Marseille Cathedral

Coordinates: 43°17′59″N 5°21′54″E / 43.29972°N 5.36500°E / 43.29972; 5.36500
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Cathedral of Saint Mary Major
Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure
Façade of the cathedral in 2023
AffiliationRoman Catholic
DistrictArchdiocese of Marseille
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusCathedral
LocationMarseille,  France
Geographic coordinates43°17′59″N 5°21′54″E / 43.29972°N 5.36500°E / 43.29972; 5.36500
StyleRomanesque (old cathedral)
Romanesque-Byzantine Revival (new cathedral)

Marseille Cathedral (French: Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille or Cathédrale de la Major) is a Roman Catholic cathedral, and a national monument of France, located in Marseille. It has been a basilica minor since 1896. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Marseille (formerly the Diocese of Marseille until its elevation in 1948).

Old cathedral[edit]

Part of the earlier, much smaller cathedral still remains, alongside the new cathedral. It was built in the 12th century in a simple Romanesque style. The eclectic style is characteristic of the 19th century. Two bays of the nave were demolished in the 1850s, when the new cathedral was built. What remains is the choir and one bay of the nave. It is commonly referred to as the "Vieille Major".[1] The composer Charles Desmazures was organist at the old cathedral.

New cathedral[edit]

The present cathedral, the "Nouvelle Major", was built on an enormous scale in the Byzantine and Roman Revival styles. The foundation stone was laid by Emperor Napoleon III in 1852 and the first service was held in 1893. It was completed in 1896, given the title of minor basilica, and consecrated in 1897.[2] It was built on the site used for the cathedrals of Marseille since the fifth century, principally by the architects Léon Vaudoyer and Henri-Jacques Espérandieu (1829-1874). It is 142 meters (469 ft) long, and the main cupola is 70 meters (231 ft) high. With a capacity of 3,000 seats, it is one of the largest cathedrals in France, covering a total of 7,680 square meters. It is a listed monument since 1906.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Base Mérimée: Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure, puis église paroissiale dite la Vieille Major, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
  2. ^ "Marseilles, Cathedral | OMI World". Retrieved 2021-06-01.
  3. ^ Base Mérimée: Cathédrale Saint-Marie-Majeure dite La Major, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)

External links[edit]