prayer and meditation every day of the year from 7.30 a. m. to 5.30 p. m. There is a service in one of the chapels every week-day at 7.30 a. m. The principal Sunday services are at 8 a. m., 11 a. m. and 4 p. m., the latter two being with full choral service and sermon. Other services are held on week-days and Sundays as announced from time to time. As before stated, all seats are free, and residents and strangers of all denominations are cordially welcome.

The Cathedral service is neither “high” nor “low.” It is the prescribed liturgy of the Church, with a fully choral rendering and congregational participation. Except during the vacation season, there are usually about 60 persons in the procession. The processional hymn is begun in the Ambulatory, through the south gate of which the procession enters the Crossing and goes to the Choir. First comes the crucifer, followed in order by the boys of the choir, the men of the choir, the Head Master of the Choir School, the[26] Verger and the clergy in inverse order of their rank. The Bishop, if present, comes last, and is immediately preceded by the Verger and an acolyte bearing the Bishop’s pastoral staff.[5] If the Bishop is absent, the Dean comes last, preceded by the Verger. If neither Bishop nor Dean is present, the Verger precedes all the clergy. The Verger (in black gown with purple facings), carries a silver staff surmounted by the figure of an angel holding a tablet on which is engraved the symbol of St. John the Divine, the chalice with emerging serpent. When preceding the Bishop he carries his staff upright at his right shoulder, but when going before the other clergy he carries it in the hollow of his left arm. The organist and Master of the Choristers, wearing the gown and hood of Doctor of Music, is usually invisible, being seated at the console in the gallery on the screen at the south side of the Choir. At extraordinary musical services, an orchestra is seated in the Choir, between the stalls, and then the Master of the Choristers stands in the Choir, from which point he directs the singers, orchestra and assistant organist. The recessional is in the same order as the processional. After entering the Ambulatory, the procession halts while a dismissal prayer or hymn is said or sung there, and the solemn service ends with a far-away “Amen” from the unseen choir.[6]


Visitors may see the Cathedral at all times between 7.30 a. m. and 5.30 p. m. except during the hours of service. The Verger is usually in attendance.



The architects of the Cathedral have been: Messrs. George L. Heins and C. Grant LaFarge from July, 1891, until Mr. Heins’ death in September, 1907;[7] Mr. LaFarge from September, 1907, until the completion of the Choir in April, 1911; and Messrs. Cram & Ferguson from April, 1911, to the present time. Mr. Henry Vaughan was architect of three of the Seven Chapels of Tongues, Messrs. Heins & LaFarge of two, Messrs. Cram & Ferguson of one and Messrs. Carrere & Hastings of one, as mentioned hereafter.

The prevailing style of the Cathedral will be French Gothic. The north of France, it will be remembered, is the birthplace of Gothic architecture. There, in the region so recently devastated by war, Gothic architecture rose and reached the flower of perfection in such monuments as Amiens, Rheims, Notre Dame (Paris), Chartres, Beauvais, and Rouen Cathedrals and many other churches, great and small.

Plan and Size

The plan of the Cathedral is cruciform (symbolism, the cross on which Christ was crucified;) and is oriented so that the priest standing at the High Altar faces the east (the rising sun symbolizing the resurrection, and the orientation also connoting the ideas of Christ “the Sun of Righteousness,” “the Dayspring from on High,” and the “Morning Star”).[8] Seven chapels, called the Chapels of Tongues, radiate from the Apse, or semi-circular eastern end of the Choir.

The loftiest features of the elevation are the two towers of the West Front (q. v.) and the great Central[28] Tower above the Crossing. The latter, in the design now under consideration, consists of a dodecagonal lantern, carried up from the square Crossing in two stages, the upper smaller than the lower, and surmounted by a flèche or open-work spire rising to a height of 500 feet (including cross) above the ground.

When completed, the Cathedral will extend from Morningside drive to Amsterdam avenue, more than a tenth of a mile. It will be 601 feet long and 315 feet wide across the Transepts, and, with an area of 109,082 square feet, will be the third largest in the world, St. Peter’s at Rome being first and Seville Cathedral second.

The seating capacity of the Crossing in which the congregation ordinarily sits is 1,500; but on special occasions, when chairs are placed in the Ambulatory and people are admitted to the Choir Stalls, the Cathedral can accommodate about 3,500. When the church is finished, it will seat 7,000 and will accommodate several thousand more standing.

Progress of Construction

The Founder of the Cathedral was the Right Rev. Horatio Potter, (Provisional Bishop 1854-1861 and Bishop of New York 1861-1887), who proposed it in 1872. The charter was granted by the Legislature of the state of New York in 1873. The Right Rev. Henry Codman Potter, (Assistant Bishop 1883-1887 and Bishop of New York 1887-1908), nephew and successor of Bishop Horatio Potter, actively forwarded the movement for raising funds in 1886. The Close was purchased from the Leake & Watts Orphan Asylum by deed dated October 31, 1891. The first service on the ground was held January 1, 1892. The corner-stone was laid on St. John’s Day, December 27, 1892.[9] The first service was held in the Crypt January[29] 8, 1899, and the first service in the Choir and Crossing (being the consecration service) April 19, 1911. Ground was broken for the Nave May 8, 1916, by the Right Rev. David Hummell Greer, (Bishop Coadjutor 1904-1908 and Bishop of New York 1908-1919). The parts thus far built are the Crypt, Choir, seven Chapels of Tongues, Crossing and foundation for the Nave. The Mohegan golden granite for the walls of the Nave is now being quarried near Peekskill, N. Y., and is being delivered on the grounds. Some details of the Choir and Crossing are unfinished. The completed portion of the Cathedral has cost about $4,000,000, and it is estimated that the Nave, West Front, Transepts, Spire, etc., will cost about $15,000,000, making the total estimated cost about $19,000,000.

Funds for Building

Visitors to the Cathedral repeatedly ask when it will be finished. It is impossible to answer this question definitely. Some of the cathedrals of the Old World have been seven hundred years in building and are not yet completed. The things which endure the longest are generally of slow growth,[10] and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is no exception to this rule. It is not a steel-frame structure, but is of massive masonry in the best traditions of Gothic architecture and is being built to stand for ages. Its physical construction must therefore necessarily be slow.

It is to be remembered, also, that the financial resources for the building of a modern cathedral are different from those which supplied the means for building many of the Old World churches. Westminster Abbey was built almost entirely from revenues of[30] the Kings from Henry III. to Henry VII. St. Paul’s in London was partly built by the gifts of penitents who performed their penances in money. Occasionally an ancient shrine grew into a great church in consequence of some tradition or superstition which caused a continuous stream of illustrious persons to shower wealth, privileges and honors upon it. Pope Honorius prescribed collections in all Christendom for the building of Rheims Cathedral. The metropolitan church of St. Rombold’s, in Malines, Belgium, was built with money paid by pilgrims who flocked thither in the 14th and 15th centuries to obtain indulgences issued by Pope Nicholas V.; and the Tour de Beurre (butter tower) of Bourges Cathedral, like the tower of the same name at Rouen, “derives its name from having been erected with money paid for indulgences to eat butter in Lent.” (Baedeker.)

To-day, however, reliance is placed entirely upon voluntary contributions. Some of the larger gifts to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine are mentioned hereafter, but there have been many other large ones and innumerable smaller ones equally acceptable from donors irrespective of denominational affiliations who have caught the civic and patriotic as well as the religious inspiration of what is to be America’s greatest cathedral. In a general way, it may be said that the Cathedral will be finished as fast as funds are provided;—and no faster, for the authorities have rigidly maintained the provision of the statute, building only what can be paid for, and worshippers are therefore not kneeling on any debt. Anyone desiring here to enshrine a loving memory or to embody the offering of a grateful heart may place a donation to the Building Fund in the alms-basin or in the box at the door, or send it to the Dean at the Cathedral offices in the old Synod House, at Amsterdam avenue and 112th street, New York City.


Foundation and Superstructure

The foundation of the Cathedral is of Maine granite. Although the bed-rock of Morningside Heights (Manhattan schist) lies near the surface, it is so disintegrated near the top that it was necessary to go down 72 feet in some places in order that the Cathedral might rest securely on the “living rock.” The excavation and foundation alone cost a quarter of a million dollars. The main walls of the superstructure are also of granite, faced on the outside of the finished portion with Mohegan golden granite quarried near Peekskill, N. Y., and on the inside with a soft buff-colored limestone or dolomite called Frontenac stone from Pepin county, Wis. The great flying buttresses and massive piers of the Crossing, exposed in their rugged unfinished state, exhibit the dark Maine granite. Local materials are mentioned in their appropriate places.

Exterior Survey

Before entering the Cathedral the visitor should make a circuit of the Close (beginning on the south side and going eastward), comparing the outlines of the Cathedral with the plan and noting the location of the other buildings. This will give him a better understanding of the interior of the Cathedral and of its ultimate connection with the Bishop’s House and the Choir School by means of cloisters. It will be noted that the Old Synod House (brick, with Ionic-columned portico) occupies the site of the South Transept.

The Seven Chapels of Tongues, (see page 69 et seq.,) may be identified on the exterior by the following characteristics (south to north): Chapel of St. James, rectangular plan, crenelated parapet of roof, and pinnacles on buttresses. Chapel of St.[32] Ambrose, half round window arches. Chapel of St. Martin of Tours, fleurs de lis in quatrefoils above large windows; narrow pointed arch windows with single lights in basement. Chapel of St. Saviour (easternmost), rectangular plan; cross on gable; statues in niches of buttresses and wall. Chapel of St. Columba, angel on roof; statues in niches of buttresses. Chapel of St. Boniface, statues in niches of buttresses; small mullioned windows of three lights in basement. Chapel of St. Ansgarius, rectangular plan; parapet of quatrefoil tracery; pinnacles on buttresses.

Three of the chapels have the following sculptures by Mr. Gutzon Borglum: Chapel of St. Saviour: On eastern wall above the great window, the Christ Child; in niches of buttresses on either side of window, Angels of the Resurrection; and beneath the window, the Virgin, seated between (left) St. Simeon who blessed the infant Jesus (Luke ii. 25-35) and (right) St. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist (Luke i. 67-80).[11] Chapel of St. Columba: On roof, an angel with hands joined in prayer; in upper part of great window, St. Columba with tamed wolf, recalling how he subdued wild beasts as well as wild tribes; and in niches of buttresses the four patron saints of the British Isles (left to right): St. David of Wales in beretta and fringed gown: St. George of England in armor with cross on shield and dragon at feet; St. Andrew of Scotland with diagonal cross[12]; and St. Patrick of Ireland, in Bishop’s robes, with crozier in right hand and shamrock in left. Chapel of St. Boniface:[33] In niches of buttresses, Charlemagne, with crown and sword; Alcuin, Charlemagne’s preceptor, in monastic garb with manuscripts in right hand; Gutenberg, with book in each hand, his initials “J.G.” on one; and Luther, in scholar’s gown, with book between hands.

The Clerestory of the Choir rises above the roofs of the chapels. In the canopied niches near the top of the turrets and buttresses are 10 stone figures 9½ feet high by Mr. Borglum, as follows (south to north): St. James the Less with fuller’s club (indicating manner of his martyrdom), and St. Philip with Latin cross (symbol of his crucifixion), together on turret; St. Bartholomew[13]; St. Thomas with square (spiritual architect); St. James the Great with staff (pilgrim); St. Peter with key (to the kingdom of Heaven); St. Andrew with diagonal cross; St. Matthew[13] with drapery over head; and St. Simeon with saw, and St. Jude with spear, (indicating manner of their death), together on turret.

Fourteen Stone Shields (only 12 in place), in the spandrels of the clerestory windows above the seven Chapels of Tongues, bear (or will bear) the following devices (south to north:) Above Chapel of St. James, (left) winged ox; and (right) artist’s palette, brushes and maulsticks, and lily, symbolizing St. Luke.[14] Above Chapel of St. Ambrose (left) lily, and (right) rose, both symbols of the Virgin Mary. Above Chapel of St. Martin of Tours,[34] (left) eagle, and (right) chalice, symbols of St. John. Above Chapel of St. Saviour, (left) letters ΙϹ, ΧϹ, ΝΙ, ΚΑ, in four quarters formed by a Greek cross, signifying Jesus Christ Conquers; and (right), initials SP, SF, SS, of the Latin words Sanctus Pater, Sanctus Filius, Sanctus Spiritus, (Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit,) in a trefoil, symbolizing the Trinity.[15] Above Chapel of St. Columba, (left) crossed keys, symbol of St. Peter, and (right) crossed swords, symbol of St. Paul. Above Chapel of St. Boniface, (left) winged lion; and (right) fig tree, both symbols of St. Mark. Above Chapel of St. Ansgarius, (left) winged man and (right) axe and book, both symbols of St. Matthew.

1. Jesus Christ Conquers. 2. Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit. 3 and 4. Saint Luke.

Surmounting the roof of the Choir, and facing eastward, is a bronze statue, 9½ feet high, by Mr. Borglum, representing St. Gabriel as Angel of the Resurrection, blowing a trumpet.



(From Architect’s Drawing)


West Front

Returning to Amsterdam avenue at 112th street, we come to what will be the main entrance of the Cathedral. In the space (now unoccupied) between the sidewalk and the foundation of the Nave will be the West Front (see figure 1 of plan). The tentative design for the West Front provides for three large and two smaller recessed portals, similar to the plan of Bourges Cathedral. Above the north and south portals rise two heavily buttressed square towers, named after St. Peter (north) and St. Paul (south), presenting strong relief. Above the central portal is the great Rose Window, flanked by the mullioned Gothic windows of the towers. Above these, a gallery of niches containing statues extends entirely across the façade, after the manner of the Gallery of Kings at Rheims Cathedral. Above this rise the belfries of the two towers, each surmounted by pointed turrets at the four corners, while between them, just above the gallery, appears the gable of the Nave. The West front is 220 feet wide and 80 feet deep, including the buttressing. The towers are 50 feet square, 235 feet high to the top of the parapets and 265 feet high to the top of the pinnacles.



(Composite Photograph of Model. Human figure shows scale)


The Nave

Crossing the space to be occupied by the West Front, we ascend temporary steps to the foundation of the Nave (figure 2 of plan). Superstructure not yet begun (June 15th, 1924). Here the visitor should pause and imagine himself entering the western limb of the Cathedral, 225 feet long, 132 feet wide, 175 feet high outside and 130 feet high inside, built in pure 13th century Gothic adapted to the requirements of the plan. The central aisle,[16]—as wide between the centers of piers as 112th street is between building lines—has two narrower aisles on each side. Instead of the closely-grown-up forest effect produced by the columns of many Gothic cathedrals, an air of openness and spaciousness, which distinguishes this Cathedral throughout, is given by the relatively small number of piers and columns and their ingenious disposition. In this arrangement the architect has made two notable departures from the ordinary Gothic type: One is the erection of the clerestory on the secondary line of columns (those nearest the side walls,) which modifies the exterior system of flying buttresses, and the other is the introduction of intermediate slender columns in the primary line of piers, resolving the Nave into a system of four squares or double bays instead of eight rectangular bays. As the primary ranges of piers and columns rise to the spring of the arches which support the roof of the Nave, instead of being shortened to support the clerestory, an effect of great spaciousness and lofty aspiration is produced; and this arrangement, together with the rhythmic alternation of great piers and relatively small clustered columns, allows a play of light and shade surpassing that of any mediaeval cathedral. Under the roofs of the north and south aisles runs the triforium gallery; and there are many beautiful details of ornament, including the tracery, panelling, capitals, niches, pinnacles and sculptures. A light and cheerful effect is produced by the illumination through 32 stained glass windows—eight in the aisle and eight in the clerestory on each side,—and the great Rose Window in the west end.

