Cathedral (Lat. cathedra, a seat), a church containing a bishop's throne or seat, the chief church of the diocese. Its usual form is a Latin or Greek cross, and it is not distinguished architecturally from the basilica. In the old basilicas there was a transverse hall at the end, not intentionally resembling a cross; but more modern architects, perceiving the resemblance, changed the position of the transept, making the church cruciform. The church of St. John of Lateran at Rome, founded by Constantine, is the episcopal church or cathedral of the pope, and bears over its chief portal the inscription, Omnium urbis et orhis ecclesiarum mater et caput, "Mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world." At its chief altar none but the pope can read mass, for it covers another ancient altar at which the apostle Peter is said to have officiated. The basilica of St. Peter's at Rome is surpassed by no cathedral in antiquity and splendor, and equalled by none in magnitude. In the year 90 Anacletus, bishop of Rome, who was said to have been ordained by St. Peter himself, erected an oratory on the site of the apostle's burial, after his crucifixion. In 306 Constantine built a basilica on the spot. In 1450 Nicholas V. commenced a building on plans of Bernardino and others.
Paul II. continued it, and Julius II. secured the services of Bramante, whose plan was a Latin cross and an immense dome on arches springing from four large pillars. The latter died in 1514, and Leo X. appointed Giu-liano Sangallo, Giovanni da Verona, and Raphael, who strengthened the pillars for the dome; but Sangallo dying in 1517, and Raphael in 1520, Leo employed Baldassari Peruzzi, who changed the plan to a Greek cross. Paul III. employed Antonio Sangallo, who returned to Bramante's plan; but he died very shortly, and the pope appointed Giulio Romano, who also died. The work was then given to Michel An-gelo, then in his 72d year. Paul III. died in 1549, but Julius III. continued Michel Angelo in his place, giving him full authority to change whatever he wished in the building as it then stood. He returned to the Greek cross, and strengthened the piers for supporting the dome. The drum of the dome was completed before he died in 1563. Pius V. appointed Vignola and Pirro, with orders that they should adhere to Michel Angelo's plans. The present dome, finished in 1590 by Giacomo della Porta, is lighter and higher than that designed by Raphael. Sixtus V. gave 100,000 gold crowns annually toward its completion.
In 1605 Paul V. employed Carlo Maderno, who changed the ground plan back to the Latin cross. The nave was finished in 1612, the facade and portico in 1614. The church was dedicated by Pope Urban VIII. on Nov. 18, 1626. Under Alexander VII., in 1667, Bernini finished the colonnade. The building of St. Peter's, from its foundation in 1450 till its dedication, occupied 175 years; and if we include the work done under Pius VI., three and a half centuries passed before it was completed, during which time 43 popes reigned. The dimensions of the church are as follows: length of the interior 613 1/2 English ft., of transept from wall to wall 446 1/2 ft.; height of nave 152 1/2 ft., of side aisles 47 ft.; width of nave 77-89 ft., of side aisles 33f ft.; circumference of pillars which support the dome 253 ft. The cupola is 193 ft. in diameter. The height of the dome from the pavement to the base of the lantern is 405 ft., to the top of the cross 448 ft. The dome is encircled and strengthened by six bands of iron. A stairway leads to the roof, broad and easy enough to allow a loaded horse to ascend.
The annual cost of keeping the church in repair is 30,000 scudi. - At Milan the first cathedral was destroyed by Attila; the next one was injured by fire; and the first stone of the present structure was laid by Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti on March 15, 1387. The ground plan is a Latin cross terminated by an apsis. Its dimensions are: length 486 ft.; breadth of body 252 ft., between the walls of the transept 288 ft.; width of nave from centre to centre of the columns 63 ft., which is double the width of the side aisles; height of the crown of the vaulting of nave 153 ft.; height from the pavement to top of the statue of Madonna 355 ft. The interior is divided into a nave and four aisles, by four ranges of clustered pillars. Fifty-two pillars, each formed of eight shafts, support the arches of the roof. These pillars are 80 ft. high, viz.: a base 4 ft., shaft 57 ft. 6 2/3 in., capital 18 ft. 6 1/3 in.; diameter of shaft 8 ft. There are fine interior doorways in Roman style. The pavement is laid in mosaic in red, blue, and white marble. The white marble exterior has niches and pinnacles for 4,500 statues, of which over 3,400 are completed at present. - The duomo at Florence is one of the most beautiful specimens of the Italian-Gothic style.
