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  • I’ve often wondered, to those of you who have been to Europe, how does our cathedral compare?

  • Its shite.

  • You really can’t compare them, since ours is from the 20th century. I think the original old ones are a lot more impressive, especially considering they were built by hand over the course of decades or even centuries, and have outlasted countless wars and natural disasters.

    Check back in about 800 years to see how ours has held up.

  • Its not really a cathedral until it has miles of unmapped catacombs beneath it.

  • i like it and am proud its American made and in dc. its a beautiful building, as beautiful as many in europe.
    but you you, europe just feels cooler.

  • It’s as good as can be expected from a 20th century non denominational cathedral. But really, it’s apples and oranges trying to compare it to the European churches. Old World Catholics just really knock these things out of the park.

  • saf

    Nichole – it’s Episcopal. Hardly non-denominational.

  • @saf I stand corrected! I really did think it was non denominational or just generic Protestant.

    It’s still super bland though.

  • saf

    I dunno, I really love the space window.

    Actually, I love the space in general. No, it’s not a Euro-cathedral. But it’s neat!

  • Most cathedrals in the U.S. are Catholic. But the National, and St. John the Divine in NYC are both Episcopal.

    St. John is amazing. It’s the largest cathedral in the world, is nowhere near complete, and has been under constant construction for over 100 years. If you’re up around Columbia U, go take a tour! You can climb up into the void space between the vaults and the roof and everything. The domed ceiling over the transept is awesome, in the original awe-inspiring sense of the word. It’s built in a spiral like an igloo, with each stone held in place by only the pressure of the other stones. They used very young children to build it, around the turn of the last century, because full-grown people would have collapsed it with their weight. And many more fun facts!

  • You mean – how does it compare to European cathedrals build in the Middle Ages? Gothic stuff? Chartres, Notre Dame, Cologne, Reims etc?

    Well, it does and it doesn’t at the same time. It looks and feels like an imitation of the “real thing” that does not really fit its surroundings – and I suppose there is no way you can make a building in gothic style built in the 20th century look and feel in any other way. This is what struck me most when I saw the National Cathedral for the first time. “My goodness”, I said to myself, “Why the hell would anyone build a gothic cathedral in such a young country?” What fits Paris or Chartres does not necessarily fit Washington, DC.

    This does not mean, however, that the National Cathedral does not have a certain beauty to it, because it does. The structure is as beautiful as a gothic cathedral can be – design is classic and immortal. I was also impressed by its interior.

  • WDC, I second your amazement of St. John the Divine. I found myself at the the blessing of the animals by accident and saw an elephant walk in to be blessed. It was outstanding.

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