While standing at the west end of the foundation, the visitor should survey the great area of floor space that lies before him; then, looking eastward 225 feet (the length of a city block and half the width of a street) imagine the present temporary west wall of the Crossing removed, and the view extended about 225 feet farther to the High Altar in the Sanctuary. He will then have an idea of the great vista of the completed church.



(Composite Photograph of Model. Figures of choristers show scale)


Speaking of the building of the Cathedral in general and of the Nave in particular, in his address to the 138th Annual Convention of the Diocese of New York on May 11, 1921, Bishop Manning said: “As to the practical value and importance of the Cathedral, no one who knows anything of its work or of the multitudes that gather here for worship can entertain a question. Large as it is, the present space is insufficient. The Nave is urgently needed, not only that the great ideal which the building embodies may be carried forward, but that there may be room for the people who come for spiritual help, and that the Cathedral may meet its unequalled missionary opportunity. I hope that our people, and especially those who have the stewardship of wealth, will keep this great spiritual and missionary enterprise in mind, and that many may be moved to aid it. The building waits only for the necessary funds. And in the revised drawings, we at last have plans which by their majesty and beauty worthily express the aim and ideal of this great structure ... I believe that we have now a plan worthy of the unequalled opportunity of this glorious Temple of God, and of its relation to the greatest and most complex city in the world. I believe that for the carrying forward towards completion of such a building as this, of which the whole country may be proud, and for the upholding of the spiritual, social and civic ideals which it embodies, not only the people of our own Church but many others in this metropolis and elsewhere will be glad to make their gifts and to have their part and share with us.”

The Crossing

Walking the length of the Nave foundation (2 on plan) we pass through temporary doorways and enter the Crossing (3), so-called from its location at the[41] intersection of the long and short arms of the cruciform ground plan. In this space, 100 feet square, floored with concrete, are 1500 chairs for the congregation. To the eastward, the Crossing opens into the Choir (10) and Ambulatory (12-12). On the north, west and south sides the spaces between the ponderous piers of Maine granite are filled with temporary windows and concrete walls which will be removed when the Nave (2) and the North and South Transepts (4 and 5) are built. The removal of these temporary walls will improve the acoustics. The rough, unadorned piers on the north, west and south sides will eventually be faced with Frontenac stone like those on the east side. The massiveness of this masonry may be judged by the fact that a single pair of these piers with their connecting arch weighs 4000 tons. The Dome of the Crossing, 162 feet (just the height of Niagara Falls) above the floor, is a remarkable piece of construction, the tiles having been laid by the ingenious Gustavino method without the support of scaffolding. The present dome is temporary; the permanent vault will be 200 feet above the floor. Mr. J. P. Morgan, Mr. George S. Bowdoin and Mr. Harris C. Fahnestock were large contributors to the building of the Crossing.



The Pulpit, a memorial of Bishop Henry Codman Potter, is made of Knoxville, Tenn., marble, an uncrystalline limestone favorable for very fine work. On the newel posts of the stairs are the figures of the two great prophets of the Old and New Testaments, Isaiah (south) and John the Baptist (north.) In the five principal Gothic niches are as many scenes in the life of Christ (north to south): The Nativity, Jesus Among the Doctors, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the Supper at Emmaus (Luke xxiv. 30-31). In the smaller niches are the figures of[43] eight great exponents of the Holy Scriptures and champions of human freedom (north to south); St. Jerome, St. Gregory, St. Chrysostom, St. Peter, St. Paul, Hugh Latimer, Bossuet, and Bishop Phillips Brooks of Massachusetts.[17] Beneath these niches runs a moulding of grape-vine design symbolizing Christ the true vine[18] (John xv. 1) and beneath this one of roses symbolizing Christ the Rose of Sharon (Cant.[44] ii. 1). On the base are the symbols of the four Evangelists: The winged man for St. Matthew, winged lion for St. Mark, winged ox for St. Luke, and eagle for St. John.[19] The pulpit is surmounted by a carved oak canopy of Gothic tracery, upon which is the beginning of the Gloria in Excelsis:

“Glory be to God on high and on ‖ earth ‖ peace ‖ good will towards ‖ men. We praise thee ‖ we bless thee, we ‖ worship ‖ thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks ‖ to thee for thy great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King.”


On the side of the stairs is inscribed:

“In Memory of ‖ Henry Codman Potter ‖ the gift of ‖ Mrs. Russell Sage ‖ A.D. 1916.”

The pulpit, which cost $30,000, was designed by Mr. Henry Vaughan and executed by Messrs. John Evans & Co. of Boston.




Barberini Tapestries. The tapestries in the Crossing and Ambulatory were woven in the first half of the 17th century on the papal looms founded by Cardinal Barberini under the patronage of his uncle Pope Urban VIII. They were executed under the direction of the master weaver Jacques della Riviera from cartoons painted by Jean Francois Romanelli. The cartoons are now in the Vatican. The tapestries, originally designed for the throne room of the Barberini Palace at Rome, afterward a part of the Ffoulke Collection in Washington, and finally presented to the Cathedral by Mrs. Elizabeth U. Coles, are twelve in number and represent scenes in the life of Christ. Four of them hang in the Crossing as follows: In the northeast corner, the Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter; southeast corner, the Last Supper; southwest corner, the Adoration of the Shepherds; and northwest corner, the Flight of Joseph and Mary with the infant Jesus into Egypt. Seven hang in the Ambulatory, as follows (north to south): Christ’s Baptism, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Crucifixion (directly behind and above the High Altar,) the Transfiguration, the Resurrection, and the Agony in the Garden. The twelfth, a map of the Holy Land, is not at present hung. These works are all 15 feet 8 inches high and average 14 feet 1 inch wide. The Delivery of the Keys to St. Peter, the Last Supper, and the Flight into Egypt are more than 17 feet wide. These tapestries appear more like paintings than products of the loom.




The Litany Desk at the eastern end of the middle aisle (often removed) is of carved oak. Surmounting the ends are two praying angels, while on the front are statues of St. Michael with sword, St. John with chalice, and St. Gabriel with lilies, all facing the Altar. An inscription reads:

“We beseech Thee to ‖ hear us Good Lord ‖ Grant us Thy Peace ‖ Have Mercy Upon us.”

The desk was given by the Laymen’s Club.

The Choir

Architecture. The Choir (10) may best be surveyed from the eastern end of the Crossing. (Visitors not admitted to Choir during service time except by permission.) The half-round arches and other features exhibit a late Romanesque style with Byzantine influence, which is not inappropriate to the eastern end of the Cathedral, and which will relatively become a local detail as the prevailing Gothic style of the whole Cathedral develops.[20] The interior facing is of Frontenac stone. Numerous symbols from the Revelation of St. John the Divine will appear as the description of the Choir and its environs proceeds. The first to attract attention is the broad course of red jasper from South Dakota seen at the base of the piers of the great Choir arch. This foundation course, which appears in the Ambulatory (12-12-12) running entirely around the Choir, recalls St. John’s description of the Heavenly City: “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was of jasper” (Rev. xxi. 19). The green moulding above the jasper is Pennsylvania serpentine. The floor of the Choir has three principal levels. From the Crossing 5 steps lead to the Choir proper, which contains the stalls for the clergy and choristers and which occupies the first two bays. An ascent of six more[49] steps leads to the second level which may be designated as the Presbytery. Upon it are the two thrones hereafter mentioned and the altar rail, the latter a step higher.[21] In the Sanctuary within the altar rail, 4 steps lead to the third level upon which stands the Altar with its 3 white steps.[22] Around the Sanctuary stand eight Great Columns described hereafter. The principal donor to the building of the Choir was the late Hon. Levi Parsons Morton (Vice-President of the United States 1889-93, Governor of the State of New York 1895-96) who, after the Great Columns were erected, gave $600,000 toward the completion of the fabric and the installation of the Altar, Reredos, Organ, Choir Stalls, Bishop’s Throne, and some other furnishings. This sum was generously supplemented by Mrs. Morton. The ornate Altar Rail of English oak is inscribed:

“To the Glory of God ‖ and in loving memory of ‖ Anna Livingston Morton ‖ May 18, 1846-August 14, 1918 ‖ Given by her daughter ‖ Edith Morton Eustis 1920.”

The Parapet at the entrance to the Choir is designed to represent outstanding characters of 20 centuries of the Christian Era. It is in two sections, one on each side of the steps leading from the Crossing to the Choir, each section being 18½ feet long and 4 feet high. It is built mainly of Champville (France) marble, in modified French Gothic style. The twelve marble columns, alternately green, red and yellow, are of Alps Green from Italy, Rouge de Rance from Italy, and Numidian from Africa, respectively. The figures, from right to left, are as follows (authorities differing[50] slightly as to some of the dates given): (1) St. Paul (died A. D. 66) with sword symbolizing his decapitation; (2) St. Justin Martyr (100-165) with axe and block; (3) St. Clement of Alexandria (150-220) holding cross in left hand; (4) St. Athanasius (296-373) pouring baptismal water from a sea-shell, referring to a playful incident of his boyhood which led to his calling; (5) St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) with miter, pen and tablet; (6) St. Benedict (480-543) in habit of Benedictine monk pointing to scroll; (7) St. Gregory the Great (550-604) with slave child in broken shackles, referring to his intercession for pagan children in the slave market; (8) Charles Martel (688-741) with crown, battle-axe and pennant; (9) Charlemagne (742-814) with crown, scepter and orb; (10) Alfred the Great (849-901) crowned, with sword by side, holding three burnt cakes on book;[23] (11) Godfrey of Bouillon (1061-1100) crowned, with Crusader’s sword and shield; (12) St. Bernard (1091-1153) in monk’s habit, holding aloft a cross in his right hand and clasping a book in his left; (13) St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) in Franciscan monk’s garb, contemplating a cross in left hand, and preaching to birds[24] in tree; (14) John Wyckliffe (1325-1384) with book and staff; (15) Columbus (1435-1506) lifting the veil from the globe, symbolizing the age of discovery; (16) Archbishop Cranmer (1489-1556) with right hand thrust voluntarily into the flame, symbolizing[51] his martyrdom; (17) Shakespeare (1564-1616) standing amidst growing laurels; (18) Washington (1732-1799) in civilian attire as President; (19) Lincoln (1809-1865) standing by a burial cross delivering his Gettysburg Address; (20) uncarved block. The basis for selecting the figures was the representative character of the nineteen men selected in conjunction with their contribution to the development of Christian civilization. The Parapet was designed by Messrs. Cram & Ferguson, and the figures, modelled by Ferrari, were carved by John Evans & Co., of Boston. The Parapet bears the following inscription:

“To the Glory of God and in Memory of ‖ Richard Delafield, ‖ Brigadier-General, Chief of Engineers, ‖ Brevet Major-General, United States Army. ‖ Born September 1, 1798, Died November 5, 1873, ‖ This Parapet is Erected by his Children, ‖ Albert, Juliet Covington and Emma Delafield. ‖ Righteousness Exalteth a Nation: But ‖ Sin is a Reproach to any People.”

The Pavements of the Ambulatory and Choir, designed by Mr. C. Grant LaFarge in Romanesque and Byzantine motives, are related in their symbolism. The colors in the Ambulatory are reddish, or earthy; while those in the three ascents of the Choir progress through increasingly rich designs of greens and whites (hope and purity) to greens, whites and blues (hope, purity and heaven) until they reach the pure white steps of the Altar. The risers of the steps leading from the Crossing to the Choir proper are of yellow Numidian marble and the treads of green Pennsylvania marble. The pavement of the Choir is richly inlaid with Numidian, Swiss and other marbles and Grueby Faience tiles. The steps to the Presbytery are of marble from Hauteville, France. In the center of the floor of the Presbytery is a magnificent mosaic rug of tiles and marbles, 32½ feet long and 10 feet wide, with smaller patterns at the ends. In the center[52] is an oval of black Belgian marble surrounded by violet marble from Italy, while Grueby tiles of many colors, and Grecian, red Numidian and other marbles form the rest of the design. The pavement of the Sanctuary, within the communion rail, in addition to its rich designs of tiles and marbles, contains, immediately in front of the steps to the Altar, a red tile surrounded by a square brass border, inscribed:

“Whoever shall have prayed at this spot will have pressed with his feet a tile from the ancient Church of St. John the Divine at Ephesus, built by the Emperor Justinian in the year DXL over the traditional site of St. John’s grave.”

The tile was presented to the Cathedral by Bishop Kinsman of Delaware, its authenticity being attested by Prof. George Weber of Smyrna, who procured it from the ruins on the hill of Ayassolouk and who, in his lifetime, was a leading authority on Ephesian archaeology.

The Eagle Lectern of bronze at the north side of the Choir steps is a replica of an ancient lectern found near St. Albans Cathedral, England, in a lake into which it had been cast when that structure was destroyed in the Saxon invasion. The eagle, standing on a globe, is the symbol of St. John in his capacity as an Evangelist. Around the lectern are the figures of the four Evangelists: St. Matthew with open book, St. Mark with closed book and pen, St. Luke with open book in one hand and pen in other, and St. John with chalice. Below are their respective symbols (p. 44). The lectern was made by the Gorham Co. It bears the following inscription, the initials at the end being those of the donor, Mary Gertrude Edson Aldrich:

“In Memoriam ‖ Horatio Potter ‖ Bishop of New York ‖ 1854-1887 ‖ M. G. E. A.”




The Choir Stalls, rising in four tiers on either side of the Choir proper, are of carved American oak. The canopies are after studies of those in the Chapel of Henry VII in Westminster Abbey used as the Chapel of the Knights of the Order of the Bath. The finials of the stalls are figures of great musicians and composers of church music, as follows:

Left. Right.
Bortniansky Mendelssohn
Handel Haydn
Bach Purcell
Tallis Palestrina
Pope Gregory St. Cecelia
Asaph King David

The figures, modeled by Mr. Otto Jahnsen, are represented in the costumes of their day; and the features of all but those of David and his chief musician Asaph are from portraits.

The high canopied stall nearest the Crossing on the south side of the Choir is the Dean’s Stall.[25] It was designed in the office of Messrs. Cram & Ferguson and is a very skillful blending of styles to harmonize with the Jacobean canopies of the Choir Stalls and the Flamboyant note in the stalls themselves. It has many interesting details of carving, notably the three panels depicting the Good Shepherd (front), Learning (east side), and Charity (west side). On the back of the stall is inscribed:

“In the Name of the ‖ Father Son & Holy Ghost ‖ This Stall is Dedicated by ‖ The Head Mistresses Association ‖ to the Memory of ‖ Agnes Irwin ‖ 1841-1914 ‖ Holding fast[55] the faithful word as she ‖ had been taught herself being not dis- ‖ obedient unto the heavenly vision ‖ Head Mistress of the Agnes Irwin School 1867-1894 ‖ First Dean of Radcliffe College 1894-1909 ‖ First President of the ‖ Head Mistresses Association ‖ 1911-1914.”

In the Presbytery, on the south side, is the lofty Bishop’s Throne of carved oak, while opposite to it is one with a little lower canopy for the use of a bishop other than the Diocesan.

On one of the Choir Stalls is inscribed:

“These Stalls are Erected to ‖ the Glory of God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ Susan Watts Street ‖ 1818-1893 ‖ By her Daughter ‖ Anna L. Morton.”