It was begun in 1298 upon the plan of Arnolfo di Cambio da Calle, and was finished about 1444. Several architects were employed upon it, among them Giotto, Taddeo Gaddi, and Andrea Orgagna. Its completion was intrusted to Brunelleschi, who designed the cupola. The cathedral is in length 500 ft., the transept 306 ft.; the nave is 153 ft. high, the side aisles 96 ft. 6 in. The cupola is octagonal in form, 138 ft. 6 in. in diameter, and in height from cornice of the drum to the eye of the dome 133 ft. 6 in. Michel Angelo used this dome as a model for that of St. Peter's. The interior of the duomo is rather dark, the windows being small and the glass darkly stained. The pavement is tessellated in red, blue, and white marble. The frescoes in the cupola are from designs by Vasari. The entire edifice covers 84,802 sq. ft. - The cathedral at Cologne, begun about the middle of the 13th century, is one of the most imposing Gothic structures in Europe. The original architect is unknown. The choir was not consecrated till 1322, and the north and south aisles of the nave had only been carried up to the capitals of the columns in 1509, and were covered with a wooden roof.
Work was suspended till 1830. In 1842 Frederick William IV. laid the first stone of the transept, which with the north and south portals was finished before 1863, when the whole interior was thrown open. The length of the cathedral is 511 ft., breadth 231 ft., and the towers will be 511 ft. high. Externally it has a double range of flying buttresses and intervening piers, and a perfect forest of pinnacles. - The cathedral of Dantzic was begun in 1343 and finished in 1503. It is of brick, and 358 ft. long. The vaulted roof is 98 ft. high, supported by 26 slender brick pillars. Around the interior are 50 chapels founded by citizens of the place as family burial places. The great ornament of this building is a painting of the "Last Judgment," attributed to Jan van Eyck. According to tradition, it was painted for the pope, but on its way from Bruges to Rome was captured by pirates. Being retaken by a Dantzic vessel, it was deposited in the cathedral in 1467. - The cathedral of Notre Dame in Antwerp is one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic buildings in the Netherlands. It was commenced between 1352 and 1411. The west front and tower are of the 15th century. It is 390 ft. long and 250 ft. wide. In 1566 it was sacked and much injured.
It contains the celebrated masterpiece of Rubens, the "Descent from the Cross." - The cathedral at Rheims was commenced in 1211 and the choir dedicated in 1241. It was completed in 1430, and is 466 ft. long. The cathedral at Amiens was begun in 1220; it is 469 ft. long, and has a central spire 422 ft. high, which dates however only from the 16th century. - The cathedral at Strasburg, one of the grandest Gothic churches in Europe, is remarkable for its spire, designed by Erwin of Steinbach. The work was half finished in 1318, when he died, and was continued by his son and afterward by his daughter Sa-bina. It rises 468 ft., and is an open fretwork of stone bound together by iron ties. The tower was completed in 1439, but a second tower, which the cathedral was intended to have, is still unfinished, and mars somewhat the effect. During the siege of the city by the Germans in 1870 it was badly injured by shells and other projectiles. - The cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris stands upon the spot once occupied by a Roman temple.
It is said that a church dedicated to St. Stephen was erected on the same site about 365, in the time of Valentinian L, and was enlarged in 522 by Childebert, son of Clovis. Robert, son of Hugh Capet, undertook to rebuild this church, which was called Notre Dame from a chapel which Childebert had dedicated to the Virgin. But this church was never finished and fell into ruins. The first stone of the present edifice was laid about 1163, by Pope Alexander III., Maurice de Sa-liac being bishop of the diocese. The high altar was consecrated in 1182 by Henry, legate of the holy see, and in 1185 Heraclitus, patriarch of Jerusalem, officiated in the church. The west front was finished by Maurice de Sully, the bishop, in 1223. The southern transept with its portal was completed in 1257, and the northern transept and portal in 1312 by Philip the Fair. The western doors with their iron work were made about 1570-80 by Biscourette. The dimensions are as follows: length 390 ft., width of transept 144 ft., height of vaulting 105 ft., height of western towers 224 ft., width of front 128 ft., length of nave to transept 18G ft. The pillars of the nave are 4 ft. in diameter, resting on gravelled beds 18 ft. below the surface. The style of architecture is pure pointed.
