Talk:Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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I removed the 'motherchurch' attribution - I'm sure their own website claims the title, but it's neither true nor accurate. It's a matter of historical, not hierarchical, priority -- a 'motherchurch' is a congregation from which other congregations are founded. For instance, Trinity Episcopal Church (commonly known as Trinity Wall Street, chartered in 1697) was the mother church of most of the Episcopal parishes in America north of Pennsylvania before the mid-19th century. St. John the Divine is a late foundation even in New York City, let alone in the diocese. Given church building in the late 20th century I wonder about their 'longest' designation, too. MichaelTinkler

Your doubts may be well-founded; the Cathedral is rather prone to gratuitous self-aggrandizement, exaggeration, and patting themselves on the back about how impressive they are. Their stationery refers to their neighborhood as "Cathedral Heights" (which absolutely nobody calls it, or ever has), and they use the label "Great" (Great Organ, Great Nave, Great Rose Window) to describe just about everything in the place. 23:07, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

St. John the Divine is NOT the largest church of the world (see Guiness World Records]). It's only the longest church of the world (183,2 m). The largest church of the world is the Notre-Dame de la Paix Basilica. 16:52, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I corrected the statement 'the longest gothic nave in the world', which is not true. It's the longest gothic nave in the United States. And a neo-gothic one at that. The longest gothic nave in the world most probably belongs to St Albans Cathedral, Saint Albans United Kingdom at 106 meters. Harachte

Can anyone add anything about the fire of 2001 at the Cathedral? I would think this is relevant to this article. --Zahra 02:36, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

As a VERY new Wikipedian, help me understand and resolve my confusion. I looked at this entry, hoping to find some reference to the architectural competition that resulted in its initial design; it was, without doubt, one of the most significant architectural competitions of the day. Thinking to add some information on the number of competitors at the first stage (at least 68 architects competed) and the four who were chosen to further develop their design proposals and resubmit them as part of a stage two (a significant pattern for late 19th century American competitions), I searched for specifics elsewhere on the web. I happened upon the "" site, which is, in fact, mentioned among this entry's references, and was surprised that virtually the entire "History" section here is lifted from the "nyc-architecture" site, which I presume is copyright protected. Is this kosher? Thanks. --PlainsArchitecture (talk) 00:26, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Chiming in for a matter of record, even though the comment is old: The section on nyc-architecture was copied from here, not the other way around. (talk) 12:08, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I must say the history section concentrates too much on the architecture/physical building - see the July 16 1973 Time article ([1]) for much more interesting historical insights. Maitchy (talk) 06:22, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Nave Height and Styles of Radiating Chapels[edit]

I removed the designation "highest nave". The Cathedrals at Köln, Amiens, Chatres, Toledo, Milan, the Vatican, and perhaps others all have higher naves than the 37.7 meter high one of St. John the Divine.

I also removed the description of "Gothic" as applied to the radiating chapels. Not all of the chapels are in a gothic style.

The chapels all have gothic exteriors, though the interior styles vary.

The Cathedral today[edit]

There's a long discussion of the construction and physical history of the cathedral, but nothing (hardly anything) about its community past and present. It's an ecumenical place with plenty of educational activities. Can someone who knows more about it that I do (John?) provide a view of its spiritual life, beyond the mission statement? David Brooks 21:08, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

The problem with that is that the only real "community" is the Congregation, and they are pretty small and unremarkable. On an average Sunday, the Cathedral's largest service only gets about a hundred people - which seems inexplicably small for a church this well-known which actually has tourists visiting. And especially compared to the two THOUSAND or so people normally attending Riverside Church, which is just around the corner. 23:51, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


Fixed broken link to the organ specifications.

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was PAGE MOVED by Petri Krohn. -GTBacchus(talk) 00:01, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Saint John the UnfinishedCathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York — Move was made from the formal name to a "more colloquial" one with no discussion, and without fixing the resulting rats nest of double redirects. Bpmullins | Talk 21:26, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


Add  * '''Support'''  or  * '''Oppose'''  on a new line followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~.