On a tablet in the Choir is inscribed:

“The Stalls ‖ of the Sanctuary ‖ and the Choir ‖ are Erected to ‖ the Glory of God ‖ and in Memory of ‖ Susan Watts Street ‖ 1818-1893 ‖ By her Daughter ‖ Anna Livingston ‖ Morton.”

The stalls and the cathedra of the Diocesan were made by the John Barber Co., of Philadelphia, and the corresponding Bishop’s throne on the north side by Messrs. Irving & Casson, of Boston.

The Organ, seen in the upper arches on either side of the Choir, contains 7,000 pipes and a chime, connected by electric wires with the console located in the gallery on the south choir screen. The console has four manuals and two octaves of pedals, 106 speaking stops, 31 couplers, and 33 pistons. The organist, invisible to the congregation, can see the choir and clergy either directly or by means of mirrors. A Gothic tablet in the south Ambulatory is inscribed:

“This Organ ‖ is Dedicated ‖ to the Praise of ‖ the Blessed Trinity ‖ and ‖ in Loving Memory of ‖ Lena Kearny Morton ‖ 1875-1904 ‖ By her Parents ‖ Levi Parsons Morton ‖ and ‖ Anna Livingston Morton.”

The organ was built by the Ernest M. Skinner Co., of Boston. (See also Choir School, page 106).


The Cathedral Flag which hangs above the choir stalls on the north side of the Choir opposite the American flag, bears upon a purple field a white Latin cross, on the crossing of which is a shield displaying the arms of the Cathedral. The shield is divided by radial lines into three parts: In the upper left-hand part (as viewed) are the arms of the city of New York, in the upper right-hand part the arms of the state; and at the bottom the seven candlesticks and seven stars of the Book of Revelation (ii. 1) symbolizing the seven churches and seven spirits of the churches founded by St. John the Divine in Asia Minor. The Cathedral flag and the American flag were given by Mrs. J. Herman Aldrich. The American flag which is sometimes carried in the procession and which was first used in the victory celebration in 1918, was given by Mrs. William Iselin. (See page 6).

The High Altar is of white Vermont marble. The beautiful Gothic Reredos is of pierre de Lens, quarried in the vicinity of the city of that name in the north of France which was so terribly ravaged in the late war. In the center is a majestic figure of Christ. On His left, (in order from center to spectator’s right) are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Moses, representing the Old Testament; and on His right (in order from center to spectator’s left) are St. John, St. James, St. Peter and John the Baptist, representing the New Testament. The scale of the Cathedral may be judged from the size of the figure of our Saviour, which is seven feet high. Those of Moses and John the Baptist are 6 feet 10 inches high. In smaller niches on the front and sides are 16 angels holding various emblems—palm, sword, shield, swinging lamp, crown, trumpet, etc. Under the pedestals of the statues are clusters of grapes, symbolizing Him who gave His body and blood for man. The statue of Christ was made by Sig. Leo Lentelli under the direction of Mr. Carl Bitter. The other figures were made by Mr. Otto Jahnsen. The great rectangular panel in the lower part of the Reredos is filled with a rare Spanish embroidery in arabesque design, 200 years old. The Altar and Reredos were built by the Barr, Thaw & Fraser Co. Upon the Altar is the following inscription:

“To the Glory of God ‖ and in Memory of ‖ Anna Livingston ‖ Morton ‖ 1846-1918.”




The Credence Table, at the right (south) side of the High Altar, is supported by a shaft composed of three stones from the ruins of the ancient Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, England, in which the Barons met on November 20, 1214, and swore before the altar to secure from King John the liberties which they embodied in Magna Charta. These relics are of Caen stone, and may be recognized by their gray color. They were given to the Cathedral in 1922, with the consent of the Abbey authorities, by the Marquis of Bristol through Dr. Raphael Constantian of New York. Near the shaft is the following inscription:

“The Adjoining Shaft ‖ Was Once a Part of ‖ the High Altar of the ‖ Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds ‖ Upon[59] Which on ‖ November 20, 1214, ‖ the Barons Swore Fealty ‖ to Each Other in Wresting ‖ the Great Charter ‖ from King John. ‖ It is Placed Here ‖ as a Symbol of ‖ the Community of ‖ Political Tradition, ‖ Laws and Liberties, ‖ Which is the Inheritance ‖ of the English Speaking ‖ Commonwealths ‖ Throughout the World.”

Credence Table with Shaft made of Magna Charta Stones

The Eight Great Columns standing in a semicircle around the Sanctuary and forming seven interspaces opposite the seven Chapels of Tongues, are among the marvels of the Cathedral. They are approached in size only by those in St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Petrograd. The shafts of light gray granite from Bear Island, near Vinal Haven on the coast of Maine, were quarried as monoliths and turned on a special lathe which cost $50,000. When the first two were subjected to the pressure of polishing they broke, and the contractor then obtained permission to make the shafts in two pieces. The lower stone in each shaft is 38 feet high and weighs 90 tons, and the upper stone is 17 feet high and weighs 40 tons, the total height between base and capital being 55 feet and the weight 130 tons. The octagonal capitals of pierre de Lens by Mr. Post represent singing angels. The columns were given as memorials of the men whose names are carved on the bases seen in the Ambulatory (south to north:) “Alonzo Potter,[26] Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1800-1865;” “Colonel Richard Tylden Auchmuty, U. S. V., 1831-1893;” “Harry Manigault Morris, 1817-1892;” “Eugene Augustus Hoffman, 1829-1902;” “John Jacob Astor, 1763-1848;” “John Divine Jones, 1814-1895;” “Josiah Mason Fiske, 1823-1892;” and “Joseph Lawrence, 1788-1872.” Each column cost $25,000, not including the expense of erection. They were made by Mr. John Pierce of Vinal Haven, Me.


The Clerestory Windows of the Choir, nine in number, of which seven are above the entrances to the seven Chapels of Tongues, are designed to depict the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine. Seven of them are in place. They are of painted mosaic glass made by Messrs. James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, London, according to the methods used in the thirteenth century and cost $10,000 and upwards apiece. Each window is of three lights with rose window at the top, and is 28 feet high and 17 feet wide. The seven windows above the entrances to the Seven Chapels of Tongues (north to south) are designed to symbolize in their circular lights the messages to the seven churches in Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation (i. 11), in the order there named: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. They are connected by the inscriptions in their lower borders which read consecutively as follows:

“Grace be unto you and Peace from Him ‖ Which is and Which was and Which is to come ‖ From the Seven Spirits which are before His throne ‖ Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness ‖ The First Begotten of the Dead ‖ The Prince of the Kings of the Earth. ‖ To Him be Glory and Dominion for ever and ever” (Rev. i. 4-6).

These windows, which are of surpassing charm to the unaided eye, flash out with extraordinary brilliancy of color and affecting beauty of composition and execution, particularly those called “Christ Reigning in Glory” and “the Woman in the Sun,” when examined with long distance glasses (apply to Verger), although the less brilliant windows contain subtle details well worth studying, as, for instance, the symbolisms of the elements held by the angels in the window above the Chapel of St. Boniface. Individually, from north to south:


St. John and the Seven Churches are the subject of the window above the Chapel of St. Ansgarius. In the upper part of the central light, St. John between two praying angels is depicted in the character of Apostle, beardless, and holding the sacramental cup—the young St. John, symbolical of love and high ideals and the feeling which filled all his writings; while in the lower part he appears as the aged exile on the Isle of Patmos, sitting with book in lap and pen in hand, listening to the angel behind him who commands him to write (Rev. i. 11). In the side lights are the angels of the seven churches (i. 11), bearing on scrolls their names: (Upper left) Ephesus; (lower left) Smyrna and Pergamos; (upper right) Thyatira and Sardis; (lower right) Philadelphia and Laodicea. In the circular light at the top are the name “Ephesus” and a shield bearing the seven candles mentioned in the message to the church of Ephesus (ii. 1). In the lower border of the three lights runs the inscription: “Grace be ‖ unto you and Peace ‖ from Him.” The window was given by Mrs. E. C. Ludlow Johnson in memory of Gabriel Ludlow.

The Natural Elements upon which the vials of the wrath of God were poured (Rev. xvi. 2-17) are the principal subject of the window above the Chapel of St. Boniface. In the lower part of the left side light is an angel holding between his hands the earth (green foliage); in the middle light three angels respectively holding the air (invisible), the sun (yellow glow), and the sea (green waves); and in the right side light an angel holding the rivers and fountains (blue currents). In the upper part of the middle light is the Lamb that was slain (v. 12) between the four beasts (iv. 7) which are in the side lights—on the left, the lion and the beast with the face of a man;[62] and on the right, the ox and the eagle.[27] In the circular light at the top are the word “Smyrna” and a shield bearing the crown of life mentioned in the message to the church in Smyrna (ii. 10). In the bottom border is the inscription: “Which is and ‖ Which was and Which ‖ is to come.” A tablet in the Ambulatory reads as follows:

“The Clerestory Window Above ‖ the Chapel of Saint Boniface ‖ is Dedicated ‖ to the Glory of God ‖ and ‖ in Loving Memory of ‖ Annie Allen Wallace ‖ February 14, 1853-August 25, 1890.”[28]

The Seven Angels with Trumpets (Rev. viii. 2) are the main subject of the window above the Chapel of St. Columba. Three of them are in the lower part of the middle light and two in each of the side lights. In the upper part of the middle light is the mighty angel of the cloud, overarched by the rainbow, standing upon the sea, and holding aloft in his left hand the little open book (x. 1, 2). In the upper part of the left side light is the angel with the seal of the living God (vii. 2) and in the right side light the angel with the golden censer (viii. 3). In the middle of the side lights are four angels (two left and two right) blowing the four winds of the earth (vii. 1). In the circular light at the top are the name “Pergamos” and a shield bearing the sharp two-edged sword of Him who sent the message to the church in Pergamos (ii. 12) between the Greek letters ΙΗϹ and ΧΡϹ (Jesus Christ.)[29] In the bottom border are the words: “From the seven ‖ Spirits which are before ‖ His throne.” A tablet in the Ambulatory reads as follows:


“The Clerestory Window Above the ‖ Chapel of Saint Columba‖ is Erected ‖ to the Glory of God ‖ and ‖ in Loving Memory ‖ of ‖ 1797 John Williams Leeds 1873 ‖ 1800 Eliza Leeds 1885 ‖ Emily Irene Hardenbergh 1899 ‖ By Their Daughter and Sister ‖ Josephine Eliza Leeds ‖A. D. 1915.”

Christ Reigning in Glory, as described in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, is the principal subject of the great central window above the Chapel of St. Saviour. In the central light is the Son of Man, with up-raised hands, vested as King and Priest, wearing a royal crown, a crimson mantle and a golden pallium. He stands in the midst of the seven candlesticks (i. 13), holds in his right hand the seven stars (i. 16, 20), and is surrounded by winged seraphim. Beneath him a rainbow (iv. 3) over-arches the sea of glass (iv. 6). In the side lights are the four principal archangels: St. Michael (left, above,) is depicted in armor as the Prince of the Celestial Armies, while the balance in his left hand, supposed to contain the souls of the dead, symbolizes his character as Guardian Angel of Departed Spirits. St. Raphael, below him, with pilgrim’s staff, is represented as the friendly traveller, recalling Milton’s “affable archangel.” St. Gabriel (right, above,) appears as Angel of the Annunciation, as indicated by the lilies (symbol of purity) in his right hand; and below him is St. Uriel, as Angel of Light, holding the sun.[30] In the circular window at the top are two angels holding the morning star mentioned in the message to the church in Thyatira (ii. 28), but the name “Thyatira” is lacking. In the border at the bottom of the three lights are the words: “Jesus Christ ‖ the Faithful ‖ Witness.” The window was given by Mrs. Whitelaw Reid. A tablet in the Ambulatory reads:


“The East Window ‖ is Erected in Memory of ‖ Whitelaw Reid ‖ October 27, 1837-December 15, 1912.”

The Seven Last Plagues (Rev. xv. 1) are the principal subject of the window above the entrance to the Chapel of St. Martin of Tours. These are represented in the lower part of the window by seven angels holding the seven vials containing the plagues, three in the central light and two in each of the side lights. In the upper part of the middle light is an angel holding aloft in his right hand the everlasting Gospel (xiv. 6) in the form of a scroll bearing (obscurely) the symbols of the four Evangelists. In the upper part of the left side light is the angel with the measuring rod (xi. 1), and in the right side light is the angel standing in the sun (not to be confused with the woman in the sun mentioned in the next window,) calling the fowls of the air to the supper of the great God (xix. 17). In the circular light at the top are the name “Sardis” and a shield bearing a white dove in the midst of the seven stars (the seven Spirits of God,) mentioned in the message to the church in Sardis (iii. 1). In the border at the bottom of the three lights are the words: “The First ‖ Begotten of ‖ the Dead.” A tablet in the Ambulatory reads:

“The Clerestory Window Above ‖ the Chapel of St. Martin of Tours ‖ is Erected to the Glory of God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ Sophia R. C. Furniss ‖ and ‖ Mary B. Hubber ‖ by ‖ Margaret E. Zimmerman ‖ nee Furniss ‖ Blessed are the peace-makers for they ‖ shall be called the children of God.”

The Woman in the Sun is the title of the window above the entrance to the Chapel of St. Ambrose. In the central light is the woman clothed with the sun and wearing the crown of twelve stars (Rev. xii. 1). She is surrounded by a dazzling radiance of flaming rays. Above her, a cloud of glory is carrying her[65] Child up to the throne of God (xii. 5). In the left side light, above, is the angel proclaiming the fall of Babylon (xiv. 8), and below, symbolizing that wicked city, the woman in scarlet holding the golden cup of abominations and seated on the beast from the bottomless pit (xvii. 4, 18). In the right side light, above, is the angel with the sharp sickle and the clusters of the vine (xiv. 18), and below, the angel with the keys to the bottomless pit and the chain to bind the dragon (xx. 1). The whole window symbolizes the triumph of Christ over the forces of evil. In the circular light at the top are the name “Philadelphia” and a shield upon which, between six D’s, is the key of David mentioned in the message to the church in Philadelphia (iii. 7). In the border at the bottom are the words: “The Prince ‖ of the Kings of ‖ the Earth.” A tablet in the Ambulatory is inscribed:

“The Clerestory Window Above ‖ the Chapel of Saint Ambrose ‖ is Erected to ‖ the Glory of God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ Morgan Lewis Livingston ‖ 1800-1869 ‖ and ‖ Catharine Manning Livingston ‖ 1810-1886 ‖ By Their Daughter ‖ Julia Livingston ‖ 1916.”

The Heavenly City is the principal subject of the window above the entrance to the Chapel of St. James. In the lower part of the middle light is the angel showing to St. John the Heavenly City (Rev. xxi. 10 et seq.) and in the upper part is a glorified figure symbolizing the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (xxi. 2). Beneath this figure in the upper part is the pure river of water of life, and on either side of it is the tree of life whose leaves are for the healing of the nations (xxii. 1-2). In the lower part of the left-hand light is the angel with the Alpha, and in the corresponding part of the right-hand light is the angel with the Omega (xxii. 13);[66] while above each of them is a beckoning angel saying “Come” (xxii. 17). In the circular light at the top are the name of the church of Laodicea and the word “Amen”—the latter being the name of the sender of the message to the Laodiceans (iii. 14) and the word with which the Book of Revelation and the Bible end (xxii. 21). In the bottom border of the three lights is the inscription: “To Him be Glory ‖ and Dominion for ‖ Ever and Ever.” The window was given in memory of Mary C. and Dr. John D. Ogden by their children Francis L. Ogden, Margaret Ogden, Mrs. Gardiner Sherman and Mrs. Francis C. McNutt.

