Christ's Church Cathedral (Hamilton, Ontario)
|Christ's Church Cathedral (Hamilton, Ontario)|
Christ's Church Cathedral (Hamilton, Ontario)
|Denomination||Anglican Church of Canada|
|Website||Christ's Church Cathedral|
|Diocese||Anglican Diocese of Niagara|
|Province||Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario|
Christ's Church Cathedral, the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, is located at 252 James Street North, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Built in 1835 (but see further below), it predates the existing Anglican cathedrals of Toronto, Kingston, London, Halifax, Fredericton and St. John's and as such is the oldest extant Anglican cathedral in anglophone Canada and the second oldest in all of Canada: only Holy Trinity Cathedral in Québec City predates it.
The building has an unusual construction history. Originally a stuccoed wooden Palladian-Baroque structure designed by Robert Charles Wetherall, it was incrementally transformed into stone Decorated Gothic, initially to an 1848 design by William Thomas, with Thomas’s chancel and the first two bays of his nave being added to Wetherall's existing wooden church, the resulting hybrid being dubbed “the humpback church.” The stone gothic nave was completed to a further design by Henry Langley (the architect of some 70 Ontario churches, including Metropolitan United Church, Toronto and the bell tower and spire of St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto (Roman Catholic)) in 1876, the original wooden portion having been demolished in 1872 to clear room for it and, inter alia, the chancel extended in 1924–25. Meanwhile, Thomas, in a state of indignation over the perverse use to which the Anglicans had put his design, took it to the Presbyterians, who built the still-standing St Paul’s Church to Thomas’s plan for Christ’s Church.
Christ's Church has ornately carved west doors and fine stained glass windows.
Music and arts
The cathedral is a notable arts, concert, recital and recording venue in Hamilton; its Gallery 252, operated by the cathedral’s arts committee, mounts monthly exhibitions of oils, pastels, charcoal drawings, photography, silk screening and stitchery as a means of introducing to the public artists not yet sufficiently established for commercial galleries. Since 2008, the New Harbours Music Series has organised free public concerts which coincide with the monthly artcrawl on James street, including performances from Polmo Polpo, Orphx, Michael Snow, Slither, Steve Hauschildt, Dirty Beaches, Slim Twig, Gasoline Gathers Hands Gathers Friends, Sun Circle, and Jeremy Greenspan.
The parish has taken notably liberal stands on socially and theologically controversial issues; in 2003 the dean performed an irregular wedding for a lesbian couple while the national church was debating the issue of blessing of same-sex unions (as it continues to do) and without the diocesan synod having reached any conclusion on the matter, provoking censure by the bishop. (The diocesan synod did subsequently approve blessing of same-sex unions in 2004 though the bishop withheld his consent notwithstanding which the local Roman Catholic diocese withdrew from an annual service with the Anglicans and Lutherans to renew and reaffirm recognition of one another's baptismal vows.) It is considered a gay-friendly parish and Integrity, an Anglican/Episcopalian gay and lesbian organisation, conducts monthly worship services in the cathedral.
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- MacRae and Adamson, pp.148–49.
- MacRae and Adamson, pp.168, 171, 174.
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- MacRae and Adamson, p.149.
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- [dead link]
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- Christ's Church Cathedral, Hamilton website
- "First-Rate Gothic: A Look at St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Hamilton" (Raise the Hammer, September 26, 2006) – discussion with photographs of church built to Thomas's plan for Christ's Church Cathedral, Hamilton
- Christ's Church Cathedral historicplaces.ca
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