  • Support All cathedrals get listed under their formal names. Fixing this is going to require adminsitrator help, I think. Bpmullins | Talk 21:27, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
    • No need for administrator help; I have restored the name. --Petri Krohn 02:58, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support Misguided move. --Petri Krohn 02:56, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Support It's an obscure joke, and largely dated. Save the redirect. Septentrionalis 18:02, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Community; music[edit]

Above, someone asked about the Cathedral's "community past and present. It's an ecumenical place with plenty of educational activities." I agree. There is much to say about the cathedral as a community and religious center. Also, the cathedral hosts lots and lots of music performances. I started a little section, but please contribute. -- Ssilvers 03:56, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Nothing to do with anything I've read so far, roughly thirty years ago I found a token lodged in a crack in the wood of a very old pie cabinet, which appeared to have been there for some time. The coin showed a beautiful cathederal on one side. An Eagle on the otherside with bible in talons and the words "Cathederal of St. John the Divine" "Souvenir of Pilgrimage" "New York". I ran acrossed it today and did some research on the church, but can find nothing on this coin, I'm just very interested in what it was for and how it ended up in a pie cabinet in a Grange Hall in Northern MI. In a town from which I graduated with eight people. Sorry for using your page but an info I would appreciate it —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Two Jokers in this deck[edit]

This deck has two Jokers: one added [citation needed] after every paragraph, the other "fixed" the citations-- by deleting them! This page needs more adult input.--Wetman (talk) 20:33, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

"White Elephant of the Upper West Side" (sic)[edit]

The editor who thought it should be called a White Elephant has made the tell-tale error of confusing Morningside Heights with the Upper West Side. On-line websites that simply mirror the phrasing from this article are not sources: the sobriquet should be attributed if it is to be returned to an article that another "editor" has in other instances so littered with [citation needed].--Wetman (talk) 20:02, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Public domain photos[edit]

I've taken some photos of the Cathedral and released them into public domain. You can use them to better this article or whatever you want.

Gesalbte (talk) 04:41, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

Poets' Corner[edit]

I see nothing about the memorials to T S Eliot, Walt Whitman, William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Edgar Allan Poe et al. Or the the cathedral's refusal to similarly honour Ezra Pound in 1999, due to his anti-semitic radio broadcasts in WW2. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 23:59, 20 March 2013 (UTC)


Can someone add a paragraph about the masonic history of this cathedral? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:2879:FEED:E9F4:D78 (talk) 08:52, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Absent Material[edit]

An interesting thing about this Cathedral is that it can't be completed unless law is overturned, and the Episcopal Church built in Greek-Orthodox form on Park Avenue has set precedent (losing) on that. The article mentions the old orphanage in a Classical building to StJohnnyDee's south side, but nelgects to state that this building has been landmarked. The building's present use has something to do with preserving antique textiles. Since this old building can't be knocked down, they can't put the Cathedral's south arm where it would obviously need to go. It'd be nice to be able to get details on all that from this article. Also is it noted that the rose-pattern for the rose-window is used as a repeating medallion in the nice iron fencing about the place?2604:2000:C6AA:B400:3182:768A:DE4E:EC2 (talk) 08:12, 25 June 2015 (UTC)Christopher L. Simpson

And while it's mentioned that the Cathedral allowed a building on the extreme SE corner of its property, there's no mention that two very large and tall apartment-buildings (or one building with an interruption that would seem to allow for extending the Cathedral's north arm all the way to 113th-street's south-edge sidewalk) are being built in the old stoneyard. They give the impression of being mere inches away from the Cathedral's walls. I don't know how to describe the new apartment-buildings because I'm uneducated and stupid and can't grasp the refined nuances differentiating Neo-Brutalist from Proto-Brutalist, Retro-Brutalist, Brutalist Revival, and Polysyncretometric Hermenautical Brutalism. Maybe this is that Gothic-Brutalist Fusion movement that is all the rage in architecture now. But they're there on the street and yet not here in the article, it seems. At least I couldn't find them.2604:2000:C6AA:B400:3182:768A:DE4E:EC2 (talk) 08:12, 25 June 2015 (UTC)Christopher L. Simpson

The cathedral just got landmarked so someone should update this. (talk) 21:56, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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"Excessive" gallery?[edit]

Eleven pictures of a massive building of tremendous symbolic importance and fairly immense size is hardly some sort of "excessive" photo gallery. I am only not "being bold" and deleting it without discussion because I am such a huge fan of collaboration, deliberation, and consensus. But if no one objects, that template may well be gone, and soon. 2600:1004:B157:AF2A:25CB:8C57:45CF:FDEF (talk) 23:33, 11 August 2019 (UTC)