The Ambulatory

The Ambulatory (12-12-12) is a passage about 20 feet wide leading entirely around the Choir and giving access to the seven Chapels of Tongues, the Sacristy, and other environments of the Choir. Some of the features have already been described. The symbolism of the earthly life in the pavement, before mentioned (p. 51), is noticeable in the large areas of clay-red tiles with borders of grassy green serpentine and green marble from Pennsylvania. The beautifully colored wainscoting between the great pillars is of Grecian marble from the island of Scyrus. The Ambulatory is entered through elaborately wrought steel gateways, 30 feet high, in the archways on either side of the great arch of the Choir. The gates, made by Messrs. Warren & Wetmore, were presented by the Cathedral League and the Diocesan Auxiliary. In the south Ambulatory gateway is a white marble tablet, showing in relief two angels and two portrait medallions of Mr. and Mrs. Levi P. Morton, and bearing the following inscription:

“To the Glory of God ‖ and ‖ in Enduring Memory of ‖ Levi Parsons Morton ‖ 1824-1920 ‖ Vice-President of the United States ‖ Governor of the State of New York ‖ and ‖ of His Wife ‖ Anna Livingston Morton ‖ 1846-1918 ‖ Whose Gifts Made Possible the ‖ Building and the Furnishing of ‖ the Choir of this Cathedral ‖ Yea saith the Spirit that They ‖ May Rest from Their Labours ‖ and Their Works do Follow Them.”




The Founder’s Tomb, containing the remains of Bishop Horatio Potter, sixth Bishop of New York,[31] in the Ambulatory between the fourth and fifth great pillars opposite the entrance to St. Saviour’s Chapel, is a beautiful example of an “altar tomb” such as are seen in many English churches. Its position, immediately behind the High Altar, is that traditionally reserved for the Founder of a cathedral. It is designed in the English Gothic style of the 15th century after studies of the tomb of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. The sarcophagus, the recumbent figure of the Bishop and the figures of the five ornamental niches of the front are of Indiana limestone. The figures, from left to right, are those of (1) Edward the Confessor, with crown, scepter and orb; (2) St. Remigius, with cup and scourge; (3) St. John the Divine, with pen, book and eagle; (4) St. Isidore, with miter, pallium and crozier; and (5) St. Theodosius of the Eastern Church, wearing a coronet with cross, holding a staff and reading from a scroll. Above the niches is a decorative moulding of oak leaves and acorns[32] with little squirrels at the ends. On the edge of the slab on which the Bishop’s figure rests is inscribed:

“Horatio Potter, D.D., D.C.L., Oxon. ‖ Sixth Bishop of New York, Founder of this Cathedral. Died 2d Jany. 1887, Aged 85 Yrs.”


On the rear of the sarcophagus is inscribed “St. John’s Day ✠ Anno Domini 1921,” the day on which the Bishop’s remains were transferred from Poughkeepsie to this tomb. Above the tomb, reaching to a height of 15 feet above the pavement, is a canopy of American oak with richly carved frieze and cresting, supported on corbels springing from the great granite columns on either side. A narrow stairway behind the columns and the tomb leads to a landing which permits a closer view of the figure of Bishop Potter. The architect was Mr. Thomas Nash of New York and the sculptor of the figures was Mr. Isidore Konti of Yonkers, N. Y.

The Brownell Memorial Tablet on the wall of the bay at the entrance to the Chapel of St. Ansgarius reads as follows:

“In Memory of ‖ The Right Reverend ‖ Thomas Church Brownell, S.T.D., LL.D. ‖ Born 1779 Died 1865 ‖ Third Bishop of Connecticut 1819-1865 ‖ Presiding Bishop 1852-1865 ‖ and ‖ in Grateful Remembrance of the Foundation of ‖ the Bishop Brownell Memorial Fund for the ‖ Endowment of the Cathedral by His Daughter ‖ Frances Johnston Holland.”

The Choir Boys’ Stone on one of the piers of the Ambulatory near the Chapel of St. Ansgarius, is the bust of a boy of the class of 1911, carved by Mr. William Scott. It represents the choir boys’ contribution to the building of the Cathedral.

The Seven Chapels of Tongues

The seven Chapels of Tongues, built around the Choir on lines converging toward the Sanctuary and deriving their name from the fact that they were intended for services of the church in the languages of the principal ethnological groups or regions of the world, are one of the noblest conceptions of the Cathedral. In early Gothic churches, the fundamental idea[70] of the apse with radiating chapels was Christ in the company of his Saints. Here, in the great cosmopolitan Diocese of New York, this idea has appropriately been carried a step further in these chapels to include the idea of all the nations of the earth gathered around the Altar of the Saviour of Mankind. They recall the cry of the multitude in Jerusalem at Pentecost: “How hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born ... the wonderful works of God” (Acts ii. 8, 11). Among the interesting services held in these chapels are those in the eastern (St. Saviour’s) chapel for the Japanese and Chinese in their languages and for colored people in English. The spirit fostered by these chapels is occasionally reflected in great congregations, entirely of Italians, entirely of negroes, or predominantly of some other race, at services held in the main part of the Cathedral filling it to its utmost capacity.[33] Services in English are held in one or more of the chapels every day of the year, and oftentimes weddings and baptisms are held in them. As a group, the seven Chapels of Tongues eloquently express the catholic and democratic spirit of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine referred to on page 14. They may be visited in order either from south to north or north to south; but by beginning on the south side they will be seen in the order in which they were observed on the exterior (p. 31), and by looking through the archways of the Choir to the opposite side of the Ambulatory, glimpses may be had of the tapestries and the clerestory windows in the order in which they have been described. The chapels are all separate gifts and are memorials of the persons mentioned under their respective headings following:


The Chapel of St. James

St. James, the Apostle, after whom this chapel is named, was the son of Zebedee and was a Galilean fisherman. He is sometimes called St. James the Great to distinguish him from another Apostle called St. James the Less. He was a brother of St. John the Divine. He went almost everywhere with the Lord. After the ascension, he preached a while in Judea and then in Spain. After his mission there, he was beheaded by the Jews, and, according to tradition, his body was miraculously transported back to Spain, where his relics are said to rest at Compostella. Spanish historians chronicle 38 instances in which he is believed to have descended from heaven and in shining white armor led the Spanish armies against the Moors. Under the Spanish equivalent of his name, St. Iago or Santiago, he became the patron saint of Spain and his name was adopted as the Spanish war-cry. His shrine at Compostella was one of the most popular for pilgrimages in the Middle Ages, and it was said that two visits to Compostella equaled one to Rome. St. James is usually represented in the dress of a pilgrim with a peculiar staff. His Memorial Day is July 25.

The Chapel of St. James (13 on plan), designed by Mr. Henry Vaughan, is in pure English Gothic Architecture of the 14th century; 66 feet long and 39 wide, with a sort of transept on the north side 15 feet wide; seats 250 persons, and cost about $200,000. Its interior walls are of Bedford, Ind., limestone. On the front of the Altar of gray Knoxville, Tenn. marble, is sculptured DaVinci’s Last Supper. The central feature of the limestone Reredos is a relief representing the Transfiguration, after Raphael. In four niches, two on either side of the Transfiguration, are statues of the four Evangelists with their appropriate emblems at their feet (left to right:) St. Matthew with winged man; St. Mark with lion; St. Luke with ox; and St. John with eagle. Beneath the Transfiguration is a smaller sculpture of the Nativity, with an alleluia angel on each side. On four escutcheons, two on each side of the Nativity, are emblems of the condemnation[72] and crucifixion (left to right:) (1) Crown of thorns and spear (John xix. 2, 5, 34); (2) pillar to which Christ was bound for scourging, cord, knotted scourge (John xix. 1) and sponge on reed (John xix. 29); (3) ladder, sponge on reed and spear; and (4) hammer, pincers, coat, and three dice (Mark xv. 24). Beautifully carved canopies surmounted by six adoring angels crown the Reredos. The stained glass East Window, by C. E. Kempe & Co. of London above the Reredos, depicts in its three lights (left to right) St. Lawrence, St. James and St. Vincent. In two walled-up panels of the window, one on each side of the glass, are statues of St. Peter with keys (left) and St. Paul with sword (right). The Saint James Window in the middle bay of the south aisle portrays in its four lights scenes in the life of the patron saint of Spain (see page 71) and other subjects, as follows, reading from left to right: Bottom, (1) Coat-of-arms of St. John and the words, “James, servant of God;” (2) St. James preaching to the natives of Spain; (3) St. James before the judge, forgiving his accuser and giving him his blessing, “Peace be with thee;” (4) Coat-of-arms of King Ramira I of Spain, and the words (to be read with those first quoted), “And of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Middle, (1) “Unto his shrine the mighty and the lowly fared on pilgrimage;” (2) “St. James, the radiant knight, upon a great white horse;” (3) “Before the banner of his name the Moorish warriors fled;” (4) “At Compostella still men serve Santiago’s shrine.” Top, (1) angel with ΙϹ-ΧϹ symbol; (2) “They bore his body to a ship that sailed for Spain;” (3) “Over his tomb they built a chapel passing fair;” (4) Angel with Ichthus symbol.[34] In the tracery at the extreme top is a representation[73] of the Crucifixion. The window was given by Bishop Potter’s daughters and was designed and made by Mr. Henry Wynd Young, glass-painter, of New York City. In niches of the walls of the chapel are the following statues and symbols: East Wall, St. Augustine of England with crozier (left) and St. Gregory the Great (who sent him to England) with papal tiara and papal cross (right) West Wall, end of main aisle, above, Christ between his kinsmen St. James the Great (left) and St. James the Less (right); and at end of south aisle, the Venerable[74] Bede. On four escutcheons, two on each side of the west door, are: (1) A floriated cross (emblematic of the flowering or productiveness of the Christian religion); (2) the monogram ihc (representing the first two and last letters, uncial form, of the Greek word for Jesus[35]); (3) the Greek cross form of the chi rho monogram (first two Greek letters of the name Christ); and (4) the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, (Rev. i. 8). North Wall, statue of William of Wykeham. In the upper part of the north wall is the gallery of the organ, which is independent of the great organ of the Cathedral. Choir Stalls near the Altar are a distinctive feature of this chapel. Two clustered columns divide the south aisle into three bays in the middle one of which is Bishop Potter’s Tomb, of Siena marble. On the tomb is a recumbent figure of the Bishop in Serevezza marble, by Mr. James E. Frazer. The Bishop is represented in his episcopal robes, and the execution is so fine that even the texture of the lawn sleeves is apparent. On the front of the tomb is inscribed:

“Henry Codman Potter ‖ MDCCCLXXXIII Assistant Bishop of New York MDCCCLXXXVII ‖ Bishop of New York ‖ MDCCCLXXXVII-MCMVIII ‖ Upholder of Righteousness and Truth ‖ Soldier and Servant of Jesus Christ.”



On the rear:

“He laboured that this Cathedral Church ‖ Should rise to the Glory of God and as ‖ A witness to the Life of our Lord and Master Jesus ‖ Christ that here the prayers of the children ‖ of many lands should rise to that ‖ Father in whom alone all men are brothers ‖ Whose service is perfect freedom.”

Around the edge of the top slab:

“I saw the Holy City coming down from God out of Heaven ‖ and I heard a great voice saying ‖ Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them ‖ and they shall be his people.”

On the west wall is inscribed:

“The Chapel of St. James ‖ Consecrated ‖ May 2, 1916 ‖ To the Worship of ‖ Almighty God ‖ And in Loving Memory of ‖ Henry Codman Potter ‖ Bishop of New York ‖ Born May 25, 1834 ‖ Died July 21, 1908 ‖ The Gift of His Wife ‖ Elizabeth Scriven Potter ‖ Born September 30, 1848 ‖ Died March 4, 1909.”

Story of the Blind Woman. A beautiful and touching incident occurred in the Chapel of St. James a few years ago. One day, a woman who was blind, deaf, and could make only a few hardly articulate sounds, but who was cultured and could read by touch, visited the Cathedral with another woman. The Verger, the late Charles F. Barnard, first led her the full length of the Cathedral in order that she might comprehend its size. Then the general features of the edifice were communicated by her friend by the touch of their hands. The wood and stone carvings, however, she read with her own fingers. When she came to the Chapel of St. James, she wished to feel of Bishop Potter’s features as reproduced in the effigy on his tomb, but on account of the delicacy[76] of the marble, visitors are not allowed to touch it. The blind woman, however, produced from her bag a pair of thin white gloves, and by signs asked if she might feel of the statue if she put them on. The Verger assenting, she ran her fingers deftly over the Bishop’s countenance, felt of the signet ring on his finger, etc., and then, satisfied, proceeded to the Altar. Here she knelt down and began to feel of the relief representing DaVinci’s Last Supper. As soon as she recognized the work, she threw up her hands in ecstasy and exclaimed in broken accents, the best she could utter, “Vinci! Vinci!” The venerable Verger, in relating this incident, said that he was moved to tears by the spectacle of the blind woman, kneeling before the Altar, with up-raised hands, “seeing” the Cathedral through the sense of touch. One may well ask, if this blind woman could see so much spiritual beauty in the Cathedral without eyes, how much more ought those to see who have the blessed gift of sight.

The Chapel of St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose, or Ambrogio, the namesake of this chapel, was born in Treves about 340, the son of a Roman Prefect in Gaul (now France). While in his cradle one day, a swarm of bees settled upon him, clustering around his mouth, but doing him no harm. A similar thing having happened to Plato, it was considered an omen of future greatness. He studied law at Rome, became a magistrate in upper Italy with court at Milan, and by his wisdom and gentleness won such popular esteem that when called upon to settle of succession of the bishopric of Milan between the Arians and Catholics he himself was chosen by both parties to be Bishop of that see. He was one of the most celebrated fathers of the church. His most distinctive symbol is the bee-hive, although two human bones, the scourge, the crozier, the mitre, etc. are sometimes used. The Memorial Day for St Ambrose is kept on April 4.

