The Cathedral of St John the Divine
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located in New York at 1047 Amsterdam Ave. New York. It is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The Cathedral of St John the Divine is the largest Cathedral and Anglican church in the world and the fourth largest Christian church overall, covering 121,000 square feet. The Western façade of the building contains a famous stained glass rose window. There are many nearby hotel accommodations available in the Morningside Heights area of Manhattans Upper West Side.
It is nicknamed St. John the Unfinished because construction was never fully completed and the church is undergoing a constant construction and renovation project. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch said in a 1979 speech, “I am told that some of the great cathedrals took over five hundred years to build. But I would like to remind you that we are only in our first hundred years.” A fire in December 2001 damaged the cathedral of and it reopened in November 2008. The cathedral is open to visitors and easily accessible from nearby hotels.
The 2001 fire started in an unfinished portion of the building and destroyed the gift shop. The cathedral itself was not destroyed by the fire there was significant smoke damage. The Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ had to have the chambers removed and painstakingly cleaned so that the accumulated soot from the fire would not cause permanent damage to the instrument. Several precious tapestries and other items in the cathedral suffered smoke damage.
Despite the cathedral's iconic significance as a New York landmark, it has not received the official designation from the New York City Council which would grant it protective status and control development in the area. Since the measure was not passed, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine was free to lease a section of the property to Avalon Bay Communities. Now there is a new glass apartment building, the Avalon Morningside Park tower, on the southeast corner of the cathedral grounds.
From January 2005 to November 2008, a large restoration effort took place which used an innovative chemical cleaning system to repair the smoke damage and damage done by a century of New York City air. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has one of the world's finest textile conservation laboratories. It was build to conserve the textiles of the cathedral, which includes work by Raphael and Barberini tapestries. They also restore work for other clients including: costumes, upholstery, needlepoint, tapestries, and other textiles.
Today, the cathedral is a venue for New York musical performances. The Paul Winter Consort are the resident musicians. The major concerts include: the liturgical performance of Winter's Missa Gaia and the celebration of the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. In 1990, the controversial musician, Diamanda Galas, put on a presentation dedicated to people suffering from AIDS. She covered herself in cow blood and interpreted classical literature and bible texts in order to condemn the ignorance from political and religious groups towards people with AIDS.