Cathedral of St. John the Divine, one of the world’s biggest churches

It’s a lovely thing when a Gadling reader posts a comment that leads us to another post. Such is the case with Moody 75’s comment “Dude, Manhattan has what is claimed to be the largest cathedral and Anglican church and third largest Christian church in the world” on my post “Temples and churches to visit in New York City.

Sure enough, Cathedral Church of St. John, The Divine is definitely one that I would like to see myself. From the picture, it looks familiar and perhaps I’ve passed by it on my way to somewhere else, but next time I’m in New York, I’m heading here.

First of all, its history is one that reflects the times and economic struggles. This is not a church that found easy funding at all junctures or has had enough people to build it over the years ever since the cornerstone was put in place in 1892. The Great Depression and World Wars 1 and 2 are only part of what has thwarted progress, although since it is the largest Anglican church in the world–and one of the world’s largest churches, one can make the point that there is tenacity and dedication at work here. Plus, the history reads like a Who’s Who. I’m impressed.

This is a church that seems to reflect aspects of American culture and because of its stature has attracted important people to speak here and perform such as Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Leonard Bernstein. Madeline L’Engle who died this past year, even set a novel in this cathedral.

Along with giving tours, the church offers concerts and performances to the community. The next one, January 13, is called “Let My People Go: A Service of Liberation.” There will be various performances and singing along with a talk in commemoration of the end of the transatlantic slave trade.