The Chapel of St. Ambrose (14 on plan), designed by Messrs. Carrere & Hastings, is in modern Renaissance[77] Architecture. It is about 50 feet long and 27 wide, seats 100 persons and cost over $150,000. The floor is inlaid with grey Siena and red Verona marbles, bordered with cream colored Cenere marble. The walls are lined with Rosato marble. On the under side of the marble archway at the entrance are reliefs representing the Three Persons of the Trinity with angels, as follows: (Left) the Father in human form[36], with triangular nimbus, holding the globe of sovereignty; angel with lute; angel with lily; (top) the Holy Ghost in form of the dove; angel with trumpet; angel praying; and (right) the Son in form of the Paschal Lamb. The false perspective of the side walls is similar to that in the Sacristy of the Cathedral of Siena. In the spandrels of the false arches of the left-hand wall (as one faces the Altar) are figures in relief (reading from entrance toward Altar) of: Moses and the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel; and on the opposite wall, in same order, St. Matthew with cherub, St. Mark with lion, St. Luke with ox, and St. John with eagle. The ceiling is of white marble carved in low relief. From the ceiling hang four silver lamps, one an antique Italian lamp and the others copied from it. On the front of the Altar of alabaster are three golden ornaments, representing the Paschal Lamb (Christ) between two angels swinging censers, the latter symbolizing the prayers of all saints (Rev. viii. 3). The Reredos, not copied from any one European prototype but inspired by many examples found in the transitional and early Renaissance period in Italy, is of carved wood overlaid with gold leaf. The lower part consists of a triptych, covered by an elaborate canopy and flanked by niches in which are statues of St. Francis (left) and St. Ambrose (right).[78] In niches at the left of the canopy are figures (left to right) of a kneeling angel, St. Benedict with crozier, St. Agnes in female apparel, and Dante in red gown and hood; and at the right (same order) Fra Angelico, Galileo with globe, Savonarola, and kneeling angel. Upon the cross of the canopy is a dove, symbolizing God the Holy Ghost; above that is the all-seeing eye in a triangle within a sun-burst, symbolizing God the Father; and on the top-most spire is the figure of God the Son, holding a cross and pronouncing a benediction. The Apse Windows, one on each side of the Altar, transmit a soft amber light which gives a peculiar charm to this chapel. Each has a border of Italian Renaissance tracery, within which is a field of many small panes of leaded glass. In the left window these panes are ornamented with repeated designs representing the chalice with emerging serpent and the eagle (symbols of St. John), flowers, and the chi-rho monogram. In the upper part are the seven stars and candlesticks from the Cathedral seal, and the legend, “Sigil. Eccles. Cath. S. Johan;” and in the lower part the words, “For God is the King of all the Earth. Sing ye Praises with Understanding.” In the right window the panes are ornamented with repetitions of the bee-hive, mitre and scourges (symbols of St. Ambrose), the cross and wreath, flowers, and the ΙϹ-ΧϹ and IHS symbols. Near the middle is a small fragment of brown glass, marked with an “R”, from Rheims Cathedral. In the upper part is the coat-of-arms of St. Ambrose—the bee-hive, mitre and croziers—with the legend, “Sigil. Sanct. Ambrosii,” and in the lower part are the words, “God is our Refuge and Strength, a Very Present Help in Trouble.” The windows were made by Mr. Henry Wynd Young, glass-painter, under the supervision of Messrs. Godwin & Sullivant, architects, of New York.[79] Along the side walls are Stalls and Wainscoting of dark Italian walnut, inlaid with pear-wood in designs including the star of the east, chalice, Latin cross, patriarchal cross, and Bishop’s mitre. Inlaid in the top border of the wainscoting is this inscription:

(Left) “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are ‖ full of thy glory. Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. ‖ Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosannah in the Highest. ‖ (Right) O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, grant us thy peace. ‖ Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men. ‖ Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the Glory of God the Father.”

The wrought iron Italian Screen at the entrance to the chapel is best seen from the inside. Upon the finials at either end are angels blowing trumpets, and the space between them is divided by seven tall candlesticks into eight spaces, in which are bronze groups representing scenes in the life of St. Ambrose (left to right:) (1) His youth; (2) settling the succession of the bishopric of Milan; (3) his baptism; (4) nuns and (5) monks, listening to the preaching of St. Ambrose, who stands between them facing the Altar; (6) the public penance before St. Ambrose of Emperor Theodosius who caused the massacre of the Thessalonians; (7) laying the corner-stone of the Church of St. Ambrogio in Milan; and (8) his death. Beneath the figure of St. Ambrose who stands between the nuns and monks is a bee-hive with crossed croziers. The screen was designed by Mr. Thomas Hastings and was made by Messrs. E. F. Caldwell & Co., of New York. On the south wall is inscribed:

“To the ‖ Glory of God ‖ and in ‖ Loving Memory ‖ of ‖ Augustus Whiting ‖ Sarah Swan Whiting ‖ Jane Whiting ‖ Amelia Whiting Davis ‖ Augustus Whiting, Jr., ‖ Natica Rives Burden ‖ This Chapel ‖ has been Erected by ‖ Sara Whiting Rives.”


The Chapel of St. Martin of Tours

St. Martin, after whom this chapel is named, born in 316, in his young manhood was a Roman soldier in Gaul. One wintry day, (according to the traditional story related by Ruskin in his “Bible of Amiens,”) when Martin was riding forth from the city of Amiens, he saw a beggar shivering by the roadside; whereupon he divided his cloak with his sword and gave one half to the beggar. That night in a vision he saw Christ wearing the half cloak and surrounded by angels. And Christ said to the angels: “Know ye who hath thus arrayed me? My servant Martin, though yet unbaptized, hath done this.” After this, Martin was baptized; but he remained a soldier for 17 years. Then, after several years of religious works, he was made Bishop of Tours. It is related that one day, when going to church in his full robes, he practically repeated the charitable act beforementioned by giving his stole to a ragged beggar; and when St. Martin was at the altar, elevating the Host, a globe of light appeared above him and angels descended and hung chains of gold and jewels (not of earth) on his bare arms. Sweet, serene and dearly beloved, he was Bishop and Knight of the Poor, and the divided cloak and sword are his special symbols. The Memorial Day for St. Martin is kept on November 11.

The Chapel of St. Martin of Tours (15 on plan), designed by Messrs. Cram & Ferguson, is in early 13th century Gothic Architecture; about the same size as the Chapel of St. Ambrose; and cost about $150,000. Its interior walls are faced with light colored Bedford, Ind. limestone. The lower half of the walls is occupied by Gothic arcatures, in the trefoiled arches of which are fleurs de lis. Under the fleurs de lis, in mediaeval text, runs the inscription:

(Left side:) “They that ‖ be wise ‖ shall shine ‖ as the bright- ‖ ness of ‖ the firm- ‖ ament ‖ and they ‖ that turn ‖ many to ‖ righteous-‖ ness as the ‖ stars forever ‖ and ever ‖ (Right side:) The Peace ‖ of God which ‖ passeth ‖ all under- ‖ standing ‖ shall keep ‖ your hearts ‖ and minds ‖ through ‖ Christ ‖ Jesus.”

A little above the arcature is a border of roses. The upper half of the side walls presents a unique feature in a sort of triforium gallery built in the[81] thickness of the wall. The pavement of Knoxville, Tenn. pink marble is bordered with black Belgian marble. The simple marble Altar in the form of a table resting on red marble pillars has no reredos. The Seven Windows, three in the Sanctuary and four in the clerestory, by Mr. Charles Connick of Boston, Mass., are of grisaille[37] work in geometrical designs, the Sanctuary windows being inset with pictorial medallions in painted mosaic glass in the mediaeval style. In the central window over the Altar the medallions depict scenes in the life of St. Martin as follows, beginning at the bottom and reading upward: In the left-hand light (1) St. Martin receives sword and enters army; (2) divides his cloak with the beggar; (3) has vision of Christ wearing the severed cloak which he had given to the beggar; and (4) is baptized. In the middle light, (1) He converts the robber; (2) revives the dead man; (3) is affectionately welcomed on his return to Tours; and (4) destroys the heathen temple. In the right-hand light, (1) He intercedes with Count Avitianus for the release of prisoners; (2) pleads for Priscillian’s life; (3) dies; and (4) the ship bearing his body is mysteriously propelled. In the middle light of the window at the left of the Altar are scenes in the life of St. Louis: (1) His coronation; (2) his release of prisoners at Paris; (3) his ministration to sick soldiers during the first Crusade; and (4) his departure on the second Crusade. In the middle light of the window at the right of the Altar are scenes in the life of Joan of Arc: (1) Her vision; (2) the capture of Orleans; (3) the coronation of Charles VII.; and (4) her martyrdom at the stake. In the circular[82] lights at the top of the seven windows are the following coats-of-arms (left to right): (1) On a blue field, three golden fleurs de lis above a white wreath of oak and laurel with red fruit, representing the City of Rheims.[38] (2) On a blue field sprinkled with golden fleurs de lis, the Mother and Child, representing the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. (3) Seven horizontal bars, alternately blue and gold, being the arms of Bertrand d’Eschaux, Archbishop of Tours. (4) On a blue field, a white Latin cross with trefoiled ends, being the arms of the Chapter of Poitiers. (5) On a blue cloak surrounded by red, a white sword, cross-hilt upward, emblematic of St. Martin. (6) On a blue field sprinkled with golden fleurs de lis, a red Greek cross, representing the Archdiocese of Rheims.[39] (7) On a blue field, three golden fleurs de lis under a white “label” or mark of cadency[83] of eldest son,[40] being the royal arms of the Dukes of Orleans. A Statue of Joan of Arc, expressing her spiritual character, by Miss Anna Vaughn Hyatt, was placed in this chapel in 1922. It was given by Mr. J. Sanford Saltus through Dr. George F. Kunz, President of the Joan of Arc Statue Committee which erected the equestrian statue of the Maid by the same sculptress in Riverside Drive. Near it are two rough stones from the Chateau de Rouen in which the Maid was imprisoned at the time of her trial and from which she was led to the stake. The wrought-iron Screen of beautiful tracery at the entrance, designed in the office of Messrs. Cram & Ferguson and made by Messrs. F. Krasser & Co., of Boston, is a particularly lovely example of this form of art. While not copied from any existing mediaeval prototype, it shows the influence of the wrought-iron work of the Romanesque and early Gothic periods of France. The shell ornament in the section below the cornice is symbolical of St. Martin as a pilgrim, while the finials and cresting, blossoming with roses, signify the flowering of the Christian religion. In the frieze are four panels depicting four scenes which are described in a quaintly lettered inscription in the moulding above:

“S. Martin shares cloak with Beggar ‖ Our Lord appears in cloak to S. Martin ‖ S. Martin receives holy baptism ‖ Saint Martin journeys to Rome.”

Coats of Arms in Windows of Chapel of St. Martin of Tours.

An inscription on the wall of the chapel reads:

“The Chapel of ‖ Saint Martin of Tours ‖ Consecrated 1918 ‖ To the worship of ‖ Almighty God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ William P. Furniss ‖ and His Wife ‖ Sophia Furniss ‖ and their Daughter ‖ Sophia R. C. Furniss.”

In another panel is this inscription:


“To the ‖ Glory of God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ Clementina Furniss ‖by Whose Gift ‖ this Chapel ‖ was Erected ‖ and ‖ Margaret Elizabeth Zimmerman ‖ Daughters of ‖ William P. Furniss ‖ and his wife ‖ Sophia Furniss.”

The Chapel of St. Saviour

Saint Saviour, the name of this chapel, means Holy Saviour, the word Saint being used in its primary sense as an adjective, derived from the Latin “sanctus.” The Memorial Day for St. Saviour is kept on December 25.

The Chapel of St. Saviour (16 on plan,) is the easternmost of the seven Chapels of Tongues and forms the eastern extremity of the Cathedral. Among the languages in which services are held in this chapel are Japanese and Chinese. When the royal Abyssinian Commission to the United States Government was formally received at the Cathedral on July 24, 1919, its members knelt at this altar. The chapel is in the English Decorated Gothic style of Architecture after designs by Messrs. Heins & LaFarge. It is 56 feet long and 30½ feet wide, seats 150 persons, and cost about $200,000. Its interior walls are of Minnesota dolomite, around the base of which runs a foundation course of red jasper with green serpentine moulding like those which run around the Choir. The pavement is of stone from Hauteville, France, with a mosaic border. The Sanctuary steps are of pink marble from Georgia. The Altar, made by Messrs. Batterson & Eislie and carved by Mr. Schwartz, is of snow-white Carrara marble. Its face and front corners are adorned by the figures of six angels singing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Carved on the face of the retable is the crown of thorns, supported by two cherubs. The Reredos is of polished red Siena marble, bordered with Venetian mosaic. The Chair and Prayer Desk of black walnut at the left side of the Sanctuary have an interesting history recited on a brass tablet on the desk as follows:


“The first use of ‖ this chair and prayer desk was made by ‖ the Most Reverend Randall Thomas Davidson, D.D., ‖ Archbishop of Canterbury ‖ in the Crypt of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine ‖ on Wednesday morning, September 28th, A. D. 1904 ‖ at the celebration of the Holy Communion at which ‖ His Grace was the celebrant and which preceded the ‖ opening of the One hundred and twenty-first Convention ‖ of the Diocese of New York, being also the first opening ‖ of the Diocesan Synod Hall.”

The East Window, a glorious work in stained glass by Mr. Hardman of Birmingham, Eng., completely fills the end of the chapel. Its central light is occupied by a representation of the Transfiguration (Mat. xvii. 1-3). In the middle of the scene is the radiant Saviour, with Moses (left) holding the Ten Commandments, and Elias (right) holding the receptacle of the scrolls, representing respectively the Law and the Prophets.[41] Surrounding the group are angels; and below it are the three Disciples who were with Jesus on the mount: St. Peter (left) looking up, St. James (middle) covering his eyes, and St. John, the beardless Disciple (right), shading his face. In the left side light, above, is Moses putting off his shoes on the holy ground before the burning bush from which the angel of the Lord appears (Ex. iii. 5); and below, Moses raising the brazen serpent for healing (Num. xxi. 9). The serpent, seen indistinctly coiled around the pole, is by artistic license represented in green. In the right side light, above, is the angel appearing to Elijah (I. Kings xix. 5-8); and below, Elijah’s sacrifice miraculously consumed by the fire of the Lord (I. Kings xviii. 30-38). In niches on either side of the window are the following Statues of Bishops, saints and scholars of the Eastern church:


Left. Right.

St. Polycarp
b. 69 d. 155
Bishop of Smyrna

St. Chrysostom
b. 347 d. 407
Archbp. of Constantinople

St. Athanasius
b. 296 d. 373
Primate of Egypt

St. Basil
b. 329 d. 379
Bishop of Caesarea

b. 185 d. 253
Great eastern scholar

St. Clement of Alexandria
b. circ. 150 d. 213-220
Celebrated Church Father

St. Gregory Nazianzen
b. 330 d. 389
Bishop of Nazianzus

St. Ignatius
b. circ. 50 d. 107
Bishop of Antioch

In a niche in the upper part of the north wall is a statue of St. Peter with key; and in a corresponding niche in the south wall one of St. Paul with sword. Turning toward the entrance to the chapel, one sees in niches between the clustered columns at the sides of the great archway in array of angels, five on each side, one above the other, corresponding to as many on the Ambulatory side,—twenty in all—representing the Heavenly Choir. These lovely figures are worthy of more than passing notice. All the statuary is by Mr. Gutzon Borglum. The four Lamp Standards of Carrara marble surmounted by alabaster bowls standing in the four corners of the chapel, and carved in relief with many symbolical details, were made by Messrs. E. F. Caldwell & Co. and carved by Messrs. F. Ruggeri and P. Giuntini of New York. The elaborate wrought iron Screen, made by the Wm. H. Jackson Co. of New York, at the entrance, is in the Italian style after one in Orvieto, Italy. It is embellished in its upper part by two golden angels holding a wreath at the foot of the cross. Looking outward through the screen, one sees the back of the High Altar of the Cathedral. On one of the walls of the chapel is inscribed:


“This Chapel is Erected to ‖ the Glory of God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ Bessie Morgan Belmont ‖ by her Husband ‖ August Belmont.”

The Chapel of St. Columba

St. Columba was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 521, of royal blood. After study and religious work in Ireland, he set out in 563 with twelve disciples and planted upon the Island of Iona, on the west coast of Scotland, which he received from his kinsman Conal, King of Scots, a monastery which, from the 6th to the 8th centuries, was second to hardly any other in Great Britain. From it was conducted a wonderful missionary work in Scotland, Ireland, the north of England, and small adjacent islands. Many miracles are attributed to him, and he was accredited with power to subdue not only wild tribes of men but also the beasts of the wilderness (see p. 32). He died in 597, and his body was buried at Iona, which is regarded as one of the great shrines of Christianity in Great Britain. The Memorial Day for St. Columba is kept on June 9.

