“Virginia's finest ecclesiastical example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style”
Designed by New York architect Joseph H. McGuire, the Cathedral is considered to be Virginia's finest ecclesiastical example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The building is constructed of Virginia granite and Indiana limestone with a copper dome and tile roof. Six fluted Corinthian columns support the architrave on the front of the exterior, which displays the motto "If Ye Love Me Keep My Commandments" (John 14:15). The outline of the coat of arms of the Diocese of Richmond appears above the name of the church to the left of the columns. Richmond was a small town of only 16,000 when its first Catholic Cathedral, St. Peter's, 800 E. Grace Street, was built in 1834. After the Civil War, Bishop John McGill realized that the growing Catholic population would need a new house of worship. In 1867 he purchased a lot in what was then considered the far west end. Lack of funds prevented further action until 1884 when Bishop John J. Keane purchased the remainder of the present block. With the announcement of a gift of $500,000 for the proposed cathedral from Thomas Fortune Ryan and his wife, Ida Barry Ryan, plans for the building were drawn up.
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Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
- Mon - Thu: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Fri: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
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