Cathedral of Saint Paul in Pittsburgh

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Cathedral of Saint Paul in Pittsburgh

The Cathedral of Saint Paul (commonly known as Saint Paul Cathedral) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It should not be confused with St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London, England. It is the center of spiritual life for some three thousand parishioners and more than three quarter million Catholics in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The first place of public worship for Catholics in the area was in 1754 in the stockyard of Fort Duquesne. From the date of the French evacuation of the fort in 1758 until a church was started in 1808 at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, there were no resident priests, but mass was occasionally said in private homes by missionaries traveling west. When the Diocese of Pittsburgh was formed in 1843, Saint Paul's Church at the corner of Fifth and Grant Street was consecrated as a Cathedral. Because of declining downtown population and industrial pollution, this site was sold to Henry Clay Frick. A new Cathedral was opened in 1906 at its present location on Fifth Avenue in the Oakland district of Pittsburgh. The original cost of the building and furnishings was nearly 1.1 million dollars, including $205,000 for the real estate. Designed by Egan and Prindeville of Chicago and built by Thomas Reilly, a general contractor from Philadelphia, the new Saint Paul's is an example of the Scholastic, or Decorated, Gothic style of the 14th century. The building rises two hundred and forty seven feet with a statue of Saint Paul mounted on the center pediment. Other exterior statues depict the apostles and evangelists of the Eastern and Western Church. While the overall proportions of the structure are not true to the classic cathedrals of Europe, Saint Paul Cathedral fits the site and (as the cathedrals of old,) reflect their spirit and historical significance. Saint Paul is located near the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


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