The Chapel of St. Columba, (17 on plan), designed by Messrs. Heins & LaFarge, is in the Norman style of Architecture. It is 50 feet long and 27 wide, seats 100 persons, and cost about $150,000. The interior walls are of Minnesota dolomite, separated from a base course of polished Mohegan granite by a moulding of yellow Verona marble. The pavement is a fine grained gray stone from Illinois. The semi-circular arched window heads, and particularly the six large cylindrical pillars diversified by spiral and diaper patterns, convey the idea of the Norman style which one sees exemplified on a larger scale in Durham Cathedral and other churches of that period in England. The vaulting over the Sanctuary is lined with gold mosaic, upon which appear black and white Celtic crosses. The lectern, communion rail, Glastonbury chairs, and other wood work of the Sanctuary were designed by Mr. Charles R. Lamb and made by J. & R. Lamb of New York. They are carved in low relief with ornament expressive of English Gothic feeling. The lectern shows a composition of three figures:[88] Christ in the center, between John the Baptist, his Forerunner, and St. John the Divine, namesake of the Cathedral, who closes the biblical record with the Book of Revelation. The Altar, of cream colored Italian marble, is in the form of a table supported by marble pillars. It has no Reredos. The Sanctuary Windows, three in number, were made by Messrs. Clayton & Bell of London. In the central light of the window above the Altar is represented the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist, and in the side lights are St. John with cup (left), and St. Paul with sword, (right.) In the bottom of the three lights are the four symbols previously explained (p. 74), namely, the ΙΗϹ, the Alpha, the Omega, and the Chi Rho. The windows on either side of the middle window are in grisaille, copied from the famous lancet windows called the Five Sisters in the North Transept of York Cathedral, although these windows have only two lights each instead of five. The six wonderfully graceful seven-branched Candelabra, after Donatello, were brought from Italy by Mr. George Gordon King. Turning toward the entrance, in which is a wrought iron Screen in the Spanish style, designed by Mr. Samuel Yellen and made by the Industrial Ornamental Iron Works of Philadelphia, Penn., one sees an extremely interesting feature in the Statues by Mr. Gutzon Borglum of representatives of the successive stages of the development of Christianity in England, which stand in the niches between the clustered columns at the sides of the great entrance archway.[42]

The figures, five on each side, one above the other, and corresponding to as many on the Ambulatory side,—twenty in all,—are in the following relative positions, it being understood that the left side as seen[89] from the chapel is the same as the right side as seen from the Ambulatory.

Seen from Chapel.
Left. Right.

St. Aidan
Bishop of Northumbrians
ac. 635 d. 651

St. Augustine
Archbishop of Canterbury
ac. 597 d. 604

St. Anselm
Archbishop of Canterbury
ac. 1093 d. 1109

King Alfred
King of Wessex
b. 849 d. 901

Thomas Cranmer
Archbishop of Canterbury
b. 1489 d. 1556

William of Wykeham
Bishop of Winchester
ac. 1367 d. 1405

Joseph Butler
Bishop of Durham
b. 1692 d. 1752

Jeremy Taylor
Bishop of 3 Irish sees
b. 1613 d. 1667

John Keble
leader in Oxford movement
b. 1792 d. 1866

Reginald Heber
Bishop of Calcutta
b. 1783 d. 1826

Seen from Ambulatory.
Left. Right.

St. Alban
promartyr of Britain
d. circ. 304

Theodore of Tarsus
Archbishop of Canterbury
ac. 668 d. 690

The Venerable Bede
chronicler and priest
b. 673 d. 735

Stephen Langton
Archbishop of Canterbury b. 1150 d. 1228

John Wyckliffe
morning-star of Reformation
b. 1325 d. 1384

Matthew Parker
Archbishop of Canterbury b. 1504 d. 1575

Richard Hooker
Anglican theologian
b. 1554 d. 1600

George Berkeley
Bishop of Cloyne, etc.
b. 1684 d. 1753

John Wesley
evangelical revivalist
b. 1703 d. 1791

Frederic Denison Maurice
preacher and leader
b. 1805 d. 1872

The Cathedral has in its possession a Stone from[90] the Cathedral, or Church of St. Mary (dating from the 13th-16th centuries) on the Island of Iona, which may fittingly be placed in this chapel at some future time.

Upon the wall of the chapel is inscribed:

“Chapel ‖ of ‖ Saint Columba ‖ To the Glory of God ‖ and ‖ in Loving Memory of ‖ Mary Leroy King ‖ The Gift of Her Mother ‖ Mary Augusta King ‖ Consecrated ‖ April 27th, 1911.”

The Chapel of St. Boniface

St. Boniface, whose original name was Winifred, was born in Devonshire, England, about the year 680. He entered a Benedictine monastery at the age of 13, learned rhetoric, history and theology, and became a priest at the age of 30. At a time when England and Ireland were sending missionaries to the heathen parts of Europe, Winifred was authorized by Pope Gregory II. to preach the Gospel to the tribes of Germany, and he is called the Apostle of Germany. While engaged in this work, Gregory made him a Bishop and gave him the name of Bonifacius, or Boniface, which means Doer of Good. The Bishoprics of Ratisbon, Erfurt, Paderborn, Wurzburg, Eichstadt, Salzburg, and several others, owe their establishment to his efforts. In 746 he was made Archbishop of Mainz. In 755, while carrying on his work in Dokkum, in West Friesland, he and his congregation of converts there were slain by a mob of armed heathen. His remains are buried in the famous abbey of Fulda, which he founded. In art, he is depicted holding a book pierced by a sword, referring to the manner of his death. The Memorial Day for St. Boniface is kept on June 5.

The Chapel of St. Boniface, (18 on plan), designed by Mr. Henry Vaughan, is a very pure specimen of English Gothic Architecture of the 14th century. It is about 48½ feet long and 28 wide, seats about 100 persons, and cost about $175,000. The interior walls are of Indiana limestone; the pavement of pink marble from Knoxville, Tenn., with heavy black border of Belgian marble; and the steps to the Sanctuary also of pink Knoxville marble. The Altar is of gray marble from the same source. In the three ornate[91] panels on its face are the monogram IHS (see p. 74), the floriated Greek cross (see note below), and the Greek cross form of the Chi Rho (p. 74). The richly carved Reredos has three canopied niches, in the central one of which is represented the Adoration of the Magi. In each of the side niches is an angel with scroll. In the recesses of the windows on either side of the Altar are carved clergy stalls of dark oak, with wainscoting of the same wood as high as the window sills. There are six stained glass Windows, three in the Sanctuary and three smaller ones in the clerestory. Each has three lights. In the middle light of the central window above the Altar Christ is represented as the Great Teacher. His robe is sprinkled with the IHS monogram (p. 74) and in His nimbus appear the ends of a floriated cross.[43] Above His head are two angels, and above them the dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. Below the figure of Christ is a scene representing Him teaching the multitude. In the left side light is St. Boniface with mitre, archiepiscopal staff,[44] and Bible pierced with sword; and below him a scene representing him hewing down an oak in Geismar accounted sacred by the idolators. In the right side light is St. Paul with sword; and below him a scene representing him preaching to the men of Athens. In the left window of the Sanctuary are three figures with scenes below as follows (left to right): St. Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester, holding a[92] monstrance, and (below) St. Birinus baptizing King Cynegils of the West Saxons; St. Augustine of Canterbury with archiepiscopal staff, holding a tablet representing the crucifixion, and (below) St. Augustine announcing the Word of Life to King Ethelbert; and St. Felix, Bishop of Dunwich, with crozier and torch, and (below) St. Felix receiving the blessing of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the right Sanctuary window, similarly, are: St. Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, holding crozier and model of Lichfield Cathedral,[45] and (below) St. Chad listening to the songs of angels; St. Columba in monastic garb with crozier and with monastery (Iona) at his feet, and (below) St. Columba converting the Picts; and St. Aidan with crozier, and (below) St. Aidan instructing the youthful St. Chad and others. In the west clerestory window are: St. Patrick with crozier ornamented with shamrocks; St. Gregory of Rome with papal staff, holding an open music book displaying the Sursum Corda (referring to him as founder of the Gregorian music), with Pere Marquette below; and St. Martin of Tours with crozier and Bible. In the east wall are two clerestory windows. In the left hand window of the two are: St. Cyprian, Archbishop of Carthage, holding his staff and his best known book concerning Church Unity, or the universal church; St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, with crozier and open book displaying the words “Te Deum Laudamus” (we praise Thee, O God,) and pen in hand, with the missionary Robert Hunt below; and St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Mundia, with crozier. In the right hand clerestory window in the east wall are: St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, with book and staff; St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, with staff, chalice and Book of Homilies, with the missionary John Robinson[93] below; and St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, holding a palm. The windows were made by Messrs. C. E. Kempe & Co. of London. In two canopied niches in the west wall are Statues of Thomas a Becket (left) and St. Boniface (right); and in a niche in the east wall is one of Erasmus. Three wrought iron Lamps are suspended by iron chains from the ceiling; and at the entrance is a handsome wrought iron Screen adorned with escutcheons bearing the ihc monogram and surmounted by a floriated cross before explained. On one of the walls is inscribed:

“The Chapel of St. Boniface ‖ Consecrated ‖ February 29, 1916 ‖ Erected to ‖ the Glory of God ‖ by ‖ George Sullivan Bowdoin ‖ and His Wife ‖ Julia Grinnell Bowdoin ‖ and Their Children ‖ Temple Bowdoin ‖ Fanny Hamilton Kingsford ‖ Edith Grinnell Bowdoin.”

Story of the Dove Of Peace. During the last year of the World War, an incident interesting in itself and illustrative of the origin of the legends and traditions which often grow up around cathedrals, occurred in connection with the chapel bearing the name of the Apostle of Germany. In the spring of 1918, some weeks after the great German drive of March 21 had begun and before the beginning of the counter-offensive of the second battle of the Marne in July, the large stained glass window in the clerestory of the Choir above the entrance to the Chapel of St. Boniface arrived from England. All the ventilation openings in the Cathedral windows are screened to exclude birds, which, however interesting in their natural habitats, are a practical nuisance in the Cathedral. When the stained glass window above mentioned arrived, the temporary window filling the space above the entrance to the chapel was removed for its installation. While the window was thus open, and at a period in the war when the issue trembled in the balance and the world fairly held its breath in[94] fearful expectation of the event, a white dove,—very generally recognized as a symbol or harbinger of Peace—flew into the Cathedral over this chapel. On the following Sunday it soared around in the great dome of the Crossing and in the Choir, alighting in the most interesting places. When Dean Robbins ascended the stairs of the great marble pulpit, he found the dove perched on the edge of the pulpit directly before him. The dove then flew down and alighted on the back of a vacant chair between two occupied chairs in the midst of the congregation on the south side of the Crossing, and there remained quietly during the sermon. When the ushers started toward the Altar with the offertory, the bird soared across the congregation and alighted on the hat of a woman dressed in mourning who was sitting near the middle aisle, its snow white plumage contrasting strikingly with the sombre attire of the bereaved woman who seemed not to be disturbed by what perhaps she regarded as a happy omen. In a moment the dove flew to another part of the Crossing. It remained in the Cathedral a few days longer; and then one day, went out through an open door. Soon after this occurrence, the Allies facing the Marne salient, including the Americans at Chateau Thierry, began the great counter-movement which finally brought peace.[46] It was at least an interesting coincidence that this white dove came into the Cathedral over this chapel, at the very crisis of the war, and that almost immediately thereafter began that series of determining events which led the Germans to make overtures for Peace.


The Chapel of St. Ansgarius

St. Ansgarius, or St. Ansgar, was born in Picardy in 801. With his co-laborer Autbert he went to preach Christianity to the northmen of Sleswick. In spite of much persecution, he was so successful that in 831 the Pope established an archbishopric in Hamburg, (afterwards transferred to Bremen,) and Ansgarius was appointed first Archbishop. He made several missionary tours in Denmark, Sweden and other parts of the north, and died at Bremen in 865. He is called the Apostle of the North. The Memorial Day for St. Ansgarius is kept on February 3.

The Chapel of St. Ansgarius (19 on plan), designed by Mr. Henry Vaughan, architect of the Chapel of St. James, is in the same style of Architecture, 14th century Gothic, and about the same size, being 66 feet long and 41 wide, with a seating capacity of 250. It differs, however, from the Chapel of St. James in plan, the bay east of the turret stairs being here thrown into the Ambulatory, while in the Chapel of St. James it is included as a sort of transept; and the north side of the Chapel of St. Ansgarius being divided into only two bays, while the south side of the Chapel of St. James is divided into three. On account of the amount of work required to secure a firm foundation, the Chapel of St. Ansgarius cost about $225,000, making it the most expensive of the seven Chapels of Tongues.

Niche in St. Ansgarius Chapel made of old Cathedral Stones


The interior walls are of Indiana limestone; and the pavement of pink Knoxville, Tenn., marble and mottled Vermont marble. The Altar is of gray Knoxville marble. On its front is carved the Madonna of the Chair on the left of which, from the spectator’s standpoint, is St. Michael with sword and on the right St. Gabriel with lilies. In the middle of the sculptured Reredos, (above) is represented Christ holding the globe (symbol of sovereignty), and (below) the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.

On the left of the figures are St. Ansgarius with crozier (above) and Gustavus Adolphus with sword (below), while on the right are St. Olaf with crown and scepter (above) and Luther in gown with book (below). The Altar and Reredos were given by Mrs. Julia Grinnell Bowdoin. In the left (northern) wall of the Sanctuary is a niche made of stones from Worcester and Ely Cathedrals, England. On the upper surface of the stone bracket forming the shelf of the niche is carved “Ely 1320.” The stones from the Lady Chapel of Worcester Cathedral were given to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine by Canon George William Douglas of New York who procured them from Canon J. M. Wilson, Archdeacon of Worcester.[47] On the stones on either side of the recess is carved:

“These Stones from ‖ the Cathedral ‖ of Christ and ‖ St. Mary the Virgin ‖ Worcester, England, ‖ are Memorials to ‖ William Reed ‖ Huntington ‖ Sometime Rector ‖ of All Saints ‖ in Worcester ‖ Massachusetts.”