The nave and side aisles are paved with marble; the aisles around the choir are paved with stone and black marble. An immense vault, extending the entire length of the nave, was constructed in 1006 for the interment of chaplains, etc. The organ is 45 ft. high, 36 ft. wide, and has 3,484 pipes. The interior of Notre Dame is not so rich in decorations as the exterior. The arches of the nave are pointed; the piers are circular pillars, with large and well formed capitals. The pillars of the aisles are alternately circular and clustered. The cathedral covers 64,108 sq. ft. - England has many cathedrals worthy of particular mention. That at Salisbury is the most perfect and beautiful specimen. It was founded by Bishop Richard Poore in the year 1220, in the reign of Henry III., and was finished in 1260. Its plan is a double cross, in extreme length 442 ft., length of greater transept 203 ft. The cathedral at Canterbury dates from shortly after the Norman conquest. It was built on the site of an earlier cathedral, and modelled after that of St. Stephen at Caen, from which plan subsequent alterations have deviated. It has three towers, one in the centre and two at the west end.
The northwestern tower, of Norman date, was replaced by a new one in 1832. The centre tower, which is 235 ft. in height, was begun toward the end of the 15th century. The cathedral is 574 ft. long and the greater transept 159 ft. The crypts, which extend under the entire building, are the finest in England. The interior of the eastern part, known as Becket's corona, had but recently been finished when the cathedral was partly destroyed by fire in 1872. Ely cathedral is 517 ft. in length and 190 in breadth, and has a nave 203 ft, long, 81 wide, and 74 high. The style of the building externally is Norman and early English. The centre tower and lantern, 270 ft. high, supported on eight large piers, is a remarkable feature. Lincoln cathedral is one of the most perfect examples of the early Engjish style. It is 524 ft. long outside, and 482 inside. The greater transept is 250 ft. long outside by 222 inside. The chief tower is 300 ft. high. The cathedral at York is irregular in plan, and its parts are of different date, yet its aspect is imposing from its grand dimensions. It is 524 ft. long, 222 wide, and has a superb centre tower. The nave, from door to choir, is 264 ft. long, and is 106 ft. wide and 93 high.
It has a small crypt, a consistory court, and an elegant octangular chapter house, which leads from the north transept. St. Paul's, London, was commenced in 1675, Sir Christopher Wren being the architect, and was finished in 1710. It is built of fine Portland stone, in the form of a Latin cross, its length being 500 ft., the transept 285 ft. long, and the west front 180 ft. wide. The campanile towers at the west front are each 222 ft. high. The dome is 365 ft. from the ground, and 356 from the floor of the church, and it is 145 ft. in diameter. Simple ratios exist between the principal dimensions. The windows are mainly 12 ft. wide by 24 high, the aisles 19 ft. clear width by 38 in height; the central avenue is 41 by 84 ft.: the domed vestibule at the west end is 47 ft. square by 94 ft. high. The architectural elevation has two orders, the lower being Corinthian and the upper composite. The interior lacks in ornament, disappointing one who has seen the cathedrals on the continent. A still graver defect is the darkness under the dome, the light being scantily admitted and not well distributed. It was begun and finished under one architect, with a few mean exceptions.
The organ was built in 1694 by Bernard Smydt, St. Paul's is the fifth in size of the great churches of Europe, being smaller than St. Peter's and the cathedrals of Florence, Milan, and Amiens. - In America, the cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul at Philadelphia was commenced from designs by Le Brun in September, 1846, and opened for worship in 1862. It is built of red stone after the style of the modern Roman cruciform churches. The dome is 210 ft. in height. It has a fine organ, frescoes, and an altarpiece by Brumidi. At Baltimore the Catholic cathedral is built of granite, and is 190 ft. long, 177 ft. broad, and 127 ft. high from the floor to the top of the cross which surmounts the dome. It has a large organ of 6,000 pipes and 36 stops, a painting presented by Louis XVI., and one the gift of Charles X. of France. St. Patrick's cathedral, New York, now building (1873), was projected by Archbishop Hughes, who laid the corner stone, Aug. 15, 1858. The material is a brilliant micaceous marble, which is especially well adapted to the decorated Gothic style of architecture chosen for the work. It is 332 ft. in length and 132 ft. in general width, with an extreme width at the transepts of 174 ft. There will be two towers 328 ft. high.
The cathedral of Notre Dame in Montreal is 255 ft. long and 135 broad, and is capable of seating 10,000 persons. It has two towers, each 220 ft. high, one of which contains a chime of bells and the other a single bell, the Gros Bourdon, weighing 29,400 lbs. There are cathedrals, some of them of imposing architecture, in several cities of southern America. That in Mexico, begun in 1573, completed in 1667,. is built in an irregular mixture of the Gothic and Italian styles, and is 500 ft. in length and 420 in breadth. That of Lima is a massive stone structure, 320 ft. long and 180 wide, the facade painted red and yel-Ioav, with lath and plaster towers at each angle. - Notices and illustrations of the principal cathedrals throughout the world will be found under the names of their respective places. - See "Essays on Cathedrals," edited by J. S. Howson (London, 1872).