Basilica of St. Fidelis

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St. Fidelis Catholic Church
View of the church from the northwest in 1997
Location Victoria, Kansas, United States
Coordinates 38°51′24″N 99°9′1″W / 38.85667°N 99.15028°W / 38.85667; -99.15028Coordinates: 38°51′24″N 99°9′1″W / 38.85667°N 99.15028°W / 38.85667; -99.15028
Area 3 acres (1.2 ha)
Built 1908-1911
Architect John T. Comes, John Marshall
Architectural style Romanesque
NRHP Reference # 71000315[1]
Added to NRHP May 14, 1971

The Basilica of St. Fidelis, commonly known as The Cathedral of the Plains, is a Romanesque-style Roman Catholic parish church in Victoria, Kansas, United States.[1] It was raised to the status of a Minor Basilica in 2014 and is also known as The Basilica of the Plains.


The church was built from 1908 to 1911. According to the church history, each member of the church who was 12 or older was asked to give $45 a year and six wagonloads of stone to help construct the building. The nickname The Cathedral of the Plains was bestowed by former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan after he visited the town in 1912. Its 48 historic stained-glass windows were installed in 1916, by Munich Studios in Chicago, at a cost of $3,700, and now valued at more than $1 million. The church was added to the National Register in 1971.[2]

In 1994, the church began a series of restoration efforts. More than $265,000 was spent on weatherproofing the exterior, replastering and repainting the interior and updating the sound, electrical and heating systems. A marble floor was put in the sanctuary for $60,000, replacing the old carpeting and linoleum floors. The church roof was reshingled in 2006 for $137,000. In 2011, the church replaced the parking lot and sidewalks for $225,000, and spent $70,000 on repairing the plaster ceilings and walls that had cracked with age. A plastic covering was installed in the mid-1980s to protect each stained glass window from Kansas storms. It had grown opaque through the years and replaced with tempered glass in 2013.[2]

After approval by the Vatican in early March 2014, Bishop Edward Weisenburger of the Diocese of Salina dedicated St. Fidelis Church as a Minor Basilica on Saturday, June 7, 2014.[3][4]



Further reading[edit]

  • Cathedral Of The Plains: A History And Pictorial Guide Of St. Fidelis Church, Victoria, Kansas; 1986.
  • Historic Churches of the United States; Robert C. Broderick; Wilfred Funk; 1958.
  • Pioneer's Death Recalls Building Victoria Church; Ellis County News; March 4, 1948.
  • Victoria, the Story of a Western Kansas Town; Fort Hays Kansas State College; 1947.
  • Tall Spires on the Prairie; Kansas City Star; August 27, 1911.

External links[edit]