Three small Windows of two lights each in the Sanctuary contain (from left to right) representations of: (1) St. Willibrod with mitre, archiepiscopal staff, and model of cathedral; and St. Lucian with crown, scepter and sword; (2) St. Ansgarius with mitre and crozier; and King Olaf with crown and scepter; and (3) above the Reredos, St. Eric with crown and scepter; and St. Wilifred with mitre and archiepiscopal staff. The window spaces at the right of the latter are walled up because they are blanketed by the adjacent chapel. In the two bays of the north aisle are two noble stained glass windows, each having five lights and each light depicting two scenes. In the left hand or western window, the upper tier of scenes is chiefly devoted to Old Testament subjects as follows (left to right): Adam and Eve (Gen. ii. 7-25); the visit of the three angels to Abraham bearing the promise of the birth of Isaac (Gen. xviii. 2-22); St. Michael fighting the dragon with a cross-shaped spear (Rev. xii. 7); Abraham offering to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. xxii. 9-13); and Jacob’s dream of the ladder (Gen. xxviii. 12). In the lower tier are five scenes prophetic of the birth of the Forerunner of Christ and of Christ himself: The angel’s visit to Zacharias to foretell the birth of John the Baptist (Luke i. 13); the annunciation to the Virgin Mary of the coming birth of Christ (Luke i. 28); St. Gabriel with lilies as Angel of the Annunciation (Luke i. 28); the angels’ visit to the shepherds (Luke ii. 8-12); and the angel’s visit to Joseph, husband of Mary, to foretell the birth of Christ (Mat. i. 20). The right hand or eastern window depicts Acts of the Apostles. In its upper tier are: St. Peter preaching to the Disciples (Acts i. 15); St. Peter healing the lame man (Acts iii. 2-8); St. Peter with key; the stoning of St. Stephen (Acts vii. 59); and St. Philip baptizing the eunuch (Acts viii. 26-38); and in the lower tier: St. Peter raising Tabitha[98] (Acts ix. 40); the conversion of St. Paul’s jailer at Philippi (Acts xvi. 23-31); St. Paul with sword; St. Paul laying hands on the Disciples (Acts xix. 6); and St. Paul before Felix (Acts xxiv. 24-25). All the windows are by Messrs. C. E. Kempe & Co. of London. In two high niches in the south wall are Statues of Eric, King of Sweden (left) and Canute, King of the English, Danes and Norwegians (right;) and in a niche at the west end of the north aisle is a statue of King Eskiel, all crowned. On the Ambulatory side of the entrance bay are two statues: John the Baptist (above) and St. Ansgarius with crozier and mitre, holding a small cathedral (below). The sculptures are by Mr. John Evans of Boston. In a bay of the chapel temporarily rests a symbolic group executed in Caen stone by Miss Malvina Hoffman of New York, entitled The Sacrifice. It is intended for Harvard University at Cambridge, Mass., as a memorial of Robert Bacon, sometime U. S. Ambassador to France and a Trustee of the University, and of the Harvard men who lost their lives in the World War. It represents a dead Crusader, such as those who went from Cambridge, Eng., in the 12th century, and gave their lives for an ideal, lying upon a cross with his head pillowed in a woman’s lap. According to the traditional position of the feet of the Crusader, he was one of those who never reached Jerusalem, those who did so being traditionally represented with their feet crossed. The woman may typify Alma Mater as well as those women who gave their best to a great cause and made their lonely grief their glory. The two figures symbolize mutual sacrifice. This chapel has an independent Organ played from a movable console on the floor. The chapel, which is the gift of many persons, was dedicated on April 3, 1918. On one of the walls is inscribed:




“The Chapel of Saint Ansgarius ‖ Consecrated April 3, 1918 ‖ to the Worship of ‖ Almighty God ‖ and in Loving Memory of ‖ William Reed Huntington ‖ for 25 Years Rector of Grace Church ‖ and for 22 Years Trustee of this Cathedral.”

The Corner Stone of the Cathedral, which was laid by Bishop Henry C. Potter on St. John’s Day, December 27, 1892, is imbedded in the northwestern pier of the Chapel of St. Ansgarius and is only partly visible in the chamber under the chapel. It is a block of gray Quincy granite, 4 feet 4 inches square and 2 feet 4½ inches thick. Upon the angle of the visible corner are inscribed a Greek cross and “I. H. S. St. John’s Day, Decem. XXVII, A. D. 1892.” It contains, among other things, a fragment of a Spanish Brick from Hispaniola (Hayti) which was given to the Cathedral by Mr. Malcolm McLean, Senior Warden of St. Andrew’s Church, New York City, and upon which is a silver plate inscribed:

“From the Ruin of the First Christian Church in the New World where the First Church was Erected by Christopher Columbus, 1493. Isabella, Hispaniola.”[48]

The Crypt

The Crypt, located beneath the Choir, is closed, pending work on other parts of the Cathedral. And on account of the consequent dampness, the delicate furnishings were removed in September, 1916, and[101] entrusted to the care of Mr. Louis C. Tiffany, who designed them, and who has placed them temporarily in the private chapel on his large country estate at Laurelton, L. I. The Crypt has a seating capacity of 500, and the first services in the Cathedral were held in it from January 8, 1899, until the Choir and Crossing were opened on April 19, 1911. In its furnished state, it contains an Altar, Reredos, font, lectern, and five stained glass windows which were exhibited by Mr. Tiffany at the World’s Fair at Chicago in 1893 and which were called collectively the Tiffany Chapel. The top and retable of the Altar are of Carrara marble, while the front and sides are adorned with medallions of mother of pearl, four smaller discs containing emblems of the four Evangelists, a central shield set with sapphires, topazes and mother of pearl, and 150,000 pieces of glass mosaic. The Reredos is of iridescent glass mosaic, as are the twelve Pillars back of the Altar symbolizing the twelve Apostles. The general effect is Byzantine. The Altar, Reredos, font, lectern and windows were given by Mrs. Celia Hermione Wallace in memory of her son. The following interments have been made in the Crypt: The Very Rev. William M. Grosvenor, D.D., Dean of the Cathedral, December 13, 1916; the Right Rev. David H. Greer, D.D., eighth Bishop of New York, May 23, 1919; and the Right Rev. Charles S. Burch, D.D., ninth Bishop of New York, December 23, 1920.

Summary Dimensions

Following are the principal dimensions of the Cathedral. As cathedrals are compared in size by their areas, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine will rank, after St. Peter’s at Rome and Seville Cathedral, the third largest in the world.


Western Towers 50 feet
Nave 225
Crossing 100
Choir 170
St. Saviour’s Chapel 56
Total length 601
West Front (including buttresses) 220 feet
Nave and Aisles (exterior) 132
Transepts 315
Crossing 100
Choir 56
Ambulatory 20
Western Towers 265 feet
Ridge of Nave Roof 175
Nave Vaults (above floor) 130
Choir Vaults (above floor) 127
Crossing Vault (above floor) 200
Central Fleche 470
Final Cross (30 feet) 500
Final Cross above tide-water 631
Area of Cathedral 109,082 square feet

Bishops of New York

Following is a list of the Bishops of New York since the erection of the Diocese:

First: The Right Rev. Samuel Provoost, D.D.; born February 24, 1742; Bishop of New York 1787-1815; died September 6, 1815.

Second: The Right Rev. Benjamin Moore; born November 5, 1748; Assistant Bishop 1801-1815; Bishop of New York 1815-1816; died February 29, 1816.

Third: The Right Rev. John Henry Hobart, D.D.; born September 14, 1775; Assistant Bishop 1811-1816;[103] Bishop of New York 1816-1830; died September 12, 1830.

Fourth: The Right Rev. Benjamin Tredwell Onderdonk; born July 15, 1791; Bishop of New York, active 1830-1845, inactive 1845-1861; died April 30, 1861.

Fifth: The Right Rev. Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, D.D., D.C.L.; born February 24, 1792; Provisional Bishop 1852-1854; died September 21, 1854.

Sixth: The Right Rev. Horatio Potter, D.D., D.C.L., Oxon.; born February 9, 1802; Provisional Bishop 1854-1861; Bishop of New York 1861-1887; died January 2, 1887.

Seventh: The Right Rev. Henry Codman Potter, D.D., LL.D.; born May 25, 1834; Assistant Bishop 1883-1887; Bishop of New York 1887-1908; died July 21, 1908.

Eighth: The Right Rev. David Hummell Greer, D.D., S.T.D., LL.D.; born March 20, 1844; Bishop Coadjutor 1904-1908; Bishop of New York 1908-1919; died May 19, 1919.

Ninth: The Right Rev. Charles Sumner Burch, D.D., L.H.D., LL.D.; born June 30, 1855; Bishop Suffragan 1911-1919; Bishop of New York 1919-1920; died December 20, 1920.

Tenth: The Right Rev. William Thomas Manning, D.D., LL.D., D.C.L.; born May 12, 1866; Bishop of New York 1921.


Part Three
Other Buildings, Etc.

The Bishop’s House

The Bishop’s House (A. on plan) is in French Gothic architecture of the chateau type, with lofty roof and high dormer windows, and is built of Germantown micaceous schist. It is designed to be connected with the Cathedral by cloisters, and is connected with the Deanery by a vaulted porch above which is to be built the Bishop’s private chapel. The extreme outside dimensions of the Bishop’s House are 77 by 126 feet, including the porch. The architects were Messrs. Cram & Ferguson.[49] The occupants of the house have been Bishop Greer from the time of its opening in 1914 until his death May 19, 1919; Bishop Burch from his installation October 28, 1919, until his death December 20, 1920; and Bishop Manning since his consecration on May 11, 1921.

The Deanery

The Deanery (B. on plan) adjoins the Bishop’s House as above mentioned. It is by the same architect, is in the same style but of a more domestic type, forms a part of the same architectural composition, and is built of the same kind of stone. It is not so lofty a structure as the Bishop’s House, but has many interesting details, particularly on the southern façade. Its extreme outside measurements are about 79 by 93 feet. The late Dean Grosvenor occupied the Deanery from the time of its erection until his death December 9, 1916, and was succeeded by Dean Robbins in June, 1917. A tablet in the porch is inscribed:

“The Deanery ‖ erected in ‖ Faithful Remembrance ‖ of ‖ Clinton Ogilvie ‖ 1838-1900 ‖ by his wife ‖ Helen Slade Ogilvie ‖ A. D. 1913.”




The Choir School

The Choir School (C. on Plan) has a special interest for everyone who goes to the Cathedral, for here are educated and trained the boys who sing in the Cathedral services. The school was founded by Bishop H. C. Potter in 1901 and was formerly located in the Old Synod House. The present building, erected in 1912 and built of the same kind of stone as the Bishop’s House and Deanery, is in the English Collegiate Gothic style of architecture; is three stories high, and has extreme outside dimensions of 83 by 150 feet. Messrs. Walter Cook and Winthrop A. Welch were the architects. The building contains offices, a general school room which is equipped with apparatus for both stereopticon and moving pictures, a choir rehearsal room with stalls, individual rooms for vocal and instrumental practice, a fine large common room with open fire-place for reading and social intercourse, dining room, kitchen, dormitories, a big gymnasium, a sick room to which a boy is transferred upon the first sign of any illness, etc. Accommodations are provided for 40 resident scholars and 20 day scholars. Their musical training is under the personal direction of the organist and Master of the Choristers, and their general education under the direction of the Head Master and staff of under-masters. A sympathetic House Mother looks out for the personal wants of the boys and directs the domestic service; and competent physicians and trained nurses are in attendance when necessary. Boys are admitted to the school at the age of 9 and remain until their[107] voices change, which is usually between the ages of 13 and 14. They come from all parts of the United States and possessions, two boys recently having come from Alaska. An applicant is first received on probation, and if he manifests a good character and disposition, and gives promise of a good voice, he is accepted as a chorister. Until they become full choristers, vested with cassock and cotta, probationers sit in separate choir stalls in the Cathedral services and wear only their black student gowns. During their residence at the school, the boys are under strict but gentle discipline and have the finest education and musical training that can be given them. Their board, education and musical training are free, in return for which they give their services as choristers. When they leave the school, they are followed by the interest of the Cathedral organizations which endeavor to secure scholarships for their higher education. The men of the choir, of whom there are about 20, do not reside at the Choir School. The usual number of choristers, men and boys, in the Cathedral services is about 60, except during the summer vacation when the number is somewhat reduced. There is probably no finer choir school in the world, and the Cathedral music is the highest expression of this form of musical art in this country.






The Choir School building, which cost nearly $180,000, is the gift of Mrs. J. Jarrett Blodgett in memory of her father Mr. John Hinman Sherwood. At Eastertide, 1914, the late Commodore Frederick G. Bourne, who had sung as a boy in Trinity Church and in later years in the Church of the Incarnation, endowed the school with $500,000; and by his will, probated March 15, 1919, gave $100,000 to the Cathedral toward the building of the Nave and about the same amount to the Choir School endowment. Members of the Diocesan Auxiliary to the Cathedral contributed generously toward the furnishing of the school. A tablet in the porch reads:

“In Faithful Memory of ‖ John Hinman Sherwood ‖ Just Upright True ‖ Erected by his daughter ‖ 1912.”

St. Faith’s House

St. Faith’s House (D. on plan) is the home of the New York Training School for Deaconesses, an independent corporation which was founded in 1890 by the late Rev. William Reed Huntington, D.D., and which occupies a site in the Cathedral Close by permission of the Trustees of the Cathedral. The building of Indiana limestone and brick is in Tudor Gothic architecture, and measures 68 by 137 feet on the outside. It is the gift of Archdeacon Charles C. Tiffany in memory of his wife. The architects were Messrs. Heins & LaFarge.

The Synod House

The Synod House, (E. on plan), standing in the southwestern angle of the Close on the corner of Cathedral parkway and Amsterdam avenue, is the meeting place of the Diocesan Convention and other secular gatherings of the Diocese. It also contains the Bishop’s office and the offices of the Suffragan Bishops, the Rt. Rev. Arthur Selden Lloyd, D.D., and the Rt. Rev. Herbert Shipman, D.D. It is of Kingwood. W. Va., sandstone with pink tinges, quite unlike any other stone in the Cathedral group. The Architecture is pure French Gothic of the 13th century, Messrs. Cram & Ferguson being the architects. Its outside dimensions are 73 by 171 feet. The Western Entrance is a fine example of a mediaeval recessed porch in its architecture and an interesting illustration of the progress of Civilization and Christianity in its sculptures. It contains 43 figures in the round and a relief of 12 figures in the tympanum. The key-note to the composition is the relief in the Tympanum representing Christ sending out his Disciples to baptize and teach all the nations of the world. Beneath this is the inscription:

“All power is given unto me in heaven and earth ‖ Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing ‖ them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and ‖ of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all ‖ things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo ‖ I am with you always even unto the end of the world” (Mat. xxviii. 18-20).




The archivolt outside of the tympanum is composed of three ranges of Gothic niches in the voussoirs, containing 36 little figures in the round. The outer range represents 14 ancient and modern Apostles of Christianity as follows, beginning at the lowest figure on the left-hand side and reading upward to the center, and thence downward to the lowest right-hand figure: (1) Count Zinzendorf, 1700-1760, German reformer, founder of Moravian Brethren, missionary to American Indians; (2) St. Boniface, 680-755, Apostle of Germany; (3) St. Francis Xavier, 1506-1552, Apostle of the Indies, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus; (4) St. Denis, 3d century, Apostle of the Gauls, Patron Saint of France; (5) St. Olaf, 995-1030, Patron Saint and King of Norway; (6) St. Augustine, died 604, missionary to Britain, first Archbishop of Canterbury; (7) Innocent of Moscow, 1797-1879, Apostle of Alaska and Kamchatka, Archbishop of Moscow; (8) St. Patrick, circ. 372-460, Apostle and Patron Saint of Ireland; (9) John Eliot, 1604-1690, Apostle of American Indians, translator of Bible into Indian language; (10) St. Willibrod, 658-739, Apostle of the Frisians, Archbishop of Utrecht; (11) St. Cyril, 827-869, Apostle of the Slavs, inventor of the Cyrillic alphabet; (12) David Livingstone, 1813-1873, British explorer and missionary in Africa; (13) St. Columba, 521-597, Apostle of Caledonia; (14) Charles George[113] Gordon, “Gordon Pasha,” 1833-1885, British General, promoter of Christianity in China and Egypt. The 12 figures in the middle range represent the Arts and Sciences. In the same order they are: (1) Natural Science, man with microscope; (2) Sculpture, man with mallet and chisel; (3) Medicine, man with book and skull; (4) Literature, woman reading a book; (5) Chemistry, woman holding aloft a retort; (6) Industrial Art, man with vase; (7) Painting, man with palette; (8) Astronomy, man with globe; (9) Mathematics, man wearing spectacles and gown, holding cone and truncated pyramid; (10) Physics, woman with telephone; (11) Music, man with violoncello; (12) Architecture, man[50] holding model of building. The 10 figures in the innermost range represent the Crafts and Industries, as follows: (1) Bookbinding, man making a book; (2) Agriculture, man sowing seed; (3) Metal Industry, man pouring molten metal from ladle; (4) Textile Industry, woman with distaff and shuttle; (5) Navigation, sailor holding telescope with rope at feet; (6) Building, man laying brick; (7) Engineering, man holding tape measure; (8) Fishing, sailor with seine; (9) Mining, man with pickaxe and miner’s cap; (10) Shoemaking, cobbler at his last. Below these, in niches in the splays and central pilaster of the door-way, are 7 larger figures representing Seven Famous Christian Rulers who have carried out the injunction in the tympanum, as follows, (left to right): (1) Emperor Constantine, once ruler of the Roman World and founder of Constantinople, who proclaimed religious toleration and presided over the council which adopted the Nicene Creed; (2) Charlemagne, King of the Franks, Emperor of the revived western Roman empire, who introduced Christianity into conquered countries, maintained[114] popular assemblies, and promoted science, art and letters; (3) Alexis, one of the ablest Emperors of Byzantium and friend of the Crusaders; (4, in center) George Washington, to whose character as Christian soldier, statesman and first President of the United States, attaches local interest from the fact that he commanded the American troops in the Battle of Harlem Heights which was fought partly on the ground occupied by the Cathedral Close; (5) Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, one of the greatest generals, who, with his army in Germany, saved the cause of Protestantism in the Thirty Years War; (6) St. Louis, King of France, the most distinguished monarch of his age, who was noted for his piety, justice and mercy, and who died on a Crusade; and (7) Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, who bore the brunt of the Danish invasions and was a promoter of education and Christianity. The sculptures are by John Evans & Co. of Boston. The Interior decoration of the high roof and open timbers of the truss-work in polychrome is typical of the Middle Ages and the wood panelling is a reminder of 15th century work. The latter is by Messrs. Wm. F. Ross & Co., of Cambridge, Mass. The grisaille windows are by Mr. Charles J. Connick of Boston. The main hall, which seats 800 on the floor and 400 in the gallery, has a large pipe organ built by the Ernest M. Skinner Co. of Boston. The Undercroft (basement) is equipped for use as a refectory. The building cost about $350,000. In the main vestibule, over the outer door-way, is this inscription:

“To the Glory of God and for the Service of His People ‖ This Synod House was Given in the year A. D. 1912 by ‖ John Pierpont Morgan and William Bayard Cutting.”

