Tag: Cathedrals

  • St. Paul’s in Late Fall

  • St. Peter’s Church, North Side

    St. Peter’s Church

    Built in 1872 from a design by Andrew Peebles, this cathedral-sized church did become a cathedral about three years later for the short-lived Catholic Diocese of Allegheny, which was formed by taking the rich half away from the diocese of Pittsburgh and leaving all the debt with the poor half. The diocese was suppressed in 1889, but old dioceses never die, and there is still a titular Bishop of Allegheny. The current holder of the title is a retired auxiliary bishop of Newark.

    Resurrection relief

    This relief of the Resurrection takes on added drama at night.

  • St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral

    St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral

    Built in 1904 as the First Congregational Church, this building had a surprisingly short life with its original congregation; the Congregationalists left in 1921, and the Greek Orthodox congregation bought it in 1923. The church became a cathedral when Pittsburgh was elevated to a diocese. The architect was Thomas Hannah, who was at home in both classical and Gothic idioms. Here he went all in for classical, producing an ostentatiously Ionic front that looks like a Greek temple—which, oddly, is a style a Greek Orthodox congregation would never choose for its church if it were building one from scratch.

    St. Nicholas
  • St. Paul’s at the Blue Hour

  • Some Details of St. Paul’s Cathedral

  • Goofy Gargoyle, Grumpy Gargoyle

    Two gargoyle faces on St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.

  • Pulpit of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral


    This elaborate Gothic pulpit is equipped with a traditional sounding board to deflect the sound out into the congregation. It is also equipped with a microphone, which has become a much more tenacious tradition. An Episcopal church would sooner give up the Thirty-Nine Articles than the microphone. It is an interesting fact of history that no one ever heard anything until electrical amplification was invented.

    Addendum: This pulpit was designed by Bertram Goodhue, the disciple of Ralph Adams Cram who was the architect of First Baptist in Oakland. It was installed in 1922.

  • Trinity Window in Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

    Trinity window

    The large window at the rear of the cathedral. At the apex is the Shield of Faith, the emblem of the Trinity. In the center is Christ ascending, with the legend “He is the King of Glory.” Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John watch and record, each with his traditional symbol (man, lion, ox, eagle).

  • Interior of Trinity Cathedral

    Interior of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Pittsburgh

    Trinity Episcopal Cathedral was built in 1872 from a design by Gordon W. Lloyd, an English-born Canadian architect who was popular among Episcopalians. The view above is made up of three pictures to give us a broad view of the nave.

    This is the third church for this congregation. The first was the “Round Church,” built at about the time the streets were laid out in their present plan in 1785. (It was actually an octagon—one of the first generation of odd-shaped buildings caused by the colliding grids along Liberty Avenue.) The second was a brick Gothic church built in 1824.


    Note the divided pews, which are the original furniture from 1872. At the time this church was built, churches were generally funded by pew rents. Your family would rent a particular section, and that was where you sat every Sunday.

    End of a pew

    The number on the end of the pew identifies your section. When Father Pitt visited, the dean of the cathedral, the Very Reverend Aidan Smith, was kind enough to bring out a precious historical artifact: a pew chart of the previous church marked with the prices for each section. The closer to the front (and the more visible) the pew, the more it cost per annum. He explained that this cathedral stopped the practice of pew rents in the 1930s, after receiving a large legacy on the condition that pew rents would be stopped. (In addition to funding the church, they were a good, but arguably un-Christian, way of keeping out the undesirable poor.)

    Interior, diagonal view
  • Entrance to St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1994

    Entrance to St. Paul’s

    This composition is no longer possible, because the building in the foreground was demolished to make way for the larger Rand Building that occupies the corner of Fifth and Craig today. At least old Pa Pitt is fairly sure he was standing in the old Mellon Bank building, although after almost three decades the memory clouds over a bit, and he had to rely on maps and angles to make that determination.