Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family, Nairobi
|Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family|
Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi, Kenya
|Location||City Square, Nairobi|
|Materials||Stainless steel windows and marble details|
|Archdiocese||Archdiocese of Nairobi|
The Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic cathedral and basilica dedicated to the Holy Family located around City Square in Nairobi, Kenya. The basilica is the seat of the Archdiocese of Nairobi.
The congregation of the cathedral was originally composed of railway construction workers who lived in a camp nearby what would become the first Nairobi Railway Station. Under the administration of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Brother Josaphat, C.S.S.P (Holy Ghost Missionary) was entrusted with the building of a church in 1904. With a sitting capacity of 300–400 people, it was the first stone building in Nairobi. The first baptism took place in 1906, the first marriage in 1908, and first confirmation in 1923.
Dorothy Hughes, who was brought up in Kenya, designed the current building in 1960. The cathedral was constructed by the British company Mowlem. The modernist cathedral features abstract stained glass in stainless steel frames. The cathedral's specification included details in carrara marble and seating for 3,000 to 4,000 people. This is ten times the number of the original stone church. The building is 98 feet high and features a large cross. Hughes' design features eight different chapels in addition to the two main halls. There is a main altar with a large crucifix and a large sanctuary, as well as two side altars.
The church was visited by John Paul II in 1980 and designated a basilica on 15 February 1982. John Paul prayed again at this church in 1985 and 1995. The Holy Ghost Fathers were responsible for the basilica until 1991.
The cathedral is the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Nairobi. The current archbishop is John Njue who was made a Cardinal in 2007. The Archdiocese of Nairobi contains an estimated population of 4 million people of which 1.6 million are thought to be Catholic. These 4,000 Christian communities are served by 182 clergy, eight university level education facilities and several places for retreat.
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