Open Air Pulpit

The Open Air Pulpit (F. on plan) standing in the midst of the Cathedral Close, is in the form of an[115] open-work Gothic spire 40 feet high, built of Daytona stone. On its four sides are the usual symbols of the four Evangelists. The pulpit was designed by Messrs. Howells and Stokes and was presented by Miss Olivia Phelps Stokes in memory of her sister Miss Caroline Phelps Stokes. It was suggested by the outdoor services held here before the Choir and Crossing were ready, and by the open air pulpit attached to the cathedral church at Perugia.


The following organizations of men and women aid in the Cathedral work:

The Diocesan Auxiliary to the Cathedral: President, Mrs. Henry W. Munroe; Vice-Presidents, Mrs. John Greenough, Mrs. Haley Fiske, Mrs. W. M. V. Hoffman; Secretary, Mrs. Louis Mansfield Ogden; Assistant Secretary, Mrs. Francis C. Huntington; Treasurer, Mrs. Harold F. Hadden.

The Cathedral League: President, Mr. John S. Rogers; Vice-President, Hon. Thomas C. T. Crain; Treasurer, Mr. John A. Hance; Secretary, Dr. John B. Walker.

The Laymen’s Club: President, Mr. Theophilus Barratt; Vice-Presidents, Messrs. William W. Borman, Henry M. Sperry, Robert Livingston Stedman; Treasurer, Mr. Charles P. Dietz; Secretary, Mr. J. Hardwick Stagg. Organized 1908, incorporated 1920, “to promote and stimulate interest in the influence, growth and completion of the Cathedral; to bring the Cathedral and its work more completely within the knowledge of the community; and to promote the general welfare of the Cathedral.” Among its activities are the publication of this Guide Book and the Cathedral post-cards, the improvement of the Cathedral grounds,[116] the assisting of a choir boy to complete in some well-known preparatory school his preparation for college, the training of the Cathedral Troop of Boy Scouts, the giving of free lectures, the ushering in the Cathedral, etc.

The Cathedral Ushers are members of the Laymen’s Club as stipulated in a resolution of the Cathedral Trustees passed April 25, 1911, and are designated from week to week by the Canon Sacrist. The badge of the Ushers is a vesica-shaped[51] gold medallion, having in the center an episcopal mitre, surrounded by the legend “Ecclesia Cathedralis S. Johannis Theologi;” suspended by a purple ribbon from a gold bar bearing the word “Usher.”

Guide Book

Copies of this Guide Book may be procured at the Cathedral from the Verger or the Ushers, or will be sent by mail upon request addressed to the Verger (p. 23). In stiff paper covers 50 cents (by mail 60 cents); in purple cloth covers stamped with gold $1.00 (by mail $1.10).


[1] The service on Nov. 24, when the flags of 12 liberated nationalities were carried in the procession, and that on Thanksgiving Day when the flags of 27 allied nations were carried, were two of the most moving religious services ever held in this country. The liberated peoples represented in the former were the Armenian, Albanian, Czecho-Slovak, Jugo-Slav, Greek Irredentist, Italian Irredentist, Lithuanian, Polish, Rumanian, Uhro-Rusin, Ukranian, and Zionist.

[2] The quality of divinity appertaining only to the Deity.

[3] This was a stone tower similar to the one so well preserved in Central Park. The remains of another are at the northern end of Morningside Park.

[4] See note on page 116.

[5] The pastoral staff was presented to Bishop Manning in 1923 by the Bishop, clergy and laity of the Diocese of London. See reference to the Diocese of London on page 24.

[6] The processional cross, a memorial of the late Walter D. Davidge, Chairman of Ushers, is overlaid with pure gold, and mounted upon a carved mahogany staff. In its center is a large topaz jewel with many facets. It was made by Messrs. J. & R. Lamb.

[7] Mr. Heins was born May 24, 1860, in Philadelphia, Penn., and died September 25, 1907, at Mohegan Lake, N. Y., where there is a church erected in his memory.

[8] Morningside Heights are so named because they front eastward.

[9] See description of corner-stone on page 100.

[10] This is true in both the natural and the spiritual worlds. The oak grows more slowly than the pine; and the moral achievements which are worth the most and last the longest are the hardest to accomplish.

[11] The figures of the Virgin and the Child suggest the fact that the Chapel of St. Saviour occupies the position usually given to the Lady Chapel in European cathedrals.

[12] The diagonal cross of St. Andrew symbolizes not only the mode of his martyrdom but also humility. The legend is that when condemned to death, he asked to be nailed to a cross of a form different from the Saviour’s, as he was not worthy to die on the same kind.

[13] The usual symbol of St. Bartholomew, the knife with which he was flayed alive, and that of St. Matthew, the money bag, indicating his occupation before he was called, are not apparent.

[14] There is a tradition that St. Luke painted the first portrait of Christ. Pictures of the Madonna attributed to Luke are not uncommon in southern Italy. There is one such in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul at Citta Vecchia, Malta. See article entitled “Knights and Sights of Malta” in Harper’s Magazine for July, 1923, p. 159.

[15] ΙϹ and ΧϹ are the Greek letters iota sigma and chi sigma, (uncial form,) being the first and last letters in each case of the Greek words for Jesus Christ. The letters ΝΙΚΑ are read together and spell the Greek word which means “conquers.” Mrs. Jenner, in her “Christian Symbolism,” says that this inscription “is stamped upon every altar-bread of the Orthodox Eastern Church, and it occurs on every eikon of our Lord.”

[16] What is here informally called the central aisle is sometimes called by architects the Nave, to distinguish it from the parallel passages called aisles.

[17] These sculptures are surpassingly beautiful. The Supper at Emmaus has a particularly dramatic quality. Note the amazement of the two Disciples as they recognize the Saviour after his crucifixion, their attitudes and facial expressions, and the vein standing out on the neck of the one in the foreground.

[18] The use of the grape-vine to symbolize Christ dates from the very beginning of the Christian era. A silver chalice found in Antioch by Arabs in 1910 and believed to date from the 1st century, is covered with a grape-vine of twelve branches in the midst of which are figures of Christ and the writers of the Gospels and Epistles (See N. Y. Evening Sun of Jan. 3, 1920, and N. Y. Times of May 14, 1922.)

[19] These symbols, supposed to be derived from the Revelation of St. John (iv. 7) and the prophecy of Ezekiel (i. 10), are variously interpreted. One explanation of each follows: The man or cherub is given to St. Matthew because he dwells on the human side of Christ; the lion to St. Mark because he is called the historian of the resurrection, and ancient naturalists believed that the lion was born inanimate and came to life three days after birth; the ox, the emblem of sacrifice, to St. Luke because he dwells on the priesthood of Christ; and the eagle to St. John because he soared in the spirit to heaven and saw God.

[20] These Romanesque features are part of the original design which was subsequently abandoned. There is a plan for changing them to Gothic.

[21] There is much ambiguity in the use by architects of terms to indicate the sub-divisions of the eastern limb of a cathedral which is called comprehensively the Choir. The designations here used—the Choir proper, the Presbytery, and the Sanctuary—are sufficient for present purposes without confusing the reader with conflicting definitions.

[22] For details of intentional departures from absolute levels, and from regularity of height and spacing of arches, see “Temperamental Architecture” in “The New York Architect” for April, 1911.

[23] See Abbott’s “History of King Alfred” for legends concerning the cakes. One is, that Alfred, when a fugitive from the Danes, was hiding one day in a peasant’s cottage, and while sitting by the fire-place mending his bow, he was requested by the house-wife to watch her cakes which were baking. Absorbed in thoughts of his kingdom, he forgot the cakes, and for his neglect was roundly scolded by the woman who little realized his character.

[24] St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order, literally interpreted the text “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark xvi. 15) and a famous fresco by Giotto in the church of San Francesco, at Assisi, represents him preaching to the birds.

[25] “Cathedral Choirs ... have for ages been divided into two portions facing each other and respectively named Decani, or the side of the Dean, ... and Cantoris, or the side of the Cantor” or Precentor.—Hunt’s Concise History of Music.

[26] Brother of Horatio Potter and father of Henry Codman Potter, Bishops of New York.

[27] See reference to the symbols of the four Evangelists on page 44.

[28] See page 93 for anecdote of the Dove of Peace connected with this window.

[29] See page 74 following.

[30] The poetic beauty of this window tempts one to re-read Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” The beautiful legend of St. Raphael, the friendly traveller, a favorite subject of art, is to be found in the Book of Tobit, in the Apochrypha.

[31] Uncle of Bishop Henry Codman Potter, seventh Bishop of New York, whose tomb is in the Chapel of St. James.

[32] The symbolism applicable to Bishop Potter’s work is that of the familiar adage, “Great oaks from little acorns grow.”

[33] The congregational singing, always a feature of the Cathedral services, is remarkable on these occasions, especially with the colored congregations, among whom are often heard voices of exceptional quality.

[34] Concerning the ΙϹ-ΧϹ symbol, see page 34. Concerning the Ichthus symbol, see page 116.

[35] These letters ihc and the corresponding capitals ΙΗϹ (iota, eta, sigma,) are the first two and last letters of the Greek word for Jesus. They are frequently associated with the letters ΧΡϹ (chi, rho, sigma,) the first two and last letters of the word for Christ. When converted into the Roman form of ihs or IHS, they are sometimes construed to be the initials of the words Jesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus Saviour of Men).

[36] This rare representation of God the Father in human form is after examples developed during and confined almost entirely to the 14th-16th centuries. The triangular nimbus is peculiarly the symbol of God the Father. Note description of Reredos.

[37] Grisaille, from the French “gris” meaning “gray,” so-called on account of the grizzled or grayish brown glass often employed. Windows in geometrical designs are also called pattern windows. Other examples of grisaille windows are those in St. Columba Chapel.

[38] The designer has taken artistic license with these colors. Strictly, the arms of the City of Rheims are: On a silver field, a green wreath of oak and laurel with red fruit; on a blue chief three fleurs de lis of gold.

[39] Strictly, the arms of the Archbishop of Rheims are: On a blue field sprinkled with golden fleurs de lis, a silver cross over all.

[40] In 1376, Charles V. fixed the number of fleurs de lis in the royal arms at three “to symbolize the Holy Trinity.” Some persons consider that the three leaves of the conventional fleur de lis also symbolize the Trinity.

[41] This representation of the Transfiguration, like that in the reredos of the Chapel of Saint James described on page 71, is after Raphael’s last work, the original of which is in the Vatican. In both cases the poses of the six figures have been adapted to the spaces occupied.

[42] In the following table ac. indicates date of accession to title. Some of the dates here and on page 86 are only approximate.

[43] Only the nimbus of the Deity is ornamented with the cross. In a front view, but three arms of the cross appear; and sometimes these are represented as rays of light. A few writers, including G. J. French and W. & G. Audsley, contend that the three rays on the nimbus of the Deity have no connection with the cross, but symbolize the Trinity. The similarity of the floriated terminals to the French fleur de lis has no special meaning, the real significance being, as stated on page 74 the flowering or productiveness of the Christian religion.

[44] A Bishop’s crozier is usually in the form of a pastoral staff, or ornate shepherd’s crook; an Archbishop’s staff has a cross instead of a crook at the upper end; and a papal staff has a double cross at the upper end.

[45] The founder of a see is usually represented holding the model of a cathedral.

[46] As an illustration of a peace legend connected with a European church may be mentioned that of the Golden Virgin of the basilica of Notre Dame de Brebieres, in Albert, France. In the bombardment of 1914, the figure of the Virgin and Child which surmounted the spire was thrown over and remained suspended at right angles for over three years; during which time the belief sprang up locally that when the Golden Virgin fell, peace would come. The Virgin fell during the bombardment of 1918, and peace ensued a few months later.

[47] Some years ago, when Canon Douglas was visiting Worcester Cathedral, England, Canon Wilson pointed to a spot in the wall where an ancient carved stone had been replaced by a modern stone, and said: “A good while ago a man of the name of Huntington, who introduced himself as Rector of a church in Worcester, Mass., begged me to give him a bit of carved stone as a symbol of the ties between England and America.” This led Canon Douglas to ask for a similar gift to be placed in St. Ansgarius’ Chapel, which is a memorial of Dr. Huntington, in a House of God where Englishmen and Americans often meet and where members of the Daughter Church have constant occasion to recall their indebtedness to the Mother Church of England.

[48] The Corner Stone also contains a Bible, a Prayer Book, a Hymnal, Journals of the Diocesan Conventions 1882-1892, Journals of the General Conventions 1889-1892, Centennial History of the Diocese of New York, several church periodicals, three different almanacs for 1893, Catalogue of the General Theological Seminary and St. Stephen’s College 1892-1893, New York daily papers of December 27, 1892, the form of service for laying the Corner Stone, names of the Cathedral Trustees, several charges and addresses delivered by Bishop Potter on various occasions, letters from the Bishop to the clergy and others concerning the Cathedral, the badge and rules of prayer of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, medal of the Missionary Society, lists of principal officers of the United States, N. Y. State and N. Y. City governments, and a list of the objects placed in the stone.

[49] For details, see description in the Architectural Record for August, 1914.

[50] Ralph Adams Cram.

[51] Several ideas associated with the fish-shape of the vesica piscis have caused it to be recognized as a symbol of Christ. In an ingenious rebus of a very early date, the five letters of the Greek word for “fish” ἰχθύς, form the initials of the Greek words Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς, Θεοῦ Υἱὸς, Σωτήρ, which mean “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.”