Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

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Protestant Episcopal Church of the Saviour
(now Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral)
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.jpg
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral is located in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral is located in Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral is located in the United States
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
Location3723-3725 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°57′20″N 75°11′54″W / 39.95556°N 75.19833°W / 39.95556; -75.19833Coordinates: 39°57′20″N 75°11′54″W / 39.95556°N 75.19833°W / 39.95556; -75.19833
Area0.3 acres (0.12 ha)
Built1855, 1898, 1902-1906
ArchitectBurns, Charles M. Jr.; Blashfield, Edwin H.
Architectural styleRomanesque, Italian Romanesque
NRHP reference No.79002328[1]
Added to NRHPAugust 01, 1979

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, located at 38th and Chestnut Streets in West Philadelphia, is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Formerly known as the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Saviour, it was built in 1855, renovated in 1898, and rebuilt in the year 1906, after an April 16, 1902 fire. In 1992 it became the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.[2]

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Recent history[edit]

A highly-controversial renovation of the interior was undertaken, 2000–2002, under then-cathedral dean Richard Giles, author of Re-Pitching the Tent: Re-Ordering the Church Building for Worship and Mission.[3] The pews, altar, and other church furniture were removed and sold. Chairs and modern lighting fixtures replaced the traditional fixtures. The stone walls were stuccoed over and whitewashed. The baptismal font was joined by an immersion pool for adults. These actions divided the congregation and were severely criticized in the press.[4]

In 2012, facing a $3.5 million bill to renovate its bell tower, current cathedral dean Judith Sullivan petitioned the Philadelphia Historical Commission for permission to demolish its parish house and rectory, both NRHP-certified buildings. They would be replaced with a 25-story apartment building wedged between the cathedral and Chestnut Street. The demolition was approved.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral - History Archived 2013-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Re-Pitching the Tent from The cover photograph shows the cathedral's renovated interior.
  4. ^ Stephan Salisbury, "Work on historic church decried. One critic calls it 'cultural vandalism'," The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 17, 2001.
  5. ^ Stephan Salisbury, "Episcopal Cathedral gets OK to raze historic buildings, erect apartment high-rise," The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 10, 2012.

External links[edit]